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Statewide News

OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 30, 2015) – Two Oklahoma high school students have been named this year’s state delegates to the prestigious 54th annual U.S. Senate Youth Program (USSYP).

Nathan Levit, a senior at Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, and Matthew Welborn, a senior at Norman North High School, will join 102 other delegates from around the country for an exclusive week this spring in Washington D.C.

Pranoy Behera from Bartlesville High School and Caleb Morrow from Altus High School were chosen as alternates.

“I am proud of the accomplishments of these distinguished students. Their exemplary academic achievement combined with dedicated community service has well prepared them for this unique honor and opportunity,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Hofmeister said. “Across the course of this program, many of the alumni have gone on to become leaders at all levels of government, business and philanthropic endeavors. These distinguished students are without question some of Oklahoma's finest leaders of tomorrow.”

Levit serves as president of the Model UN, senior student council representative, president of the Washington Economics Society, and is co-captain of the golf team. He is the founder and president of Youth for Action and the regional vice president for the Jewish teen leadership organization BBYO. Levit has worked in multiple local political campaigns. He plans to attend law school and work in Washington D.C.

Welborn is president of the Norman North student council and is a member of the National Honor Society and the National Technical Honor Society. He is active in youth leadership in Norman as a member of the City of Norman Youth Council, the Chamber of Commerce Tomorrow’s Leaders Program, and the United Way Teen Advisors of Norman. Welborn runs his own tutoring company and is currently tutoring 14 students. Welborn also attends Moore-Norman Technology Center’s Engineering Program. He plans to earn an engineering degree and attend law school.

Both were nominated by the Oklahoma State Department of Education after going through an application process that adhered to high standards set by the USSYP.

On March 5, two student leaders from every U.S. state, Washington D.C. and the U.S. Department of Defense school system will arrive in the nation’s capital for a week-long look at how the country functions. They will meet with prominent officials from every branch of government and related fields, including members of Congress, the President, a Supreme Court justice, an ambassador and members of the media.

Each will also receive a $5,000 undergraduate college scholarship.

The USSYP has been sponsored by the U.S. Senate and fully funded by The Hearst Foundation since its inception in 1962. Alumni of the program include Robert Henry, former U.S. judge, state legislator and attorney general. He is the current president of Oklahoma City University. Other alumni include New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; Richard Burt, former ambassador to West Germany; Thomas “Mack” McLarty, chief of staff for President Clinton; Karl Rove, deputy chief of staff for President Bush; Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, and Sen. Gory Gardner of Colorado.

Delegates generally rank academically in the top percent of their states, and they have shown great leadership ability and a commitment to volunteer work.

For more information on the USSYP in Oklahoma, visit http://sde.ok.gov/sde/social-studies#USSYP.

OKLAHOMA CITY – The magnitude-4.3 earthquake that struck near Edmond early Tuesday morning was the 29th temblor of magnitude-4.0 or greater to shake this state this year, Oklahoma Geological Survey records reflect. So far as state Rep. Richard Morrissette is concerned, enough is enough.

Despite Governor Fallin’s claims that she acknowledges a direct correlation between seismic activity and disposal wells, Morrissette contends “there is much more that she could and should be doing before someone is seriously injured.”

The governor “has control of the drill bit here,” said Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City. “She has the executive authority to order a complete halt to ‘produced water’ being pumped into any more wells that inject into the Arbuckle formation, not simply a reduction in the amount injected into wells near areas that have previously experienced a quake.”

Although the Fallin administration says several steps have been taken to address the disposal well problem, “Those steps are not having any significant impact,” Morrissette charged. “Back in March, operators of 347 wells were ordered to reduce injection outputs. In July, another 211 wells were ordered to do the same. Have we seen a reduction in ’quakes? I think today’s earthquakes prove my point, and no order to cease operations has come from Fallin’s office.”

The U.S. Geological Survey logged a magnitude-4.3 earthquake at 5:39 a.m. Tuesday approximately five miles east northeast of Edmond, and a magnitude-3.4 aftershock centered nearby was recorded 10 minutes later. In addition, a 2.9-magnitude ’quake occurred at 6:48 a.m. Tuesday 17.4 miles northwest of Fairview.

Link Established

In June, two Stanford geophysicists, Professor Mark Zoback and Ph.D. student Rall Walsh, completed their research into Oklahoma earthquakes and the link to oil and gas drilling. In Phys.Org’s Earth Sciences report, the pair say that the primary source of the quake-triggering wastewater is not so-called “flow back water” generated after hydraulic fracturing operations. Instead, they say, the culprit is “produced water,” the brackish water that coexists with oil and gas within the Earth.

Oil wells in Oklahoma generate an average of about 10 barrels of produced water for every barrel of crude oil. However, some of the wells in this state’s seismically active areas generate as much as 50 barrels of wastewater for every barrel of oil that’s recovered, research shows.

Zoback is a Benjamin M. Page Professor in the School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences, a senior fellow at Stanford’s Precourt Institute for Energy, and director of the university’s recently launched Natural Gas Initiative.

Zoback and Walsh looked at three study areas centered around the Oklahoma towns of Cherokee, Perry and Jones, which have experienced a large number of earthquakes in recent years. All three areas showed clear increases in quakes following increases in wastewater disposal Three areas that did not have much wastewater disposal did not experience increases in the number of quakes.

“The scientists from Stanford have come up with a solution but Governor Fallin refuses to listen,” Morrissette said. “Cease injection of produced water into the subterranean Arbuckle formation entirely in those counties where seismicity is extraordinarily high.”

Disposal Well Volumes

Approximately 1,000 disposal wells across the state inject produced water into the Arbuckle, Oklahoma Corporation Commission records indicate.

“We have to cease this practice now,” Morrissette asserted. “They’ve already injected so much water that the pressure is still spreading throughout the Arbuckle formation. The earthquakes won’t stop overnight but we have to be pro-active”

In 1997, about 20 million barrels of produced water were injected in the three areas of concentrated seismicity, records show. In comparison, 400 million barrels of wastewater – 16.8 billion gallons – were injected in 2013, “speeding up the activity significantly,” Morrissette related.

Earthquakes Increase

Records reflect a steady increase in the number of earthquakes in Oklahoma in recent years. There were 585 earthquakes of magnitude-3 or greater last year – “three times more than California had,” Morrissette noted. That number had soared to 878 magnitude-3≥ earthquakes through noon Tuesday, Oklahoma Geological Survey records show.

Oklahoma experienced 5,646 earthquakes – ranging in magnitude from 1.3 to 4.7 – through noon Tuesday. Of those temblors, 29 were of magnitude-4.0≥, and 850 of them were of m-3.0 to m-3.9.

U.S. Geological Survey data reflect that Oklahoma experienced an average of fewer than two magnitude-3 temblors per year for 30 years, from 1978 through 2008. That statewide average shot up to 247 per year over the past seven years.

* Oklahoma County has had 134 ‘quakes this year, in magnitudes that varied from 1.3 to 4.3. Nineteen were recorded at m-3.0 to m-3.7.

* Payne County has had 449 earthquakes, extending in magnitude from 1.6. Two were of m-4.0≥ and 65 were of m-3.0 to m-3.8.

* Logan County has had 814 earthquakes this year. Seven were logged at m-4.0≥ and 137 others were recorded at m-3.0 to m-3.9.

* Grant County has been shaken, rattled and rolled by almost 1,500 earthquakes this year. Nine were of magnitude 4.0≥ and 218 were recorded at m-3.0 to m-3.9.

* Noble County: 618 earthquakes, including one at magnitude-4.2 and 67 of m-3.0 to m-3.9.

* Garfield County: 533 tremors, ranging in magnitude from 1.3. Two were recorded at m-4.0≥ and 94 were registered at m-3.0 to m-3.9.

* Alfalfa County: 675 ’quakes this year, five of m-4.0≥ and 112 of m-3.0≥.

* Lincoln County: 144 earthquakes this year, including one of magnitude-4.4 and 27 of m-3.0 to m-3.8.

Monday, 28 December 2015 12:10

Tips to Protect Your Pets this Winter

The cold weather can be just as hard on pets as it is on people. This winter, consider these tips to keep your four-legged family members safe and warm.

Warm up on Walks

If you decide to brave the cold for daily walks, there are a few risks to keep in mind. Wind chill can be dangerous, no matter what the temperature is, according to The Humane Society. Pets can be at risk for frostbite and hypothermia during extreme cold snaps, and exposed skin on noses, ears and paw pads can quickly freeze and suffer permanent damage.

On walks, keep your pet warm with a sweater or coat. Small booties or paw gel will help keep sensitive paws from freezing. And if you’d rather not risk a slippery walk outside, try exercising your furry friend at an indoor dog park or doggy daycare.

Stay Safe

The salt used to de-slick an icy road can be dangerous and toxic to pets, often irritating the pads of their feet. In addition, coolants and antifreeze may drip from cars, making an easy transfer to sensitive paws. When returning from a walk, be sure to wipe down paws with a damp cloth before he or she has a chance to lick them.

Take Shelter

It’s always best to provide warm, dry shelter indoors for your pets in the winter months; however, if your pets must stay outdoors, there are a few ways to make their shelter safe and comfortable.

The Humane Society recommends raising the shelter a few inches off the ground and covering the floor with cedar shavings or straw. The doorway should be positioned away from the wind, and the shelter covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic. The American Veterinary Medical Association urges owners to provide unlimited access to fresh water. Change the water frequently to avoid freezing, or use a heated water bowl.

Keep Pets Secure

Consider your pet’s car safety before pulling out of the driveway. Pet carriers, car seats and back seat barriers can provide additional safety as you drive, especially in the event of an accident or sudden stop.

Also, you may want to explore pet injury coverage. For example, Erie Insurance automatically covers up to two dogs and/or cats that are injured in your vehicle during an accident. For more information, visit www.ErieInsurance.com.

“Your pet’s overall health and safety depends on your preparedness,” says Cody Cook, Erie Insurance vice president and product manager. “Check with your insurance company to make sure your pets are covered in the event of an accident. That way, instead of worrying about medical costs, you can have the peace of mind knowing they’re protected.”

This winter, take care to protect your furry friends from winter woes by following these simple tips to keep them safe and happy. (StatePoint)


(StatePoint) The winter months come with many gifts to wrap and unwrap, parties to plan, family-style meals to whip up -- the list goes on. Now more than ever, technology can help us get creative with how to make time with family more meaningful, and then help us capture all the fun so the memories last far longer than just a moment.

Here’s how to get started.

Make Things to Share

Interactive computers such as Sprout by HP are recreating what it means to make things by merging the physical and digital worlds. Sprout is what HP calls an Immersive Computer; it comes with a touch screen, touch mat, overhead projector, HD camera and 3D scanner.

With Sprout, you can grab holiday-inspired items -- like holiday wreaths or jingle bells -- and easily scan them into the device. There are several different free apps available that can help you create, learn, interact and share.

Do-It-Yourself Decorating

If you’re in the mood to get crafty with the family, you can make non-traditional items such as garlands out of leftover sprinkles from holiday baking. JoJotastic.com blogger, Joanna Hawley, doesn’t throw away leftover ingredients; instead she recycles them for a decorating project. Take her lead by throwing some sprinkles on the touch mat to scan, print and cut the images into your favorite shape. Then, tie each piece to ribbon and voila, festive garlands to hang on the wall for any holiday party!

Beat Holiday Boredom

Spending time at home can be a nostalgic, cheerful experience. But between baking pumpkin muffins and holiday shopping, there are bound to be stretches of free time -- especially for the kids. Borrow a few tips from LunchboxDad.com blogger, Beau Coffron, who uses creative holiday boredom busters to keep the kids busy! Like Beau and his family, you can explore apps like Crayola DJ to brighten up a chilly winter day. The kids will love interacting with the projected turnstiles on the touch mat to show off their musical skills.

Direct a Family Video

Give the traditional family video a new twist by recording quirky moments and piecing them together on apps like Video Capture. Lunchbox Dad likes the eye-catching DreamWorks Story Producer app that lets you create and direct your own How to Train Your Dragon animated film. You can even choose the difficulty level. Try challenging the family to see who can get the fastest time!

Don’t Forget To Share

When used imaginatively, technology can unite the family to inspire new, meaningful traditions.

Celebrate your creations on social media by sharing the hashtag #GoMakeThings and see what others have created with family this holiday season!



Oklahoma City (Dec. 28, 2015) —The Powerball jackpot for Wednesday night’s drawing has reached $300 million! The estimated cash value of the jackpot is $184.2 million.

Players have until 8:59 p.m. on Wednesday to purchase tickets for the next Powerball drawing. Powerball drawings are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 9:59 p.m.

Play Responsibly

With the Powerball jackpot at $300 million, the Oklahoma Lottery is encouraging everyone to play responsibly.

OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 9, 2015) – Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister praised the U.S. Senate’s overwhelming decision this morning to approve the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which will correct many of the weaknesses in the No Child Left Behind Act.

“We are pleased that the United States Congress has passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This critical legislation – which essentially replaces No Child Left Behind – gives Oklahoma education stakeholders at the state and local level the authority and responsibility they have long sought. With a deep resolve for strong accountability and high-quality standards, I applaud the efforts of our federal delegation who sought to limit federal over-reach and strengthen state control of teacher evaluation, assessments, academic standards, accountability and innovation,” Hofmeister said.

While the ESSA would remove the requirement for Oklahoma to seek an annual waiver from burdensome federal mandates, it would still require state-led testing in grades 3-8 and high school and a state-designed school accountability system, among other measures.

Gross Receipts to the Treasury Continue Fall in November

OKLAHOMA CITY – Monthly Gross Receipts to the Treasury are lower than the same month of the prior year for a seventh consecutive month as low oil prices and reduced consumer spending shrank the bottom line in November, State Treasurer Ken Miller announced today.

Twelve-month Gross Receipts to the Treasury also contracted, as total collections continued an eight-month downward trend and are the lowest since June 2014.

“We are seeing the ongoing impact of the slowdown in the energy industry as the effect is felt across the state’s economy,” Miller said. “The downward trajectory of revenue collections moderated slightly this month, but the overall trend continues.”

Total Gross Receipts to the Treasury for November are $830.8 million, down by more than $15 million, or almost 2 percent, from November 2014.

For an 11th consecutive month, collections from oil and natural gas production taxes are lower than the same month of the prior year. November gross production collections are more than 54 percent lower than last November. Monthly receipts are based on oil field activity from September when the average price of benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil was $45.48 per barrel.

Sales tax collections, often viewed as an indicator of consumer confidence, have been lower than the same month of the prior year for seven of the past nine months. In November, sales tax collections fell below the prior year by almost 5 percent. The only revenue stream in positive territory for the month is gross income tax, up by more than $40 million, or almost 18 percent, due primarily to the tax commission’s PAYRight tax amnesty program.

Collections for the past 12 months total $11.74 billion, down by 192.3 million, or 1.6 percent from the trailing 12 months.

For the first time since at least March 2011, when the treasurer’s office began tracking gross receipts, sales tax collections are less than during the previous 12-month period, down by about $39 million, or just less than 1 percent. Twelve-month gross production taxes are off by more than 42 percent. Only gross income taxes are higher than the previous 12 months, up by almost $227 million, or 5.4 percent.

Other indicators

Oklahoma’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was set at 4.3 percent in October, down by one-tenth of one percentage point from September, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission. Over the past year, the mining and logging supersector, which includes the energy sector, reported the loss of 11,600 jobs, while the manufacturing supersector showed a reduction of 8,900 jobs. The national unemployment rate was set at 5.0 percent in October.

The Business Conditions Index for Oklahoma in November remained below growth neutral for a seventh consecutive month and dipped to 37.5 from October’s 40.1. Numbers below 50 indicate economic contraction is expected during the next three to six month.

November collections

Receipts for November set gross collections at $830.81 million, down $15.25 million or 1.8 percent from November 2014.

Gross income tax collections, a combination of personal and corporate income taxes, generated $267.43 million, an increase of $40.31 million or 17.8 percent from the previous November.

Personal income tax collections for the month are $249.82 million, up by $30.91 or 14.1 percent from the prior year. Corporate collections are $17.62 million, up by $9.4 million or 114.5 percent.

Sales tax collections, including remittances on behalf of cities and counties, total $361.91 million in November. That is $18.59 million or 4.9 percent lower than November 2014.

Gross production taxes on oil and natural gas generated $30.15 million in November, a decrease of $36.01 million or 54.4 percent from last November. Compared to October reports, gross production collections are down by $2.06 million or 6.4 percent.

Motor vehicle taxes produced $53.39 million, up by $2.18 million or 4.3 percent from the same month of last year.

Other collections, consisting of about 60 different sources including taxes on fuel, tobacco, horse race gambling and alcoholic beverages, produced $117.92 million during the month. That is $3.15 million or 2.6 percent less than last November.

Twelve-month collections

Gross revenue totals $11.74 billion between December 2014 and November 2015. That is $192.28 million or 1.6 percent lower than collections from December 2013 to November 2014.

Gross income taxes generated $4.45 billion for the period, reflecting an increase of $226.93 million or 5.4 percent from the prior period.

Personal income tax collections total $3.81 billion, up by $122.21 million or 3.3 percent from the prior 12 months. Corporate collections are $635.75 million for the period, an increase of $104.73 million or 19.7 percent over the previous period.

Sales taxes for the period generated $4.4 billion, a decrease of $38.7 million or 0.9 percent from the prior 12 months.

Oil and gas gross production tax collections brought in $508.64 million during the 12 months, down by $372.93 million or 42.3 percent from the previous 12 months.

Motor vehicle collections total $767.11 million for the period. This is a drop of $780,000 or 0.1 percent from the trailing period.

Other sources generated $1.62 billion, down $6.8 million or 0.4 percent from the previous 12 months.

About Gross Receipts to the Treasury

Since March 2011, the Treasurer’s Office has issued the monthly Gross Receipts to the Treasury report, which provides a timely and broad view of the state’s macro economy.

It is provided in conjunction with the General Revenue Fund (GRF) allocation report from the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, which provides important information to state agencies for budgetary planning purposes.

The GRF receives just less than half of the state’s gross receipts with the remainder paid in rebates and refunds, remitted to cities and counties, and placed into off-the-top earmarks to other state funds.

See charts:

2015 12 7 TreasurerGraph3

2015 12 7 TreasurerGraph2

2015 12 7 TreasurerGraph1

Regent Velda Jo Bradley was hostess for the October meeting of the Okemah Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution on October 20th at Pepino’s Restaurant in Okemah.JudithDrennan

After the opening ritual and business session, chapter member, Judith Drennan, gave a most inspiring program, “Diversity in DAR,” on her experience as a DAR member and what being a member of DAR means to her. In 1889 the Sons of the American Revolution, a hereditary fraternal organization, was founded to perpetuate the memory of the founders and patriots of the American Revolutionary War and to promote patriotism and friendship among its members. At this time there were women who also wanted to become members of this organization, but they were denied membership and told to start their own organization. And that they did, when four brave and ambitious women, two single ladies and two widows, stepped up to the occasion in 1890, and founded the Daughters of the American Revolution. In 125 years the DAR has grown to the present 180,000 members with 3,000 chapters in 50 states, far surpassing the 33,000 members of the SAR! Members came from many backgrounds and included Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, Lillian Gish, Ginger Rogers, and Margaret Chase Smith. Present members include Laura Bush, Roselyn Carter, Bo Derek, Elizabeth Dole, and Janet Reno. It is said that one out of ten women in the United States is a prospective member. Promoting historic preservation, education, and patriotism is the mission of DAR, and its membership includes women who have donated over one million five hundred hours of civic work to their cities, states, country, and veterans so far this year. While researching for her presentation Judith Drennan became more excited about being a member, and her enthusiasm was certainly inspiring. Our chapter’s membership is growing, and plans for future activities to support veterans and our communities are being made to make our chapter a winner. Think about joining us!

The next meeting will be hosted by Rebecca Hold on November 17, 2015, at 11:30 a.m. at Pepino’s Restaurant in Okemah. The program, “Birth of the Viet Nam Wall,” will be presented by W. Carole Cox.

Members present were Geneva Bertges, Gene Meredith, Judy Williams, Judith Drennan, Margaret Parks, Rebecca Hold, Carolyn McDaniel, Ann Jackson, Mary June Cashman, Dorothy Burden, Theo Crawley, Sherry Case, Joy Hlavaty, Norma White, Yvonne Souder, Susan Barnett, Sheldon Starr, Emma Joyce Souder, prospective member Pam Farrell, and hostess, Regent Velda Jo Bradley.

Any woman 18 years old or older who can prove she is descended from a Revolutionary War Soldier or Patriot is eligible to join the Daughters of the American Revolution. Prospective members are welcome to attend our chapter meetings. Contact Regent Velda Jo Bradley, 918-623-1550, or Registrar Rebecca Hold, 918-652-7092, for assistance. More information is available on the DAR website, www.dar.org.

On October 30, 1938, Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre staged a radio adaptation of the H. G. Wells sci-fi novel The War of the Worlds that fooled at least some Americans into believing that Martians really were invading the United States.

In order to make the adaptation of book to radio more interesting, the show was set up to seem like a normal music program that kept getting interrupted by increasingly alarming, official-sounding “news bulletins” that tracked the violent progress of a Martian invasion centered in New Jersey. Traditional accounts maintain that despite announcements that the show was fictional, vast numbers of Americans thought the broadcast was real. In fact, newspapers the next day carried tales of mass panic and hysteria as listeners allegedly fled their homes, and Orson Welles met with the press to express regret for the confusion.

Recent scholarship on the subject, however, tends to argue that the mass panic caused by the War of the Worlds broadcast was exaggerated by the newspapers of the time. Even according to the papers themselves, not everyone strictly believed the Martian story: those who only caught part of the broadcast or heard the news secondhand often merely believed that a disaster of some kind had struck the East Coast. And many people who had initially been fooled called their local newspaper or police station to verify the story and thus quickly learned that it was fiction. Still, many people were indeed at least initially frightened by the broadcast, and the hysteria reported in the newspapers did exist to some extent, though it was more likely on an individual rather than group level.3509 2091 1149 1124

War of the Worlds' Broadcast Creates Panic in the East

While the 1938 War of the Worlds broadcast might not have been as panic-inducing as originally believed, a similar broadcast in Quito, Ecuador, in 1949 really did cause hysteria. A local version of Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds program caused radio listeners to panic, and when the broadcast was revealed as fictional, their fear turned into an angry riot. The radio station was attacked, causing $350,000 ($3.5 million today) in damage and multiple deaths.

And those aren’t the only instances. Renditions of Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast also fooled listeners—at least to some extent—in Chile in 1944 and in Buffalo, New York, in 1968.

Ncom HIH Oct2015

Tulsa- The State of Oklahoma has identified impaired driving as one of it's top traffic safety concerns. This is due to an average of 4,500 alcohol-related crashes and 220 alcohol-related fatalities annually. Officials are developing statewide goals that represent verifiable improvements with impaired driving and incorporate all facets of the impaired driving system.

As part of a statewide enforcement effort, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Catoosa PD and Rogers County SO will be operating a ENDUI special enforcement/Checkpoint patrol on Friday October 23rd from 10 PM until 3:00 AM at 193rd and Pine in Rogers County.

Also on Saturday October 24th from 10 PM until 3:00 AM, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Tulsa Police, ABLE, Sand Springs PD, Bixby PD and Broken Arrow PD will be operating a ENDUI special enforcement/Checkpoint in Tulsa County.

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