A look back at 2003

January 2003

A Boise City News investigation finds a mountain of tires northeast of Colorado Springs, Colo.; the remnants of a Stan Abrams project. Abrams is CEO of Nathaniel Energy, the company who wants to build a tire burner in Cimarron County.

Abrams later makes claim that sabotage and a broken contract caused the Colorado failure.

It was also learned that Nathaniel was pursuing contracts in Nevada.

The Cimarron County Industrial Park Authority, the committee responsible for the old Federal Helium Plant four miles east of Keyes, asks Nathaniel Energy for contractual changes from Nathaniel.

A crime spree that began in Salina, Kan. ended in the violent deaths of two of the three perpetrators in a field in Northeastern New Mexico. The trio of  two women and a man, kidnapped one individual and stole at least two vehicles before getting in a running gun battle with New Mexico police officers. The gunfight went back and forth across the New Mexico and Cimarron County lines, until the male and one female were killed and the other female wounded.

A group of Kansas doctors furnish medical expertise to Cimarron Memorial Hospital.

Docs Who Care brings doctors to rural settings such as Cimarron county.

A Boise City couple, Wesley and Gena Thompson, found a youth center.

Boise City businessman Dean Wilson starts a worm farm in the old Coly's building.

The Cimarron County Industrial Board (C.I.P.A.) voted amendments for the Nathaniel contract.

A date, Feb. 27 was set for the sentencing of Larry Miller, the former CEO of The First State Bank of Boise City. Miller had pled guilty to taking nearly three-quarters of a million dollars from the bank and select customers.

C.I.PA. signs Nathaniel contract.

In Memory

Sadie McPeek- 92

Bula Adee- 98

Sharon McCally- 53

Mable Moore- 75

Carrie Regnier- 89

Frances Hinds- 88

Francisco Hernandez- 78

Alice Demuth- 86

Ruth Parker- 88

Vernie Jo Mock- 70

Prieta Stewart- 84

William Sisemore- 86

Gilbert Leal- 79

Emma Fry- 85

Loyd Coats- 86

Marilyn Williams, 56

February 2003

The Cimarron County Chamber of Commerce began trying to re-vitalize itself.

The old Looney Drug Store is leveled.

Castle Rock Medical Group, the former managers of Cimarron Memorial Hospital, withdraws its presence from Hauxton, Colo. and Cherokee, Okla.

Robert and Mary Green celebrate 67 years of marriage.

Rep. Gus Blackwell negotiates autonomy from OSU for PSU.

Educators and parents confront Okla. legislators over the education bill.

The Oklahoma Tax Commission nixes attempts by trucking firms to more cheaply tag in the state by establishing small offices. With the ruling, Cimarron County lost four such offices.

The Cimarron County Chamber of Commerce begins to try and reach out to county businesses, councils and commissions.

Bill Gowdy former farmer and Assistant Secretary of Agriculture dies at age 74.

Cassie Parker, Wildcat Cheerleader, makes All-State Squad.

In Memory :

Lloyd Stoops- 88

Troy Burton- 79

Ethel Brown- 77

Waylon Green- 78

Nellie Green- 101

Corrine Peek- 84

Tiny Stubblefield- 72

Phillip Powleson- 73

Sally Guerrero- 75

Kenneth Oldacker- 43

Bill Gowdy- 74

Robert Arnold- 59

Ruby Enlow- 85

Martin Hendricks- 61

April, 2003

Official search for Dustin McKee ends; but search goes on.

Nathaniel Energy is involved in litigation for a tire burner taken by the company's Irish partners.

The Boise City School Board eliminated a position of Home Economics Education.

A truck driver from Dublin, Texas dies in a rollover at Daniel's curve.

Sheriff David Dunn has search dog team look for Dustin McKee.

Winds stymie search for Dustin McKee.

New Hospital Administrator comes on board.

The Boise City News, Cimarron County's news venue, received an honorable mention in the Panhandle Press Association's annual “Better Newspaper” contest.

Chris Townsley and Laura Ingram are sworn onto the Keyes City Council. Townsley is mayor.

Dustin McKee's mother Toni interviews with The Boise City News, though he's been missing for over a month, much of it bad weather, the mother is convinced he survived.

The Cimarron County Chamber of Commerce honors Hershel Thompson.

In Memory

JoAnn Schutte- 34

Frank James- 88

Irene (Isom) Hollister- 84

Burley Henson- 88


Nathaniel land transfer hits snag. A legal search of the property on and around the former U.S. Government Helium Plant, four miles east of Keyes, found that farmer-businessman Jarrod Stewart was listed as a landowner. Stewart refused to sign the deed over on land he wasn't even sure he owned.

Cimarron County is host to at least three tornadoes on May 15. At least two of the twisters skirted downtown Boise City and did damage to surrounding property.

The search continued for Dustin McKee, lost since March 18.

Second Lt. Kimberly (Ogles) Hadley, a Boise City and West Point graduate was injured in a traffic accident in Korea.

In Memory

Betty Kirtley- 82

Joy Colborn- 82

“Pete” Burnett- 84

“Billie” Godley- 85

Harold Simpson- 66

Dr. Theo Truitt- 87

June 2003

Boise City Police arrest two individuals, Frank Martinez, 19 for burglary and Joey Perez, 20, felonious pointing of a weapon.

CIPA affidavit removes Jarrod Stewart from deed for defunct helium plant.

Dr. J.L. Wheeler closes his medical office.

Heavy rains wash crops out of fields.

Nursing Home Administrator Donna Cain quits.

Traffic stop nets car thief.

Car thief escapes custody while on medical visit to Cimarron memorial.

Felt athletes, Coe and Garrett Maness, competed in National Head and heeling contest.

John Grazier, 38 was given a seven year suspended sentence for the manufacture of methamphetimines.

In Memory

 Joe Hager- 83

Eulah Davis- 86

Jeffrey Mills- 39

Kyle Gilley- 39

Margarita Rodriguez- 36

Curtis Garrett- 74

Carl Underwood- 46

Mattie Elms- 82

August 2003

Remains identified as those of Dustin McKee, foul play is eliminated as cause of death; exposure listed as probable cause.

Hospital Administrator Alan Bird leaves memorial Hospital after only five months in position.

Richard Hitchings, Cimarron memorial Hospital board member was released from the suit brought by Castle Rock Medical Group.

Boise City Basketball Coach Beki Crow, resigned her position.

Boise City teacher Chip Campbell was terminated.

Local businessman John Smith is selected as interim hospital administrator.

Hospital board signs a consulting agreement with Kim Bird of Cypress Health Systems; Bird is the older brother of former administrator Alan Bird. The younger Bird quit the Cimarron Memorial Hospital job to take a similar position with a Cypress Health hospital in Florida.

Kylee Schumacher, 17, is chosen as the 2003 XIT Rodeo Queen; the first non-Texan ever selected in 76 year duration of the celebration.

In Memory

Bill Hinton- 83

Cleo (Miller) Litke- 96

Bob Givens- 64

Max Fowler- 74

Mary Milburn-76

Eldon Brown- 89

Robert Fry- 89

Reva Hughey- 90

Evelyn Taylor- 85

Dorothy Hallock- 80

Wesley Labrier- 80

Terry Payne- 34

Gottlieb Litke- 97


Keyes taxpayers challange school bond figures.

The memorial Hospital clinic begins operating as a Rural Health Clinic. The change will bring higher re-imbursment from Medicare.

Keyes School Bond figures are validated.

The board of Cimarron Memorial Hospital and Cypress Health Systems agree on a consulting agreement.

Dr. Roger Bombach reopens his Boise City clinic.

Gail Gordon, Cimarron Memorial's Director of nursing resigns.

Keyes bond issue passes.

Demolition gets underway at the old Federal Helium Plant, east of Keyes.

Daniel Gonzalez, 20, appears in a Ft. Smith, Ark. courtroom for the murder of Shon Pilkington, 35, a former Boise City resident.

The Cimarron County Commission settles with Castle Rock Medical Group for $75 thousand. The figure will eventually go onto the county tax rolls.

In Memory

Harold Gillenwater- 85

Bob Whisennand-

Agnes (Harkins) Hobgood- 84

Clara Coble- 66

Kade McMillen- 12

Irma Straub- 89

Roy Findley- 77

Kenneth Turner- 57

Laurence Scott- 80


John Smith decides that insurance, not hospital administration is his calling. For the third time since Jan. 1, the Cimarron Memorial Hospital Board is searching for an administrator.

The Boise City News goes on-line at bcnews.org

Hospital board selects Larry Knetzer as new administrator. Selectee had been the administrator of the hospital in Dumas, Texas, before being suspended because of low employee morale.

Daniel Gonzalez's trial for the murder of Shon Pilkington was postponed so the defendant could be tested for a possible mental defense.

Memorial Hospital Board member Janice Smith resigns from the board giving philosophical differences as her reason.

In Memory

Carl Garner- 83

Jean Fleming- 73

Herman Strasburg- 75

Wayne Speer- 81

Bertha Fowler- 96

Ruby Barnes- 93

December 2003

Dr. Pam Yoga  alerts the county to a possible flu epidemic; asks school adminstrators to consider closing schools.

Hospital Board member Cheri Brown informs the County Commission she will not serve another term.

Tammy Witten, 32, is arrested on four counts of distribution of a controlled and dangerous substance, (cocaine).

Larry Knetzer, former Dumas, Texas hospital administrator chooses not to sign the agreement he drew up to administer Cimarron Memorial Hospital.

Knetzer said “No comment.” when asked why he decided not to take the job.

The hospital board is once again in the search for an administrator.

A pickup theft in Stratford Texas begins a high speed pursuit in Southeastern Cimarron county when Cimarron county Deputy Derek Kinncannon, spots the pickup David Vigil allegedly took and begins the chase.

Vigil is eventually bumped off the road by Highway Patrolman Erik Terrell. The resulting rollover sends Vigil to Amarillo's Northwest Texas Hospital by Lifestar.

A Multi-county Task force Agent reveals that the arrest of Tammy Witten in a drug bust, and several other pending warrants was the result of a two and one-half month investigation.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation asked for feedback on five different options for a truck relief route around Boise City.

Monday, Dec. 15, saw Highways 64 east and 287 north closed due to blowing snow. Wind gusts of nearly 60 miles per hour drove the blinding powder.

In Memory

Richard Rodriguez- 52

Cheryl French- 55

John Wiggins- 90

Mildred Grabeal- 90

Enoch Elms- 41

Melvin Begley- 66