Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome
OKLAHOMA CITY – The governor on Monday signed a bill to protect children 12 years of age or younger from being placed in a state juvenile detention facility unless all alternatives have been exhausted and the child is charged with an offense that would be classified as a felony if committed by an adult.
House Bill 1282, authored by State Rep. Mark Lawson, R-Sapulpa, was a request by the Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA). It also sets limits for 13- and 14-year-olds admitted to detention. The bill is part of an overall reform of the state’s juvenile justice system. It passed both chambers of the Legislature with unanimous consent.
“This bill requires the state to seek other alternatives for these children who commit adult crimes but who are much too young to be placed in detention facilities,” Lawson said. “They would only be placed in a juvenile center if no other alternative can be found for them and if their crime warrants such detention.”
Sen. David Rader, R-Tulsa, is the Senate author of the bill.
“We know Oklahoma leads the nation in Adverse Childhood Experiences, and detaining our children can contribute to these negative experiences that can have lifelong effects on our youth,” Rader said. “Now is the time to reform our state’s justice system, and ensuring our children are not placed in a detention facility when there are better alternative options available is an important first step.”
Lawson and OJA agreed that detention contributes to a child’s Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), which can have a lasting and negative effect on a person throughout their lifetime. Oklahoma children have the highest rates of ACEs in the nation.
HB 1282 also requires OJA to pay 100% of the cost for any child in OJA custody awaiting an OJA placement bed. OJA currently pays 85% of the operating cost for every contracted bed, which historically has led to high wait times. The additional cost can be paid through unencumbered funds reserved for such expenses, according to OJA.
Lawson said he’s worked with OJA to ensure young children have different treatment options than just detention with the goal of restoring these children to normal life as quickly as possible and reducing the chance they end up in the justice system for life. He applauded the agency for its work to adjudicate juveniles more quickly, to allow them to receive services closer to home and to decrease the length of stay in the state’s care.
He said these changes have resulted in fewer detention beds being needed in the state.
A Personal injury collision occurred May 20, 2020, at 10:52 AM on I40 eastbound at mile marker 297, 1 mile east of Vian, Oklahoma, in Sequoyah County.
A 2019 Ford F150, driven by Edward Madden of Perry, Oklahoma, was travelling eastbound on the on ramp to I40 from mile mark 297.
A 2008 Toyota Tacoma, driven by John Woods of Gans, Oklahoma, was travelling eastbound on I40.
Madden failed to yield at the yield sign and struck the Tacoma. Neither driver was injured.
The passenger in Woods’ vehicle, Joseph Woods from Sallisaw, Oklahoma, was transported by First Flight to St John Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma and admitted in stable condition with head and trunk internal injuries.
Investigated by OHP and assisted by members of Sequoyah County EMS, Vian Police Department, and Vian Fire Department.
OKLAHOMA CITY – A federal judge has sentenced Jeff Terry to over three years in prison and ordered the former Mangum pharmacy owner to pay nearly $1.1 million he previously agreed to pay in restitution when he pled guilty to a false claims scheme in 2019.
The initial investigation that led to Terry’s indictment found he falsified prescription information within his pharmacy’s software program, then submitted those false claims to SoonerCare and Medicare Part D for drugs that were never prescribed or dispensed to patients.
“Many of our state’s most vulnerable citizens rely on the Medicaid and Medicare systems for healthcare coverage,” Attorney General Mike Hunter said. “To defraud it, as Jeff Terry did, is disgraceful. I appreciate Judge Scott Palk for sending him to prison and holding him accountable. I am also thankful for our strong partnership with U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma Tim Downing, whose team was instrumental in bringing Terry to justice. We will continue to combine our resources to ensure taxpayer money and Oklahomans are protected.”
The investigation was led by the attorney general’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General, Audit Services. The case, and resulting plea agreement, were handled by the Attorney General’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Oklahoma.
“The protection of the integrity of federal and state health care benefit programs is of paramount importance” said U.S. Attorney Downing. “Oklahomans and citizens across the United States rely on Medicare and Medicaid services to maintain a healthy quality of life. The pilfering by anyone from these programs will not be tolerated. We appreciate very much the opportunity to work with General Hunter’s capable team on this case.”
In addition to prison time and restitution, Judge Palk also ordered Terry to complete 100 hours of community service and three years of supervised release. In announcing the sentence, Judge Palk cited the nature and seriousness of the offense and the need to deter others from engaging in similar conduct.
The Oklahoma Medicaid Fraud Control Unit receives 75% of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award. The remaining 25% is funded through recoveries. For further information, click here: https://bit.ly/2zRQJFT.
A fatality collision occurred May 20, 2020, at approximately 9:34 PM approximately 2 miles east of Miami, OK near SH10 and County Road South 600.
Thomas Greer of Diamond, MO, was walking westbound on the roadway when he was struck by a 2016 GMC Sierra driven by Gina Elam of Miami, which was also traveling westbound.
Greer was pronounced dead at the scene by Integris EMS with multiple injuries.
According to the report filed by OHP, the cause of the collision was Pedestrian Action.
Investigated by OHP, Miami Police Department, Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office, Miami Fire Department, and Integris EMS.
WASHINGTON— Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) today highlighted legislation he supports to hold China accountable for the role they played in the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Chinese government and the communist party lied about where COVID-19 originated and covered up how bad it really was for months,” Mullin said. “They are directly responsible for the pandemic which has cost us too many lives and livelihoods, all while completely devastating our economy. I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure China is held accountable for their actions.”
Legislation Mullin has cosponsored includes:
- R 6863, the COVID-19 Accountability Act: If China doesn’t assist in any COVID-19 investigation by the U.S., our allies, or U.N. affiliate, as well as close all wet markets and release all pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong, then President Trump can impose multiple types of sanctions on them.
- R. 1811, the Countering the Chinese Government and Communist Party’s Political Influence Operations Act of 2019: Requires the Secretary of State to develop a strategy to counter political influence campaigns, ensure U.S. citizens are protected and Chinese nationals living temporarily in the U.S. know intimidation or surveillance by the Chinese government is an unacceptable invasion of their rights.
- Res. 909, Support an International Investigation of China’s Handling of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Condemns China’s actions during the pandemic. Shows U.S.’ support for an international investigation into the handling of COVID-19 by the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the impact on the U.S. and other nations. Calls for a mechanism to get compensation from the Government of China for the harm, loss, and destruction they brought upon the world.
WASHINGTON, May 21, 2020 – Every year, millions of Americans commemorate Memorial Day to honor the sacrifices so many have made to protect our country. This holiday weekend might not be like past years, so while we keep public health recommendations in mind, let’s not forget food safety practices to prevent foodborne illnesses.
“Memorial Day is the unofficial start of the summer season,” says Dr. Mindy Brashears, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Under Secretary for Food Safety. “This summer may look different than most, and you can protect your family from foodborne illness and other illnesses during your summer celebrations by avoiding large gatherings, practicing social distancing, and washing your hands regularly.”
For those who choose to celebrate outdoors, USDA recommends the following food safety tips to keep your outdoor activities safe and fun this Memorial Day weekend.
Remember the Summer Season
Summer weather can be hot and humid, which means your food won’t stay safe as long as it could indoors. When the temperature outside is above 90°F, perishable food such as meat and poultry, dips and cold salads, or cut fruits and vegetables are only safe out on the table for one hour. According to a recent USDA survey, nearly 85 percent of participants said they don’t nest cold foods in ice when they serve it. Keeping cold foods cold is an important step to keep food safe and healthy, so store them on ice, in coolers, or in your fridge and freezer.
In the same survey, 66 percent of participants indicated they did not keep their cooked foods, like burgers and hot dogs, warm after cooking. Just like cold foods, hot perishable foods should be kept warm (above 140°F) until they’re eaten. You can easily do this by moving these items to the side of your grill away from the main heat source, rather than taking them off the grill entirely. Make sure your grilled meat and poultry reach a safe internal temperature first by using a food thermometer.
Know Your Outdoor Environment
You may have everything you need in an indoor kitchen to be food safe, but the same may not be true for your outdoor grill or other food preparation space.
“Now that summer is finally here, many are choosing to move their meals outside,” says USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Administrator Paul Kiecker. “Prepare your outdoor spaces so they are food safe. If you won’t have running water, use hand sanitizer or moist towelettes to keep your hands clean before, during, and after food preparation.”
It’s most effective to use warm, soapy water to wash hands for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food. If you have to use hand sanitizer, make sure to choose one that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Using moist towelettes and paper towels can help to clean and sanitize any cutting boards or utensils while you’re outside or away from your kitchen. Keeping hands and surfaces clean when handling food will help lessen the spread of germs and foodborne illness causing bacteria.
With these tips in mind, it’s easy to avoid foodborne illness and other illnesses during your summer celebrations. For any food safety questions this summer, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or chat live at ask.usda.gov from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. Remember food safety to have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend!
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections (ODOC) continues transporting healthy inmates from the Comanche County Detention Center (CCDC) in Lawton to a state lockup. Wednesday, the Comanche County Facilities Authority, which oversees jail operations, and ODOC signed an agreement for the state to house the county’s healthy inmates in the wake of a COVID-19 outbreak inside the jail.
Wednesday, ODOC transported 73 negative-testing male inmates to an unoccupied unit at North Fork Correctional Center in Sayre. The agency anticipates transporting the remaining 69 healthy county jail inmates today, including one female who will go to Mabel Bassett Correctional Center in McLoud.
ODOC staff will remain at the CCDC until June 10, helping manage infected inmates and disinfecting the building. County jail inmates housed in state facilities remain under the custody and control of the CCDC.
OSU leadership congratulates OSU Regent Calvin Anthony on Oklahoma Hall of Fame induction announcement
Following Thursday’s announcement of the induction of OSU Regent Calvin Anthony into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, the OSU Board of Regents and President Burns Hargis offered their congratulations.
Statement from OSU Regents:
“The Oklahoma Hall of Fame is reserved for Oklahomans who have distinguished themselves in their service to our state. Our fellow OSU/A&M Regent Calvin Anthony is most worthy of induction into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame this fall. His life is one of service as a businessman, public servant, and community volunteer. What stands out about Calvin beyond his notable achievements is his unwavering character. He does what is right, no matter what. We congratulate Calvin as well as Olympian and OSU graduate John Smith who has steered our wrestling program for almost 20 years, winning several national championships and producing over 130 All-American student-athletes. Calvin and John represent the very best of our state and OSU.”
Statement from OSU President Burns Hargis:
“The 2020 Oklahoma Hall of Fame class has a bright orange glow with the induction of Oklahoma State University alumni Calvin Anthony, Martha Burger, Terri Stewart-Forst and John Smith. OSU congratulates these Cowboy family members and the entire 2020 class on their outstanding careers and contributions to our state."
Anthony is a pharmacist/businessman in Stillwater and has farming operations in Woods and Payne counties. He was appointed by Gov. Brad Henry in 2006 and reappointed by Gov. Mary Fallin in 2013 to serve as a member of the A&M Board of Regents. He attended Oklahoma State University from 1963-1965 and received a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy in 1968. His term expires in 2022.
Oklahoma State University is a modern land-grant university that prepares students for success. OSU has more than 34,000 students across its five-campus system and more than 24,000 on its combined Stillwater and Tulsa campuses, with students from all 50 states and around 100 nations. Established in 1890, OSU has graduated more than 275,000 students to serve the state of Oklahoma, the nation and the world.
With Oklahoma returning to a sense of normalcy after the COVID-19 situation, that means lakes and rivers will be ready for guests this Memorial Day weekend.
While social distancing and hand hygiene are still important, so is the need to socialize and be with friends during the opening of the summer season.
If you're headed to the lake, river, or down the road to celebrate the long weekend, make sure you pack a plan to get home safe.
During the 2019 Memorial Day holiday period in Oklahoma, two people were killed in crashes, one of those was in an alcohol-related crash. That's down significantly from 11 people killed in 2018. While that decline is great news, Oklahoma still lost two people last year in preventable crashes.
If you're headed to the lake or river, make sure you have all the supplies you'll need before you make camp. This will save you from having to run back to the store after you've been drinking.
"We will have troopers on the roads, in the water, and in the air making sure people are being safe this holiday weekend," said Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lieutenant Chris Arnall. "We want to make sure everyone enjoys the time with friends and family, but we want them all to make it home safe."
The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO) and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol want to remind everyone that law enforcement is still on duty and will be looking for impaired drivers this weekend.
Established by the Oklahoma Legislature in 1967, the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office works closely with local, state, and federal partners to combat the increase in the number and severity of traffic crashes and fatalities.
The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety.