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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:
-----------------------FROM THE CITY OF STILLWATER:
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

“Interlaced,” a major piece of public art, was dedicated Friday, Dec. 1, in Stillwater, thanks to the generosity of community members with a vision of providing a beautiful welcome at one of the city’s busiest intersections. A series of private donations, first the land, then funding to beautify the corner at 6th Avenue and Western Road that is considered a gateway to Stillwater, made the sculpture project possible. “Interlaced” is a massive piece, consisting of interwoven ribbons of steel measuring 16 feet high, 30 feet wide and 15 feet deep.

Artist Morgan Robinson, a Stillwater native who maintains his studio in his hometown and creates organic sculptures that are displayed across the nation in public spaces, private collections and galleries, said it communicates something about how he sees the community where he chooses to make his home. And watching the excitement of the crew of 20 workers that turned up at 4 a.m. to load his work, transport it across town and set it in place just emphasized the sense of community he wanted to evoke with “Interlaced.”

Robinson’s artist statement for the piece spoke to the search committee, who saw a reference to Stillwater’s somewhat transient nature as a college town with people coming and going, but also a recognition its strong sense of community that creates lasting impressions and forms lifelong bonds.

“Interlaced,” was overwhelmingly chosen by 1,200 community voters and was part of an original field of 15 designs from across the globe, said Kristine Waits, a resident who spearheaded the project. She describes the piece as being both beautiful and substantial, two of the search committee’s key requirements.

Assistant City Manager Brady Moore noted that “Interlaced,” is actually a gift from Robinson to his hometown. With more than 1,500 hours invested in the piece by Robinson and his studio assistant Arley Boyd, any other client would have paid much more.

The Stillwater Arts and Humanities Council served as the non-profit fundraising arm for the effort, taking in $55,000 in private monetary donations to cover the cost of creating “Interlaced.” Arts and Humanities Council President Rebecca Brienen said providing that kind of support is part of the organization’s mission. It was satisfying to see the project’s completion and she believes it sets the stage for more community art in Stillwater.

The base that supports the sculpture was built with the help of in-kind contributions from Gose & Associates engineering, Kerns Construction and Lopp Construction  The land was donated to the City of Stillwater in 2017 by the late Jon and Nancy Patton. Jon Patton, a former Stillwater mayor, wanted to take an awkward corner property with a driveway too close to a busy intersection and create a spot that would welcome people to the city. Waits said she contacted the Patton family when proposing what was known as The Gateway Project, to make sure they would be happy with the changes. Son Barry Patton said his parents’ love of art made it a natural fit.

A large welcome sign, landscaping and lighting previously placed at the corner was removed to make way for “Interlaced,” but the elements were reused in a display at Boomer Lake Park.


The Innovation Foundation at Oklahoma State University has released a vision plan for a reimagined, 678-acre collaborative research park in southwest Stillwater.

The Innovation Park will be adjacent to the OSU Student Farm, Botanic Garden and the Ferguson College of Agriculture Agronomy Research Station. Formerly called The Oklahoma Technology and Research Park, The Innovation Park will connect these established facilities and serve as a crossroads for advancing OSU's land-grant mission through the pursuit of technology development and commercial partnerships.

Positioned as a welcoming gateway to the city of Stillwater from Highway 51, the park aims to cultivate public-private partnerships and engage the community and state as a centralized hub of innovation, education and collaboration.

This unique environment will encourage individuals to actively engage in tackling society’s most critical health, technology, energy and environmental challenges and leverage the talent of OSU’s applied research institutes — Oklahoma Aerospace Institute for Research and Education, Human Performance and Nutrition Institute, Hamm Institute for American Energy and the National Center for Wellness and Recovery.

Launched this fall, the Student Farm initiative allows students to gain hands-on expertise in land cultivation, crop growth and innovative approaches to overcoming challenges in produce distribution. Led by Dr. Justin Quetone Moss, the Student Farm has already provided over 53,000 pounds of produce to Payne County through a partnership with Our Daily Bread Food and Resource Center. Rachel Condley, Our Daily Bread executive director, said these efforts have helped feed more than 5,000 families in just seven months.

Plans are in development to renovate the historic barn at the Student Farm while preserving its essential character. This renovation will allow the Student Farm to expand its impact through new educational opportunities and valuable nutrition resources, as well as research partnerships with HPNRI, the College of Education and Human Sciences, and OSU Agriculture focused on measuring community health outcomes.

The vision includes concepts for strategically placed collaboration centers throughout the park to nurture creativity, encourage transdisciplinary research and facilitate valuable commercial partnerships.

A proposed Analytical Solutions Center, equipped with a supercomputer and multiple data centers, would anchor the park. There are also plans in development for an Internet Exchange Point, which would attract tech partners, foster collaboration to enhance last-mile connectivity, enabling OSU to provide needed workforce training and virtual health care to rural areas across the state.

The campus also aims to expand university services to provide genomic analysis capabilities and a cutting-edge biorepository. This facility would efficiently store and manage biological samples from human, plant and animal specimens, ensuring optimal preservation for current and future research initiatives.

The Drone Education Center would actively engage visitors and OSU students in hands-on drone applications, promoting education and responsible usage in a contained area.

Nestled within OSU's Botanic Garden, the new 2,100-square-foot Horticulture Education Center will feature a spacious classroom and office space, offering publicly accessible opportunities for inspiration through unique interactions with nature. This facility is designed to advance sustainable practices, creating an eco-conscious environment for OSU, Stillwater and the surrounding communities.

A network of scenic trails, fitness locations, tree walk villages and family friendly amenities will connect the park and its centers. Complementing this natural tapestry, the trail system will incorporate STEM through AI-generated art displays with light and sound, seamlessly integrating the arts, nature and technology in an immersive showcase.


Few exemplify the Cowboy Code’s life of service like Maj. Gen. Michael Thompson.

Thompson, an Oklahoma State University alumnus, is the speaker at his alma mater’s fall 2023 commencement.

In 1983, Thompson joined the Oklahoma Army National Guard and was later commissioned to second lieutenant in 1986 through the Oklahoma Military Department Office Candidate School.  

Over the course of his career, he has commanded at the company, battalion and brigade levels. Thompson was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and 2008.   

In 2017, then Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin appointed him as the adjutant general for the Oklahoma National Guard. Thompson served as the top military advisor to the governor and commanded the Oklahoma Army and Air National Guard from November 2017 to November 2021.   

Before being appointed as adjutant general, Thompson also had a distinguished 28-year career with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety. Thompson joined DPS as an Oklahoma state trooper in 1990. He concluded his DPS career by serving as commissioner of DPS and cabinet secretary for safety and security from 2011 to 2017. Thompson was inducted into the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Hall of Fame in 2019 and received the Governor George Nigh Lifetime Achievement Award in 2022. That same year, Thompson served as the deputy director for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. In 2023, he was inducted into the Oklahoma State University Hall of Fame.     

Thompson is a graduate of Oklahoma’s only historically black college, Langston University. He also holds master’s degrees from OSU and the United States Army War College. Thompson is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the United States Secret Service Executive Seminar and the United States War College.   

OSU President Shrum said it is a privilege to have Thompson for the ceremonies.  

Undergraduate ceremonies, which Thompson will be speaking at, will be Dec. 16, starting with the 10:30 a.m. slot, which includes the Ferguson College of Agriculture, the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology, and the College of Arts and Sciences. The ceremonies will wrap up following the Spears School of Business, the College of Education and Human Sciences ceremonies along with the College of Professional Studies, which begin at 1:30 p.m.

Graduates should arrive 30 minutes prior to the ceremony start time and enter through Boone Pickens Stadium’s Gate 1 South. Doors on the east side of Gallagher-Iba Arena will open for guests one hour prior to the ceremony start time.  

Commencement can also be livestreamed on your TV through Roku, Amazon Fire and Apple TV via the Inside OSU app, and at  For more information on OSU’s 147th graduation ceremonies, visit


Tax Apportionment Report, November 2023 City of Stillwater

The collection is based off of August transactions that were reported to the Oklahoma Tax Commission in September and apportioned to the City in October.

• DECREASE FROM PREVIOUS YEAR: $-40,273 (-2.22%)

• DECREASE FROM PREVIOUS YEAR: $-20,137 (-2.22%)

• DECREASE FROM PREVIOUS YEAR: $-20,137 (-2.22%)

• INCREASE FROM PREVIOUS YEAR: $101,530 (28.38%)

• INCREASE FROM PREVIOUS YEAR: $-22,833 (-12.18%)

Go to the City’s Financial Center for more information about the budget and taxes and monthly reports for sales, use and visitor tax:


Our Daily Bread Food & Resource Center has received a $10,000 grant through the Potts Family Foundation (PFF) based in Oklahoma City to identify needs of families with young children in effort to encourage and assist partner agencies to develop new and improve upon existing community resources.

This is part of a statewide project known as Know and Grow Oklahoma: Building Resilient Children, Families & Communities. Our Daily Bread will utilize Oklahoma State University Center for Rural Health to collect feedback through surveys, conversations, and building relationships within the Stillwater community and surrounding areas.

“We plan to work diligently together throughout our service area and with partners statewide to identify challenges and concerns, while discovering new needs for the families we serve,” Rachael Condley, Our Daily Bread Food & Resource Center said. “We rely on the support of organizations like Healthy Communities Healthy Children in Stillwater to help us find the best connections for information and relationships, but also to help act on the information we receive to be sure that families in our area can get needs met. Their organization is imperative to helping families in our area get needs met, and we’re so thankful for their support during this project.”

In collaboration with the OSU Center for Rural Health and Healthy Communities Healthy Children, Our Daily Bread Food & Resource Center will begin collecting information, hosting community events and interviews within the next few weeks in order to submit findings to PFF prior to mid-January 2024.

Members of Healthy Communities Healthy Children are representatives from Resilient Payne County, Early Childhood Coalition, City of Stillwater, Payne County Health Department, Oklahoma State University, Meridian Technology Center, Stillwater Chamber of Commerce, Head Start, and Stillwater Public Schools.

“These efforts will help us acquire a better understanding of how the children and their families are doing and how individuals and/or community groups might respond in support of them. As part of 15 coalitions statewide, we know it doesn’t matter where you live or what your community looks like, we can all learn from each other about how to better serve Oklahoma children and families,” said Condley.

To join this community-led project, email: Join the conversation at or on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn using @knowandgrowok.

ABC News


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