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Archive for: October 2012

Elgin edges Wildcats in final seconds

By Greg Evans

Late mistakes and a controversial final play will haunt Piedmont this offseason after the Wildcats fell to the Elgin Owls 38-35 on Friday night.

Elgin marched down the field in the waning seconds and snuck a ball through the uprights to go ahead 38-35. The Owls kicked a short onside kick after the go ahead field goal. The ball appeared to be touched before it traveled the required 10 yards.

“It was a blown call,” Coach Craig Church said immediately after the game. “Clear and simple. The ball didn’t travel the required 10 yards. The kid touched it before it had traveled.”

The onside recovery ended the Wildcats’ playoff aspirations but Piedmont never quite looked like themselves against Elgin.

On their first drive, Piedmont was able to get two first downs in its first two plays. The Wildcats marched down into the redzone but turned the ball over on downs. Elgin, usually known for its more passing oriented attack, came out wanting to run the ball and their first drive showed it. The Owls dashed down the right side of the field to get into scoring position and then scored from five yards out to take an early lead. Read more →

Piedmont McDonald’s to openTuesday morning

McDonald’s spokesperson Kate Brennan announced Monday that the new McDonald’s on Piedmont Road and the Northwest Expressway will open its doors at 5 a.m., Tuesday, Oct.23.

Big defensive effort not enough to pull Piedmont past Anadarko

Trevor Gianfillipo steps in front of an Anadarko receiver to pick off a pass late in Thursday night’s game.

By Greg Evans

On a night where Piedmont’s defense kept one of the most potent offenses in check, the Wildcat offense couldn’t get the breaks it needed to pull off a major upset. Anadarko beat Piedmont 42-3 on Thursday.

Jared Brown recovered an Anadarko fumble a minute and a half into the game and Piedmont found itself on the right side of the 50 yard line. Brett Adams and Christian Foster connected for an early first down. A couple plays later, the Wildcats found themselves in the red zone following a 20-yard rush by Darrius Burris and a facemask penalty by the Warriors. Piedmont got to third and one at the goal line but a false start penalty pushed Piedmont back. The penalty forced a Piedmont pass and an Anadarko defender stepped in front of the intended receiver to pick off the pass. The defender ran the length of the football field for a score. The Warrior extra point was blocked.

Piedmont went three-and-out on their next possession, forcing a punt. A short punt resulted in great field position for Anadarko but the Wildcat defense would strike again. With just under five minutes left in the first quarter, Piedmont forced and recovered another fumble. Adams was able to find Foster and Steffen Funkhouser to keep the chains moving for the Wildcats. Facing a third and 10 at the Anadarko 15, a pass fell incomplete and Butch Hampton got Piedmont on the board with a field goal. At the end of the first quarter, Anadarko lead 6-3.

Following the Wildcat field goal, Anadarko marched down the field and scored from six yards out. With a two point conversion, the Warriors lead 14-3.

Piedmont’s next possession showed the Wildcats could move the ball on the ground against the Warriors but they couldn’t convert on third down and were forced to punt. Anadarko got the ball inside their own 20. A Blane Culp sack and some big plays by the Wildcat secondary forced a fourth and two for Anadarko. The Warriors pulled a trick out of the bag with a fake punt and ran it for 20 yards.

Thanks to some penalties and sure tackling by Piedmont, Anadarko found itself in a fourth and 12. The Warriors ran the same fake punt play to convert for the first down. Anadarko scored on a 32-yard run the very next play.

Piedmont’s next drive saw the Wildcats moving the ball again but back-to-back sacks of Adams put a first down well out of reach. Piedmont was forced to punt and Anadarko wanted a bigger lead before the half. They would get just that on a 27-yard quarterback scramble with no time left on the clock to lead Piedmont 28-3 at the break.

The Wildcat defense held on strong in the third quarter, holding Anadarko scoreless. Culp added his second sack of the game.
Piedmont started the fourth quarter off much like it started the game, with a forced turnover. Only this time it was Trevor Gianfillipo picking off a Warrior pass in the red zone. The Wildcat offense against struggled to find traction and, following a Piedmont punt, Anadarko was able to score another touchdown on the ground. The Warriors tacked on one more score with under six minutes remaining.

“Our defense played great,” Coach Craig Church. “Anadarko has a really good offense. That’s a big deal. We created turnovers and played really well. Our offense played well at times but had some mistakes. Anadarko has great athletes and they will take advantages of mistakes.

“I’m proud of (the defense). The score is not indicative of the game that was played. It was a short week. The guys came out and played with intensity. Would we like the score to be different? Yes. However, we learned that our team competes no matter what.”

Following the loss, Piedmont fell to 2-3 in district play.

“It’s a 10 day season,” Church said. “The next two games decide the future. If we beat Elgin and Weatherford, then we have a chance at the playoffs.”

Piedmont man uses art and business degree to run the local AllStar Screen and Printing

By Jessica Jackson
USAO Sports Information Director

Albert Loveless, Jr., may have been the epitome of an interdisciplinary studies student at USAO in the mid-1990s.

Loveless, an art student turned athlete, ran cross country for the Drovers in 1994, competing both seasons of the sport.

Now, using his art degree and a business sense, Loveless is the owner and operator of AllStar Screen Printing in Piedmont.

“I decided to start my own business and I didn’t think it would last more than a couple of months,” Loveless joked. “But almost 10 years later, I’m still going at it, and it’s growing every year.”

Loveless is one of nine former athletes to be honored at the 40th Anniversary of Athletics, scheduled on USAO’s campus Nov. 1-3.

The weekend full of events is open to all former students, athletes, coaches and all fans.
Registration for the 40th Anniversary is open through Oct. 18.

A full schedule and registration can be found on USAO’s sports website, usao.edu/sports.
Starting AllStar shortly after the birth of his children in 2005, Loveless had enough extra cash to pay himself for just three months.

The company now supports more than 400 clients, from large corporations to non-profit entities to community groups.

Originally from Marlow, Loveless was looking for a place to further cultivate his art and found the community he was looking for at USAO.

“The teachers, they were just very interested in what I was doing and would sit down with me and talk to me,” he said. “And that was really cool. I felt at home there.”

Loveless remembers his first day, standing in the hallway sizing up the competition with the other freshman art students.

“We were all kind of looking at each other wondering who was the best one here, and I just said, ‘that would be me,’” Loveless said, laughing.

A former cross country runner, Loveless was asked to join the squad when USAO took on the new sport.

But having taken nearly two years off, he didn’t realize quite was he was getting into.
In a race at Oklahoma Christian, Loveless and his teammates had prepared to run a five-kilometer race, or 3.1 miles.

It wasn’t until he was halfway through the race that he found out with was actually going to be twice the distance, Loveless remembered fondly.

“After the race was over I realized just how old a 22 year old could feel,” he said.
“My muscles began to tighten up so I whipped out the Icy Hot. A few minutes later one of the younger runners, 18 year olds, were asking who was using Icy Hot.
When I said it was me, one of them said, ‘oh it’s the old guy.’ It made me chuckle. I was 22 and considered old.”

Loveless graduated with his art degree in August of 1997.

Still, 15 years later, he remembers things he learned in the classroom every day.
“Even to this day, when I am doing art, I hear Hollis Howard or Kent Lamar say something,” he said. “When I hear them in my head, I just kind of laugh.”

Lamar remembers Loveless as a hard-working student, always with a smile on his face.
“Albert always had a good attitude. He wanted to do well,” Lamar said. “He tried hard. He was pleasant. Always happy — even when I ticked him off. He just liked being part of the group and participating in art club.”

Loveless learned the screen-printing trade working for Star Trophy in Chickasha while he was in college. After graduation, he worked at a couple different screen-printing companies before moving to what he described as a “desk job.”

“I soon realized that I missed screen-printing,” he said. “I started saving my bonus money and bought my first press with cash from an advertisement on Craigslist in 2004.”

The birth of his twins, Sian and Nathaniel, now six years old, encouraged Loveless to make a business out of it.

Loveless now attends art shows on occasion and even is raising another generation of potential USAO artists.

“My little girl is an artist. She won an award in a local show,” he said proudly.
Loveless and his wife, Sara, live in Piedmont with their children.

He is a deacon at Soldier Creek Church of Christ, and forever an athlete, both he and his wife are both six months away from earning their First Degree Black Belts.

While as a Drover, Loveless had visions of attending art shows every weekend and seeing his art hanging up in galleries, he doesn’t regret where his life has taken him.

“It is what it is. I still do art — just on T-shirts. My work is displayed quite a bit. Everywhere I go, someone is wearing my own design,” he said.

“I’m perfectly happy with what I have. I have a great wife who supports me and two great kids, and we’re living so we’re good.”

Mayor Valerie Thomerson featured in Real Simple magazine

By Roger Pugh

Piedmont Mayor Valerie Thomerson is featured in a spread in the upcoming November issue of the two-plus million circulation Real Simple Magazine.

Thomerson is one of four women mayors of small U.S. cities writer Liz Welch covers in the eight page spread.

The start of Thomerson’s story and her one and one-half page photo leads off the entire spread, entitled, “She Runs This Town.”

In her article on Thomerson, Welch focuses on what the Piedmont mayor faced in dealing with the May 2011 tornado which ravaged Piedmont and brought national attention to the city.

Thomerson cited the coming together of the local churches, other local organizations and individuals to help their neighbors in need during the crisis.

She also detailed the work involved in obtaining federal funding to deal with the disaster and the effort to coordinate volunteers to aid victims.

The story said Thomerson is thrilled to see Piedmont coming back after the devastation.
She is quoted as saying “The hum of construction is music to my ears. And seeing the generosity of humanity has been a life lesson. It takes my breath away.”

The article also details what led her to run for mayor and what she faces as a female mayor of a small community.

The mayors of Gar, Ind. (pop. 80,294), Perth Amboy, N.J. (pop. 51,000), and Burnsville, Minn. (pop. 60,000) are also featured in the spread.The photo for Thomerson was taken by photographer Rob Howard who traveled to each featured mayor’s respective city to photograph each mayor. Thomerson was photographed standing in the forefront of the lake in the Falcon Lake addition, an area hard-hit by the May 2011 tornado.

“When the magazine called, I at first thought someone was kidding me about wanting to do an article for a national magazine,” Thomerson said.

Real Simple, with a circulation of 2.03 million, is the 32nd largest circulation magazine in the U.S. It ranks just behind 31st ranked Martha Stewart Living Magazine, according to figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulation.

Could possible labor pool shortage slow Piedmont’s economic growth?

Roger Pugh

Is there a possibility a lack of a sufficient labor pool could hamper Piedmont and the surrounding area from attracting a steady string of new businesses?

Some new and existing local businesses say they are having difficulty finding enough quality workers.

For example, McDonalds, which is set to soon open on Piedmont Road near the Northwest Highway, needs to staff some 50 positions at the new facility. However, as of last week, after a heavy recruiting effort, only seven people have turned in applications.
Of those, two were under McDonald’s minimum hiring age of 16.

“We are disappointed that so far we have not been able to hire local people,” said McDonalds spokesperson Kate Brennan.

“We thought for sure we would have more high school students apply,” Brennan said.
She noted the store has worked with the high school, utilized Facebook and other social media, and has heavily advertised for help in local publications in an effort to hire local people.

However, her family owns a number of McDonalds stores in the Oklahoma City area, and she said they will bring in people from the other stores to work in the new Piedmont location if not enough local workers can be found.

She said the family just opened a new store at S.W. 104th and May and that store started getting applicants the moment the familiar McDonalds signs and arches came up. She also said the family store at Northwest Highway and Council gets a steady stream of applicants.

Troy Strickland, who with his wife Summer, owns the Subway Deli stores in Piedmont and Surrey Hills, echoed Brennan’s disappointment in finding enough workers.

“It has been incredibly hard to find enough good help,” Strickland said.
He said he is at least three people short at the Piedmont location and one person short at his Surrey Hills store.

Another problem he faces at his local sites is that those who do apply can’t work at certain times. He said he is often very shorthanded during the day.

Strickland also owns Subway stores in the Yukon area, and he said all of those locations attract a steady stream of applicants.

Jon Smith, owner of Piedmont Pharmacy and Gifts said when he does need help, finding quality full-time help is often a problem. He said high school age applicants regularly turn in applications for part-time jobs at his store, but full-time applications are scarce.

“Quality full-time workers are hard to find,” Smith noted.

City Stop’s Carmene Redus said that store is presently well staffed.

However, she said although it is sometimes not hard to find someone to fill a vacant position, it is more difficult at other times to fill vacancies.

“It depends on when the need to fill a spot arises, and at times it is harder to find someone,” she said.

Mac Thompson, who opened and owned Mac-T’s Restaurant for many years in Piedmont, said at the time he closed his restaurant, that finding and keeping quality workers was a factor in closing his regionally famous and always busy eatery.

“If I could have found enough of the right help,” I probably would have kept going a lot longer,” Thompson said at the time.

Lisa Gistad, Executive Director of the Piedmont Chamber of Commerce, said she has heard from at least some Piedmont businesses that they find it difficult to locate adequate help.

Pay may not be the issue in finding enough local workers.

Both Brennan and Strickland said their stores pay above minimum wage to start. Brennan also cited the many opportunities for McDonalds workers to advance. Many other employers interviewed also indicated they start at above minimum wage.

Some interviewed thought that the overall affluence of local residents might play a part in keeping the available labor pool down. Piedmont is constantly ranked among the wealthiest communities in Oklahoma.

“There are not a lot of businesses here to take employees, so affluence may be a factor,” Strickland said. “We just don’t have as many needing part-time work,” he added.
“We knew it would be tougher here because of the population mix,” Brennan of McDonalds said.

Brennan indicated that although more area high school students might not need to work, her store has openings for both part-time and full-time workers in all positions, and at all hours. She said McDonalds also offers flexible hours and works with college students to set work hours around the classroom schedule. For high school students, they can work a couple of days from 3 or 4 p.m.. during the week and pull a weekend shift. She said older or retired workers and housewives can also find convenient hours.

Oklahoma City woman loses control of vehicle, rolls it twice on the Northwest Expressway

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
Okarche firefighters and paramedics work to get Rosa Pratts, 52, Oklahoma City, out of her vehicle. Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper No. 861, Tom Barton, said his initial ruling to the cause of the accident was, Pratts was driving westbound down the Northwest Expressway at about 3:15 p.m., about three miles east of the Okarche town limits. (Information has been amended since the original report) 


Early turnovers doom Wildcats

By Greg Evans

Against teams like Clinton, even the smallest mistakes are amplified. Piedmont committed two big mistakes early in the game and dropped a 49-7 decision to the Red Tornadoes.

Piedmont’s night started off poorly when a Brett Adams pass intercepted off a tip on the first offensive play of the game. Clinton was able to march right down the field and take an early 7-0 lead.

Later in the first, an Adams pass was picked off deep in Clinton territory that lead to another scoring drive. Piedmont found themselves down 14-0 after the first quarter and the hole only got bigger for the Wildcats.

Clinton scored from 38 yards out on a pass and then, on the Wildcats next drive, intercepted Adams again. Two minutes later, the Red Tornadoes found pay dirt again. Clinton would score two more times before the break, while the Wildcats managed just one first down.
Clinton got their final two touchdowns of the night on a 7-yard scoring run and a 23-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter before the Red Tornadoes started running down the clock.

Blakely Liebmann was able to finally get Piedmont on the board with a 1-yard touchdown run with four minutes left in the game. The scoring drive was helped out by a long reception by Christian Foster, which put the Wildcats in the redzone.

“Obviously, you can get away with mistakes like this against lesser opponents but you can’t have mistakes like this against a team as talented as Clinton,” Coach Craig Church said. “You take out those mistakes and I feel we could play with this team. As a staff, we have to do better to prepare our guys. We have to be more creative because it’s difficult to replicate speed like (Clinton has). The (passing) windows have gotten tighter. Clinton does a great job, they have great coaches. We have the same challenge next week, big league speed.

“We have to push this one out and go on. It’s a short week this week. We place (Anadarko) on Thursday. We can’t dwell on this. As soon as we got off the bus (Friday night), we have to get this behind us.”

Local chiropractic assistant completes advanced training

Greg Evans/Gazette
Amanda Treece of Piedmont Chiropractic completed advanced training qualification as a chiropractic assistant.
She attended Integrity Management School for Chiropractic Assistants.

The Pride of Piedmont sweeps finals in Mustang

By Greg Evans

The Pride of Piedmont Marching Band traveled to Mustang last weekend for the Mustang Nightrider Invitational Marching Festival and again swept the finals awards.

The Pride’s finals score was 76.95 and the band took the Outstanding Music, Outstanding Visual and Outstanding General Effect captions.

Greg Evans/Gazette
The Pride of Piedmont marching band traveled to Mustang last weekend to the Mustang Nightriders Invitational Marching Festival and swept the finals awards.

Rounding out the top five at the festival were Westmoore (69.55), Moore (67.45), Tulsa Memorial (67) and Putnam City (66.10). Piedmont competed Class A at the contest and the next closest Class A school was Ada at No. 7.

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