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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

By Joe Dorman

Did you know that Oklahoma ranks third in the nation for women killed by men?

Did you know that 11,418 children in Oklahoma were victims of child abuse or neglect during fiscal year 2013. The most recent data show a nearly 58 percent increase in child victims since fiscal year 2010, when 7,248 Oklahoma children were harmed.

Did you know that domestic violence and sexual assault cost more than $727 million each year, with over 7.9 million paid workdays lost, as well?

Aware of it or not, this is an issue that is all around us. I have experienced two instances personally, and each had a lasting impact on me.

A former co-worker and a good friend got engaged, but her joy did not last long. She approached one of our senior staffers and confided to him she had been physically abused and did not know what to do. He offered to help her get assistance. He told me to meet him and we would help her move out of the house where she lived with her fiancé. One of my other co-workers advised me to not get involved because it was a personal issue between the couple. I, of course, did not listen and helped her move, and I look back knowing I made the right decision.

Earlier this month I saw a woman walking down the highway with a child. I turned around to see if she needed assistance. She was distraught and confided that her boyfriend had thrown her out of his vehicle. Due to the condition of her clothing, I knew she was speaking literally. She was walking several miles back home. I offered assistance and let her use my phone. She began crying when she could not remember any phone numbers. Another vehicle pulled up and its occupants said they witnessed the incident. The abandoned woman refused any further assistance for calling authorities, and they offered her a ride home. I hope she is all right, although I cannot help but wonder if there was anything else I could have done.
Each of us can do our part to help stop this cycle of violence.

The YWCA shelter, established in 1974, was the very first in Oklahoma to offer assistance to women. This is an emergency shelter, providing help in obtaining legal services, transportation, housing information, medical care, child care and advocacy services for up to two months. The YWCA shelter is a safe place for women and children to escape domestic violence. Open 24 hours 7days a week, the shelter provides immediate, emergency shelter and supplemental services to more than 350 women and children every year. They can be reached at their 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline: 405-917-9922 or 24-hour Sexual Assault Hotline: 405-943-7273.

The CARE Center in Oklahoma City works with the parent or caregiver, the detective assigned to the case of the child, the DHS case worker. A child specialist will walk the family through a process of easing the anxiety of the child while allowing the person reporting the case to file the proper paperwork. They will then interview the child using video that is admissible in court. Afterward, they provide specialized advocacy to assist with immediate needs and establish counseling services to help over the long term. They also offer assistance with medical exams to make certain the child has not been hurt physically.
Both organizations have fund-raising events on Thursday, Aug. 6, in Oklahoma City. I am serving as a table sponsor for both and encourage you to join me at both these fund-raisers. The minimum donation for each is $100.

The YWCA hosts its Engaging Men breakfast that morning at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, beginning at 7 a.m. Aug. 6. This event provides an excellent networking opportunity among hundreds of professional men across Oklahoma. The program will highlight a testimonial – a personal, dramatic and heartwarming story. This annual event gives each guest a firsthand account of a person whose life has been changed – and a cycle of violence broken.
The CARE Center will hold its first advocacy luncheon, featuring Antwone Fisher. This will be at the University of Central Oklahoma in the Grand Ballroom in the Nigh University Center, starting at 11:30 a.m. Aug. 6.You can listen to Antwone's personal experience about the abuse he overcame and his journey to launch the movie "Antwone Fisher" and become a best-selling author and speaker.

You can contact me at joe@joedorman or by phone at (580) 476-3745 for more information about these events and to RSVP. I hope you are able to attend and help break the cycle of violence we face in Oklahoma.

At least 23 people have been killed in a stampede during a handout of free clothes in the northern Bangladeshi city of Mymensingh, police said.

The stampede erupted on Friday when hundreds of people tried to force their way into a factory compound through a small gate after massing outside the building before dawn, local police chiefs told the AFP news agency.

"We have so far recovered 23 bodies. Most of the dead are poor and emaciated women," Mymensingh police chief Moinul Haque said, putting the number of injured at more than 50.

Kamrul Islam, the senior officer at a police station near the factory, said the death toll could rise.

"Some people had taken the bodies of their relatives before police arrived at the scene," he said.

The owner of the factory and six others have been arrested, Islam added.

Police said up to 1,500 people had massed outside the chewing tobacco factory at around 4:45am after the plant owners had announced they would distribute free clothes to poor people in accordance with Islamic ritual.

Rich Bangladeshis often distribute free clothes to poor people during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

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Stampede erupts when hundreds try forcing their way into factory in northern city of Mymensingh to collect free clothes.

Hey there TGIF - What better day to be National Pina Colada Day!  Well the rain is gone, so if you like Pina Coladas and getting caught in “the rain”  - well that’s out! Yes, it’s National Pina Colada Day (July 10) so what more excuse do you need to crack out your coconuts? And you don't need to be on a beach to enjoy it because Okmulgee is looking good in your neighborhood!

It's the perfect drink if you want to kick back and enjoy the summer heat, but if you are thinking about the kids, we have the perfect recipe for you.

It is called a Blue Pina Colada Party Punch.

1 package Kool-Aid (Blue Raspberry).
3/4 cup of sugar.
2 quarts of cold water.
12 oz. non-alcoholic Pina Colada mix.
2 liter of Sprite.
- Cherries & pineapple to garnish.

Or Try a mock Pina Colada

1 1⁄2-2 cups whole milk
2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon coconut extract
2 -4 tablespoons sugar (to taste)

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are ready to assist everyone, including seniors, persons with disabilities and others with an access and functional need before, during and after a disaster.

Oklahoma seniors and those with disabilities are eligible to receive the same services and assistance offered to anyone in the declared disaster areas. However, the means to register for and receive assistance may be different for someone with a disability. That person may require accommodations such as a sign language interpreter or information in alternate formats.

Anyone who experienced losses or damages as a result of Oklahoma’s severe storms, straight-line winds, flooding and tornadoes of May 5 through June 4 has several ways to register for disaster assistance.

They can apply online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, by smart phone or tablet at m.fema.gov, or by telephone at 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585. If they use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services, they should call 800-621-3362. Operators are multilingual and calls are answered seven days a week 24 hours a day. Or they can visit a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC).

Some frequently asked questions include:

Will disaster assistance change my benefits?

If you receive Social Security benefits, you will not lose your benefits and they will not be changed or cut if you receive disaster aid from the state or FEMA.
If you receive Medicaid, food stamps, or Aid to Families with Dependent Children, you will not lose your benefits and they will not be cut if you receive disaster aid from the state or FEMA.
A FEMA grant does not add to an applicant’s taxable income.
What are the available accommodations?

For those who are deaf or hard of hearing, DRCs offer several communication methods, from captioned phones to iPads with video remote interpreting access to sign language interpreters. On-site interpreters are also available upon request.

For persons who are blind or have low vision, documents are available in large print and Braille.
For persons who use a mobility device, DRCs have accessible parking, ramps and accessible restrooms.
Remember: If you need an accommodation, just ask.

How will I know what I am eligible for?

Those who live in one of the 33 Oklahoma counties approved for federal Individual Assistance as a result of the storms that occurred May 5 through June 4 may be eligible for disaster assistance.
The only way to know if you are eligible – and what you are eligible for – is to apply. The application deadline for this disaster is July 27.

Anyone with a disability or any access or functional need who requires help registering should not hesitate to contact FEMA.

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.

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