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Stillwater's First News with Bill Van Ness

Conversation opened. 1 read message. FROM THE CITY OF STILLWATER:FROM THE-------------------------FROM THE CITY OF STILLWATER:
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FROM OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY:FROM Oklahoma State University President Kayse Shrum and First Cowboy Darren Shrum have been named grand marshals of OSU’s 2022 Homecoming festivities by the OSU Alumni Association.FROM OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSFROMM


Stillwater Public Schools is proud to announce the U.S. Department of Education has named Richmond Elementary as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2023. This esteemed honor is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student groups on assessments.

Richmond is joined by three Oklahoma schools in the honor this year, Tulsa’s Booker T. Washington High School, Cleora Public School in Afton, and Muskogee’s Sadler Arts Academy, all of whom were nominated in the Exemplary High Performing School category, placing them among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.

Principal Joy Cawood notes, "I’m so proud of the staff and students of Richmond , the culture promotes a love of learning and of school. For over 20 years, the incredible staff has committed to working within common practices to create a highly functional and successful school. The staff in this building are the heartbeat of the success that we’ve seen."

The U.S. Department of Education release announcing the Blue Ribbon schools reads, “While awardee schools represent the diverse fabric of American schools, they also share some core elements. National Blue Ribbon School leaders articulate a vision of excellence and hold everyone to high standards. They demonstrate effective and innovative teaching and learning, and the schools value and support teachers and staff through meaningful professional learning. Data from many sources are used to drive instruction and every student strives for success. Families, communities, and educators work together toward common goals.”

“I am so proud of Joy, the staff at Richmond, the students, and so many others in years past that have led to this honor,” says Superintendent Uwe Gordon. “They’ve worked so hard to build a great culture that fosters student learning and citizenship. We couldn’t be more proud.”

More information about Richmond and the other 2023 National Blue Ribbon Schools is available at




GLENCOE, OK – On September 4, 2023, the Noble County Sheriff's Office requested the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to assist with a missing persons case.
The OSBI, Payne County Sheriff's Office, Stillwater Police Department, and Noble County Sheriff’s Office immediately began searching for 21-year-old Samuel Cade Crawford.

On September 8, a helicopter was utilized to conduct an aerial search of open fields in Payne County. While observing the area, portions of Crawford’s truck were located in Glencoe. A search warrant of the property was executed, at which time agents discovered a deceased male. The body was transported to the Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to determine positive identification and cause of death.

Based on information obtained through the investigation, 21-year-old Christopher Michael Somers was arrested and booked into the Payne County Jail on First-Degree Murder, Conspiracy to Commit Murder, Larceny of Motor Vehicle, Knowingly Concealing Stolen Property, and Operating a Chop Shop.

This is still an ongoing investigation. Anyone with additional information is asked to contact

We would like to thank the Noble County Sheriff’s Office, Payne County Sheriff’s Office, Stillwater Police Department, and Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office for their assistance on this case.



Stillwater is riding a wave of positive momentum thanks to a culture of growth, optimism, inspiration and inclusion among community members, Stillwater Mayor Will Joyce told attendees during his State of the City address Friday at the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce’s annual event. He presented the inaugural Mayor’s Vision Forward awards to recognize people and organizations that develop and encourage environments of innovation, investment, growth and success.

That culture has led to investment - through commitment, creativity and capital - across the community.

During his address, the Mayor highlighted projects, services and initiatives that embody the culture he calls Vision Forward. Those included City investments, private investments and community partners like Stillwater Public Schools, Stillwater Medical Center, Oklahoma State University, Visit Stillwater and the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce.

The school district recently passed a $195 million bond issue to build a new high school and upgrade other facilities.

The hospital system is completing a $30 million expansion of its surgical and women’s health units, adding a level 2 NICU to meet statewide demand, and continues to add physicians to meet community needs and add services that allow patients to be treated close to home.

The university continues to modernize facilities and develop programs that prepare students and serve society. It recently launched a partnership with Stillwater’s Our Daily Bread Food and Resource Center that offers learning opportunities for agriculture students while addressing food insecurity in the community.

The Chamber of Commerce continues to focus on economic development and is preparing to launch a new website that will provide online resources for existing and future businesses. It supported local merchants impacted by two years of construction along the Perkins Road commercial corridor and developed a deal that will improve quality of life for residents by bringing a new entertainment complex to Stillwater.  

The City is making small investments generated by Tax Increment Financing districts to spur private projects that bring large amounts of private investment. One such project is a new hotel and convention center.

Residents approved new transportation sales tax and bond propositions in 2022 that are funding the construction of a new fire station and road improvements. Through that sales tax, the City of Stillwater is able to invest in improved transportation infrastructure and roadways throughout the city.

A grant-funded Rails to Trails project will convert unused railroad to a safe and beautiful multi-use pathway connecting the city north to south.

More major projects that will require both community and government support are on the horizon. Stillwater’s regional water system needs significant improvements to ensure reliability for the 900 square mile area it serves. Stillwater Regional Airport, an economic driver for the community, needs a new, larger terminal to grow service. And finally, the Animal Welfare facility is undersized to meet current demand and doesn’t provide a healthy environment for animals or people. The facility will need to be replaced with a modern one that meets the community’s increased needs.

That progress includes private investment like the development of USA Rare Earth Magnets, LLC, which is building the first of its kind rare earth manufacturing business in the U.S. and The Hub, a 60,000 square foot family entertainment complex with bowling, movie theaters, an arcade, pickleball courts, food and drink and meeting space that is being developed by the Tonkawa Tribe of Oklahoma.

Joyce also highlighted City of Stillwater departments and staff dedicated to creating an environment that encourages the Vision Forward mindset. He presented the Mayor’s Vision Forward awards to the Water Utilities department - represented by Director James Driskel - for innovation and customer-service focus, the Finance Department – represented by Director Christy Cluck - for demonstrated excellence in transparency and financial stewardship and Stillwater Emergency Management – represented by Director Rob Hill - for its efforts to safeguard the community.

He then turned to the community, honoring the OSU Student Farm - represented by Department Head of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture Dr. Justin Moss - and Our Daily Bread - represented by Executive Director Rachael Condley - for their joint efforts to address food security and improve nutrition by making fresh produce available to Payne County residents in need while OSU develops larger plans to expand the farm’s impact.

He also recognized Washington School Alumni Association President Karen Washington and OSU Director of Public History Dr. Laura Arata for fostering cultural growth in the community through the preservation of Washington School, Stillwater’s segregation-era Black school.

And finally, he honored Stillwater artist Morgan Robinson for his efforts to advance art integration in the community by designing “Interlaced,” and the Arts and Humanities Council for their efforts to fund the sculpture through private donations and their efforts to art integration, as well. The sculpture will be at the intersection of 6th Avenue and Western Road with a visual celebration of community connection. Installation will begin after the concrete work is complete.



Sen. Tom Dugger, R-Stillwater, has announced he will not seek a third term in the Oklahoma Senate. First elected in 2016, Dugger said he would complete his current term representing Senate District 21, which concludes in November of 2024. The district includes much of Payne County and parts of Creek County.

“Serving in the Oklahoma Senate has been one of the greatest privileges of my life, and I am forever grateful to the citizens of District 21 for entrusting me to be their voice at the Capitol,” Dugger said. “When I was first elected to the Legislature, I told myself eight years would allow enough time to help make a positive difference in our district. Once I retire from office, I look forward to being able to spend time with my wife, Ann, on personal projects.”

Dugger is chair of the Senate’s Appropriations Subcommittee on Select Agencies, and holds seats on the full Appropriations Committee; the Joint Committee on Appropriation and Budget; Public Safety; Retirement and Insurance; and the Tourism and Wildlife Committee.

A retired certified public accountant and veteran, Dugger has been a Stillwater resident since 1979, and is a former city council member and vice-mayor. He and his wife Ann are both Oklahoma State University graduates and have continued to support OSU by funding scholarships and through their volunteer work hosting and mentoring international students.

“Senator Dugger has been an incredible friend and colleague to me and many others in the Senate,” said Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City. “His commitment to public service is unmatched. Whether it was his dedication at a younger age earning honors as an Eagle Scout, his service to his community through the Stillwater Chamber, as a board member of the Red Cross and his commitment to volunteering at several local non-profit organizations, he embodies what it means to have a servant’s heart. I wish him and his wife, Ann, well in whatever the future holds for them.”



The City of Cushing is extending a warm invitation to all residents, urging them to take an active and influential role in developing the City's new Comprehensive Plan, “Cushing Forward.” This initiative plays a pivotal role in shaping Cushing’s future by providing an updated vision on our community’s growth and direction.

To share your insights, residents simply need to use a computer or handheld device and go to, the project’s digital community engagement platform. This platform provides residents with a central online hub where they can learn more about the comprehensive planning process, share and discuss ideas with fellow community members and the project team, and stay up to date on all engagement opportunities and events. The site will remain open throughout the duration of the project and is your one-stop source for all information on the Cushing Forward initiative.

Residents are encouraged to explore the platform and engage with the Interactive Map, join discussions on comment boards, and participate in the Community Survey. The survey asks a range of questions about current issues and challenges in the City as well as questions about future land use, development, and community services. The responses to the survey will guide the preparation of the Comprehensive Plan and the vision for Cushing through 2050.

The online Community Survey is one of the first steps in the 18-month planning process, which will include a wide range of public engagement opportunities such as workshops, pop-up events, and open-door meetings. For those without digital access, hard copies of the survey are available at City Hall (100 Judy Adams Blvd), the Cushing Public Library (215 N Steele Ave), and the Cushing Senior Citizens Center (203 E Cherry St).

Upon completion, surveys can be left at their respective locations or dropped in the night deposit box at City Hall. Please contact the Project Team at with questions about the comprehensive planning process or Community Survey. Residents can learn more about the project by visiting

The City of Cushing is partnering with Guernsey to complete the comprehensive planning process. Guernsey is a wide-ranging consulting firm with a design-centric focus around planning, architecture, and engineering. Located in Oklahoma City, Guernsey has a long history of supporting municipalities to meet planning and community development goals.

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