The East Central Electric cooperative held their 2015 annual meeting on Thursday night on the OSUIT Okmulgee Campus. The meeting was open to all members of the ECE cooperative and those who registered their attendance at the event were given a $20 bill credit on their next electric bill.
Those who attended the meeting had a chance to vote for a change in the bylaws of the cooperative as well as cast their vote for District 2 and District 5 on the Board of Trustees. Lowell Hobbs, District 2, and Ed Kloeckler, District 5, both ran unopposed in the election.
East Central Electric services not only the Okmulgee area but service territory coverages roughly 3,000 square miles and includes portions of Creek, McIntosh, Muskogee, Okfuskee, Tulsa and Wagoner Counties. It is the third largest cooperative in the state of Oklahoma. This was apparent by the turn out at the meeting, which also included a family fun day before the meeting began that featured inflatables, food, crafts, and games. OSUIT’s orthotics and prosthetics department sponsored games that encouraged children to try on the prosthetics and attempt to pick up small rings and relocate them to a hook to show the difficulties amputees struggle with in learning to use the prosthetic.
Prior to the meeting, the Oklahoma Round Up program awarded $1000 scholarships to area teens, including students from Beggs, Bixby, Bristow, Checotah, Dewar, Hilldale, Keifer, Liberty, Mason, Morris, Mounds, Okemah, Oktaha, and Eufaula.
At 6:55 p.m. the meeting was called to order with a flag salute led by the Creek Nation Color Guard and invocation led by Pastor Maurice Williams. Dr. Bill Path, President of OSUIT Okmulgee welcomed everyone to the meeting stating that OSUIT is Okmulgee’s Campus.
Three plaques were presented to the family of the late Jerry Rempe, who served 22 years on the Board of Trustees, as well as to Jimmy Eller who stepped down for the board for health reasons after 18 years on the Board. Rempe was also given a citation from the state of Oklahoma crediting his good works that was presented to his widow Rosemary by State Rep’s Steve Kouplin and Jerry Shoemake. Eller also received the same.
The results of the Board of Trustees elections were returned with both Kloeckler and Hobbs serving another 3 year term. The results of the bylaw elections were returned with 724 in favor of the change and 279 opposed to the bylaw changes, 97 of the ballots were returned with the bylaw change bubble blank. These 97 blank ballots, those who voted for Board members but failed to vote for the changes in the bylaws, were not counted.
Throughout the evening, winners of a $100 prize, an iPad Mini, and the grand prize; a truck, were announced. Winners will be contacted and sent the prize money through the mail.
General Manager of ECE, Tim Smith, stated that as of Friday afternoon, they had yet to make contact with the grand prize winner Marine Daniels of Morris. East Central Electric offered special thanks forArkansas Electric, Green Country Power Line, Wallick Construction, Stuart C Irby, USIC, Northwest Transformer, McFarland Cascade, KAMO Power, QIB, H.D Supply, Associated Electric Co-op, OAEC, EDKO Llc, Techline,Inc, Diversified Electric Supply, Gordon Construction, Holleman’s, WFEC, Mabrey Bank, Cotton Electric Cooperative, and Riggs Tree Service.
Photos by Allen Gardner
Harold Eugene Aldridge, a resident of Broken Arrow, formerly of Hanna passed away Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at his home in Broken Arrow, OK at the age of 64. He was born February 16, 1949 in Lindsay, OK to Paul Leon Aldridge & Lavern Vera (Stokes) Aldridge. Harold was a member of the Asbury Methodist Church in Tulsa. He proudly served the United States during the Vietnam Era in the Army. For approximately 20 years, Harold owned and operated 3A Concrete Construction Company in the Lake Eufaula area. He retired from concrete construction after over 30 years of experienced and successful service.
Proud of his Cherokee heritage, Harold was the 2nd Inductee into Cherokee Warrior Society, he was a councilman of the Ouachita Cherokees of the Cherokee Nation West and he was an avid Native American Art collector.
He was preceded in death by his grandparents.
Harold is survived by his wife, Donna Carol Aldridge of the home,
his parents, Paul and Lavern Aldridge of Washington, OK,
son Richard Paul Aldridge and wife Julie of Broken Arrow,
son, Justin Jay Aldridge and wife Stephanie of Owasso, OK,
grandson, Rhett Austin Aldridge of Broken Arrow,
grandson, Jase Paul Aldridge of Owasso,
granddaughter, Elizabeth Cailyn Aldridge of Owasso,
brother, Carl Aldridge and wife Judy of Broken Arrow,
brother Allen Aldridge and wife Kathy of Hanna,
sister, Paula Penn & husband Richard of Moore,
sister, Pam Shannon & husband Jack of Blanchard, OK,
many nieces and nephews, other relatives and friends.
A memorial service is scheduled for 2:00 PM, Saturday, July 20, 2013 at Integrity Chapel with Donald Malloy officiating. Services are under the direction of Integrity Funeral Service.
City councilman Terry Watkins addressed the council in line item R of the regular city council meeting July 21 in an open discussion concerning Okmulgee code enforcement ordinances. Watkins said he has been traveling around Okmulgee looking at eyesores where people do not clean up their properties.
Watkins said he has visited with the code enforcers and knows they are doing their job, but did not know if the council could come down a little harder to enforce more action.
City Councilman Rob Roberson said, “This is the same issue that comes up year after year.”
“I realize government goes slow, but I feel at some point we need to go after these people and make them aware that we have taken all we can stand and let people know that it is an issue and we are going to start taking stronger action,” Watkins said.
City Councilman Chris Azbel brought up the fact that it takes money to tear down structures and added that the city has doubled the tear down budget this year. "We can only do as many as money is available, so it becomes a issue of funds," said Azbel.
“The other issue is, citizens not taking pride in their community. If we can turn that mentality around, being poor and not mowing your yard is two different things. I was poor growing up, but we mowed our yard. Being prideful in your community is one of the number one things people were saying in a steering committee the other day is that people are not being prideful in their own town and their own property. If we can get people mindful of taking care of their properties it takes the city out of the deal. The city cannot do everything,” Azbel said.
“As we work on a strategic plan things are happening,” said Mayor Steve Baldridge. “We have made it a priority that highway 75 and the corridor would be commercial. We can possibly purchase these properties on 75 for development later.”
The mayor said around 300 houses have been torn down to date.
“Many of these properties have been abated, but usually they just sit there and sell for taxes and we have no way to recoup our money as that goes to taxes first,” said City Manager Roger Ballenger.
“We have a much more aggressive program than we had 20 years ago, we did not get here overnight and we will not get out of it overnight….right now we are limited by money on how much we can do by what the budget allows,” Ballenger continued.
Ballenger said, “We do put the pressure on them and take administrative steps and get some action, but then just to find ourselves in the same situation in 6 months," said Ballenger.
The mayor said he felt confident that they are focusing on all these problems at hand.
Watkins suggested bringing on more personnel.
“We can think of all these things we want to do, but it all takes money. Right now we are limited on staff and they are taking care of their own duties, our law enforcement is trying to take care of public safety. The reason we do not have meter maids to enforce parking is lack of funds,” said Ballenger.
“It all comes back to budget, the next time we are devising a budget plan, I would welcome all the input from the council to work out these problems, but we are coming out of a recession of 5 years. We are coming out of a downturn in the economy in our small town and we are doing amazingly well. I reported to you earlier this year that our reserve balance has gone down for 3 years in a row and it scares me to death. So every time we talk about, we need to do more, we need to hire more, we need to spend more, I kind of break out in a hive. We can talk about these things, but we are going into a new budget year, so don’t expect anything over and above to be done. However, next year we can plan when we put the new budget together. Hopefully our situation will look a little better, but we’ve been spending and budgeting like we are going up, but we haven’t been, we have bee depending on those reserve funds and it is getting pretty low, similar to what the school system is going through…what I am trying to resolve as your city manager is how do we make the numbers work,” Ballenger explained.
When more fines were discussed Ballenger said, “We don’t need to increase taxes, we need to increase tax payers,” Ballenger said.
Ballenger stated what it comes down to is when you get to the kitchen table, there are things you "would like to do" and there are things you "have to do" but when you sit down and crunch the numbers you figure out what "you can do".
Okmulgee, Okla. -- All of the roadways in Okmulgee County that were effected by flooding rains over the last several days are now open and safe for travel.
Over a two period Okmulgee County had received amounts of rain that measures two to six inches n several areas of the county south of highway 16.
Here is a current listing of that were closed roadways - and are now open.
Sharp Rd west of Madison Rd
Hwy 62 and S. 310 Road
Dentonville Rd south of Hwy 16
Alt 75 north of the city of Beggs, at the Railroad bridge
Ash Rd between Mission and Prairie Bell Rd, South of the City of Okmulgee
Skyline Drive north of Hwy 62
Prairie Bell Road north of Hwy 62
We than the public for their reporting of flooding conditions and cooperation when road were closed.
Okmulgee County Emergency Management is pleased to announce that a Mobile Disaster Recovery Center (MDRC) will open in Okmulgee County. This is to help individuals and business owners who were affected by the severe storms, straight-line winds, flooding and tornadoes occurring May 5 through June 4.
The Okmulgee County MDRC will be open at during two five day time periods:
Location: Green Country Technology Center.
Building #3, 1100 N. Hwy.56 Loop, Okmulgee, OK 74447
Dates: July 23 - 28, 2015 and then on August 6 -11, 2015
Hours: Thursday 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.;
Then Friday, Saturday, Monday & Tuesday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.;
and on Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
You need to act quickly to apply for disaster assistance. Reminder: Individuals and business owners may also to apply for Individual Assistance via:
Phone: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) Web: www.disasterassistance.gov
MDRCs are one-stop shops where survivors can get information and guidance about what disaster assistance may be available. Information from the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Small Business Administration and other federal agencies and volunteer organizations is available at these recovery centers.
Four candidates have challenged the Principal Chief incumbent George Tiger for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s top post.
The filing period ended Wednesday afternoon, with James Floyd, David Nichols, Adam Jones III, Thomas Yahola and George Tiger formally declaring their candidacy for principal chief with the Creek Nation Election Board.
Second Chief Louis Hicks did not receive an opponent, so he automatically receives another term.
Mvskoke Media will host the 2015 Muscogee (Creek) Nation Candidate Forum Saturday, Aug. 15 at the Mvskoke Dome in Okmulgee.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Additional Oklahoma residents and business owners affected by severe storms, flooding, tornadoes, and straight-line winds that occurred from June 5-22 may now be eligible for state and federal assistance under the disaster declaration already approved for the state.
At the request of the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has expanded the official disaster declaration to May 5 through June 22.
The updated incident period applies to Individual Assistance for residents and business owners as well as Public Assistance for government entities and certain nonprofits.
Survivors who have registered with FEMA already do not have to apply again. Claims for damage or loss that occurred during the additional dates will be processed automatically.
Those with storm damage that occurred during the additional dates who have not yet registered with FEMA are urged to do so as soon as possible. Homeowners, renters and businesses can register online with any computer, smartphone or tablet at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by phone at 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services can call 800-621-3362. Phone-registration hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. local time seven days a week. Registration with other agencies or non-profits does not count as a FEMA registration.
The deadline to register is August 26.
Additionally, homeowners, renters and businesses affected during the new Incident Period might also be eligible for low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The designated counties for the Individual Assistance are Atoka, Beckham, Bryan, Caddo, Canadian, Carter, Choctaw, Cleveland, Comanche, Cotton, Grady, Jefferson, Johnston, Kiowa, Latimer, Le Flore, Marshall, Mayes, McClain, McCurtain, McIntosh, Okfuskee, Oklahoma, Okmulgee, Pittsburg, Pottawatomie, Pushmataha, Rogers, Seminole, Stephens, Tillman, Tulsa and Wagoner.
For more information on Oklahoma disaster recovery, click on http://www.fema.gov or visit the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management at www.oem.ok.gov.
For the third year, the City of Okmulgee has entered into an agreement to offer $6,000 to the Okmulgee Junior Football Association for the support of physical programs for the area’s youth. This amount is a jump from the prior years which had previously been approved for $5,000.
The agreement states “ Okmulgee is in need of the services of the Okmulgee Junior Football Association for providing programs for the Okmulgee area boys and girls by organizing leagues for football as well as other physical activities.”
The City will coordinate with the OJFA to prove other mutually beneficial activities that promote tourism, community development, and orderly growth and expansion of the existing facilities. The intention of both parties is to work together in an effort to encourage public and private commitments and to provide a safe and secure environment for supervised physical activities for the area children.
OJFA will provide to the City an annual budget and year end financial statement that will include an accounting of funds from other agencies supporting the OJFA efforts as well as proof of general liability insurance in the amounts required for the City of Okmulgee.
In return, OJFA will conduct football leagues for boys and girls along with other organized activities, conduct cheerleading activities, provide free or reduced fees for certain underprivileged youth as funds are available, prove free uniforms and helmets to underprivileged youth as available, host events to attract visitors to the City of Okmulgee, and co-ordinate with other youth oriented organizations, as well as have the ability to receive donations from other entities for support of their programs and participate in efforts to promote the City.
This agreement is valid for one year, beginning on July 1, 2015 and terminating June 30, 2016.
Ryan Ray is on a mission to walk across across America. Ray began his journey in Santa Monica California on February 28 for a 3,010 mile journey to New York on a 26 stop speaking tour that brought him to his hometown of Henryetta. The halfway point of his journey found him visiting with old friends and hosting a speaking celebration at Nichols Park which featured live music, food, and a chance to hear Ray speak.
Ray states that the purpose behind the walk is to inspire everyone to life the life they have always dreamed of. “Once upon a time, my life didn't belong to me. As a professional cubicle warmer, every day was nearly identical to the next. The weeks melted into a series of months, melting into a series of years filled with mundane, menial events. I lived in a largely predictable, purposeless vacuum that lacked any heart. I knew something was off, but I truly believed I was trapped.
One day, all that changed. Inspired to make a simple shift in my perspective, in just thirty days time, I was working in Spain and living the life I had always dreamed of. Now, I’m sharing my experiences with others. In each talk, I’ll share where I’ve been and how I got there—literally and metaphorically—going from a corporate paper pusher living paycheck to paycheck, to: dreaming of a different life, finding the key to open the door to my dreams, traveling through Europe, India, Asia, Northern Africa, Alaska, Central America and beyond, getting clear about my motivations, creating and hosting a TV show with 1.2 million viewers, and more.” states Ray’s website RyanRay.com
Ray, who graduated from Henryetta High School in 1998 relocated to Los Angeles where he is now a motivational speaker and writer. He has traveled to around the world in an effort to live the life he has always dreamed. On July 17, Ray reached Henryetta where he met with those gathered at the Sugar Shack for a meet and greet and a community walk to Nichols Park, a distance of 2.3 miles. The walk ended 6 p.m. when the group reached Nichols Park.
Ray’s speaking event began at 7:00 p.m. with a question and answer session beginning at 8:00 p.m. The first two hundred attendees were given custom-made, signed postcard from Ryan's walk across America. Sovereign Dame and Kaizen Pursuit provided the live music.
Ray is currently travelling approximately 8 to 10 hours a day along Highway 62 where he will cross into Arkansas then continue North through Missouri. For more information or to donate to Ray’s journey, visit RyanRay.com
Photos by Paul Orosco - ONN
World Breastfeeding Week is August 1-7, 2015
People today know the importance of breastfeeding. While most new mothers start out breastfeeding, many Oklahoma mothers are not able to exclusively breastfeed for six months nor continue for up to 2 years of age as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). One of the challenges they face is continuing to breastfeed after they return to work.
The Okmulgee County Health Department is promoting World Breastfeeding Week, Aug. 1-7 with the theme Breastfeeding and Work: Let’s Make it Work. The goal is to empower and support all women, working in both the formal and informal sectors, to adequately combine work with child-rearing, particularly breastfeeding.
Data provided in the 2012 Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) and The Oklahoma Toddler Survey (TOTS, 2013) compiled by OSDH indicates that 85.6 percent of Oklahoma mothers initiated breastfeeding. However, only 34.8 percent of Oklahoma mothers breastfed for six or more months.
Major medical organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Association of Family Physicians recommend that babies receive nothing but breastmilk during the first six months of life, and continue receiving breastmilk for at least the first year and beyond. Like any aspect of raising a child, breastfeeding requires encouragement from a team of people.
“Many mothers say their efforts to breastfeed are enhanced by having support at home or at work, as well as receiving breastfeeding instruction and education from healthcare providers,” said Okmulgee County Health Department Administrator William R. Pierson. “Since breastfeeding provides significant health benefits for both mother and baby, it is important that family members, clinicians, friends, and employers know how they can help make breastfeeding easier.”
OSDH and the Coalition of Oklahoma Breastfeeding Advocates (COBA) recognize worksites that meet the following criteria for becoming breastfeeding friendly:
• Flexible break times and a private location are provided for mothers to express milk.
• A water source is accessible for washing hands and breast pump equipment.
• A written breastfeeding policy is established.
For information about becoming a Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite, and a list of current recognized sites, visit the Oklahoma breastfeeding website at http://bis.health.ok.gov. For breastfeeding support and information, call the Oklahoma Breastfeeding Hotline toll free at 1-877-271-MILK (6455), or call the Okmulgee County Health Department at (918)756-1883.