Local News

Agreement Reached Friday Among Attorneys for Victim Compensation for 2015 Homecoming Crash

An agreement was reached Friday among attorneys on how much money the victims of the OSU homecoming parade crash would receive from Adacia Chambers’ insurance company.

Four people were killed and dozens more were injured when Chambers crashed her car into a crowd at the OSU homecoming parade.

Some of the victims have since filed a lawsuit against Chambers’ insurance company, seeking reimbursement for medical bills from the 2015 crash.

Chambers didn’t have enough insurance coverage, so a judge had to decide who receives what.

A hearing wrapped up on Friday and an agreement was reached. The $100,000 will be divided among more than 50 victims. They divided it into four different categories based on the severity of the victims’ injuries. The highest anyone can get is $14,000.

Some attorneys recognized this isn't nearly enough for some injuries. But the judge said, "This is as fair as it can be resolved."

Chambers is serving four concurrent life sentences for the crash.


FBI Agents Looking for Two Men Involved In Thursday Bank Robbery in Cushing


FBI agents are looking for two men who were involved in a Thursday bank robbery, the FBI reports.

About 3:35 p.m, a man robbed Bank of the West, 421 E Main Street in Cushing. The robber is described as a white male, aged 20-30 years old, about 6 feet tall with average build. The man was was wearing sunglasses, a tan and black scarf around his neck, a white baseball hat, olive green U.S. Army sweater, and gray sweatpants.

The man escaped to a pickup parked outside the bank, where a second man acted as a getaway driver. The two men left in the getaway pickup with an undisclosed amount of cash. The pickup is described as a dirty white Ford single cab truck, heading west in the alley behind Main Street.

 Anyone with information regarding this bank robbery should contact the FBI at 290-7770.


Pawnee Woman Killed in Early Morning Accident


A fatality collision occurred 8/17/17 at approximately 4:01 am on US64 approximately 7/10 of a mile west of SH99, located 5.7 miles west of Cleveland, in Pawnee County.

Kendra L. Yarber (28) of Pawnee was driving a 2012 Nissan, when it departed the roadway to the right and impacted a tree.

Yarber was pronounced dead at the scene from injuries she received. Mercy Medical EMS transported her body to Ray Francisco Funeral Home.

According to the DPS report the accident is still under investigation.


Meridian Technology Center Purchases Property in Guthrie

The Meridian Technology Center Board of Education has purchased property that will serve as a future campus in Guthrie and expand services to residents in the southern part of its district.

The 20-acre site will be home to a future expansion of the school’s Stillwater campus. “Meridian Technology Center has a long history of working with Guthrie. This area of Logan county is one of the fastest growing areas of the Meridian district,” said Dr. Douglas Major, Superintendent/CEO. “Part of our mission is to help power the local economy. Now, having a location in Guthrie means we can provide additional services to residents and businesses in their own community.”

The new development will be a multi-use facility, according to Major. It will include space for short courses focused on personal and professional development, business and industry training, and training for entrepreneurs looking to start their own business.

“We are very excited about the investment in Guthrie that Meridian Technology Center is making. They are longtime partners of Guthrie Public Schools and this soon-to-be visible presence only strengthens that relationship,” said Dr. Mike Simpson, Superintendent of Guthrie Public Schools.

Meridian Technology Center offers short courses, Business and Industry services, entrepreneurial support, full-time career training programs and GED test preparation to residents from the Agra, Carney, Glencoe, Guthrie, Morrison, Mulhall-Orlando, Pawnee, Perkins-Tryon, Perry and Stillwater school districts.

“Oklahoma’s CareerTech system provides comprehensive career and technology education throughout the state. Oklahoma's system is often used as a model for programs across the United States and around the world. To have a Meridian Technology Center campus in Guthrie will be a decided asset for area residents and local business and industry,” said Guthrie City Manager Leroy Alsup.

“The workforce development training that will be provided by the future campus will not only benefit our existing business and industry, it will be a key incentive to help attract additional new and expanding businesses to our community. Meridian Tech’s competency-based education will provide students with the skills employers are seeking in the workplace,” added Alsup. “The announcement of a future Meridian Technology Center Campus in Guthrie is exciting news indeed and a welcomed addition that will make our community more competitive and viable going forward.”

Meridian Tech will gather input from residents before moving forward with construction plans. The Meridian Technology Center district is divided into five geographic areas and is governed by a five-member Board of Education. Board members live in and represent their district for a five-year term. Current board members include Stillwater residents Dr. Joe Williams, president; Gary Johnson, clerk; and Jerry Franklin, member; Randy Kellogg, Guthrie, serves as vice president; and Sherri Huneycutt, Perry, serves as deputy clerk.

“The strengths of economic development are simple – a base of strong local leadership, an educated workforce and local companies meeting community needs. Add to that expanding local companies and entrepreneurial development of new business. The quality of that base determines the ability for recruitment of outside companies,” said Randy Kellogg, vice president of the Meridian Technology Center Board of Education. “For recruitment to be successful, leadership, an educated workforce, business retention and expansion must come first. This addition helps to do that through Meridian’s mission to educate, enrich lives and secure economic futures.”



Message From ODOT


I-35 traffic diverts to ramps at Braman Rd. in Kay County Friday night

Southbound I-35 traffic will be diverted to the on- and off-ramps and back to the interstate at W. Braman Rd./W. Bender Rd. (mm 230) just south of US-177 in Kay County from 8 p.m. Friday to 10 a.m. Saturday for ongoing bridge work. During this time, I-35 will be inaccessible from W. Braman Rd./W. Bender Rd.

Drivers can expect delays and congestion during this closure and should consider using an alternate route, such as US-177.

I-35 remains narrowed to one lane in each direction at this location and the W. Braman Rd. bridge is closed at I-35 through winter 2017 for reconstruction.



Langston University Welcomes Freshman as Fall Semester Starts


The fall semester officially started this week at Langston University. The University welcomed a new freshman class for the 2017 fall semester, and the campus is bustling with excitement! Freshman move-in started last week. New students participated in a series of events including freshman orientation known as Lion Camp.  The orientation is designed for incoming students to get acclimated to campus, meet fellow Lions, and begin their academic and co-curricular experience.

Student leaders across campus helped lead the efforts of the more than 20 events that assisted new students with getting involved on campus upon their arrival. Members of the Student Government Association, Greek life, and the LU student ambassadors volunteered at the LU movie night, talent show, the amazing race, campus resources panel, and the mixer.

“We anticipate the final enrollment of our freshman class will be between 650 and 700 students,” said Langston University President, Dr. Kent J. Smith, Jr. “I am proud of the outstanding leadership and efforts shown by the LU faculty, staff, alumni, and community volunteers who helped students with their transition into college life.”

Langston University student athletes from the LU football team also assisted students with moving into their new homes across the Langston campus. “Our goal was to ensure a stress-free move in for the incoming students and their families,” LU Athletic Director, Donnita Drain Rogers said. “We know how special the first few days are for our new students, so we wanted to help make their first college experience a great one!”

This year marks the fourth consecutive year that Langston University has experienced record freshman class enrollment.


Cushing Police Respond to Bank Robbery Thursday


At approximately 3:35 pm, a bank robbery occurred at the Bank of the West, 421 E Main St, Cushing, OK.

There were two subjects, one stayed in the truck as the get away driver, while the money was taken by a white male, average build, 20-30 years old, around 6 feet tall. He was wearing sunglasses, a tan and black scarf around his neck, a white baseball hat, olive green US Army sweater, and gray sweatpants.

He escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash and left in the getaway truck, a dirty white Ford single cab truck, heading west in the alley behind Main St.

Anyone with information regarding this bank robbery should contact the FBI at 405-290-7770.


Message From Meridian Technology Center


The best supervisors and managers are clear-minded, performance-driven and people-oriented.

Today’s supervisors must be able to effectively assess their work situations, understand and communicate with all employees, and determine the most appropriate responses to get the job done on time, within budget and up to standard.

On September 18, join Bonnie Cain-Wood, Communication Services Manager for OSU Libraries, as she facilitates the Supervisory Academy and networking on the nine sessions to becoming a better manager.

“This series is great for supervisors seeking strategies to handle tough situations, increase communication and strengthen their management skills,” said Marcy Luter, Leadership and Staff Development Training Coordinator at Meridian. “Participants will have the opportunity to network with others in similar positions and share best practices.”

Beginning September 18, the 9-session training is held every Monday through November 13. During these sessions, managers and supervisors will be given a number of tools so they can more effectively think on their feet as they work with people to create value.

For more information, contact Marcy Luter, Leadership and Staff Development Training Coordinator, at marcyl@meridiantech.edu or (405) 377-3333 ext. 297.  To enroll, visit www.meridiantech.edu or by phone at (405) 377-3333 or toll-free at (888) 607-2509.


Writer Returners to Stillwater Public Library for Seven Week Series on Creative Writing

Writer and instructor, Jessica Glover, returns to Stillwater Public Library for a seven week series on creative writing, offered by OSU Art & Sciences Outreach. The fee-based class, “Write Now: an Introduction to Creative Writing” will be held on Thursdays at 5:30- 7 p.m. from Sept. 7 – Oct. 19.”

Topics covered in the course include:

Week 1: Introductions and Course Overview, getting started exercises
Week 2: Inspiration. Students will need to bring a list of topics and/or one polished paragraph to start their writing.
Week 3: Discipline. Class discussion on how to train oneself to continuously practice writing by listening to the world and developing a personal writing schedule.
Week 4: Show, Don’t Tell. In-class writing exercises on imagery. Class discussion on how to include emotion in writing.
Week 5: Creativity. Class discussion on adding sensory details in order to make writing “come alive.” In-class writing activity focused on the five senses.
Week 6: Voice. In-class analysis of Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants.” Class discussion on narrative voice and character dialogue. Students will listen to a recorded conversation and recreate the scene.
Week 7: Class Reading. All students will bring in a short excerpt of personal writing to share by reading aloud to the class.

According to Glover, one of the most useful topics students will learn is to set practical goals for daily writing. But maintaining a writing schedule is not the only difficulty.

Glover believes working together during the course will help students build the confidence they need to conquer these challenges.

This comradery is essential, especially for beginning writers and for those who have not yet shown their work.

Jessica Glover earned her Ph.D. in creative writing with an emphasis in poetry. She teaches for the Gender and Women’s Studies program at Oklahoma State University. She also taught two other successful writing series at the library.

Her latest work has appeared in Indiana Review, American Literary Review, Aesthetica, Magma Poetry, Reed Magazine and “MuseWrite’s Shifts: An Anthology of Women’s Growth Through Change.” She was the recipient of the 2015 Writers at Work Fellowship, the 2013 Rash Award, and the 2013 Edwin Markham Prize for Poetry.

The non-credit classes are intended for the general public, and those who register prior to Aug. 24 can do so for a discounted rate of $89.  Registration after Aug. 24 is $109.  One textbook, “Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer With” by Natalie Goldberg, is required, but not included in the registration fee. The class is generally appropriate for those 14 years old and up.  

To register, choose the “Community” link at http://asoutreach.okstate.edu or contact Christine Nichols at (405) 744-8459 or christine.nichols@okstate.edu.

Stillwater Public Library is located at 1107 S. Duck St. (the corner of Duck and 12th Ave.). Library hours are Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.  



Stillwater FFA Chapter Chosen as Finalist for National Award

The Stillwater FFA chapter has been chosen as one of 10 schools in the country as a finalist to compete for a 2017 National Premier Chapter: Building Communities award from the National FFA Organization.

The National Chapter Award Program recognizes outstanding FFA chapters from throughout the country that actively implement the mission and strategies of the organization. These chapters improve chapter operations using the National Quality FFA Chapter Standards and a Program of Activities that emphasizes growing leaders, building communities and strengthening agriculture. Chapters are rewarded for providing educational experiences for the entire membership.

Chapters eligible to compete for the National Premier Chapter: Building Communities award are those that demonstrate competency in doing innovative things or taking traditional concepts and applying a creative twist in the Building Communities division of the chapter’s Program of Activities. Across the nation, 10 chapters are selected as finalists for the Premier Chapter: Building Communities award and will compete through a presentation and interview process at the 2017 National FFA Convention & Expo, Oct. 25-28 in Indianapolis.

In addition, the Stillwater FFA Chapter was awarded a National 3-Star Ranking, the highest ranking that a FFA chapter can receive. Of the 7,859 FFA chapters nationwide, roughly 150 chapters were selected for this award.


24-Year-Old Man Accused of Robbing a Louisiana Bank Arrested at Langston University

The FBI says a 24-year-old man accused of robbing a Louisiana bank has been arrested at Langston University.

Jeffrey Sallet, special agent in charge in New Orleans, said in a news release Tuesday that Langston University police and FBI agents arrested Dillon Arnez Davis on Thursday, August 10th.

He says Davis is wanted in an August 2nd holdup at a Chase Bank branch in Kenner, a New Orleans suburb.

FBI spokesman Craig Betbeze says the arrest happened on the Langston University campus.

Vice President Mautra Staley Jones says Davis is not a student there.

The FBI said the bank was robbed by a man who gave the teller a note, demanded money, got some, and left.

Dillon Davis was named as a suspect three days later.


New Evidence Emerges in Case Against Bondswoman Accused of Shooting and Killing a Man Last Week

Newly released court documents detail why Stillwater police did not believe the story of a bail bondswoman accused of shooting and killing a man last week.

Chasity Carey, the owner of Signature Bail Bonds near 7th and Main, has been charged with first-degree murder for shooting and killing Brandon Williams in her office Aug. 9, according to police. While Carey told police that she shot Williams in self-defense during a physical altercation and resulting struggle over a gun, she was later arrested after police watched surveillance video of the encounter and determined the shooting was unjustified.

Documents show that Carey posted $35,000 bond for Williams July 31, but he gave her his Ford Mustang as collateral when he could not pay her $3,500 fee. On Aug. 8, Carey learned that Williams was planning to go to Florida, so she came up with a "ruse" to get him into her office to revoke his bond, according to police.

Carey and her 19-year-old son were present when Williams showed up to the office to purchase his car from them, according to the probable cause affidavit. Carey told police that she told Williams to stand up because she was going to put handcuffs on him, but he "flipped out," and shoved and kicked her and her son. But surveillance video shows that Williams had his hands and arms up by his head as he told Carey she would not be handcuffing him, police say.

Williams told Carey to open the door and walked to Carey's desk to grab his cell phone before going back to the door to try to leave, according to the affidavit. Williams then went around Carey's desk and to a window to see if he could get out. Police say Carey followed Williams around the desk, pulled a gun out of her desk drawer, turned toward the window and, with two hands on the gun, shot Williams in the back.

Carey's son was standing beside her and said, "Mom, you shot him," according to the affidavit. Carey reportedly responded with, "I did."

Police say there was no struggle over the gun, despite what Carey told investigators. It appeared that Williams did not even know a gun was in the office, according to the affidavit. Carey, who told police she always keeps a loaded gun in her desk drawer, does not have a concealed carry permit and is not a licensed armed bail enforcer, police say.

Carey is due in court Aug. 16.


Oklahoma Association of Career and Technology Education Names Postsecondary Teacher of the Year

The Oklahoma Association of Career and Technology Education (OkACTE) named Tanya Vasso, Radiologic Technology Coordinator at Meridian Technology Center, the Postsecondary Teacher of the Year for the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education system.

Vasso won the state title and a $5,000 check and will advance to the Region IV competition next spring. Each year OkACTE recognizes leaders in the career and technology education field during the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology (CareerTech) Education’s annual Summer Conference. Meridian instructors Donna Cantrell, Russell Frick and Les Little received divisional honors.

Vasso’s dedication to excellence has been a driving force in the success of Meridian’s Radiologic Technologist program. Over the last five years, the program has had a job placement rate of 98% and a national certification pass rate of 98%. Part of this success can be attributed to Vasso incorporating learning style assessments into the program and instructors facilitating class to meet the learning styles of each student. Throughout her 25-year career, Vasso has been an industry advocate beyond her work in the classroom. She has served the Oklahoma Society of Radiologic Technologists in the elected positions of chair of the board, president, president elect, vice president, educator representative, and as the Oklahoma representative to the American Society of Radiologic Technologists. In her role for the state, she represented professionals from Oklahoma on issues facing the profession at the national level. Vasso also has served as member at large and vice president for the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education in the Health Education Division.

Donna Cantrell, Culinary Arts Coordinator/Instructor, was honored with the Carl Perkins Community Service Award for the Family and Consumer Sciences division. Cantrell and her students have been active in fundraising activities for Stillwater Area United Way, the Meridian Technology Center Foundation Blue Streak Run, the Meridian Technology Center Foundation Golf Tournament and Leadership Stillwater fundraising activities to benefit the newly established regional foodbank. She has also coordinated student community service projects that include a fundraiser for teacher scholarships and a recycling program that enables post-9/11 disabled veterans to receive training. Outside of the classroom Cantrell works behind the scenes to solicit corporate sponsorships for various activities that benefit Meridian students.

Russell Frick, Computer Aided Design Instructor, was honored as the Teacher of the Year for the Trade and Industry Division. Frick is consistently ahead of the curve on implementing new technology and instructional practices. He is a leader on campus for professional development and recently served on the committee to plan and implement a campus-wide student engagement program. In addition to his full-time teaching schedule, Frick has worked with local industries to advance the skill sets of their workforce and taught professors at Oklahoma State University to update their skills. Throughout his career he has been active within the Trade and Industry division, having served as president for the association and a district advisor for SkillsUSA on multiple occasions.

Les Little, Information Technology Instructor, was honored as the New Teacher of the Year for the Business, Marketing and Information Technology division. Little has brought a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Information Technology program from his 23-year career with the Stillwater police department. He has made significant changes to the curriculum, most notably blending content from criminal justice and information technology to equip students with the knowledge needed to safeguard and secure cyberspace. The new cyber crimes specialist career major has provided students more opportunities. Little strives to introduce students to all areas of IT specialization, including health care, entertainment, education, private business and government agencies. Because of his background and influence, students are now prepared to pursue career options with local law enforcement, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


City of Stillwater Tax Numbers for June

City of Stillwater Chief Financial Officer Melissa Reames said Monday that the City received its sales tax on June 2017 transactions that were remitted to the Oklahoma Tax Commission in July 2017 and apportioned to the City in August 2017. The amount totaled $2,229,400.99. This is up $26,078.12 (1.18 percent) from the same month in 2016.

Sales tax year to date (YTD) is $208,386.28 (4.37 percent) below 2016 YTD collections and under budget by $261,165.04 (5.42 percent).

Use tax received in August was $13,353.47 (8.80 percent) under the same month in 2016, but YTD is $43,317.95 (16.40 percent) ahead of 2016. Use tax is over budget by $107,133.02 (53.48 percent), which partially offsets the shortfall in sales tax. The YTD cigarette/tobacco tax is $1,198.97 (1.99 percent) ahead of this time last year and is over budget by $4,437.58 (7.79 percent). Lodging tax for July 2017 totaled $83,456.74 and was $9,082.67 (12.21 percent) higher than July 2016. Lodging tax is over budget by $13,957.75 (20.08 percent).



Alcohol May Have Been Involed in Two-Vehicle Collison Friday Evening

Troopers believe alcohol may have been involved in two-vehicle collision Friday evening near Stillwater, according to an Oklahoma Highway Patrol report.

About 7:30 p.m., 30-year-old Christopher Machae Tucker was driving a 2013 Dodge Challenger on Oklahoma 51, about four miles west of Stillwater, when he ran into a 2007 Nissan Frontier driving in front of him, the report states.

The collision forced the Nissan off the road, where it hit a tree.

A passenger in the Nissan, 81-year-old Phyllis Ann Sams, was pronounced dead at the scene. An ambulance took the driver of the truck, 83-year-old Larry Duane Sams, to a Stillwater hospital. He was listed in good condition with head and arm injuries, the report states.

Tucker was treated on scene.

Troopers noted they smelled alcohol on Tucker at the scene and said the crash was caused by his inattentive driving.


City Asks Citizens for Input to Help Decide Where Infrastructure Grant Money Should be Spent


Do your part to help Stillwater identify priorities for critical infrastructure projects that could be funded by a general obligation (GO) bond. Your input will help Stillwater City Council make informed decisions about what could be on the ballot in 2018.
Earlier this year, city staff presented a list of projects to City Council as part of the budget process — which ranged from city facilities to transportation needs to quality of life enhancements to public safety needs — that could be funded by a GO bond. This list totaled $83.5 million.
“We know that it is not possible to fund all of these projects with bonds. However, before we move forward with a bond election, we need feedback from the community. We want to know which improvements you think should be funded,” City Manager Norman McNickle said.
The City recently prioritized its initial list and is seeking input on the following projects: 1) Relocate Fire Station 2 (Knoblock & University) to a different location to provide better service delivery; 2) Replace the Animal Welfare/Humane Society building; 3) Transportation improvements (streets, traffic control, bridges, sidewalks, trails, etc.); 4) Stormwater/drainage improvements.
Beginning now until the end of November, city staff will be gathering community input and providing information about how bond projects are financed and the effect this may have on property taxes.
“We also want residents to share their thoughts about how large of a bond they can support,” McNickle said. “This is one of the few ways we can fund large municipal capital projects.”
Oklahoma is the only state where municipalities rely primarily on sales tax collections to fund city government operations. This includes most of the services residents expect and depend upon — police, fire, roads, bridges and more.
Residents can go to http://stillwater.org/GObond and learn more about the 2018 GO bond election, sign up for updates and take a short survey.

Residents can also call 405.533.8525 to leave suggestions via voicemail or email GObond@stillwater.org.
The City of Stillwater staff will also attend various public events during the next few months and are available to speak at meetings hosted by community groups or organizations. Staff will be in the lobby of the Municipal Building on the first and fifteenth of the month to meet with residents.
All data will be compiled and forwarded to City Council who authorize all expenditures and projects.
The last time Stillwater approved a City of Stillwater bond was in 2000. This 20-year bond funded the construction of the police side of the Municipal Building at 723 S. Lewis St.


Marine Corp Recruiter Arrested on Public Intox, Other Charges


On Tuesday afternoon, August 8, 2017, at 3:20pm Stillwater officers were dispatched to a residence at 102 S. Stallard to assist with an intoxicated subject causing a disturbance and refusing to leave the residence. When officers arrived in the area they found an off-duty Stillwater Police officer who was physically detaining Joshua Leroy Thorpe (27 of Stillwater). Thorpe was initially arrested for public intoxication. The off-duty officer had been driving down Stallard St. in his patrol car on his way to work when he was flagged over for assistance by the resident of 102 S. Stallard.

During a search of Thorpe’s person subsequent to arrest he had property in his possession that was believed to have been stolen from 102 S. Stallard.

According to a witness at the scene the resident of 102 S. Stallard, 89 year old Myron German, had become acquainted with Thorpe while visiting the local Marine Corps Recruiting office. German, a Marine himself and a veteran of the Korean War, was visiting the recruiting office when they met. Thorpe, according to German and the witness, is a recruiter. The witness told officers German had invited Thorpe to the house on several occasions. On the day this incident occurred Thorpe had stopped by to visit as did the witness. During the visit Thorpe became intoxicated and started acting strange so Thorpe was told to leave. There was a physical altercation as German and the witness tried to get Thorpe out of the house and call the police.

While in the city jail after his arrest Thorpe damaged a jail cell door. Charges have been presented to the Payne County District Attorney on Thorpe for public intoxication, assault and battery, grand larceny and malicious injury to property.


Cushing Police Ask For Help Identifying Person Responsible for Passing Stolen Checks


Cushing Police are needing citizens help in identifying an unknown female that has been responsible for passing stolen checks at local businesses.

That person is shown in the attached photo to this story.

Anyone with information as to the identification of the female subject is urged to contact the Cushing Police Department at 918-225-1212 or via anonymous tip line on our website Cushing pd.com



Bristow Fire Department Responds to Late-Night Restaurant Fire Wednesday

A Bristow restaurant was heavily damaged after a late-night fire Wednesday.

The Bristow Fire Department responded to the Beach House Restaurant on Main Street around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The fire chief says an electrical issue started the fire in the dining area, causing smoke to fill the restaurant and cause smoke damage.

The fire didn’t spread to other buildings. The fire chief says he doesn’t think the restaurant is beyond repair, but sustained about $30,000 to $50,000 worth of damage.


ODOT Announces Traffic Diversions


Northbound and southbound I-35 traffic will be diverted to the on- and off-ramps at Fountain Rd. (mm 211) near Tonkawa in Kay County from 8 p.m. Friday to 10 a.m. Saturday for ongoing bridge work. I-35 will be inaccessible from Fountain Rd. during this time. Those wishing to avoid the area could use SH-15 to US-77 to US-60/US-177 to I-35.

I-35 will remain narrowed to one lane in each direction at Fountain Rd. and the bridge remains closed through early fall 2017.

Additionally, northbound I-35 traffic will be diverted to the on- and off-ramps at W. Braman Rd./W. Bender Rd. (mm 230) at Braman just south of US-177 in Kay County from 8 p.m. Friday to 10 a.m. Saturday for ongoing bridge work. During this time, I-35 will be inaccessible from W. Braman Rd./W. Bender Rd.

Motorists are advised to plan for delays and congestion during this closure and are strongly encouraged to use SH-11 to US-177 as an alternate route. The W. Braman Rd. bridge remains closed at I-35 through winter 2017 for reconstruction.

Motorists still may access I-35 from both interchanges when the ramps are open.

In September, the Oklahoma Transportation Commission awarded an $8.8 million contract for this work to OBC Inc. of Edmond.



City of Stillwater Reminds OSU Football Fans About Patron Parking Options


In anticipation of another fantastic Cowboy football season, the City of Stillwater is reminding fans about patron parking options, game day shuttle services and traffic control measures after each home football game.
Free Park & Ride Shuttle Service
Residents, students, alumni and visitors are welcome to free parking and shuttle service from Downtown Stillwater to Boone Pickens Stadium (BPS) before every home football game.
Visitors are welcome to park for free in one of the 500-plus parking spaces downtown:

    7th Avenue and Lewis Street

    7th Avenue and Lewis Street Parking Garage

    8th Avenue and Husband Street

    9th Avenue and Husband Street (BancFirst)

    9th Avenue and Lewis Street

The shuttle to BPS stops at 7th Avenue and Lewis Street and begins three hours before the game and runs every 15 minutes. On the return trip after the game, the shuttle stops at BPS on Hall of Fame and runs every 15 minutes for two hours.
Before heading to the stadium or after the game, grab a bite to eat in one of Stillwater’s popular eateries or explore our range of boutiques, housewares, apparel, gift shops and more for great deals and authentic Stillwater products.
Post-Game Transportation Routes
After another successful season of its post-game transportation plan, the City of Stillwater is coordinating with Oklahoma State University again to help reduce travel times for traffic leaving Stillwater after OSU football games.

The traffic management plan includes changes to signal timing and/or turn restrictions at key intersections along 6th Avenue/State Highway 51 and Main Street/Boomer Road. The timing and turn restrictions will be installed after the start of the game and removed approximately two hours after the end of the game.


ODOT Now Implementing Newly Developed Earthquake Response Protocol

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is now implementing the use of ShakeCast, a program created by the U.S. Geological Survey. ShakeCast is in the final stage of a two-year, two-phase, nearly $650,000 contract with Infrastructure Engineers Inc. of Edmond to assist the department in developing an earthquake response protocol. Formalizing the plan, providing final training and an additional four years of system maintenance will conclude the contract.

The ShakeCast program will enable the nearly 300 trained ODOT employees to quickly determine which bridges to inspect first after an earthquake. If conditions warrant, key ODOT employees will receive a software-generated inspection priority order based on several factors including ODOT bridge data such as bridge condition, age and proximity to an earthquake’s epicenter, combined with USGS seismic movement data and magnitude rating.

Previously ODOT visually inspected all bridges within 5 miles of any earthquake epicenter between 4.4 to 4.7 magnitude. The inspection radius increased with the earthquake magnitudes. Generally, with a 4- to 5-magnitude earthquake no damage has been found. Going forward with ShakeCast, the inspections will identify only specific bridges susceptible to damage, allowing for a faster and more pinpointed response.

The consultant assisted the department with interfacing ODOT bridge inventory data with the ShakeCast software, developing bridge fragility models and disaster preparation plans, training and implementing the alert system for bridge inspectors.

ODOT Bridge Engineer Steve Jacobi noted that Oklahoma transportation infrastructure has withstood the increased number and severity of earthquakes since 2010 with two instances of cosmetic damage found after the 5.8-magnitude Pawnee earthquake in September 2016 and minor damage to US-62 pavement after a 5.6-magnitude earthquake near Prague in 2011.

While seismic activity seems to have lessened in the state, Oklahoma’s chances of earthquake-related bridge damage also are lessened thanks to the replacement of more than 900 structurally deficient bridges statewide since 2004. There remain 251 structurally deficient bridges on the state highway system and the majority of those are scheduled for replacement in the Eight-Year Construction Work Plan by the end of the decade.

ODOT has joined nine other earthquake-prone states in a pooled-fund study with the USGS to help further enhance ShakeCast. Some of the states include Texas, Missouri and California and the study information will be used to develop future versions of the software. ODOT is contributing an additional $45,000 to the USGS in a three-year period to the study.

The department has taken a lead role in developing response protocols to Oklahoma’s increased earthquake activity by working closely with other state agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has 23 bridges on the state highway system. ODOT also shared its recently developed bridge inspection manual with other state agencies as well as local governments and will assist with local bridge inspections during earthquake response events as resources allow.


City of Stillwater Celebrates Stillwater Regional Airport's First Anniversary


Come celebrate Stillwater Regional Airport’s first anniversary of American Airlines service at an open brunch on Wednesday, Aug. 23. The event begins at 10 a.m. with formal remarks starting at 10:15 a.m. in the main terminal.

“Our residents, business community and Oklahoma State University have been an integral part of our airport’s successful commercial air service this past year,” Stillwater Regional Airport Director Gary Johnson said. “We hope to see our travelers and supporters at the celebration to share this important milestone with us.”

Since Aug. 23, 2016, Stillwater Regional Airport has offered two daily, nonstop flights to and from Stillwater and the airline’s largest hub at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. The airport has served more than 48,000 passengers and counting since that date, with an average of 3,800 travelers per month.

“It’s incredible to see how many people in our community have embraced this service and how it has made traveling easier for our residents, businesses, students and university faculty alike,” Mayor Gina J. Noble said. “We’re so glad to have American Airlines in Stillwater and to see where the next year takes us.”

“We want to again thank American Airlines, the City of Stillwater and our many partners for helping make this service a reality. It is providing a valuable service to OSU,” said OSU President Burns Hargis. “We also extend our appreciation to Governor Mary Fallin, Senator James Inhofe, Senator James Lankford, Congressman Frank Lucas and former Transportation Secretary Gary Ridley for their support.”

The airport will also recognize American Airlines’ updated flight schedule, which includes the return of a daily early morning flight departing from Stillwater on Aug. 23.

The airport is at 2020-1 W. Airport Road. Parking is limited.

To book a flight from Stillwater Regional Airport, go to http://aa.com and use airport code SWO. The airport features free parking, shorter security lines and competitive rates.



Meridian Technology Center Superintendent Receives Prestigious Award

Meridian Technology Center Superintendent Doug Major received Oklahoma CareerTech's most prestigious award during the 50th annual Career and Technology Education Summer Conference.

Major received the Francis Tuttle Career Excellence Award from the Oklahoma Association of Career and Technology Education. Chad Tuttle, grandson of the late Francis Tuttle, presented the award.

The conference was Aug. 1-2 at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City. It attracts some 3,700 CareerTech educators from across the state and is one of the largest professional development educator conferences in the state. OkACTE is the professional organization for the state's CareerTech administrators, teachers and staff members.

The Francis Tuttle Career Excellence Award was established in 1985 in honor of Francis Tuttle, former state director of the Oklahoma Department of Vocational and Technical Education and architect of what is now called the CareerTech System. The award recognizes individuals whose careers exemplify Tuttle's dedication to the development of people through career and technology education. It is given only to a recipient who has made contributions of state or national significance.

Before becoming Meridian Tech’s superintendent, Major served as superintendent/CEO of Pioneer Technology Center in Ponca City. He has served on numerous local, state and national boards. Major was selected to participate in the first National Leadership Institute sponsored by the National Centers for Career and Technical Education and is a past president of the Association for Career and Technical Education.

On the international stage, Major traveled to Harbin, China, to collaborate with Harbin Railway Construction Engineering School. The trip was part of a national effort to develop new resources and methods for producing skilled workers through an expansion of China’s technical education system. The Chinese government is working to increase the number of students at vocational schools to 38.3 million by the year 2020.

For more information about the Francis Tuttle Award and Oklahoma's CareerTech System, visit www.okcareertech.org<http://www.okcareertech.org/>.


Rural Fire Departments Encouraged to Apply for Grants

Rural fire departments are encouraged to apply for 2017 Rural Fire Defense 80/20 Reimbursement Grants, which provide for equipment purchases and fire station construction.  Fire departments in communities with populations of less than 10,000 are eligible to receive a grant and should apply through Oklahoma Forestry Services by September 1.

The grants provide reimbursement of up to 80% of the total amount of projects, with fire departments receiving reimbursement after the purchase or constructions costs have been paid.  A total of $125,000 is available for the program this year and will be awarded in October.  Departments can receive up to $30,000 for fire department construction and up to $20,000 for fire equipment purchases.

“Oklahoman’s rural fire departments do an excellent job of protecting and serving their communities,” said George Geissler, director, Oklahoma Forestry Services.  “We are pleased that these grants are being funded again this year despite significant state budget cuts.”  

The grants are authorized by Governor Mary Fallin, funded by the Oklahoma Legislature and administered by the Oklahoma Forestry Services, a division of Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry.   Oklahoma’s Rural Fire Coordinators grade the applications and select the recipients.

Fire Departments which received 80/20 Reimbursement Grants last year include the Jennings Rural Firefighters Association in Pawnee County

Applications and more information are available on the Oklahoma Forestry Services website, www.forestry.ok.gov/firegrants or call 405-522-6158.





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