Ad Valorem Tax Mailed Wednesday, November 27th


2013 Ad Valorem taxes will be mailed on Wednesday, November 27th according to Okmulgee County Treasurer Vonna Lampkins. She and her staff have been busy preparing the mailings.
The public services and mortgage companies along with all the business personnels were mailed out November 15th and 19th.
The first half is due on December 31, 2013 and second half will be due on March 31, 2014.
The treasurer’s office will be open until 4:30 p.m. on those days or until the last taxpayer has left.
“No statements will be mailed out on the second half,” says Lampkins. “It will be your responsibility to mail the second half tax payment on time.”
“Remember, you can now make credit card payments on taxes here in the office or if you prefer you can still make credit card or electronic check payment over the phone. Call 1-8-00-272-9829 and enter jurisdiction code 4630.”
If you need assistance, please call the office at 918-756-3848 and someone will walk you through the process. The treasurer’s official website is www.okmcotreasurer.com
This site allows taxpayers to view information online, calculate mortgage tax and to pay taxes by credit card.
If you want a receipt mailed please enclosed self-addressed, stamped envelope. This also includes anyone who has a mobile home and needs a decal.
If you have back taxes due, it will state at the the end of your Tax Roll Identification Number (TID) in the upper right hand corner with the letters BT in bold.
If you need to make any changes to your tax information you must do that with the county assessor.
On November 4, 2013, the county assessor certified to the treasurer $14,099,019 to be collected for 2013.


Okmulgee County News Source


MASONS DONATE TO OKMULGEE EDUCATION FOUNDATION
Worshipful Master the Okmulgee Masonic Lodge, Mickey Hayes presents OEF President, Margaret Hess with a contribution to the annual Century Club campaign. The Okmulgee Education Foundation appreciates the Mason's and their ongoing support of the foundation. (Photo provided)


Bruce Fisher, curator for the Oklahoma Historical Society speaks during the Okmulgee City Council Meeting.

LOCAL SHRINERS MAKE DONATION TO AID TRANSPORTATION FUND
The Okmulgee County Shrine Club presented a check in the amount of $4000 to the Bedouin Shrine Temple to be used for the Transportation Fund.  The Bedouin Shrine provides transportation to its Shrine Hospitals free of charge for children in need of hospital care.  Pictured are Greg Schuler, recorder, Mike Brawley, potentate, Duaine Janzen, Okmulgee Shrine president, Jerry Davidson, Asst. Rabban. (Photo provided)


OSU-Tulsa President Howard Barnett, OSU System President Burns Hargis and OSU Institute of Technology President Dr. Bill R. Path.

Provided by OSUIT Marketing and Communication Department.


OSU signs initiative to help students "Finish Orange"

In an effort to make getting a degree from Oklahoma State University simpler, OSU Institute of Technology President Bill R. Path hosted OSU System President Burns Hargis and OSU-Tulsa President Howard Barnett Monday to sign an articulation agreement between the three campuses as part of the Finish Orange initiative.OSUIT students who earn an Associate in Science degree are now guaranteed an easy transfer to a four-year program at either campus.
Hargis said all three institutions are unified in their efforts to provide students with the best opportunities to earn a degree from OSU. “It’s incumbent upon us to remove barriers to higher education, making college completion simpler,” he said.
“Together we have developed agreements aligning coursework so students will know what credits will be accepted and applied to their degree programs at OSU in Stillwater or Tulsa,” said Path.
In Oklahoma, approximately 42 percent of high school graduates still require remediation in order to be ready for college courses.
“Some students who wish to earn a degree at OSU may not yet be eligible for admission at the Stillwater campus. If we want our students to ‘Finish Orange’ we must provide them with avenues to start orange,” he said.  “With our applied learning methods and low faculty to student ratio, OSUIT can provide a solid foundation necessary for students to seamlessly transition from Okmulgee to Stillwater or Tulsa.”
Even if a student hasn’t completed an associate degree, he or she can still utilize the credits they have earned at OSUIT and apply them toward a bachelor’s degree. The same is true for students who have earned college credit at the Stillwater or Tulsa campus who want to pursue a degree from OSUIT.
For OSU-Tulsa, which provides classes and credit for a master’s degree or the last half of a bachelor’s degree, an articulation agreement with OSUIT makes perfect sense, Barnett said.
“I think a lot of people wonder why this wasn’t done years ago,” he said, adding that he appreciates all the hard work it takes to align courses between campuses so transitions are as seamless as possible for students.
The articulation agreement doesn’t just benefit the OSU system. The higher number of completed college degrees means a workforce qualified for better, higher paying jobs in the state.
“Finish Orange offers students greater opportunities to create their own path within the OSU family,” Path said. “We celebrate that today and hope to forge successful strategies going forward to ensure higher levels of degree completion in Oklahoma.”

Funding request  for Black Hospital tabled by council

The Okmulgee City Council tabled action on a request for funds that would help restore the Okmulgee Black Hospital.
A large crowd packed the Council Chambers for Tuesday meeting.  The Okmulgee County Multi-Cultural Heritage Association asked the city council to fix up the old hospital which was a critical part of the black community in Okmulgee for many years.
Kathryn Shurden with the Okmulgee County Multi-Cultural Heritage Association, addressed the council along with other proponents of the project.
The group wants the city to use just over $1 million to preserve and restore the city-owned building.  The building, located on Highway 75, was built in 1922, and has sat vacant for many years.
The building is the future home of the Okmulgee Multicultural Historical Museum. The association hopes to turn the first floor into a business center and use the second floor as a museum.
Speaking in support of the project were Justin Giles, Assistant Director, Muscogee (Creek) Nation Museum and Cultural Center said, “Preservation and restoration of the Okmulgee Colored Hospital will only add to the visitor experience for the many travelers who pass through Okmulgee. Preservation and restoration of our historic buildings also benefits as an undeniable source of local community pride. We welcome and are happy to partner with such endeavors to highlight and showcase the history of Okmulgee while contributing economic growth through historic and cultural tourism.”
The Creek Nation will begin their restoration of the Council House in the spring and hope for a reopening in 2015.
Also speaking in support of the project were Shirley Thompson, who spoke on the importance of economic development and urban planning;  Bruce Fisher, curator from the Oklahoma Historical Society and Architect Mike Kertok.
As a highlight of the presentation, Fisher presented a video of long-lost footage shot in Okmulgee in 1927 which highlighted Okmulgee’s thriving and vibrant black business district and schools.
Shurden and Kertok both addressed to council to detail what would be needed for the project: To complete the preservation and restoration, the architectural plans call for the restoration of exterior doors and windows on the north, west, and south sides; completing the exterior work including egress, site work, sidewalks, parking, and service doors; interior restoration including removing, replacing, or adding plumbing, electrical, communications, HVAC systems and interior finishes to remove hazards, meet current building codes, and restore use. The final task will be the construction of an external elevator and stair tower for safety and accessibility.
Councilors stated they want to let citizens in Okmulgee vote on how to spend the money before they decide to use it on the historic hospital.
"We can find any number of folks that we could spend a million bucks on a project, but we're trying to responsibly use this," said Councilor Rob Robertson.
The council also tabled action on the Certificate of Incorporation for the Okmulgee Community Foundation. The council will consider more details for the foundation including who would be named as incorporators and initial directors.  
The following agenda items were approved by the panel:
• Proposed Professional Services Agreement with Tom Giulioli involving the Okmulgee Interim City Manager’s position.
• Resolution to notify the public of compilation of a supplement to the penal ordinances known as the Okmulgee Municipal Code 2013C.
• Resolution amending the FY 2013-2014 annual budget by increasing revenues, expenses and decreasing fund balance in the General Fund to make necessary adjustments.
• Resolution declaring certain personal property to be surplus property and authorizing the sale, transfer and disposition of surplus property.
• Proposed amendments to the Okmulgee Zoning ordinances (Article 17 of the Okmulgee Municipal Code) and declaring an emergency.
• Ordinance amending the provisions of child passenger restrain systems presently contained in Okmulgee Code 10.16.480, and declaring an emergency.
• Ordinance containing new regulations allowing fishing tournaments, providing for enforcement
• Awarded a  Contract for Trash, Brush, Debris, Rubbish and litter Abatement from privately owned properties located throughout the City to Josh Nichols d/b/a Nichols Lawn & Trash Service
• Award of various bids for the sale of surplus  real property on seven lots.
• Resolution in support of a proposed multi-family housing development to include infrastructure improvements by the City for a project by MW Development Enterprises, LLC for the substantial rehabilitation of the historic Barksdale Building into thirty-four (34) living units for senior citizens.
• Execution and delivery of a deed and related property documents appropriate to clearing title problems on the George Nigh property. 

Okmulgee Health Department News

Prevent foodborne illness this holiday season
For many of us, the holidays bring opportunities to visit friends and family and enjoy homemade foods.  The holiday season also presents important food safety challenges, so everyone needs to plan ahead to make sure that holiday foods are safe.  Every year about one in six Americans becomes ill with a foodborne illness.  
The most common symptoms include nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea.  Most illnesses are mild and only last a day or two; however, some are more serious, and lead to approximately 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.  People at the highest risk of becoming very sick from a foodborne illness are the elderly, children, individuals with a weakened immune system, and pregnant women.  Persons in these high-risk groups should take all precautions to prevent foodborne illness.
The Okmulgee County Health Department recommends the following food safety tips:
 Clean:  Wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before preparing food and often during food preparation.  Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils and counter tops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next food.
    Separate:  Disease-causing germs can spread from raw food that should be cooked to other foods.  Use separate cutting boards to keep raw meats, poultry, seafood, and their juices separate from uncooked fruits and vegetables.
    Cook:  Always check the internal temperature of cooked meat, poultry and egg dishes with a food thermometer to make sure that the food is cooked to a safe temperature.
    Chill:  Refrigerate foods promptly. When foods are left out unrefrigerated, harmful germs multiply quickly.  Cold temperatures keep most harmful bacteria from multiplying.  Set refrigerators at 40oF and freezers at 0oF, and confirm the temperature with a thermometer.  Chill any leftovers promptly in shallow containers.  Discard any food left out more than two hours.
    Ill:  If you have been sick with diarrhea or vomiting, do not prepare food for at least 24 hours after your symptoms have stopped.

 Tips for Preparing and Reheating Turkey
  Thawing:  Allow enough time for a frozen turkey to defrost. Incorrectly thawed turkey can look safe to eat but actually will be undercooked, allowing disease-causing germs to survive inside. A frozen turkey should not be left in the car trunk, on the back porch, in the basement, or any place else where temperatures cannot be maintained.
The three safest ways to thaw a turkey are 1) in the refrigerator, 2) in the microwave oven, or 3) by submerging in cold water.
 When thawing in the refrigerator, allow 24 hours of thawing time for every five pounds of turkey. Place the turkey in a container to prevent the juices from dripping on other foods.  A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for one or two days before cooking.
 When using a microwave, check the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of minutes per pound and the appropriate power level to use for thawing. Plan to cook the turkey immediately after thawing since some areas of the bird may become warm and begin to cook during microwaving.
 When thawing in cold water, allow 30 minutes per pound of turkey and change the water every 30 minutes.  Be sure the turkey is in a leak-proof plastic bag to prevent cross-contamination and to prevent the turkey from absorbing water, resulting in a watery product.  Changing the water is important to keep the turkey cold, and slow the bacterial growth in the outer thawed portions while the inner areas continue to thaw.   A turkey thawed by the cold water method should be cooked immediately.
 Cooking: Use a meat thermometer to be sure that the correct internal temperature is reached.
 The temperature of the turkey and the center of the stuffing must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F.  Check the temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.
The safest way to cook stuffing is to cook in a separate casserole dish.  For stuffed turkeys, the internal temperature of the stuffing must reach 165 degrees F before it is safe to eat.
 Leftover food safety:  After the meal, refrigerate remaining foods and leftover turkey within two hours.  Split leftovers into smaller, shallow containers so they will cool quickly in the refrigerator.  Use leftover turkey and stuffing within three to four days, and gravy within one to two days.  Reheat leftover gravy to a boil, and thoroughly reheat other leftovers to 165 degrees F.
For other safe holiday food preparation details, visit the OSDH Acute Disease Service website at http://ads.health.ok.gov, and click on “Seasonal Disease Topics,” then “Food Safety and Foodborne Diseases.”