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FROM OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY:

OSU Stillwater spring commencement ceremonies are slated to be held outdoors May 7-8 at Boone Pickens Stadium. A number of new protocols are in place as the university prepares for in-person ceremonies. The health and safety of the campus community, friends and family are top priorities.

In addition to celebrating our spring and summer degree candidates this May, we are inviting our class of 2020 graduates to participate as capacity allows.

Spring and summer 2021 degree candidates and class of 2020 graduates must register in advance to attend commencement. Each student will be able to receive tickets for up to eight guests.

Masks are required and seating will be socially distanced. In case of a severe weather event, individual ceremonies may be rescheduled for May 9 or 10.

Ceremony Schedule
Friday, May 7
    1 p.m. — College of Veterinary Medicine
    7:00 p.m. — Graduate College

Saturday, May 8
    9 a.m. — Ferguson College of Agriculture
    9 a.m. — College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology
    12:30 p.m. — Spears School of Business
    4 p.m. — College of Arts and Sciences
    7:30 p.m. — College of Education and Human Sciences

For more details, visit commencement.okstate.edu.

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FROM THE CITY OF STILLWATER:

The state and Oklahoma power providers are continuing to assess the impact from February’s extreme cold weather and how costs will be recovered from customers statewide.

In addition to various steps power providers are considering, the Oklahoma legislature is discussing bills that would establish bonding that could help address the issue. Media reports have quoted possible payment amounts and plans, but it is important to remember that no final decisions have been made for Stillwater. This update provides the latest details.

There are two parts of the electricity equation: the cost of natural gas and the cost of electricity, both of course, affected by the extreme February run-up in the cost of natural gas.

1. The cost of natural gas to generate electricity that Stillwater produced and was consumed through the Southwest Power Pool:
Stillwater does not provide natural gas service to customers, but natural gas is a major source for generating electricity. Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) provides electricity to Stillwater and was hit with record high prices for natural gas. The price for a dekatherm (a unit of energy) of natural gas went from approximately $2.85 a dekatherm (dth) to $428.00 for six straight days.

During the extraordinary winter event, the Stillwater Energy Center was called upon to run 24 hours a day for approximately 10 days to support the electricity needs of the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), which manages the electric grid and the wholesale power market for the central United States. Stillwater was directed by GRDA, which is the City’s market participant in the SPP, to “run at all costs.”

As a result, the City of Stillwater’s natural gas bill to produce electricity for the SPP for February was approximately $15.7 million. Its annual budget for natural gas is typically around $1.6 million a year.

However, the City’s contract with GRDA states that it will purchase all of the energy produced from the Stillwater Energy Center. That energy payment offsets the cost of natural gas as well as pays for variable operations and maintenance cost. In April, GRDA made a “make whole” payment of approximately $4.2 million, which when combined with the energy payment previously made in March for February’s energy production, covered the City’s costs.

Financial impact? NO. Because of the GRDA “make whole” payment there is no financial impact on Stillwater Electric Utility customers related to natural gas purchases.

2. The cost of the electricity that Stillwater purchased and provided to its customers:
All electricity producers and providers in the Southwest Power Pool, including GRDA, are determining the best way to be paid for the high cost of energy purchased during the event. GRDA has stated it plans to amortize the cost over multiple years to soften the impact to customers.

The GRDA administers a current Power Cost Adjustment (PCA) schedule that allows it to recover costs over 12 months for variations in fuel cost and market revenue, among other costs. Earlier this month, the GRDA board approved a new PCA that allows for recovery of costs for a period of longer than 12 months.

GRDA also announced the earliest the first billing under the new PCA structure will occur is August 5, but may occur later depending on when the Southwest Power Pool makes a final determination regarding any “make whole” payments.

Financial impact? YES. The City will know what it owes GRDA for its electricity for the February event and the plans for payment 30-60 days in advance. It will then pass those details along to its customers.

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FROM THE CITY OF STILLWATER:

With the ongoing changes in guidelines coming from the CDC and the state regarding public safety measures for COVID, the City of Stillwater reiterates that its face covering ordinance remains in effect.

Payne County Health Department, Stillwater Medical Center, Stillwater Public Schools, Oklahoma State University and Meridian Technology Center met with the City of Stillwater earlier this month to discuss each group’s plans. All of these community partners plan to continue requiring face masks at their facilities, campuses, etc.

To facilitate vaccinations, the CDC has created vaccinefinder.org. It is a free, online service where users can search for locations that offer vaccinations. The site allows clinics, pharmacies, and health departments to provide accurate and up-to-date information about vaccination services and availability.

On Feb. 24, the Stillwater City Council adopted Ordinance No. 3472 which allowed the City’s face covering ordinance (No.3452) to remain in effect through May 25, 2021. Residents and visitors should continue to follow the current rules and regulations for face coverings through the new expiration date.

Stillwater’s mask 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 day care to wear a face covering), and non-public areas or workplaces. See details and answers to common questions at Stillwater.org/covid-19.

Acceptable face coverings include R95, KN95, dust masks, procedural masks, cotton bandanas, neck gaiters, running buffs and some tightly woven scarves. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

The City has an Ordinance 3452 Hotline (405.533.8533) that businesses or residents may call to report non-compliance or if they have questions.

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