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Archive for: February 2014

Council repairs roads one-at-a-time

By Matt Montgomery

After the General Obligation Bond issue didn’t pass last April, the City of Piedmont has been busy repairing small sections of road about every week, across town.

Piedmont City Councilman Bobby Williamson said the city has been laying down gravel on some stretches of 234th in his ward (Ward 4).

“Every day, weather providing, we are filling in pot holes and grating,” he said. “I know a lot of that is going on out in mine and Donnie’s ward (Ward 5) as well as Gleichmann’s (Ward 3).”

Williamson said the city council promised the city a mile of road repairs per year and is prepared to stand by that promise.

Williamson said 164th Street, both east and west of Piedmont Road is one of the bigger projections slated this next year. He said that project should be wrapped up sometime around this coming spring.

“The city promised it when the bond was up last year,” he said. “Then when the bond failed, we still plan on fulfilling our commitment to take care of 164th.”

Some of the project will be maintenance near Piedmont Intermediate, with relation to the shoulders of the road.

“What we’re doing now is kind of multi-tasked, where as last year we were barely running gravel and just filling pot holes,” he said. “Now we have our grater going. We’ve got a truck spreading gravel, then we have our chip seal going on and we’re also completing our negotiations with Oklahoma City to complete 164th.”

Piedmont City Councilman Donnie Robinson said he felt like the Road Bond issue was rushed through. Robinson said he felt like if the bond issue last April would have been prepared a little better, it might have had more success passing by the voters.

“I think it was done in too rushed of a time,” Robinson said. “The first one that you put out there is always a tough one. That was the first bond issue that the City has ever put out there for roads. I think the City learned a lot from it. It was kind of an educational process, also. We need to step back and take a look and see how the cities do it, that are experienced at doing it, and getting input from them.”

City Councilman Al Gleichmann said the city has been fixing roads in his ward all the time as well. He said for residents to call him if they see a particular road that needs to be fixed or call him with general questions about his ward.

“I want people to give me opinions,” he said. “That way, you can find out what the people really want out there. If somebody lets me know about a road or if I discover a road then I get a hold of Jim (Crosby) and see what we can do about it.”

Al Gleichmann

Donnie Robinson

Bobby Williamson

Gleichmann can be reached at 373-2018.

Wildcat wrestling prepares for regional tournament

Photo Provided by Julia Henry
Piedmont’s Juan Guerrero battles for control during his match with Cardinals wrestler Keenah Priddy in the 220 pound weight class Saturday morning at Yukon High School during the Dual State wrestling tournament. Piedmont will be at the regional tournament this weekend in Del City.

By Evan Grice


This weekend, it truly is do or die for the Piedmont wrestlers.

With the regional tournament comes a golden opportunity for Wildcats to make a dream come true by making it to the state wrestling tournament, it also brings the possibility of what might have been.

Matches will begin Friday morning at Del City High School, with a deep field and tough competition expected in every weight class. Read more →

Piedmont wrestling gets slammed at Dual state

Photo Provided by Julia Henry
Piedmont’s Francisco Lopez looks to hook the leg of Collinsville’s Wyatt Jordan during a match at Dual State this past weekend at Yukon High School.

By Evan Grice


Sometimes, the odds are just too much to overcome.

This was something the Piedmont wrestling team found out the hard way Saturday morning in the quarterfinals of Dual State against the three-time defending champion Collinsville Cardinals.

After taking a brief 6-3 over the champions, CHS stormed back to win 11 straight matches and eventually extinguish any hopes of an upset with a commanding 54-6 victory.

Collinsville would eventually hold off Lawton MacArthur for the dual state championship. Read more →

Piedmont sweeps Western Heights on the road

Evan Grice/Gazette
Piedmont’s Bre Reid races towards the basket during a fast break attempt in the first quarter while Lady Jets player Satori Adams looks to try and make a defensive stop on the play. Piedmont would eventually go on to get their second straight victory over the Lady Jets in as many days with a convincing 65-38 victory. PHS will be at home Friday night for Senior Night wth tiip-off set for 6:30 p.m.

By Evan Grice


While playing the same opponent twice in one week could prove to be a problem for most teams, it was just the opposite for the Piedmont basketball teams last Friday night on the campus of Western Heights High School.

Playing Western Heights for the second time in as many days, the No. 7 Lady Wildcats recorded their seventh straight victory, while the Wildcats claimed another victory over their new found rivals in the Jets. Read more →

Guthrie sneaks past No. 3 Piedmont in upset bid

Evan Grice/Gazette
Piedmont’s Adrion Williams drives to the basket during the second half of Tuesday nights game against Guthrie.

By Evan Grice


This wasn’t the way the No. 3 Piedmont Wildcats wanted to begin the home stretch of the regular season.

Tuesday night at Guthrie, a slow start was almost vanquished, but poor execution down the stretch left the Wildcats once again feeling a bitter taste in their mouth, as they suffered just their third loss of the season, by a 52-49 score line.

Following the game, a very frustrated PHS head coach Ryan Wagner pointed to one simple culprit as the means to blame: poor preparation. Read more →

Great eight for Lady Wildcats: PHS overcomes slow start to take out Guthrie

Evan Grice/Gazette
Piedmont’s Hayden Priddy looks to drive the baseline as a Guthrie player defends Tuesday night during the first half at GHS. Piedmont would eventually go on to win the game over the Lady Blue Jays. Priddy finished with 14 points on the night, which was second in scoring on the Lady Wildcats.

By Evan Grice


Less than three minutes into her teams game Tuesday night at Guthrie, Piedmont head coach Jamie Hill called a timeout with her team down 4-3.

The quick break in the action proved to be just the kick start the Lady Wildcats needed as they ended the first quarter on a 16-7 run, eventually running away with their eighth straight victory by a score of 64-32 over the Lady Blue Jays.

“In the first half, we weren’t playing as a team,” Hill said. “The girls were rushing shots and playing like individuals trying to do their own thing. At halftime I just told them to be the team I know they can be. We talked about passing the ball, getting good looks and extending the lead in the second half. Read more →

One-on-One with Lady Wildcat Morgan Wilson

Photo Submitted
Piedmont’s Morgan Wilson dribbles down the field during a game last season at Stout Field in Piedmont. The Lady Wildcats will be hosting a scrimmage festival this weekend at Stout Field.

By Evan Grice


Piedmont senior soccer standout Morgan Wilson recently sat down with the Surrey-Gazette to talk about the upcoming season, the transition to 5A from 4A in soccer, and what it feels like to be a college bound athlete after signing her national letter of intent with USAO in Chickasha.

PG: What is something about the game of soccer that most people assume is true but isn’t?

MW: “Well most people think that soccer is easy. I can promise that it is not easy!”

PG: You recently signed to play college soccer at USAO. Now that you’ve had some time to reflect, how does it feel to be a college bound athlete?

MW: “I am still extremely excited, but I am still just trying to take it all in.” Read more →

Up in smoke: Pharmacies discontinue cigarette sales; vapor usage steadily increases

By Matt Montgomery

The second largest pharmacy chain in the United States, CVS, announced that it would be phasing out the sale of tobacco products, Feb. 5, at all locations nationwide, with sales stopping completely by October.

More people in Oklahoma have started using vapor cigarettes and quit smoking altogether.

The Vapor Junkie in El Reno said they have noticed a lot more people coming in that want to switch from cigarettes to vapor because of doctors’ orders, a better flavor or just so they can smoke something that isn’t harmful to their lungs.

Vapor Junkie owner Will Rice opened the original Vapor Junkie in Yukon in December 2012. He said he opened the store in part to help people quit smoking.

Rice said most of his customers come into the stores to quit smoking or to quit dipping tobacco. He said once in a while customers come in who like the taste of vapor, but the majorities are those who wanted to quit smoking.

“A good 90 percent of them (customers) are doing it because they want to quit smoking,” Rice said.

When a customer comes in the store, they are asked how many cigarettes they were smoking per day. Based on the amount of cigarettes they smoked and the type determines the amount of nicotine that goes into the vapor juice they buy.

Rice said he thinks a lot more people will go from cigarettes to vapor more often.

“More people definitely want to quit,” he said. “I know people that have been vaping for a year or two and they still haven’t quit, but they’ve gone down basically to the lowest level. They breathe better and a lot of them have actually started working out and exercising. Before, they couldn’t even jog down the street. Now, they’re back to doing all that stuff, before they couldn’t do that because of their lungs.”

Rice dismissed rumors that vapors are as bad as cigarettes. Rice said he has several customers whose doctors have told them to start vaping instead of smoking cigarettes.

He said vapor juice is made with propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, nicotine and flavoring.

Even though smoking rates have been decreasing over the past 50 years, tobacco is still a $100 billion industry, and CVS stands to lose $2 billion in revenue by discontinuing tobacco sales.

In a press release announcing the change, CVS Caremark President and CEO Larry J. Merlo stated, “Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health. Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.”

In Canadian County, several independent pharmacies have never allowed tobacco sales. These include Krittenbbrink Pharmacy in Okarche, United Pharmacy in Yukon, Piedmont Pharmacy and Gifts in Piedmont, Ruke’s Pharmacy and Canadian Valley Pharmacy in El Reno and Miller Drug in Surrey Hills.

Chris Miller, owner and registered pharmacist of Miller Drug in Surrey Hills said he can’t understand why CVS ever stocked and sold cigarettes to begin with.

“I don’t understand why they ever had them to start with,” Miller said. “The Surgeon General has said the health risk causes cancer for years. I can’t understand why a health care provider would stock something like that which has no medicinal purpose, but has severe medical risk.”

Piedmont Pharmacy owner and registered pharmacist John Smith said Piedmont Pharmacy has also never sold cigarettes.

“I think (cigarettes) was a thing of the past,” Smith said. “Drug stores were always a place you could buy cigarettes, but I think with just knowing now what it does to your health, pharmacies aren’t any place that they need to be sold.”

Okarche’s Krittenbrink Pharmacy owner and registered pharmacist Steve Krittenbrink said Krittenbrink Pharmacy has never sold tobacco products and never will.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Krittenbrink said. “Those bigger places like that have always had the attitude that if they don’t get it here, they’ll just go buy it someplace else.”

He said all of the bigger chains like CVS just used tobacco to draw customers into the store to buy other things. He said he’s heard that tobacco sales at a place like CVS weren’t all that high.

He said when he worked at a pharmacy in Emproia, Kan. back in the ‘70s, they sold tobacco products and made just a few cents off of each pack of cigarettes sold.

Craig McAlister, owner of Conrad Marr in Yukon also supports CVS’ new policy. “Our store made the decision to no longer sell tobacco in 2000. Even though selling tobacco was a common practice in pharmacies, we took a step back and realized it was counterproductive to our goal of trying to get people healthy, so we decided to no longer sell tobacco products.”

Members of the Canadian County Against Tobacco coalition welcomed the announcement from CVS as a sign of progress in the fight against tobacco.

In Oklahoma, more than 6,000 people die each year from preventable, tobacco related death. And more than 3,400 kids under age 18 pick up the habit each year.

Miller Drug owner Chris Miller

Vapor Junkie owner Will Rice

“The tobacco industry spends an incredible amount of money in Oklahoma to get kids to start smoking and to keep adults from quitting,” said Jenny Kellbach, Tobacco Prevention Coordinator for Canadian County. “By reducing the number of places tobacco products are sold, we are also reducing the marketing power the tobacco industry has. Over time, this can make tobacco products less acceptable and protect our citizens from unnecessary health problems and loss of life.”

Piedmont woman plants apple trees across Africa

By Matt Montgomery

Piedmont resident Sharon Allen listened to a message from God that took her halfway across the world, planting apple trees in Africa.

She told her story to a packed group during the Piedmont Chamber of Commerce luncheon held last Thursday at the George Fina Municipal Building.

Allen went to Africa for the first time in 2005 with an Oklahoma City ministry group. She went three years in a row with the Reaching Souls Ministry.

“The third year I was there I prayed and asked God, ‘How can I help?’” she said. “‘I know that Reaching Souls is helping them to learn what they need to learn to go out, but how can I help?’”

She said the next morning her interpreter came up to her and asked if there are apples in America. Allen explained to him that there are different kinds in America. She said when the interpreter’s eyes got big, she knew that was the answer to her prayers: apples.

She then went on a mission of her own to find a way to bring apples to Africa, where apples are not native to the climate.

She said a local told her they have apples that come from China that cost $1 each. She said the average income is about $1 per day.

She went back to Piedmont to do research on how to bring apples to Africa.

She said a lot of people told her that it wasn’t possible to bring apple trees and plant them in Africa.

They told Allen that there are no such thing as warm climate apple trees.

“I am just that kind of person that doesn’t take ‘no’ for a answer,” she said. “So, I kept going because I thought this is definitely not my thing. I don’t like apples. I won’t really eat one unless you force me. So, God has a sense of humor.”

So, Allen pressed on in her research and eventually found a man who is an expert in warm climate apple trees.

In 2009, Allen went on her first trip to get permits for the apple trees. She got initial ‘no’ answers from the Country of Rwanda. Eventually, she was given permission to plant apple trees in 13 countries on the African continent.

She has also been a part of planting trees in Haiti, Honduras and other places.

Allen and her group started planting so orphans in Africa could have school and clothing and possibly, depending on how well the students do in school, have a scholarship to college.

“God has done a lot of incredible things for the underprivileged to get them out of poverty,” she said. “It gives them an income.”

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
Sharon Allen told her Apples for Africa story to Piedmont residents last Thursday at the Chamber’s February luncheon at city hall.

The average apple orchard in Africa produces about 200 trees. It takes one and half years for an apple tree to bear fruit because there is no cold season. In America, it takes five to seven years, she said.
She said a full, normal crop could yield about 200 apples per tree.

PHS football players Adams, Burris commit to play college football

Evan Grice/Gazette
Piedmont football players Darrius Burris and Kyler Adams signed their official national letters of intent to play football at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College and Southwestern Oklahoma State University this past Wednesday. Pictured from left to right, front row, Darrius’ mother Dorothy Burris, Darrius Burris, Kyler Adams, Kyler’s mother Krystal Dunn, Chris Dunn. Back row (L-R) Robin Adams (Kyler’s Stepmom) and Kurt Adams.

By Evan Grice


For Piedmont football players Kyler Adams and Darrius Burris, playing at the college level was always a dream they felt was in reach.

Last Wednesday morning, they each made their dreams a reality on National Signing Day. Read more →

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