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Archive for: September 2014

Piedmont hosts rival Deer Creek to open district play at 7 p.m Friday

Blake Colston/Gazette
Piedmont and Deer Creek renew their annual rivalry Friday night at Wildcat Stadium.

Blake Colston

Rivals Piedmont and Deer Creek enter Friday’s Class 5A District II opener set for 7 p.m. at Wildcat Field in a spot neither hoped to be when the season started.

Both teams enter the game winless and in search of an elusive first win, which, would move them to 1-0 in all-important district play. That means both teams’ early season struggles are a thing of the past now.

“No matter whether we’re 0-3 or 3-0 we are all 0-0 now,” Piedmont head coach Drew Gossen said. “That’s something we’ve talked about a lot as a team. This is where it really gets important. It’ll be important to approach each game with a little extra intensity and focus.”

Piedmont heads into the game with momentum of sorts offensively– the return of injured starting quarterback Lucas Richert and running back Landon White are key – despite early season struggles.

“Knowing that we’re getting those guys back is a positive for us. We’re getting them back at a good time,” Gossen said.

After being slowed by a variety of injuries early in the season’s first two weeks, wide receiver Steffen Funkhouser is back, too. He returned to his vintage form in last week’s loss at Noble by hauling in six catches for 148 yards and a score.

“Steffen is one of those guys, we love him. It’s awesome that he’s finally able to put himself in positon to makes plays,” Gossen said. “The play he scored at Noble came on as simple a play as you have, but he has the ability to make a short pass a touchdown.” Read more →

Piedmont scores 7 runs in 8th, beats Pauls Valley

Blake Colston

Blake Colston/Gazette
Piedmont’s Kassidy Scott and assistant coach Todd Brown slap hands after Scott’s home run in the eighth inning of the Wildcats’ 10-3 extra-inning win.

Piedmont’s seven-run top of the eighth helped the Wildcats push past Pauls Valley, 10-3, Tuesday in a game played at Oklahoma Christian University’s Tom Heath Field.

But two plays that happened before it — Madison Giggers’ throw from center field to cut down a runner at third base to end the bottom of the seventh with the game tied at three, and Alexis Rankin’s head’s up base running to score on a double play ball in the sixth — might have been the difference.

“We had pretty much everything go against us all day long and then we had that great play by Madison,” Piedmont head coach Rick Scott said of Giggers’ throw to third base after a Pauls Valley single could’ve put the winning run at third base with two outs. “That just turned us around.”

The momentum a previously lifeless Piedmont team gained from the play showed quickly in the eighth. Sagely McAdoo sent a one-out single to center, then Kassidy Scott delivered the eventual game-winning two-run home run deep over the left field fence. The Wildcats went on to score five more times in the inning to break open a game Pauls Valley led into the sixth.  Read more →

Absence of qourum abruptly adjourns city council meeting

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
(from left to right) Piedmont City Councilmen Donnie Robinson, Al Gleichmann and Charles Coffman excuse themselves from voting on an agenda item they all three have a legal conflict associated with.

By Matt Montgomery

As soon as Piedmont Mayor Valerie Thomerson began to read Business Item 8C from Monday night’s city council agenda, three councilmen abruptly excused themselves from the meeting, forcing the mayor to first apologize to audience members then call for the meeting to adjourn until the city can have a quorum in place.

A quorum is defined as the minimum number of members of an assembly or society that must be present at any of its meetings to make the proceedings of that meeting valid. In the case of the Piedmont city council which has five members, three must be present to have a quorum. Once the three councilmen left the room, there was no quorum.

“Jennifer, it seems to me that we have lost our quorum, and at this point would you do a formal role call, please?” Thomerson asked to Piedmont City Clerk Jennifer Smith. Only councilmen Bobby Williamson and Robert Simpson remained.

After the council meeting was abruptly adjourned, City Councilman Charles Coffman spoke to the Gazette about his decision to excuse himself from the meeting.

“We all want growth, we do,” Coffman said. “But, a councilman has to make a decision on whether or not there’s potential conflicts. And, so we have to go with our conscience. In this case, I felt I had to leave for that reason. At some point here in the near future, hopefully, the court cases will be completed and we can get back to doing business that will benefit all the citizens. Until that point, we’re probably going to have that same situation occur. I hope not.”

The three councilmen, Charles Coffman, Donnie Robinson and Al Gleichman are all involved in a pending lawsuit with local developer Phil Boevers. The business item the councilmen excluded themselves from voting on was for a discussion on a preliminary plat of land called “Magnolia Medows,” which is owned by Rita Strubhar and Cindy Boevers, Phil Boevers’ wife. The same business item was brought before the council last month and the same three councilmen excused themselves from that discussion as well. This agenda item has been placed on the agenda twice and twice it hasn’t been discussed because of an absence of a quorum.

According to legal records filed in Canadian County in 2012, Robinson is listed as a defendant and Coffman and Gleichmann are listed as “notice recipients” in CJ-2012-46, which is a libel/slander lawsuit filed by Boevers Homes, LLC, against numerous defendants, including former Piedmont city councilman Vernon Woods, former Piedmont Mayor Mike Fina, Piedmont Planning Commissioner Ron Cardwell, John Mike Simpson, Jeff Williams and Williams Grocery, and Donya and Ron Hau, and the now defunct Piedmont Citizen newspaper.

The first two agenda items, 8A and 8B, were pulled from the agenda “due to an error with regard to the legal description,” Thomerson said. “I’ll leave it at that without going into more details.”

Before the meeting was called to order, Piedmont’s new police chief, Scott Singer, was sworn in by Thomerson.

Circus stunts dazzle area audience

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
A member of the Arlise Troupe juggles flaming torches Sunday afternoon in front of Piedmont and other area residents during the Culpepper and Merriweather Circus in Piedmont. See related photos and story in the 9-25 edition of the Piedmont-Surrey Gazette.

Turnovers doom Piedmont in 34-19 loss at Noble

Blake Colston

NOBLE —  A bevy of turnovers and big plays doomed a Piedmont team looking for its first win of the season Friday night at Noble. The Bears (2-1) scored 34 second-half points and capitalized on six Piedmont turnovers — four in as many possessions in the final quarter — to beat Piedmont (0-3) 34-19.

Trailing 21-13 into the fourth quarter, the Wildcats’ first four possessions ended with a fumble and three interceptions that Noble scored 13 points off. The Bears turned the third interception of the quarter into points immediately with a 30-yard interception return for a score by C.J. Jennings that put Noble in front 28-13 with 5:33 to play.

“Turnovers were the name of the game,” Piedmont head coach Drew Gossen said. “That was obviously the biggest thing.”

Blake Colston/Gazette
Piedmont’s Hunter Chism runs with the ball Friday at Noble.

Quarterback Colby Bricker’s fifth interception of the night a possession later turned into six more points when Corben Evans plunged in from two yards out with 1:44 to play to ice the game.

“He’s in a tough spot,” Gossen said of Bricker, who finished the game 17 of 38 passing for 230 yards and two touchdowns. “He got hamstrung a little there late by the way the defense was playing. They played some coverages that were tough to throw into because of the situation. Just a bad deal.” Read more →

Piedmont man dies in traffic accident

Courtesy of Paul Purser’s facebook
Paul C. Purser, Jr., of Piedmont, died Wednesday near Okeene.

Staff Reports

According to reports, Piedmont resident Paul C. Purser, Jr., 59, died from a traffic accident Wednesday afternoon near Okeene, in Blaine County.

According to reports, at about 3:30 p.m., Purser was driving a pickup northbound on SH 51A when a tractor trailer going eastbound hit his pickup.

Even though Purser was wearing a seat belt, according to reports, he was killed at the scene of the accident. The driver of the tractor trailer was treated and released from an area hospital, according to reports.

The cause of the accident is under investigation. Once the investigation is complete, the Piedmont-Surrey Gazette will update this story.

Wildcats crush El Reno on stellar senior night

Blake Colston/Gazette
Piedmont senior Bailey Banks winds up to spike a ball in the Wildcats’ three-set victory over El Reno.

Blake Colston

It went like all senior nights should.

Piedmont volleyball’s foursome of seniors never left the floor, they all played well and the Wildcats swept El Reno in three sets (25-10, 25-11, 25-15)  to improve to 13-12 on the season in the final home match for four seniors Thursday at Piedmont Intermediate Gymnasium.

“That’s the way senior night should go,” Piedmont head coach Brad Brucker said. “I’ve very seldom seen a senior night go that well. I couldn’t be happier for them.”

Anna Young, Bailey Banks, Kailey LaFollette and Kayden Carver each started and played the length of the Wildcats’ easy victory over a struggling Indians squad.

The emotion that so often can wreck a senior class’s final home game was there prior to the game, but once the match began, was nowhere to be found. Piedmont was all business.

“I was a little worried about that,” Brucker said of playing his seniors the entire match with the emotions of the night swirling. “I told them, ‘this is what we’re going to do, you guys deserve it. So please play well,’ and they did. They made it really easy on me tonight.”

Read more →

Richert set to return vs. Deer Creek

Blake Colston

Piedmont starting quarterback Lucas Richert expects to be back for the Wildcats’ district opener at Deer Creek Sept. 26, Richert told the Gazette Thursday afternoon.

Richert suffered a bone contusion and sprained ligaments to his left knee during a preseason scrimmage against Kingfisher in August and was expected to be out until October potentially. But strong rehab work has him set to play next week after recovering from his third knee injury in two seasons.

“I feel confident and I think that’s the key. If you don’t have that, I think that’s how you get hurt again, but I feel great about it.”

Richert plans to return to practice Monday, and barring any setbacks will start against the rival Antlers.

“We’re on track for that,” Piedmont head coach Drew Gossen said of Richert’s return. “We’re kind of taking it day-by-day, but right now we have a plan in place. He’ll come back to practice and start contributing more and we’ll see where it goes from there.”

Richert brings added arm strength and experience to a position that’s been filled by backup Colby Bricker through two games this season.

“He has a strong arm and can really attack the outsides of the field,” Gossen said. “And he has presence. It takes some time to learn how to stand in a pocket and how to understand what’s going on around you. (Lucas) does a great job of that.”

Richert, meanwhile, is simply excited to play again.

“I think about it every second, I can’t get my mind off it,” he said. “Maybe I can get everyone rallied up and see if we can go out there and beat Deer Creek.”

Piedmont plays at Noble Friday night at 7:30 in its final non-district of the season.

Planning commission still one seat vacant

Matt Montgomery

The Piedmont planning commission has been one member short for several months now, after former commissioner Mike Bell moved outside Piedmont city limits.

There have been some recommendations made between Piedmont City Councilman Donnie Robinson and Piedmont Mayor Valerie Thomerson, but no agreement has been made yet.

According to the Piedmont City Charter, “The Mayor shall appoint the members of the Planning Commission, Board of Adjustment, intergovernmental boards and commissions, and any other boards, positions, or commissions subordinate to the city Council, subject to confirmation of such appointment by a majority of the City Council members. In the event of the failure of the City Council to confirm the appointment of the Mayor, then the Mayor shall make another appointment. If the Mayor’s second appointment is not confirmed, then the City Council shall appoint by a majority vote of its members without seeking additional mayoral appointments.”

Thomerson emailed Robinson in April with her first recommendation; Piedmont resident and former Canadian County commissioner candidate Kevin Hopkins. Thomerson wrote, “If he (Hopkins) wins the commissioners seat then he will resign and we’ll try again. However, if he loses, we’ll have a great P&Z commissioner … Piedmont wins either way. I briefly spoke with him about it and he is willing to accept the position but only if he is sure he will be approved (understandable). You thoughts?”
Robinson replied to Thomerson through email and wrote, “Mayor, I really like Denny Weir that lives in Skyline and is president of their home owners association. He was a big help with his membership on the 164th project.”
Read more →

No charges to be filed in Piedmont PD embezzlement case

Matt Montgomery

The Canadian County District Attorney’s Office declined to pursue charges after reviewing the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation’s case in the theft of about $1,000 from the Piedmont police department earlier this year.

District Attorney Michael Fields wrote in an email to the Piedmont-Surrey Gazette Monday, “The OSBI recently completed its investigation of an alleged theft/embezzlement from the City of Piedmont involving approximately $1,000. The investigation shows that during the relevant timeframe, a handful of people either had or potentially had access to this money. There isn’t enough evidence to determine who stole or embezzled the money. Therefore, our office is declining to file charges related to this investigation.”
Even though the D.A.’s office didn’t file charges, that doesn’t mean they haven’t shut the door on this case forever.“If additional evidence comes to light, my office will certainly re-consider its decision not to file charges,” Fields wrote.
Piedmont Fraternal Order of Police Chairman and Piedmont police officer Craig Curtner has said from the beginning he wanted the public to know that this was not a Piedmont police officer who took the money.

“None of the officers, including the supervisors were ever questioned as suspects,” Curtner said. “None of our officers were ever under suspicion and there was never any allegation that it was a police officer that did it. I think OSBI had one or two suspects in mind and I think they ran those angles pretty good. I think they lacked the evidence to prosecute.”
Read more →

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