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Okmulgee in the News

(SAPULPA, OK – February 27, 2017) Spring in Sapulpa means garage sales, yard sales and rummage sales and Creek County Literacy Program is planning the 5th Annual Indoor Rummage Sale Thursday and Friday, May 4-5 from 9am to 3pm! 100% of the proceeds from the sale benefit the programs of CCLP.
“As residents do their spring cleaning and decluttering, we ask that they consider donating clean, gently used items to our sale,” said Melissa Struttmann, Executive Director.
All donations are tax deductible. Items can be dropped off at Creek County Literacy Program, 15 North Poplar Street in Sapulpa from 9am-5pm Monday through Thursday. Donated items should be clean, gently used and in working order. Please Note: CCLP is NOT accepting clothing items. Any unsold items will be donated to a local charity. The following items are sought:
Household: Kitchen items, dishes, kitchen appliances, home décor, holiday decorations, linens, small furniture, small exercise equipment

Books: Hardback, paperback, baby books, youth books, adult books
Electronics: Radios, computers, small appliances, gadgets, DVDs, CDs
Toys: Games, baby gear, etc.

Last year’s Rummage Sale raised over $1,000, helping further the Mission of CCLP – to help every child and adult in Creek County to read through tutoring, technology and health literacy outreaches. For more information, please call 918-224-9647.

About Creek County Literacy Program

For 28 years Creek County Literacy Program has worked to improve the quality of life in our community by promoting and achieving literacy. One in six adults 18 to 24 years old in our county do not have a high school diploma. One in nine adults 25 years of age and older in our county do not have a high school diploma. Thirty-six percent of students K-3 in our county are receiving reading remediation. Through extensive outreach and collaboration with a network of community partners, CCLP strives to ensure that individuals who need to improve their literacy skills receive the help they need. CCLP’s Mission is to help every child and adult in Creek County to read through tutoring, technology and health literacy outreaches. CCLP’s Vision is for every child and adult in Creek County to read proficiently.

Alcohol Compliance Checks Conducted in Okmulgee County

Youth obtain alcohol from many sources including friends, parents, and other relatives, strangers, stealing it, and purchasing it themselves. One of the risk factors on the 2014 Oklahoma Prevention Needs Assessment (OPNA) is the perceived availability of drugs in their community. Forty-three percent of Okmulgee County Seniors feel drugs are easily obtained in their community. It is important for adults to take the responsibility of preventing access to alcohol for youth.

One form of preventing youth from obtaining alcohol is to ensure local alcohol retailers are not selling to minors. On Thursday, February 16, 2017, the Drug Free Communities (DFC) Program, the Regional Prevention Coordinator (RPC), funded by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, ABLE Commission, Okmulgee County Sheriff’s Office and the District 25 Drug Task Force performed alcohol compliance checks at Okmulgee County alcohol/3.2 beer vendors. During these checks, a youth attempted to purchase alcohol or 3.2 beer from a vendor with an undercover police officer present inside the establishment.

During the February 16, 2017 alcohol compliance checks, thirty vendors were checked. Three convenience stores sold 3.2 beer to the minor, and one alcohol vendor served alcohol to the minor.

Adults within Okmulgee County, including alcohol vendors, need to set a clear precedent that alcohol use by minors will not be accepted. By not allowing youth to have alcohol, it is helping to prevent addiction and other substance abuse issues. If you are a vendor, who would like to be trained, or have staff trained in Responsible Beverage Service and Sales (RBSS), or if you a community member who would like to help prevent substance abuse in Okmulgee County, contact DFC Coordinator Aaron Graffman or RPC Director Margaret Black at (918)756-1248.

By Betty Anderson

The City of Okmulgee took over the operation of the parks at Lake Okmulgee and Dripping Springs Lake in April of 2016. No drastic changes were made in the first season; however, after reviewing the income and expense of operating the parks, the City has decided to make a small change. The City Council voted to approve to establish a boat ramp fee of $2.00. This would be for any type of water craft that would be launched from any of the boat ramps on both lakes. Iron Rangers, a self-serve pay station used on many lakes, would be installed at each ramp with a sign and envelopes for collection of the fee. When the Iron Rangers are installed, the fee will then become effective. This small fee is another way for the City to help offset the cost for the operation of the park facilities.

Additionally at the meeting, Council declared a 2015 Sea Born FX22 boat and a 2014 Yamaha F22 boat motor as surplus property. The City Manager will be responsible for selling the surplus property. The boat was too big for use on the lake and with the sale of the boat and motor the city hopes to purchase a boat more appropriate in size for the City to use at the lake.

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Above are samples of Collection Envelopes and Iron Ranger Pay Stations from other Lakes

One man’s trash is still sometimes just one man’s trash

By Betty Anderson

The City Council approved the awarding of a contract for trash removal for privately owned properties located throughout the City to Josh Nichols d/b/a Nichols Lawn & Trash Service.

A total of forty-three (43) property owners were notified for having excessive trash accumulation on their properties. Only 14 of the 43 owners cleaned up the excess trash leaving twenty-nine (29) left to be removed by the City contract. The contract prices for the trash removal for the properties range from $100.00 to $1,200.

It benefits the owner to remove their own trash before abatement. The property owners will have to pay the cost of the removal plus $125 administrative fee is charged to the owner.

It is possible that even more may be dealt with by the owners prior to actual clean-up by the contractor.

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By Betty Anderson

Okmulgee City Council reported that a piece of property which was donated to the City of Okmulgee in 2011 and was declared surplus in 2013 is to be sold. In 2016 the City paid for the dilapidated structure on the property to be removed at a cost of $15,000. Since this property abuts property owned by the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, MCN is interested in buying the property as a building site. The City Manager, Roger Ballenger, has reviewed the Conditional Real Estate Purchase Agreement and the purchase price will reimburse the City for the cost of work related to the property.

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The Community Development Department reported they issued permits for one (1) new home, six (6) additions/remodels and five (5) commercial constructions. They have done 147 inspections. New commercial construction “Great Clips” on Wood Drive is complete. The Mac is 90% complete. Dr. Mount’s house on Mission is 20% complete.

Code Enforcement Department reports they issued 169 violations.

Okmulgee Library reported that they have completed the Viersen grant application to fund the summer reading program and has begun the E-Rate process which pays 90% of the internet expense. They had 61 new borrowers and added 292 items to the library. Door count for the month was 5,503 and 1302 patrons used the computers.

Okmulgee Fire Departmentreported 59 Incidents in January.

Technology Services/Planning and Zoning Department reported installing conference phones at City Hall and Public Works, received recommendations and applications for board openings for Planning and Zoning and Board of Adjustments and reduced utility bills by an additional $7,000 at the Waste Water Plant.

Public Works reported they worked on 167 Property Maintenance Jobs, 42 Central Repair Jobs, retired 6 Polycarts and placed 9 new polycarts in service. The number of man-days spent on the street projects was 132 days and water and sewer jobs totaled 1,263.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017 18:54

A New 4-way STOP SIGN in Downtown Okmulgee

By Betty Anderson

The City of Okmulgee continues planning to make Okmulgee downtown a more walkable area for pedestrians and other than automobile traffic. In an attempt to alter the speed of traffic through the downtown corridor, the City plans to temporarily change the intersection of 6th and Morton to a 4-way stop. This temporary measure will help gauge the effectiveness of this plan. It will go into effect as soon as Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) approves the change.

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Tuesday's Lions Club meeting was a slight departure from the norm in that we did not meet at our regular noon time, opting for a 6:30 P.M. annual Sweetheart Banquet at Morty's, honoring our spouses for Valentine's Day. Morty's rolled out the red carpet for us and prepared a delicious buffet. The feast was enjoyed by all, including our entertainment, the Tulsa Tones Barbershop Quartet. Brenda Thompson furnished the decorations and decorated the individual tables with help from R.C. and Terry Morrow, Beth Flud, Raymond Kennedy, and Dr. Tom Alexander. A good time of food, friendship, fellowship, and folly was enjoyed by all. Why don't you plan now to bring your sweetheart to next year's Valentine's Day Sweetheart Banquet because we're still looking for a few more good men and women? Won't you join us? "WE SERVE".

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Pictured left to right: Linda and 1st V.P. Lion Duaine Janzen, President Lion R.C. Morrow and Terry, 2nd V.P. Lion James Thompson and Brenda.  (Photo and information provided by Dean Craig)

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Pictured, left to right: President Lion R.C. Morrow, Tim Gatz, Jack Damrill, and Program Chairman Lion Jim McClendon. Photos by Dean Craig

By Dean Craig Okmulgee Lion

Tuesday's Lions Club meeting was somewhat of a history lesson of the creation of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority by Tim J. Gatz, Executive Director. Also in attendance was Jack Damrill, Director of Communications and Facilities, with the OTA. The Authority was created in 1947 with the express purpose to build Oklahoma's first toll road, the 86-mile Turner Turnpike, connecting the State's two cities, Tulsa to Oklahoma City. The turnpike basically followed the "old Highway 66-the Mother Road" route but, of course, was a four-lane highway enabling travelers to save time and reduce the stress that a two-lane road provides. This was revolutionary at this point in time because Oklahoma had suffered through 10 years of the Dust Bowl and seven years of war, and the Turnpike Authority did not receive State nor Federal funding. It still doesn't, it is user-funded, only receiving funding from toll fees.

Oklahoma has 10 turnpikes; 605 road miles (84 urban, 521 rural); 2,420 lane miles; 808 bridges; 87 interchanges; 14 to 63 year old network and assets serve 3,500 to 65,000 vehicles daily; 14 million monthly transactions. Approximately 40% of revenue comes from out-of-state motorists (nearly $102 million in 2015), and approximately 38% of revenue provided by commercial carriers. Texas has put Oklahoma on notice that they plan to expand I-35 to eight lanes, all the way to the Red River, and with eight lanes of traffic coming in to Oklahoma's four-lane I-35, this could be a problem. Mr. Gatz alluded to the fact that I-40 at I-35 carries 145,000 vehicles per day and I-44 at I-244 carries 167,000 vehicles per day. The reason he knows this is because he spent over 25 years working with the Department of Transportation prior to assuming his present position with the Turnpike Authority on June 1, 2016. They are separate agencies but they work hand-in-hand together so something has to be done. Therefore, the Turnpike Authority is initiating $935 million in bonds to include work on the Kilpatrick Turnpike and a new Oklahoma City-area turnpike, hoping to alleviate some of this traffic. It will also include work on the Gilcrease Expressway, the Muskogee Turnpike, the Turner Turnpike, and the H.E. Bailey Turnpike.

And, with the ever-increasing advent of electric vehicles, the toll-free roads of the Department of Transportation that are supported in part by the fuel tax, the income from this source will continue to decrease, creating additional budget adjustments. I remember one of my college science classrooms with a banner stretched above the chalkboard declaring "the only thing permanent about science is change", and it continues to be an ever-changing world on every front, doesn't it? And our Lions Club is continually changing with new members in keeping with 100 years of service to our world-wide communities. Come join us! "WE SERVE".

(Article includes excerpts from the Tulsa World and the OTA booklet)

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Aaron Graffman -
OSU Prevention Programs

On February 28, 2017, OSU Prevention Programs will be hosting Responsible Beverage Service and Sales (RBSS) Training in Okmulgee County. This is a merchant training for those who sell or serve alcohol or 3.2 beer. The training will be held at The Green Country Technology Center, Panter Building, Room 104 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

“Prevention of Youth Access to Alcohol Act" is an Oklahoma state law that protects youth from the harmful effects of alcohol use by making it illegal to provide or sell alcohol or 3.2 beer to anyone under the age of 21. This law is continually being enforced by law enforcement agencies. If this harmful substance is sold to a person under the legal age, the contributor will face legal consequences consisting of an expensive citation, possible jail time, and/or felony charges.

RBSS Training is an opportunity for all alcohol sellers and servers to learn about Oklahoma State Laws. Sellers and servers include store clerks, restaurant wait staff, bartenders, managers, employers, and owners of any alcohol vendor located in Okmulgee County. The training will, also, provided important tips on how and why it is important to implement safe practices when selling alcohol and 3.2 beer.

The Responsible Beverage Service and Sales training is free of charge and will be held at The Green Country Technology Center, Panter Building, Room 104, starting at 1:00 p.m. Attendees will be provided with informational packets and light refreshments will be served. Confirmation of your attendance and the number of participants will be appreciated. For more information, questions, and to RSVP call OSU Prevention Programs at 918-756-1248.

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