Each District across Osage County gets a certain amount of money to work on roads and bridges. The figure each District gets is based on how many road miles each District has. At Monday’s Board of Osage County Commissioners meeting, District Two Commissioner Steve Talburt wanted to know if there was a better way to go about splitting up those funds, as he only receives 17 percent of that money.
District One Commissioner Randall Jones explained why he was against the change in funding.
Talburt made a motion to increase his funding to 25 percent. District Three Commissioner Darren McKinney, would come out about even after that transaction, was the deciding vote after Jones voted no, as District One would stand to lose $8,000.
Jones would go on to make a motion to take no action on the agenda item and that carried with a 2-1 vote.
There was more talk regarding a rise in COVID-19 cases across Osage County at Monday’s Board meeting. It was reported that there are now 421 active cases across the county, that an increase of 43 from last Monday’s report.
A representative from the Osage County Health Department was on hand talking about the third shot that is becoming available for those who are immunocompromised.
She went on to say that there has been an increase in people making appointments to get the vaccine. No changes were made regarding the public entering the courthouse or other county-owned buildings.
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt recently took away unemployment benefits for those who have not yet found work. An Oklahoma County District Court Judge ruled that the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission needed to re-instate those $300 payments.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court reviewed the case on Wednesday and has granted the State’s request for a stay on the re-instatement of those benefits. Mark Hammons, an attorney representing the petitioners had this to say:
“The policy of the act is to protect unemployed workers and their family members from the effects of invalidated unemployment.”
Oklahoma Attorney General John O’ Connor applauded the decision, as he has strongly defended Governor Stitt’s decision to end those benefits. This ruling impacts around 90,000 Oklahomans.
The Osage County Health Department recently got the mobile testing van it had been waiting to receive. This offers services such as COVID-19 vaccinations, school physicals and general wellness checks. On Tuesday, they will be traveling to Prue offering both appointment-based and walk-in visits. Administrative Assistant Sarah Patterson describes what she hopes they will be able to do with the mobile unit.
The event will last from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 654 Lake Dr. in Prue. For more information, you can call the Osage County Health Department at 918-287-2740.
Commissioners to Meet on Monday Morning
The Board of Osage County Commissioners will convene for a regularly scheduled meeting at the fairgrounds on Monday morning.
The commissioners will look to amend or rescind a resolution determining the best way to allocate health insurance 25 percent benefits to Districts one, two, three and the Sheriff’s Office.
The Board will also enter into executive session to discuss the caretaker position at the Osage County Fairgrounds and have further discussion regarding the possibility of making possible amendments for the public entering county-owned buildings.
The meeting begins at 10 o’ clock in the morning for those interested in attending.
State health leaders recently provided a COVID-19 update and gave some promising news regarding a rise in vaccination rate across Oklahoma.
Deputy Commissioner of Health, Keith Reed says those receiving the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine has increased by 137 percent since early July. Around 63 percent of adults across Oklahoma now have at least one dose of the vaccine. Reed goes on to talk about the rollout of the booster shot, which will begin in mid-September.
The Health Department reports that of nearly 6,000 staffed hospital beds across the State, about 22 percent of those beds are filled with COVID-19 patients.
As things currently stand, the Constantine Theater Board of Directors are responsible for the upkeep of the building. Secretary Lori Highfill recently informed the Pawhuska City Council that this isn’t feasible, as the building doesn’t belong to them. She explains how they spend the money that they do make.
City Manager Tonya Bright said if a storm were to damage the building itself, insurance would likely cover that and the City pays insurance on the building.
Councilman Steve Tolson said that for the City, from a business standpoint, it would be a poor decision to pay the Board $1,500 and still be responsible for everything in the facility.
Council members decided to wait 30 days to allow Board members to get their financial reports together and they will re-visit the subject at the next meeting.
Pawhuska Schools Launches New App
Pawhuska Public Schools launched its school-wide app this week and it will be beneficial for students, faculty and parents alike. Superintendent David Cash explains what the app will be used for.
Cash went on to say that the app will allow for coaches to inform their athletes of any last-minute schedule changes and enables organizations to link their social media pages informing the public what they have going on. You will also be able to buy tickets and purchase Pawhuska Huskies merchandise through the app.
To download the app, search Pawhuska Huskies in the Apple App Store.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health released the COVID-19 alert map for the week on Wednesday and 71 of the 77 Oklahoma counties are in the orange, or moderate risk level for getting COVID-19. This includes Washington, Osage and Nowata County.
As school starts up this week, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has not declared a State of Emergency due to the rise in COVID-19 cases. This means local officials have no say in being able to force a mask mandate. U.S. Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona recently sent a letter to Stitt criticizing that. His letter said in part:
“This State-level action against science-based strategies for preventing the spread of COVID-19 appears to restrict the development of local health and safety policies.”
These high case numbers being reported across each county are the most excessive being released since mid-February.
Pawhuska Dam to Get Repaired
The dam at Lake Pawhuska has needed some structural repairs made to it for quite some time now and at a recent city council meeting, council members had the opportunity to choose a company to make those repairs. Engineer Tim Ward made the recommendation to award the contract to KC Dirtworks LLC. in the amount of just over $429,000.
That was the lowest bid the City received, but council member Steve Tolson did have a problem with the bid that was presented because he felt like it could be done cheaper.
City Manager Tonya Bright goes on to say why Ward recommends the three-to-one slope.
The Council followed the engineer’s recommendation of using the three-to-one slope. Tolson did vote against the measure.
The City has received just over $290,000 in grant funds to help pay for the project, but Bright says she plans to apply for more grant money that is available.