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Archive for: January 2013

Oil spill reroutes Piedmont motorists

By Matt Montgomery

The Piedmont Police Department was notified last Sunday evening that a John Deere tractor had leaked what appeared to be hydraulic fluid down a three-quarter mile stretch of Piedmont Road ending near Apache Road. Police directed traffic west and eastbound down Apache while a hazardous materials crew and the Piedmont Fire Department used a drying material to dry the roadway and make it safe for travel.

Piedmont Police Chief Alex Oblein said a Piedmont Police Officer initially saw a vehicle sliding awkwardly down the road, and at about that same time the police department received a call about the situation.

“We initially responded and called the fire department because it was more of a haz-mat deal,” Oblein said. “It wasn’t really a criminal matter because there hadn’t been an accident yet and there probably would have been if we didn’t get the road blocked off.”

He said the fire department called the hazardous materials crew to assist them in the clean up.

Oblein said his officers eventually found the tractor in a field, off of the roadway.
“My understanding was the spill went on anywhere from half to three-quarters of a mile,” he said. “It pretty much covered the whole road.” Read more →

Road repairs drive $6 million bond issue

By Matt Montgomery

If Piedmont voters go to the booths April 2 and vote yes for the road improvement ballot, they will have signed off to an immediate repair to Washington Ave. from Piedmont Road to Candice and a 13 percent increase in property taxes, which equals an extra $22 a month for a house valued at $165,000, according to bond advisor Rick Smith of Municipal Financial Services.

A decision came from the special meeting held Monday by the Piedmont City Council to move forward with a bond proposal to be comprised by Smith and voted on at the council’s next scheduled meeting, Jan. 28.

If the council approves the April 2 election, the ballot will be split into two ballots, one for the road repairs and one for Larry Gage’s Ward 1 City Council seat.

Not every voting location will have a ballot for the Ward 1 seat, but all Piedmont voting locations will have ballots for the General Obligation bond.

If the bond were passed, it would be divided into two separate amounts of $3 million for 2013 and $3 million for 2014 and would be given 10 years to pay off.

The City of Piedmont has never had a G.O. Bond in its history and only requires a simple majority vote, not a majority approval rate like a school bond requires.

Even though Washington/164th Street is the desired street to repair first, there are other streets listed in the bond proposal to be fixed as well. Read more →

School nurse urges vaccinations, gives tips to avoid catching the flu

By Matt Montgomery

With the flu virus spreading through the air of most of America and infiltrating the schools, making kids sick, even causing death in one case in Texas recently, Piedmont Schools Nurse Ashley Buckner, RN, BSN, said she recommends that all Piedmont students be vaccinated with the flu vaccine.

Of course, she said good hand washing will help prevent transfer of the virus, but most importantly she said to keep a sick child at home and not take them to school.

“If your child is sick, they need to stay home,” Buckner said. “They need to be fever free for 24 hours and they need to stay home, which I know is hard.”

Some people believe that once a person is administered the flu vaccine,  that they will feel sick at first, and Buckner said that just isn’t the case.

“It (the vaccine) is not a live virus so it should not give you any signs of symptoms of the illness,” she said. “But, I know, many people report that it does.”

She said throughout the Piedmont School District she is aware that several students have tested positive for the flu but isn’t certain which schools they came from or when they contracted the virus.

“I don’t think it’s anywhere isolated,” she said. “I’m pretty sure it’s been scattered throughout the district.”

Combating the virus is a big priority for Piedmont’s only school nurse, so she said the district has increased the amount of available hand sanitizer in every classroom and the amount of hand soaps as well.

“We have really talked to people about washing their hands,” Buckner said. “And, we’ve really cracked down on sending kids home. If they are sick then we are sending them home and we really enforce the 24-hour rule.”

She said a student who has a temperature above 100 degrees will be sent home from school.

Overall, Buckner can’t stress enough the importance of being vaccinated for the flu virus and repetitive hand washing. She said it is her goal to try to educate the public about the flu and to try to keep kids feeling well in Piedmont schools.

Wildcats clench dual state berth

By Greg Evans

For the first time in the history of the program, the Wildcat wrestlers will be making an appearance at dual state. Piedmont qualified for dual state by virtue of beating Cushing, Mannford and Tecumseh on Tuesday night in Mannford. Dual state will be held at Cushing on Friday, Feb. 8.

“We wrestled really well,” Coach Erik Ford said. “Well, that is an understatement. The guys were pretty incredible. They went out and laid it on the line and it worked out for them. It was fun, that’s for sure. It was a lot of fun.”

The Wildcats drew Cushing for the first dual at district. The Tigers came into the district duals with a No. 3 ranking.

The dual started with Jesse Lopez (106 pounds) beating Blake Burden by decision to give the Wildcats an early 3-0 lead. Michael Lopez lost a close 6-2 decision to Daniel Hood in the 113 lbs. match but that match gave Ford a lot of confidence.

“We knew we had to go wrestle our best,” Ford said. “We draw weight and 106 was drawn. That the normal weight you want to start with. If we start at 106, we have a chance because of the momentum we get from those guys. We started off with a win and then Michael Lopez had to wrestle a defending state champion. At that point, you’re out there doing a job for your team and your job becomes not to win but to keep the score down and keep them from scoring any bonus points. He last 6-2 to a returning state champion, so we were 3-3 after our first two matches. On paper and in my head, I had us down 6-3 but when Michael did that, I knew our kids were there to fight.” Read more →

Wildcats crush El Reno

By Greg Evans

Piedmont got a crucial 62-10 Suburban Conference Dual victory over El Reno on Tuesday night. The win put the Wildcats in the drivers seat for an appearance in the Suburban Conference Dual championship.

Piedmont got off to a 28-0 start thanks to forfeit wins by Steven Sharp (106 pounds) and Michael Lopez (120 lbs.), Jesse Lopez (113 lbs.) and Coulton Parker (126 lbs.) added falls and Alex Cardenas (132 lbs.) won 11-3.

Reece Henry lost a 6-4 overtime decision to give El Reno their first points of the dual.

Francisco Lopez (145 lbs.) and Shelby Miller (152 lbs.) won with back-to-back falls. Blane Culp extended Piedmont’s lead to 44-3 with a 15-5 victory at 160 lbs. Jesse Coleman (170 lbs.) and Dryden Abla (182 lbs.) both won by forfeit.

Brody Largent (195 lbs.) lost a 4-1 decision and Kaleb Richter (220 lbs.) dropped a 12-3 match.
Matt Wyatt (heavyweight) won by fall to give Piedmont their final score.

“We fired off pretty well (on Tuesday),” Cardenas said. “It was a good start.”

The win puts Piedmont in a position the program in a unique position.

“This was a good win for us,” Ford said. “We have a chance to get to the Suburban Conference Championship now. We host Guthrie on Jan. 24 for our opportunity to go. It’s a big step for our program. We have never been in this position. We are in the driver’s seat for a Suburban Conference title.

“Matt did a great job tonight. He has been working really hard. To see his improvement from the Yukon dual to now, it’s tremendous. He is just a sophomore. It’ll be fun to watch him in the years to come.”

The team travels to Mannford next Tuesday for the District Duals. The duals start at 5 p.m.

Fire at cluttered Piedmont home puts firefighters at risk

By Matt Montgomery

News Editor

A once cluttered Piedmont home on Azaela Court posed a great risk for Oklahoma City fire fighters at about 10:58 p.m., Dec. 29 as they worked tirelessly for an hour and 20 minutes to extinguish the fire, but the fire eventually was uncontrollable and the house burned to the ground.

Photos from the scene indicate that the house was a total loss. In fact, Oklahoma City Deputy Fire Chief Marc Woodard told The Gazette that he had to order his men to not go into the home and take a more defensive approach by battling the blaze from the exterior in.

“We started approaching the fire from an offensive mode,” Woodard said. “We just could hardly make our way in there due to all of the personal belongings so we had to evacuate our personnel out, kind of fight it defensively and then go back in. We would have been there for several days trying to make sure it was fully extinguished.”

Woodard said it concerns him when civilians who live in those (living conditions) and when firefighters have to go in and make a rescue, it becomes very dangerous to the fireman. “This concerns also the safety of our personnel.”

He said an unnamed occupant lived in the home, but wasn’t there at the time of the fire. However, he said the homeowner retuned an hour later with a track hoe and took what was left of the home and put that in the swimming pool in the backyard.

He said the occupant was lucky he wasn’t in the home due to how unstable the home had become as the fire grew. Woodard said the ceiling could have collapsed on the firefighters at any time, so the Oklahoma City Fire Department and Piedmont Fire Department were forced to fight the blaze from the exterior in.

“Just trying to maneuver and get in to make a rescue and things like that make it very difficult,” he said. “When we have one like that, we have no choice but to go into defensive mode until we can keep the fire under control.”

The original cause to the fire is still under investigation by the Oklahoma City Fire Department.

Watch for updates.


Editor’s Note:

Azaela Court is technically in Oklahoma City and one mile outside of Piedmont city limits. Both Piedmont and Oklahoma City fire crews worked to extinguish this fire.

Wildcats notch double digit victory over Deer Creek

Piedmont completed the sweep of rival Deer Creek on Thursday. Three Wildcats scored in double figures as Piedmont won 67-57.

Look for the full story in next week’s Piedmont-Surrey Gazette.

Piedmont drops a close one to Lady Antlers

Another game, another narrow loss by the Lady Wildcats. Deer Creek lead from the first bucket to the final buzzer as the Lady Antlers downed Piedmont 53-49.

Look for the full story in next week’s Piedmont-Surrey Gazette.

Time for a new year

Project Manager Peter Hayes, center, put the final touches on The Old Store’s Clock at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 2. Heather Giggers, left, and Joyce Leach, right, run The Old Store.

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