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Area veterans’ group moves forward to build new center

By Roger Pugh

The Piedmont Area Veterans Association continues to move forward with the group holding an organizational meeting last week and electing permanent officers.

Gary Layton was elected president of the group, while Kate Kearby will serve as secretary and Leon Meyer is the treasurer.

The group began organizing in 2012 and began work to raise funds and find a location on which to construct a veteran’s center in Piedmont. The planned facility is to provide space to display military memorabilia of local service men

and women and among other things, will provide space to offer services for local vets, including a designated area for counseling. Read more →

Janice Mills rebuilds after last year’s tragedies

Matt Montgomery?Gazette
Janice Mills sits in her chair in front of her house before it burned down. It has since been almost restored and she is set to move in by the end of March.

By Matt Montgomery

Piedmont resident Janice Mills has shown bravery and courage over the last year. First she lost her husband, Dennis, Nov. 21, 2012, she then lost her mother. After losing two of the loves in her life, Mills’ home caught on fire and was destroyed more or less.

She recalled the Sunday night when her house caught on fire, because it was the day after what would have been her 40th wedding anniversary. She said she dozed off to sleep in the living room in her home at 2408 Piedmont Rd. N around 10 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 12, only to be awakened by a frantic pounding on her front door. It was passerby Mark Means beckoning her to get out of her burning house. Means, driving past the house, had noticed the flames shooting from Mills’ roof.

She managed to get out alive and could only watch as her house continued to burn. Read more →

Oil spill reroutes Piedmont motorists

By Matt Montgomery

The Piedmont Police Department was notified last Sunday evening that a John Deere tractor had leaked what appeared to be hydraulic fluid down a three-quarter mile stretch of Piedmont Road ending near Apache Road. Police directed traffic west and eastbound down Apache while a hazardous materials crew and the Piedmont Fire Department used a drying material to dry the roadway and make it safe for travel.

Piedmont Police Chief Alex Oblein said a Piedmont Police Officer initially saw a vehicle sliding awkwardly down the road, and at about that same time the police department received a call about the situation.

“We initially responded and called the fire department because it was more of a haz-mat deal,” Oblein said. “It wasn’t really a criminal matter because there hadn’t been an accident yet and there probably would have been if we didn’t get the road blocked off.”

He said the fire department called the hazardous materials crew to assist them in the clean up.

Oblein said his officers eventually found the tractor in a field, off of the roadway.
“My understanding was the spill went on anywhere from half to three-quarters of a mile,” he said. “It pretty much covered the whole road.” Read more →

Canadian County game warden reflects past and love for wildlife

By Matt Montgomery

Canadian County Game Warden Joey Rushing has been around wildlife his entire life, allowing him to garner a love of the outdoors from an early age.

Rushing started out fishing and didn’t start hunting until he was a teenager.

It wasn’t until he met Kingfisher County Game Warden Jack Witt in 1996 that he developed a love for the trade.

“I was farming in the summer, and he was a game warden and I just always thought that was the coolest thing, what he did,” Rushing said. “Dover is a small town and he knew my grandpa. When I was a farmer, he came by and introduced himself then he (Witt) started taking me noodling and we used to noodle on the Cimarron River.”

Rushing said he always wanted to be a farmer but didn’t have a farm. He said he also wanted to do something outside and be in law enforcement so that match up inspired him to want to be a game warden, so he acquired information from Witt on how to become one. Read more →

Piedmont Service Center: Food pantry is filled to the brim, residents come through

By Matt Montgomery

Piedmont Service Center Director Dennis Owen said the Piedmont community has really come through with food drives, donations and service help in general.

In an effort to prepare food baskets for the needy in the Piedmont community, the Piedmont Service Center has collected food from food drives done by local schools and boy scout troops as well as local businesses.

“We have been receiving a tremendous outpouring from the community in terms of food collections,” he said. “We’ve had food drives at several of the local schools and in fact, in the latest one that was just completed for us, the kids collected over 850 pounds of food.”

Owen said even though he is relatively new to the Service Center, having been their director for under two years, the food pantry is as stocked as he’s seen it.

“It’s jammed up, I mean we are storing food creatively,” he said. “And, of course, on the other side of it, we are going to be providing and we are open for business any time. But, basically we anticipate that in addition to the sort of planned for activities, we have people in all sorts of circumstances not related to holidays at all. We all get hungry two or three times a day and it doesn’t have anything to do with the holidays.”

Owen said in relation to the season, people have been very generous in writing checks and the local churches have also been very supportive in helping the Service Center collect food, clothing and other necessities for a Piedmont family or two who are down on their luck this holiday season.

New stop sign will take some getting used to

By Matt Montgomery
News Editor

Piedmont City Manager Jim Crosby said the city installed new stop signs at 164th Street and Piedmont Road, not in an effort to try to give out citations, but to protect the kids at the new Piedmont Intermediate.

He said the city originally posted the signs last Friday night, but were afraid no one would see them, so they decided to send out a voice message to residents.

“I had them taken down, and then today we rented these electronic billboards to let people know,” Crosby said. “When dark comes, they can adjust to them.”

Crosby noted the intersection at 164th Street and Piedmont Road is the most accident prone in the entire City.

The city will keep the billboards up for two weeks.

He added that there are some yellow signs behind the stop signs that should allow people to see the new stop signs better.

“We want to give people time to try to adjust,” he said. “That area is a very high accident location for Piedmont.”

He said they certainly want to give everybody the benefit, so they are trying to issue as many warnings as they can, before they start issuing citations.

Piedmont Police Chief Alex Oblein said that is a bad intersection, and because everyone is used to not having a stop sign there, they are more likely to run that.

As he stood by the new stop sign on Monday, he said he observed a lot of people running the stop signs. He said about one in nine people were running the intersection on Monday.

“The vast majority of people have been running it,” Oblein said. “Some of them are going 35 mph as they go through the stop sign area.”

He added people are running the stop signs when there aren’t a lot of cars on that road.

“The people going east and west need to be cautious,” Oblein said. “Don’t count on everybody going north and south are going to stop; they aren’t used to it.”

Elements of the 2030 Comprehensive Plan get once over

By Roger Pugh

The local task force charged with working with the consulting firm hired by Piedmont to create a new comprehensive plan for the city began looking at the transportation and economic development elements of the new plan Tuesday.

“Probably, outside land use, transportation is the most important element of the plan,” Rick Leisner of Jacobs, told the task force. Jacobs is the consulting firm working with the city on the plan.

He noted roadway considerations in the plan take into account that increased automobile access needs to be designed into all school facilities, better intersection control and signalization is needed as demand is defined for all public intersections, and a divided roadway section for Piedmont Road from the Northwest Highway to Edmond Road will be best for safety and image appeal arriving into Piedmont.

The task force also modified another recommendation to say that all roads require good maintenance as related to traffic.

The plan recommendation goes on to say bar ditches and natural drainage adjacent to streets and roads is part of the rural character desired by residents. Finally among roadway considerations, the plan says roadway improvements need to be supported by land developers paying a fair share of cost due to traffic impacts. Read more →

Desire, passion, effort lead to fulfillment of Olympic dreams

Sam Hazewinkle

Photo Courtesy of OU Athletic Communications
Sam Hazewinkle recently qualified for the 2012 London Olympics in freestyle wrestling at 55 kg. Hazewinkle and Piedmont coach Erik Ford wrestled together while in college.

By Greg Evans

For Sam Hazewinkle, competing in the Olympics was something he was born to do. His father, Dave Hazewinkle, had made the Olympics in 1968 and ‘72.

“It was something I was going to do,” Sam Hazewinkle said.

Hazewinkle wrestled at Pensacola Christian Academy in high school and at the University of Oklahoma in college, and now resides in Edmond ,qualified for this summer’s Olympics at 55 kg, or about 121 pounds.

“I’m the little guy on the team,” Hazewinkle said. “We actually have a couple Okies on the team. Jared Frayer, who is a coach at OU, and Coleman Scott from up in Stillwater. That’s three of the seven guys on the freestyle from Oklahoma. Robert Hines is our team doctor and he is an orthopedic surgeon from Oklahoma City.”

Hazewinkle and Erik Ford, Piedmont High School’s wrestling coach, actually wrestled in college. When Ford was a true freshman, Hazewinkle was a redshirt sophomore.

“Just being able to be around someone who, at the time, was an All-American,” Ford said. “In my mind, he was the best guy in the country. Being able to work out and wrestle with him, you pick up things. One of the biggest things was his attitude for competing. He competed his hardest every time he stepped on the mat and he always had a positive attitude. He lost a lot of big matches before he won his big one, but he always bounced back.

“That’s something you have to have in this sport. You have to be able to handle those losses and Sam is a guy who is a good example of that. That’s something I try to preach to our kids. You’re going to get beat. It’s how you react to it.” Read more →

Parker receives Kurt Budke Miranda Serna award at Shock game

Sarah Parker

On Friday June 15th at the WNBA Shock game Piedmont Basketball player Sarah Parker received the Kurt Budke Miranda Serna award.

On Friday June 15th at the WNBA Shock game Piedmont Basketball player Sarah Parker received the Kurt Budke Miranda Serna award.

The Tulsa Shock is partnering with Oklahoma State University to honor the memory of Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna at all 2012 Shock home games this season.

The honorees at each home will receive four (4) courtside tickets and will be recognized during the game. Honorees will have exhibited a positive attitude while exemplifying Coach Budke and Serna’s passion for family, team and the game of basketball.

“Oklahoma State University applauds the Tulsa Shock for honoring Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna by recognizing individuals who are living out what they believed and coached,” Oklahoma State university President Burns

Hargis said. “They were tremendous ambassadors for OSU and the game of basketball and this is a wonderful tribute.”

Eighteen different honorees for each of the Shock’s home games will be selected by a nomination process that will be overseen by Oklahoma State Alumni and the Tulsa Shock ownership group.

“We as an organization were deeply saddened by the tragedy at Oklahoma State University this past season and wanted to concentrate our efforts to honoring the memories of Coach Budke and Serna,” Shock President Steve Swetoha said. “We hope this recognition will help amplify the tremendous efforts of both coaches at Oklahoma State University.”

Piedmont uses big second half to beat Bears

Another game, another slow start for Piedmont, but it was also another game and another strong second half. This time, Piedmont didn’t let their opponent build a big lead before they decided to kick it into high gear. The Wildcats beat the Bears 51-33.
Noble came out in the first half looking to slow down the Wildcat attack with a little bit of stall ball. Noble dominated the time of possession early in the first half, but midway through the quarter Piedmont hit a shot to tie the game. Cameron Peters gave Piedmont their first lead of the game with 2:15, but Noble scored  on the next possession. An offensive rebound and a lay up by Peters put the Wildcats in the lead for good.
Piedmont started the second quarter with a narrow lead and Noble hung with Piedmont until Peters found some space in the middle of the Bear zone. Peters scored six in the second. A Christian Foster shot with 18 seconds left gave Piedmont their biggest lead of the half at six, but the Bears his a late shot to bring it to 21-17 at the half.
The Wildcats came out energized in the second half and started to pull away from Noble. Adrion Williams went down with a minor injury in the first half, but Peters was able to power Piedmont when called upon. The Wildcats lead 38-24 after three.
Fourth quarters can make or break games, and Piedmont’s night was made before the fourth quarter ever started. The Wildcats would keep up their hustle through the quarter and by the 1:42 mark Piedmont emptied their bench and rolled onto the big Suburban Conference victory.
“We had to put more pressure on the ball,” Peters said of Noble’s first half stall. “They were stalling to early and we had to make them move the ball. On offense, I saw an opening in their zone. They were leaving the middle wide open and I was just faster than my guy. I went by him everytime.”
The Wildcats move to 11-8 on the year.
“This game boils down to us doing our thing,” Coach Ryan Wagner said. “We weren’t focused and we didn’t have energy when we came out. When we went into the locker room, we explained to them what was going on and we came out and went on a big run. We have to figure that out earlier.
“Cameron, Conner (McFall) and Hunter Kirton played excellent basketball tonight. Our defense was fantastic. For the first time this year, we scored on four straight possessions. Most people won’t realize how big a win this was… They aren’t a team you beat by 20 points. That’s how powerful we could be. We’re a good team, if we’re all playing the right way.”

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