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Small Town Weekly

Local woman gives birth to quadruplets

Jessie and Joel Lekites hold their newly-born quadruplets in Jessie’s parents’ home in Piedmont. She gave birth in April to three girls and one boy, all born one minute apart from each other. The babies (left to right) are Jaclyn, Jamison, June and Joseph Lekites. The Lekites were living in Houston, Texas, where Joel was working, but since the birth of their quadruplets, they have moved into Jessie’s parents’ home until they find a permanent home here in Piedmont. Joel designs homes and works from home now, while he and Jessie and their parents take care of their four newborns.

By Matt Montgomery

New Piedmont residents Jessie and Joel Lekites are now the proud parents of quadruplets. Lekites gave birth to three girls and one boy in April at Mercy Hospital.

But, due to some complications and health issues, the babies weren’t cleared to leave the hospital until just recently.

The babies were born one minute apart from each other. The new Lekites are June, Jaclyn, Jamison and Joseph. Joseph had a shunt in his head to release fluid built up around the brain and some of the other babies had some oxygen issues. The Lekites’ babies were spread out in different hospitals, from OU Medical Center to Mercy. From the time Lekites was admitted to the hospital in March, it was 142 days before all the babies were home.

The babies were born at exactly 27 weeks. The girls all weighed around 1 pound each–Jamison weighed 1 pound, 10 ounces; June weighed 1 pound, 12 ounces; Jaclyn weighed 1 pound, 14 ounces; Joseph weighed 2 pounds, 4 ounces.

The odds of having three girls and one boy in a quadruplet birth are very small, according to the specialist Lekites saw during her pregnancy. He told her that with the treatment she was on, there was only about a 2 to 3 percent chance they would end up with quadruplets.

Because the babies were born three months early, they had to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit at the hospital, on ventilators for some time.
“That in itself was unbelievable,” Jessie said. “You don’t realize the world of NIC U … and I’m a nurse, but I don’t do pediatrics or any of that. It’s hard because you don’t get to take your babies home.”

The babies were in the intensive care unit for 62 days. Joseph and Jaclyn were released from the hospital in June. June was released in July and Jaclyn just came home a few weeks ago.

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Water rates to be hiked

By Matt Montgomery

Over the next two years, water bills are likely to gouge Piedmont residents’ pocketbooks, as the amount the City of Piedmont pays for its water from Oklahoma City will likely increase significantly.

Piedmont, along with the many other municipalities that buy wholesale water from Oklahoma City on a monthly basis, will feel the sting of this increase beginning when an Oklahoma City ordinance takes effect Oct. 1.

That ordinance includes an amendment to usage charges outside of the city. Piedmont falls under that category.

Piedmont City Manager Jim Crosby said while Piedmont residents should be thankful to Oklahoma City for the water, they should also be aware of the upcoming rate increase.

“Oklahoma City has been very progressive, as far as getting water rights,” Crosby said. “You need to salute Oklahoma City for their forward thinking and having the ability to provide us water.” Read more →

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 →

Piedmont Park Project committee to hold community meeting

By Eric Anderson
F&M Bank President

Have you heard? We are working to build a park in Piedmont, but we need your help. The Piedmont Park Project has several opportunities for all members of the community to help and get involved, including all the little ones as well.

At 6:30 p.m., Thursday, July 24, we will host a community meeting at the Intermediate School. During this meeting, you will have an opportunity to view a slide show regarding the plans and hopes for the future park in our community. There will be refreshments and an opportunity to volunteer in multiple capacities. This park will not be a success without the help and support of our community.

We will be hosting an opportunity for each of you to Design Your Own Dream Park. Take a blank 8 ½ X 11 in. paper and design what you would like as your Dream Park. The sky is the limit on your design.
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Piedmont Titans win 7-Under tournament

Submitted by Bill Bailey
The Piedmont Titans won a 7-Under baseball tournament in Piedmont last weekend.

By Matt Montgomery

The 7-Under little league baseball team, Piedmont Titans, won the PSA 7-U Machine Pitch Invitational held last weekend at the PSA baseball fields in Piedmont.

The tournament was a double elimination tournament consisting of three pool play games last Saturday to seed the teams for the double elimination tournament on Sunday.

The Titans won two of their three pool play games to earn a No. 2 seed on Sunday playing a No. 3 seed in the first round.

Titans won their first game on Sunday against the El Reno Rumble 8 – 1.

Titans won their second game on Sunday 21 – 9 against the OK Braves. (OK Braves – from Midwest City are ranked # 13 in the state in 7U coach pitch.)

Titans won their third game on Sunday 12 – 0 against the Moore Venom (#28 nationally ranked by USSSA in 7U machine pitch) to clinch the winners bracket and require the challenger in the championship game to beat them twice to win the tournament.

They won the championship in the last inning (fifth inning) scoring three runs and rallying from a two-run deficit (7 – 9) to win (10 – 9) and go undefeated on Sunday.

Piedmont Titans were in Pool A with the Perry Marauders, Yukon Drillers and Moore Venom (#28 in Nation in 7U MP, USSSA).

The tournament offered “Dealers Choice” which allowed coach pitch teams to pitch to their team rather than hitting off the machine.

The OK Braves came through the consolation bracket beating the Venom (third in the tournament).

The Titans are coached by Bill Bailey.

Bailey said the Titans won the tournament by playing great defense and exceptional offense (batting).

“The team’s key to success was to have fun playing baseball with their teammates and outstanding confidence at the plate and superb defense,” Bailey said.

Overall, the Titans scored 88 runs, and only gave up 37 the entire tournament. Averaging 11 runs scored per game and not allowing any opponent to score more than nine runs in any game.

Bailey said this was done playing top-level competition on both Saturday and Sunday as the Titans’ pool (Pool A) had the first, third and fourth place teams in it and then played the third place team and second place team twice on Sunday. Both teams carrying state and national rankings.

“Most of these boys have taken home trophies before,” Bailey said. “This is by far the biggest trophy these boys have taken home. It was a huge victory for us. There was some pretty stiff competition that came into the tournament.”

The Titans “Mercy Ruled” most teams they played in the tournament. The Mercy Rule is applied if the winning team has built a substantial lead, not allowing for the other team to come up with enough runs per inning to come back to win. Each game consists of five innings. And each team is only allowed to score seven runs per inning. If a team is up 15 runs after three innings or 10 runs after four innings, the Mercy Rule is applied by the umpire.

This is Bailey’s third season with the Titans. In that time, he has coached many young Piedmont baseball players.

“It’s mostly about keeping it positive and fun for the kids,” he said. “These are sever-year-old little boys out there playing a game. There’s going to be mistakes all over the place. We don’t get down on kids for mistakes. We try to highlight the things that they did good.”

The Titans are #25 Reese McManis, #10 Anderson Cofer, #11 Tate Cardwell, #9 Drake May, #1 Brent Bailey, #4 Austen Mueller, #12 Titus Boice, #7 Walker Kennedy, #5 Caden Cameron, #21 Wyatt Geissler and # 34 Jackson Payne. Coaches: Head Coach Bill Bailey, Assistant Coaches Robert McManis, Brett Payne and Jason Geissler.

Piedmont family instrumental in N.M. Heart Camp’s formation

Submitted by David Pletcher
Justin Gordon, left, a Cavett Kid, and Tobi Gordon ride a chair lift in Angel Fire, N.M., during the Angel Fire Heart Camp, which the Pletcher family from Piedmont are instrumental components of.

By Matt Montgomery

The Pletcher family of Piedmont were instrumental in the formation of a camp for kids battling terminal illnesses.

The Angel Fire Heart Camp in Angel Fire, N.M. is a destination David and Mandy Pletcher and several of their family members take kids from the Cavett Kids Foundation to relax and enjoy some outdoor activities.

David, Mandy and their daughter Tobi Gordon volunteered at Mercy Hospital before the Heart Camp idea was conceived. His son, Shea Pletcher, worked as an intern for Cavett Kids while he was in college and came up with the basic idea for the Heart Camp.

The family decided if they were going to form a heart camp, they should use their place in the New Mexican mountains.

One of the thoughts behind having the camp in Angel Fire, is to give these kids who are all fighting terminal illnesses a place to go that they normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to go.

The foundation brings along medical personnel on the trip each year, to insure the kids’ safety.
Cavett Kids Foundation founder Danny Cavett said the foundation’s doctors do not want the kids to go much higher than 8,000 feet in elevation and not stay very long. The town of Angel Fire sits at 8,406 feet above sea level.
Read more →

DA speaks at legislative breakfast

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
Canadian County District Attorney Mike Fields

By Matt Montgomery

Canadian County District Attorney Mike Fields spoke to chamber of commerce and community members this morning at the Piedmont Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast about priorities and issues the district attorney’s office is working on right now.

Fields spent 14 years as the assistant district attorney in District 4. He was named Prosecutor of the Year in 2003. District 4 serves Garfield, Blaine, Kingfisher, Canadian and Grant Counties.

He said the DA’s office operates on a $4 Million yearly budget. More than half of the budgetary money is state appropriated. He said 52 percent of the budget comes from state appropriations, while 48 percent has to be generated by the DA’s office. One of the ways the DA’s office generates that money is by collecting a percentage of the money from offenders who write hot checks. Those offenders have to pay that money back to the lender or get charged with a crime. In this program, the DA’s office collects fees associated with each case. However, less people are writing checks nowadays because a lot of people use bank cards.

Fields said the prosecutor’s office has three main priorities it deals with:

1) Serious and violent offenders
There were 89 violent offenders in Canadian County from 2011-12. Those offenders included murderers and rapists.

2) Career criminals
There were 810 career criminals in the county system from 2011-12.

3) Juvenile justice
Fields said juvenile justice is one of his top priorities. He said rehabilitating youth who are making mistakes is important, so that they can grow out of it to become good citizens.

Fields also gave some statistical numbers from the last few years in the Canadian County court system.

Felonies: 1,762
Misdemeanors: 2,564
Juvenile cases: There are more than 700 juvenile cases still pending and about 3,300 Department of Human Services (DHS) referrals in 2013.

Fields also noted that mental health services with adults is very underfunded in the state and has an impact on public safety.

He also mentioned how Drug Court works. Drug Court is a court-appointed program that allows a drug offender to rehabilitate without getting jail time, unless they fail to complete the program or fail to abide by its rules, set by a judge. There were more than 100 participants in the Drug Court program last year, all from Canadian, Kingfisher and Blaine Counties.

Offender costs are $40 per month. There is an estimated 70 to 80 percent recidivism rate for those who do not attend Drug Court. However, there is a 70 to 80 percent success rate for those who attend.

Some notable cases from year’s past the DA’s office prosecuted:

Wendell Grissom: He was sentenced to death for murder and that sentence was affirmed. He is in his Federal appeals processes.

Thomas TwoBabies: Was given a life sentence for murder.

Jeff Wood: Was given five life sentences for child rape in and around Kingfisher.

Bobby Bledsoe: Was given a 30-year sentence for murder.

John and Sonja Kluth: Were given 50-year sentences for child abuse.

Michael Mason: Was give 20 years for child pornography.

Grady Lewallen: Was given life for murder.

Gregory Wood: Was given 44 years for engaging in child sex.

Becky Bryan: Was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for the murder of her husband, Keith Bryan, the Nichols Hills police chief.

K.O. Cooper: Was given life without parole for drug trafficking after previous convictions for the same crime.

James Dankei: Given life without parole for murder.

Piedmont youth nets 9-pound bass

Submitted by Hoss Cooley
Seven-year-old Avery Ohl, left, landed this 9-pound black bass on her Barbie Doll fishing rod last weekend at Lake Texoma.

By Matt Montgomery

Seven-year-old Avery Ohl had the catch of a lifetime July 6 while fishing at Lake Texoma with her “Papaw,” Hoss Cooley, and family and friends.

Ohl, a soon-to-be third grader at Northwood Elementary, was fishing with her trusty Barbie Doll fishing rod when she felt the pull of a large fish.

“It almost snapped,” Ohl said referring to the barbie rod. “It (the fish) was gross.”

The 9-pound black bass was actually Ohl’s first fish that she ever caught. She was using the red vein from inside of a striped bass’ body as bait.

She and her family were down at Soldier Creek on Lake Texoma, enjoying the July 4 holiday weekend and came back with a fish the family intends on mounting.

“We couldn’t be more proud,” Hoss Cooley, Avery’s grandfather, said. “Way to go, Avery!!”

The Lake Texoma record black bass weighs 11 pounds. It was caught March 28, 2011 by Daniel Robertson from Kingston. He caught that fish on a Calcutta reel and jig and released it back into the lake.

Piedmont Freedom Fest parade kicks off at 5

By Amanda Elrod
Mid-America Christian University student

The Piedmont Freedom Fest has something for everyone this year and can fill your day with many activities to help celebrate our nation’s birthday. Come join us on July 4 at Piedmont Elementary School for the annual Independence Day Freedom Fest.

Evening activities begin at 5 p.m. with local vendors located at Piedmont Elementary School offering a wide variety of food, crafts, inflatables, face painting and pony rides. The Freedom Fest Parade will kick off at 7 p.m. with popular Oklahoma country artist, Kylie Morgan, performing at 8 p.m. The firework display will begin at dark and end the day’s events with a beautiful show of patriotism.

Piedmont’s Mayor Valerie Thomerson said, “I look forward to the Freedom Fest every year. I always enjoy the strong feeling of community, coming together and having fun, the kids, the candy, but mostly the fireworks. The 4th of July is a time to celebrate, as a nation, our independent nature, our willingness to take a stand and be counted for something worthwhile and it is about our collective will to fight against tyranny and oppression.”

For more information about the Piedmont Freedom Fest, visit the website at www.piedmontfest.com

or like us on facebook at piedmont freedom fest

Gazette file photo
This year’s parade will begin at 5 p.m. on Piedmont Road.

OKC Mudcats invite sick children to their youth baseball game

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
Oklahoma City Mudcats youth baseball player Kyle Swain, left, wears the jersey with the name of Cavett Kids Foundation child Brasen. Swain and others from the Mudcats wore the name of one of the Cavett Kids on their jersey for their game, held last Wednesday at the P.C.O. youth baseball fields in northwest Oklahoma City.

By Matt Montgomery

The Oklahoma City Mudcats, a youth baseball team with three players living in Piedmont, were joined last Wednesday at their little league game in Oklahoma City, by several kids suffering from life-threatening illnesses: the Cavett Kids.

Cavett Kids Foundation, based in Oklahoma City, is a non-profit organization that brings together children with disabilities and life-threatening illnesses and takes them to different events and camps to interact with other kids their age.

Cavett Kids Foundation art therapist and director of Diversionary Play, Ashley Simpson, attended the game last Wednesday with the Cavett Kids and said Ty, Carly and Brasen had a great time interacting with the youth baseball team.

“For several of them, it was the first time they had ever been to a baseball game,” Simpson said. “Some of them were able to play sports before they got sick and some are hoping that if their health gets good enough, they want to try to play again. It sparked a lot of those feelings in them.”

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
The OKC Mudcats are Piedmont residents Colby Bethea, Brooks Whiteman and Donnie Berry; Luke Treece, Trevor Loomis, Cole Limber, Jake Perez, Chirs Moore, Zayin Brungardt-Davis, Cole Crosier and Kyle Swain. They were joined at their little league baseball game held last Wednesday at Putnam City Optimist baseball complex, located on NW 50th Street in Warr Acres, by several kids from the Cavett Kids Foundation. Ty Stahlbusch, Carly Wood and Brasen (three in front right) enjoyed a night of little league baseball, as they were the invited guests that night who got to sit in or near the dugout and meet some of the baseball players.

The Mudcats reached out to the Cavett Kids Foundation to raise awareness for kids who couldn’t play sports.
Read more →

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