2019 was an interesting year in the Guthrie area. There were multiple stories we covered throughout the year. The Logan County area was also a favorite spot for filmmakers in 2019 as there were multiple movies filmed throughout the year. We have tried to recap the top newsmakers of 2019 for our readers.
The year began with the swearing in of county officers as County Commissioners Marven Goodman, District 1, and Monty Piearcy, District 3, were reelected to new four year terms; County Assessor Tisha Hampton was also reelected to another term. Logan County Associate Judge Luke Duel was also reelected and was sworn in separately by Judge Rob Hudson of the Oklahoma Appeals Court.
The month would also have sad news as two homicides occurred in Guthrie within the same week. Clyne Miles is alleged to have shot his wife Robyn on a Sunday morning at their house. Miles is still in Logan County Detention Center with a January 2020 preliminary hearing scheduled. In the same week, an infant child passed away after an alleged case of child abuse by the parents, Justin Lastra and Michelle King. Lastra is in the detention center on a charge of first degree murder and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on March 30, 2020. King is in the detention center awaiting a February 2020 hearing, having already had a preliminary hearing and been bound over for trial on an alleged charge of child abuse.
This month was an active news month that ended on a tragic note. On a Saturday morning in downtown Guthrie, a massive fire that took all day to get under control would destroy the Double Stop Fiddle Shop and Furrows Flowers building. The devastating part was that many artifacts and instruments in the building, from years of work by the owner Byron Berline, were destroyed. No cause of the fire was ever determined. The fire department got to use their new ladder truck for the first time, and it performed very well.
The good news started with United Way announcing they raised $183,906 for Logan County agencies during their fundraising campaign. Jeff Jordan was named Guthrie Public Schools Secondary Teacher of the Year and Overall Teacher of the Year at the Board of Education meeting. Amanda Perring was selected as the Elementary Teacher of the Year in the same meeting. Nakiya Ballard Stevenson was crowned the 2019 Basketball Homecoming Queen.
The first of several plea bargains in the Joey Angelo murder were announced as Bracey Perry pleads guilty to first degree and receives a 20-year prison sentence.
Prior to the downtown fire at the Double Stop Fiddle Shop, a house on East Noble also went up in flames. The house was a total loss and no cause was ever determined. It would be a long year as there were several other house fires in Guthrie in 2019 and a couple included fatalities.
The Guthrie City Council started the year as dilapidated structures were in a public hearing to be dealt with. The council would approve eventually approve for city staff to start taking bids on the properties discussed at the hearing.
The city would introduce two new staff members as William Wheeler was chosen to be the new City Attorney replacing Randal Shadid who retired earlier in the year. Dan Kassick would also be named the new City Planning Director replacing Rebecca Blaine who left Guthrie for a position in Shawnee.
The city would have a house fire fatality with no known cause for the fire. The Logan County Board of Commissioners would also terminate the tax increment district that was formed in 2016 when the new Love’s store was built.
The month would end with the local Red Cross relocating their facilities out to Mercy Hospital. The former Mayor of Coyle, Kristie Schroeder and her husband John, were charged with embezzlement for some issues while in office. The case was resolved on Dec. 20 with John pleading guilty with a $500 fine and $382 in court costs. The former mayor received a deferred sentence and must pay $382 in court costs.
Langston University was in the news for all the wrong reasons as four men broke into an apartment on campus and shot two residents. There were four men arrested shortly after the shooting that the university called an isolated incident. As of press time, those four men are still working their way through the court system on their charges.