ALTUS It will take a long time to recover from Monday's devastating tornado in Moore and other tornadoes in Oklahoma the past few days, an emergency manager said, and local residents should be planning for how they would cope with such a disaster.
Lloyd Colston, City of Altus emergency management coordinator, noted that the tornadoes struck two years after a twister devastated Joplin, Mo., and that city is still recovering and rebuilding
Colston said it will be a long haul for Moore and other Oklahoma cities such as Shawnee, Prague and Carney to bounce back from the extensive damage, injuries and deaths.
"It is going to be a long-term recovery in those areas," he said. "And it comes as Thursday was the second anniversary of the Joplin tornado," he said.
Colston said the City of Altus sent five firefighters to Moore earlier this week and the Jackson County Sheriff's Department sent four deputies to assist with cleanup and law enforcement. "They went up there and worked 10 to 12 hours and then came back home," he said.
Colston said residents are still being encouraged to provide cash and other donations to storm victims through their favorite charities. He also said the Oklahoma Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster okvoad.org. organization brings together voluntary organizations active in disaster services in an effort to foster more effective response. He also suggested looking at a state government website okstrong.ok.gov which provides a clearinghouse for resources.
Colston said individuals and groups that want to provide aid to tornado victims in Oklahoma should look at the "big picture" by not only considering the damage at Moore on Monday but other cities in the state that were struck by tornadoes.
Investigators say a California man has been arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with Wednesday's killing of an Anadarko man.
Caddo County Sheriff Gene Cain said the 42-year-old man was arrested Wednesday night following questioning in the death of David Roberts, 34. The sheriff's department turned the investigation over to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
"He has been arrested and booked for a count of first-degree murder," Cain said. "I believe it will be listed as aggravated."
OSBI Southwest Agent-In-Charge Richard Goss said details about the incident were still sketchy but that Roberts was stabbed. Agents continued investigating the scene Thursday, he said.
"Anadarko police received a stabbing call south of town and called the Caddo County Sheriff's Department to take the call," Goss said. "Investigators responded to the scene, about 5 miles south of Anadarko, and found Roberts dead inside a vehicle."
Goss said three other people were with the vehicle and they were questioned. The 42-year-old man was arrested following those interviews.
"There were four people in the vehicle together when something occurred and, it appears, he was stabbed to death," Goss said. "Two others took control of the vehicle and called authorities."
AAA Oklahoma will be offering Tipsy Tow over the extended Memorial Day holiday weekend.
AAA will tow your car and give you a ride home for free if you think you've had too much to drink. The free service will run from 6 p.m. Friday until 4 a.m. Tuesday in metro Tulsa and Oklahoma City, as well as in Lawton, Enid, Ardmore, Bartlesville, Tahlequah, Shawnee and Muskogee. The service is offered to AAA members and nonmembers alike.
Memorial Day weekend usually tends to be a weekend filled with cookouts, drinking, and parties, the AAA said, resulting in more drunk driving charges than during regular weekends, and AAA is looking to curb that trend.
CACHE Following months of practice and fundraising, the Cache High School band will be departing Saturday for its trip to Washington, D.C. to participate in Monday's National Memorial Day Parade.
Band director Ben Silber said band members will begin loading up the bus at 10 a.m. and the bus will depart around noon. The band is expected to arrive in the nation's capital by the late Sunday morning.
Some 57 band members will be going on the trip, accompanied by 21 adults.
The parade will begin at 1 p.m. central time before an audience of hundreds of thousands of spectators. The parade will consist of military bands, invitation, military and specialty units, floats and VIPs. To watch the live stream, go to http://bit.ly/14WuMeq.
Eight soon-to-be seniors at Duncan and Empire high schools won't set a record when they turn out to represent the two communities at this year's Boys State.
But when Brian Couch, Dakota Evans, Cameron McCasland, Jett Gray, Matthew Patrick, Noah Jones, Sam Allen and Sam Moffatt arrive on Saturday on the campus at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in Miami, there will be no doubt of the commitment of Duncan and Empire and of the local American Legion to Boys State.
Ed Lowe, a member of American Legion Post 55 who has been on the Boys State staff for many years, said Duncan and Empire are always well-represented. One year saw 23 young men from the area attend, he said. Last year there were five. Two of those, who have now graduated from high school and are busy planning college careers, cared enough about the success of this year's Boys State to sign on as counselors.
Lowe said Boys State has earned many fans in local parents, who appreciate how the experience fine-tunes leadership and puts focus on things like community service. Many Boys State delegates go on to be extremely successful in college and in life, he said.
"I think (families) want to see their boys excel in whatever they do," Lowe said, "and Boys State helps to make that happen."
ALTUS Altus City Council members acknowledged a request by Air Evac Lifeteam to locate operations for a proposed helipad at the city airport during their regular meeting Tuesday.
In addition to acknowledging the request, council members also authorized city staff to enter contract negotiations for a ground lease and city costs for surveys and other expenses.
The tract of land being considered for the lease is a two-acre site on property at Altus/Quartz Mountain Regional Airport north of the city.
Air Evac is the same firm that has been considering a 7.44-acre tract in the 1200-1300 block of North Park Lane for a proposed helipad. The property was rezoned earlier this year from suburban commercial to auto urban commercial. However, a number of nearby residents opposed to the helipad filed a lawsuit against the city last month because of their objections to noise and their concerns about safety.
Council members approved a resolution of support for and participation in the Main Street Altus program, along with a $20,000 contract for services with the Main Street program for revitalization, stabilization and development of the city's downtown area. The contract represents an increase of $10,000 over last year and returns funding of the program to fiscal year 2009-2010 levels. The funding is to include the employment of a program manager.
A contract between the city and the Oklahoma Department of Corrections for the Altus Community Work Center was approved. It calls for the center's facility to be located at 308 W. Broadway and provide for a maximum of 100 inmates to work in certain city departments.
Council members approved the seeking of bids for the demolitions of a commercial building at 121 N. Grady, which is the former police department headquarters; a commercial building at 1100 Victory; and five residential buildings at 618 S. Blain, 707 S. Benson, 201 S. Central, 1225 W. Davis and 618 S. Willard.
With the school year quickly coming to a close, the opening of area municipal swimming pools cannot be far behind.
In Duncan, instead of the traditional Saturday before Memorial Day opening of the pool, this year the first day of operation will be Friday, May 31.
"Because the school year does not end before Memorial Day weekend this year this is keeping us from opening up on the traditional date," said Duncan Parks and Cemetery Director Dana Stanley. The last day of school for Duncan students will be May 29.
The, pool, located in Fuqua Park, will be open from 1 to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Admission to the pool for those under 17 years of age is 50 cents and for those older than 17, $1.
Stanley said there are no season passes, only daily admission.
For the second year in a row the Douglas pool will not be operational, he said. "It has outlived it's usefulness."
In Sterling the public swimming pool will also open Friday, May 31.
The pool is located behind the Sterling Elementary School Annex Community Center.
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