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Statewide News

NATIONAL SUGAR COOKIE DAY

Celebrated each year on July 9, National Sugar Cookie Day honors the ever popular and delicious sugar cookie.

A holiday favorite and very easy to make, sugar cookies are sure to disappear quickly once they come out of the oven.  Made with sugar, flour, butter, eggs, vanilla and either baking powder or baking soda, most people have the ingredients on hand at all times and can have the kids help make a batch on any day.  Cutting the cookies, with cookie cutters, into different shapes and decorating them with frosting and sprinkles are a popular and fun way to finish the cookies.

The sugar cookie is believed to have originated in the mid 1700′s in Nazareth Pennsylvania.  It was there that the German Protestant settlers created the round, crumbly and buttery cookie that came to be known as the Nazareth Cookie.

Oklahoma Environmental Services conducts site assessments in an attempt to find contamination
OKC, OK July 08, 2015 - Oklahoma Environmental Services is performing site assessments at twenty-three former fueling facilities in Oklahoma this month. The purpose of the assessments is to determine whether subsurface soil or groundwater contamination exists. The facilities have underground, petroleum storage tank systems that were not upgraded to meet regulatory requirements in the late 1980s. The tank systems remain unused and are registered as “Temporarily Out-of-Use (TOU)” with the state regulatory agency, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC).

Deanna Atkinson, president of the consulting firm Oklahoma Environmental Services, said, “We are investigating subsurface soil and groundwater at these locations to see if any contamination exists. Ideally, the soil and groundwater would be tested when the tanks are removed. Unfortunately, these tanks are basically orphaned so there are no responsible parties stepping up to remove the tanks. We’re sampling to see if a problem exists. The health concern would be that gasoline or diesel has leaked out of the tanks, into surrounding soil or groundwater. If that is the case, our company will clean it up”. Atkinson cited the reason these sites have not been assessed before now is the lack of a financial mechanism. This recently changed when Oklahoma received a Federal grant for the investigation.

Robyn Strickland, OCC Petroleum Storage Tank Division (PSTD) Director stated they received a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency for sampling these sites. The EPA had money available for state improvement projects so states were able to bid for that money. Strickland said their preference would be to use the money to remove the underground storage tanks but state Indemnity Fund and EPA grant monies will not pay for tank removals, it could only be used for sampling the facilities’ soil and groundwater. Strickland said criteria for candidate sites were those with: returned mail, no response to staff’s notifications and underground tanks that had not been upgraded to current regulatory standards.

Salim Douglah, OCC PSTD Technical Manager, said the goal of sampling is to satisfy pre-closure sampling protocols for when they resolve the issue of how, when and what mechanism to close these TOU tanks. When asked if the pressure would be on the owner to close the tanks, Mr. Southwick, OCC PSTD Legal Counsel, said that is what they are working on. Mr. Southwick said there is a lot to consider such as the interpretation of who is environmentally responsible versus someone who is the owner.

Currently, Oklahoma has approximately 1,700 underground storage tanks that previously stored petroleum products registered as Temporarily Out-of-Use.

LOCATIONS BEING INVESTIGATED

1) NE Quadrant (18 sites):
1. Kountry Korner (facility #21-05357); RR 3, Grove, OK
2. Pine Street Service Station (facility #36-09353); 433 Pine, Ponca City, OK
3. Leon's Dx Station (facility #49-04694); Hwy 20, Spavinaw, OK
4. Sav-On Gas (facility #51-07875); 219 Callahan, Muskogee, OK
5. Holiday Gulf (facility #51-07876); 806 South 32nd, Muskogee, OK
6. Mr. Tip's Bail Shop (facility #51-08739); Rt. 1, Box 300 T, Webber Falls, OK
7. Y Sale Dx (facility #51-12499); Rt. 1, Box 60A, Haskell, OK
8. Catfish George's Place (facility #56-02046); RR4, Box 32A, Okmulgee, OK
9. Kirk Tank Truck's, Inc. (facility #56-11667); 118 East Ozark, Morris, OK
10. Prue's Market (facility #57-00730); PO Box 249, Prue, OK
11. Burbank Store (facility #57-11219); SW Corner of Burbank at 7th St. & Hwy 60,
Burbank, OK
12. Appalachia Bay Country Store (facility #59-11733); 15 miles SE of Cleveland on
Appalachia, Pawnee, OK
13. Ross Dx Service Station (facility# 60-01034); 200 East Chicago, Yale, OK
14. Muldrow Texaco (Jack's Service) (facility #68-06943); Hwy 64 (1.5 miles East),
Muldrow, OK
15. Apache Mini Mart (facility #72-10873); 2545 North Rockford, Tulsa, OK
16. Rebel Run Convenience Store (facility #72-10992); 6255 East 36th Street N, Tulsa, OK
17. Super Grocery & Gas (facility #72-13051); 7425 North Peoria, Tulsa, OK
18. Stone Bluff Store (facility# 73-02400); Hwy 64 at 2, Haskell, OK
3) SW Quadrant (1 site):
1. Hugh Fletcher (facility #10-12387); 2 miles South of Junction Hwy 7 & 76, Ratliff City
4) NW Quadrant (4 sites):
1. Mong's Gulf facility #05-02664); Jct. Hwy 152 & 30, Sweetwater, OK
2. Mike's (facility #27-01483); 107 East Grand, Nash, OK
3. Lakey Oil, Inc. (facility #47-02900); 424 North Main Street, Fairview, OK
4. Fleer Oil & Hardware, Inc. (facility #24-14669); PO Box 238 Hwy 132, Drummond, OK

OKLAHOMA CITY – For a second consecutive month, and the fourth time this fiscal year, monthly Gross Receipts to the Treasury were less than collections from the prior year, State Treasurer Ken Miller announced at a State Capitol news conference on Wednesday.

June gross receipts fell slightly below $1 billion and were 3.9 percent less than in June of last year. Collections from the production of oil and natural gas dropped more than 54 percent below the prior year.

“The state economy is certainly feeling the impact of the oil price downturn,” Miller said. “Gross production numbers have been below prior year collections for six consecutive months, and it appears we are seeing spillover into other revenue streams – especially motor vehicle and sales tax collections.”

June gross production collections are from oilfield activity in April, when West Texas Intermediate crude oil was selling for $54.45 per barrel in Cushing. Oil prices peaked at more than $107 last June and bottomed out at less than $45 in late January. Prices are currently hovering around $60.

Sales tax collections – often viewed as an indicator of consumer confidence – dipped below the prior year for the third time in four months. Income tax collections rebounded from May and exceeded the prior year by more than 3 percent, and motor vehicle receipts were marginally higher than last June.

Gross receipts for Fiscal Year 2015 total $11.98 billion, with a growth rate of 2.5 percent compared to FY-14. While the rate of growth in 12-month collections has remained positive for more than five years, it is currently flattening out. At the end of FY-14, the rate was at 4.1 percent, rose to 5.1 percent in September, and has generally gotten smaller since.gross receipts

Gross production finished the fiscal year almost 19 percent below FY-14. Motor vehicle collections also finished below the prior fiscal year, down by 2.6 percent. Income tax and sales tax receipts showed fiscal year growth of 6.5 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively.

Other indicators

Oklahoma’s unemployment rate rose 0.2 percentage points to 4.3 percent during May. Six of the state’s supersectors reported job losses with the energy sector posting the largest drop. The national unemployment rate was set at 5.5 percent in May.

Oklahoma City metropolitan unemployment increased 0.4 percentage points to 3.8 percent in May, while Tulsa’s jobless rate jumped 0.5 percentage points to 4.3 percent. Unemployment increased in all but two of the state’s 77 counties.

The Business Conditions Index for Oklahoma in June remained below growth neutral for a second consecutive month, slipping to 46.9 from May’s 47.0. Numbers below 50 indicate economic contraction is expected during the next three to six month.

June collections

Receipts for June set gross collections at $999.36 million, down $40.79 million or 3.9 percent from June 2014.

Gross income tax collections, a combination of personal and corporate income taxes, generated $406.92 million, an increase of $12.56 million or 3.2 percent from the previous June.

Personal income tax collections for the month are $307.8 million, up $5.77 million or 1.9 percent from the prior year. Corporate collections are $99.12 million, up by $6.79 million or 7.4 percent.

Sales tax collections, including remittances on behalf of cities and counties, total $364.65 million in June. That is $11.97 million or 3.2 percent lower than June 2014.

Gross production taxes on oil and natural gas generated $35.91 million in June, a decrease of $42.41 million or 54.1 percent from last June. Compared to May reports, gross production collections are down by $2.12 million or 5.6 percent.

Motor vehicle taxes produced $69.39 million, up by $42,000 or 0.1 percent from the prior year.

Other collections, consisting of about 60 different sources including taxes on fuel, tobacco, horse race gambling and alcoholic beverages, produced $122.49 million during the month. That is $979,000 or 0.8 percent more than last June.

Twelve-month collections

Gross revenue totals $11.98 billion during FY 2015. That is $287.66 million or 2.5 percent higher than collections from FY 2014.

Gross income taxes generated $4.4 billion for the period, reflecting an increase of $269.78 million or 6.5 percent from the prior fiscal year.

Personal income tax collections total $3.8 billion, up by $205.76 million or 5.7 percent from the prior fiscal year. Corporate collections are $579.44 million for the period, an increase of $64.02 million or 12 percent over the previous period.

Sales taxes for the period generated $4.46 billion, an increase of $116.27 million or 2.7 percent from the prior 12-months.

Oil and gas gross production tax collections brought in $697.85 million during the fiscal year, down by $162.26 million or 18.9 percent from the previous year.

Motor vehicle collections total $766.25 million for the year. This is a drop of $20.2 million or 2.6 percent from the trailing fiscal year.

Other sources generated $1.65 billion, up $84.07 million or 5.4 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 about 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.

Wednesday, 08 July 2015 09:37

Today July 8th is Video Game Day!

It’s Video Game Day! Today, take some time to appreciate the technological achievements of the video game industry. Think about how far we’ve come since the days of the original Nintendo and Game Boy. Today’s games have advanced special effects and seemingly endless themes that appeal to almost everyone!

Video games aren’t just for kids anymore. In fact, they have become very popular as group activities at parties for all ages. People crowd around televisions in homes and dorm rooms to battle their friends in adventure, sports, and music-themed competitions.

To celebrate Video Game Day, invite your friends over for some gaming!

gallery video gallery  VideoGameDayMeme

OKLAHOMA CITY – Determining eligibility for grants from the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may be as easy as registering for assistance, but sometimes more information is needed before the process can be completed.

Disaster survivors may receive a letter stating they’re ineligible. But that may not mean they won’t receive assistance. Read the letter carefully. It could mean more information is required to make a determination.

There are several common reasons for receiving a letter of ineligibility. The most common reason is not enough information has been provided.

Other reasons may be:

Missing documentation is needed to complete the evaluation process.

There is insufficient storm-related damage, or

Insurance coverage adequately covered storm-related losses.

While it is not mandatory to qualify for assistance, one way to expedite the process of determining eligibility is to visit a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC). Survivors can take any missing documents into the nearest DRC and have questions answered face-to-face with FEMA specialists.

There have been 3,184 visitors to DRCs in Oklahoma since the severe storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes and flooding of May 5 through June 4. To find the recovery center nearest you visit http://asd.fema.gov/inter/locator/home.htm, or call the FEMA Helpline

at 800-621-3362. DRCs are one-stop shops where survivors can get information and guidance on the disaster assistance that may be available. Other options include visiting online www.DisasterAssistance.gov or via smartphone or tablet at m.fema.gov.

For more information on Oklahoma disaster recovery, click http://www.fema.gov/disaster/4222 or visit OEM at www.oem.ok.gov.

Chocolate bars, chocolate fruit, chocolate chips, hot chocolate, frozen hot chocolate, chocolate and peanut butter, what ever your preference, today is the day for you chocolate lovers. July 7 is National Chocolate Day!

Now don't feel guilty for indulging today chocoholics, studies have been shown that its benefits to your health outweigh any of bad publicity chocolate has gotten over the years, including its effects of aging, oxidized stress blood pressure regulation, its amazing antioxidant potential, the ability to lower cholesterol, prevention of cognitive decline, and the ability to lower the risk of cardiovascular issues.

The history of chocolate is a rich one, including its use as a medicine, evidence that it was enjoyed in drink form dating back to 1900 B.C., and as an aphrodisiac. By the mid 1800’s sugars and salts were added to cut the bitterness, forming the chocolate that we know and love today.

So whatever your flavor, white, milk, dark, bittersweet, semi sweet, partake and enjoy. Be sure and let chocolate know, that today, it is celebrated!

CNational Chocolate Day

 

OKLAHOMA CITY – Three Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) set up to help people who were affected by the severe storms, straight-line winds, flooding and tornadoes occurring May 5 through June 4, are scheduled to close soon in Cleveland, Grady and Pittsburg counties.

The DRC in Grady County will close on Friday, July 10 at 7 p.m.

Bridge Creek Elementary

2209 East Sooner Road

Blanchard, OK 73010

Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The DRC in Cleveland County will close on Saturday, July 11 at 7 p.m.

Noble High School

4601 E. Etowah Road

Noble, OK 73068

Hours: Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The DRC in Pittsburg County will close on Saturday, July 11 at 7 p.m.

Pittsburgh County Firefighters Association and Training Center

1505 Wade Watts Avenue

McAlester, OK 74501

Hours: Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

To find an open DRC near you visit http://asd.fema.gov/inter/locator/home.htm.

Survivors can apply for state and federal assistance online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or via smartphone or web-enabled device at m.fema.gov. People may also call 800-621-FEMA (3362) or (TTY) 800-462-7585. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services can call 800-621-3362 to register. Visiting a DRC is not required to qualify for assistance.

For more information on Oklahoma disaster recovery, click http://www.fema.gov/disaster/4222 or visit OEM at www.oem.ok.gov.

IMAGE Holiday travel genericWhile rain is in the forecast for our area this Fourth of July weekend, many will be traveling elsewhere to be with friends or family during the holiday. Statistically, this holiday weekend is the most dangerous holiday for travelers. The department of transportation offers a few tips for those who will be on the road this weekend to keep themselves and others safe.

Do not drive while under the influence. Over 400 plus fatalities occur this weekend annually due to high blood alcohol content. Get a designated driver, find a friend or family member to take the wheel and allow safe celebrations to continue.

Next, make sure to get plenty of sleep. Pull over if you must, it’s perfectly legal, and can save not only your life but your friends, family, and other drivers on the road. Recognizing impaired drivers will also help to keep you and the other drivers on the roadway out of harm. Watch for swerving, erratic lane changes, and report any dangers to local police. BUCKLE UP! Also keep your travel plans flexible. Give your self extra hours, maybe even an extra day, and take your time to travel safely instead of rushing to reach your destination and putting yourself and others in danger.

So whether you're staying put and enjoying local activities and events or traveling to other parts of our beautiful country, have a happy and safe Independence Day!

Shell Shakers2

This little girl shows off her traditional tortoise shell shakers during the Mvskoke Nation Festival stomp dance held at the Claude Cox Omniplex and she certainly showed how to use them as she danced along side her mother who is showing her set of tin can shakers in the photo, another popular type that is also used.
Photos by Valerie Rice - ONN

Shell Shakers1

The dress of most Stomp Dancers is casual but nice. Most Stomp Dancers keep special attire for ceremonial occasions, but the physical nature of the dance and summery, outdoor conditions of the dance make comfort more important than flair. Women wear skirts and blouses that usually incorporate traditional patterns. The men wear blue jeans or slacks and hats, which are usually cowboy or ballcap styles, usually with a single eagle, hawk or crane feather in the hatband. The ribbon shirt is the standard ceremonial attire for both men and women, which consists of a loose-fitted tunic decorated with ribbons. Cherokee women typically wear full cotton skirts featuring ribbonwork in a rattlesnake pattern.

The women wear tortoise shell shakers, or shackles, on both legs (typically six to 12 on each leg). The shakers are hollowed out tortoise shells which have holes drilled in them and are filled with certain river rocks that will make them rattle. The traditional Creek and Seminole shell shakers are made of terrapin or box turtle shells. Lydia Sam, a Natchez-Cherokee traditionalist, was the first to dance with tin, condensed milk can leg shackles in the 1920s. Some ground leaders insist on the use of the terrapin by head lady shell shakers. This tradition continues today and most women start out with a set of "cans" before moving up to having their own set of shells. Women stomp dancers are called "Shell Shakers" or "Turtles."

Tulsa, OK—The “Spirit of ‘76” has taken many forms, including a painting (also known as “Yankee Doodle” circa 1875 by Archibald MacNeal Willard), a n album (released in 1975 by Spirit for Mercury Records), comic book characters (published by both Harvey and Marvel Comics), a game (the first microprocessor-based pinball game), two films (a 1917 silent short and a 1990 feature-length comedy), and the moniker for Richard Nixon’s Air Force One planes. However, usually the phrase refers to patriotic sentiment. This sentiment was manifested in the Declaration of Independence which focused on individual liberty and, when adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, began the American Revolution.

Saied Music Company and the Jimmie & Helen Saied Foundation present “The Spirit of ‘76” as performed by Starlight Concert Band. The free concert will begin at 8pm on Tuesday, June 23 at Guthrie Green. “This concert will feature many patriotic favorites, including ‘America the Beautiful’, a salute to our Armed Forces, and two Sousa marches,” said Artistic Director L. Dale Barnett. “It’s a great way to kick off Independence Day celebrations.” The University of Tulsa Festival Band, comprise of local high school students, will provide the evening’s opening entertainment.

Other 2015 concert dates are June 30 “Things That Go Bump in the Night”; July 7 “Way Out West”; July 14 “Night at the Movies”; and July 21 “Jazz Standards.” Starlight’s concerts are ideal entertainment for the entire family. Guthrie Green offers free parking and is accessible to those with disabilities. Concessions will be available. Guarantors for the 2015 season are the Oklahoma Arts Council and the Treeman Family Foundation in honor of Jeff Treeman. Other major sponsors include: Cedar Creek, Circle Cinema, Creative State, First Fidelity Bank, Guthrie Green, Liberty Press, National Endowment for the Arts, Public Radio Tulsa: KWGS/KWTU, Saied Music Company and The Jimmie & Helen Saied Foundation, Universal Combustion Corporation, The Charles & Marion Weber Foundation in memory of Dr. Charles E. and Marion L. Weber, and Will Rogers Rotary Club.

For more information, go online to www.starlightbands.net or call 918.798.STAR (7827). The public can also follow Starlight Bands on Facebook and Twitter.

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