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State

Traffic stop near Okarche leads to child porn charges

Allen Alden

On April 18 at approximately 1 p.m., Allen Alden, 29, was pulled over on Highway 81 near the intersection of 164th Street for speeding. Canadian County Sgt. Jeremy Johnson conducted the traffic stop and was notified by dispatch that Allen’s license was suspended and he had previously served time for possession of child pornography. Alden gave permission for Johnson to look at a laptop computer in the backseat of the car and Johnson observed images of children engaged in sexual acts with an adult male, according to a sheriff’s report.

Alden was placed under arrest and his vehicle was impounded. A warrant was obtained to perform a more detailed search of Alden’s computer and the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office’s Computer Forensics Lab discovered over 750 images of children engaged in sexual acts with adult males. Some of the children were aged as young as four-years-old and Alden was charged with Aggravated Possession of Child Pornography.

“Aggravated Possession of Child Pornography is charged when a suspect has over 100 images of child pornography,” said Sheriff Randall Edwards. “This charge carries up to life in prison.”

Alden has previously served time in Illinois for possession of child pornography. Alden is currently being held in Canadian County Jail with a $100,000 bond.

Sheriff Edwards said Alden had admitted to being addicted to child pornography to investigators and during an interview with a local television station.

“There is a common thread between everything I have ever heard, or read, from psychiatrists regarding child predators, they all agree that a child predator cannot ever be completely rehabilitated,” Edwards said. “Mr. Alden is literally screaming with all that is good in him for society to lock him up for life; we need to listen to him.”

Law Day events planned this month

Residents will have an opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at the county legal system later this month during the annual Law Day event, which is a celebration of the legal system and a time when members of the legal profession provide various pro bono services.

The Canadian County Bar Association is helping to host Law Day activities on April 26 and 27, which include a free open house at the Canadian County Courthouse and county jail in El Reno on the 26th. The open house at the courthouse will run from noon to 2 p.m. and tours of the jail will begin at 2:30 p.m. All citizens from Canadian County are invited to come and see the county buildings but those wanting to tour the jail are asked to contact Sheila in the Sheriff’s office at (405) 262-4748.

Members of the Canadian County Bar will also be participating in the Ask A Lawyer program in conjunction with the statewide campaign to answer legal questions by phone.  Members will be participating from the offices of the Denton Law Firm in Mustang from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.  The number to call during that time is (405) 376-2212.

Also, in celebration of Law Day, the Gary E. Miller – Children’s Justice Center, will host an open house on May 7 from Noon to 2 p.m.

To ask questions about the Law Day activities, please call Canadian County’s Law Day Chair John Paul Jordan at the Jordan Law Firm, at (405) 222-8721.

Filing for recall election begins April 11

Wade Johnson, Ward 5 Councilman

The filing period for a city council recall election in Ward 5 opens next month, along with four Canadian County positions.

Councilman Wade Johnson faces a recall election June 26. However, the councilman has filed a lawsuit challenging the election. The filing period for the election begins April 11 and ends April 13. Those interested in running should file at the Canadian County Election Board offices between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

The same dates are in place for those interested in running for District 2 County Commissioner, County Court Clerk, County Clerk and County Sheriff.

Candidates for state offices should file with the Secretary of the State Election Board.  Candidates for county and local offices file with the Secretary of the County Election Board.

Undercover officer makes child-sex predator bust

Stephen Sloan, 30, faces child-sex predator charges following an undercover operation by county sheriffs. (File)

Investigators with the computer crimes unit of the Canadian County Sheriff’s office arrested a Stillwater man after he arrived at a Yukon theater believing he was meeting two underage girls.

Stephen Sloan, 30, had been conversing with an undercover officer for several days who he thought he was a 15-year-old girl.

“Sgt. (Adam) Flowers had been posing as a 15-year-old girl only minutes online when he was approached by Sloan,” Sheriff Randall Edwards said. “Sloan immediately began talking about having explicit sex with what he believed to be a 15-year-old girl.”

Investigators convinced Sloan to go to a Yukon theater where he believed he was going to meet with the girl and her friend. Sloan was immediately arrested after arriving at the theater on March 23 and was taken into custody where he provided a full confession, Edwards said.

Sloan was transported to the Canadian County Jail where he awaits arraignment and bond set by a district court judge on child-sex predator charges.

Drought status lifted for area after heavy rains

Recent rains have allowed local vegetation to sprout, including flowers of this canola plant in a field on 164th Street in Piedmont. (Ben Felder)

More than half of the state is free of drought conditions following last week’s heavy rain and the Piedmont area is no longer listed under abnormally dry status.

Each week the National Drought Migration Center reports on drought conditions throughout the country and eastern Canadian County was listed under abnormal dry conditions on March 13. However, a March 20 report showed the status had been lifted following 2 to 4 inches of rain that fell earlier this month.

“The abundant moisture produced flooding in eastern and central Oklahoma, but also alleviated drought impacts that had plagued the state over the last 19 months,” said Gary McManus, associate state climatologist for the Oklahoma Climatological Survey. “The result was a much-improved Oklahoma drought picture.”

Before last week’s rain, 27 percent of the state had been free of drought or abnormally dry conditions, but now 63 percent of the state is included in that category, including Piedmont. Oklahoma has been suffering from a severe drought for at least 19 months, which has caused problems for farmers across the county and state.

Nearly the entire state received at least an inch of rain last week, bringing the state’s average rain fall in March to 4.3 inches, ranking this as the 10th wettest March on record, according to the Oklahoma Climatological Survey.

“The drought was just getting a toehold in March 2011, which ended as the eighth driest on record with a statewide average of 0.71 inches,” McManus said. “The relief this March continues the momentum of drought eradication that began in October 2011. Since that time, also known as the start of the water year, the state has received an average of 17.3 inches of rain, a surplus of 3.6 inches. The water year thus far is the 12th wettest on record, compared to the same period last year, which was the seventh driest.

Whether Oklahoma will continue to experience relief in the coming months is yet to be seen as the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center states precipitation predictions in April, May and June is unknown.

“Anything but below normal rainfall will continue to alleviate existing drought impacts, and prevent more droughts from developing,” McManus said.

County inmate caught after escape attempt

Edward Adair was caught 8 minutes after he had escaped from Canadian County Jail on March 16. (File Photo)

A faulty electronic sensor provided an opportunity for a Canadian County Jail inmate to make an escape attempt, but minutes later he was apprehended and now faces the prospect of an extended sentence.

On March 16 at approximately 3:30 p.m., Edward Adair, 24, was taken into custody by Canadian County investigators for outstanding warrants in Custer County, according to information from the Canadian County Sheriffs office. While being booked into Canadian County Jail on hold for Custer County, Adair escaped through a double door sally port that was supposed to be locked. According to Sheriff Randall Edwards, the first door is not suppose to open until the second door is locked, but a faulty electronic sensor allowed Adair to exit through both doors.

Adair was immediately pursued by jail staff that chased him to a relative’s house just west of the jail facility, according to Edwards. The inmate was taken back into custody eight minutes after his initial escape.

“His 8 minutes of freedom is going to cost him more than that in years,” Edwards said. “He is now looking at a charge of escape from custody, by doing that, he has violated his federal parole on a former prison sentence for possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute.”

Edwards said Adair’s parole officer has said the parole previously available to Adair will be revoked.

Edwards also said the faulty sensor on the door is being changed out and additional sensors will be added to both doors.

Oklahoma, Piedmont shows conservative, anti-Obama feelings on Super Tuesday

When Mitt Romney made a stop in Oklahoma City last November he buttered up the crowd by implying its genius for previous voting habits, specifically its show of support for Sen. John McCain in all 77 counties during the 2008 presidential election.

Speaking to a supportive crowd at the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, Romney referred to Oklahoma as the “reddest state in the nation,” and there isn’t much debate that in eight months the state will back the Republican nominee, whoever that might be.

However, while Romney might have been right to refer to the Sooner State as the nation’s reddest, or most conservative, it was his campaign rival Rick Santorum that appealed to the state’s conservative nature during the March 6 primary election in Oklahoma, and Santorum was also a voter favorite in Piedmont.

The Republican presidential primary election in Oklahoma saw Santorum take 34 percent of the state’s GOP vote, but Santorum received even better support from Piedmont’s two precincts with 36.2 percent (377 votes).

Like the rest of the state, Romney came in a close second in Piedmont with 28.10 percent (292), followed by Newt Gingrich with 24.92 percent (259) and Ron Paul with 10 percent (104).

Santorum’s victory in Oklahoma came as no surprise to Canadian County Republican Chair and Piedmont resident Robert Hubbard.

“I thought he would win (Oklahoma),” Hubbard said about Santorum. “Actually, I really expected Santorum to (get more) votes from what I could see at the events that I attended.”

Hubbard, who said he never reveals his candidate of choice in an effort to remain a neutral chairman, said recent endorsements by well-known Oklahomans for Romney and Gingrich may have affected Oklahoma voters, but he does believe the conservative nature of the state was the driving force behind Santorum’s win.

“We are the reddest state in the nation,” Hubbard said. “I think people in Oklahoma understand what a checkbook is, they don’t write checks without money in their accounts. Oklahomans just have good, honest values.”

The Super Tuesday vote, along with the last presidential election, shows Oklahoma is a strongly conservative state, or, at least, a strongly anti-liberal state. Oklahoma recently was home to a two-term Democratic governor, but in the 2008 presidential election every county in the state went to GOP candidate McCain. Two years later, the state’s dislike for President Obama appears to still be flourishing as the incumbent received just 57 percent of the state’s Democratic vote, a relatively low number for a current president running virtually unopposed in his party. However, Obama received just 48.5 percent of the Piedmont Democratic vote and actually lost to candidate Randall Terry in 12 other Oklahoma counties.

“There is no question,” said Hubbard when asked if he felt Oklahoma was a strongly anti-Obama state. “I have not visited with anyone, Republican or Democrat, that is in support for the president.”

Obviously, Obama has his supporters in the state, although not many. The Super Tuesday and 2008 presidential election may seem to peg Oklahoma as one of America’s most conservative, but in a recent Gallop Politics survey, Oklahoma didn’t even crack the top 10 of the most conservative states.

However, regardless of where Oklahoma ranks among conservative states, there is no question that local politics fall to the right and Washington Post writer Aaron Blake recently took a look at the state’s significant disapproval of the president with his article “Why Oklahoma is so anti-Obama.” Blake came to the conclusion that Oklahoma voters have a stark opposition to Great Society liberalism and that even registered Democrats in the state have a conservative foundation.

“Obama continues to prove his values are even outside the mainstream of the Democratic Party in Oklahoma,” GOP consultant Chris Wilson told Blake in his article.

Then again, part of the low numbers for Obama on March 6 could come from the fact that the only registered Democratic willing to vote in an insignificant election were those looking to make a statement. Youth turnout was also low, which makes up a large segment of Obama’s supporters. The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement reported that voters under the age of 30 accounted for just 5 percent of total voters on Super Tuesday in Oklahoma.

Down the road in Surrey Hills it was a similar conservative tone during the primary elections, but it was Romney that came out on top with 32 percent (249) of the vote, followed by Gingrich with 30 percent (233) and Santorum with 29.8 percent (232). Paul received 7.2 percent (56) of the Surrey Hills’ vote. Obama did better with Surrey Hills Democrats with 75 percent (66) of the vote.

With Oklahoma leaning so heavily to the right, it most likely indicates that Super Tuesday was the state’s best chance to make an impact on the November election. No matter who the nominee ends of being come November, Oklahoma is expected to once again be a red state, meaning neither Obama or the GOP candidate is likely to pay much attention to the state in the coming months. Santorum has used his victory in Oklahoma and other social conservative states as a claim he should be considered a serious contender, but Romney remains the frontrunner and is banking on the idea that he is perceived to be the Republican with the best chance to beat Obama in November, an idea Hubbard isn’t exactly sold on.

“I don’t know particularly how I feel about Romney being the only one who can beat (Obama),’ Hubbard said. “I don’t necessarily think Romney is a good debater at all. If I were going for someone to beat Obama in a debate it would be Newt Gingrich. Voters think he is the smartest but they aren’t sure what he is going to do because of his record.”

The presidential election is still eight months away, making it too early to set any real prediction on what the outcome will be. But no matter what happens on November 6, Oklahoma’s political identity will most likely be defined by a strong support of the Republican candidate and a deep dislike for Obama.

Sen. Johnson named assistant floor leader

 

Sen. Rob Johnson (File Photo)

Sen. Rob Johnson, R-Yukon, was named Assistant Majority Floor Leader last week following a vote of approval from the Republican caucus.

“I am honored that my fellow Republican senators trusted me with this position, and I look forward to serving,” said Johnson, who represents Senate District 22.  “Being a part of the Senate leadership team is a great responsibility, and I am grateful to my colleagues for their support.”

Johnson follows Sen. Clark Jolley in filling the position. Jolley vacated the role when he was appointed head of the Senate Appropriations and Budget Committee.

The Senate has three assistant majority floor leaders that assist in the flow of legislation. Johnson is the only freshman senator to serve in the position.

“Sen. Johnson is a proven leader with the ability to help us achieve important goals,” said Bingman, R-Sapulpa, in a release.  “His experience and knowledge will be central to our efforts to move Oklahoma forward.  We look forward to him bringing his valuable leadership to the position of Assistant Majority Floor Leader.”

Johnson also serves as the current Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee and Vice-Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Johnson was elected to the State House of Representatives in 2004, where he served as Majority Whip from 2006 to 2008.

Local voters preparing for presidential primary

Romney has a slight lead in the race for the Republic presidential nomination but voters across the country and in Oklahoma appear to still be weighing their options.

When Mitt Romney made a stop in Oklahoma City last October he buttered up the crowd by calling Oklahoma voters some of the smartest in the nation.

“You guys are smarter than the rest of the country,” said Romney, referring to the state’s support of Sen. John McCain in the 2008 presidential election in all 77 counties. “You saw something I don’t think the rest of the nation saw.”

Romney, who appears to be the front runner in the race to become the GOP’s presidential nominee in November, called Oklahoma the “reddest state in the nation” and there isn’t much debate that in 10 months the state will back the Republican nominee, whoever that might be. That means the state’s primary election, which is scheduled for March 6, could be Oklahoma’s best chance to make its voice heard in the race for the White House.

Not many political pundits believe the final two candidates for president will make many stops in Oklahoma as the state’s seven electoral votes will almost assuredly go to the Republican candidate. But Republican candidates could start making more visits to the Sooner state in the weeks before the primary election, and, just as the rest of the nation appears to be, Republican voters in Oklahoma seem to still be making up their minds.

In an online straw poll the state GOP organization asked which Republican candidate Oklahoma residents supported. Voting required a donation of $5 and was not scientific, but nearly half of the close to 350 voters supported Ron Paul. Herman Cain, who has since dropped out of the race, came in second with 25 percent of the vote, followed by Newt Gingrich (17 percent) and Romney (6 percent). Rick Santorum, who came in at a virtual tie with Romney during last week’s Iowa Caucuses, finished with 1 percent of the vote.

The Oklahoma straw poll was conducted in November and there has been some shakeup in the GOP race since then. Santorum has now become a strong challenger and at least two of the candidates have exited the race. A convincing front runner has yet to emerge and the March 6 primary election could be pivotal in determining the GOP nominee.

Robert Hubbard is chair of the Canadian County Republic Party and says the 2012 primary race has been very unique.

“I don’t think we have ever seen a primary like this, in my memory,” Hubbard said, “and my hair is pretty grey.”

Ten more states will hold primaries before Oklahoma voters share their thoughts on March 6, which is referred to as Super Tuesday as a total of 10 states will be holding a primary or caucus. The race could become more clear by March but Hubbard said there isn’t a clear favorite yet among local voters.

“I still think Mitt Romney is going to be candidate to beat but there is no perfect (candidate),” Hubbard said. “They all bring something to the table and each candidate seems to have its own strong support.”

Hubbard said candidates such as Paul and Santorum seem to have a lot of momentum among Oklahoma Republicans, but with the main objective being to beat President Barack Obama, Hubbard isn’t sure ultra conservative candidates will get the party’s ultimate support.

While making Obama a one-term president is the top goal for many Republicans, Hubbard said the economy is the biggest issue on Oklahoma’s radar, as it is across the nation. However, Hubbard said there also seems to be a feeling among local voters that the country’s political leaders are clueless when it comes to the problems of everyday Americans; and he blames leaders on both sides of the isle.

“It seems like Obama and most of the guys in Washington are so far out of touch with the average citizen,” Hubbard said. “You can’t blame the president for everything. You have a congress that is all guilty. They think they are untouchable, whatever happens in the economy they don’t have to worry about it…it’s like, are you kidding me?”

Piedmont man appointed to construction board

A Piedmont man has been appointed by the governor to serve on the Construction Industries Board.

Earlier this week Gov. Mary Fallin announced that she had appointed Tony Boevers to the board. Boevers is vice president of Allstate Electrical Contractors and owns Plainsmen Properties, according to a release from the governor’s office. Boevers studied at Canadian Valley Technical School and will serve a four year term, replacing Mike Burton who resigned from the position.

Senate confirmation is required for this appointment.

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