From a teacher walkout to road projects, 2018 was filled with plenty of news. Over the next two editions, the Yukon Review will give a brief synopsis of some of the top stories that impacted Yukon and Canadian County.
On Jan. 1, Chisholm Trail LLC purchased The Yukon Review and Mustang News. The company is owned by Russell Mulinix, Yukon native Scott Myrick and John Settle.
El Reno Fire
Three El Reno children, ranging in age from 22 months to four years old, died in a New Year’s Day house fire. The fire later was blamed on a faulty space heater. Their parents have filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer. The case is pending in Canadian County District Court.
The Yukon School Board voted unanimously to extend the contract of Dr. Jason Simeroth, who has served as the superintendent since 2014. Simeroth also received a 3 percent pay increase.
The Yukon City Council began discussions about the future of property that was purchased in 2015 for a new city hall complex. The property, located near the intersection of Yukon Parkway and Main Street, has sat vacant because of the city’s previous financial problems. The city, later in the year, agreed to sell the property to an Edmond developer,
who has since begun construction on Yukon Crossings. The project will include a storage facility, retail businesses and residential properties.
Yukon City Manager Jim Crosby was honored as the Chamber of Commerce’s H.B. Frank Citizen of the Year. Crosby returned to Yukon in 2016 during the period after the city learned that its finances were in disarray. When Crosby returned, the city had less than $3,000 remaining in its reserve funds account. Earlier this year, it was announced the city now has more than $6 million in the fund.
Not guilty plea
A Piedmont business man was ordered held without bail in the deaths of two Yukon teenagers who died in a December crash. David Cochlin was charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Sean Tucker and Luke Ross. Cochlin has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
Some gave all
The remains of Sgt. 1st Class Alfred G. Bensinger Jr. were returned to his family for burial. Bensinger, who died in 1951 in Korea, was only recently identified. Bensinger, who was from Oklahoma City, received a hero’s welcome.
State Highway 4
Work to replace three bridges as part of an improvement project on State Highway 4 moved forward with the purchase of several pieces of right-of-way. Officials are expected to replace three bridges with a single, 1,500-foot bridge near the intersection of SH-4 and Wilshire Boulevard. The bridge project is expected to be awarded in 2019.
Officials with the United Way of Canadian County announced the results of its annual fund drive. The fundraiser brought in a record $187,821 in pledges, which was $12,000 more than the goal. The United Way helps 15 member agencies in Canadian County.
The families of two Yukon teenagers who were involved in a fatal accident near State Highway 4 and Britton Road filed a lawsuit against the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, the city of Oklahoma City and the Canadian County commissioners. The lawsuit was filed by the families of Matthew Silva and Nickolas Bussett, who claim the agencies knew about the dangerous intersection but failed to remedy the problem.
The Yukon School District agreed to settle a federal lawsuit against its former food vendor for $500,000. The district sued Sysco Foods Oklahoma, alleging the company had overcharged the district by more than $750,000 between 2008 and 2012.
Yukon school officials announced district plans as teachers prepared to walk out of class in an effort to bring their financial plight to the attention of state lawmakers. Simeroth said the district would provide meals for children who otherwise might not be fed during the walkout.
Canadian Valley Technology Center Superintendent Greg Winters announced his retirement. Gayla Lutts, the assistant superintendent, was appointed as his replacement. Lutts was his hand-picked successor. That decision prompted longtime board member George Fina to resign.
Yukon residents were given the opportunity to “opt out” of a fee that would be charged for ambulance service. The $3.65 fee was added to most residents’ water bills.
Ranchwood Elementary School art teacher Rebecca Oglesby was selected as Yukon’s Teacher of the Year. Oglesby is known as the “Batman” teacher because of the thousands of pieces of Batman memorabilia in her classroom. She was named the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year in September.
Yukon teachers joined others across the state in a walkout at the state Capitol. The idea was to draw attention to their financial woes. More than 100 Yukon teachers participated in the walkout on the first day of what turned out to be a two-week event.
Tragedy in the park
A 2 ½-year-old Oklahoma City toddler stumbled into Mulvey Pond near Freedom Trail Park and drowned. The boy had been missing for about 20 minutes when he was found unresponsive near a rock dam.
Several longtime Canadian County officials found that they were being challenged for office. Those included District 1 Commissioner Marc Hader, District 3 Commissioner Jack Stewart and Associate Judge Bob Hughey. All three were eventually re-elected.
A Louisiana company filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, claiming the church leadership reneged on a deal for property in Yukon. The company, Prairie West Holdings, said it had an agreement with the Archdiocese to purchase 178 acres and had made payments. However, the deal never was finalized.
Richard Cacini and Shelli Selby were sworn into office as new Yukon city council members. Cacini replaced Richard Russell while Selby replaced John Alberts.
The Yukon School Board announced that school would not be in session on Nov. 6 so teachers would have plenty of time to go to the polls to vote. Yukon was the first of several districts across the state to announce that it was closing school on election day.
Four students from two Yukon schools were honored as National Merit Scholarship winners. Yukon High School’s Tien Tran and Brandon Cacini-Tate along with Southwest Covenant students Esther Weygant and Gabriel Park were among 7,500 students across the nation to be honored.
Piedmont school teacher Holly Noelle Morris was charged with two counts of causing a child to be deprived after she allegedly abused two special needs students at Piedmont Middle School. She is scheduled to appear in court in February on the case.
Yukon City Manager Jim Crosby proposed a $51 million budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year. The budget included pay raises and bonuses for most employees.
Mustang Super-intendent Sean McDaniel announced that he was leaving the district to become chief of the Oklahoma City School District.
A Mustang student and her mother were among the victims of a shooting at Louie’s on the Lake in Oklahoma City. Syniah Giles, 12, was shot in the tailbone and the bullet went into her stomach. Her mother was grazed by a bullet as well.
Looking to save money on the cost of providing meals, Yukon school officials voted to change its food service provider. The company selected Sodexo Food Services for a five-year contract. The change was expected to provide more than $180,000 in revenue for the district.
A Yukon man died in a house fire in the 10700 block of NW 36 Place. The man,was found in a bedroom of the home he shared with his mother.
Yukon native Julie Taylor was the recipient of a second Daytime Emmy Award for her work as a producer on “The Talk.”