Okmulgee in the News
Picture left to right: President Lion R.C. Morrow, Lion Marie Burns, and Program Chairman Lion Dan Anderson. Photos by Dean Craig.
By Dean Craig Okmulgee Lion
Tuesday's Lions Club program is not necessarily a required program but it is one of informative happenings regarding the Oklahoma Lions Service Foundation, presented by Lion Marie Burns, Executive Director. Marie has an MBA and has worked for non-profit agencies since 1995, coming to OLSF in 2014.
OLSF was created in 1974 to act as the primary fundraising branch for the Lions' two state projects, the Oklahoma Lions Boys Ranch (now called Meadows of Hope) and the Oklahoma Lions Eye Bank. This is accomplished through a variety of fundraisers, most notably, our two annual campaigns, White Cane and Cowboy Cadillac. During White Cane, clubs throughout the state solicit funds for the Eye Sight program, many by simply carrying a bucket in front of a popular location in the community (usually a Walmart) and handing out White Cane stickers, symbolizing the use of the white cane by the visually impaired. Cowboy Cadillac fundraiser provides tickets to clubs who then sell these for the annual truck raffle.
Sight Conservation has been one of the major projects for Lions International since 1925 when Helen Keller attended our International Convention and challenged the Lions to become Knights for the Blind, a challenge the Lions gladly accepted. If not for the Oklahoma Lions, Oklahoma would not have an Eye Bank. And, since 1957, Oklahomans have received over 27,500 cornea transplants (these figures are at least five years outdated), restoring the precious gift of sight. We do not mean to "toot our own horn" but we feel it necessary to be accountable to the public who donate these funds to us, and we intend to be good stewards of these monies. Every penny goes for its intended purpose because ALL of our time and efforts is strictly voluntary.
The Oklahoma Lions Boys Ranch began many years ago on land donated by the Main family and was overseen by H.F. Donnelley, who was married to their daughter. The facility was originally called the IOA Boys Ranch, more specifically, meaning Individual Opportunity for Achievement. Eventually, Mr. Donnelley convinced the Oklahoma Lions to accept and sponsor the ranch as a state project. Initially, they dealt only with boys who were in trouble with the law or were wards of the court. Due to recent changes in the law, the Boys Ranch name was changed to Meadows of Hope and changed from a boys-only facility to also include both sexes in a foster-home-type setting.
The Mobile Health Screening Unit (MHSU) has been in operation in Oklahoma for the past 19 years. The OKC Downtown Lions Club and the Tulsa Downtown Lions Club each donated $7,500 to start the $186,000 to obtain a unit. Lions Club International Foundation gave $50,000 and individual Lions and other Lions Clubs made up the difference. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma and Integris Health also sponsored the unit's operating costs and are still a major donor. The MHSU travels statewide and with the help of local Lions and medical professionals offers free screenings for: visual acuity, glaucoma, blood glucose, blood pressure, bone density, lung capacity, body mass index (BMI), and cholesterol screening. This is about a $300 service but is free for everybody. We experience about a 40% failure rate, which means referral to one's medical provider.
Our local club is planning to bring the unit to Okmulgee so keep watching for the date. Also, we plan to have the spot vision cameras available for ages 6 months to 66 years (no age limit really) hoping to detect any eye deficiencies before the children begin kindergarten. This is also a free service and the parents are given a print-out of the results. We have previously had an entire article in the Okmulgee Times and on the internet, okmulgeenews.net, regarding the spot vision camera and we have about ten Okmulgee Lions certified to operate the spot vision cameras (with OSBI background checks--which is a requirement to work with schools and day-care centers).
All of these entities are under the auspices of the Oklahoma Lions Service Foundation and a Lion has provided up to a yearly $250,000 matching grant for 30 years for these state projects. But the Lions Clubs have to raise that amount to get the full grant. If we fail to raise the full amount, other charities are next in line to get what we don't raise. So, if anyone has any spare funds just lying around and not needed, what better way to help our fellow human beings. No person stands taller than those who stoop down to help a child or someone in need.
On a related note, we gave a 100-year Centennial commemorative glass to a lucky winner this week, Lion Kay Rabbitt-Brower. We have 10 more of these collector items to give, one per week, but you must be present to win. Names of those drawn, but not present, were: Dr. James Ward, Chris Azbell, Heather Sumner, Alicia Dudley, Marianne Payne, and Thomas Taylor. See ya' next week, and stay tuned to see who is next week's winner
By Betty Anderson
Kenneth Anderson, City of Okmulgee Emergency Management Director and Tim Creighton, Okmulgee County Emergency Management Director needs your help.
The FREE CodeRED Notification Procedure is now in place and they need everyone in the City of Okmulgee and Okmulgee County to please register your phone number by putting this number in your phone contact 866-419-5000.
The below photo will inform you of all the benefits you will receive from doing this. You also can enroll at http://www.okmulgeeonline.com. Ken Anderson and Tim Creighton are looking out for your safety and want to keep you informed in case of an emergency.
Pictured left to right: Program Chairman Lion Dean Craig, Rev. Michael Abel, Kailey Abel, and Lion Jim Vaughn.
Tuesday's Lions Club program was another one of those "WOW!" programs provided by Kailey Abel, a 16 year-old Verdigris High School junior, who just returned from Hollywood where she competed with four other finalists in the Guitar Center Singer-Songwriter (season 6) with Red One & Cody Simpson competition. Pretty amazing to be in the top five from more than 9,000 entrants.
For the online contest, artists, at least 16 years old, could submit up to five videos of themselves performing their original songs. The competition began last September and ended in November with the finalists being announced the last week of January via Guitar Center's Facebook page by record producer-artist Red One.
With her family by her side, she heard Red One say her name and compare her voice skills to Lady Gaga. "I love your voice", he said as she screamed and high-fived her father, Michael Abel, pastor of the Verdigris Assembly of God Church. "I love the fact that you were very comfortable with your voice and you controlled it......I don't know if I'm allowed to say it but you remind me a little bit like how Lady Gaga plays with her voice. You delivered an amazing delivery".
Last week, Kailey and her parents were flown to California to compete against the other four finalists at an invitation-only event on stage at the legendary Troubadour Club in West Hollywood (the same stage where Elton John, Billy Joel, John Lennon, Waylon Jennings, and many other famous artists have performed). She sang two of her songs, which she performed for the Lions, while most of us sat mesmerized by the talent this young lady possesses. I can not help but allude to the fact that many a God-given talent (such as the late Elvis Presley and so many other successful famous singers) was begun and honed by singing in church. And Kailey is no exception, as she is the praise-and-worship leader in her church.
Not surprising if you consider that the 16 year-old once auditioned for "The Voice" and didn't make the second cut but was invited to come back and skip the first round. She turned the offer down because she earned a golden ticket for the final season of "American Idol". There, she made it to the Hollywood rounds before being eliminated.
As a finalist, she has already won a $6,688 package of performance gear including an ES-Les Paul special electric guitar, amps, strings, keyboard unit, microphone, condenser, ear phones, pedal, monitor, and a Martin guitar.
As a young girl, Kailey said her dreams included being a horse rider, a doctor, a teacher, an architect, and even an astronaut. But once she picked up a microphone, it was all over--she knew what her calling was to be, writing songs and singing--exactly what she is doing now. But without a doubt, Kailey will be able to do whatever she wants to do, and she will pursue it with a passion. Quite possibly when she starts her career, she will become a Lion because we are still looking for a few more good men and women. How about you? "WE SERVE".
(Photo and information provided by Dean Craig with excerpts by Rita Sherrow, Tulsa World).
Kailey Abel entertains Lion members.
Kailey Abel and Heather Sumner
The Okfuskee County Sheriff's Office has requested the assistance of Okmulgee County Emergency Management in the search for a missing person.
Deputies are trying to locate BRIAN HALE; 36 years of age, a white male, 6ft 2in, 135lbs, with brown hair and brown eyes.
Hale was reported missing in McIntosh County however; his vehicle was found at the northern edge of Okfuskee County near the Deep Fork River. Deputies believe Hale entered the woods 5 to 7 days ago and is traveling on foot along the Deep Fork River east towards Okmulgee with a goal of walking to Eufaula. Hale may also be carrying a military style back pack with gray digital camouflage pattern.
The Okfuskee County Sheriff's Office is seeking the public's help in locating this missing person who is in poor health and very likely may approach a road or home for assistance.
If you have any information about or have seen Mr. Hale please contact the Okfuskee County Sheriff's Office at 918-623-1122 or dial 9-1-1.
By Betty Anderson
Mayor Baldridge announced the Council wanted to do a proclamation about Keep Okmulgee Beautiful Week saying, “There is so much going on in Okmulgee now and it is exciting and now that Spring is on us and the weather is great; we all want to keep in mind that not only do we try to recycle but we’ve also have improved our landfill. The city and the city crews and the citizens of Okmulgee are working very hard to keep Okmulgee beautiful. Today I want to give this proclamation to signify that.”
The Proclamation read, “Keep America Beautiful Inc. is a national non-profit organization dedicated to helping individuals improve their community environments, has established the Great American Clean-up as its signature national effort for involving American citizens in environmental stewardship, and whereas Keep American Beautiful Great American Clean-up is celebrating its 33rd anniversary in 2017, featuring over 3.8 million volunteers participating in over 30,000 events in over 16,000 communities in all 50 states and whereas, the City of Okmulgee is proud of its national resources and its neighborhoods and seeks to improve, to protect and improve our community through the actions of citizens, schools, government and businesses working together, a significant number of those who gave up cigarettes for the day, were able to give the up the habit entirely and whereas the council has recognized the important commitment to improve American communities through litter prevention, beautification and solid waste management initiatives and we are committed to help spread the word about the importance of volunteerism and motivate everyone in our communities to become stewards of the environment. And now therefore, I Steven R. Baldridge, Mayor of Okmulgee Oklahoma, declare the week of April 17 – 23, 2017 as Keep Okmulgee Beautiful Week.”
By Betty Anderson
The city was busy this month as indicated in these reports from its departments:
Community Development reported permits issued included one (1) new home, thirteen (13) addition/remodels, two (2) miscellaneous, nine (9) commercial construction and ten (10) sign permits. Additionally 153 electrical, mechanical and plumbing permits were issued.
Code Enforcement reported they issued 94 violations for February.
Okmulgee Police Department reported 1,057 calls for service, 171 reports made, 61 crimes committed, 123 bookings and 20 traffic accidents. Property valued at $14,652 was stolen and property valued at $4,723 was recovered. Two new officers have started working and one is scheduled for the academy at the end of the month.
Okmulgee Fire Department reported they are at full staff with the new firefighters working out well. They are working on getting some newer trucks from the forestry surplus to replace the older trucks they have now. There were 60 fire calls.
Municipal Court reported they had receipts of $29,280.04 for February.
Technology Services/Planning and Zoning Department reported they are continuing to work with PSO for possible energy efficiency credits. They fixed and updated many computer/printers throughout the city. They have completed phase 1 of getting WIFI to camp locations that might possibly be served at the lake. They assisted in migrating the Police Department video server over to the new hardware. They installed new card catalog computers at the library. They worked with the Sales Tax Commission regarding Sales Tax issues. Comprehensive procedure for starting a new business in town was written up and given to Main Street.
By Betty Anderson
The Okmulgee Library reported that they spoke to the B.A.L.L. (Be Active Live Longer) group about the many services the library offers. She also explained to the group what the 3-D printer was and took examples to show what it was able to produce.
The Stonebridge Kindergarten children came for a special story time and tour of the library.
Kristen attended an E-Rate workshop learning the new forms and filing periods. She is grateful to the consultants from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries for helping with the questions from this confusing program.
They reported income from fines, copies, lost books, ILL’s was $1,422.31. They had 50 new borrowers, 352 reference questions and 292 new items added. The door count was 5,519 and the daily averaged circulation was 245 for the month, noting that it had decreased from last year. There were 1,297 computer use patrons. Meeting rooms were used 101 times. Additionally they delivered books to the home bound and nursing homes.
By Betty Anderson
The Council voted to accept the resignation from Rob Robertson as Council Member for Ward IV and announced the vacant position. They will determine at a later date whether to fill the vacancy by appointment or call for a special election.
As stated in the City Charter.
HOW COUNCIL VACANCIES ARE FILLED
Section 14. By Appointment. If, for any cause, a vacancy or vacancies exist on the city council, said vacancy or vacancies may be filled by a majority of its remaining members within sixty (60) days of the occurrence of said vacancy. Said interim appointment to be only for the unexpired term of the office filled.
Section 14-A. By Election. In the event the city council does not fill vacancy or vacancies on the council, in the manner provided in the preceding paragraph, within sixty (60) days from the occurrence of said vacancy, then and in that event the city clerk in the manner hereinafter provided shall call an election to fill said vacancy or vacancies for the unexpired term of said office.
Section 14-B. Election-How Called. When any office on the city council shall have been vacant for a period of sixty (60) days, the city clerk shall prepare and sign a certificate so stating, giving the date of the occurrence of said vacancy, and the date of said office by appointment. Copies of said certificate shall immediately be distributed to all council members and the city manager and the original entered on the minutes of the next regular or special council meeting. Concurrently with the entry of said certificate on the minutes of the council, the city clerk shall present to the council a “call for election”. The original of said call shall be entered upon the minutes of the council, said call for election shall specify the purpose of said election, designate with particularity the office or offices to be filled thereby, and fix the date of said election, which in no event shall be more than thirty (30) days subsequent to the entry of said call. The call for election shall be published not less than ten (10) days (2 publications) before the election date in a newspaper of general circulation in the city of Okmulgee, Oklahoma.
By Betty Anderson
Okmulgee City Council considered and voted to appoint Jack Willis, to the City of Okmulgee Board of Adjustment. This appointment shall be for a period of three (3) years subject to renewal in March of 2020. Willis is a citizen of Okmulgee, originally from California. He retired from working as a mortgage banker for 42 years.
By Betty Anderson
The electrical wiring around the Council House Square and in other areas of downtown Okmulgee is in desperate need of updating. During the Pecan Festival last year it was discovered that there was not enough electric service in the downtown area to handle the three (3) day event. It was discussed at that time it might be beneficial to the City, Chamber and Main Street to look into upgrading the electric around the square and adding additional service. The Chamber had to rent generators last year to supplement the required electricity.
The City Council voted to approve to authorize a joint venture between the City of Okmulgee Community Trust and the Okmulgee Chamber of Commerce for the installation of electric service in the downtown area around the Council House Square and extending down to Muskogee Avenue by providing the funding, not to exceed $20,000 to the Okmulgee Chamber of Commerce.
The account for electric service will be in the Chamber’s name, which will make it easier when there are events happening in the downtown area. Based on cost estimates, the material cost will run close to $20,000 and the installation should be about the same. The City will purchase the materials, which will be the City’s contribution and the Chamber will hire the electrician to do the installation for their contribution to the project. The City will cover the Chamber’s contribution at the time of installation and the City will hold out $5,000 each year, until paid, from the Tourism monies given by agreement to the Chamber each year.