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Statewide News

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved the state's request for disaster assistance for 16 counties related to severe weather that occurred May 16-20.

The approval means federal funding is available to assist municipalities, counties, rural electric cooperatives and the state with infrastructure repairs and costs associated with responding to the storm.

Disaster assistance is approved for Alfalfa, Beckham, Cherokee, Coal, Cotton, Delaware, Johnston, Le Flore, Murray, Muskogee, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Pittsburg, Pontotoc, Roger Mills and Washita counties.

The storms caused extensive flooding, power outages and dangerous travel conditions in the impacted counties. Thirty-eight tornadoes were reported May 16-20, including three EF2 tornadoes near Elk City, Hanna and Muskogee. One death and multiple injuries were attributed to the storm.

Damage assessments indicate the storm resulted in more than $6.5 million in infrastructure damage, debris and response costs.

Additional counties may be added to the public assistance declaration request at a later date should conditions warrant.

By Wesley Coburn - ONN

The Oklahoma Department of Labor (ODOL) is hosting a meeting in Oklahoma City on July 27 at 2 p.m. to discuss how ODOL can better partner with Public Sector employees to improve workplace health and safety, in addition to explaining how newly-enacted workplace safety laws work for businesses. The meeting will be held at 3017 N. Stiles Ave.

Governor Mary Fallin recently signed into law new rules for the Oklahoma Occupational Health and Safety Standards Act, which will affect all Public Sector employees across the State of Oklahoma beginning September 15, 2017. Violations will result in fines and potential citations.

An RSVP is requested if planning on attending the event; this can be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., requests for a similar meeting in Tulsa may also be sent to the same address.

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 24, 2017) – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister made the following remarks in response to an agreement with state legislative leaders to introduce a trailer bill that adds $18 million to the appropriation made in Senate Bill 860.

"While the budget crisis has been a formidable challenge for all involved, I am deeply grateful that the Oklahoma State Legislature has worked hard to successfully make the school funding formula whole for common education. This has been a tough process and many state agencies have weathered steep cuts, but legislators deserve praise for prioritizing education on behalf of Oklahoma’s schoolchildren.

“Under the trailer bill, the Legislature will ensure that the funding formula is preserved and that the state fulfills its statutory obligation to cover 100 percent of the health insurance costs so vital for educators. This agreement is welcome news for Oklahoma schools after a year of uncertainty and financial hardship.”

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved the state's request for disaster assistance for 18 counties related to the severe weather that that occurred April 28 – May 2.

The approval means federal funding is available to assist municipalities, counties, rural electric cooperatives and the state with infrastructure repairs and costs associated with responding to the storm.

Disaster assistance is approved for Adair, Beaver, Caddo, Cherokee, Cimarron, Craig, Delaware, Haskell, Kiowa, Lincoln, Logan, Mayes, Muskogee, Ottawa, Pittsburg, Sequoyah, Texas and Washita counties.

The storms caused extensive flooding in eastern and central Oklahoma, and widespread snow and high winds in the Oklahoma Panhandle. Three tornadoes occurred on April 28 and 29, including an EF-2 tornado near Cameron. The weather created treacherous travel conditions, road closures and power outages.

Damage assessments indicate the storm resulted in more than $12.7 million in infrastructure damage, debris and response costs.

Fallin also requested a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster declaration for Cherokee and Haskell counties. That request was approved Monday. It provides SBA low-interest disaster loans for homeowners and business owners to replace any property damaged by the storm that was not covered by insurance or other assistance programs.

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 24, 2017) – Today, the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) debuted its newest episode of Elevate+: Changing the Conversation. Elevate+ features extended video segments focusing on innovative and positive topics in public education in Oklahoma. In “Changing the Conversation,” members of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister’s 2016- 2017 Student Advisory Council speak out on two important questions – What would you change about public education in Oklahoma? And how would you redefine your senior year?

Students from Alva, Ardmore, Chisholm, Garber, Millwood, Norman, Owasso, Ponca City, Stilwell and Woodward share their thoughts and ideas about strengthening public education in our state.

The 2016-17 Student Advisory Council consists of 99 high school students from across the state, 31 of whom are returning members who served on last year’s inaugural council. Members of the council were nominated by the superintendents of their districts.

Nominations for the 2017-2018 Student Advisory Council will begin in fall 2017.

Previous Elevate+ segments include:

Dear Freshman: Advice from Upperclassmen

Oklahoma high school students speak out

elevate plus

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin tonight released the following statement after jurors reached their verdict in the trial of Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby:

“I ask Oklahomans to respect our criminal justice system and especially the jurors, who heard the evidence from both sides in this case. Those who disagree with the verdict have the right to express their opinions; I just ask that they do so in a peaceful manner. I appeal to Tulsans and others to remain calm. Our thoughts and prayers should be with the Terence Crutcher and Betty Shelby families during this difficult.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017 13:32

Electric Costs on the Rise

Both Mother Nature and many of the electric utility companies have been very kind to everyone over the past 12-18 months. Unfortunately, it is time to get back to reality. Mother Nature skipped the spring season. Actually, most of us would say we skipped winter and went from fall right into spring. Now we are jumping right into summer. At the same time, many of the utility companies have had an increase in the “fuel adjustment” rates on your electrical bills. If you have a “fuel adjustment” charge as part of your utility rate, you are probably paying more for your electrical usage than you were in December. Many OG&E customers started seeing the increased rates in their February bills. OG&E customers are seeing fuel adjustment increases of 29 percent. Here at the Capitol complex we have several facilities that have decreased electrical usage compared to last year and still saw an increase in cost.
Facility: Attorney General Building

Usage: Decreased 8.5%
Cost: Increased 17.1%
Facility: Connors/Hodge Complex

Usage: Decreased 8.9%
Cost: Increased 8.4%
Facility: Governor’s Complex

Usage: Decreased 8.8%
Cost: Increased 2.7%

We have been fortunate. With the mild weather, most of us have seen a decreases in natural gas usage. This has helped to offset the overall utility costs. The bad news, heating season is over. Cooling season is upon us which means increased electrical usage at the higher rates. With the current budget situation this could not be happening at a worse time.

What can we do? Be as efficient with your HVAC and electrical systems as possible. This does not necessarily mean turn everything off. In some cases this will actually cause an increase in usage if implemented at the wrong times. Get the message out to your agency reminding them that it takes everyone’s efforts to be efficient. Turn off lights when not required. Unplug the phone chargers. Turn off the personal fans. Those are the types of things individual employees can do to assist. In regards to your facility HVAC and electrical operations, get with your maintenance departments and discuss facility operations. If you cannot come up with some energy efficiency options, please contact the State Energy Program office. We can assist you with these evaluations.

(Tahlequah, Oklahoma) -- Northeastern State University’s Sequoyah Institute presents the Annie Moses Band as the culmination of the Sequoyah Institute 2016-2017 Performing Arts Series. The performance is set for 7:30 p.m. on April 4 at the NSU Center for the Performing Arts.

The Annie Moses Band has been inspiring and entertaining audiences for over a decade, bringing its distinctive style of music across the nation and around the world. A captivating blend of folk and classical, the Annie Moses Band is a talented ensemble of songwriters, singers and musicians, combining technical skill with exhilarating showmanship. The Band’s innovative sound has delighted audiences around the world in record-breaking numbers of airings on PBS and on stages as diverse as Carnegie Hall and the Grand Ole Opry.

The band’s award-winning composers weave diverse musical styles into cinematic arrangements that beautifully showcase their Julliard-honed chops and soaring vocals. The Annie Moses Band combines the best of beloved genres in a style that unifies audiences, young and old.

“When I heard this group live, I was captivated by the musicianship of each of these individuals and the incredible sound they make as a group,” Cindy Chanslor, coordinator of the Sequoyah Institute, said. “And it wasn’t just me; the entire audience was spellbound.”

Chanslor said the community is in for a treat. The Annie Moses Band will share an afternoon performance with area schools prior to the evening performance. School reservations are required; please call 918-458-2075 for details.

Tickets for the evening performance can be purchased online at www.nsuok.edu/si , by phone at 918-458-2075 or in person weekdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Sequoyah Institute Box Office located at 529 Seminary Ave. Tickets will also be available at the Center for the Performing Arts Box Office beginning one hour before show time.

The Sequoyah Institute Performing Arts Series is funded in part by a grant from the Oklahoma Arts Council. The Sequoyah Institute can be reached by phone at 918-458-2075.

(Shawnee, Okla. – March 7, 2017) Seven students from St. Gregory’s University attended the Oklahoma Native American Students in Higher Education (ONASHE) Conference on February 25, 2017. The conference offered three days of workshops and a variety of activities.

"The ONASHE American Indian Higher Education conference truly provides our Indigenous student population with an opportunity to discuss, debate and implement their concepts surrounding a variety of issues impacting Indigenous students in higher education settings,” said Cedric Sunray, Co-Activity Director and Retention Specialist. “From the use of Indigenous people as mascots to combating significantly low graduation rates, as well as sharing stories of success, Indigenous students know that their voice is being heard and valued. They are grateful for the support St. Gregory's has provided in insuring their involvement."

Emmaline Barrett, Alyssa Chavez, Sutv Meely, Crystal Pablo, Shannon Foye, Jeffrey Trout, and Phoenix Bills all attended the conference, which celebrated the contributions of American Indian/indigenous populations in higher education and empowered their path towards graduation.

“It was a great experience to be exposed to different Native American cultures here in Oklahoma since I am not from here,” said sophomore Crystal Pablo, a Gallup, New Mexico native. “It was nice having some friends come with me to the event, but also great to meet so many new people.”

Founded in 1875, St. Gregory’s University is Oklahoma’s oldest institution of higher learning and only Catholic university. St. Gregory’s offers a liberal arts education rooted in the Benedictine tradition of cultivating the whole person – mind, body and spirit. With campuses in Shawnee and Tulsa, St. Gregory’s features both traditional and adult degree programs, including associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. For more information about the University, visit www.stgregorys.edu.

Governor Mary Fallin Declares State of Emergency for 22 Counties Due to Wildfires, Critical Fire Conditions

OKLAHOMA CITY - Governor Mary Fallin today issued an executive order to declare a state of emergency for 22 counties due to ongoing wildfires and critical fire weather conditions.

The counties included in the governor’s declaration are: Alfalfa, Beaver, Blaine, Cimarron, Custer, Dewey, Ellis, Garfield, Grant, Harper, Kay, Kingfisher, Logan, Major, Noble, Osage, Payne, Pawnee, Roger Mills, Texas, Woods and Woodward.

Estimates show between 200,000 and 300,000 acres have already burned in Beaver, Harper and Woodward counties alone, where dangerous fire conditions are expected to continue tonight and tomorrow.

Under the executive order, state agencies can make emergency purchases and acquisitions needed to expedite the delivery of resources to local jurisdictions. It is also the first step toward seeking federal aid should it be necessary.

The executive order is in effect for 30 days and could be amended to include additional counties if conditions warrant.

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