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Archive for: June 2014

Piedmont city council approves utility rate increase

By Matt Montgomery

The Piedmont city council unanimously voted to approve an action Monday which will raise the water, sanitary, sewer and refuse fees for Piedmont residents.

The new utility rate increase will take effect July 1.

The council had previously waited to make this decision until Piedmont residents had a chance to read the letter they mailed out explaining the reasons for the proposed rate increases. And now, after speaking to their constituents, they voted to approve the action.

The council said the utility fees are going up because Oklahoma City is raising their fees.

“Oklahoma City is raising their rates, so we have to raise our rates in order to keep up,” Councilman Charles Coffman said.

Coffman said according to the city accountant, for every $1 the city pays toward utilities, it only collects 87 cents.

He said the city needs to make some adjustments to get the costs in line with what the city collects.

Piedmont City Manager Jim Crosby said since Oklahoma City is raising its rates, Piedmont’s water bills with Oklahoma City are going to increase.

“We don’t like to raise rates, nobody does,” he said. “On the other hand, water is the most important thing right now.”

Crosby said utilities pay for everything in public works and it is necessary for Piedmont to raise its rates.

“We have to have this water,” Crosby said. “We have to pay for our general operation funds.”

The fees on utilities like water will rise from $20.63 for 2,000 gallons or less to $22.07.

For more than 2,000 gallons the rate will rise from $4.61 per thousand to $4.93 per thousand.

Other utilities such as sewer will rise from $15.73 for 4,000 gallons or less to $17.60 per month. Commercial sewer rates will rise from $20.17 for 4,000 gallons to $22.19.

For refuse collection, the fees will rise from $20.89 for one trash can to $21.52 and from $10.22 for a second one to $10.53.

Refuse collection outside of city limits will rise from $32.43 for one can to $33.40.

Piedmont City Councilman Bobby Williamson told the council that he spoke to a couple of his constituents who don’t use as much utilities as everyone else, yet they are charged the minimum charge associated with each utility. Councilman Donnie Robinson made a motion asking Piedmont City Manager Jim Crosby to research this and see if the city can make it so those residents could be put on a payment system to, “Ease some of the sting,” Robinson said. “I think we owe that to them, to research that see if there is anything we can do.”

In other business, the city council voted to approve the Piedmont Municipal Authority and Piedmont Special Projects Authority’s annual operating budgets for the fiscal year 2014-15. The council was previously scheduled to vote to approve or not approve this at the last city council meeting, but due to an error in the way it was written on the agenda, they postponed that decision until tonight.

Piedmont band director resigns, takes job with Yukon

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
Piedmont Chamber of Commerce President Marian LeCrone awards Darnell Zook the Pride of Piedmont Excellence Ward during the 2013 Piedmont Chamber of Commerce annual awards banquet at the First Baptist Church of Piedmont.

By Matt Montgomery

Piedmont Band Director Darnell Zook announced May 30 he accepted a position with Yukon Public Schools as the head director of bands and coordinator of instrumental music, and will no longer be with Piedmont.

Zook led the Piedmont Wildcats to multiple Class 5A band titles during his 11 years with the district.

He said there was nothing about the Piedmont community that made him want to leave, rather it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.

“There is nothing about the students, parents, administrators, schools or community of Piedmont that makes me want to leave,” Zook said in a facebook post. “What I was presented with was an opportunity to be able to do what I was currently doing in Piedmont on a much larger scale. I looked for, and honestly kind of hoped for, something about the position in Yukon that would justify me not continuing to look into it. What I found was a situation that I could not justify saying no to.”

Zook said he will miss the students from Piedmont the most and hopefully they learned from some of what he taught them.

“To my current students, I’m sorry,” Zook wrote. “I hate the thought that this will cause many of you pain. Realize that our relationship is not ending, it’s just changing. Realize also that the Piedmont band program is not ending, it’s just changing in some ways as well. The good news is that every amazing performance, every state championship, and every musical moment that you have experienced has one thing in common: It was performed by YOU, not by me.” Read more →

A smashing finale: Wildcat duo Williams and Peters shine in All-City

Evan Grice/Gazette
Piedmont’s Cameron Peters puts up a three-point attempt during the Big All-City game at John Smith Fieldhouse in Del City. Peters finished the game with 16 points overall for the West squad in the contest.

By Evan Grice


During the course of the regular season, the duo of Cameron Peters and Adrion Williams were more than a handful for opposing teams to handle.

And for one final time last Thursday night in Del City, they got to show just how dynamic they really are.

At the Big All-City game held at John Smith Fieldhouse on the campus of Del City High School, Peters and Williams combined for 23 points on the night in a losing effort as the West team lost a close encounter with the East team by a score of 101-96. Read more →

Blessed with success: PHS’ Davis finds strength through friends & family

Evan Grice/Gazette
Piedmont’s Bre Davis attempts to make a pick off at first base during a district softball game against Guymon last season at Lady Wildcat Field in Piedmont. Davis made history this season by becoming the first ever Piedmont softball player to earn Class 5A All-State honors for the softball program. She will be playing in the All-State game in July from Tulsa alongside teammate Jamie Lowrie for the Lady Wildcats.

By Evan Grice


It’s hard to imagine having a better senior year than the one Piedmont Lady Wildcat athlete Bre Davis had.

Not only did Davis claim two state championships in track and field this season, along with signing to play college softball for Central Oklahoma University in Edmond, she was also the first ever Piedmont softball player to be named as a Class 5A All-State representative.

But at the core of all the accomplishments lie someone who is humbled beyond words, and someone who will openly admit she is very blessed to have what she does. Read more →

PHS softball standout Lowrie named All-State

Jamie Lowrie image

Evan Grice/Gazette
Piedmont’s Jamie Lowrie releases a pitch during a game this season.

By Evan Grice


During the course of Jamie Lowrie’s softball career, all she has ever needed was a chance.

As a member of the Piedmont Lady Wildcats softball team, she proved that she was among the elite, and earned multiple awards because of her efforts.

Now, she can officially add the title of Class 5A All-State softball player to her growing list of accomplishments. Read more →

Piedmont parade horse dead at 37

Submitted by Bob Eufinger
Mariah led the Piedmont July 4 parade for more than 25 years. She died suddenly at age 37.

By Matt Montgomery

After leading the Piedmont parade for more than 25 years, Mariah the black mare has died at 37.

Mariah, owned by Bob Eufinger, was a two-year quarterhorse mix and a gift to the family of Charles and Nancy Brewer and their small children. Each child in the Brewer family learned to ride Mariah after Nancy Brewer taught her to barrel race, pole bend and other riding varieties.

After a short while, the Brewers purchased a Pinto Stud. From this union came a Palomino/White, who was named One Painted Wind.

Mariah was then sold to a local Piedmont veterinarian named Kramer who had a young son who had quickly lost interest in Mariah. Then Dr. Kramer sold Mariah back to Eufinger.

“She was a great horse,” Eufinger said. “It was love at first sight and continued until her death.”

Eufinger said Mariah was fast and extremely gentle and loved everybody. Read more →

Thirty years later: Piedmont played host to Hollywood

Courtesy Wikipedia
The VHS film title was changed from Surviving to Tragedy in 1993, eight years after the film was released on television.

By Matt Montgomery

It has been 30 years since Piedmont residents saw Hollywood filmmakers come into their quaint town to film the television movie, “Surviving: A Family in Crisis.”

It featured a slew of famous Hollywood actors including 1980s teen movie star Molly Ringwold; the late River Phoenix, Paul Sorvino, who would star in the 1990 gangster classic, “Goodfellas” by Martin Scorsese; Eleyn Burstyn, who had won an Academy Award in the 1970s and starred in the horror classic “The Exorcist” and Zach Galligan, who was famous for starring in the 1984 Joe Dante classic “Gremlins.”

Phoenix and Ringwold were virtually unknown when the film was released but soon blossomed into stars, especially Phoenix who died of a drug overdose on the sidewalk of Johnny Depp’s Viper Bar in Los Angeles on Oct. 31, 1993. The film also featured Heather O’Rourke in one of her final roles. She was well known for saying “They’re here,” from the historic horror film “Poltergeist.” A now-well-known Oklahoman even had a small role in the film as an extra: Gov. Mary Fallin.

Gov. Fallin has been instrumental in bringing Hollywood films to Oklahoma.

She said during her time as Oklahoma’s governor, she signed into law a tax incentive program designed to bring movies into Oklahoma.

“As lieutenant governor, I served as chairman of the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Commission and the Oklahoma Film Advisory Commission,” Fallin said. “As governor, I signed into law this year a bill that extends a tax incentive program designed to attract more movie productions to Oklahoma.”

Surviving tells the story of two troubled teens who flirt with suicide and the choices their families have to make trying to deal with everything. A made-for-TV movie, Surviving was first aired on ABC in 1985. Read more →

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