Whitebead Bean and Tamale Supper slated for this Friday

By Lindsey Temple
News Star Reporter

Whitebead School is gearing up for its annual Bean and Tamale Supper, an event that has been financially helping the Whitebead School system for decades and gives the public a chance to show their support for the school.

The event will be held in the Whitebead Auditorium on Friday, March 2, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The supper is an annual fundraiser for the school and proceeds go to help the school with expenses throughout the year at the discretion of Whitebead’s Parent Teacher Organization.

In past years, proceeds from the event have been used for kitchen equipment, teacher’s grants and new lockers.

In past years the event has brought out very large crowds, sometimes 400 to 500 participants.

This year will be the first year that the entertainment for the event will consist of talent from students from Whitebead School.

Students will put on a talent show for participants consisting of dance acts, singing and even some tumbling.

Tickets for the event are $6 for adults, $3.50 for students and can be purchased from any Whitebead student, at the school office or at the door on the day of the event.

For more information, call 405-238-3021.

BREAKING NEWS: Bennett in custody


By Jeff Shultz



A 27-year old woman wanted in connection with the beating and robbery of an elderly Stratford woman was brought into custody Wednesday afternoon, February 22.

Felicia Lynn Bennett was captured around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday by the Oklahoma City Police Department at an apartment complex in Northwest Oklahoma City, according Garvin County Undersheriff Jim Mullet.

“Right now she is in custody at the Oklahoma City Police Department and we have deputies in route now to pick her up,” Mullet told the News Star.

Mullet said Bennett’s arrest was the result of solid police work between the Garvin County Sheriff’s Office, the McClain County Sheriff’s Office, the Lighthorse Police of the Chickasaw Nation and the Oklahoma City Police Department.

“All of the agencies involved worked together on tracking down numerous tips as to where Bennett was and we were able to narrow our search to the Oklahoma City area,” he said.

Bennett allegedly broke into the home of an elderly rural Stratford woman on Thursday, February 9, and in the course of the robbery severely beat the woman and then stole her vehicle to flee the scene. The car was later found abandoned in Ada.

At that time Garvin County Sheriff Larry Rhodes described the assault as “one of the most vicious and senseless attacks I have seen since taking office as sheriff.”

Since the robbery and attack, Bennett was the subject of a massive manhunt involving several law enforcement agencies including the U.S. Marshall’s Office when it was believed she had fled the state.

Bennett was also wanted on outstanding felony warrants in Garvin County from a June 2011 incident when she attempted to elude Garvin County deputies near SH 133 and SH 19.

In that case she received a suspended sentence with no prison time served.

Look for updates on this story in the March 1 issue of the Garvin County News Star.

Paoli man arrested after standoff

By Jeff Shultz

A Paoli man was arrested early Tuesday morning, February 14, after involving local and state authorities in a standoff lasting more than six hours.

According to Garvin County Undersheriff Jim Mullett, the standoff began shortly after 11:30 Monday night after a 911 call was made concerning a domestic assault.

Mullett said Gary Downing, 48, had allegedly assaulted his wife, 16-year old son and stepfather.

“Sometime during the altercation with the three family members, Downing reportedly pulled a high caliber rifle and threatened the three with it,” Mullett said.

A scuffle broke out as the three family members attempted to take the rifle away from Downing. During the struggle, Mullett said, the weapon discharged once, but did not strike anyone.

“Fortunately, all three family members were able to get out of the house and that’s when the 911 call was made,” Mullett reported.

Paoli Police Chief Johnny Turner and several deputies from the Garvin County Sheriff’s Office, including Sheriff Larry Rhodes, responded to the 911 call.

“They attempted to make contact with Downing, but he never responded to the deputies and Sheriff Rhodes,” Mullett said.

Knowing Downing was held up in the house with the rifle and was considered dangerous, Sheriff Rhodes made the call to bring in the Tactical Team from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

After calling in the OHP Tactical Team, a search warrant was signed Judge John Blake, paving the way for the tactical team to enter the house.

At approximately 6:40 Tuesday morning the OHP Tactical Team made entry into the house and arrested Downing without incident, Mullett said.

Downing was taken to the Garvin County Jail and booked on one felony count of pointing a firearm, one count of domestic abuse and two counts of domestic abuse in the presence of a minor.

After Downing was in custody, a search of his house was executed and authorities found the weapon used in the altercation and another firearm and ammunition.

Suspect sought in weekend robbery

By Jeff Shultz

Garvin County authorities are searching for a 27-year old female in connection to a robbery Thursday night, February 9, on the Garvin and McClain County line.

According to Garvin County Sheriff Larry Rhodes, the robbery took place at approximately 5:30 p.m. at a rural residence on East County Road 1490.

The victim of the robbery was assaulted on her property and her vehicle was stolen.

“This is one of the most vicious and senseless attacks I have seen since taking office as sheriff.  It is our belief the person or persons responsible poses a threat to the public,” Rhodes said.

“The victim did not deserve this violent attack and is fortunate to be alive,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes said the victim was able to identify her assailant.

The victim’s car, a 1998 Mercury Grand Marquis, was recovered Saturday morning after being abandoned in Ada.

Wanted in connection with the robbery is 27-year old Felicia Lynn Bennett.

A warrant for Bennett’s arrest in connection with the robbery was issued Tuesday, February 14.

Bennett, according to Rhodes, is also wanted on outstanding felony warrants in Garvin County from a June 2011 incident when she attempted to elude Garvin County deputies near SH 133 and SH 19.

In that case she received a suspended sentence with no prison time served.

“Since being sentenced in 2011, Bennett has failed to comply to the conditions of the sentencing and warrants were issued in Garvin County for her arrest.  She is avoiding apprehension on the warrants and should be considered dangerous,” Rhodes added.

Anyone with knowledge of Bennett’s whereabouts is asked to contact their local law enforcement agency or the Garvin County Sheriff’s Office at 405-238-7591.

Sadler’s contract renewed by EC-P School Board

By Lindsey Temple
News Star Reporter

Despite calls for his dismissal, the Elmore City-Pernell Board of Education renewed the contract of EC-P High School Principal Jackie Sadler during the board’s regular meeting Monday night.

Before convening into executive session to discuss Sadler’s contract, the board heard from David Cassell, a concerned parent who addressed the board in reference to Sadler’s contract.

Cassell presented a petition allegedly signed by other parents in the school district. Cassell he and the other parents were questioning Sadler’s disciplinary procedures and citied several examples of problems he had with Sadler before pulling his children from the school district.

Questioning Saddler’s appropriateness and professionalism, Cassell urged the board not to renew the high school principal’s contract.

“People in this town are angry, we are tired of muddy water and it’s time for a change,” said Cassell.

After over an hour in executive session, the board voted unanimously to renew the contract for Saddler’s employment.

Whitebead bond issue defeated; Jones wins in Maysville

By Jeff Shultz

A $170,000 Whitebead Schools transportation bond issue was defeated by two votes in Tuesday’s Annual School Elections, while Maysville School Board incumbent Bruce Jones won his bid for re-election.

According to unofficial results from the Garvin County Election Board, the Whitebead bond issue was defeated 68-66.

The bond issue would have paid for two new buses for the tiny Garvin County school district.

In Maysville, incumbent school board member Bruce Jones won his bid for the Office No. 2 seat.

Jones averted a runoff with challenger Asheley Close by taking 54.8 percent of the votes cast in the Maysville School Board election.

Unofficial results from the election board had Jones taking 90 ballots to Close’s 71. A third candidate, Mignon Zurline, took only three votes.

By state law if a candidate takes over 50 percent of the votes cast in a three or more candidate race they will not have to face the next highest candidate in a runoff.

Meanwhile, in Wynnewood, Kathy Stewart won her bid for the Office No. 2 seat on the Wynnewood Board of Education, defeating Walsie May McLaughlin 353-283.

‘Sweet on Main Street’ to honor MSPV’s heroes

By Lindsey Temple
News Star Reporter  

With Main Street programs getting more recognition nationally as a central fixture for small town America, Pauls Valley will, once again recognize those helping our local Main Street Pauls Valley.

It’s time once again to honor those who support the Main Street program with the “Sweet On Main Street” banquet.

On Friday, February 24, at 6 p.m. honorees from various businesses and organizations around the area will gather at the Pauls Valley Senior Citizen Center to recognize volunteers, contributors and special contributions made to Main Street Pauls Valley over the course of the past year.

“This is just our way of recognizing those special people and businesses who have been so supportive of Main Street Pauls Valley,” said MSPV Director Samantha Robb. “Main Street wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for them.”

Attendees will enjoy “A Heart for Main Street” themed evening with Bingo, a silent auction, live entertainment, a slide show and a special video showcasing one of Main Street Pauls Valley’s state award nominations.

“We’ll also have some heart healthy tips and activities with some help from our partners at Pauls Valley General Hospital,” Robb added.

The night will also feature the Smith Paul awards ceremony. The honor is given to businesses and organizations responsible for giving $1,000.00 and over for the entire year.

All area residents are welcome but required to RSVP by Monday, February 20.

For more information on this event please contact Samantha Robb, program director at 405-238-2555.

County fire departments ready to battle election fires

By Jeff Shultz

A group of Garvin County Fire Chiefs is gearing up for a different kind of blaze as they set their sights on promoting a one-quarter cent sales tax election scheduled for March 6.

“There’s some wrong information on this sales tax being put out there and we want to dispel those rumors right now,” Elmore City Fire Chief Eddie Stewart told the News Star Tuesday.

Members of the Garvin County Fire Chiefs Association (GCFA) met last October and voted to request the one-quarter cent countywide sales tax be put on the upcoming March 6 ballot.

The permanent sales tax would be earmarked for fire fighting equipment for all 12 of the county’s fire departments.

Stewart, who is the chairman of the GCFA, said some of the rumors floating around include a misconception of just how much tax would be charged on sales taxable goods to how many fire departments in the area would benefit from the sales tax.

“One report said the tax would be 10 percent on items bought in the county. That’s just not true,” he said.

“This is a one-quarter of a cent sales tax proposal. That means $100 of taxable goods bought in the county would only be taxed 25 cents by the firefighters tax,” he said.

Another rumor, he said, was that one fire department in the county would benefit from the sales tax.

“All 12 county fire departments – from the largest to the smallest – will equally share in the revenue generated by this tax, if it is passed,” Stewart said.

Stewart said if the sales tax is approved, 96 percent of the funds gathered by the tax would be split equally between all 12 fire departments in the county with four percent going to the Garvin County Emergency Management Department for administrative costs.

The reason the tax is being sought is due to depleted firefighting equipment and upcoming mandates by the state and federal governments.

“We’re all struggling and if this sales tax is approved by the voters it will bring needed funds to all of our departments,” said Stewart.

If approved by the voters, the tax would generate an estimate $750,000 per year.

The tax funds would go toward the purchase of fire fighting gear, new tanker trucks and continued maintenance on current equipment.

“Federal and state regulations will soon make it impossible for our fire departments to purchase the required safety gear for our firefighters if we don’t have the money from this tax,” Stewart said.

Elmore City Bank moves to new location

Photo courtesy Kim Chandler: Workers prepare to lift the vault at the Elmore City Bank, located inside Luster’s Market, onto a flat bed trailer so the vault can be moved to it’s new location inside the new Elmore City Bank building at 101 S. Main in Elmore City. The move was completed on Friday, February 3, in anticipation of the new bank facility opening on Tuesday, February 7. The Elmore City Bank is a branch of Pauls Valley National Bank.


Elmore City bids farewell to Barnett

Former EC Police Chief Brynn Barnett

By Lindsey Temple
News Star Reporter

After almost five years of service, Elmore City bids farewell to a well known resident and respected Police Chief as Brynn Barnett and his family pursue opportunities in Mt. View, Oklahoma.

Barnett has been on the EC Police Force since 2006 and before that had not been in law enforcement long.

Barnett’s wife Cara has accepted a position in the healthcare field in Anadarko, a town close to Mt. View.

Brynn is hoping to get on with the Kiowa County Sheriff’s office.

In Brynn’s time in EC, not only has Brynn made his mark on the small town’s law enforcement history but he has also made a few long time friends.

“I’m happy he and his family are moving on to better things, but I sure miss him watching the crosswalk with me,” said Lisa Rollings, Elmore City Town Clerk.

With Barnett leaving, long time officer, Joseph Henslee will fill the vacant chief position and Josh Hines will assume the position of assistant chief.

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