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Statewide News

OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 9, 2015) – Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister praised the U.S. Senate’s overwhelming decision this morning to approve the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which will correct many of the weaknesses in the No Child Left Behind Act.

“We are pleased that the United States Congress has passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This critical legislation – which essentially replaces No Child Left Behind – gives Oklahoma education stakeholders at the state and local level the authority and responsibility they have long sought. With a deep resolve for strong accountability and high-quality standards, I applaud the efforts of our federal delegation who sought to limit federal over-reach and strengthen state control of teacher evaluation, assessments, academic standards, accountability and innovation,” Hofmeister said.

While the ESSA would remove the requirement for Oklahoma to seek an annual waiver from burdensome federal mandates, it would still require state-led testing in grades 3-8 and high school and a state-designed school accountability system, among other measures.

Gross Receipts to the Treasury Continue Fall in November

OKLAHOMA CITY – Monthly Gross Receipts to the Treasury are lower than the same month of the prior year for a seventh consecutive month as low oil prices and reduced consumer spending shrank the bottom line in November, State Treasurer Ken Miller announced today.

Twelve-month Gross Receipts to the Treasury also contracted, as total collections continued an eight-month downward trend and are the lowest since June 2014.

“We are seeing the ongoing impact of the slowdown in the energy industry as the effect is felt across the state’s economy,” Miller said. “The downward trajectory of revenue collections moderated slightly this month, but the overall trend continues.”

Total Gross Receipts to the Treasury for November are $830.8 million, down by more than $15 million, or almost 2 percent, from November 2014.

For an 11th consecutive month, collections from oil and natural gas production taxes are lower than the same month of the prior year. November gross production collections are more than 54 percent lower than last November. Monthly receipts are based on oil field activity from September when the average price of benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil was $45.48 per barrel.

Sales tax collections, often viewed as an indicator of consumer confidence, have been lower than the same month of the prior year for seven of the past nine months. In November, sales tax collections fell below the prior year by almost 5 percent. The only revenue stream in positive territory for the month is gross income tax, up by more than $40 million, or almost 18 percent, due primarily to the tax commission’s PAYRight tax amnesty program.

Collections for the past 12 months total $11.74 billion, down by 192.3 million, or 1.6 percent from the trailing 12 months.

For the first time since at least March 2011, when the treasurer’s office began tracking gross receipts, sales tax collections are less than during the previous 12-month period, down by about $39 million, or just less than 1 percent. Twelve-month gross production taxes are off by more than 42 percent. Only gross income taxes are higher than the previous 12 months, up by almost $227 million, or 5.4 percent.

Other indicators

Oklahoma’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was set at 4.3 percent in October, down by one-tenth of one percentage point from September, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission. Over the past year, the mining and logging supersector, which includes the energy sector, reported the loss of 11,600 jobs, while the manufacturing supersector showed a reduction of 8,900 jobs. The national unemployment rate was set at 5.0 percent in October.

The Business Conditions Index for Oklahoma in November remained below growth neutral for a seventh consecutive month and dipped to 37.5 from October’s 40.1. Numbers below 50 indicate economic contraction is expected during the next three to six month.

November collections

Receipts for November set gross collections at $830.81 million, down $15.25 million or 1.8 percent from November 2014.

Gross income tax collections, a combination of personal and corporate income taxes, generated $267.43 million, an increase of $40.31 million or 17.8 percent from the previous November.

Personal income tax collections for the month are $249.82 million, up by $30.91 or 14.1 percent from the prior year. Corporate collections are $17.62 million, up by $9.4 million or 114.5 percent.

Sales tax collections, including remittances on behalf of cities and counties, total $361.91 million in November. That is $18.59 million or 4.9 percent lower than November 2014.

Gross production taxes on oil and natural gas generated $30.15 million in November, a decrease of $36.01 million or 54.4 percent from last November. Compared to October reports, gross production collections are down by $2.06 million or 6.4 percent.

Motor vehicle taxes produced $53.39 million, up by $2.18 million or 4.3 percent from the same month of last year.

Other collections, consisting of about 60 different sources including taxes on fuel, tobacco, horse race gambling and alcoholic beverages, produced $117.92 million during the month. That is $3.15 million or 2.6 percent less than last November.

Twelve-month collections

Gross revenue totals $11.74 billion between December 2014 and November 2015. That is $192.28 million or 1.6 percent lower than collections from December 2013 to November 2014.

Gross income taxes generated $4.45 billion for the period, reflecting an increase of $226.93 million or 5.4 percent from the prior period.

Personal income tax collections total $3.81 billion, up by $122.21 million or 3.3 percent from the prior 12 months. Corporate collections are $635.75 million for the period, an increase of $104.73 million or 19.7 percent over the previous period.

Sales taxes for the period generated $4.4 billion, a decrease of $38.7 million or 0.9 percent from the prior 12 months.

Oil and gas gross production tax collections brought in $508.64 million during the 12 months, down by $372.93 million or 42.3 percent from the previous 12 months.

Motor vehicle collections total $767.11 million for the period. This is a drop of $780,000 or 0.1 percent from the trailing period.

Other sources generated $1.62 billion, down $6.8 million or 0.4 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 just less than 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.

See charts:

2015 12 7 TreasurerGraph3

2015 12 7 TreasurerGraph2

2015 12 7 TreasurerGraph1

Regent Velda Jo Bradley was hostess for the October meeting of the Okemah Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution on October 20th at Pepino’s Restaurant in Okemah.JudithDrennan

After the opening ritual and business session, chapter member, Judith Drennan, gave a most inspiring program, “Diversity in DAR,” on her experience as a DAR member and what being a member of DAR means to her. In 1889 the Sons of the American Revolution, a hereditary fraternal organization, was founded to perpetuate the memory of the founders and patriots of the American Revolutionary War and to promote patriotism and friendship among its members. At this time there were women who also wanted to become members of this organization, but they were denied membership and told to start their own organization. And that they did, when four brave and ambitious women, two single ladies and two widows, stepped up to the occasion in 1890, and founded the Daughters of the American Revolution. In 125 years the DAR has grown to the present 180,000 members with 3,000 chapters in 50 states, far surpassing the 33,000 members of the SAR! Members came from many backgrounds and included Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, Lillian Gish, Ginger Rogers, and Margaret Chase Smith. Present members include Laura Bush, Roselyn Carter, Bo Derek, Elizabeth Dole, and Janet Reno. It is said that one out of ten women in the United States is a prospective member. Promoting historic preservation, education, and patriotism is the mission of DAR, and its membership includes women who have donated over one million five hundred hours of civic work to their cities, states, country, and veterans so far this year. While researching for her presentation Judith Drennan became more excited about being a member, and her enthusiasm was certainly inspiring. Our chapter’s membership is growing, and plans for future activities to support veterans and our communities are being made to make our chapter a winner. Think about joining us!

The next meeting will be hosted by Rebecca Hold on November 17, 2015, at 11:30 a.m. at Pepino’s Restaurant in Okemah. The program, “Birth of the Viet Nam Wall,” will be presented by W. Carole Cox.

Members present were Geneva Bertges, Gene Meredith, Judy Williams, Judith Drennan, Margaret Parks, Rebecca Hold, Carolyn McDaniel, Ann Jackson, Mary June Cashman, Dorothy Burden, Theo Crawley, Sherry Case, Joy Hlavaty, Norma White, Yvonne Souder, Susan Barnett, Sheldon Starr, Emma Joyce Souder, prospective member Pam Farrell, and hostess, Regent Velda Jo Bradley.

Any woman 18 years old or older who can prove she is descended from a Revolutionary War Soldier or Patriot is eligible to join the Daughters of the American Revolution. Prospective members are welcome to attend our chapter meetings. Contact Regent Velda Jo Bradley, 918-623-1550, or Registrar Rebecca Hold, 918-652-7092, for assistance. More information is available on the DAR website, www.dar.org.

On October 30, 1938, Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre staged a radio adaptation of the H. G. Wells sci-fi novel The War of the Worlds that fooled at least some Americans into believing that Martians really were invading the United States.

In order to make the adaptation of book to radio more interesting, the show was set up to seem like a normal music program that kept getting interrupted by increasingly alarming, official-sounding “news bulletins” that tracked the violent progress of a Martian invasion centered in New Jersey. Traditional accounts maintain that despite announcements that the show was fictional, vast numbers of Americans thought the broadcast was real. In fact, newspapers the next day carried tales of mass panic and hysteria as listeners allegedly fled their homes, and Orson Welles met with the press to express regret for the confusion.

Recent scholarship on the subject, however, tends to argue that the mass panic caused by the War of the Worlds broadcast was exaggerated by the newspapers of the time. Even according to the papers themselves, not everyone strictly believed the Martian story: those who only caught part of the broadcast or heard the news secondhand often merely believed that a disaster of some kind had struck the East Coast. And many people who had initially been fooled called their local newspaper or police station to verify the story and thus quickly learned that it was fiction. Still, many people were indeed at least initially frightened by the broadcast, and the hysteria reported in the newspapers did exist to some extent, though it was more likely on an individual rather than group level.3509 2091 1149 1124

War of the Worlds' Broadcast Creates Panic in the East

While the 1938 War of the Worlds broadcast might not have been as panic-inducing as originally believed, a similar broadcast in Quito, Ecuador, in 1949 really did cause hysteria. A local version of Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds program caused radio listeners to panic, and when the broadcast was revealed as fictional, their fear turned into an angry riot. The radio station was attacked, causing $350,000 ($3.5 million today) in damage and multiple deaths.

And those aren’t the only instances. Renditions of Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast also fooled listeners—at least to some extent—in Chile in 1944 and in Buffalo, New York, in 1968.

Ncom HIH Oct2015

Tulsa- The State of Oklahoma has identified impaired driving as one of it's top traffic safety concerns. This is due to an average of 4,500 alcohol-related crashes and 220 alcohol-related fatalities annually. Officials are developing statewide goals that represent verifiable improvements with impaired driving and incorporate all facets of the impaired driving system.

As part of a statewide enforcement effort, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Catoosa PD and Rogers County SO will be operating a ENDUI special enforcement/Checkpoint patrol on Friday October 23rd from 10 PM until 3:00 AM at 193rd and Pine in Rogers County.

Also on Saturday October 24th from 10 PM until 3:00 AM, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Tulsa Police, ABLE, Sand Springs PD, Bixby PD and Broken Arrow PD will be operating a ENDUI special enforcement/Checkpoint in Tulsa County.

HENRYETTA — A stretch of I-40 was shut down last week due to collision supposedly involving a Cape buffalo September 30.

The accident happened near Henryetta on I-40 eastbound about a half mile east of mile marker 240 involving two vehicles.

Troopers working the scene were Brian Costanza and Brian Warren and OHP Troop B - CO Hernon.

There was no confirmation on the actual type of animal, but was described as a Cape buffalo. Officers said it could have been another breed mistaken as such. There was no explanation of why the animal was on the highway.

I 40Buffalo

WALMART SHOPPERS CAN START SCRATCHING SEPTEMBER 16th

Beginning September 16th, the Oklahoma Lottery and Walmart will become partners in an effort to increase funds available for Oklahoma education programs through the sale of lottery tickets.

The retailer will start selling a full complement of Lottery games through new electronic lottery kiosks located at 32 Walmart Neighborhood Markets across the state, with all designated locations to be selling by October 15th.

The 32 Walmart Neighborhood Markets are located in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metropolitan areas, as well as rural locations around the state.

Lottery Executive Director, Rollo Redburn, said “We are excited about this new partnership with Walmart and about the additional selling locations that will now be available to our players.”

Redburn continued, “This partnership, along with Powerball changes in October, should help us meet our mission to provide additional funds for Oklahoma education programs.”

About the Oklahoma Lottery

Net proceeds of all Lottery games are used to support improvements and enhancements for Oklahoma education. More than $693 million has been contributed to education since November 2005.

For more information about the Oklahoma Lottery, please visit www.lottery.ok.gov

BEGGS, OK SEP 25 & 26, 2015 will host the 2nd Annual Heart of America PRCA Rodeo in Beggs, Ok. Many of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s top ranked performers have already placed the Heart of America PRCA Rodeo on their 2015 schedules. This rodeo will be one of the last qualifying rodeos for the cowboys and cowgirls hoping to gain 1 of the last 15 spots in each event taken back to NFR at the Thomas and Mack Arena in Las Vegas for a once in a lifetime for many opportunity to win a World Champion gold buckle. This will be the second of an annual commitment by JK Rodeo Company to bring world class rodeo events to this area.  

For the last 40 years, JK Rodeo Company out of Pecos Texas has become famous for the quality of stock it provides for PRCA Rodeos including the NFR. The same amazing stock athletes who won San Antonio, Houston, San Angelo and Cheyenne, including Horse of the Year and many NFR performances will attract the top PRCA rodeo contestants to score high as possible on JK Rodeo Company stock, this year in Beggs.

Take a personal front row seat and watch PRCA Cowboys and Cowgirls compete in Beggs on their last run for a chance at a NFR payday in Las Vegas, December this year! This will be a rodeo that matters so don’t miss out. Watch as the PRCA National Community turns their attention to Beggs Oklahoma and highlights your community.

The PRCA Rodeo will be held at the Tulsa RV Ranch Arena with each night’s performance beginning at 7:00PM

Tickets are $12 presale and $15 at the gate. Children six and under free with a paid adult admission. Pre sale tickets will GO ON SALE Monday Aug 10, 2015 at www.tulsarvranch.com <http://www.tulsarvranch.com>    Tickets will be available nightly at the gate. Full concessions will be available each night. 

Enjoy the great outdoors -- and plenty of action indoors, too -- during the 10th edition of the Oklahoma Wildlife Expo, unfolding Sept. 26-27 at the Lazy E Arena, just north of Oklahoma City.

Thousands of visitors are expected to turn out for all the fun at this free event conducted by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation with the help of many great organizations, partners and volunteers.

The Expo takes a hands-on approach to educating visitors of all ages and all experience levels about Oklahoma's wildlife and natural resources and how to enjoy them. All the crowd favorites will be there, including kayaking on an indoor pond, shotgun and pellet gun target shooting, fishing in a stocked pond, archery in the woods, and making crafts such as birdhouses and baskets.

"This is the state's largest outdoor recreation event, and it draws thousands of people each year," said Rhonda Hurst, Wildlife Expo coordinator for the Wildlife Department.
Visitors are encouraged to plan to spend the entire day at the Expo, because there are so many things to see and do there. Youngsters will have a chance to ride mountain bikes, take a shot at bowfishing in the pond, check out some of Oklahoma's common sport fish in a giant glass tank, and much more.

There will be plenty of learning opportunities offered at dozens of booths inside and outside the arena. Visitors can speak with wildlife biologists and outdoorsmen experienced in fishing, hunting, game calling, wildlife and fisheries management, reptiles and amphibians, and more.

Seminars will include Starting a Fire Without Matches, Fish Cleaning and Jug Lining 101, among other topics. Various hands-on activities including Simulated Noodling, Wildlife Bling Make-N-Take and Fly Tying will capture the interest of the whole family!
Another favorite of Expo visitors is always the chance to sample some wild game cooking. And the best thing about all of this: It's free!

"In short, the Expo is a celebration of everything outdoors in the state of Oklahoma," Hurst said. "We want you to leave the Expo with a new appreciation for wildlife and the hobbies of hunting, fishing and wildlife watching."

The Wildlife Expo has its own website at wildlifedepartmentexpo.com. Log onto the site to find out the latest information, including how to get to the event, lists of activities and events, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Expo hours will be 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27. Admission and parking are free. Be sure to mark your calendar now and make plans to be a part of the fun at the 2015 Oklahoma Wildlife Expo!

WildlifeExpo

Visitors to the Oklahoma Wildlife Expo find plenty of fun, free, hands-on activities both outdoors and inside the Lazy E Arena, where a 200-foot indoor kayaking pond is the centerpiece. (Photo by Darrin Hill/ODWC)

SinkholeCAM

ONN Photo Journalist Paul Orosco was on the scene reporting on the large sinkhole that caused travel problems on the government owned Playa del Carmen highway during his travels earlier this week. This the major highway tourists and resort workers take to and from the Cancun.

The road problems happened early around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. Traffic in both directions came to a complete stand still for hours. Alternate routes had to be used and many were through dirt and jungle roads.

Local state authorities think the cause may have been caused by "Cenote" a fresh water sink hole common I the region.

Thanks to Paul Orosco's friend Jonathan Hernandez Lopez for the photos.

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