Clinton City Council meets in regular session later today. The council will hear from Walt Schumacher concerning property considered for condemnation at 2239 Gary Boulevard. Schumacher was before the council in early August and said there is potentially a plan to fix the property and to locate a new business. Mayor David Berrong says the council will learn more tonight.
"As is per our habit, when we're looking at issues of condemnation or issues that involve property, we try to be as understanding as we can as a council," Berrong said. "I think what we did with Mr. Schumacher was to allow him to assess his situation and he listed this day as a good day that he could come back in September. We'll just listen to him and see where we are on his property."
Also on the agenda, the city will consider helping Farm Rail upgrade railroad crossings in the city. The council meets at city hall beginning at 5:30.
Cordell City Council has decided to take no action and keep its ambulance service under operation of the city. Mayor Bob Plummer says the city did get a proposal from Miller Ambulance.
"In house, the way we have it right now, we're running approximately a little less than $100,000 on cost compared to the $155,000 that Miller would be," Plummer said.
The council may consider revisiting the issue at a later time.
Weatherford Police Chief Louis Flowers says accidents in the City of Weatherford have declined over the past four years.
"Four years ago, our accident rate was at 403 a year," Flowers said. "We didn't go at it and say 'hey, we've got to write a lot of tickets.' I just said, 'Guys, be present. Get out and work a little traffic. I don't care whether or not its a warning or a ticket. Just get out there and be seen.' And guess what? Accidents went down the year after that, and they're even down now."
Flowers says accidents have dropped from 400 to 280 per year.
The latest information from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows nearly 22% of the state is either experiencing abnormally dry or moderate drought conditions. Most of those conditions are confined to the northern part of the state. However, Weatherford Fire Chief Mike Karlin says conditions are setting up for a busy fire season.
"With the growth that we have now, this could lead right on into the spring," Karlin said. "It could be a long winter, depending on how moisture comes. We're just going to be looking at our vegitation continuing to die and become dormant, so it's just going to increase that. Our temperatures will help us when we fall off into the winter temperatures. Depending on how moisuture comes, if our humidity stays down and things like that, we'll continue to see fires all the way to spring."
Karlin says lower temperatures this summer has helped hold down wildfires.
The City of Weatherford continues to seek a FEMA grant that will help fund repairs to the sink hole at the former Ford dealership site says Economic Development Director Chuck Dougherty.
"Repairing the storm water drainage pipe that caused the problem originially," Dougherty said. "To move that and repair that and kind of get that back to a level, useful piece of ground is probably going to be in the $750,000 range."
Dougherty says the city would have to match 25% of any FEMA grant.
The Assistant to the President and Director of Instituional Advancement at Southwestern Oklahoma State University spoke to members of the Weatherford Economic Development foundation yesterday. Garrett King says numbers show Oklahoma higher education generates $9.2 billion in economic output and 85,000 jobs, is the 5th most affordable in the United States, but is the last in the country for state support.
"Most states increased investment in higher education over the last five fiscal years," King said. "Those investments ranged between 2.1%, we had some states increase spending in public education to almost 51.4%. Seven states in the last five years, tanked it, from a range of about 1.8%, our neighbors to the north, our neigbors to the east, and us, 17.8."
King says when it comes to future physical needs, the SWOSU Foundation and Association are focusing on a dedicated facility for research, expansion of the student union, and addressing student housing needs.
Weatherford Economic Development Director Chuck Dougherty says progress continues on the second phase of Exit 82. Dougherty says ODOT plans to temporarily close eastbound Exit 82 later this month.
"Eastbound, from Main, they're going to be closing that for four days starting September 25th," Dougherty said. "They're going to put up signs in advance to warn people and try and detour traffic to exit 84. They have a transition time when they have to make the two surfaces meet."
Dougherty says the project is expected to be finished in February.
The Weatherford half cent sales tax fails to pass Tuesday's election by a 53 percent to 47 percent margin. Results remain unofficial until the votes are canvassed.
"Disappointed," said Weatherford Mayor Mike Brown. "You know I think that it really is a big part of the continued growth of Weatherford, and I hate that it didn't pass. I guess we'll just go back to the drawing board, and probably just going to have to wait on Lyle Road."
The tax was intended to fund improvements to Lyle Road, and would have raised the sales tax rate from 9 to 9.5%.
Tuesday's Unofficial Results
Yes - 24
No - 21
St. Eugene'sYes - 74
No - 99
Yes - 46
No - 67
First United Methodist
Yes - 32
No - 50
Yes - 121
No - 98
Yes - 297
No - 335
Beckham County Sheriff's authorities are searching for several suspects that took off on foot following a pursuit overnight. Beckham County Sheriff Derek Manning says the pursuit started in Wheeler County, Texas and ended just southwest of Elk City on Interstate 40.
"I was called out after the pursuit was initiated," Manning said. "I made it to Merritt Road just in time to put out stop sticks in front of the suspect vehicle, which did flatten one of their tires and ended the pursuit within about a mile and a half. The suspects bailed out, we believe seven possibly eight of them bailed out of the vehicle, headed south and east from the end of the pursuit, which was about the 36-and-a-half mile marker."
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has a helicopter helping assist with the search. Several law enforcement agencies are on patrol in the area trying to keep a perimeter contained and checking on farms and residents in that area.
Custer County Assessor Brad Rennels says a settlement has occurred in a suit filed against Custer County by DCPMidstream over valuation of property taxes.
"My value, originally, this was 2016 values, was $21,185,888," Rennels said. "They originally asked for that to be reduced to $5.7 million. We settled the value at $17 million."
Rennels says as a result of the settlement, Thomas-Fay-Custer schools will receive nearly $17,000 less than anticipated. DCP Midstream filed suit against 22 counties.