2018 IN REVIEW

Oil wells challenge, walkout, superintendent turnover

By Chris Eversole

 

The year 2018 in the Mustang area was highlighted by the courts siding with the city council in its restrictions on two proposed oil and gas wells, teachers walking out as part of a statewide actions that resulted in the Legislature increasing their pay and the school superintendent leaving to head Oklahoma City Schools.

The Mustang News is presenting its year in review in three parts, starting with highlights from January through March in this edition.

January

– Canadian County District Judge Paul Hesse issued a temporary injunction stalling drilling of two proposed oil and gas wells in the city of Mustang.

The city council had set conditions on wells, including requiring a sound barrier, to protect residents.

Representatives of the city and the oil company had discussed a settlement, but they were unable to reach one.

–  Earthmoving began on the first limited-access highway through Mustang – the nearly eight-mile extension of the John Kilpatrick Turnpike.

The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority approved bids totaling $94 million the first two sections of the project, which is expected to cost $190 million (all from tolls) in the end.

As part of the project, Sara Road was being widened.

Keith Taggart, managing broker for Coldwell Banker Select, said he is working on a number of real estate projects that are a result of the turnpike extension.

–  Mustang police arrested four men and two women on charges related to a dispute involving two alleged marijuana dealers, police said.

The incident began just before midnight of Jan. 11, when an officer noticed vehicles that seemed suspicious at Meadows Park in the 300 block of Meadows Lane, the police report read.

Men were attacking the two alleged dealers with a tee-ball bat and threatening one of them with a firearm, police said.

February

–  Mustang resident Ed Koonce was on a crusade to warn people about the danger of coyotes killing pets in the Lakehoma area.

Koonce started trying to draw attention to the problem after coyotes killed Ginger, 12-year-beagle that belonged to his stepson, Jim Knauff of Savannah, Georgia, who was visiting, on the evening of Dec. 27.

Since then other small dogs and chickens have been reported missing or found dead in the Lakehoma area, said Mustang Animal Control Officer Jill Heck.

–  Mustang High School recognized members of school’s girls’ basketball team of 1960.

When the team was playing, high school basketball was king.

Mustang’s population was around 500, and a football team was years away.

The group continues to get together – the result of the close friendships they continue to maintain.

–  Mustang Public Schools have revised their openness to the public.

“We’ve changed our frame of mind,” said Deputy Superintendent Charles Bradley.

“We’ve gone from how to make it warm, inviting and nurturing to how do we prevent someone dangerous from getting in.”

The district’s efforts get high marks from Jennifer Newell, a former Norman police officer who is helping schools become safer on behalf of the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security.

“No district has been more cooperative than you have,” Newell told the board of education at its Jan. 8 meeting.

–  Mustang’s new elementary and intermediate schools will no longer be known as Elementary #8 and Intermediate #3.

The board of education voted to name them Riverwood Elementary and Meadow Brook Intermediate.

Fourth-and-fifth grade students suggested names for the intermediate school, and second and third graders submitted names for the elementary school.

One student tried to skirt the rules about naming the school for an individual by suggesting West Brook Elementary.

More colorful names included “Mole Hill,” “Shimmer Shine,” “Creative Visions Elementary” and “Chief Moji Intermediate.”

–  Mustang artist Kristen Polson has launched the Mustang Arts Council, and she’s off to a good start—with 15 people attending the kickoff meeting.

“I have a passion for working with kids and experience teaching, so I’m hoping to use those skills to expand the learning opportunities offered to our community,” she said.

The arts council wants to enhance Mustang’s strong arts programs – including the visual arts, theater, film and creative writing – that exist in the schools and at the Town Center.

– Mustang’s Animal Control program is moving ahead – with the addition of a new director and planning underway for a new shelter.

The progress builds on a strong record of working with the Friends of the Mustang Animal Shelter to rehome all adoptable strays and abandoned dogs and cats found within the city limits.

The new shelter, funded by the city’s 1-cent sales tax, will relieve overcrowding at the current shelter.

March

– Residents spoke at the Planning Commission against a proposal to change zoning along N. Morgan Road that originally called for both duplexes and single-family homes.

At the public hearing, neighboring property owner were outspoken in opposition, challenging the plan for duplexes and reduced lot sizes and saying they feared flooding.

Meanwhile, the developer, 29 Sara, LLC, is trying to work out an agreement that will satisfy the neighbors of the project, which is in the 400 to 600 block N. Morgan Road.

One concession the company is offering is to remove proposed duplexes.

The city council later denied the zoning proposal.

–  The well-known construction equipment company Locke Supply announced it was coming to Mustang, but it said it didn’t expect to open until the year 2020.

The store will be on Sara Road just north of Walmart.

The company won’t begin construction until 2019, after the city extends sewer and water to the site as part of a planned utility expansion.

–  For the first time, the youth leadership group of the Mustang Chamber of Commerce took a bus tour to the City of Mustang as well as Canadian County offices in El Reno.

The Chamber Leadership Council /Principal’s Leadership Council is a group of seniors who are presidents of Mustang High School organizations.

“We help them develop leadership skills and broaden their perspective through special programs and experiential learning with speakers who are experts in their field,” said Chamber CEO Renee Peerman.

– Just 10 miles west of Mustang, a string of statuesque turbines begins – stretching for 11 miles on hilltops across a craggy landscape.

The 188 turbines capture the Oklahoma wind and convert it into electricity.

The turbines make up the Minco I, Minco II and Minco III wind farms, an installation that opened between 2010 and 2012.

The owner, NextEra Energy Resources, has proposed to add two more projects in the area.

In addition, EDP Renewables operates a wind farm with 47 turbines nearby.

Firefighters from Tuttle and other jurisdictions doused a fire in a hay barn on a Braum’s farm south of State Highway 152 and west of Banner Road. Photo/File

 

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