Car burglaries investigated by EC Police

By Lindsey Temple
News Star Reporter

The Elmore City Police Department is hoping to get a string of vehicle burglaries solved soon as two likely suspects have emerged.

According to EC Police Chief Brynn Barnett, in the early morning hours of Friday, December 2, several cars between N. Muse Street and E. Lindsay were broken into.

The vehicles all had miscellaneous items stolen from them including electronic equipment, a work cell phone and a fire department radio. Some of the stolen items have since been recovered.

The suspects are believed to be two male residents of Elmore City, one adult and one juvenile, according to Barnett.

Barnett said he believes the two suspects were working together and that all the break-ins were in fact related.

While no arrests have been made yet, a report will go on to the district attorney soon for a warrant and to file charges, Barnett said.

EC City Council takes steps to improve Footloose Festival

By Lindsey Temple
News Star Reporter

Two police related issues and making Elmore City’s Footloose Festival a bigger and better event were among the items discussed at last week’s Elmore City Council Meeting.

Lisa Rollings, event coordinator for the Footloose Festival, requested from the council additional money from the city to continue to grow the event.

Some of Rollings ideas included an inflatable movie screen where the original Footloose movie could be viewed in the evening, a day time D.J. for karaoke for festival goers and possibly a small group of the Thunder Basketball girls to perform.

Rollings was hoping for $1,500 from the council to bring in some of these new attractions to the event.

In an effort to reduce spending, EC mayor Larry Cleveland urged Rollings to pick one attraction for the event.

Rollings decided on the daytime D.J. and will be bringing more inquires to the council in upcoming months.

Council member David Schmidt weighed in saying, “this is a good investment for our town.”

Also on the agenda was the police SUV that the city is planning on purchasing.

Council member Jim Tadlock voiced concern for the color and decals on the vehicle, stating an opposition to black on black.

“Our police cars should serve a purpose but they should also be approachable. We do not need to portray a police force that is not unapproachable,” explained Tadlock.

Police Chief Brynn Barnett stated he had no problem with accommodating Tadlock’s request.

The agenda item to purchase the vehicle passed unanimously

Another item of interest on the agenda was the city’s acquisition of O.D.I.S. for the police department.

O.D.I.S., or Offender Data Information System, will be used to retrieve those with outstanding warrants in EC, picked up by other law enforcement.

EC currently has $70,000 in outstanding warrants and O.D.I.S. would make it easier to retrieve the offenders and ultimately the money, along with many other functions.

The system will cost the city an initial large fee to get started and $125 per month after that.

The agenda item passed unanimously.

The next EC City Council meeting is on Tuesday, January 3; at 7 p.m. Area residents are urged to attend.

Phony money easily detected by PV store employees

News Star photo by Jeff Shultz: O’Reilly Auto Parts employee Kyle Widmer, left, examines local sales with his Assistant Manager Will Burns Tuesday, December 13. Both men were partly responsible for thwarting an alleged counterfeiter last Sunday who attempted to pass a fake $100 bill at O’Reilly’s and the PV Pizza Hut.

By Jeff Shultz

The actions of some alert cashiers at two Pauls Valley businesses helped bring down a suspect who allegedly tried to pass a fake $100 bill in order to purchase items at the establishments.

Kyle Widmer, Maysville, was the cashier on duty last Sunday at O’Reilly Auto Parts when a man came into the store and attempted to make a purchase using the fake bill.

The suspect handed Widmer what looked like a $100 bill for the small purchase, but something about the bill didn’t look right.

“The first thing I noticed was it didn’t have a security strip on it like most bills have,” Widmer said.

After studying the bill a little more Widmer called his Assistant Manager, Will Burns, over and showed him the fake bill.

“It didn’t even look real at all,” Burns said. “Once you’ve seen a lot of real bills you tend to notice the fake ones real quick.”

When both men told the suspect the bill was a fake one, he acted surprised and stated his employer had paid him with the bill.

The two employees gave the bill back to the suspect, who then left the store.

According to a police report from the Pauls Valley Police Department, the suspect then walked across the street to the Pizza Hut and tried to use the same fake bill to purchase some food.

The Pizza Hut employees also recognized the bill was phony and called the police.

The suspect was later identified as Antonio Binns Spencer of Pauls Valley. The phony money was seized from Spencer, who was placed in custody and detained in the Garvin County Jail.

Spencer was charged Tuesday with two felony counts of uttering a forged counterfeit instrument.

911 center to begin dispatching police calls

By Jeff Shultz

The Garvin County 911 Center will reach a new level of service this week as the center will begin dispatching calls for five law enforcement agencies in the county.

The 911 Center is already dispatching all city calls for Stratford, including the Stratford Police Department.

As of this Friday, December 16, the center will begin dispatching emergency calls for the Maysville Police, Paoli Police, Wynnewood Police and the Garvin County Sheriff’s Office.

The move comes as the center is breaking away from being just a call center for emergencies and concentrating on being a true dispatching center.

“In the past we were only a call center, meaning when emergency calls came into the center the 911 dispatchers would only transfer calls to the emergency agency the call should go to,” explained Garvin County Undersheriff Jim Mullet.

Transferring the calls meant a slower response time to emergency calls, Mullet added.

The system needed to be revamped to make the 911 Center a centralized communications center, not a call center.

“By moving the center to a centralized communications center, where dispatchers can automatically dispatch emergency personnel, will narrow the response times,” Mullet said.

The need to make the center a true dispatching unit came clear several months ago when a group of police chiefs in the county met with the Garvin County Commissioners to request the center be under the control of the Garvin County Sheriff’s Office.

After the commissioners approved the measure, the Sheriff’s office started the task of making the center a centralized communications center.

Currently the center is dispatching emergency calls for most of the rural fire departments in the county.

The only exception is Lindsay and Pauls Valley, who handles its own fire, EMS and police calls. Pauls Valley also dispatches for Elmore City as well.

As of Friday, the center will receive all residential and business 911 calls outside of Pauls Valley and all cellular calls from cell phone towers in Garvin County.

Garvin County Sheriff Larry Rhodes requests anyone in the county needing police, fire or emergency medical services to call 911, or in the case of a non-emergency call 405-238-9900.

“There will be no emergency dispatching from the Garvin County jail after Friday as we have in the past,” Rhodes said. “This will give my detention staff the ability to do their primary responsibilities of safely and efficiently operating a county jail.”

Candidates file for county school board posts

By Jeff Shultz



Scott Miller of Stratford was the first in line Monday morning to file his candidacy paperwork, declaring his intentions to run for an open spot on the Stratford Board of Education.

Miller, according to the Garvin County Election Board office, showed up at 8:15 Monday morning, the first day of a three-day candidate-filing period.

As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, two school districts in Garvin County already had races forming with one last day, Wednesday, left for candidates to file for office.

In Maysville, Bruce Jones, Asheley Close and Mignon Zurline have declared their candidacy for the #2 post on the Maysville Board of Education. The board seat is for a five-year term.

In Wynnewood, Walsie May McLaughlin and Kathy A. Stewart have declared their desire to fill the #2 spot on the Wynnewood Board of Education, a five-year term.

Other candidates filing for board seats in their respective school districts include:

•Current PV Board President Jeniece Tate filed for office on Monday morning to retain her seat at the board table;

•Pauls Valley attorney Edward Tillery filed for the open seat on the Whitebead Board of Education; and

•Clint Simonton, Lindsay, filed for the open board seat on the Lindsay Board of Education.

Look for a complete list of candidate filings on Wednesday night, the last day of the filing period, on the News Star’s web site at and in next week’s Garvin County News Star.

EC Christmas festivities a big hit

By Lindsey Temple

News Star Reporter


Elmore City area residents braved chilly temperatures and the risk of missing one of the biggest Oklahoma football games of the year to celebrate the season together.

Saturday night the Elmore City Senior Center was full of area residents, many donning black and orange or crimson and cream, enjoying EC’S first annual Christmas Chili Supper and Singing contest.

The newly formed Elmore City Area Chamber successfully reinvented the town’s Christmas celebration in hopes to spark more community involvement.

“It’s great to see our chamber back and active and bringing the community together,” said long time EC area resident, Susan McConnell.

According to McConnell, who is a teacher at Elmore City-Pernell Elementary, the community benefits greatly from events like this one and she hopes to see many more for her family and the families of her students to enjoy.

The winner of EC’s first annual chili cook-off was Tammy Wiley, a resident and local business owner.

Between chili and singing the kids got a visit from a very important familiar face. Santa arrived in style on the back of the EC fire truck to greet area kids and here all the toy wish lists.

The festivities were enjoyed by many Elmore City residents including the towns newest residents, Brad Dery, the new pastor of Elmore City’s United Methodist Church and his family.

“Having spent most of my life in Oklahoma City, this was my first community Christmas gathering. They don’t have things like this in the city. I cannot imagine a more warm and fun way to spend a Saturday night with my family. We are really looking forward to the next one,” said Dery.

The winners of the singing contests were, Chase Sawyer for the children’s division, Noah Schmidt and Rebecca Herrod for the older youth division and William Sawyer for the adult division.

The chamber hopes to make this the first of many events like this one to bring out the residents of the community.




Stratford children help celebrate Christmas at State Capitol

By Susan Stone

News Star Reporter


Thursday, December 1, was a day of excitement and one that 4th grade students from Stratford Elementary will remember for years to come.

The 4th grade students made the trip to the State Capital to participate in the Christmas tree decorating and lighting ceremony.

There were classes from 45 other schools in the state that were chosen to participate. All together there were 2,000 students from around Oklahoma there to be a part of the 2011 lighting ceremony.

Each of the 45 schools had its own small 3 foot tree inside the Capital that they decorated. After decorating their tree the students got to take a group picture with Governor Mary Fallin and State Superintendent of Schools Janice Barresi.

Then the students went outside in front of the Capital steps to await the lighting of the 30-foot Christmas tree adorned with 2,000 white led lights. While waiting on darkness to fall everyone sang Christmas Carols and listened music.

Then the moment arrived, Governor Fallin accompanied by her husband and son and of course Santa Clause himself gave the go ahead to light up the massive 30-foot tree.

This trip was not only fun for the 4th grade but in a way it was part of Oklahoma’s history. This is our state’s first Christmas for our first female Governor.

Governor Fallin said for her first Christmas in the mansion they are going to have her and her husband’s families over and there will be about 50 to 60 people there.

“My husband comes from a large farming family who love to cook, so I’m sure there will be a lot of good food to go around,” Fallin told the crowd.

Two county teens killed in separate car crashes

By Jeff Shultz



Two Garvin County teens were killed in separate accidents over the past week, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Shey M. Elledge, 13, of Lindsay, died on Saturday after sustaining massive head injuries in a single vehicle crash on Friday night, December 2.

Elledge was one of three passengers riding in a GMC pickup driven by 16-year old Macey K. Hatfield, also of Lindsay.

The OHP reported that Hatfield was traveling at a high rate of speed on a wet county road south of Lindsay when she lost control of the pickup, running the vehicle off the left side of the roadway and striking a tree.

Elledge was pinned in the vehicle for approximately 20 minutes and was freed by the Lindsay Fire Department using the Hurst Tool.

She was transported by the Lindsay EMS to the OU Medical Center where she was admitted in critical condition with massive head injuries.

Two other passengers in the truck, along with Hatfield, were treated and released at the Lindsay Hospital.

All four were wearing their seatbelts at the time of the accident.

The Lindsay Police Department, Lindsay Fire Department and Lindsay EMS all assisted Trooper Danny Morris in investigating the accident.

Meanwhile, 19-year old Jeremy D. Harrel, of Pauls Valley, was a second victim in a two-vehicle crash early Monday morning eight miles west of Ada on State Highway 3.

According to the OHP, Harrel was traveling eastbound on SH3 and for an unknown reason went left of center and struck a semi-truck head on.

Harrel was ejected approximately 22-feet from the point where his vehicle came to rest, the OHP reported.

Harrel was pronounced dead at the scene due to massive injuries sustained in the accident.

The driver of the semi-truck, Robert E. Taylor, 39 of Tuscaloosa, Alabama was transported to Valley View Hospital by the Valley View EMS where he was treated and released.

The OHP reported Harrel was not wearing his seatbelt.

School Board candidate filing begins Monday

By Jeff Shultz



Candidates for area school board positions will make their declaration of candidacy this Monday, the first day of a three-day filing period for school board seats.

According to Garvin County Election Board Secretary Cathy Brinley, the filing period for school board candidates will run from Monday, December 5, to Wednesday, December 8.

Candidates for board of education seats may file for office between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. each of those days.

The Annual School Election will take place on Tuesday, February 14.

“If no candidate receives more that 50 percent of the total votes cast in this election, the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes will meet in an election on Tuesday, April 03, 2012,” Brinley said.

Meanwhile, Brinley is encouraging county voters to make sure they know what precinct they will be voting at come February 14.

Due to redistricting, some precincts in Garvin County have moved or will be deleted as of January 1, 2012.

“A majority of voters in Garvin County will have new polling places as a result of the changes in precinct boundaries. We will also be moving three precinct polling place locations in Garvin County,” she said.

“We’re encouraging all voters to make sure their voter registration cards are updated so they will know where to vote,” Brinley added.

If you have any questions on updating your voter registration card, or where you will be voting at in 2012, call the Garvin County Election Board at 405-238-3303

MHS Food Drive

The Maysville High School National Honor Society is currently sponsoring a food drive in conjunction with Christmas in Maysville. They invite any Maysville resident who would like to participate to bring a non-perishable food item to the cart just inside the front door of the high school. Shown organizing the donated food items are NHS members (from left) Shelby Degering, Carolyn Cordell, and Jocelyn Puckett. (News Star photo by Judy Baker)

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