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Local News with J. Curtis Huckleberry

KGWA Local News Thursday 05.04.23

PF)--Residents of Enid and Garfield County are invited to a public forum being held this evening to hear information and ask questions about the proposed expansion and renovation of Garfield County Detention Facility. The public forum, hosted by Enid Social Justice Committee and Holy Cross Orthodox-Catholic Church, will begin at 6:00 p.m. at University Place Christian Church, 2107 E. Broadway. Ben Crooks, jail administrator of GCDF, will be there to speak and answer questions from attendees about the proposal, which will be the subject of a special election Tuesday as a proposition that calls for a 0.30%, or 30 cents for every $100 spent, increase to the county sales tax rate for 15 years to fund the operation, maintenance, construction, equipping and improvement of the GCDF. GCDF has an operational capacity of 193 beds and a design capacity of 232 beds and has been over capacity for more than 11 years since its 2005 opening. Included in the resolution are the addition of 82 beds in dormitory-style housing and 16,000 square feet; the renovation of part of the current 45,000-square-foot building; and construction of medical, administrative and visitation spaces, as well as a space for educational and religious programs. Early voting will be 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. today and Friday at Garfield County Election Board, 903 Failing.


                                               --00--  04  May  23  2p


CB)--Discussions and review of the city of Enid’s annual budget for the upcoming fiscal year are underway. The initial draft of the FY 2023-2024 annual budget report was presented to the Enid City Commission during its study session on Monday. City officials said the annual budgeting process begins around January or February of each year as accounting staff members start going through and updating revenue and expense histories to look at projections while also receiving requests from different city of Enid departments. Officials expect to end the current FY with about $41.3 million in total sales tax revenue, which was originally budgeted at $38.7 million. The FY 2023-24 projected budget for sales tax revenue is $40.2 million, a nearly 4% increase from the current FY. Two other special budget meetings are scheduled for next week on Tuesday and Thursday. Following those, the city commission will vote on the proposed budget during an upcoming meeting.


                                               --00--  04  May  23  7a


NS)--Chisholm Public Schools Board of Education named Marcus Chapman to be the district’s new superintendent on Wednesday night. His appointment comes less than two weeks after current Superintendent Dudley Darrow resigned to serve as Superintendent of Enid Public Schools. Chapman currently is Ryan Public Schools superintendent and will begin his duties at Chisholm July 1 when Darrow leaves for EPS. Chapman graduated from Timberlake High School in 2000 and received his associate degree from Northern Oklahoma College Enid. He received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Northwestern Oklahoma State University and completed his master’s degree in education administration at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. He currently is attending Liberty University seeking his doctorate in administration, supervision and educational leadership. Chapman will move to the Chisholm district along with his wife Dustina and their five children, who all will attend Chisholm Public Schools.


                                               --00--  04  May  23  7a


DP)--Enid will observe the National Day of Prayer on today at the Gazebo on the north lawn of the Courthouse. The event will be from 11:55 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Several faith and community leaders will participate in the event. The prayer gathering will represent numerous churches and ministries in Enid and is not affiliated with any one denomination. All people are encouraged to attend and pray. The National Day of Prayer has roots dating back to 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation.


                                               --00--  04  May  23  7a


TR)--The public is invited to attend a come-and- go “Thank-You Reception” honoring outgoing Mayor George Pankonin and Ward 1 City Commissioner Jerry Allen to be held today from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Stride Bank Center’s Convention Hall.


                                               --00--  04  May  23  7a


SA)--Dr. Sam Robinson, Chief of Finances and Operations for Enid Public Schools, was recognized by the Oklahoma Association of School Business Officials (OkASBO) as the 2023 School Business Official of the Year. Previous winners of the award selected Robinson from multiple applications and recommended him to the OkASBO board for recognition. Cindy Shiever, EPS Business Office Manager, nominated Robinson for his depth of knowledge and vision for the district. Since taking on the CFO/COO position in 2018, Robinson has overseen the management of more than $42 million in bond projects and construction and has been an active member in the Enid community since 2016 when he accepted the position of Longfellow Middle School principal.


                                               --00--  04  May  23  7a


MM)--A mural depicting the history at Enid Woodring Regional Airport being painted by Tox Murlillo is expected to be completed by Memorial Day, but donations are needed in order to pay for the completion. Elaine Johns, executive director of Woodring Wall of Honor and Veterans Park, told Enid News and Eagle the total cost of the mural is around $30,000. A grant to match 50% of the cost has been received, but she said more money is needed for the mural and lighting. Johns said another $15,000 to $ 20,000 is needed for the project including sidewalks, uplighting and signage. Donations can be made by mail to Woodring Wall of Honor, PO Box 248, Enid, OK, 73702, or donations can be made online at or


Memorial Day, which falls on May 29 this year, will feature several events on that day and the weekend before at Enid Woodring Regional Airport. Elaine Johns, executive director of Woodring Wall of Honor and Veterans Park said there will be a Medal of Honor ride for cars, trucks and motorcycles that will start at Woodring that Saturday and make stops at numerous veteran gravesites. On Memorial Day, Maj. Gen. Doug Dollar will be the keynote speaker, and a free meal for veterans and their families will be held at the conclusion of events. A representative from Vance Air Force Base will be present to dedicate the mural. During the NJCAA Division II World Series held at David Allen Memorial Ballpark, Memorial Day will serve as Military Night, in which veterans from all eras of war will be in attendance and honored.


                                               --00--  03  May  23  7a


JP)--A sales tax increase to expand and renovate the overcrowded Garfield County jail will reappear on ballots before Garfield County voters. The resolution, which Garfield County commissioners adopted and approved March 6 calls for a 0.30%, or 30 cents on every $100 spent, increase to the county sales tax rate for 15 years to fund the operation, maintenance, construction, equipping and improvement of Garfield County Detention Facility. It will appear on ballots in the May 9 special election, more than one year after jail administrator Ben Crooks first proposed the expansion and renovation to county commissioners and seven months after the first resolution was rejected by voters in an August 2022 election. The resolution last year called for a 20-year period instead of 15 years but otherwise remains the same, increasing the jail by 82 beds in dormitory-style housing, adding 16,000 square feet and renovating part of the current 45,000-square-foot building. The estimated cost is about $8.5 to $10 million. If the resolution passes, about $2.7 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds would be applied toward the expansion and renovation.



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