EC, Wynnewood show sales tax growth

By Jeff Shultz
Publisher

Five Garvin County communities are not off to a good start in 2012 as the Oklahoma Tax Commission (OTC) reported last week all five towns were in the red compared to sales taxes collected by each town one year ago.

Those cities or towns taking a sales tax hit were Lindsay, Maysville, Paoli, Pauls Valley and Stratford.

Only Elmore City and Wynnewood posted gains from 2011 sales tax disbursements, according to the OTC.

Wynnewood had the biggest increase from one year ago, posting an $11,488.28 increase. Elmore City recorded an increase of $1,219.80.

The January distribution of sales tax collections mostly represented local tax receipts from November business, specifically tax collections from November 16-30 and estimated sales for the first half of December.

Of the five cities and towns registering in the red in January, Lindsay took the biggest hit, showing a deficit of $23,081.29 from one year ago.

The remaining four cities posted moderate losses.

Stratford recorded a sales tax drop from 2011 of $2,545.31 while Pauls Valley was third on the list with a $2,065.83 deficit.

Paoli and Maysville were close on the list with Paoli posting a $1,702.71 loss from January of 2011 and Maysville dropping $1,655.71.

State wide the disbursement of $128,336,064 in sales tax collections was returned to 508 cities and towns reflecting a increase of $7,668,399 from the $120,667,665 distributed to 507 cities and towns in January last year.

OU students get first hand look at historic PV hotel

News Star photo by Lindsey Temple: Two OU Architectural students attempt to climb a fire escape ladder located in the back of the old Alvis Hotel in an effort to examine the building from a higher angle. The team of students were in Pauls Valley on Friday, January 27, to study the building and its architecture as part of a class project.

By Lindsey Temple
News Star Reporter 

A new found interest in one of Pauls Valley’s oldest structures has been taken by the University of Oklahoma’s school of architecture.

Last Friday morning as the group of 15 OU architectural students stepped off the Heartland Flyer they were greeted at the train station by Samantha Robb, Deanna Joy and Lou Hall with the Main Street Pauls Valley organization and a plate of homemade brownies.

The students came just for the morning to take a tour of what is left of Pauls Valley’s Alvis Hotel.

Leading the tour were owners and long time local residents, Larry and Jenny Wallace. The couple was on hand to provide facts about the structure and discuss possible options.

The group was lead by Associate Professor of Architecture at OU, Ronald Frantz.

The students will concentrate on the project for an entire semester in hopes of collaborating and coming up with a vision that suits the structure and the community.

“I think this particular building goes as an example of how smaller communities in Oklahoma can set an example for Oklahoma City and surrounding larger cities in terms of historic preservation and can show that you can still be enthusiastic about a place that was abandoned for years and people can still be passionate enough about their community to want to revive something and make things happen,” said environmental sustainability major, Madeleine Wiens.

News Star photo by Lindsey Temple: An OU Architectural student examines what’s left of the old Alvis Hotel in downtown Pauls Valley. The building partially burned up in a 2009 fire. The OU students were in PV last Friday to study the structure as part of a class project.

A tragic fire claimed most of the hotel’s structure in 2009 but to the group of students, what’s left of the building is a new found hope for urban renewal and a green building.

When the hotel was nearly demolished by the fire, the Wallaces, saw an opportunity to fulfill a long time dream of owning the hotel.

The couple put a bid on the damaged building with the city and once the property was acquired the two promptly contacted Samantha Robb with Main Street Pauls Valley to research options to rebuild.

Robb, who had known Frantz through the state’s Main Street program, saw an opportunity for Pauls Valley to be a leading example of green building, urban renewal and sustainability.

Robb then contacted Frantz, who put the wheels in motion for a possible new attraction in downtown Pauls Valley.

Owner, Jenny Wallace expressed a vision much like the Blue Door in Oklahoma City.

“We are very excited about this, this is a wonderful program and we are so lucky to get to be a part of it. We have thought about so many possibilities for this space, maybe some apartments or hotels on the second floor, a courtyard and a really neat venue on the first floor,” explained Jenny.

This is the first of many trips and assessments that will be made by the students to the structure.

BREAKING NEWS: 17 PV hospital employees laid off

By Jeff Shultz

Publisher

 

Seventeen employees at Pauls Valley General Hospital were given pink slips Wednesday, January 25, in a move to save the hospital thousands of dollars each week, hospital officials announced Wednesday.

The move comes two days after the PV Hospital Board and St. Anthony’s announced the hiring of a new CEO for the hospital.

Gayle Sturgis, interim CEO for PVGH, told the News Star the positions eliminated ranged from as high up as directors to housekeeping employees.

“Some employees were offered other open positions here at the hospital while others were given a severance package,” she said.

The severance package included all remaining holiday and vacation pay each employee had and an expedited unemployment benefits process for those employees who will be leaving the hospital.

Sturgis said the decision was made by the PVGH Hospital Board and the Hospital Authority in an effort to improve efficiency of clinical and support functions within the hospital and position the hospital for the future environment under healthcare reform.

“It was a hard decision to make, but each week we put this off the hospital was losing $25,000 per week,” Sturgis told the News Star.

She added that PVGH is undergoing restructuring of its operations and that additional actions will be taken to improve operational performance outside of position reductions such as billing policies and making the hospital more efficient in it’s purchasing decisions.

New CEO named at PVGH

By Lindsey Temple

and Jeff Shultz

 

A hospital administrator from Holdenville will take over as the new Chief Executive Officer of Pauls Valley General Hospital.

In a special Monday night meeting of the PVGH Hospital Board and officials from St. Anthony’s Hospital, board members and St. Anthony’s announced the hiring of Bridget Cosby as the hospital’s new CEO.

The move comes days before St. Anthony’s will take over the management of PVGH as a management agreement with the Oklahoma City hospital will go into effect February 1.

St. Anthony’s posted the CEO’s position as being open shortly after the management agreement was signed by city officials and St. Anthony’s earlier this month.

Current interim CEO Gayle Sturgis will remain on board until February 27.

“We have a lot of work to do but I am very excited,” said Cosby after the announcement was made.

Cosby comes to PVGH from Holdenville General Hospital, where she served as the CEO and comes from a financial background and a CFO history.

As of September 2011, the 25-bed hospital in Holdenville entered into a similar agreement with St. Anthony’s while Cosby served as the hospital’s CEO.

The decision to hire Cosby came after hospital board members and officials with St. Anthony’s met in executive session to discuss the CEO position.

After coming out of executive session, PVGH Hospital Board members Dennis Green, Loren Cronin, Hugh Vaughn and Kristin Jarman voted unanimously to take St. Anthony’s recommendation to hire Cosby.

Minyard chosen for Maysville Library post

By Jeff Shultz

Publisher

 

Morgan Minyard, daughter of former Maysville Police Chief Randy Minyard, was chosen last week by the Maysville Town Board as the town’s new librarian.

The move came during the board’s regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, January 17.

Minyard, 20, was hired at $8 per hour with her start date being Wednesday, January 19. She has previously worked for the Norman and Purcell library systems.

“I want to be a librarian as a career and this is a good start for me. My plans are to eventually go to school at OU and get a degree in Library Sciences,” Minyard told the News Star.

Minyard said she would like to get the children of Maysville heavily involved in a variety of programs.

“We’ll be having summer reading programs and some special activities for the kids throughout the year,” she added.

Minyard replaces former Maysville Librarian Crystal Parks who resigned from the position to have more time with her family.

In other business, Town Board members approved a measure to create a Cemetery Capital Improvement Account for maintenance and improvements at the cemetery.

The account will be funded from sales of cemetery plots, with 12.5 percent of the money from the lot sale going into the fund.

Board members also approved changing the current Cemetery Fund Account to a Cemetery Operating Fund Account.

Other items the board took action on include:

•The purchase of new radio programming software to update the police and fire radios. The equipment is being purchased from ICOM at a cost to the city of $257.90 and will be paid from the Emergency Services Account.

•Board members also accepted the bid of $550 from Clint Dobson for the purchase of the old animal control truck.

In the Maysville Municipal Authority meeting, MMA Trustees accepted a quote from Seth Wadley Ford in the amount of $23,534 for a new truck for the water department.

Trustees will now contact the two local banks for a possible loan to purchase the truck.

While they accepted the possible purchase of a new water department truck, Trustees also got rid of an old vehicle that was being used by the water department by accepting a bid from Donna Helling in the amount of $527.22 so she can purchase an used Crown Victoria previously used by the water department.

Missoula Children’s Theatre returns to PV

By Lindsey Temple

News Star Reporter

 

The Pauls Valley Arts Council will once again be partnering with the Missoula Children’s Theatre (MCT) to bring MCT’s unique brand of children’s theater to Pauls Valley.

This year’s production is “Cinderella” and auditions are being held on Monday, February 20, from 3:45 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Bosa Community Center.

Auditions are open the K-12 students in the Pauls Valley school system, Whitebead School, and all Pauls Valley home school students.

Permission slips will be delivered to the schools the week of February 13; they will also be available at the audition.

All children who plan to audition must have a signed permission slip from their parents, must be able to stay for the entire audition and make all of the schedule auditions the week of February 20.

For more information keep reading the Garvin County News Star or contact Tim Smith at 405-207-1019.

Crime Stoppers program making an impact

By Jeff Shultz

Publisher

 

Cecil Byron Harrison was busy texturing a ceiling in a Pontotoc County home earlier this month when he looked down from the stepladder he was on and found himself surrounded by Garvin and Pontotoc County lawmen.

Harrison was wanted for a variety of felony warrants from Garvin County, including second-degree burglary, unlawful possession of paraphernalia and possession of controlled substance.

As he stepped down from the ladder he asked, “Who’s going to collect the reward?”

Harrison probably knew he was on borrowed time after he was featured in an installment of Crime Stoppers in area newspapers just a day or two before his arrest.

“Once his photo was published in Crime Stoppers we began receiving several tips on his whereabouts,” said Deputy Steve Mayhan, coordinator for the Garvin County Crime Stoppers.

“In fact it was the first tip we received that lead us to the home in Pickett where he was at,” Mayhan added.

Harrison’s arrest is just one of a handful of success stories for the Garvin County Crime Stoppers program, which will commemorate its six month anniversary next month.

Crime Stoppers began alerting the public of various criminal cases last September, asking residents of Garvin County to call a special toll free number with tips on criminal activity in the county.

Now, almost six months later, the program is boasting a healthy bottom line and some success stories to go along with it.

“When we started the program, we had around $6,000 in our account thanks to the efforts of Steve,” said Danielle Caldwell, Treasurer for the Crime Stoppers program.

“Today we have around $8,000 due to several businesses and individuals who have donated money to the program after we kicked it off in September,” she added.

That’s proof that residents in Garvin County are taking ownership of the program and it’s efforts to curb crime, Mayhan said.

“They see the value of the program,” he said. “They’re not only calling in tips to our hotline, but some are actually donating money to it because it’s working.”

Based on similar programs around the state and nation, the Garvin County Crime Stoppers offers a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of individuals involved in criminal activity in the county.

The program offers anonymity to individuals who call in crime tips to the program’s tip line, which doesn’t have any caller ID associated with it.

Since it began its public campaign, the Garvin County Crime Stoppers has had 23 tips with 18 of those tips closed as of January 23, 2012.

“We currently have three tips under investigation,” Mayhan said.

Mayhan admits he was a little disappointed in the program at first, thinking Crime Stoppers should have had more tips coming in.

That was until he went to a Crime Stoppers training workshop in Lawrence, Kansas, in November, just three months after the program began.

“At that time we were working on six tips turned into us. When I told the trainers at the workshop how many we were working since September they were all astounded. They said some programs go on for a long time before getting that many tips,” he recalled.

Like a proud father bragging on his children, Mayhan takes special pride in the success of the program.

Months before the program became public; Mayhan researched the project, worked on acquiring a board of directors to manage the program and came up with some bylaws for the nonprofit status of the program.

“The program’s success is due in part to on Steve’s efforts to reach out to the community and draw support for Crime Stoppers. As coordinator, Steve has taken an idea of mine dating back to my plans if elected Sheriff, to start such a program and ran with it,” said Garvin County Sheriff Larry Rhodes, noting Mayhan spent countless hours developing the program.

“I’m real proud of it,” Mayhan said. “I’m especially proud that the program is doing something to curb criminal activity in our county.”

If you have any information on any crime in Garvin County, please call Garvin County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-211-STOP. A reward of up to $1,000 is offered for information on any crime.

All callers will remain anonymous.

Maysville man arrested after terrorizing local couple

By Jeff Shultz

Publisher

 

A Maysville man faces several felony charges after he allegedly broke into another Maysville resident’s home and threatened to kill the resident and his roommate.

According to district court documents, Brad Albert Davis, 25, has been charged with three felony counts of first-degree burglary, kidnapping and first-degree attempted robbery following a January 12 incident in Maysville.

Court records show that around 11 p.m. on Thursday, January 12, Maysville Officer Randy Minyard was dispatched to the 200 block of 7th Street on a report of an individual being robbed at the residence.

Davis, according to the reports, had entered the residence of Kenneth Penick through the back door and demanded money from Penick.

In Minyard’s report, Davis told Penick to write him a check for $300 to $400 so he could get to Texas.

Penick advised Davis at the time he was on a fixed income and he didn’t have that much money.

That’s when Davis went to another room of the house where Penick’s roommate, Jeanette Bacon, was and started asking them where their gun was.

Davis began rummaging through the room and found Penick’s .22 caliber semi-automatic handgun and began threatening to kill both Penick and Bacon.

Davis then took Penick by gunpoint to the ATM location at First American Bank to force him to use his ATM card to get cash.

In the meantime, the Maysville Police were notified of the incident and were dispatched to Penick’s home.

Minyard said the dispatcher told him the pair was at the bank’s ATM and that Davis possibly was armed.

Upon arriving at the bank, Minyard reported he didn’t see anyone and was advised by the dispatcher that Davis and Penick were on foot.

Shortly Minyard noticed two individuals walking south in the 600 block of Doc Huey. As he got closer to the pair, one of the individuals, who later turned out to be Davis, began walking into the back yard of the residence at the corner of 7th and Doc Huey.

In an attempt to catch up with Davis, Minyard drove his patrol unit through the back yard.

Davis began to elude Minyard on foot but was knocked down by a clothesline. As he got up Minyard reported noticing it was Davis, who then ran from Minyard.

Minyard pursued Davis on foot for a while and then returned to his unit to continue the search.

Minyard stated in his report he obtained a black hoodie Davis was wearing from the driveway of a nearby house and inside the garment was an ATM card with Penick’s name on it.

Maysville Police Chief Adam McMillen joined Minyard in the search for Davis, but could not locate him.

Minutes later Minyard was advised the resident at the corner of 7th and Doc Huey had discovered a gun in his backyard. The gun turned out to be Penick’s.

After retrieving the gun, Minyard went to Penick’s residence to get his statement. While doing so, Minyard was advised of someone trying to break into another residence across town.

As he arrived at the second residence, he was told of someone hiding under a trailer house just east of where the attempted break in had occurred.

Minyard, McMillen and other officers went to the location where Minyard identified Davis, who was hiding the front seat of a pickup with a bloody nose.

Minyard drew his gun and ordered Davis to get out of the vehicle and get on the ground.

Davis refused and after several commands Minyard and the other officers physically placed Davis on the ground.

Davis, according to Minyard, continued to resist more until they were able to place him in handcuffs and placed in McMillen’s patrol car to be transported to the Garvin County Jail.

Davis also faces one misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled dangerous substance after a Xanax pill fell from his pocket.

Arrest made in Maysville man’s murder

Amy Zanca arrived at the Seminole County Jail Tuesday, after she was arrested in connection with the murder of her boyfriend, Kenneth Hornbeck. Seminole County Sheriff Shannon Smith escorted Zanca into the jail. (Photo by Bill Finch, the Seminole Producer)

By Bill Finch

The Seminole Producer

 

The girlfriend of a murdered Maysville man has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of Kenneth Hornbeck, 30.

Amy Zanca, of Holdenville, was booked into Seminole County Jail on Tuesday afternoon, January 17, after authorities linked Hornbeck’s DNA to the truck she was driving at the time of his death.

Hornbeck’s badly mangled body was found in Seminole County, along State Highway 377, approximately three miles south of Bowlegs on Oct. 27, 2011. He appeared to have been a victim of a hit and run that occurred on the previous day.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, as part of the investigation into Hornbeck’s death, DNA samples were taken from the undercarriage of Zanca’s vehicle two days after Hornbeck’s death.

The Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) began testing the samples and notified the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office days ago of a positive match.

The probability of the DNA belonging to someone else was at least one in 3.00 quintillion, according to the OSBI.

The affidavit stated that during interviews with law enforcement, it appeared Zanca’s story of what happened changed several times, and she was unable to tell the same story as she told earlier.

In one interview, she told of having a fight with Hornbeck, and that he had gotten out of the vehicle and started walking towards Seminole. She said she drove to where Hornbeck was, but all she saw was his boots in the roadway, but that he was missing.

In another interview, Zanca said Hornbeck got out of the vehicle during an argument, and that she ran up to him and tried to get him back in the vehicle, grabbing and ripping his shirt while telling him to get back in the car.

Hornbeck was said to have kept walking, and Zanca returned to her vehicle. She said when she started her vehicle, she saw a vehicle that swerved and did not stop. When she drove down the road a little way, she saw boots in the middle of the road. She said she stopped and put them in the back of her vehicle.

According to a report filed by Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Galaway, who mapped the scene, it was a low speed impact that caused the injuries to Hornbeck.

Zanca is being held without bond in county jail while awaiting formal charges from the District Attorney.

Reynolds Center a proven winner one year later

News Star photo by Jeff Shultz: Terry Turner of Rosedale works out on one of the fitness machines at the Donald W. Reynolds Recreation Center in Pauls Valley. One year after the center opened its doors to the public, the state of the art facility has become a popular site for many in the Garvin County area.

By Jeff Shultz
Publisher

Terry Turner of Rosedale makes the short drive to Pauls Valley for one reason – to get a good cardio workout at the Reynolds Recreation Center in Wacker Park.

“I come over here just about every day,” Turner said as he worked out on one of the fitness machines at the Reynolds Center.

To say the Donald W. Reynolds Recreation Center has been a “success” in its first year of operations would be an understatement, according to data recently released by PV Parks and Recreation Director Jennifer Samford.

Samford’s one-year status report was compiled for the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation and the City of Pauls Valley.

According to Samford, memberships to the popular recreation and fitness facility were at 1,261 at the end of December 2011.

“When we started planning this facility several years ago, I thought if we had 500 paying members we would be doing good. I was totally blown away by our membership numbers,” Samford said.

The largest month for memberships was in March of 2011 with 1,338 individuals and families signing up for a membership to the center.

According to Samford, the largest group of people using the facility is women with 51.45 percent of the center’s members being female while 48.55 percent are males.

“Our most popular fitness class is Thursday night Yoga with Elisse Varner,” Samford told the News Star.

While a majority of members are from Pauls Valley (80 percent), Samford noted members are coming from all over Garvin County to use the facility.

“We have members from Wynnewood, Paoli, Elmore City, Stratford and Maysville. Basically every town in Garvin County is being served by the center,” she added.

And Samford noted the center is also drawing members from McClain, Carter, Murray, Pontotoc and Pottawatomie Counties.

The Reynolds Center has also been the “hot spot” for a variety of youth activities and sporting events as well as a meeting place for several civic and community organizations in the past year.

“We’ve also held Oklahoma Recreation and Park Society Board meetings here as well as a countywide health fair and classes for CLEET and first responder training,” Samford said.

As is the case with any new facility such as the Reynolds Center, there was an education period for the members shortly after opening.

“Many members had their own ideas of how things should be, the rules they would like to have followed and we just had to go over and over and over our policies,” Samford said.

The center was built with a $7.9 million Community Grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. The grant was for Phase I of the construction process, which was for the center itself.

Now the Reynolds Center Committee is planning Phase II of the project, a state of the art aquatic center next to the Reynolds Center.

Plans were originally for the aquatic center to be opened by this summer, but those plans have been put on hold due construction bids for the water park coming in over the anticipated $3 million budget.

“We’re basically having to go back to the drawing board on how we bid out the aquatic features in an effort to meet our budget,” Samford said.

However, she emphasized, the Pool Committee is committed to building a quality and unique aquatic center and may have to seek donations and grants to finish out the facility.

“Right now the sales tax voters approved to help build the aquatic center will only provide $3 million of revenue for the aquatic center’s construction.

“The committee has already decided to seek public funds if we can’t get the cost of construction within that budget,” she said.

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