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Archive for: July 2014

Committee presents park project to community

Submitted by Paul Francel
The three-acre area highlighted in the center of the image, shows the area where the proposed Piedmont community park will be located.

By Matt Montgomery

Piedmont resident Paul Francel and F&M Bank President Eric Anderson spoke to community members last Thursday, informing them of their ideas of what a park in Piedmont would mean for the community, and how they and others would go about getting one in town.

Francel opened up the presentation explaining why Piedmont needs a community park and what makes Piedmont the ideal location for one.

Referring to information from various websites, Francel reiterated Piedmont was voted the best city to raise a family in Oklahoma, second fastest growing city in Oklahoma and Piedmont was rated the best place in Oklahoma to buy a home.

Francel emphasized that with a community park, Piedmont residents can play in a park with their children, walk their dogs on a walking trail and sit in a park and relax.
The details of the park haven’t be finalized and those on the parks project committee, including Eric Anderson, Rachel Bussett and Wade Harden, are working in their own ways to make the Piedmont Park a reality. Read more →

City’s search for new police chief continues

By Matt Montgomery

The search for a new police chief to replace newly-retired Alex Oblein continues for the City of Piedmont.

As of right now, Piedmont Police Captain Sterling Markel will serve as interim police chief until the city fills the position.

After Oblein abruptly submitted his notice of intent to retire to city manager Jim Crosby last month, the search began.

The posting for the position closed last Friday, and as of this past Tuesday the city went through the applications.

Crosby said the city will start by narrowing their search to an even number like 10 or 12.

Then a committee comprised of Piedmont Mayor Valerie Thomerson, Piedmont Mayor Pro Tem Charles Coffman and City of Piedmont Executive Administrative Assistant Nancy Armstrong will then interview the proposed candidates. Read more →

Piedmont PD embezzlement investigation nearly complete

By Matt Montgomery

The Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) Public Information Officer Gary Perkinson said Tuesday the investigation into the alleged theft of $1,000 from the Piedmont police department is nearly completed and finalized.

Perkinson said once the findings are complete, they will be turned over to the Canadian County District Attorney’s Office. It will be the district attorney that decides if the crime warrants official charges to be filed against any particular person.

The Canadian County District Attorney’s Office provided possible penalties for embezzlement.

According to the statute, embezzlement is defined as “the fraudulent appropriation of property of any person or legal entity, legally obtained, to any use or purpose not intended or authorized by its owner, or the secretion of the property with the fraudulent intent to appropriate it to such use or purpose.” Read more →

Court is in session: Lady Wildcat volleyball prepares for 2014-15

Evan Grice/Gazette
Piedmont’s Laureli Grothe goes up for a spike attempt Monday morning at the opening practice of the 2014-15 season for the Piedmont Lady Wildcats volleyball team at the Piedmont Intermediate Gymnasium. PHS will open the season in August as the Lady Wildcats enter their third season as a competitive volleyball program.

By Evan Grice


If it’s near the end of July, that can only mean one thing. Volleyball season is upon us.

And for the Piedmont Lady Wildcats volleyball team, they are hoping their third year as a program brings them more than just a little charm.

Second-year head coach Brad Brucker and his squad officially got to work Monday morning at the Piedmont Intermediate Gymnasium, with their first day of practice. Read more →

Boomer Sooner in Piedmont: Lady Wildcat volleyball gets practice from OU coach

Evan Grice/Gazette
OU Head volleyball coach Santiago Restrepo addresses members of the Piedmont Lady Wildcat Volleyball team Thursday afternoon at the Intermediate Gymnasium. Restrepo was in Piedmont helping run the OU volleyball camp last week for the Lady Wildcats.

By Evan Grice


It’s not often that sports camps in Piedmont are visited by college coaches, let alone run by them.

However, for the Piedmont Lady Wildcats, they got a special treat last week at the Intermediate Gymnasium.

Oklahoma volleyball head coach and native of Botoga, Columbia Santiago Restrepo graciously came down and provided two solid days of fun, practice and volleyball knowledge as the Lady Wildcats got to enjoy some quality time with the head coach of the Sooners. Read more →

A Collett welcome: Lallemand introduced as new PHS boys head coach

Evan Grice/Gazette
New Piedmont boys basketball coach Troy Lallemand speaks with his players and their parents Thursday night during his official introduction to the community at Collett Fieldhouse in Piedmont. Lallemand was previously an assistant coach at Bixby High School last season.

By Evan Grice


You only get one chance to make a first impression, and new Piedmont boys basketball coach Troy Lallemand made the most of his opportunity Thursday night.

In front of his future players, their parents and members of the Piedmont school administration at Collett Fieldhouse, Coach Lallemand laid out his plans for the future of Piedmont basketball. Read more →

Rein shines at All-State swim

Photo Submitted
Piedmont’s Kasey Rein swims Monday night at the All-State swim meet.

By Evan Grice


Throughout her high school career, Kasey Rein was no stranger to success when it came to high school swimming.

It was only fitting that she got to experience more success in her final high school meet Monday night in Jenks.

At the 2014 Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State swim meet, Rein competed in four events and won three of them, on her way to helping the West team defeat the East team on the night at the Jenks Aquatic Center. Read more →

Senate District 22 candidates respond to education-related questions in Gazette forum

The Piedmont-Surrey Gazette asked this multipart question to the two Senate District 22 candidates:

Question: (Part 1 of 3) The Oklahoma Supreme Court recently upheld the decision to repeal the Common Core in Oklahoma Schools. What are your thoughts on the Common Core? Do you feel like it is good or bad for Oklahoma schools and why?
(Part 2 of 3) In further regard to education, Oklahoma ranks at the very bottom of state education in the country (48th or 49th out of 50). If elected, what steps would you take to make Oklahoma schools in your district(i.e. Edmond, Piedmont, Deer Creek) better? Are there specific measures you are already considering?
(Part 3 of 3) If elected, what steps would you take to insure that funding dispersed to Oklahoma schools through bond issues, grants and donations make it to the classroom to be used for education purposes only?

Stephanie Bice:

Stephanie Bice

Part 1: I oppose federally created standards like Common Core. We must improve our education outcomes in Oklahoma, but the standards created must be done at the local level with the guidance of teachers, parents and local school districts. I will fight to give Oklahoma teachers and parents the flexibility they need to help our children reach their full potential.

Part 2: Continuing to throw money into our education system will not fix the root causes of poor performance. I come from a business background where innovation is encouraged and rewarded. I’d like to find ways to take that model into the classroom and reward teachers and schools for excelling.

Part 3: Bond issues are typically used for physical building improvements or additions, and in several areas of District 22 they have been used to build new schools to accommodate the growing student population within our community. They are necessary to ease the burden of classroom size, as some classes have more than 25 students per teacher, making high-quality instruction a challenge.
I’m discouraged, however, that donations are even part of the equation. We must adequately fund our schools in order to ensure the types of quality education outcomes our children deserve.

Mark Thomas:

Mark Thomas

I am a product of the public school system, and two of my daughters still attend Yukon Public Schools, so these chosen topics are still very close to me as I am sure they are to us all. Quality education is one of the foundational cornerstones of a free and prosperous society, and paramount for continued freedom and prosperity.

The three questions asked in regard to education are in reference to my position on Common Core, making the schools better in Oklahoma, and insuring that monies find their way to the classroom. I don’t view these as individual issues, but rather three individual symptoms of one issue, central government control.

The Constitution of the State of Oklahoma provides for education, which is not the same thing as providing education. The provision of resources to support or facilitate a process is not the same as controlling the process. So how is the control of the process working out for us? I suggest not very well.

The short answer to the resolve of these issues is to dismantle the central control of our education system.

History has taught us that central control with concentrated power and money will always create bureaucracies that become inefficient, ineffective and corrupt. These are the very issues that are addressed here.

Common Core is in no way good for our children. Education is a personal issue, not a state mandate. To allow legislation to be written that mandates how our children are taught, or what they are taught, turns our children into property of the state. Our children are not property of the state.

There are no functions that take place within the state educational bureaucracies that can’t be carried out within the individual school districts. Once we remand the education of our children to the local school districts, school boards and parents, we will once again have a much improved chance of providing the quality of education we desire for our children. The local choices will once again open the door for free market models of competition that will result in better education for our children.
Government that is closest to the people is always better. Limited government is where it’s at. As Dr. Phil may ask “how’s the other working for you?”

I will work to remand the control of the education of our children to the parents.

Pierce assumes post as Surrey Hills Elementary principal

Bill Pierce

By Matt Montgomery

Next month, students from Surrey Hills Elementary will see a new faculty member walking the halls. Bill Pierce will assume his duties as the new Surrey Hills Elementary principal, taking over for Maggie Sander, who retired in May.

Pierce, a Yukon resident since 1997, is familiar with this community. In fact, he has several family members who are working or have worked for Yukon Public Schools. His wife is an educator at Yukon Public Schools. His mother-in-law recently retired from teaching at Yukon High School and his children attend Yukon Public Schools.

“For me, living in the community, believing in a school system that, in my opinion, is an exceptional school system and community, the decision to pursue that opening was very clear to me,” Pierce said. “That is something that I thought I should do and wanted to do.”

Pierce said because of the diligent work Sander and the teachers at Surrey Hills Elementary did prior to him taking the job, has created a platform that he would like to build upon.

He added that all of the great work that administration has accomplished has created a foundation that has already been laid. He wants to add to that now.

“My first priority is to get to know the students and the families, and to develop those relationships,” he said. “Then we can focus on academic excellence for our children and our community.”
One thing that means the most to Pierce, is the opportunity to make every student successful.
“It’s our responsibility to help students be successful,” he said. “I’m a service-before-self type leader. I strive to do and be excellent in everything I do. I want those that I serve to be the best that they can be.”

Pierce has a long career in the education system in Oklahoma.

Before taking the position at Surrey, Pierce was the principal at Windsor Hills Elementary in Oklahoma City from 2012 to 2014.

Some of the things he accomplished at Windsor Hills included revamping the safety procedures which resulted in a safer arrival and dismissal process.

He also served on the district technology bond team, which resulted in a $6 Million technology bond.
From 2009 to 2012 he was the principal at D.D. Kirkland Elementary in the Putnam City School District.
At D.D. Kirkland, Pierce was instrumental in revamping that school’s safety procedures, which resulted in a safer arrival and dismissal process for the students.

From 2008-09, Pierce was assistant principal at Wiley Post Elementary in the Putnam City School District.

From 2007-08 he was an assistant principal intern at Western Oaks Elementary in the Putnam City School District.

From 2005-07, he was a substitute site administrative intern at Putnam City High School.
He has his Master’s in Business Administration from Oklahoma City University with a teaching certificate.

Surrey Hills Elementary will host a back to school night Aug. 11. The first day of school is Aug. 14. The 2014-15 Surrey Hills school supply list can be seen here:


Councilman’s wife undergoes heart surgery; Coffman postpones campaign bid for mayor

By Matt Montgomery

Charles and Angela Coffman

Piedmont City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Charles Coffman’s wife Angela Coffman recently underwent heart surgery to repair a hole in her heart.

Angela Coffman has had the hole in her heart since birth, but it had no affect on her until she recently underwent surgery to repair her rotator cuff, and had a reaction to the pain medicine she was prescribed.

Coffman, who was planning a campaign bid to run for mayor of Piedmont in next April’s election, said those plans are off and he is concentrating on being with his wife while she recovers.

Even though Coffman’s chances of being Piedmont’s next mayor have been put on the back burner, he still looks forward to continue to serve as a Piedmont city councilman and mayor pro tem in Ward 4.

“I am looking forward to continue to serve Piedmont,” Coffman said. “I believe there are exciting times ahead. I’m really glad to see the road repair projects scheduled this year.”

The Coffmans were very active for many years, climbing most of the 10 14,000 foot peaks in Colorado, running marathons and half marathons and biking. Coffman said Angela was a premature baby, born at three and one-half months. She spent four months in an incubator. She had a dime-size hole in her heart that went diagnosed.

She underwent a Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) operation. Coffman said the ASD closure procedure was necessary because her right ventricle was enlarged because of the hole and would have eventually led to heart failure.

“The doctors said that the heart defect was one of the reasons many athletes collapse and die during things such as marathons; they were diagnosed until it got bad enough to cause a stroke or failure,” Coffman said. “She was very lucky that it was found after she had a reaction to pain medicine following her recent rotator cuff surgery. She was rushed to the emergency room and the doctors at Mercy wanted to check in the heart. After weeks of tests, they concluded she had an enlarged right ventricle and a large hole. Just goes to show that sometimes good does come from bad.”

Coffman said Angela should be good as new in a few months and while she might not be doing half marathons, she will be back to spin classes.

“I hope everyone takes some time to get checked out, and if they find something, go forward with the tests because even something as big as a dime-sized hole can be fixed,” he said.

Angela is a the library media specialist at Westfield Elementary in Edmond. She also is a mentor at White Fields here in Piedmont.

Angela Coffman will return to work in Edmond once she is cleared and able.

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