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Wednesday, 15 July 2015 09:10

County Commissioners report for July 13

After the County Commissioners approved the minutes and financial report they had the following agenda items:

The Board approved the Resolutions for Disposing of Equipment to surplus to sell (1) 1985 Hilbilt end dump trailer and (1) 1987 Hilbilt end dump trailer for District #1.

The Board approved the Juvenile Detention Service Contracts with Cleveland County and Pottawatomie County for the 2015-2016 Fiscal Year.

The Board approved the surplus of Highway monies from the 2014-2015 Fiscal Year to the 2015-2016 Fiscal Year.

The Board approved the reimbursement claim for expenditures of the District Attorney’s Office for the month of June 2015.

The Board approved the reimbursement claim for the Election Board Secretary’s salary for the month of June 2015.

Emergency Management Director Tim Craighton reported that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be here by the end of the week to set up a disaster relief center for those that need individual assistance caused by the flooding in Okmulgee County.

That concluded the business for July 13.

AGENDA FOR REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
OKMULGEE COUNTY

As required by Section 311, Title 25 of the Oklahoma Statutes, notice is hereby given that the Board of County Commissioners of Okmulgee County will hold a regular meeting on July 13, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. The meeting will be held in the County Commissioners Conference Room in the County Courthouse, located at 314 W. 7th, Okmulgee.

AGENDA

The following is a list of the business to be conducted by the Board of County Commissioners at the above-mentioned meeting:

1. Call to Order
Invocation
Pledge of Allegiance

2. Possible approval of minutes from regular meeting

3. Input by the Public on any non-agenda items

4. Order of Business:

A. Discussion and possible action of Officers’ Reports

B. Discussion and possible action of Blanket Purchase Orders

C. Discussion and possible action of Employee Status Reports

D. Discussion and possible approval of submitted Utility Permits

E. Discussion and possible approval of Private Property Agreements

F. Discussion and possible approval of Resolutions to surplus to sell equipment

G. Discussion and possible approval of Juvenile Detention Contracts

H. Discussion and possible approval to surplus Highway monies from 2014-2015 Fiscal Year to 2015-2016 Fiscal Year

I. Possible approval of reimbursement claim for expenditures of District Attorney’s Office

J. Possible approval of reimbursement claim for Election Board Secretary’s salary

5. Report from Emergency Management Director

6. New Business

7. Discussion and possible approval of claims and/or signing of documents

8. Adjourn

OKLAHOMA CITY – Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it, state Rep. Donnie Condit reminded his legislative colleagues Thursday.

Several state lawmakers were outraged when the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled 7-2 recently that a Ten Commandments monument on the north side of the state Capitol violates the Oklahoma Constitution.

In response, Rep. John Paul Jordan, R-Yukon, joined by 13 Republican Representatives and Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman, filed House Joint Resolution 1036 for consideration next year by the Legislature. The resolution would send to a vote of the people a proposal to repeal the controversial provision.

Article II, Section 5, of the Constitution decrees that, “No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, donated, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary, or sectarian institution as such.”

“…the issue in the case at hand is whether the Oklahoma Ten Commandments monument violates the Oklahoma Constitution, not whether it violates the Establishment Clause” of the U.S. Constitution, the Oklahoma Justices wrote. “Our opinion rests solely on the Oklahoma Constitution with no regard for federal jurisprudence.”

Striking Article II, Section 5 from the Constitution would indeed enable the Ten Commandments monument to remain right where it is, Condit acknowledged. It also would open the door to others who might want to erect a monument to, say, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism or Zoroastrianism, or even Satanism, Condit speculated.

The McAlester Democrat pointed to a Tulsa World editorial that suggested an alternative idea: “[T]he safest solution is a simple constitutional amendment that says, regardless of the language in Article 2, Section 5, a monument to the Ten Commandments shall be maintained on the state Capitol grounds to commemorate the biblical roots of U.S. law.”

Besides calls for repeal of Article 2, Section 5 of the Oklahoma Constitution, some legislators recommended impeachment of the seven Justices who ruled against the Ten Commandments monument.

Condit and other members of the House Democratic Caucus, however, noted that all Oklahoma appellate judges answer to state voters at the ballot box, via retention ballots. “Options other than impeachment are available to the citizens of Oklahoma,” Condit said.

Monday, 06 July 2015 16:56

County Commissioners report for July 6

After the Okmulgee County Commissioners regular order of business, they had the following agenda items:

The Board opened Bid #27 for the hauling of gravel materials for County Highway projects for a six-month period. Bids were received from B & S Construction & Trucking and Yocham Trucking. The Board awarded both bids based on availability.

The Board approved the Interagency Communications and Programming Agreement with the City of Okmulgee and the City of Henryetta to allow for the County-wide digital radio and repeater system.

The Board approved the updated Agreement for Enhanced Emergency Number Service (E9-1-1) with Oklahoma Communications Systems for the 2015-2016 Fiscal Year.

Emergency Management Director Tim Craighton reported that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved Okmulgee County for individual disaster assistance. Craighton also reported that the Okmulgee County Emergency Management website is up and running.

That concluded the business for July 6.

AGENDA FOR REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
OKMULGEE COUNTY

As required by Section 311, Title 25 of the Oklahoma Statutes, notice is hereby given that the Board of County Commissioners of Okmulgee County will hold a regular meeting on July 6, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. The meeting will be held in the County Commissioners Conference Room in the County Courthouse, located at 314 W. 7th, Okmulgee.

AGENDA

The following is a list of the business to be conducted by the Board of County Commissioners at the above-mentioned meeting:

1. Call to Order
Invocation
Pledge of Allegiance

2. Possible approval of minutes from regular meeting

3. Input by the Public on any non-agenda items

4. Order of Business:

A. Discussion and possible action of Officers’ Reports

B. Discussion and possible action of Blanket Purchase Orders

C. Discussion and possible action of Employee Status Reports

D. Discussion and possible approval of submitted Utility Permits

E. Discussion and possible approval of Private Property Agreements

F. Open and possible award of Bid #27 for hauling of gravel materials for six-month period

G. Discussion and possible approval of Communications and Programming Agreement with the City of Okmulgee and the City of Henryetta

H. Discussion and possible approval of Agreement for Enhanced Emergency Number Service (E9-1-1)

5. Report from Emergency Management Director

6. New Business

7. Discussion and possible approval of claims and/or signing of documents

8. Adjourn

MUSKOGEE – Ensuring area veterans know about all of the services available to them in their community and region is the goal of three Veteran Information Day events to be hosted by Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02).

The events will be held in Okmulgee, Claremore and Hugo. All events are open to the public. Registration is not required to attend Mullin’s Veteran Information Day events.

“We want our veterans to know about services available to them,” said Mullin. “There are many resources out there and groups that want to help. We are bringing all of those resources together under one roof so veterans can easily learn about the services available in their own community and the region.”

Mullin said that caseworkers from his district offices will also be on hand for any veteran or military family that is having problems with a federal agency. Specifics on the new Veterans Choice Program will also be presented.

Additionally, information will be available regarding how to participate in the Library of Congress Veterans History Project.

The times and locations of the Veteran Information Days are listed below:

Friday, July 17, 2015

Okmulgee

10:00 a.m.

Okmulgee Community Center

1201 W. 7th Street

Okmulgee, OK

Claremore

2:30 p.m.

Northeast Technology Center, Claremore

1901 Oklahoma Highway 88

Claremore, OK

Monday, July 20, 2015

Hugo

4:00 p.m.

Hugo Arigiplex Convention Center

415 E. Rena St.

Hugo, OK

Anyone needing additional information may contact Mullin’s district offices in Muskogee at (918) 687-2533 or McAlester at (918) 423-5951.

After the county commissioners regular order of business to approve minutes and financial report, they had the following agenda items:

The Board approved the Interlocal Cooperation Agreement for unified emergency dispatching services between Okmulgee County and the City of Okmulgee for the 2015-2016 Fiscal Year.

The Board approved the Juvenile Detention Services Contract with Beckham County for the 2015-2016 Fiscal Year.

The Board approved the Resolution to renew the ACCO-SIG Property and Liability insurance coverage for Okmulgee County for the 2015-2016 Fiscal Year.

The Board approved the Programming Resolution to replace the bridge over Adams Creek, Local #82, in District #2.

The Board approved the Resolution for the overtime and expenses reimbursements from elections held, to be deposited back into the Election Board accounts for the 2015-2016 Fiscal Year.

The Board approved Invitation to Bid #27 for the hauling of gravel materials for County Highway projects for a six-month period, to be opened July 6, 2015 at 9:00 a.m.

The Board approved the Emergency Disaster Proclamation to declare Okmulgee County to be a disaster area; entitled to aid, relief and assistance, and to direct the implementation of the County Emergency Operations Plan.

That concluded the business for June 22.

‘Front End’ Prevention Efforts Needed: “Feed the body, then the mind…”

OKLAHOMA CITY -- “With headlines this month alone announcing, “Inmate medical costs handcuff jail” and “Mental health transport crisis –back of police car not the way to take Oklahomans to treatment,” and “Destined for Failure – current public school problems can damage a generation’s future,” what has been obvious to so many of health professionals for so long “must now – finally – resonate with our policymakers,” state Rep. Richard Morrissette said Wednesday.

The Oklahoma City Democrat recently submitted a request for an interim legislative study to consider that question.

Morrissette, a longtime supporter of ‘front end’ prevention efforts to improve nutrition access for Oklahoma’s infants and children says the state is at a breaking point, “set to self-destruct, for continuing with short sighted, inane, ‘back end’ patching that bleeds the state budget dry.”

Morrissette scoffed at those who say hunger is a “distraction” for school students. Children who experience even brief periods of under-nutrition “are at-risk of becoming at-risk learners – and they aren’t distracted, they are permanently disabled,” he said.

“Why can’t one of our ‘off the top’ state budget priorities be nutrition insurance for our children? I’ll tell you why: because generations of adults who were undernourished as children are now overburdening our jails, mental institutions, and unemployment and healthcare systems; consequently, we don’t have a dime left for prevention.”
Recently, Minnesota Rep. Kim Norton established the State Pathways to Prosperity Subcommittee on Hunger and Nutrition. The motto of committee members is “feed the body before feeding the mind”.

OUTLINE of MORRISSETTE’S 2015 INTERIM STUDY PROPOSAL
Budget Impact - Inadequate Nutrition and its Role in Poor Brain Development during Pregnancy and Infancy: neuropsychological problems, poor school achievement, early school dropout, low-skilled employment, higher rates of incarceration and adults’ poor care of their own children, thus contributing to the intergenerational transmission of poverty and Oklahoma’s budget shortfall.

Adequate nutrition for pregnant mothers and infants is necessary for normal brain development. Pregnancy and infancy are important periods for the formation of the brain, laying the foundation for the development of cognitive, motor and socio-emotional skills throughout childhood and adulthood. Children with restricted development of these skills during early life are at risk for later neuropsychological problems, poor school achievement, early school dropout, low-skilled employment, and higher rates of incarceration and poor care of their own children, thus contributing to the intergenerational transmission of poverty.

This study would outline the physical process by which brain pathways diminish and disappear as a result of even brief periods of under-nutrition among Oklahoma child populations as well as a by-the-numbers review of the resulting impact to community resources and to the state’s budget shortfall.

The study also would identify solutions, such as free and available nutritious foods, the cost of not tackling food waste logistics, and processes by which Oklahoma schools might become after-hours redistribution points for charities donating fresh foods directly to parents, now that House Bill 1418, the Josephine Meade Anti-Hunger Act, and joint-use legislation, have both been passed into law by the Oklahoma Legislature.

Presenters at the interim legislative study would include Pediatric Nutritionist Kimberly Bilger.

House Speaker Jeff Hickman received 122 requests from Republican and Democrat Representatives alike, and said he will announce by July 10 which studies he has authorized. Committees will meet on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from August through November, to study the issues that are approved.

Last Friday, Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 483 into law, which will create a new state-level bullion depository. According to KVUE-TV, representatives from Governor Abbott’s office said that, under the new law, Texas will repatriate $1 billion in gold from the New York branch of the Federal Reserve to its new state gold depository, which has been unofficially nicknamed Texas’ “Fort Knox.”

“Today I signed HB 483 to provide a secure facility for the State of Texas, state agencies and Texas citizens to store gold bullion and other precious metals. With the passage of this bill, the Texas Bullion Depository will become the first state-level facility of its kind in the nation, increasing the security and stability of our gold reserves and keeping taxpayer funds from leaving Texas to pay for fees to store gold in facilities outside our state,” said Governor Abbott, according to a press release.

The Houston Chronicle notes that the legislation was originally introduced by Southlake Republican Representative Giovanni Capriglione back in 2013, but that it only recently gained momentum in the Texas legislature.

Tenth Amendment Center founder and executive director Michael Boldin wrote that the bill “creates a means for transactions to occur” in gold. “In short, a person will be able to deposit gold or silver – and pay other people through electronic means or checks – in sound money. Doing so has the potential to open the market to sound money in day-to-day transactions,” said Boldin.

According to The Epoch Times, Victor Sperandeo of the financial firm EAM Partners said, “In this case it’s going to be a depository, the gold is going to be there, they are not going to be able to lend it out and it won’t serve as collateral for other transactions of the bank.” Funds held in the depository will be protected by the State of Texas from any attempts at seizure, even by the federal government.

Constitutional lawyer Edwin Viera told The Epoch Times, “People can legally [use gold as money] with gold contracts. The difficulty is the implementation. Now Texas has set up a mechanism with the depository. We have accounts in that institution and can easily transfer back and forth certain amounts. So we can run our money system on a gold or silver basis if we were so inclined.” He continued, “If someone from the Department of Justice comes along you are going to see legal and political fireworks. The state is going to say ‘we need to have a mechanism to make gold and silver money. This is pursuant to the constitutional provision we have. You can’t touch this. Our state power on the constitutional level is more powerful than any statute you may pass’.”

OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma Supreme Court decision last month could potentially void hundreds, if not thousands, of tax sales across the state, Rep. David Perryman warned Monday.

By a vote of 7-2 in the case entitled “Crownover v. Keel,” the Justices held that even when county treasurers follow the precise letter of the law, “Their efforts to collect delinquent taxes and sell unredeemed property may be jeopardized,” said Perryman, an attorney.

The landowner, Vernon L. Crownover, neglected to pay taxes on certain property in McIntosh County “for several years,” the court record relates. Crownover’s property was sold at a tax sale in 2010 and a tax deed was issued to the buyer, Garland Keel.

However, Crownover filed suit, asserting that the sale and resultant deed were void because he was not given constitutionally sufficient notice of the sale and therefore “was denied his right to redeem the property.”

The high-court judges ruled May 26 that even though the McIntosh County Treasurer followed the notice requirements of state statutes to the very letter of the law – publishing a legal notice in a county newspaper of general circulation and sending a certified letter to Crownover’s last known address – the tax sale and tax deed were void.

The certified letter containing the Notice of Tax Sale was “returned marked as undeliverable as addressed and unable to forward,” and therefore the property owner did not receive constitutionally sufficient notice, the Justices ruled. Unbeknownst to the McIntosh County Treasurer’s Office, Crownover “no longer lived at the address to which notice was sent,” the state Supreme Court wrote in its majority opinion.

The United States Supreme Court, in a 2006 case from Arkansas, ruled that a property owner’s failure to keep his address updated “did not result in the owner somehow forfeiting his right to constitutionally sufficient notice,” the Oklahoma Justices pointed out.

The Crownover v. Keel decision will become final and released for publication if a motion to reconsider is not filed by the McIntosh County Treasurer and the County Commissioners. However, even if a motion to reconsider is filed, “three justices would have to change their minds on the case,” and that’s not likely, said Perryman, D-Chickasha.

“At a time when the Republican state budget has devastated the ability of county governments to repair roads and infrastructure and has reduced the amount of vehicle tax that schools will receive, this case further impacts the budgets of Oklahoma's counties,” the second-term lawmaker said. “It also hinders the attempts of county treasurers to get real estate back on the tax rolls for the benefit of schools, county government, fire districts and cities and towns.”

The issue is not only critical, it’s complicated, Perryman pointed out. For example, the Grady County Treasurer mailed a tax sale notice via registered mail in April, but it was returned earlier this month, undelivered.

In Crownover v. Keel the Oklahoma Justices did not specify what steps would be sufficient to satisfy the notice requirement, but they did point to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that although the state “should have taken other reasonable measures to reach the property owner, it stopped short of requiring the state to search elsewhere for an address for the property owner, noting that an open-ended search for a new address would unduly burden the state…” Instead, the Supreme Court “suggested reasonable measures such as posting notice on the property door, or even sending notice by regular mail, which could at least have resulted in its delivery and presence on the property.”

Prior decisions of the Oklahoma Supreme Court “also firmly indicate that the county was required to do more under these circumstances than simply shrug and claim it complied with the notice statute,” the state Justices wrote.

Perryman has requested an interim legislative study later this year “to determine whether a change in state statute can be made so that county treasurers across the state will have some assurances that their tax sales and tax deeds are not voided.”

He said he also intends to inquire further whether the Court’s decision in Crownover v. Keel will be applied only prospectively, going forward, or whether it will be applied retroactively, thereby invalidating previous tax sales that occurred under similar circumstances.

June 12 was the deadline for submission of interim study requests in the state House of Representatives, and House Speaker Jeff Hickman said he will announce by July 10 which studies he has authorized.

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