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(L-R) Okmulgee Chamber Director Rob Roberson, Scott Fetgeiter, Mike James, Terry Wilson, Chamber President Chris Azbel, Oscar Higgs and Mark Tuggle. 
Photo by Paul Orosco ONN Chief Photographer.

The Okmulgee Chamber of Commerce welcomes rodeo fans to the 60th Annual Roy Leblanc Invitational Rodeo as they celebrate their 60 year anniversary.

Rob Roberson said that the Okmulgee Chamber looks forward to the rodeo coming into town each year and wanted to do something special this year to welcome all rodeo fans out and remind them to attend and support the two-day event. This year a "Family Fun Day" has been added in conjunction with the parade on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. will happen downtown on the square

On Tuesday the Chamber and representives of Okmulgee placed a banner on highway 75 in honor of the event.  The rodeo brings in thousand of people to watch and plenty of rodeo talent from around the states.

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Published in Okmulgee in the News
Wednesday, 05 August 2015 10:07

Man found dead at Creek Forest Apartments

The Okmulgee Police Dept. responded to a call early this morning about 4:20 a.m. after receiving a report that there was a male lying on the ground outside the Creek Forest Apartments.

After officers arrived they discovered a man in his early 20’s who was unresponsive. He was shortly after pronounced dead at the scene according to the OPD report.

Although there were signs of trauma to his body the cause of death is currently not known.

Police Chief Joe Prentice said that officers are investigating the incident as a homicide but the official cause and manner of death will be determined by the medical examiner.

One witness told ONN that someone pounded on her door for help around 4 a.m. saying that four people had beat up someone.  Another man at the aprtments said he witnessed seeing the body of who he thought was a Creek citizen laying on the ground while police roped off the area.

The name of the victim is not being released pending confirmation of identification and notification of next of kin. No arrests have been made. Additional information will be released at a later time as it becomes available.

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Published in Law Enforcement & Fire

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Students Excel in STEM Competitions at National Technology Student Association Conference in Dallas, Texas
Middle and high school students participate in more than 60 STEM competitions during conference.

As education communities nationwide continue to sharpen their focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education initiatives, middle and high school students proved their skill in STEM competitions at the 2015 national Technology Student Association (TSA) conference.
About 6,500 students and educators from across the nation gathered in the Dallas, Texas area to attend the conference. It took place at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center, Grapevine, Texas, from June 28 through July 2.

Middle and high school student members took part in more than 60 competitive events based on principles and concepts learned during the school year in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects. Guided by their chapter advisors (teachers), these students competed with their peers in STEM events such as Agriculture and Biotechnology, CAD, Construction Renovation, Video Game Design, Dragster Design, Engineering Design, Flight Endurance, Music Production, and Structural Engineering. Finalists have been posted on the TSA website.

This marked the second year for the Junior Solar Sprint competition at the national level. This middle school competition partners TSA with the U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP). During the JSS event, teams of students design, build, and race solar-powered vehicles and are evaluated on their display and notebook, artisanship and engineering of the model car, and the car’s racing performance. More than 65 teams of 5th through 8th grade students participated, with finalists posted to the TSA website. Beggs TSA has successfully competed at the national level both years.

Approximately 725 students competed collaboratively in the national competition of TEAMS: Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics, and Science. Students took part in oral and problem-solving exercises addressing real-world engineering challenges related to the theme “The Power of Engineering.” Competition results are available on the TEAMS website.

About 85 teams participated in the TSA VEX Robotics Competition (VRC) and VEX IQ Challenge, an exciting head-to-head robotics challenge. National winners are available online.

Representatives from eight winning teams from the Verizon Innovative App Challenge presented the mobile apps to conference attendees as well. TSA administers this program for the Verizon
Foundation. Winning teams earned cash grants for their schools and received instruction in building their apps to bring them to market through the Google Play store.Barrett&Wright

“As in previous years, the skill and knowledge demonstrated by all students at this year’s conference was remarkable. It is proof that that breadth of opportunity to gain hands-on career preparation in the STEM disciplines through TSA and its competitions has been embraced and is valued by students and educators alike,” explains Dr. Rosanne White, TSA executive director.

About the Technology Student Association (TSA) TSA is a national organization for students engaged in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Open to young people enrolled in or who have completed technology education courses, TSA’s membership includes more than 230,000 middle and high school students in 2,000 schools spanning 49 states. TSA partners with universities and other organizations to promote a variety of STEM competitions and opportunities for students and teachers. TSA is supported by educators, parents, and business leaders who believe in the need for a technologically literate society. From engineers to business managers, our alumni credit TSA with a positive influence in their lives.

Eight students from Beggs Public Schools attended this year’s event in Dallas. Joe Bode, son of Charlie and Dana Bode competed in Flight Endurance and Problem Solving. Cole Christy, son of Dr. Tyson and Kristi Christy competed in Structural Engineering with Nate Tucker, son of Kevin and Rayna Tucker. Cole and Nate won Second Place at the State Competition earlier this year in Midwest City. Bradley Stroud, son of VaLinda Stroud competed in Video Game Design and Problem Solving. Merrick Winters, daughter of Jason and Nicole Winters and Kameron Whiteley, son of Kristy Whiteley, both competed in the Junior Solar Sprint and Structural Engineering. They placed second in the Junior Solar Sprint at the State Competition. Carson Wright, son of Jack and Janel Wright and Easton Barrett, son of Devon and Staci Barrett, also competed in the Junior Solar Sprint as well as the Technical Design Competition. Carson and Easton successfully placed second during both events at State. Merrick, Kameron, Carson and Easton, together, took seventh place nationally in the Dallas Competition.
SprintDisplayMrs. JoLynn Pemberton has been the instructor and sponsor of the Beggs TSA Programs for eight years. She has successfully led the students of this program to state and national competitions multiple times.

Mrs. Pemberton and the students want to thank the parents and grandparents along with Beggs Public Schools Administration and School Board for their continuous support of the program. They also want to thank this year’s sponsors, Christy Family Dentistry of Okmulgee, Central Bank of Oklahoma of Tulsa, The Morris State Bank of Morris, East Central Electric of Okmulgee, Ion Solar and Wind of Tulsa, Jackie Cooper Smart Center of Tulsa and Embroidery Plus Chason’s T-Shirts of Henryetta.

Visit the Technology Student Association website for more information.

Published in Okmulgee in the News

OKLAHOMA CITY (Aug. 4, 2015) – Jon Gaines of Oklahoma City just became Oklahoma’s newest millionaire by winning $2,000,000 in the June 13th Powerball drawing.

Gaines purchased his ticket at Hefner Stop in Oklahoma City. He matched 5 of 5 white balls and added the Powerplay option for an additional $1 per play, which doubled his winnings from $1,000,000 to $2,000,000. After taxes, Gaines walked away with approximately $1,420,000.

Gaines chose his numbers through Easy Pick and says “Don’t expect to win if you don’t buy a ticket!” He added, “Powerplay was the second best $1 I ever spent.”

Since its launch, the Oklahoma Lottery has had four Powerball jackpot winners. Including this most recent prize, the Oklahoma Lottery has awarded 46 prizes of $1 million or more.

About the Oklahoma Lottery

Net proceeds of all Lottery games are used to support improvements and enhancements for Oklahoma education. More than $685 million has been contributed to education since November 2005 with funds appropriated by the State Legislature to pay debt service on a higher education capital bond issue; to pay support salaries for public schools and for equipment, scholarships and other purposes at our career and technology education institutions.

For more information about the Oklahoma Lottery, please visit www.lottery.ok.gov

Published in Statewide News
Tuesday, 04 August 2015 10:01

County Commissioners report for August 4

After the regular order of business, the Okmulgee county commissioners had the following agenda items:

The Board approved the Addendum to the Juvenile Detention Services Agreement with Tulsa County for Fiscal Year 2015-2016.

The Board approved the Resolutions to Dispose of Equipment to junk (2) Lanier copiers and (1) Xerox Memorywriter typewriter for the County Health Department.

The Board approved the Detention Transportation Claims for OJA for the months of January, February, March, April, May and June, 2015.

The Board approved the Invitation to Bid for the County Fairgrounds CDBG Project, to be opened August 31, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. This project will replace beef barn roof, replace guttering for buildings, construct parking and sidewalks.

The Board approved Invitation to Bid #1 to lease purchase one or more, 2010 or newer, all-wheel drive grader, to be opened August 17, 2015 at 9:00 a.m.

That concluded the business for the day.

Published in Political News

OKLAHOMA CITY – Bob Burke, an attorney, a historian and prolific author, skewered Oklahoma’s new workers’ compensation law during an appearance on the television program “The Hot Seat”.

The previous law “went too far, awarding too much money” to injured employees, Burke told moderator Scott Mitchell. However, rather than “striking a balance,” the Republican-dominated Legislature and the Republican governor replaced it with a law that has swung the pendulum too far the opposite direction, Burke contends.

The new law, which was adopted in 2013, established an administrative workers’ compensation system alongside the Workers’ Compensation Court of Existing Claims.

The new, separate system was created by Senate Bill 1062, which contained 172 sections and was 207 pages long. The courts have “thrown out” about a dozen unconstitutional provisions that were embedded in SB 1062, and 18 more appeals are pending in the Oklahoma Supreme Court, Burke said.

The new law is jeopardizing “the grand bargain,” he believes. Under that unwritten but widely accepted pact, an injured worker surrendered the right to sue his/her employer for pain and suffering and/or for punitive damages, in exchange for “reasonable” benefits that included medical care and enough money to live on, paid for by employers and their insurance companies.

“I’m afraid the grand bargain has been breached,” Burke said. The state is “cutting benefits to the bone.” Oklahoma’s benefits for injured workers are now “the lowest in America,” Burke claimed.

What’s needed is a workers’ compensation system that serves businesses and injured workers alike, he said.

In another televised program airing this weekend, state Reps. Richard Morrissette and Leslie Osborn debate the Corporation Commission’s response to the spate of earthquakes rattling much of Oklahoma, the recent decision to allow independent voters to participate in state Democratic Party primary elections, and the latest public relations fiasco to befall the Oklahoma GOP: the racist photograph and commentary posted Wednesday on the Facebook page of the Oklahoma Federation of Republican Women.

Also on the “Your Vote Counts” program, the two legislators discuss the financial soundness of Oklahoma’s state government.

Osborn, R-Mustang, pointed out that although General Revenue Fund receipts for Fiscal Year 2015 came in slightly below estimate, FY ’15 tax collections actually surpassed FY ’14 revenues by $98.5 million. Oklahoma’s economy is growing, just not as much as had been projected, she maintained.

Oklahoma’s tax system “is all screwed up,” asserted Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City. “If we don’t watch out,” the State of Oklahoma will find itself in a fiscal pickle as bad as the one in Kansas, he tells Mitchell. A deep cut in the state income tax resulted in a dramatic revenue shortfall for the Sunflower State.

“We’re headed for a train wreck,” Morrissette predicted.

The Oklahoma Legislature faced a $188 million budget shortfall in FY 2014, and a $611 million deficit in FY 2015. In addition, the next phase of the reduction in the state income tax, from 5.25% to 5%, goes into effect Jan. 1, 2016. The budget deficit for FY ’17 is already projected to be $300 million or higher.

“The Hot Seat” aired at 7:50 a.m. Saturday on KWTV-9 in Oklahoma City, and “Your Vote Counts” will be broadcast at 7:50 a.m. Sunday on KWTV. Afterward, both 10-minute programs are streamed on the Internet at www.news9.com/yourvotecounts

Published in Political News

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Food enthusiasts from around the community are enjoying a series of cooking classes during the Food and Wine Experience at OSUIT.  Student learn under chef's Brenda Nimmo and Celia Melson who offered three different courses this summer to the public for the first time ever.

Each class includes lessons on butchering, tips to improve knife skills, plate presentation techniques, wine education and pairing and family-style dinner with the class. The classes are geared toward someone who is looking forward to learning about these types of things.

Two classes have been completed so far.  Chicken- Trussing and Beyond where each student learned how to cut their own chicken. Within the cooking portion of this class each student made handmade pasta as well. Chef Nimmo said the classes are very interactive. The second class, Pork The Whole Hog, offered more southern flavors and students made fresh homeade biscuits. (See photos below) Students experienced hands on instruction for dividing a hog into major primal cuts. This course featured locally sourced produce to accompany the meal.

“Focusing on a community connection is a big part of what we’re trying to do. Our mission is to actually go to the Farmer’s Market and pick out vegetables,” Melson said.

The third and final class will take place next Monday and will feature Lamb-Beyond Chops. Students will learn techniques for butchering, flavoring and cooking this under-utilized protein.

“Even though we do have lamb shepherds here in Oklahoma it’s not a well-known meat and it can be really wonderful. We hope to introduce some new flavors,” Nimmo said.

With every class there will be wine tasting and pairing instructed by Chef Melson. Each class will have six different wines. So each time a student comes they will get something different out of every class.

Take a look at this news report that covered Pork The Whole Hog class:

Photos by Paul Orosco - ONN

Published in Okmulgee in the News

Jeff Hough, Tulsa's deputy airports director of engineering and facilities, was Tuesday's guest speaker for the Okmulgee Lions Club.  He was introduced by the Mayor, Lion Steven Baldridge, who recounted the positive results from the Tulsa Airports Improvement Trust and the Okmulgee City Council approving the one-year contract that would bring operation and management of the Okmulgee Regional Airport under the Tulsa Airports' umbrella.  City Council member, Lion Chris Azbell was also in attendance.

The Tulsa International Airport is at full capacity as is Riverside Airport, TIA's first reliever airport, and they were looking for a second reliever airport and had been looking at Claremore as a possibility but Okmulgee beat them "to the punch" and it looks like a win-win situation for everyone concerned.  Riverside has 828 acres with 170 private hangars and 35 commercial hangars.  Riverside (R.L. Jones, Jr. Airport) is the state's busiest airport (landings and take-offs) because of Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology, Riverside Flight Center, Tulsa Community College, and other independent flight schools utilizing the facilities.  And, they are also out of space with no room to expand.  Enter Okmulgee Regional Airport with 1700 acres and only 22 hangars for rent, leaving all kinds of room for expansion.  There are 27 aircraft currently based here, tie-downs are available for visiting aircraft, and 24 hour self-service aviation fuel and jet fuel is available.  Okmulgee Regional has the lowest fuel prices in the area, which attracts a lot of planes here for fill-ups, boosting revenue for the City from the fuel tax.

The Tulsa Airports board was impressed with how well the 1943-built airport had been cared for.  And with extending the north-south runway to 5150 feet, can support most business jet aircraft.  And ILS (Instrument Landing System) is available from TIA, which can guide planes in even in fog or inclement weather  According to Jeff, it is better than what Riverside has.  Our runway is 100 feet wide because it was initially built during WWII for glider pilot training, therefore, needing the extra width to accommodate the gliders.  Okmulgee Regional has probably been the most under-utilized airport in the state for the potential that is here.  Highways 75 and 69 (north-south routes), I-44 and I-40 (east-west routes), and the Port of Catoosa, who says they can transport a bushel of grain from Tulsa to the Gulf for less than a postage stamp, are available.  We don't need anything else, just the opportunity to expand on what we already have.

Hats off to the Okmulgee City Council, OADC, and all others who had a part in trying this one-year agreement (with option to renew), which is a first for both Tulsa and Okmulgee.  Do you see some more "Okmulgee Rising" on the horizon?  Let's keep it going!

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Pictured is program chairman Mayor Lion Steven Baldridge, Jeff Hough, and President Lion Beth Flud.         (Photo and information provided by Dean Craig)

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Published in Okmulgee in the News

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WOW! What an amazing "Horatio Alger" story from "rags to riches" about a boy growing up as a dirt-poor farmer's kid in northwestern Oklahoma (Gage) to the Vice-President of RAE Corporation, a family-owned, debt-free business operating from eastern Oklahoma's Mid-America Industrial Park in Pryor. Sandwiched in between was a stop at Okmulgee's OSU-IT Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Division where Jeremy Colvard learned so much more about life and living than "education". Two special guests in attendance, Roger Shepherd (ACR Department Head), and Bob Walker (ACR Instructor), were given credit for much of the successes Jeremy has accomplished during his meteoric rise in the corporate world. Another special guest was Kari Russell, HR Director for RAE Corporation. We are always glad to have guests and all are special.

Ingrained in a young lad by his father was a deep respect for God, family, flag, and country, so as a 17 year-old, Jeremy joined the National Guard, thinking he would be driving a tank. Such disappointment when he learned he would be walking (marching) nearly everywhere he went. After several calls from Louis Thompson, then Head of OSU-IT's HVAC Department about coming to school in Okmulgee, Jeremy's father advised him into looking into enrolling and attending OSU-IT. Not knowing where Okmulgee was located and never having been here before, he set out to visit the campus and liked what he saw, so he enrolled. It was here at OSU-IT that he fell in love with education, graduating in April 2001 with 19 job offers. He was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Award, which is a singular distinction in itself. He was very complimentary in the fact that OSU-IT prepares their graduates for employment, unlike a lot of four-year colleges, and accepted the job offer by RAE Corporation in April 2001. Climbing the corporate ladder, he was named Director of Engineering in 2005 at age 26 and was scared that he couldn't do the job. He began taking night classes at Rogers State College and earned a Bachelor's Degree in 2007. He left RAE Corporation to return to the farm in Gage before accepting a position for about a year with Johnson Controls, a 40 billion dollar a year global company, as a commercial product manager where he was responsible for product development and platform strategy for their York division of large tonnage roof top systems in the U.S. and Mexico. RAE Corporation then called him and offered him the Vice President position, which he accepted in 2011, and as they say, the rest is history. Jeremy returned to OSU-IT as the guest speaker for 240 students graduating on April 20, 2012.

Jeremy subscribes to the theory that life is bigger than money or acclaim, and that building trust is paramount--it is not our action but our re-actions that matter in a situation. And character also enters into the equation, and he quoted one of Coach John Wooden's quotes regarding character. Additionally, character is defined by how you treat people who can do nothing for you. As proof that his father's love and respect for God, family, flag, and country remain ingrained within him, Jeremy accepted an Assistant Pastor's position for a church in Inola.

What an amazing Horatio Alger story with Okmulgee ties. See what you're missing out by not attending the Lions Club programs every Tuesday at noon at the First Baptist Church. Photo top: Pictured with Jeremy Colvard is Program Chairman Lion Duaine Janzen (left) and President Lion Beth Flud (right). Photo bottom:  Roger Shepherd ACR Dept. Head, Bob Walker ACR - Instructor, Jeremy Colvard and Kari Russell HR Dept. of RAE Corp. (Photo and information provided by Dean Craig)

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Published in Okmulgee in the News

TULSA, Okla. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, held a press conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 26, 2015 to announce provisions of the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act (S. 1647) that will directly benefit the state and to announce growing Oklahoma support for the legislation.

Inhofe, along with EPW Ranking Member Barbara Boxer (D-Cali.) and Sens. David Vitter (R-La.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.), introduced on Tuesday the DRIVE Act, a six-year surface transportation reauthorization bill.
The following provisions in the DRIVE Act will directly benefit the state of Oklahoma:

Apportionment: Under the DRIVE Act, Oklahoma will receive roughly $657 million the first year the legislation is enacted, and an average increase of 3 percent each additional year over the life of the bill. In 2005, Senator Inhofe authored a highway reauthorization bill that ensured Oklahoma was no longer a donor state to the Highway Trust Fund. The DRIVE Act continues to guarantee that Oklahoma receives its gasoline taxes for Oklahoma roads and bridges.

Bridges: Oklahoma state and local governments will have more allocated funding for bridges both on and off the National Highway System, so Oklahoma can continue to address the many bridges across the state that are in need of repair or replacement. Furthermore, for bridges that have a higher level of risk, work can be done during the crucial summer construction season even if certain non-endangered bird species are present on the bridge.

National Freight Program: Establishes a freight program, which provides funds to improve goods movement, reducing costs and improving performance for businesses and individuals. Under this program, Oklahoma will receive $31 million in the first year after the legislation is enacted that will be dedicated to improving freight corridors and associated assets allowing for local businesses and farmers to transport products and materials more efficiently, cutting down costs for them and their consumers.

Assistance for major projects program (AMPP): Through this new program, Oklahoma will be able to compete for funding to address major projects of high importance to a community, a region, or the country. This will provide much needed funding for projects that are too big to get off the ground due to constraints on traditional funding. The program has a rural set-aside and equitable geographic distribution of funds.

Natural Gas provisions: Provides for the designation of natural gas fueling corridors to identify the needs and most vital locations for such fueling infrastructure. Oklahoma will be able to nominate facilities to be included in the corridors to be chosen by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. In addition, natural gas vehicles can be included as an authorized vehicle in HOV lanes if a state chooses to limit HOV lanes to designated vehicles. Furthermore, the bill includes a limited truck weight exemption for natural gas commercial vehicles to put them on an even competitive level with trucks that have lighter diesel engines.
Tribal transportation program: Grows the program by $10 million each year, starting at $460 million in year one. Decreases program management and oversight and project-related administrative expenses related to the tribal transportation program from 6% to 5% so more money can be used on roads and bridges. Increases the set-aside for high-priority tribal bridges from 2 percent to 3 percent. Authorizes a General Fund appropriation for a major project grant program for transportation projects on facilities owned by federal land management agencies or tribes.

Environmental streamlining: Builds on the streamlining provisions Senator Inhofe helped negotiate in the last highway reauthorization bill, MAP-21. Environmental streamlining will allow for the review, permitting, and approval processes to be conducted more efficiently, saving Oklahoma time and money when undertaking projects.

Service club, charitable association, or religious service signs: Grandfathers existing service club, charitable association, or religious service signs in all states with a size of 32 square feet or less.

To view a summary of the bill, CLICK HERE

The Oklahoma endorsements of the DRIVE Act are as follows:

“In Norman, we’ve seen the benefits that come from a long term highway and transportation re-authorization bill. The railroad underpass east of the intersection of Robinson and Flood Streets is a direct result of such legislation and we applaud and support Sen. Inhofe’s efforts to again bring forward a long term highway bill. Prior to having the underpass, emergency responders often faced the possibility of being stopped by a slow moving train while rushing to and from Norman Regional Hospital less than a mile away. This is no longer a concern as traffic moves smoothly under the railway, alleviating congestion and easing the concerns of the emergency workers who respond when time is of the essence. In addition, Norman has benefitted greatly from safety enhancements and congestion mitigation on Interstate 35 and State Highway 9. Traffic delays have been reduced significantly and fewer citizens have been injured in traffic collisions.” – Steve Lewis, city manager for the City of Norman

“Our transportation system is integral to growth and development of counties everywhere. I commend Senator Inhofe for his efforts on this highway bill as it will enhance the foundation of infrastructure in Tulsa County.” – John Smaligo, Jr., chairman of the Tulsa County Board of Commissioners.

“Long term and sustainable funding for the federal Highway Bill is imperative for the continued economic success of the City of Owasso, the Tulsa region, and all of Oklahoma. Completing the widening of U.S. 169 and completing 46th Street North to the Port of Catoosa will address significant safety concerns of deficient road and bridge infrastructure, and ensure positive economic returns in all areas of industry and commerce for the greater Owasso area.” – Warren Lehr, city manager for the City of Owasso

“Road builders across Oklahoma are ready to roll up their sleeves and get back to work building our infrastructure. From the recent ramp closures on the crumbling I-44 Belle Isle Bridge in Oklahoma City to the rehabilitation of I-244 in Tulsa, our infrastructure is in perilous condition. Recently, the weather in Oklahoma has exposed an even greater need for a long-term funding solution for our nation's roads and bridges. With this new highway bill, we will be able to better plan for Oklahoma’s future, resulting in an infrastructure system that can safely network our nation. We commend and congratulate Sen. Inhofe for his tireless drive to forge a sustainable solution. His actions will not only build Oklahoma but will spur the economy and, most importantly, keep our families safe while traveling. Thank you, Sen. Inhofe, for making Oklahoma's roads and bridges a top priority.” – Bobby Stem, executive director of the Association of Oklahoma General Contractors
“Our nation’s transportation infrastructure is critical to our economic health and the reauthorization of the highway bill could not be more important. It was vital to an Oklahoma City project, the reconstruction of I-40 in Central Oklahoma City, that replaced a damaged, obsolete bridge with a safe freeway with a longer lifespan. Stable funding will allow communities across the nation to see these same improvements so that businesses can transport goods and travelers can move safely to their destinations.” – Roy Williams, president of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber

“I am pleased to hear Senator Inhofe is moving forward with the introduction of a long-term highway bill. Transportation investment greatly benefits all Oklahomans,” he said. “We applaud Senator Inhofe’s leadership to recognize the importance of this investment. The bill will help address the critical needs of our highways and other infrastructure, while providing safer roads, well-paying jobs, and supporting Oklahoma’s economy.” – Jim Duit, president of Duit Construction Company, Inc. in Edmond, Oklahoma

“The new Highway Trust Bill will help our Nation return to one of the basics of our highway system—moving freight. Upon completion of the interstate highway system authorized under the 1956 Highway Trust Bill, our country began emphasizing ancillary transportation items to include recreation with the development of such things as bicycle paths. It now, however, is critically important for us to move back to developing highway infrastructure to insure that we can move freight in a timely, efficient manner. This is critically important to inland, international seaports like our Tulsa Port of Catoosa that offers year round muti-modal freight services through truck, rail, and barge for an ever growing cargo volume—currently over 2 million tons per year. Since barges cannot go door to door, we must have adequate rail and roadways to deliver and/or receive products to and from barges. This is vitally important to the 70 industrial clients located here at the Port employing over 4,000 people. Our thanks to Senator Inhofe for leading our Nation back to the basics of furthering the development and maintenance of our roadway system in his capacity as Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee.” – Bob Portiss, port director of the Tulsa Port of Catoosa

“We must have a long-term highway reauthorization bill because the nation’s highway and infrastructure system is the foundation of commerce, not just for the strength of our business but more importantly for our customers’ livelihoods. And in no uncertain terms, the number one concern we hear from our customers -- both professional truck drivers and traveling families -- is for safety on our country’s roadways.” – Tom Love, founder and executive chairman of Love’s Travel Stops

“Senator Inhofe has been a tireless champion of the need for and importance of investment in our nation’s infrastructure. The multi-year surface transportation re-authorization bill is critically important to providing stability and predictability in transportation funding and builds on the MAP-21 reforms with streamlining and flexibility features that will help to accelerate project delivery. We are encouraged that the action of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will spur attention on the too often delayed but most timely issue of transportation funding. Senator’s Inhofe leadership in this effort is to be commended.” – Rich Brierre, executive director of INCOG

“Surface transportation systems are vitally important to safety and prosperity not only in Oklahoma but across our Nation. The Highway Bill further enables the Southern Plains Transportation Center, based at the University of Oklahoma, to continue to develop new technologies and educate the workforce. Through the Center, OU, OSU and Langston University as well as other institutions serve the surrounding five-state region. Transportation professionals at state Departments of Transportation and in private businesses employ resulting best practices to design, develop and maintain our roads and bridges.” – Dr. Tom Landers, dean of University of Oklahoma’s College of Engineering Department

“OGE Energy counts safety in the work place and at home as one of its primary values. We’re pleased that the 2015 Highway Reauthorization Bill emphasizes safety by including funding for grade separation that could remediate dangerous rail crossings, something we face daily in our workplaces. We thank Chairman Inhofe for his vision in including this safety component in his bill, and encourage our entire delegation to support the legislation when it reaches their respective chambers.” – Randy Swanson, director of public affairs for OGE Energy Corp

“Enovation Controls applauds Senator Inhofe’s leadership to promote the use of cleaner, less expensive natural gas as a transportation fuel. This legislation is good for Oklahoma’s jobs and industry, as well as the environment and the nation as more natural gas powered commercial vehicles operate on our highways. We look forward to supporting this legislation and working with Senator Inhofe to ensure its passage.” – Patrick W. Cavanagh, president and chief executive officer of Enovation Controls

“A good, reliable infrastructure is vitally important to Oklahoma agriculture. We need safe and efficient roads and bridges to transport our valuable commodities to market. We applaud Sen. Inhofe for recognizing this need and for his continuing support of agriculture.” – Tom Buchanan, president of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau
“A long-term highway bill is great news for the energy industry in Oklahoma and across the nation. In order to access and move our product to all possible markets, we need reliable and up-to-date infrastructure. We support Senator Inhofe’s efforts in focusing on a freight program that can be used to identify and fund projects to help move energy from the ground to other points along the production line, and ultimately to consumers around the world.” – Harold Hamm, chairman and CEO Continental Resources

"A long term highway funding bill that upgrades and strengthens our nation's infrastructure and eliminates red tape is critical to a vibrant U.S. economy. American companies like Devon depend on reliable infrastructure to support jobs and the economy across our country." – John Richels, president and CEO of Devon Energy
“People forget that one of the main reasons Eisenhower set out to build the interstate system was for national security purposes. In order to have a well-supplied, trained, and responsive military, this nation needs a reliable and durable highway system. This is especially important for Oklahoma’s six military installations. From McAlester Army Ammunition Plant producing all general purpose bombs for our Navy and Air Force and Tinker Air Force Base that is home to the Air Force’s largest Air Logistics Complex, to the Army’s Fires Center of Excellence at Fort Sill and the critical training accomplished at Vance Air Force Base, Altus Air Force Base, and Camp Gruber Joint Maneuver Training Center, this long-term transportation bill and its focus on federal priorities is critical to our national security. Senator Inhofe’s leadership on transportation and national security is vital to not just to Oklahoma and Oklahomans but our nation all a whole.” – Randy Young, director of Military Aviation and Aerospace for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber

“We have grown very stagnant during the last several years as our business has faced nothing but continuing resolutions to depend on to keep our employees working in the highway industry across Oklahoma and Arkansas. Plans to expand our business in Oklahoma City with new facilities are still on hold today which means our expansion dollars will not be spent until we have assurance that the revenue stream for funding will become consistent over several years at a time rather than six months at a time. All employees working in the highway industry rely heavily on overtime dollars and during a stable and consistent program properly funded we will average 50 to 60 hour work weeks, which means about a 20 percent increase over base pay rates. Now that there is the DRIVE Act, we urge for passage of this legislation that can mean more to not only Oklahoma but all of America. I appreciate that Senator Jim Inhofe and his colleagues are listening to those in the industry, and I hope more in Congress will believe the fact that a stable-funded infrastructure program across the country will immediately release the trigger for growth that today still sits stagnant. I urge Congress to pass this six-year surface transportation reauthorization bill, and let’s rebuild our most valuable asset that any of us living in America have. It’s the right thing to do.” – Mike Webb, president of Manhattan Road and Bridge

Published in Political News
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