Okmulgee in the News
Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services moved 1,500 Oklahomans with disabilities off waiting lists, making them eligible for vocational rehabilitation and employment services. The agency permanently ended waiting lists last Wednesday (May 8) for jobseekers with the most significant barriers to employment.
Since July 2012, DRS’ Vocational Rehabilitation and Visual Services divisions have gradually moved a total of 4,426 eligible clients off waiting lists as soon as funds were available to pay for their services.
DRS must continue to defer services to another 1,821 applicants whose disabilities are less significant in terms of reaching employment goals.
Only new applicants are affected by waiting lists. Current clients will continue to be served at the same level.
“We felt comfortable about the large release from the waiting list for several reasons,” Interim Executive Director David Ligon said. “First, actual client expenditures are significantly below our budgeted projections per client. Second, there are less than two months left in the state fiscal year, meaning we can be much more confident in how much can be spent between now and the end of the state fiscal year. And, third, we now know what our state appropriation will be, which allows us to plan DRS’ 2014 budget accordingly.”
The new state fiscal year begins July 1 and runs through June 30, 2014.
“We are doing everything we can to end delays, which are a temporary budget control measure, so that applicants with disabilities can start getting the help they need to go to work,” Mark Kinnison, Vocational Rehabilitation administrator, said. “We will continue to monitor expenditures closely in order to keep serving as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.”
DRS staff will continue to interview all applicants, gather diagnostic information and determine eligibility for the vocational rehabilitation and employment programs.
“The federal Rehabilitation Act requires Vocational Rehabilitation and Visual Services programs to categorize clients in groups based on the impact of their disabilities on employment,” Paul Adams, interim Visual Services administrator, explained. “If funds are not available to serve everyone, those applicants with the most significant disabilities are served first because they need help most to become employed. Others with less significant barriers to employment have to remain on waiting lists when we have limited funding.”
The state earns four federal matching dollars for every state dollar appropriated for these DRS programs. The high match is an indication of strong federal support and generates federal revenue for the state of Oklahoma.
In 2012, DRS’ Vocational Rehabilitation and Visual Services divisions provided counseling, medical and psychological services, training, job placement assistance and other services to 16,562 Oklahomans with disabilities. Federal reports show that 3,106 job seekers became employed and no longer needed DRS services. These Oklahomans collectively earned $57.13 million and paid $8.57 million in taxes last year.
Approximately 577,032 Oklahomans or 15.6 percent, ages five and over, have disabilities according to 2011 U.S. Census data.
To find the nearest DRS Vocational Rehabilitation or Visual Services offices, call 800-877-4042. For more information about DRS’ employment, education, independent living programs or the determination of medical eligibility for disability benefits, visit www.okdrs.gov or call 800-845-8476.
Okmulgee County Sheriff's Office has issued a "Silver Alert". Garland Ray Trapp, 65 year old white male (paraplegic) has been missing from the Hectorville area since 1 :00 p.m. May 13.
Trapp drove away from his residence in his 1995 White Ford Cargo Van
bearing Oklahoma tag 933GZX, he stated he was going to some pawn shops and
then the casino in Tulsa but so far there is no evidence that he ever arrived at
Trapp is a double leg amputee and had a severed right thumb and was last
seen wearing a Red, White and Blue western style shirt and overalls. Mr. Trapp is
a diabetic and may be in need of his medication.
Trapp looks similar to Santa Clause with White Beard. He never returned home.
If anyone has any information as to his whereabouts please call the Okmulgee County Sheriff's Office at 918-756-4311
OHCE held their annual affair, their Taste and Tell luncheon Friday May 12. Members prepared their specialty dishes to share in a smorgasbord for just $6 to those who came out to enjoy at the First Baptist Church in Okmulgee.
Seats were filled from 11 to 1 as many came and went enjoying the good food.
The proceeds went to support the local 4-H youth and community projects.
Arts and crafts made by members were also available for purchase during the event.
(Photos by Valerie Rice - ONN)
Okmulgee County Sheriff Eddy Rice and his wife Valerie Rice owner of the Okmulgee News Network made a visit to the Okmulgee Kindergarten classes on May 9.
The previous week, students learned about amazing creature and kindergarten teacher Luckie Burney asked for a visit from the Rice’s latest addition to their farm, a dromedary (one hump) camel also known as an Arabian camel, name Elijah.
Elijah was also accompanied by their trick Yorkie Cooper D, the newborn Zebu heifer “Zuba” and Diamond a Frizzle breed hen.
The children were first introduced in their classroom to Cooper D, who surprised them in popping out of a handbag in his “Jack Sparrow” pirate suit. All agreed this was not the proper attire for a farm day, so he unveiled a redneck overall ensemble underneath and the children laughed. Cooper enjoyed visiting with the children and performing his tricks.
The students were led outside to greet Elijah the camel. And learned some amazing facts about camels including being able to store 35 to 80 pounds of fat that is used for energy in his hump, that when grown can go 17 days without food and water and can drink 104 liters of water within 7-8 minutes. The highlight for Burney’s class was getting to help feed Elijah from a bottle.
Next the students got to pet the baby Zebu and a frilly Frizzle breed chicken whose feathers curl out instead of lay flat.
Sheriff Rice said that by using the animals in these type experiences, as an officer he is able to approach children under difference circumstances and solidify relationships that are not intimidating or threatening to a child and can build a good rapport with law enforcement officers. Rice plans to do more of this type interaction.
Approximately 245 Kindergarten students enjoyed this fun educational time.
Saint Francis Health System and Warren Clinic are proud to announce the opening of Warren Clinic Obstetrics and Gynecology in Okmulgee.
The clinic, overseen by Drs. Denise Shaw and Ruth Hoover, offers all women's health services including gynecological exams, procedures and surgeries as well as obstetric prenatal and delivery services.
Certified nurse practitioner, Jill Moore, works directly with the doctors to provide this convenience to women in Okmulgee and the surrounding communities.
The clinic, is now open and welcoming new patients. Please call (918) 759-2124 to schedule an appointment. Warren Clinic Obstetrics and Gynecology accepts most major insurances.
The 24th Annual Oklahoma Main Street Awards Banquet was held May 7 night at the National Cowboy and Western Museum in Oklahoma City.
Governor Mary Fallin gave opening remarks about the positive impact the program gives to Oklahoma cities along with other state dignitaries stating the same.
Okmulgee's Main Street Program had 3 Top 3 Finalists who were:
The Dowry--Downtown Business of The Year category.
Ike's Downtown Pub & Eatery--Best New Business Downtown category.
Allergy Oklahoma--Best Business/Business Signage category.
Okmulgee's Main Street President Wade Hall said Okmulgee was well represented by 3 top-notch businesses in these 3 categories and were up against 36 other Oklahoma cities.
Okmulgee's Paul A. Orosco was recognized with an Okmulgee Board Member of The Year award.
Okmulgee Public Schools are building some additions to their sports complex and also planning some remodeling.
A new Track and Field building is currently under construction. It will house the dressing rooms, lockers and showers for boys and girls on either side and coachs' offices in the middle and coachs' shower.
In the main area there will a whirlpool, ice machine, taping bench and storage area. The facility should be ready for use by the next school year.
Another project that is underway is to renovate the old rock house to be used for storage of larger sports equipment such as pitching equipment.
The inside has been gutted and will be pressure washed. The doors will be replaced, the walls repainted and a new concrete floor laid. Eventually they will replace the roof. The building will be made to look cosmetically like the rest of the buildings.
"I think it is awesome that this is happening," said Tod Williams Okmulgee School Superintendent. "Okmulgee deserves this. We have 4 State Champs in track an Field since last weekend. It is high time we step up to the plate and get behind these athletes. It has been a long time coming."
Okmulgee Board of County Commissioners held their regular meeting May 6. Present were Robert Hardridge, Chairman; James Connors, Vice-Chairman; J.W. Hill, Member. Becky Thomas, County Clerk, was present to take minutes.
After the regular order of business the County Commissioner covered the following agenda items: Approval of minutes.
Public input on any non-agenda items. A complaint was petitioned by Vern Auten about the installation of a tinhorn in District 1 Beggs area on a driveway coming off Alt 75 Hwy. Pictures were provided and an explanation for commissioner Jay Hill. The issue concerned trees and rocks that are the responsibility of the owner. Hill said the county agreed to cut some of the trees, but not remove the rocks. Hill said he would discuss the matter after the meeting and come to resolution. Hardridge pointed out that some counties have discontinued the installation of tinhorns to personal driveways and the public is fortunate to still have this provided, “…but this is how we run into trouble in instances like this.”
Auten’s last comment was, “Well I just want to say if this is acceptable then I am a monkeys uncle.”
On Officers report, there were two approved for the month of April, County Clerks office $22,019.14 and Election Board $3729.40.
There were three blanket purchases: Okmulgee Daily Times Legal Publications $1000, Fizzo Water Court House $75 and Universe Holdings for $400.
Employee status reports, one approved, David Edmonds employment ceased. No Utility permits. No Private property agreements.
Item F. possible award of Bid #15 to lease purchase one or more 2010 or newer 10-wheel dump truck. Bid accepted from Mac for $106,503 for the purchase of 2 Mac dump trucks.
Item G. A proclamation was approved for the Oklahoma Home and Community Education. (See Photo below) Hardridge complimented the organization and said the Board has always supported what they do. The proclamation was signed by Commissioners.
Item H. Discussion and possible approval of County Road Action Report to remove a section of road in District 3 that runs .15 miles north of Cyprus Rd. on 260 Rd. and ends at .5 miles north of Cyprus Rd. on 260 Rd. Approved.
Item I. Emergency Management Director’s report on EODD concerning a Mitigation Plan. Ernie Morris representing Eastern Oklahoma Development District (EODD) gave the report that the committee met last Tuesday in Muskogee to get a mitigation to get the plan into effect. They are looking at two options. Option 1 they can wait for Federal funds to come when a major disaster should happen. In that case only 7 percent would reach their program. Option 2, was to ask the commissioners to approve 20,000 for the program for 2 years and have EODD also put in that amount. There will be much more to investigate to put in a proposal for the second option as a plan.
Under new business, Hardridge asked for more information on what should change on the Mitigation plan. Regular signing of documents was done and meeting was adjourned.
This week is Teacher Appreciation Week and around the country thousands of communities are taking time out to honor local educators and acknowledge the crucial role our nation’s teachers play in making sure every student receives a quality education.
The recognition was founded in 1984 and celebrated annually, the first full week of May. Be sure to recognise your teachers in some way this week.
Okmulgee Service League Team
Okmulgee Relay for Life was moved to the Brock Gymnasium at the last minute due to cold and rainy weather. The gym worked perfectly and the event went off without a hitch. Janette Taylor was the Okmulgee Event Chair and she worked with Marcy Beemis the staff partner for the American Cancer Society along with a host of volunteers. Planning began in October of last year to make it all happen.
The event began at 6 p.m. and things kicked off shortly after with a survivor walk and tribute to those who survived and those present and who were able led the teams in a victory lap to get the walk moving.
There were lots of food and activities to be enjoyed by young and old. D.J. Alberto Gallegos kept the music going all night long and several line dances formed throughout the night. The children enjoyed face painting and games.
At 10 p.m. a luminary ceremony was held where candles (lighted glow sticks) were placed in luminary bags that are purchased in the names of cancer victims. The luminary bags outlined the Relay Track around the gym. This part of the night is very moving and significant in a Relay for Life fundraiser event, as you see family members lighting candles in memory and honor of their loved ones. The whole gym began to glow as each luminary lit up. There was special music. The names of those who lost their fight with cancer were read aloud and a remembrance lap followed.
The night ended earlier than the 6 a.m. scheduled time, due to the change in venue and cleanup time. The event closed at midnight.