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Stillwater's First News with Bill Van Ness



    As of this advisory, there are 42,255 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Oklahoma.
    There are seven additional deaths which were identified. There are 600 total deaths in the state. There were 681 new recoveries for a total of 35,001.
    For more information, visit coronavirus.health.ok.gov.

PAYNE            717            4                 624           89
CREEK           580           14                439          127
LINCOLN        156            2                 110           44
LOGAN          202            1                 165           36
NOBLE            83            2                  70             11
PAWNEE         134           3                 114           17

STILLWATER  569           3                 505           61



Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the OSU Alumni Association will be unable to host the 2020 edition of America’s Greatest Homecoming. The centennial celebration originally scheduled for Oct. 26-31 will now be planned for fall 2021.

The health and safety of Cowboy Family members are the top priority of the Alumni Association. This decision was made by the Alumni Associations Board of Directors after careful consideration and collaboration with Oklahoma State University, OSU Athletics, OSU Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, and the City of Stillwater. It is unrelated to the planned football game against Texas Tech on Oct. 31.

“The Alumni Association understands the yearly return to the campus is a highlight for many OSU alumni and fans,” said Tony LoPresto, Alumni Association board chair. “While we understand this decision will disappoint many Cowboys, we want to ensure Homecoming events can be enjoyed in a safe manner and that the centennial celebration is hosted in such a way that is representative of this one-of-a-kind OSU tradition.”

This announcement pertains only to Homecoming festivities hosted by the Alumni Association, including the Harvest Carnival and Chili Cook-Off, Hester Street Painting, Walkaround, Homecoming and Hoops, and the Sea of Orange Parade. Due to the nature of these events, the Alumni Association would not be able to accurately monitor capacity or social distancing measures for the tens of thousands of alumni and students who regularly attend them.

“OSU’s nationally recognized Homecoming event is entirely student run, and a number of measures have been put in place for the fall 2020 semester to protect students both on and off campus,” said Rob McInturf, Alumni Association president. “These measures are vital to our students’ well-being, and we did not want to compromise their health for the Homecoming experience. America’s Greatest Homecoming is worth the wait.”

On-campus events specifically for students, as well as virtual events for alumni, are being considered as alternatives. For more information about this announcement including a list of frequently asked questions, visit the Homecoming website at ORANGECONNECTION.org/homecoming.



With Oklahoma State University returning for fall classes, many in the Stillwater community are wondering what that means for residents.

“We understand that you have questions about how 20,000 new residents will affect our response to this coronavirus pandemic,” City Manager Norman McNickle said. “The City of Stillwater, OSU, Payne County Health Department, Stillwater Medical Center and other agencies are working together to keep everyone safe and healthy.”

OSU is in the middle of its campus reopening plan called “Cowboys Coming Back,” which includes policies and guidelines for contact tracing, COVID-19 testing, touch-point cleaning and personal health responsibilities. For more information, visit https://go.okstate.edu/coronavirus/campus-reopening-plan/plan-at-a-glance/index.html.

According to OSU Director of Media Relations Monica Roberts, “OSU is mandating testing for all OSU students living on campus as well as those living in Greek housing. Testing is also available for the entire OSU campus community on a voluntary basis.”

Because of the increase in testing, residents will most likely see an increase in the reported number of Stillwater’s COVID-19 cases. For this information, visit https://looker-dashboards.ok.gov/embed/dashboards/79.

In addition to widespread testing, OSU has plans in place for aggressive contact tracing, space for quarantining and medical care available for those with the virus.

“We do not want a surge of cases, so we are asking that everyone do their part. This includes wearing a face covering, stay away from crowds and self-isolate if you are sick,” McNickle said. “To help protect vulnerable populations, we are asking that grocery stores and big box stores resume hosting specific hours, so they can shop without added stress.”

Best Practices For Protecting Yourself

The Payne County Health Department is asking that everyone continue to follow these simple tips to protect yourself and those around you during the COVID-19 pandemic:

    Maintain social distancing by avoiding close contact with others (about 6 feet);
    Wear a cloth face covering that covers your nose and mouth when in public settings;
    Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces often;
    Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol;
    If you are sick, take the following steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
    Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care;
    If seeking medical attention, call ahead;
    Avoid public transportation or ride-sharing;
    Separate yourself from other people and pets within your home;

Anyone experiencing symptoms or that may have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 is asked to contact their healthcare provider or the County Health Department for testing.  Residents are encouraged to follow the Payne County Health Department Facebook page for up-to-date information on testing opportunities.  Individuals testing positive or identified as a “close contact” during the contact tracing investigation will be contacted with further care instructions.

Face Covering Ordinance

Stillwater City Council’s face covering ordinance 3452 is in effect until Nov. 30. The ordinance requires that everyone wear a face-covering in all public spaces, including educational institutions, food services, retail and personal service establishments that provide goods or services directly to the public. Exceptions outlined in the ordinance include, but are not limited to, persons with medical, mental or developmental conditions, children under age 5 (unless required by school or daycare to wear a face covering), and non-public areas or workplaces.

Proclamation Declaring State of Emergency Extended

Mayor Will Joyce’s Proclamation Declaring a State of Emergency that was set to expire Friday has been extended through August 31. This proclamation states that Stillwater remains in the Phase III Open Up Recover Safely plan.

Stay up to date on the current guidelines, case counts, plans for economic recovery and more relating to COVID-19 at stillwater.org/COVID-19.. 



If you travel south Duck street, you may have noticed the City of Stillwater has made a lot of enhancements, including improving the pavement with a mill and overlay process, reconfiguring the travel lanes, adding bike lanes and rebuilding the ADA sidewalk ramps from 6th to 12th avenues.

South Duck Street is a part of Stillwater’s cultural district, which provides access to the Stillwater Public Library, the Stillwater Community Center, Project Heart and the Prairie Arts Center. Upon completion, bicyclists, pedestrians and those using mobility devices can expect improved accessibility due to the new bike lanes and improved ADA ramps.

“While it may seem counterintuitive to some by reconfiguring the travel lanes from four lanes to two lanes with a dedicated left-turn lane, we are actually making Duck Street safer for all of our residents,” City Manager Norman McNickle said. “We’re always looking for ways to incorporate the Multi-Modal Transportation Policy into our streets, and this is a great area to see these kinds of improvements.”

Duck Street is anticipated to be completed in the coming weeks.

The City has initiated many transportation projects this summer as part of the Pavement Management Program, which is funded by the Transportation Sales Tax Fund. As part of this program, residents can expect the following transportation projects in 2020:

Mill and Overlay Rehabilitation
·         Main St.:  6th Ave. to McElroy Rd.
·         Duck St.:  12th Ave. to 6th Ave.
·         Jefferson St.:  12th Ave. to 9th Ave
·         Sangre Rd.:  6th Ave. to north of Stillwater Creek Bridge
·         Western Rd: 3rd Ave to Virginia Ave.
·         Hall of Fame Ave.: Ridge Rd to Monroe St.

·         4th Ave.:  Washington St. to Hester St.
·         Hester St.:  6th Ave. to 4th Ave.
Transportation Multimodal Trail
·         Western Rd : 6th Ave. to Virginia Ave.
·         Hall of Fame Ave.: Ridge Rd. to Monroe Ave.

Learn more about the City’s ongoing transportation projects at Stillwater.org.



McElroy Road is closed to traffic from Main Street to Perkins Road for pavement reconstruction. The closure is expected through the end of July. In the meantime, residents are encouraged to use Hall of Fame Avenue as an alternate route.

This road reconstruction is part of the City’s Pavement Management Program. This project replaces the asphalt surface with concrete at the intersection of McElroy and Main, eliminating past rutting issues and extending the life of the road by 25 years. The City’s Pavement Management Program maintains existing pavement in a financially responsible manner through preventative maintenance and rehabilitation.

The City has a variety of transportation infrastructure projects planned. See current and future projects at Stillwater.org/projects.



Stillwater City Council have approved temporary, long-term repayment options for customers who have falling behind on their utility bill payments. Customers must contact Utility and Billing Services to set up a long-term repayment plan prior to their utility disconnection date.

Utility and Billing Services Director Dana Mattox said in March, city council passed a resolution to put a hold on disconnections due to nonpayment; however, that resolution has expired. The City will return to its usual utility terms and conditions on July 17. To view the City’s utility terms and conditions, go to http://stillwater.org/document-center/detail/id/264.

Payment plans can be made by calling 405.742.8245 or email utilitypayments@stillwater.org, no additional trip to city hall is required.

If you own:                        Payment Plan:
$150 or less                         $25 plus current bill each month until current up to six months
$151 to $500                       $75 plus current bill each month until current up to seven months
$501 to $1,000                   $200 plus current bill each month until current up to five months
$1,000 or more                  30% plus current bill each month until current

Also, Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) is making changes to the current Energy Crisis Assistance Program (ECAP) to help eligible Oklahomans pay their utility bills. Find out more about this program at http://www.okdhslive.org/.

Mattox pointed out there is a checkbox on everyone’s bill that allows people the option to donate funds to help others.

For more information about the City of Stillwater Utility Billing Services, call 405.742.8245 or email utilitypayments@stillwater.org .

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