The last couple of weeks I attended two separate interim studies concerning our state park system and the desire for continued funding. Director Shelley Zumwalt has identified $350 million in deferred maintenance issues, but few details were provided as to which parks and specific maintenance needs. Robber's Cave State Park was mentioned as having some water tower issues.
Director Zumwalt also is asking for consideration in raising the sale's tax cap for park repairs. This will be a topic for the next session as we examine funding mechanisms for our state treasures.
I have started my quest to find funding for upgrades to our prison rodeo grounds so we may resume our time-honored prison rodeo. Department of Corrections Director Steven Harpe is enthusiastically hopeful this will happen. I also visited with Brig. Gen. Hopper Smith, interim executive director at the state Department of Commerce, about some possible allocations as well as Tourism Director Zumwalt along this same lines. I am hopeful we can resume this rare event of a rodeo behind prison walls.
I suffered a major disappointment this past week. I had been asked by both Wilburton and Hartshorne for a military style "flyover" for their respective Veteran's Day Parades. Unfortunately, the latest word I received was that due to unavailability of aircraft, this would not happen. I hate to disappoint these folks.
It's important that we never forget our veterans or the sacrifice they've made to keep us safe and free. This weekend, I plan to participate in Wilburton's Parade.
Nov. 11 is Veterans Day, originally Armistice Day. The day was named for the day when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month during World War I. Nov. 11, 1918, was regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
That has turned out not to be the case as we've witnessed many wars and conflicts worldwide since that date more than 100 years ago. But this is still a fitting time to celebrate our veterans and thank them for all they've done in service to our nation.
As always, thank You for allowing me to serve you. I can be reached at (405) 557-7381 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim Grego serves District 17 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. His district includes Latimer County and parts of LeFlore and Pittsburg counties.