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FROM THE CITY OF STILLWATER:

The City of Stillwater and Mya’s Promise invite the public to join them on Friday, June 25, for an afternoon of free, family-friendly activities to celebrate the grand opening of the PlayAbility Project at Strickland Park, 300 S. Main Street.

The celebration will begin at 11 a.m. with a welcome ceremony and ribbon cutting led by City Manager Norman McNickle and City Councilor Amy Dzialowski, who also serves on the board of Mya’s Promise.

Join the library for family mindfulness activities at 11:30 a.m. and a special outdoor storytime at noon featuring plenty of music and movement activities. Valerie Bloodgood and Carol Bender will lead a series of yoga based mindfulness activities that can be practiced by all ages. Library activities will take place in the grassy area between the playground and the skate park. By taking a short survey following the storytime, families will receive a free book. Lawn chairs or blankets are encouraged so everyone can be comfortable while participating.

In addition to the library’s activities, Prairie Arts Center will operate a craft table, Stillwater Police Department will hand out popsicles, Stillwater Fire Department will bring a fire truck, and Chick-fil-A will provide food for 300 people.

“Watching our community come together to create this welcoming and inclusive space has been so incredible,” Dzialowski said. “We are grateful for every single person who helped bring this project to life. We would not have been able to do it without you.”

This playground has been a cooperative project between the City of Stillwater and Mya’s Promise to create an inclusive and accessible play area and community gathering place. Mya’s Promise was chosen to be the recipient of Stillwater High School’s Stillwater Makes a Change (SMAC) and all funds raised in the 2018-2019 school year went toward the PlayAbilty Project.

The City and Mya's Promise would like to thank Stillwater residents and the following community partners for making this project possible:

ABI Physical Therapy Services, Charlie’s Discount Drug, Community Foundation, Dr. Elisa Davis and Jeffery Huston, Dysphagia Specialist PLLC, Oklahoma Department of Commerce Community Development Block Grant (CDGB), Andrew, Amy, Bennett and Stella Dzialowski, Resource Enhancements, Vicki Ehlers, Exchange Bank, Darrel Fell, Faye Allene Rife Brown Foundation, Bo and Angela Gamble, Jeanne Homer, Iron Monk Brewing, Dustin, Toni, Vivien, William and Henry Ivey, Jordan and Amanda Kindschi, Jacob and Kami Linneman, Mya’s Promise, Trustee for Wells, LLC, Hugh and Kathryn Merrill, Keith and Jean Merrill, Kiwanis Club, Elizabeth Steward, Patricia Mullins, Murray Insurance Agency, Dr. Stephen and Renee Smalley, State Farm Insurance- Neighborhood Assist Grant, Stillwater Makes a Change (SMAC), SMAC Donors (2018-2019), Stillwater Medical Center, Stillwater Pediatric Dentistry, Stillwater Rotary Clubs, Stillyarts, LLC, Justin and Kathleen Street, Myla Stevens, Studio Architects, Rob and Anne Terry, United Methodist Women, University Heights Baptist Church, Dr. Krystal and Jeremy Voight, Dr. Malinda Webb and Steve Webb, Mike and Lori Wieder, Wilson Auto Family, Chick-fil-A, Mexico Joe’s, Jean and Jackson Martin, Interworks, B & L Heating and Air Conditioning, Josh and Becky Taylor, St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Pioneer Tire, Willa’s Posse -Jo and Jack Harrel, Kristine and Matt Waits, Territory Resources, BancFirst, Carpenter Family, Spears School of Business, Formal Fantasy, Simmons Bank, DuPrees, Therapy Specialists – Stillwater, OSU Wrestling, Scott Leming State Farm Insurance, Stillwater Surgical Associates, Stillwater Family Care, Overton Farms, Knights of Columbus, OSU Office of the President.

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FROM THE CITY OF STILLWATER:

The City of Stillwater’s June 2021 sales and use tax collection totaled $3,203,394. The collection is based off April transactions that were reported to the Oklahoma Tax Commission in May and apportioned to the City in June.

This is an increase from June 2020 total collections by $1,023,704 (46.97 percent).

The City of Stillwater’s sales tax collections in June 2021 were $2,859,220, which is up $892,092 (45.35 percent) from June 2020.

The City of Stillwater’s use tax collections in June 2021 were $344,174, which is up $131,612 (61.92 percent) from June 2020.

Hotel/motel tax remitted to the City in June 2021 totaled $68,724, which is up from June 2020 collections by $50,691 (281.10 percent). The Hotel Room Tax Annual Budget was amended on January 25, 2021, from $800,000 to $500,000.

In Oklahoma, sales tax is the largest source of recurring revenue for municipalities, and the novel coronavirus has brought many challenges and unknowns related to the dependability of that revenue source. Changes in how businesses in the community operate and in the shopping habits of citizens as well as the canceling of community events all jeopardize the reliability of local sales tax revenue.

Although Stillwater has experienced only modest effects to sales tax since the start of the pandemic, it is important to keep in mind that the City is also not experiencing overall growth, which is the desire for our local economy. The spike in tax collections over the last two months is encouraging but does not indicate a trend at this point. Lack of growth in local sales tax generation limits future opportunities for expanding City services and capital investment. The City continues to monitor sales tax collections closely as the community begins to reengage in public activities and events, and businesses rebound from the effects of COVID-19.

For more information about the budget and taxes, visit the City’s Financial Center at http://stillwater.org/budget.

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FROM OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY:

The OSU/A&M Board of Regents approved a $1.5 billion operating budget for the Oklahoma State University System for fiscal year 2022 during its regularly scheduled June 18 meeting.

The OSU System budget increase includes a 4.8% increase in state appropriations for targeted workforce development initiatives for engineering, STEM, nursing and teacher education. The OSU System enrollment is 33,021, led by an enrollment of 24,405 at its Stillwater and Tulsa campuses, including the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Tuition and mandatory fees will increase by 2.5% for in-state undergraduate and graduate students at the Stillwater and Tulsa campuses. This is the first tuition and mandatory fee increase in three years.

“Moving forward, keeping the costs of an OSU degree affordable remains foremost on our minds,” said OSU President Burns Hargis. “Even though the increase is minimal, it will enable investment in educational and research programs and initiatives as well as ensure we consider the impact of inflation on operational costs.”

He continued, “Oklahoma State has weathered one of the most uncertain times in university history and developed a sound budget that will continue to serve our students and state despite the challenges we faced. I am extremely proud of the way we worked together during the pandemic and did not waver from our land grant education, research and service mission

“Federal funding, additional state appropriations and donor support have been critical to meeting the needs of our students and their families and in keeping the university budget in a solid position as we enter the fall semester. I thank our students, faculty and staff for their creative problem solving and diligence in following protocols to keep our campus safe and open.”

Federal HEERF (Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds) increased the OSU System budget by more than $70 million. HEERF are one-time funds used mainly for student aid, as well as addressing COVID-related costs necessary to maintain a safe campus environment and other revenue shortfalls due to the pandemic.

“The Regents and System leaders worked together to craft a budget which reflects our commitment to shared governance throughout the OSU system,” said Regents Chair Rick Davis. “In the face of a global pandemic, that partnership was more important than ever. We approved a budget today to provide many benefits to our students, citizens and state while maintaining accessibility and affordability. The budget provides investments in areas to help grow our economy, educate the future workforce, expand research and promote innovation.”

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FROM THE CITY OF STILLWATER:

Federally funded relief for Stillwater residents unable to make rent payments and utility costs as a result of COVID-19 is now available. Those qualifying can apply for relief beginning this week through the website of program administrator Our Daily Bread.

In April, Stillwater City Councilors accepted $490,000 of federal Community Development Block Grant CARES Act (CDBG-CV) funding and the City had to work with community partners to satisfy various requirements before it could launch the program.

This is the second wave of relief. The City contracted with Community Resourcing Inc., dba Our Daily Bread (ODB), in December to administer $150,000 of similar assistance.

“The first round of assistance was distributed quickly,” Chief Civic Innovation Officer Becky Taylor said. “There are still many individuals and families who are feeling the financial impacts of the pandemic. We’re extremely grateful for this i

interested citizens will be able to apply online at www.ourdailybreadstillwater.org. Residents who need help accessing the internet can contact Our Daily Bread, 701 E. 12th Ave., or visit the Stillwater Public Library, 1107 S. Duck Street.

There are a few differences between this round of assistance and the program that the City offered in December. Applications will only be accepted on Sundays and Mondays to allow Our Daily Bread time to process them throughout the week. To qualify for assistance, applicants must be residents of Stillwater within the city limits, have suffered an economic loss or financial impact due to COVID-19 and be considered low or moderate income based on income limits set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Requested assistance must be used to help with rent or utility expenses that were incurred on or after Jan. 21, 2020.

“This phase of the program was funded differently and the new application process is more complicated,” Taylor said. “But we don’t want that to discourage anyone from applying. Our Daily Bread has people that are ready to help every step of the way.”

Applicants will need the following information to complete the application:
·         Social security number
·         Legal identification
·         Current monthly household income
·         Proof of income (ex: 2019 tax return, 2020 tax return, last 3 consecutive months of pay stubs for household, unemployment documentation, etc.)
·         Utility bill (if requesting help with utilities)
·         Rent agreement/lease (if requesting help with rent)

Our Daily Bread will review and either approve or deny the applications based on eligibility, then the City of Stillwater will make direct payments on behalf of the resident to the utility vendor or landlord. The program has no set end date and will run until all of the funds have been distributed.

For more information, contact Our Daily Bread at 405.533.2555 ext.110 or visit its website at https://www.ourdailybreadstillwater.org.

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FROM THE CITY OF STILLWATER:

Make plans to celebrate Fourth of July at the Chickasaw Boomer Blast Fireworks Show presented by the City of Stillwater.

The annual show, which is free and open to the public, is held in Boomer Lake Park at the corner of Washington Street and Lakeview Road. The 20-minute fireworks show begins at 9:35 p.m.

“This year’s fireworks display will be bigger and better than ever,” Special Events Coordinator Stephanie Kinder said. “We’re really excited to see the community gather together, enjoy the park and celebrate the holiday again.”

Boomer Lake Park and Splash Pad will be open to pedestrians on Sunday, July 4; however, car access to the park will be prohibited after 5 p.m. and Lakeview Bridge will be closed at 7 p.m.

Parking is available at Stillwater High School’s Pioneer Stadium, Cimarron Plaza and along public streets. Event goers are encouraged to use the Kameoka Trail to walk to Boomer Lake.

Stillwater Radio will host a live remote at Boomer Lake from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Residents can listen to the show on KSPI Hot 93.7 FM.

The City of Stillwater recognizes and thanks the following contributors for their support of the annual fireworks show: Chickasaw Telecommunications Services Inc., Grand River Dam Authority, Oklahoma State University, Kicker, Stillwater Noon Lions, Stillwater Chamber of Commerce, Central Electric Cooperative, Rotary Club and Stillwater Radio.

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FROM THE CITY OF STILLWATER:

The Stillwater Arts & Humanities Council and the City of Stillwater are seeking artists to submit sculpture designs for a public art display at the northeast corner of 6th Street and Western Avenue.

The artwork chosen for this corner will serve as the catalyst for a larger, more comprehensive initiative called the Gateway Project. The Gateway Project includes the identification and implementation of gateway signs, district boundaries, wayfinding, and public art.  

"The selected sculpture will welcome everyone into the heart of Stillwater and become a defining element within the community," said Rebecca Brienen, President of the Arts & Humanities Council of Stillwater. "We encourage artists to come forward with creative ideas that capture the spirit of our community."

About the Design Site
·         Well-traveled entrance into Stillwater
·         Current signage will be removed
·         This area will potentially be a part of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation upgrades in which Highway 51 will be resurfaced and reconfigured
·         The expected time frame for the upgrades is 3-5 years and a portion of the land may be used for a right turning lane

The Stillwater Arts & Humanities Council, with the help of some sculpture search committee members, has committed to raising $40,000 to $50,000 to fund the project.

Download the Official Artist Request for Proposal to view design and submission criteria. Submissions are due by Sunday, August 1.

For more information visit artstillwater.us.

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