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Stillwater's First News with Bill Van Ness


    As of this advisory, there are 121,495 confirmed total positive cases of COVID-19 in Oklahoma.
    There are 20 additional deaths identified including a Payne County death from Cushing. There are 1,326 total deaths in the state. There are 1,218 new recoveries for a total of 105,137.
    For more information, visit coronavirus.health.ok.gov.

PAYNE           2841          13              2662        166
CREEK          1625           39             1396        160
LINCOLN        812            22              674           97
LOGAN           881            2                723         129
NOBLE           190             3               160           25
PAWNEE         343            5                298          35

STILLWATER  2308          8               2196        104



Richmond Elementary School first-grade teacher Ginger Billman has been named one of 12 finalists for Oklahoma Teacher of the Year.

Billman was named Stillwater Public Schools Teacher of the Year in May, qualifying her to be considered for the state level honor.

All finalists were named teachers of the year for their districts and selected by a panel of educators, legislators, and community members after review of their application packets.

Billman has been an educator for 27 years. She has taught kindergarten, first and second grades and special education K-5 in Oklahoma City, Cushing and Stillwater. Billman is in her 17th year of educating Richmond students. She is also a Great Expectations Instructor and teaches professional development to educators across Oklahoma and other states during the summer.

The 2021 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year will be named in February. Beginning July 1, the honoree will begin Teacher of the Year duties, including public speaking engagements and serving as an ambassador for Oklahoma’s teachers and an advocate for the profession.



Many of our community's small businesses are facing an unprecedented economic disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To help, Stillwater City Council, working with the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce, created Stillwater Small Business Assistance Program. This program, which council approved on Monday, Oct. 19, will assist businesses who need help reopening or have other financial needs. Applications are available now.

“We know our neighbors need help,” Mayor Will Joyce said, “so the City of Stillwater is committed to doing everything we can to support and preserve our local businesses,”

City council asked City Manager Norman McNickle and Chamber CEO Justin Minges to explore ways in which they could make a difference. The result is a new grant program that moved the funding that the City received from the CARES act reimbursement into a $500,000 grant pool. Grants will remain available until the funding is depleted.

McNickle said, “Helping local businesses stay in business is critical to everyone in our community.”

The guidelines and approval process for Stay Open Stillwater are outlined on the Chamber’s website at www.growstillwater.org/grants.

Program details are as follows:

    Grants up to $5,000 for qualifying small businesses
    Fewer than 50 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees and annual income for 2019 less than $10 million
    The business must be located within the Stillwater corporate city limits
    The business must provide evidence of at least a 25% revenue shortfall between March through May 2020 compared to designated periods from 2019–2020

The Chamber will focus on business-to-business outreach to ensure businesses know about the availability of the grant opportunity; while the City Manager’s Office will review and approve the applications.

“If you have questions about the application process, let us know,” Minges said. “We are here to make sure businesses get the funding they need.”

Mayor Joyce is pleased to see the program move forward, “Not only are locally-owned stores job-creators, they build vibrant, strong communities and recycle a much larger share of their revenue back into our local economy.” He also stressed that another way to help Stillwater’s business community was to shop local, especially during the upcoming holiday season.

For the latest information on COVID-19, with details on all that the City of Stillwater is doing to keep its residents safe, visit  http://stillwater.org/page/breaking-news

ABC News

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