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David Deaton

David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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Friday, 15 September 2017 22:59

Decorating Wisely: Thanksgiving planner

I know it seems a bit early, but I’ve already started thinking about Thanksgiving. I mean, heck, we’re already to mid-September, wasn’t it just Labor Day?! Also, this year will be a bit different due to Ashton’s work schedule. You all know what a stickler I am for holidays and traditions, so we’re figuring out a way to preserve our holiday traditions while working around scheduling.

 

Ashton’s normal days off are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so if the holiday falls on one of those days she’s golden, but I guess you know where that leaves her on Thanksgiving because the news never stops even for turkey and dressing.

 

Yes, Thanksgiving at the farm will have to be scheduled a bit earlier in the day this year, so she can go before work, but where does that leave all of her co-workers that don’t have any family nearby? One of them told me that the station bought them Chinese food last year for Thanksgiving.

 

I said, “Oh no, not on my watch! You will have a traditional Thanksgiving meal!” We have opted to do a Tuesday before Thanksgiving Friendsgiving. Now you guys can see why I feel the need to start planning now because I’m finally in my last semester at UAFS and technically, I’m still in school on that Tuesday, but fingers crossed I will not get sick and have to use any of my days allowed by my professors until that day.


Technically, Thanksgiving is about 9 ½ weeks away, but I believe you can never start too early planning and working out timelines. I apply this to most everything I do. Am I saying I never have a problem or late? No way, but I sure would hate to see my life without all of this initial legwork. It would be bad, very bad!


For something like this, I personally don’t think it’s too early to send out invitations. Especially for a holiday celebration. They all know they will be working, therefore, I just want them to know that we will be doing something special on a day that they can come.


8 WEEKS
• Pin, pin, pin away on Pinterest and look through old cookbooks for tried and true family favorites.


6 WEEKS
• Sift through and turn all those ideas into real plans by finalizing the menu and recipes.
• Make a shopping list of all the ingredients you need. This includes everything you have on hand, because at this point, you’re just trying to figure out what you need. This includes cooking gear, i.e., a roasting pan, etc.
• After you make the list, go through your cabinets and mark off anything you already have.
• Make a general serving plan and the items you need for that.
• Finalize décor.
• Start clearing out cabinets. This is also a great way to take inventory of your cooking gear.


5 WEEKS
• Divide the list from Week 6 into three categories: Perishable, Non-Perishable and Cooking Gear
• Start purchasing nonperishables and cooking gear as your budget allows. It’s a lot easier if you spread the expense out over the next few weeks.
• Order anything needed online and reserve anything you need to rent like tables and chairs.

 

4 WEEKS
• Develop your cooking plan based on your recipes and menu items.
• Based on the plan, divide the perishables by the date you’ll be buying them.
• Clean out the fridge and freezer.
• Press or dry clean table linens.


2 WEEKS
• Buy the perishables you will need based on your cooking plan.
• Items to make ahead and freeze are pie dough, bread, cornbread.
• Arrange your tablescape and other decorations. If using fresh flowers, go ahead and place the empty vase where you want it and then all you’ll need to do is fill it with flowers.
• This is the time to do what my mother-in-law calls, “clean the corners” i.e., get in there and scrub all the stuff you miss the rest of the time.
• Buy the turkey! Dang..almost forgot the star of the show!


1 WEEK
• Buy any remaining perishable items.
• Start defrosting piecrusts.


2 DAYS
• Prepare pies and like items.


1 DAY
• Chill wine/beer.
• Prepare sides.
• Defrost breads and other premade frozen items.


Of course, this is a general suggestion as to how I do things, but tailor it to your needs and traditions.


As I’ve mentioned I love tradition and I think it is so very important in a family, but I think there is always room to add new ones and evolve as your life seasons evolve.

 

I’m looking forward to this new tradition and inviting new people to be a part of our old traditions.

Press release

 


OKLAHOMA CITY - Governor Mary Fallin today issued an executive order calling for a special session of the Oklahoma Legislature for lawmakers to address the shortfall in the current fiscal year budget as well as develop long-term solutions to government inefficiencies and fund a pay increase for public school teachers.


The governor called for the first extraordinary session of the 56th Legislature to convene Monday, Sept. 25.


Fallin recommended lawmakers:
• Address the immediate budget shortfall created by the loss of the $215 million cigarette fee revenue.
• Have the option to address a long-term solution to continuing budget shortfalls.
• Address the need for more consolidation and other efficiencies in all areas of state government.
• Clarify intended exemptions to the new 1.25 percent sales tax on vehicles.
• Address a needed pay increase for K-12 public school teachers.


“Urgent action is needed,” said Fallin. “Lawmakers need to come together quickly to fill this fiscal year’s budget hole so our citizens can be assured they will receive necessary core services. I also am asking them to develop solutions to address structural deficits in our budget. For decades, we have attempted to balance our budget for too long with the use of one-time resources. We must develop a budget based on stability, not volatility.”


The state’s 2018 fiscal year budget, which took effect July 1, has a shortfall of $215 million as a result of last month’s Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling, which struck down a proposed smoking cessation fee that was estimated to raise that amount. The $215 million represents just state funds. With the loss of matching federal funds, state agencies estimate the total is nearly $500 million.


“In the call, I have also given the Legislature the authority to address the need for more efficiencies in state government, which should provide long-term savings for the taxpayers,” the governor said. “In this regard, I have provided the budget committee chairpersons an extensive list of efficiencies I have proposed.


“I have been talking with legislative leaders from both parties and I will continue to work with them until an agreement is reached,” Fallin said. “I wish we had an easy button to push but that is not reality. Our challenges in front of us are difficult and it will take great resolve and statesmanship for us to be successful.”


Fallin said it is important for lawmakers to provide sufficient revenues to meet the basic responsibilities of state government, such as education, health and public safety.


“We must deliver services that work for the people, and put people over politics,” the governor said.


“I have also provided the legislative authority to clarify our intention that the new 1.25 percent sales tax on vehicles not extend to the trucking industry,” she said.


Fallin said it’s time a permanent pay raise is enacted for public school teachers. However, the governor said a pay raise alone will not improve student outcomes, urging lawmakers to ensure more existing dollars are reaching the classroom by eliminating administrative inefficiencies.


“I encourage lawmakers to see this special session as an opportunity to change the fiscal course we are headed,” said Fallin. “I hope they seize the moment to pass legislation that makes more recurring revenue available, reduces our reliance on one-time funds, and puts our state on the path to success.”

 

Press release

 

The Oklahoma Senate Democratic caucus issued a statement today through their leader, Sen. John Sparks, D-Norman, commenting on the Governor’s call for a special session of the Oklahoma Legislature:

“The Senate Democrats have been clear all along: we need to approach a special session thoughtfully with real plans for recurring revenue.

 

“Now more than ever we know that the numbers don’t lie. The policies of the last ten years have put us in this position and Republican leadership at the Capitol has failed Oklahomans. It is long past time for the legislature to go in a different direction, which is both the challenge and the opportunity of this special session.

 

“Our constituents did not send us to the Capitol to simply make across the board cuts and walk away claiming ‘we tried.’ The people of Oklahoma expect more from us than a short-term, ‘band-aid’ budget fix which fills the immediate budget hole, but does nothing to address the budget problems we are facing next year. Hard working Oklahomans demand more than regressive taxes which burden them disproportionately.

 

“We need to set clear priorities, take hard votes and make tough choices with all revenue options on the table for open, transparent discussion and debate. This is a time for cooperation and compromise. This is the time for a plan of action, accountability and real results. This is the time for leadership and a long-term plan for our state and its people."

 

“We owe it to our constituents to focus on a long-term budget solution which protects the most basic, core government functions and services. This is what our constituents demand of us and what they deserve from us with no exceptions and no excuses.”

 

At approximately 6:55 am, on September 15, 2017, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol were dispatched to an injury accident that occurred 1.3 miles east of Monroe on State Highway 83 in LeFlore County.

 

According to the report a 1999 Ford Explorer driven by Traci Harris, 45 of Hartford, Arkansas was traveling westbound on SH83 when she departed the roadway to the left, overturning one and one quarter times.


Harris was pinned for approximately 45 minutes before being freed by the Howe Fire department.


She was transported by LeFlore County EMS to Sparks Hospital in Ft. Smith and was admitted in stable condition with trunk internal and head injury.

 

The accident was investigated by OHP, LeFlore County Sheriff’s Office, LeFlore County EMS and Howe Fire Dept.

Press release


OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Micheal Bergstrom is in Phoenix, Arizona as a delegate attending the Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) Planning Convention, which commenced on September 12 and is scheduled to complete its work on September 15. The gathering is preparing the rules and guidelines for a future Article V Convention of the States for proposing amendments.

 

“The national debt just surpassed $20 trillion this week, and it is projected to increase by a trillion dollars a year for the next decade. This is just not sustainable,” said Bergstrom, R-Adair. “Since Congress has failed to restrict its spending, it is up to the states to act, and that is what we are doing.”

 

Article V of the United States Constitution provides two methods for proposing amendments to the Constitution. It may be either a resolution adopted by two-thirds of both houses of Congress, or by the states at a convention called for that purpose. Currently, 27 states, including Oklahoma, have signed on to the convention, with seven more needed for the convention to be called.

 

“What we are preparing for is a convention which will focus on only one amendment, one that will limit our federal government from spending more than it takes in,” Bergstrom said. “At this time, we are spending more than our nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), which is the size of the U.S. economy. We are borrowing trillions of dollars from foreign countries. We have had the Federal Reserve Bank printing money to pay our bills. We have looted all of our Federal trust and pension funds, including our military retirement funds, to pay for our government.”

 

“We are on the path to a financial disaster that will make the Great Recession of 2008 seem like an economic speed bump in comparison,” added Bergstrom.

 

In 1990, foreign entities owned six percent of the nation’s gross debt. That has climbed to more than 34 percent. The United States is beholden to China, Japan, Russia and many other countries for loans that finance the government.

 

“Congress has put our nation in a dangerous position, where we are subject to the political influence of other nations over U.S. foreign and trade policy because of its willingness to run up an insane amount of debt and take money from nations who do not have our best interests in mind,” Bergstrom said. “That is why states like Oklahoma are stepping forward to force Congress to change its behavior. We must do this to protect our children, grandchildren and future generations from a crippling national debt, and I’m proud to be a part of this process.”

 

The Oklahoma delegation consists of state Senators Micheal Bergstrom, Nathan Dahm and Julie Daniels as well as Reps. Mark Lepak and John Bennett, former Rep. Gary Banz and attorney Mark Nuttle.


According to a press release, starting Oct. 1,2017, businesses in Oklahoma that are required to have a permit to operate, including restaurants, hotels, public pools, and x-ray facilities, will have a new set of fees. The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) has worked with the Oklahoma Food Service Advisory Council for nearly a year to develop these changes.


These fee changes will bring Oklahoma closer to the regional average price for licenses. Fees for new food, drug and lodging facilities in surrounding states can range from below $100 to nearly $2,000. Oklahoma has not seen an increase in these fees since 2009 when they were raised $100.


The proposed changes went through a public comment period in October and November 2016. They were then presented to the Oklahoma State Board of Health in February 2017 and eventually sent to the legislature. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin approved the fee changes in June 2017 to be effective Oct. 1, 2017. The fees that have been changed are initial licensing fees, plan review fees, renewal fees, and late renewal fees.


These fees will go towards sustaining the consumer protection programs of the OSDH and ensuring facilities are being inspected according to state law. These routine inspections make sure all food, lodging, and other services are safe for the public. The inspections look for overall cleanliness, ensure food is being handled properly, and protect the overall health of the public.


Part of the changes to the fees was to simplify the licensing of X-ray tubes in dental, veterinarian, and other facilities. The old fees were confusing to many licensees and proved to be unnecessarily complicated. Some facilities will see little to no change in fees, while others might see a slight increase.


For a complete list of the fees and more information about the Consumer Health Service, please visit chs.health.ok.gov.

 

Press release


OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter is urging Oklahomans to use extreme caution when purchasing a used vehicle that may have been damaged by Hurricanes Harvey or Irma.


Attorney General Hunter today sent a letter to the Oklahoma Tax Commission, to distribute to tag agencies statewide, urging administrators to be suspicious and vigilant in the transfer of vehicle titles from Texas and surrounding states entering the Oklahoma market and to carefully examine all out of state titles.



According to news reports, up to one million vehicles are estimated to have been damaged by flood waters in the wake of the storms.


Attorney General Hunter said the state has experienced this type of fraud before after past natural disasters and today’s letter and release of recommendations are designed to help Oklahomans looking to buy and to put criminals on notice.


“Flooded cars are a ticking time bomb,” Attorney General Hunter said. “A car that has been cleaned up may run fine and even look fine, but in reality it is a matter of time before something goes wrong. When the electrical, mechanical and safety systems are exposed to water, it compromises the essential functions of the vehicle, putting families and those who share the road at risk.


“I encourage Oklahomans looking for used vehicles to use extreme caution. It’s unfortunate, but con artists view tragedies like we have seen recently as an opportunity to take advantage of others. We will pursue charges if they do this in our state.”


How the scam works
Attorney General Hunter said scammers will fix a water damaged car with aesthetic upgrades, masking them as an ordinary used car. Individuals will then obtain an out of state title, without divulging what has happened and transport the car far beyond the flooded region, where consumers may be less aware of what to look for.


Oklahoma statutes requires owners of a used vehicle entering the state from another state to complete a flood damage disclosure as part of the title process. However, if the seller’s out of state title shows no damage, the Oklahoma title won’t either, leaving the purchaser on their own.


Recommendations when purchasing a used car
The Attorney General’s Office offers the following recommendations regarding what to look for when purchasing a used vehicle.


• Always have a certified, independent mechanic inspect the car prior to purchase;
• Get a report on the car;
• Check the Vehicle Information Number (VIN) with the National Insurance Crime Bureau, here: https://www.nicb.org/theft_and_fraud_awareness/vincheck;
• Purchase from a reputable seller.


Signs of a flood damaged car:
• Rust or corrosion under the hood on engine components and wiring;
• Water in oil or transmission, check this by pulling the measuring sticks;
• Water lines in the trunk;
• Mud buildup in unusual places, like under the dashboard;
• Mismatched upholstery and carpet combinations;
• Rust on unpainted parts like bolts or door hinges;
• Musty odors;
• Be suspicious of any car being sold with a lost title.


For more consumer information when purchasing a used car, visit the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System, here: https://www.vehiclehistory.gov


To report flooded cars being sold in Oklahoma, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit at (405) 521-2029, or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



MEDIA CONTACTS:
Terri Watkins, Communications Director
Office: (405) 522-2283
Cell: (405) 250-8792
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Alex Gerszewski, Press Secretary
Office: (405) 522-3116
Cell: (405) 250-9230
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Friday, 15 September 2017 13:02

Child Support Services to collect new fee

 

According to a press release from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, beginning Oct. 1, many child support customers will see a new fee withheld from their child support payments.


Child Support Services, a division of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, will charge 3 percent, up to $10 per month, on child support collections.


The new fee is expected to generate about $1 million this year and is one of several measures taken by DHS to balance its FY 2018 budget.

 

Custodial persons currently receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or SoonerCare (Medicaid) will be excluded from the fee.

 

Child Support Services has collected nearly $1 million dollars a day for Oklahoma children and families. The program has recovered state funding spent on public assistance and has prevented the need for assistance for many families.


While collections remain high for Oklahoma families, the program’s ability to operate has been impacted by several years of declining state revenue. Although Child Support Services has historically resisted the path of many states that pass fees onto their customers, the state budget situation has necessitated the fee to maintain a confident level of services.

 

For no more than $10 a month, Child Support Services remains quite a bargain for taxpayers and the people served. Customers benefit from vast available resources including new hire reporting; federal and state tax off-sets; income withholding through employers; and assistance with establishing, modifying, and enforcing child support orders.

 

For more information about Child Support Services, call 1-800-522-2922, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or visit www.okdhs.org and select “Child Support”.

 

Friday, 15 September 2017 12:31

CNB Donates to Poteau Fire Department

 

Central National Bank donated 5 thermal imagers to the Poteau Fire Department.

 

This technology will help the fire department to locate problem areas and heat sources that may not be visible with the naked eye.

 

Pictured from Left: Chris Fenton – CNB President, John Ford – CNB Senior VP/Poteau Firefighter, John Pickel – Poteau Fire Chief, Steve Holton – CNB CEO

 

 

Press release


(Oklahoma City) - The Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Commission (WCC) announced today a 2018 loss costs decrease of 16.3 percent has been filed by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI). Loss costs are an insurance industry term for the base line premium variable, which insurance companies use to develop their rates. The 2018 filing shows the largest percentage decrease in loss costs since workers' compensation reforms were passed in 2013.

 

This decrease will bring the total workers' compensation loss costs rate reduction to 60.3 percent in the five years since the enactment of the reforms championed by Governor Mary Fallin and the Legislature. The continued steady decline in the advisory rate for workers' compensation insurance in Oklahoma is an indication the 2013 legislative reforms are having a significant effect.

 

"The workers' compensation reform efforts continue to bring good news for Oklahoma," said Governor Mary Fallin. "Injured workers' claims are being processed more timely, and by reducing costs Oklahoma businesses can invest in good-paying jobs and increase the quality of life for employees and their families."

 

The reduction in loss costs translates to a reduction in workers' compensation premiums, helping Oklahoma become more competitive with surrounding states in attracting new business. Reductions in premium costs also allow current Oklahoma businesses to invest in their employees with increase salaries and benefits, hire more workers, and modernize their facilities and equipment, providing a better and safer working environment.

 

"The WCC is also doing our part to reduce costs and increase efficiency for Oklahoma businesses and workers," said WCC Chairman Mark Liotta, commenting on the rate reduction. "The WCC is implementing paperless claims processing and replacing our antiquated case management system. With these tools, the Commission can better meet our mission of providing fair processing of claims, helping injured workers receive timely treatment, and return to work soon."

 

The WCC was established February 1, 2014, to replace the previous Workers' Compensation Court. The WCC processes all injured worker claims filed on and after February 1, 2014.

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