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Top Stories

Local developers file Federal lawsuit against City of Piedmont

By Matt Montgomery

Local developers Cindy Boevers and Reta Strubhar have filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma against the City of Piedmont, three councilmen and two planning commissioners. The defendants named in the lawsuit are the City of Piedmont, Piedmont city councilmen Donnie Robinson, Al Gleichmann and Charles Coffman, and Piedmont planning commissioners Ron Cardwell and Eric Berger.

In the complaint filed last Friday, Strubhar and Boevers (“Developers”) allege they have suffered damages resulting from the Piedmont city council not voting on an agenda item to approve a preliminary plat for “Magnolia Meadows,” a property owned by “Developers.” Read more →

Judge denies motion to dismiss 5 defendants in Boevers’ libel/slander case

Ron Cardwell

Mike Fina

Vernon Woods

Donnie Robinson

By Matt Montgomery

Editor’s note: The Piedmont-Surrey Gazette could not locate a photograph for William Long. The story below is just the result in a motion to dismiss in a lawsuit filed by local developer Phil Boevers against numerous parties. The case is ongoing and The Gazette will update information as the case progresses.

Canadian County District Judge Gary E. Miller denied a motion to dismiss defendants Mike Fina, Vernon Woods, Ron Cardwell, William Long and Donnie Robinson (FWCLR) as “defendants” in the Phil Boevers libel/slander case, Friday morning.

In legal documents filed in Canadian County District Court (CJ-2012-46), attorneys for the defendants wrote in their conclusion “The amended petition must be dismissed with prejudice. Plaintiff has failed to provide even a modicum of facts for the court to determine, under the most liberal of standards, which Plaintiff could prevail in its suit. Over two years have passed since Plaintiff filed the Jan. 19, 2012, Petition, and naming FWCLR defendants 2 1/2 years later is too late.”

Attorneys representing the five defendants made arguments to the judge, but most specifically wanted the judge to consider the statute of limitations in this case, before he made his ruling. The attorneys for the defendants cited several cases in their brief to the court including, Kanuebbe v. McCuistion and Graves v. Foster.

In his conclusion, Judge Miller said to the attorneys, “Based upon the pleas that you have filed, at this time, I’m going to find that there is a possibility that when a party has deliberately hidden their identity, then that changes the statue of limitations. Based upon that, I am going to deny the motion to dismiss.”

Boevers’ attorneys said they were pleased with the judge’s decision to deny the five defendants a dismissal as “defendants” from the lawsuit.

For more information about the libel/slander lawsuit, visit the archives of www.piedmontnewsonline.com or visit oscn.net and click “search dockets.” Then find Canadian County and type in case number CJ-2012-46.

Crews begin work on PUD project

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
Construction crews begin tearing away chunks of land at the end of Gooder Simpson Boulevard last week in Piedmont. This construction is part of the first plat approved from the PUD project.

By Matt Montgomery

Construction crews began the clearing away of land on Gooder Simpson Boulevard last week, as part of the preliminary work on the first plat from the Planned Unit Development project the Piedmont city council approved earlier this year.

The planning commission, then the city council approved two separate plats of land in the PUD project. This project is Phase One of a two-phase development project. Hawks Landing and Autumn Chase are the two residential developments to be completed in this project.

The piece of land for these developments is located South of Edmond Road Northeast and East of Piedmont Road North with access to the site provided by Gooder Simpson Boulevard, approximately 835 feet south of Edmond Road Northeast off the east side of Piedmont Road North.

The plat is comprised of 37 single-family lots and eight duplex lots. The proposed plat has an average lot size of 10,200 square feet, with the largest plot proposed to be 16,378 square feet and the smallest to be 8,227 square feet.

The PUD was originally passed in 2008, with amendments made in 2010, 2012 and the most recent one the planning commission approved in February.

In March, the Piedmont city council approved the PUD just narrowly with two ‘yes’ votes, two ‘no’ votes and one abstention vote from Robert Simpson. It took Piedmont Mayor Valerie Thomerson’s mayoral vote to break the tie and pass the PUD.

The city council did have some questions and concerns during the March 2014 meeting. Some questions arose regarding drainage and the amount and locations of detention ponds in the proposed plat. Also, water and sewer line diameters and water line routing were discussed.

Traffic studies were also looked at, and Piedmont Community Development Director Wade Harden said the traffic study done on this preliminary plat proposal showed the traffic to be comparable to other Piedmont developments.

The two plats, Hawks Landing and Autumn Chase are plats owned by local developer Phil Boevers. When the city council passed the PUD back in March, Boevers issued a statement to the Gazette then.

Phil Boevers stated, “SBS Development is pleased that a majority of the Council followed Piedmont’s ordinances, the advice of legal counsel and staff recommendations and approved the preliminary plat for what is planned to be a quality residential development for Piedmont. We look forward to continuing to work with Piedmont to increase economic activity and help generate additional revenues for the city with this type of quality growth.”

Piedmont Planning Commissioner Ron Cardwell also agrees this development project will benefit the city as it continues to grow.

“This will help spur some commercial growth,” Cardwell said. “Especially downtown Piedmont, an area where future commercial development could occur.”

He also echoed concerns the city council raised during their March meeting.

Cardwell said there are going to be some limitations, stemming from infrastructure needs, which effect the entire development of the land.

He said the development can not be built on the existing infrastructure like it is now.

“The city also has to be able to prepare itself to figure out a way or make sure the developer knows, ‘Hey, you’re going to reach a threshold when some capital investments are going to have to be made,’” he said. “Water is one of those big concerns, because Piedmont Road only has that one water line.”
Cardwell also noted the economic conditions of the country, specifically the housing collapse that happened several years ago, has an effect on development.

He said if things continue to stay stable, then Piedmont will continue to see more residential and commercial growth, similar to the PUD project that is already underway.

Piedmont schools receive A’s, B’s on A-F Report Card

By Matt Montgomery

The Piedmont School District was one of 77 districts statewide that received all A’s and B’s on its A-F Report Card from the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

Stone Ridge Elementary received the highest score of Piedmont’s seven school sites, with an A+.

The other Piedmont school site grades were as follows: Piedmont Elementary – B; Piedmont Primary – N/A; Northwood Elementary – A; Piedmont Intermediate-B; Piedmont Middle School – B+; Piedmont High School – A.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) released the 2014 A-F Report Card for public schools statewide last week. In this third year of A-F, more than one-third of Oklahoma schools improved their overall score, with 289 receiving A’s. Unfortunately, this year also saw a rise in F schools with 200, or 11 percent, as compared to 163 in 2013.

Mandated by state law, the school grades provide parents, students, businesses and communities with a clear, easily understood snapshot of how local schools are performing.

“The A-F report cards are vital to ensuring accountability. Parents and communities must know what schools are excelling and what schools need additional help,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi. “In so doing, Oklahoma educators and schools can build on successes and focus on particular challenges.”

The 2014 school grades are as follows:
A — 289 (16.1 percent)
B — 473 (26.4 percent)
C — 504 (28.1 percent)
D — 299 (16.7 percent)F — 200 (11.1 percent)
No report card — 30 (1.6 percent)

While the A-F calculation essentially remained the same from last year, there were a few modifications.
The Piedmont School District received an A on its 2013 grade.

High school End-of-Instruction (EOI) tests taken by middle school students only counted for middle school and not high school, as previously had been the case.

Moreover, middle school students taking an EOI in math were not required to also take the grade-level math assessment.

In contrast to 2013, the A-F calculation this year factored in advanced coursework and year-to-year growth for high school bonus categories, such as graduation rates.

Eleven districts with more than one school site received all A’s: Amber-Pocasset, Thomas-Fay-Custer Unified, Arapaho-Butler, Burlington, Freedom, Lomega, Mountain View-Gotebo, Reydon, Ripley, Tushka and Waynoka.

Fifteen single-site districts received an A: Banner, Bishop, Cottonwood, Flower Mound, McCord, Moffett, Oakdale, Pioneer, Deborah Brown Community School (Tulsa), Dove Science Academy (Oklahoma City), Dove Science Academy Elementary School (Oklahoma City), Harding Charter Preparatory High School (Oklahoma City), Harding Fine Arts Academy (Oklahoma City), KIPP Reach College Preparatory (Oklahoma City) and Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences.

Seventy-seven districts received entirely A’s or B’s.

Barresi emphasized that the A-F grades enhance accountability and are not a punitive measure.

“This is about empowering parents and students,” said Barresi. “These grades do not tell the entire story of a school, nor are they intended to. But they do provide an important and concise look at how a school is performing in terms of academic achievement.”

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.

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.

Constuction crews begin preliminary work on PUD project

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
Construction crews begin work on the Planned Unit Development (PUD) project the Piedmont city council approved earlier this year. Crews were clearing away a section of land at the end of Gooder Simpson Boulevard Wednesday. The Piedmont-Surrey Gazette will have updates to this story once they become available.

Treece family cuts ribbon on historical barn

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
Maree’ Treece cuts the ribbon Sunday for the grand opening of her family’s historic barn southwest of the Piedmont Road and Northwest Expressway Intersection. (From left to right) Jason Tinsley, Joan Yowell, Aimee’ Treece, Robert Treece, Ashlynn Prigmore, Maree’ Treece and Steve Lunsford.

By Matt Montgomery

The culmination of two years of hard work and 125 years of history was felt last Sunday as the Treece family of Piedmont cut the ribbon to the new barn on their property southwest of the intersection of Piedmont Road and the Northwest Expressway.

The family invited distinguished guests, which totaled around 100 people, to watch as they cut the ribbon to the new barn on their property. The new barn is located in the same spot the original barn was and on the same piece of land. The original barn collapsed many years ago.

History means a lot to the Treece family and cementing the legacy of this now piece of Oklahoma history was important for the family.

The barn was added to the list of the National Registry of Historic Places in Oklahoma and the Treece family were given a citation which was signed by Gov. Mary Fallin. The barn is registered under the Chisholm Trail, which is where the barn lies. Read more →

Former Piedmont mayor recovering after car falls on him

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
Former Piedmont Mayor George Fina poses in front of his 1950 Oldsmobile 88 Friday afternoon, showing the torso brace he recently got to take off after his accident.

By Matt Montgomery

When the 1964 Chevrolet Impala fell off its 10-inch blocks, trapping former Piedmont Mayor George Fina under it, Fina, a confirmed and diligent Italian Catholic, said these words out loud, “My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In His name, my God, have mercy. Amen.”

Fina said the Act of Contrition out loud when the car fell on him, because he thought that moment was going to be his last moment alive. But, thanks to fast response times from the Piedmont fire department and EMSA responders, Fina is alive and recovering from his injuries. He is still rehabbing at Mercy Hospital and recovering from this traumatic event, but he was able to take his torso brace off recently.

When the Impala, which weighs about 3,500 pounds, fell on Fina, it crushed eight of his ribs and fractured a vertebra. He spent five days in the trauma ward at OU Medical Center, then subsequently went to Mercy Hospital for rehabbing. Fina spent seven days at Mercy. Read more →

City hires new police chief

Scott Singer

By Matt Montgomery

The City of Piedmont made it official Tuesday: There’s a new police chief in town.

Piedmont City Manager Jim Crosby, along with several hiring committees, chose Scott Singer, most recently Moore police department, as the new Piedmont chief of police.

Crosby said he looks forward to implementing Singer to the Force and looks forward to a long tenure with the new police chief.

“We are very pleased to have Scott with us,” Crosby said. “We went through several interviews before he was hired. We had three different committees interview him with a number of different people involved. We look forward to him starting to work for our community. We hope his tenure will be very long.” Read more →

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