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Statewide News

Recipients of the annual Rural Fire Defense 80/20 Reimbursement Grants have been announced by Oklahoma Forestry Services. The grants provide funding for equipment purchases and fire station construction and are available through an application process to rural fire departments which serve populations of less than 10,000.

“There is a great need for equipment and station construction by our rural fire departments,” said George Geissler, director, Oklahoma Forestry Services. “These departments are the first line of defense for their communities and we would like to be able to offer assistance to more departments.”

A total of $125,000 was available for the program this year and departments were eligible to receive up to $30,000 for fire department construction and up to $20,000 for fire equipment purchases. The grants provide reimbursement of up to 80% of the total amount of projects, with fire departments receiving reimbursement after the purchase or constructions costs have been paid. Sixteen departments were selected to receive the grants this year.

The grants are authorized by Governor Mary Fallin, funded by the Oklahoma Legislature and administered by the Oklahoma Forestry Services, a division of Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry. Oklahoma’s Rural Fire Coordinators grade the applications and select the recipients.

Rural fire departments which have been awarded grants this year include: Boulanger Rural Fire Department; Butler Volunteer Fire Department; Caddo Fire Department; Blackwell Fire Department; Harrah Fire Department; Cordell Volunteer Firefighters Association; Darwin Volunteer Fire Department; Green Country Volunteer Fire Department; Walters Fire Department; Jacktown Fire Department; Monroe Volunteer Fire Association; Ochelata Volunteer Fire Department; Oglesby Civil Defense Volunteer Fire; Sam's Point Volunteer Fire Department; Meeker Fire Department; Rosston Volunteer Fire Department and Wilson Community Volunteer Fire Association.

For more information about the grants and recipients visit the Oklahoma Forestry Services website at www.forestry.ok.gov or call 405-288-2385.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today issued the following statement after the House of Representatives Special Investigation Committee withdrew its subpoena on her chief of staff, Chris Benge:

“My office wants full transparency on what caused the serious financial issues at the Oklahoma State Department of Health. On October 30, I brought together the fiscal staff of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, the state attorney general’s office and the office of the state auditor and inspector to look into the matter to immediately investigate and bring forth clarity to the situation, and offer solutions to ensure proper fiscal management of the Department of Health. Legislative leaders have been briefed about the situation.

“All officials in the executive branch and agencies are happy to voluntarily assist the Oklahoma House Special Committee. It is also important that the House committee confers with the attorney general and the state auditor and inspector who have already begun looking into the Health Department 30 days ago.

“I am pleased this matter could be resolved professionally and amicably. This will bring all of us to focus and exert our energy and attention on developing a long-term, predictable solution to fix our budget, fund core services, and provide a teacher pay raise.”

Donations needed to fight hunger across the state this holiday season

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin’s annual Feeding Oklahoma Drive kicks off on Sunday, October 1. The month-long drive benefits the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and their partner agencies across the state.

“While many of us can’t imagine not knowing where our next meal is coming from, it’s a reality for thousands of people in our state,” said Fallin. “This drive is an opportunity for all Oklahomans to come together and donate food and funds to ensure our hungry neighbors have food on their tables this winter. I know we can count on the giving spirit of Oklahomans to help.”

To participate in the drive, visit feedingoklahoma.org or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Every dollar donated will provide the equivalent of five meals for Oklahomans struggling with hunger. Food donations will stay local to help fight hunger in communities across Oklahoma. Non-perishable food items can also be donated at select BancFirst locations, Bob Moore Auto Group locations, the Community Food Bank and the Regional Food Bank. Most-needed items include canned meat, canned vegetables, canned fruits, canned tuna, peanut butter, and rice and beans.

“This drive comes at a critical time of year before people start thinking about the needs of many of our hungry neighbors during the holidays,” said Eileen Bradshaw, executive director of the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. “We are grateful to Governor Fallin for addressing the issue of hunger in our state and mobilizing friends, businesses and organizations to provide healthy food for our neighbors struggling to put enough food on the table.”

Oklahoma is one of the hungriest states in the nation, with one in six residents struggling with hunger every day. The majority of clients served by the Oklahoma food banks are chronically hungry children, seniors living on fixed incomes and working families who struggle to make ends meet each month.

“We’re happy to once again partner with Governor Fallin to help raise funds and food for Oklahomans with inconsistent access to food,” said Katie Fitzgerald, chief executive officer of the Regional Food Bank. “We are so appreciative that the Feeding Oklahoma Drive shines a light on the issue of hunger in our state. I want to offer a special thank you to the businesses and individuals who participate in this drive.”

Feeding Oklahoma is presented by Chickasaw Nation, Devon Energy and Walmart. Additional sponsors include BP America, Dolese Bros. Co., Homeland, INTEGRIS Health, Lopez Foods and Love's Travel Stops. It’s not too late to become a sponsor. For more information, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (405) 600-3174. Once again chairing the statewide food drive for Fallin is businesswoman Laure Majors, with co-chairs Laura Watts and Brenda Jones Barwick.

About the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma

The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is the state’s largest hunger-relief organization and a member of Feeding America’s network of Food Banks. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit provides enough food to feed more than 136,000 hungry Oklahomans each week through a network of more than 1,300 schools and charitable feeding programs in 53 central and western Oklahoma counties. Since its inception in 1980, the Regional Food Bank has distributed more than 653 million pounds of food to feed Oklahoma’s hungry. For more information, click here.

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.

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