Written by AP WIre|
Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:56 | Published inArea
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Collections to the main operating fund used to pay for state government in Oklahoma continue to trail the official estimate, finance officials reported Wednesday, a trend that could lead to budget cuts for state agencies if it continues.
General revenue fund collections in November trailed the official estimate used to write the current year's state budget by nearly 8 percent, according to Oklahoma Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger.
Doerflinger said non-economic factors, such as tax rebates for certain types of drilling and the diversion of $60 million this year toward Capitol renovations, have led to diminishing general revenue collections.
"We're still seeing encouraging economic expansion as a state even though revenue for government appropriations is trailing somewhat," Doerflinger said in a statement. "This has been the trend so far this year."
For the first five months of the current fiscal year, collections to the general revenue fund have trailed the official estimate by about 6.5 percent. If collections continue to trail the estimate and a revenue shortfall occurs, Doerflinger could be forced to order cuts to agency budgets. But he said it's too early to predict whether that will happen.
"The next few months will say a lot about what the state budget picture looks like for the near future," Doerflinger said.
The Oklahoma Legislature is only authorized to spend 95 percent of the revenue that's available, and the remaining 5 percent is used to help make up for any potential budget shortfall. That cushion for the current fiscal year is about $294 million, finance officials reported.
Written by Staff|
Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:54 | Published inArea
ELGIN Boy Scout troops and Cub Scout packs in the Elgin area are requesting donations of nonperishable food items for the Elgin Ministerial Alliance and the Elgin Methodist Church Community Food Bank.
The Scouts will be at several locations throughout December to accept donations and will set up drop points for food donations. Current collection point is Williams Food, 8287 U.S. 277. For questions, or if you are not able to use a drop point, call 512-5192.
Written by AP WIre|
Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:54 | Published inArea
McALESTER (AP) A 55-year-old McAlester man is charged in federal court with three counts of video voyeurism for allegedly setting up a hidden camera to record women in a restroom.
Authorities said Wednesday that Kenneth Elkins, who worked at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, allegedly installed the camera in a women's bathroom there and viewed at least three separate victims.
FREDERICK Raffle tickets are still available for a reproduction of the Tillman County Historical Society's Red Barn building located at the Pioneer Townsite Museum.
The authentic scale reproduction of the barn will be given away in a drawing to be held at 8 a.m. Dec. 22 during KYBE-FM 95.7's "Town and Country" program.
Raffle tickets for the building are $5 each or five for $20. All proceeds will be used for operational expenses of the Pioneer Townsite Museum in Frederick.
"It would make for good use as a playhouse for chilldren or as a storage building," said Joe Wynn of the society's board of directors.
Raffle tickets may be purchased at the following locations: BancFirst, Frederick; First National Bank, Frederick; Frederick ACE Hardware; the Frederick Chamber of Commerce; Tillco Supply; K.C.'s; Southwest Rural Electric Cooperative in Tipton; and the Pioneer Townsite Museum.
Tickets can also be purchased from any member of the Tillman County Historical Society's board of directors. They are Judy Benson, Jack Bohl, Cacy Caldwell, Su Clifton, Frances Goodknight, Dena Northcutt, Jay Oxford, Roy Perkins, Jim Smith, Kent Smith, Cathy Riggins, Gary Tyler, Virginia Walker, Gayle White, Wynn, and Pioneer Townsite director Jimmy Espinosa.
A Duncan teenager received three consecutive prison sentences Monday after pleading guilty to three counts of first-degree robbery of local convenience stores.
Tre Demetrius Babineux, 18, was one of four Duncan teens arrested and charged in connection with three late-March robberies. He was sentenced to consecutively serve 25 years for each count with 10 years suspended for each count, according to District Judge Brent Russell's office. The nature of the offenses means he must serve 85 percent of his sentence a minimum of 38-years before being eligible for parole. He would be at least 56 at the time of release.
Babineaux was charged in early April, along with Quincy Sahtoren Barnes, 20, with two counts of first-degree robbery; Peyton Thad Graham, 20, two counts of robbery, and two counts of conspiracy; and Dakota John Smith, 19, one count each of first-degree robbery and conspiracy, according to court records.
Barnes remains in Stephens County Jail in lieu of $2.5 million bond, and Graham and Smith are each being held on $5 million bonds, records indicate. The three have pleaded not guilty and are slated for the trial docket in January.
The four were arrested in early April following an intense investigation by Duncan police. They were arrested in connection with the March 26 robbery of Chisholm Corner at U.S. 81 and Plato Road and two robberies March 31 at different stores. The robberies were around 3 a.m. both days. Each time, the robbers wore masks including a Michael Myers mask from the movie "Halloween" and one brandished an automatic handgun. All reportedly wore masks when they went in to commit the other armed robberies, but some of the participants were different each time.
Written by Josh Rouse|
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 23:57 | Published inArea
Caddo County technology center earns national certification
The Caddo Kiowa Technology center has received national certification for its Project Lead the Way program.
This is the second time the school has gone through the certification process to validate its Pathway to Engineering program, which it has offered since 2006. Project Lead the Way is a non-profit organization and the nation's leading provider of science, technology, engineering and mathematics education programs. Superintendent Dennis Ruttman said he's proud the program is offered at his school, and it will continue to offer STEM courses for students, which could include college credit, scholarships and admissions preference.
"We've seen how the PLTW program draws more students to engineering and technology courses and gets them thinking about college and their careers," he said.
Pathway to engineering is a sequence of courses, which translates learning from a book into hands-on work. Instructor Marcia Harmon said PLTW courses help students gain hands-on experience and see how the concepts they learn about in science classes have real world applications.
Two men are facing the possibility of life sentences after Cache police caught them bartering and selling drugs at a bar.
Court records show 50-year-old Kenneth G. Burton and Randell W. Duren, 32, were charged Monday with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and ordered to be held in lieu of $40,000 bonds. Burton's bond was changed to $20,000 after attorney Brad Cox filed a motion for bond reduction.
According to an affidavit, Cache Police Chief Donna Kimmel received a tip around 7:30 p.m. Friday that two men at the Lonesome Dove, 16368 Oklahoma Highway 115, were selling drugs from the bar. Two police officers in plain clothes and unmarked car went to the bar and spoke with Duren and Burton for a bit before they allegedly made an offer.
Duran allegedly asked the undercover officer if he wanted to buy marijuana or pills, and allegedly offered to trade pain pills, preferably oxycodone, for some marijuana. The undercover officers met the men inside a car around back of the bar, an affidavit said, and exchanged small vials or containers of marijuana for $20 bills.
According to the affidavit, the undercover officers called for backup, but icy road conditions prevented backup from arriving quickly. The officers were concerned that the two men, who were believed to be intoxicated, would leave, so they initiated the arrest.
ELGIN Santa Paws will be back in town Saturday for those who consider their pets to be part of the family.
Jenifer Jeffries, owner of Puppy Love Grooming, is offering pet owners the opportunity to have their best friends' photos taken with Santa. This year, Santa Paws will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Puppy Love Dog Grooming, 7903 U.S. 277. Pictures will be $10 each and the cost will be reduced by $2 for donations of 15 pounds of dry dog or cat food, she said. It's the second year for the fundraiser, which benefits the Elgin animal shelter.
"We raised $400, along with 320 pounds of dry dog or cat food and 36 blankets or rugs," Jeffries said of last year's fundraiser. "We had people coming from all over, not just Elgin."
Daniel Linthicum, who operates the Elgin animal shelter, said the city pays him a pickup fee if a dog is running loose, but he is responsible for the food.
"Donations this year have been crazy. I don't think I have bought two bags of dog food," he said. "I am just so thankful for whatever we receive."
Both he and his wife hold full-time jobs, but they and volunteers also work at the shelter making sure animals are fed and warm and that kennels are clean.
"We will not be grooming that day, but all dogs will be brushed or fluffed up and given holiday bows or bandanas for their photo, and the owner will receive the picture after it's taken," Jeffries said.
Written by Staff|
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 23:54 | Published inArea
Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma will have "A Day of Giving" fundraiser from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday at the White Buffalo restaurant in Central Mall. Customers are asked to tell servers they are supporting Legal Aid. A portion of proceeds will benefit Legal Aid, which helps Southwest Oklahomans who need legal counsel but are unable to afford it.
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