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Archive for: October 2011

Girls take sixth, boys finish seventh at state cross country meet

Piedmont’s girls and boys cross country teams competed at the state meet on Saturday at Mitch Park in Edmond. The girls finished in sixth. The boys finished in seventh. (Photo by Greg Evans)

Piedmont’s girls and boys cross country teams competed at the state meet on Saturday at Mitch Park in Edmond. The girls finished in sixth. The boys finished in seventh.

Haleigh McAnally crossed the line first for the Wildcats and in 18th place with a time of 13 minutes 1.8 seconds. Brianne Grothe finished in 19th with a time of 13:04.99, Lexi Bingham finished in 20th with a time of 13:06.93, Allison Smola finished in 65th with a time of 14:10.74, Cailtin Lewis finished in 78th with a time of 14:36.14, Bianca Cardenas finished with a time of 14:48.5 which was good for 85th place and Paige Anderson finished in 96th place with a time of 15:42.35.

Coweta took the state championship with 54 points. Collinsville, Shawnee, Deer Creek and Tahlequah rounded out the top five. Piedmont finished seven points behind Tahlequah.

Colton Watters crossed the line first for the Wildcats and came in 39th with a time of 17:50.9. Jonathan Halko finished in 47th with a time of 18:07.33, Tanner Larson finished in 51st with a time of 18:10.05, Daniel Smola finished in 59th with a time of 18:25.78, Tyler Wade finished in 62nd with a time of 18:32.53, Brandon Gaines finished in 86th with a time of 19:21.21 and Ryan Lang finished in 93rd with a time of 19:46.03.

Deer Creek took the state championship with 37 points. Guthrie, Tahlequah, Guymon, Tulsa Memorial and Coweta rounded out the top sixth.

Both Piedmont teams received distinguished academic plaques.

“I’m really happy with how the kids did,” Coach Roger White said. “The boys beat their best time by 13 seconds and the girls beat their best time by four seconds. Having three girls finish in the top 20 is something I was very proud of as a coach. The girls had the second best GPA and the boys had the fourth best GPA.”

Click here to view more photos from the state cross country meet.

Piedmont grabs playoff spot with 51-0 win over Guymon

Jared Slavens

Piedmont clinched its first playoff berth since 2005 with a 51-0 win over the Guymon Tigers at Stout Field Friday night.

The Wildcats scored all 51 points in the first half and played with a running clock in the second half to earn its first shutout of the season. Piedmont improved to 5-4 on the season and 4-2 in district play, keeping the Wildcats in third place.

The game plan early was to get the ball into Cassius Calhoun’s hands early and often. Calhoun first reached pay dirt a minute and a half into the game on an 11-yard run, and ended up reaching the endzone two more times on the night.

Guymon threatened on its first possession, putting together a pair of big plays to get deep into Piedmont territory. But Jared Slavens picked off a Guymon pass to stop the drive in its tracks. The following Piedmont drive saw quarterback Collin Bricker dive into the endzone for a two-yard touchdown.

The defense was, obviously, engaged on Friday night. Darrius Burris trapped the Guymon quarterback late in the first quarter, forcing a safety. Bricker and Christian Foster would hook up on the next drive for a 34-yard pitch and catch touchdown. On the ensuing Guymon drive, Daryl Burns picked off and ran in for a 34-yard pick six. The Wildcats scored 30 points in the first quarter.

Guymon was forced to punt early in the second quarter, and Calhoun responded with a 33-yard rushing touchdown. Foster picked off the Guymon quarterback for the Wildcats second forced turnover on the night. Bricker would run 47 yards on Piedmont’s following possession for a touchdown. Calhoun would end the second quarter with a one-yard touchdown dive.

Piedmont raced through the second half, thanks to a running clock, and a number of younger Wildcats got the chance to get some game time. Bubba Bailey recovered a fumble and Kyle Owen recorded an interception.

Bricker finished the night with 90 yards on 6-of-11 passing with one touchdown and gained 64 yards on four rushes with two scores. The Wildcats took advantage of a weak Guymon rushing defense and weren’t forced to lean on the pass attack.

Calhoun rushed 18 times for 218 yards and three scores. Steffan Funkhouser rushed four times for 27 yards, Zack Tucker rushed six times for 35 yards and Blaine Culp rushed six times for 22 yards.

Cassius Calhoun

Foster reeled in two catches for 48 yards and a score. Calhoun caught one pass for four yards, Funkhouser cause two for 30 yards and Tyler Hamption caught one pass for eight yards.

“We knew we had to come out here and play well,” Calhoun said. “Guymon is a good squad and we needed this win. We came out with a mission to take what was ours and win at home. Now we look to Cache and senior night.”

The win clinches the Wildcats a playoff berth and will likely put Piedmont in the third seed from District 4A-1.

“We need to take care of business next week against Cache,” Coach Craig Church said. “It’s shaping up that we’re going to be the third place team. There’s not much difference in the three teams we might play (in the playoffs). And our goal is to reach the second round.

“Today was exciting because of how our guys handled things. Their maturity was very impressive to our coaching staff. They dealt with things well. Now, we just have to continue to hope to improve and play our way into the second round of the playoffs.”

The Wildcats will host Cache next week in their final home game of the season. The game will also include Senior Night ceremonies for this year’s seniors.

Council votes to draft contract with Williams Foods

Mayor Valerie Thomerson and Williams Foods President Jeff Williams talked to each other following Thursday's city council meeting. The council voted to move forward on an agreement to pay the grocery store $1.9 million. (Photo by Ben Felder)

Mayor Valerie Thomerson threw her hands in the air and let out a big “yes” on Thursday after the city council concluded its meeting by taking a giant step closer to finalizing a deal with Williams Foods grocery store on payment of $1.9 million in incentives.

“I’m thrilled that we are moving forward towards a solution,” Thomerson said. “It was definitely a give and take, but we have an agreement.”

The council met in executive session during the meeting and invited Jeff Williams, owner of Williams Foods, to join them. After emerging from the executive session a motion was made to have the attorneys for the city and Williams draft an agreement that the council can approve at its next meeting. The council voted 5-0 in favor of the motion.

The city has a contract with Williams Foods to pay the grocery store $1.9 million in incentives. Details on how the money would be paid were not clearly stated in the contract and the issue had caused some division on the council and was a common theme during the April elections. The council did not provide any details about the agreement made in executive session but Williams said it will not involve a bond and will be a payment over time.

“The bond ended up being bad for the city,” Williams said. “With the fees, the interest rate is through the roof and it’s unsellable right now.”

Williams said both sides made compromises to reach an agreement in theory and his attorney will now draw up a contract according to the specifications agreed on in executive session and the council will approve it at its next meeting.

“I am excited to be at this point and I think it’s a great option for the city,” Williams said.

The word rebate was used by the mayor to describe the agreement and she said the city would not be at any risk.

“There will be no burden to the city,” Thomerson said. “It will be based on revenue out of the store and other details beyond that I would rather not say.”

The mayor and councilmen Wade Johnson, Hoss Cooley and former councilman Bill Sharp have all expressed concern over paying Williams, especially using bonds to do so. Sharp resigned from the council earlier this year and Jeff Davis was appointed to the vacant seat. However, all five current councilmen voted to move forward on the deal.

“I think the compromising spirit was actually shown when the council unanimously voted to move forward,” Thomerson said. “I was always concerned by how we were going to pay for it and that has been taken care of. Once the details of (this deal) come out…I think everyone will be pleased.”

Restaurant owner says establishment not cited in alcohol sting

Timber Lodge steak house on Northwest Expressway (File Photo)

Bobby Dennis, owner of Timber Lodge Steak House, said a report by the county sheriff’s office stating his restaurant was cited for failing an alcohol compliance check was incorrect, and in fact, his staff was praised by law enforcement officials for their knowledge of state liquor laws.

The Canadian County Sheriff’s office conducted alcohol compliance checks on 29 establishments as part of the Too Much To Lose program and Timber Lodge was listed as an establishment that had failed the check and was cited. However, Dennis called the Gazette and said his restaurant was not cited.

“What happened was one of our (servers) was cited because he didn’t look at the right date on the officer’s (identification),” Dennis said. “The restaurant was never cited. It was a simple mistake by our guy, and I feel bad for him.”

Dennis said undercover officers presented an ID with an expired date. The waiter reviewed the ID but did not see the expired date.

“He was looking at the wrong date,” Dennis said.

The officer was served alcohol and the worker was cited and let go. A law enforcement official with knowledge of the situation confirmed Dennis’ claim.

“Saying we were cited makes it look like we just serve alcohol to anyone and are serving to minors,” Dennis said. “But that’s not the case at all.”

Dennis also said an undercover officer with the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission was also present and asked a waiter for a happy hour drink, which is prohibited by state law. The waiter told the officer that it was illegal to serve happy hour drinks and cited a portion of the law.

“The (officer) actually said after that that we did a good job,” Dennis said.
Timber Lodge is located on Northwest Expressway south of Piedmont.

VIDEO: BancFirst opens in Piedmont

BancFirst held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday morning for its new branch inside Williams Foods grocery store. The bank officially opened last month.

Suit filed against city, seeks Davis’ removal from council

Jeff Davis, WArd 3 Councilman

Several citizens raised objections last month with the appointment of Jeff Davis to Piedmont city council and now many of those same citizens are taking their complaints to district court.

On Wednesday morning the city received a lawsuit filed by 15 individuals that named the city as a defendant. The suit, which was filed in United States District Court in Oklahoma’s Western District, alleges that Mayor Valerie Thomerson violated the constitutional rights of constituents and breached the city’s charter when she administered the oath of office to Davis.

In a Wednesday afternoon interview, Thomerson said she hadn’t completely reviewed the suit but was standing by her decision. She also reiterated that City Attorney Tom Ferguson advised her she was within her right to appoint Davis.

“We wanted to follow the letter of the charter and I think we have,” Thomerson said. “The only regret I might have is (administering) the oath prior to the meeting like I did…but I wanted to get this settled before we ran out of time.”

Davis said he plans to make an official statement on the lawsuit during Thursday’s city council meeting but said he has confidence in his standing as a member of the council.

“Everything was done under the city charter and is all legal, as far as I understand,” Davis told the Gazette in a phone interview Thursday morning. “I feel like I have done nothing wrong, and that the city has done nothing wrong. People can (file a lawsuit) for almost anything.”

Russel Mulinix is named as the plaintiffs’ attorney and originally sent a letter to the city on Oct. 4 requesting that Ferguson respond to the allegations that Davis was appointed illegally and requested that he be removed from his position on the council.

“The attempted appointment of Jeff Davis to the vacant (Ward 3) council seat is patently improper on multiple grounds,” Mulinix wrote in the letter. “At the Aug. 22, 2011, meeting the matter was plainly declared an ‘impasse’ after a vote of two for Davis and two abstentions. No action occurred at the Sept. 26, 2011, meeting to appoint Davis except the mayor’s ultra vires acts and statements that she had appointed (Davis) and unilaterally administered the oath to him on the previous Friday.”

The Gazette left a message with Mulinix on Thursday morning but had not yet received a response.

Vacant seat

The Ward 3 council seat was left vacant following the resignation of Bill Sharp. During the Aug. 22 meeting the council first voted to appoint Ron Cardwell to the vacant position but the four members tied and the mayor casted a “no” vote to break the tie.

A motion was then made to appoint Jeff Davis to the vacant seat. Councilmembers Wade Johnson and Hoss Cooley voted for Davis but Vernon Woods and Larry Gage cast abstaining votes. A debate followed on what an abstention vote means but the mayor eventually declared that she was breaking the tie with a vote for Davis. Davis was later administered as Ward 3 councilman three days before the council’s Sept. 26 meeting.

The lawsuit charges that the mayor cannot take part in the appointment of a council member and that an abstaining vote should not be used in determining whether a particular item passed or failed.
Since his appointment, “Davis unlawfully participated in the meeting,” the lawsuit said. “The Charter expressly reserves to the councilmembers, not the mayor, the power to vote on and appoint a new councilmember when there is a vacancy in a council seat.”

Votes by Davis

Some have argued that any votes taken with Davis as a member of the council are in jeopardy and at least one councilman has warned others about doing business with the city while Davis in voting.

In a letter to Piedmont Public Schools Superintendent James White, Woods said the district should be aware that as it seeks to partner with the city on a sewer line any vote from Davis would jeopardize the agreement’s legality.

“The purpose of this letter is to ensure that you are aware of a potential legal action which may be filed against the city of Piedmont in regard to the installation of Jeff Davis as Ward 3 Council Member at the Sept. 26 meeting,” Woods wrote in the letter dated Oct. 25. “If this action is taken and is successful, it is possible that Davis will be removed from that position by court order.  It may also be determined that any council votes previously cast by Davis could be nullified, thereby possibly reversing the outcome of any decision making process in which he participated.”

Constitutional violations

The lawsuit states that the city will have 21 days to respond to the plaintiffs’ complaint. The suit charges the city with three counts of violating the U.S. Constitution and requests a judgment to remove Davis from the council and allow the remaining council members to fill the vacancy.
Named as plaintiffs in the suit are William Long, Brad Waller, John Simpson, Ron Hau, Donya Hau, John Bell, Mary Bell, Rus Nation, Carol Nation, Lauren Boatman, James Wimmer, Terry Wimmer, Ron Cardwell, Jacci Cardwell and Mark Simpson.

Piedmont resident buys winning lotto ticket

Daryl Gates

Piedmont resident Daryl Gates walked out of Jiffy Trip $1,000 richer after recently winning the Oklahoma Lottery’s Get Inked scratcher game. Gates told lottery officials he plans to use his winning to purchase a new cell phone.

Piedmont drops in district standing after Bishop McGuinness loss

Piedmont lost to Bishop McGuinness, 42-7, on Friday night and fell out of second place in the district standings. (Photo by Greg Evans)

Piedmont couldn’t quite get things going on the offensive side of the ball Friday night, and fell to Bishop McGuinness 42-7. The loss dropped the Wildcats to 4-4 on the season and added some pressure in securing a playoff berth with a 3-2 record in districts.

Piedmont got off to a, seemingly, strong start on its opening drive as Cassius Calhoun was able to find some running room before the drive stalled around midfield. The Wildcat defense stood out through out the game, despite the final score. Darrius Burriss was a near constant thorn in the side of the Fighting Irish quarterback.

Momentum started to swing in favor of McGuinness late in the first quarter, when the Wildcats were pinned at its own one-yard line following a stellar punt. The Wildcats were forced to punt three plays later, and the Irish turned that into a long touchdown run. A Collin Bricker interception on the following drive set up another McGuinness rushing touchdown and the Wildcats quickly found themselves down two scores in the first quarter.
After finding running room early, Piedmont couldn’t get any traction in the second quarter. Piedmont was also plagued by some passing woes with just one completed pass in the first quarter. The Wildcats wouldn’t complete its second catch until there was 9:17 left in the second quarter.

A chance to comeback presented itself when Piedmont had, what appeared to be, a turnover off a Bichop McGuinness fumble during a quarterback handoff. However, the fumble was overturned when a referee said it was an incomplete pass. The Wildcats would be victims of another overturned fumble later in the game.

McGuinness was held scoreless in the second quarter, but tacked on another two scores in the third quarter. Piedmont found itself on the wrong side of another interception.

The Wildcats finally got on the board with 9:39 left in the final quarter on a Bricker dive. Hunter Kirton would recover a fumble on the ensuing Irish drive, but Calhoun would fumble on the next drive and Bishop McGuinness tacked on a pair of extra touchdowns as time ran down to bring the score to 42-7.

Bricker finished with 59 yards on 8 of 32 passing with three interceptions and gained 60 yards on 11 rushes and scored the Wildcats only touchdown. Calhoun ran 25 times for 88 yards. Steffan Funkhouser rushed once for 12 yards. Funkhouser had three receptions for 28 yards. Dylan Broyles had three receptions for 23 yards, Christian Foster had one catch for three yards and Austin Ray hauled in one pass for five yards.

“We have to get this off our minds quick,” Burriss said. “We have to focus on the next game. I’m really at a loss for words right now; we need to find out who we are and focus.”

“Our defense played well tonight, but the offense put them in some bad spots,” Coach Craig Church said. “We lost the field position battle early, and that is tough to recover from. (McGuinness) is a good physical team. Defensively, we played them well early but they just got worn down. We need to string together drives on offense, to give our defensive guys a little time to rest, but we couldn’t do that (on Friday).

“Now, we need to press reset. Our next two games will decide our postseason fate. We can’t overlook these two teams. Hopefully, having two home games to close out the season will give us a little upward momentum heading into the post season.”

McGuinness improved to 5-2 with the win and took sole possession of second place in district 4A-1.

School board seat up for reelection, file period in Dec.

Piedmont School Board ward map

Residents in the district represented by school board seat No. 2 may file to run as a candidate for the Piedmont Public School District Board of Education between Dec. 5 and Dec. 7 at the Canadian County Election Board during the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Candidates for the seat will have to be residents of the specific ward but the election will be open to all district voters on Feb. 14, 2012. If necessary, a runoff election will be held on April 3, 2012.

Piedmont’s wrestling room gets a face lift

The wrestling locker room was redone as part of Daniel Brown’s Eagle Scout Project.

Between an Eagle Scout project and some general renovations, Piedmont’s wrestling room will seem like an entirely different place this year. Over the past few months, work has been done to make the room a more appealing space for Piedmont’s wrestlers.

“It’s definitely a work in progress,” Coach Erik Ford said. “Daniel Brown has redone our locker room for his Eagle Scout project. It looks like a real locker room, and not just a room with a bunch of lockers in it. The kids really enjoy it. The seats are padded and each locker has a lock on it.”

The new look locker room is blue and white. Each wrestler has his own locker, which is underneath a seat. There are still a few minor things that need to be completed, but the room is basically finished.

If Brown receives his Eagle Scout for the project, then this year’s Piedmont wrestling team will have three Eagle Scouts.

“Our biggest project has been putting down new wood floor all across the main room,” Ford said. “We had to clean up underneath the old floor and we’ve re-tiled everything. Having tile, rather than carpet, is so much better. Carpet is hard to keep clean. We’ve also added about five feet of mat space, due to taking out a retaining wall.”

Ford said that because of the work parents and kids have done, the entire wrestling surface is now flat. There are also two newer mats out on the floor.

“We had kids, parents and coaches working and we all take great pride in this room,” Ford said.

The wrestlers have also posted Piedmont state champions, runners-up, placers and all state wrestlers on one of the walls. Ford said having the names on the wall keeps kids grounded and reminds them where they want to go. He added that a little arrogance never hurt anybody.

“We hope to be done with everything by the end of football season,” Ford said. “We’ve had five or six work days, and we’ve been lucky that the school has backed us. We brought the labor and the school got supplies. It was something that had to be done.”

The wrestlers started practice on Oct. 3. Ford says they are working on a lot of technique right now, rather than mostly wrestling. He hopes this will help get the kids in shape for their first pre-season tournament on Saturday, Nov. 5, at Putnam City West.

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