Sand Springs voters overwhelmingly approve School Bond Propositions

Voters in the Sand Springs Public School District overwhelmingly voiced their support for a pair of general obligation bond measures Tuesday.

Proposition No. 1, totaling $32.85 million, passed with 92.83% in favor. 1,774 voted yes with only 137 against.

A second proposition totaling $1.3 million passed with 91.43% in favor to provide for new school buses. The measure received 1,749 “yes” votes and 164 “no” votes.

The new bonds won’t be sold until existing bonds are paid off, so the millage rate will remain the same and property taxes will not increase.

Totaling more than $34 million, the two measures will provide funding for a number of projects, most notably the construction of a new freshman wing on the Charles Page High School campus.

The new $14.28 million building will conjoin with the high school through the existing lobby, but will keep the freshmen separate from the upperclassmen for the majority of the day. Currently more than 75% of Central Ninth Grade Center are shuttled from downtown to the high school every day for athletics and other activities.

The new wing would also include several classrooms dedicated to the district’s STEM Initiative, enhancing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics curriculum.

$7.2 million will go to technology enhancements throughout the district. Computer software systems will be updated to protect student data and provide mobile tech support, and WiFi will be improved and expanded throughout the district.

$825,000 will go to the district’s thriving athletic programs. Memorial Stadium will get new turf, the baseball and softball fields will be regraded, and wrestling mats and other athletic equipment will also be purchased.

Other Proposition No. 1 projects include:

  • New gymnasium/storm shelter at Angus Valley Elementary.

  • Bleachers for Garfield Elementary gymnasium.

  • Electrical upgrades at Limestone Elementary.

  • Playground upgrades at Northwoods Fine Arts Academy.

  • Playground equipment for Early Childhood Education Center.

  • ADA Accessible bathroom at Pratt Elementary.

  • Removal of louvers on front windows at Clyde Boyd Middle School.

  • Kitchen equipment at all district sites.

  • Band uniforms and elementary music equipment.

  • Additional space for Drama Department.

  • Sound system upgrades to auditoriums and Ed Dubie Field House.

  • District HVAC and roofing maintenance.

  • Books and digital curriculum for all sites.

  • Media Center materials.

  • Painting, pavement, electrical, and plumbing maintenance.

Sand Springs to vote on new school bond projects Tuesday, including new Ninth Grade Center

Sandites will take to the polls Tuesday to voice their support or opposition of a nearly $33 million bond proposal.

The Sand Springs Public School District is hoping to pass two General Obligation Bond Propositions that would provide funding for a number of projects, most notably a new Ninth Grade Center and STEM Academy.

The current Ninth Grade Center is located at 14 West 4th Street in downtown Sand Springs. It is the oldest building in the district and is the former site of Sand Springs High School. According to district officials, more than 75% of freshmen are shuttled to the high school campus every day for classes, athletics, and other activities.

The district hopes to spend $14.28 million on a new Ninth Grade Center on the campus of Charles Page High School. The building would be partly connected to the High School through the existing lobby, but would otherwise keep the younger students separate from the upperclassmen for the majority of their day.

The new wing would also include several classrooms dedicated to the district’s STEM Initiative, enhancing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics curriculum.

$7.2 million will go to technology enhancements throughout the district. Computer software systems will be updated to protect student data and provide mobile tech support, and WiFi will be improved and expanded throughout the district.

$825,000 will go to the district’s thriving athletic programs. Memorial Stadium will get new turf, the baseball and softball fields will be regraded, and wrestling mats and other athletic equipment will also be purchased.

Proposition No. 1 will total $32.85 million. Other Proposition No. 1 projects include:

  • New gymnasium/storm shelter at Angus Valley Elementary.

  • Bleachers for Garfield Elementary gymnasium.

  • Electrical upgrades at Limestone Elementary.

  • Playground upgrades at Northwoods Fine Arts Academy.

  • Playground equipment for Early Childhood Education Center.

  • ADA Accessible bathroom at Pratt Elementary.

  • Removal of louvers on front windows at Clyde Boyd Middle School.

  • Kitchen equipment at all district sites.

  • Band uniforms and elementary music equipment.

  • Additional space for Drama Department.

  • Sound system upgrades to auditoriums and Ed Dubie Field House.

  • District HVAC and roofing maintenance.

  • Books and digital curriculum for all sites.

  • Media Center materials.

  • Painting, pavement, electrical, and plumbing maintenance.

A second proposition totaling $1.3 million will also be on the ballot to provide for new school buses.

If the measures pass, the new bonds won’t be sold until existing bonds are paid off. The millage rate will remain the same and property taxes will not increase. However, Sand Springs property taxes will drop in the near future if voters choose not to approve the measures.

Senate approves pre-registration for young Oklahoma voters

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Senate unanimously approved legislation Wednesday to ensure young Oklahomans do not miss their first elections. Sen. Jason Smalley is the author of Senate Bill 496 to allow those who are at least 17.5 to 18 years old to pre-register to vote.

“Currently, Oklahomans can’t register to vote until they’re 18 years old.  This can cause them to miss voting if their birthdays fall after the registration deadline for an upcoming election,” said Smalley, R-Stroud.  “Casting one’s first vote is such an exciting right of passage for a young person.  By allowing them to pre-register, they can actually vote on their 18thbirthday rather than waiting for their registration to be processed.”

Under SB 496, anyone who pre-registers to vote prior to their 18th birthday will be allowed to vote beginning on their birthday. 

The measure now moves to the House for further consideration.

Jadine Nollan wins re-election for House District 66 and other election results

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Democratic voters hoping for a blue wave were sorely disappointed with Tuesday’s general election, as were Libertarian and Independent candidates, who failed to win any statewide offices. Several State legislative seats changed party ownership, but the changes were even across the aisle.

Republican candidate Kevin Stitt will be the next Governor of Oklahoma after winning 54.34% of the vote. All State executive positions remained in Republican control, as did both legislative bodies for the Republican Party’s eighth consecutive trifecta.

Democrat Kendra Horn upset incumbent Republican Steve Russell for Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District, winning by only 1.38%. Horn will be the first Democratic representative from Oklahoma since Dan Boren in 2013 and the first from District 5 since John Jarman in 1975.

State Senate District 30 flipped from Republican to Democrat while Districts 32 and 40 switched from red to blue.

House Districts 6, 15, 17, 18, 24, 75, and 86 flipped from Democrat to Republican, while Districts 71, 79, 83, and 95 changed from Republican to Democrat. Incumbent District 66 representative Jadine Nollan won the Sand Springs area with 58.48% of the vote over Democratic challenger Angela Graham.

Incumbent Republican District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler retained control of the Tulsa County office with 58.6% of the vote. All seven D.A. elections went to Republicans.

Judges Caroline Wall, Tracy Priddy, Linda Morrissey, and Martha Rupp Carter won the District 14 offices on the Sand Springs ballot.

Continuing a longstanding tradition, Oklahomans voted to retain every Supreme Court and Appellate Justice on the ballot. Justice James Edmondson was the only judge to receive less than 60% of votes in favor.

State Question 793, regarding optometrists’ and opticians’ right to operate out of retail mercantile establishments, was narrowly defeated with 50.24% of votes in opposition.

78.01% of Oklahomans voted to approve SQ794, also known as Marcey’s Law, granting certain rights to victims of crime.

SQ798 failed to pass the ballot, garnering only 45.91% of votes. The measure would have changed the Oklahoma Constitution so that gubernatorial and lieutenant governor candidates would run on the same ticket, similar to U.S. Presidential elections.

57.22% of voters opposed SQ800 which would have created a State trust fund.

50.41% of voters rejected SQ801, which would have allowed local Board of Education to use ad valorem tax revenues for the purpose of school operations and personnel pay. Currently bond measures may only be used for district building funds.

The Oklahoma State Election Board placed Statewide Turnout at 56.09% with more than 1.18 million ballots cast.

Other results:

  • Lieutenant Governor

    • Matt Pinnell (Republican) 61.9%

    • Anastasia A. Pittman (Democrat) 34.52%

    • Ivan Holmes (Independent) 3.58%

  • State Auditor

    • Cindy Byrd (Republican) 75.18%

    • John Yeutter (Libertarian) 24.82%

  • Attorney General

    • Mike Hunter (Republican) 64.04%

    • Mark Myles (Democrat) 35.96%

  • State Treasurer

    • Randy McDaniel (Republican) 71.59%

    • Charles de Coune (Independent) 28.41%

  • State Superintendent

    • Joy Hofmeister (Republican) 58.52%

    • John Cox (Democrat) 33.78%

    • Larry Huff (Independent) 7.7%

  • Labor Commissioner

    • Leslie Osborn (Republican) 61.73%

    • Fred Dorrell (Democrat) 33.47%

    • Brandt Dismukes (Independent) 4.8%

  • Insurance Commissioner

    • Glen Mulready (Republican) 61.97%

    • Kimberly Fobbs (Democrat) 38.03%

  • Corporation Commissioner

    • Bob Anthony (Republican) 60.04%

    • Ashley Nicole McCrary (Democrat) 34.29%

    • Jackie Short (Independent) 5.67%

  • U.S. Representative - District 01

    • Kevin Hern (Republican) 59.31%

    • Tim Gilpin (Democrat) 40.69%

  • U.S. Representative - District 02

    • Markwayne Mullin (Republican) 65.02%

    • Jason Nichols (Democrat) 30.1%

    • John Foreman (Independent) 2.96%

    • Richard Castaldo (Libertarian) 1.92%

  • U.S. Representative - District 03

    • Frank D. Lucas (Republican) 73.87%

    • Frankie Robbins (Democrat) 26.13%

  • U.S. Representative - District 04

    • Tom Cole (Republican) 63.07%

    • Mary Brannon (Democrat) 33%

    • Ruby Peters (Independent) 3.94%

  • U.S. Representative - District 05

    • Kendra Horn (Democrat) 50.69%

    • Steve Russell (Republican) 49.31%

  • Tulsa County Associate District Judge

    • Cliff Smith 55%

    • Brian Crain 45%

  • Supreme Court District 2 - Patrick Wyrick

    • YES 61.55%

    • NO 38.35%

  • Supreme Court District 3 - Noma D. Gurich

    • YES 61.57%

    • NO 38.43%

  • Supreme Court District 4 - Yvonne Kauger

    • YES 62.19%

    • NO 37.81%

  • Supreme Court District 7 - James E. Edmondson

    • YES 59.4%

    • NO 40.6%

Graham wins Democratic nomination, Nollan and Jackson head to runoff

Oklahoma held its statewide primary election Tuesday and while many party nominees won't be decided till the August runoffs, the State did decide to legalize medical marijuana with the passage of State Question 788.

Governor Mary Fallin issued the following statement after a 56.84% majority of voters passed SQ788, which legalizes the licensed use, sale, and growth of marijuana for medicinal purposes: 

“I respect the will of the voters in any question placed before them to determine the direction of our state. It is our responsibility as state leaders to look out for the health and safety of Oklahoma citizens. As I mentioned in previous public comments, I believe, as well as many Oklahomans, this new law is written so loosely that it opens the door for basically recreational marijuana. I will be discussing with legislative leaders and state agencies our options going forward on how best to proceed with adding a medical and proper regulatory framework to make sure marijuana use is truly for valid medical illnesses.

Incumbent House District 66 Representative Jadine Nollan failed to secure the Republican nomination outright, but was the top vote earner with 45.71%. She will advance to the August runoff against Sand Springs City Councilman Brian Jackson who won 36.63%. Angela Graham won the Democratic nomination with 59.02%. 

To learn more about the HD66 candidates, visit the following links:
Sand Springs teacher Angela Graham running for House District 66
Representative Jadine Nollan endorsed by James Lankford for fifth term
Sand Springs City Councilman Brian Jackson running for House District 66

Elections where no candidate garnered 50% will advance the top two candidates to the August runoff. 

Mick Cornett (29.35%), Todd Lamb (23.87%), and Kevin Stitt (24.41%) each drew about a quarter of the votes in the Republican Gubernatorial Primary. Chris Powell (48.92%) and Rex Lawhorn (32.4%) advanced to the runoff for the Libertarian nomination. Drew Edmondson won the Democratic nomination with 61.39%. 

Dana Murphy (45.85%) and Matt Pinnell (35.7%) advanced to the runoff for the Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor. Anastasia Pittman (50.42%) won the Democratic nomination. 

Cindy Byrd (49.45%) and Charlie Prater (42.08%) advanced to the runoff for the Republican nomination for State Auditor and Inspector.

Mike Hunter (44.46%) and Gentner Drummond (38.46%) advanced to the runoff for the Republican Attorney General nomination.

Incumbent Joy Hofmeister (46.84%) and Linda Murphy (31.05%) advanced to the runoff for the Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction nomination.

Cathy Costello (43.26%) and Leslie Osborn (35.92%) advanced to the runoff for the Republican Commissioner of Labor nomination. Fred Dorrell won the Democratic nomination with 73.43%. 

Glen Mulready (54.75%) defeated Donald Chasteen (45.25%) for the Republican nomination for Insurance Commissioner. He will take on Democrat Kimberly Fobbs in November.

Bob Anthony (47.17%) and Brian Bingman (38.42%) advanced to the runoff for the Republican nomination for Corporation Commissioner. Ashley McCray (48.79%) and Blake Cummings (22.17%) advanced to the runoff for the Democratic nomination. 

Tim Harris (27.48%) and Kevin Hern (22.67%) advanced to the runoff for the Republican nomination for U.S. Representative for District 1. Tim Gilpin (34.5%) and Amanda Douglas (32.41%) will face off in the Democratic runoff.

Markwayne Mullin (54.15%) won the Republican nomination for U.S. Representative for District 2. Jason Nichols (37.9%) and Clay Padgett (24.21%) will go to a runoff for the Democratic nomination. 

Frankie Robbins (64.85%) won the Democratic nomination for U.S. Representative for District 3 with 65%. He will take on Republican Frank Lucas in November. 

Tom Cole (64.74%) won the Republican nomination for U.S. Representative for District 4. Mary Brannon (34.36%) and Fred Gipson (30.37%) will face off in a Democratic runoff. 

Steve Russell (83.62%) won the Republican nomination for U.S. Representative for District 5. Kendra Horn (43.84%) and Tom Guild (17.91%) advanced to the Democratic runoff. 

Incumbent District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler won 42.73% in the Republican primary for District 14 and will take on Ben Fu (29.04%) in August. 

Emily Delozier endorsed by former Congressman Tom Coburn in House District 66 election

House District 66 candidate Emily Delozier shakes hands with former U.S. Congressman Dr. Tom Coburn after receiving an endorsement from the conservative activist. (SUBMITTED).

After back to back revenue failures in 2016 and 2017, the Oklahoma Legislature made a big push in their latest sessions to increase their tax base and diversify State income. House Bill 1010xx created a historic $447 million revenue package to help fund public school teacher pay raises and to try and prevent future budget crises.

Of the five candidates running for House District 66, only one opposes that package. Emily Delozier is running with the most conservative platform of the three Republican candidates, and points to the latest newsletter from the State Treasurer as justification.

“At $970.9 million, May Gross Receipts to the Treasury are a record high for May collections,” announced State Treasurer Ken Miller. “As has been the case each month for more than a year, Oklahoma’s economy is showing signs of ongoing expansion.” According to the May newsletter, gross revenue for the past twelve months is up $1.2 billion over the prior year.

The HB1010xx tax increases have yet to begin, leaving some conservative leaders calling for a complete veto of what they see as an unnecessary package. Delozier, together with conservative advocates including former U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, helped found the group Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite with the goal of undoing that legislation.

“The corporations don’t pay the tax,” says Delozier. “They pass it on to somebody else.” She says the taxes on cigarettes, gas, and diesel will only negatively affect the average Oklahoman.

The OTU does not oppose the teacher pay raises themselves, passed in HB1023xx, but simply the funding mechanism behind those raises. The group is currently circulating a veto referendum petition to place State Question 799 on the ballot this November. SQ799 would put HB1010xx to a popular vote, but would leave the pay raises intact.

Despite the positive economic upturn, Denise Northrup, Office of Management and Enterprise Services director, told the Oklahoma Board of Equalization Monday that another revenue failure could be expected if SQ799 passes.

All four competitors for HD66 have declined to sign the OTE petition, while Delozier has a copy and welcomes signatures. Her work to oppose the largest tax hike in Oklahoma history has drawn endorsements from Dr. Tom Coburn, the Osage County Republican Party, and the Oklahoma Republican Assemblies over the incumbent Republican, Jadine Nollan.

"Poor leadership in Oklahoma has allowed legislators the easy way out, by throwing new taxes at old problems, instead of doing the hard work of implementing tax reform," said Coburn. "Abortion, Second Amendment rights, tax reform, jobs and educational funding are too important for business as usual, which has not worked. Emily DeLozier will serve well the Taxpayers of HD 66."

SUBMITTED.

Delozier, 70, is a lifelong fourth-generation Sandite with kids and grandkids in the Sand Springs area. She holds a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Tulsa and three Associates Degrees from Tulsa Community College. She attends First Baptist Church and is an active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

“Our mom has always told us, if you didn’t like the way something was being done, just do it yourself,” says Delozier, who has been dissatisfied with Nollan’s tenure in office.

“Right now they’re telling us nationwide that they don’t have enough employees to fill the job market…it’s not hit Oklahoma yet.” According to the May Treasurer’s Report, unemployment stands at 4.0% with more than 74,000 Oklahomans seeking jobs.

Delozier is critical of the HB1010xx tax increase on cigarettes and cigars, which she claims will have adverse effects on the State’s lower income communities. “Oftentimes people smoke because they use it as a coping mechanism…they’re unemployed or underemployed and don’t make enough money.”

“My stance on the revenue problem is that there isn’t really a revenue problem.” Delozier points to government mismanagement as responsible for much of the State’s problems, pointing to high profile cases in the Health Department and Department of Transportation (ODOT).

ODOT recently drew allegations of mismanagement when it appeared that $230 million was missing from the County Improvement for Roads and Bridges account. State Auditor Gary Jones later found that the missing funds were appropriated by the Legislature to deal with the 2017 State Budget crisis.

In May a grand jury found that the Health Department hid more than $30 million of State funding in Federal and County accounts while also claiming a $30 million budget gap and laying off nearly 200 employees.

Delozier calls for forensic audits of all State agencies, consolidation of public school districts and eliminating superintendent positions, and ending tax incentives as ways to improve State services without raising the budget.

“In theory (tax incentives) sound nice, but the truth is it kind of discriminates…Some of these really big guys are getting it at our (small businesses') expense. People want to do business in Oklahoma anyways. If we would fix our infrastructure that would attract more business here. They have to be able to deliver our goods without falling in a giant pothole. I don’t think tax incentives are fair to other businesses or to the taxpayers.”

Delozier is open to raising the minimum wage, but is critical of the Fight for Fifteen campaign, saying that much of an increase will lead to automation and elimination of jobs.

Delozier would like to end privatized prisons in Oklahoma, saying that the for-profit system has created a pressure to fill the penitentiaries and has catapulted Oklahoma to first in the nation in per capita incarceration.

State Question 788, which will put medical marijuana on the ballot along with the HD66 election, is a no-go for Delozier. “We already have legalized CBD oil, which is nonpsychotropic, and it can help veterans with PTSD and children that have seizures. But they’re wanting the THC in the plant, which is psychotropic.”

Delozier opposed HB3375, known as the “Ball and Dice Bill” which legalized games such as craps and roulette at tribal casinos. “I don’t think we need any additional gambling in Oklahoma.”

Delozier supported the Constitutional Carry bill that would have authorized citizens age 21 and older, as well as military personnel 18 and older, to carry a handgun either openly or concealed, without a state-issued license or permit. Senate Bill 1212 passed both chambers but was vetoed by Governor Mary Fallin.

“There’s a lot of cleanup that needs to be done,” summarized Delozier. “Abortion is strong on my mind. If I could do something to bring that to an end, I would feel like I had completed my life’s mission.”

Ultimately Delozier sums up her positions as being for less government, less taxes, and more tax reform. She previously ran against Nollan in 2016 and received 25.7% of the vote.

The Republican Primary will be held on Tuesday, June 26th. Delozier will face incumbent Jadine Nollan, as well as Sand Springs City Councilman Brian Jackson. If no candidate receives at least 50% of the votes, then the top two candidates will advance to a runoff election on August 28th. The winner will face the Democratic nominee on November 6th. 

Friday is voter registration deadline for State Primary Election

(Oklahoma City) – The deadline to register for the June 26 State Primary Election is fast approaching, Oklahoma State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said Tuesday.

Voters have until Friday, June 1 to register to vote, change their address or update other registration information before the Statewide Primary. 

Voter registration forms, used to change any registration information, can be downloaded from the Oklahoma State Election Board’s website at http://elections.ok.gov. They are also available at county election boards, post offices, tag agencies, libraries and some other public locations. 

Voters must either register in person or mail their registration forms and have them postmarked before the deadline. 

The State Primary Election will allow voters to pick the nominees for various federal, state and county offices for November’s General Election. State Question 788, which would legalize medical marijuana, is also on the Statewide Primary ballot. In primary races with more than two candidates where no one receives a majority of the votes, runoffs will be held Aug. 28.

Oklahoma’s primary system is typically closed, meaning only those registered in the party can vote in the party’s elections. But the law allows recognized parties to notify the State Election Board if they would like to let Independents vote in their primaries. Democrats have chosen to allow Independents to vote in their primaries and runoff primaries in 2018 and 2019. Independents cannot vote in Republican or Libertarian primaries.

Independent voters who want to vote a Democratic ballot will be able to request one at their polling location or by indicating they would like to receive such ballots via mail when they make an absentee ballot request.

Voters can check their party affiliation, polling place and other registration information, view a sample ballot and track absentee ballots using the Online Voter Tool on the State Election Board’s website. It can be accessed at http://elections.ok.gov

Sand Springs City Council candidates speak at Chamber forum

Incumbent City Councilman Brian Jackson and former City Councilman Harold Neal spoke at a Chamber of Commerce forum Monday morning at the Sand Springs Tulsa Tech campus. The two are running for the Ward Six seat and the election will be held Tuesday, February 13th.

Jackson, 35, is in his third three-year term on the Council. He graduated Charles Page High School in 2002 and Oklahoma State University in 2007 before taking office in May of 2009. He is currently the Development Manager at Junior Achievement of Oklahoma.

Neal, 65, was a four-term councilman from Ward Five, serving from 2003 to 2015 before moving to his current ward. He graduated Liberty Mounds High School in 1970 and currently serves on the Sand Springs Planning Commission.

Jackson pointed to teamwork among the existing Council as pivotal to the recent community successes such as ALDI and Starbucks. According to Jackson, he first suggested that the City work to put a splash pad on the South side of the river at Pratt Civitan Park. 

Neal says he was recruited to run for his first term by current Mayor Mike Burdge. "I had a big interest in this city as far as the golf course. I was in that business for thirty years." According to Neal, he was an advocate for the golf course at a time when it wasn't as popular, pointing to the sales tax it generates at local convenience stores and eateries from out-of-town visitors as immeasurable. 

Jackson said Angus Valley Park is in need of new equipment but that the passage of a recent general obligation bond will pave the way for a new playground by Spring of 2019. 

Neal identified sidewalks as an area of concern in the ward and said he would advocate for more neighborhood sidewalks if he is elected. 

"I wish more people would call their councilmen when they have complaints," said Neal. "I've never failed to go to the City if one of my voters had a problem. I go to the City and take care of it for them."

City Councilperson is an unpaid position. The City has six wards and one At-Large position. Click HERE to view a map of the City wards. Only residents of Ward Six will be able to vote. The winner of the election will be sworn in at the May City Council meeting.

"Brian's always been a good friend of mine," said Neal. "We worked on the City Council together...I don't feel like I'm running against him. If he beats me that's fine, that's not a problem."

Democrat Ikley-Freeman wins Senate District 37 by 31 vote margin

In a nail-bitter special election for the Senate District 37 seat, Democrat Allison Ikley-Freeman defeated Republican Brian O'Hara by a mere 31 votes out of 4,437 ballots cast.

The 26 year-old married mother of three works as a therapist at a Tulsa-based non-profit mental health agency and volunteers with Tulsa Achieves. She resides in West Tulsa and attends Centenary United Methodist Church. She holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology, and a master's in Clinical Mental Health.

Freeman won 2,234 votes, or 50.35% to defeat O'Hara, a former Jenks City Councilman and Deputy District Director for Congressman Jim Bridenstine. 

Ikley-Freeman ran on a platform of increased funding for education, health care, and daycare assistance. She has advocated for increased oversight of police, reduced tax incentives for large businesses, improvements to infrastructure, and reduced restrictions on residential use of solar energy. 

Freeman will take over for third-term Republican Dan Newberry who resigned just six months after reelection. 

Sand Springs voters approve new infrastructure and park improvements, economic incentives

More than 1,500 voters in Sand Springs approved five General Obligation Bond Propositions Tuesday that will cost more than $18 million over the coming years. The bond money will be used to fund infrastructure improvements, economic incentives, increased park development, and city beautification. City officials say that the projects will be staggered so that property taxes do not exceed $13 per $1000 property value. 

Proposition One provides $1,445,000 for street overlays and repairs, plus $2,060,000 for a new roadway to be constructed over the levee separating Sheffield Crossing from Case Community Park. The proposition passed 1,060 to 466, or 69.46% in favor.

Proposition Two provides $1,137,000 for new technology upgrades for the Police Department, Fire Department, and 911 Dispatch, plus $1,133,000 for a new ladder truck and equipment for the Fire Department. The proposition passed 1,016 to 512, or 66.49% in favor.

Proposition Three provides funding for six different recreational projects. $2,060,000 would go to improvements at the Canyons at Black Jack Ridge Municipal Golf Course. $592,250 would go to paved parking at the Jerry Adair Baseball Complex in Case Community Park. $203,000 would go to improvements and repairs at the Sand Springs Cultural & Historical Museum. $420,500 would go to improvements in neighborhood parks with an additional $231,750 for improvements in neighborhood trails. Finally, $257,500 would go to improvements at the Keystone Ancient Forest, including a visitor's center and watchtower. The proposition passed 955 to 548, or 62.38% in favor.

Proposition Four allots $412,000 for the purchase of a new vacuum truck, $1,905,500 for City-wide beautification and landscaping, and $307,500 for City-wide technology improvements. One of the primary sites for City beautification is the Water Treatment Plant at the Southeast corner of Highway 97 and Morrow Road. Landscaping will be utilized to completely hide the facility from public view. The proposition passed 900 to 555, or 61.86% in favor.

Proposition Five will provide funding for land acquisition and incentives for new businesses. Incentives have previously been used to attract Webco, Wal-Mart, Reasor's, and Colton's Steakhouse. The proposition passed 849 to 607, or 58.31% in favor. 

Three City Council seats up for election this February, filing period set for December

Left to right: City Council members Brian Jackson, Beau Wilson, Christine Hamner, Jim Spoon, Mike Burdge, Phil Nollan, Patty Dixon. (Photo: Scott Emigh).

The Sand Springs City Council approved a resolution for Notice of Election at this week’s regular meeting. Three Council seats will be up for grabs in the coming election, including Ward 5, Ward 6, and the At-Large position.

The filing period will be held from Monday, December 4th through Wednesday, December 6th. Candidates must file a Declaration of Candidacy with the City Clerk between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. or 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. in the City Municipal Building.

Ward 5 is currently represented by Vice Mayor Beau Wilson, Ward 6 is represented by Brian Jackson, and the At-Large position is occupied by Jim Spoon.

Wilson is a 2003 Charles Page High School graduate with an Associates from Tulsa Community College and a vocational degree in Railroad Sciences from Johnson County College. He is a member of the Sand Springs Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce, and is the owner of Beau Wilson Insurance in downtown Sand Springs. He was elected to his first term in 2015 and selected as Vice Mayor in May.

Ward 5 boundaries.

Jackson is a 2002 CPHS graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Oklahoma State University. He is a member of the Sand Springs Rotary Club, Tulsa Young Professionals, the Sand Springs Symphony League, and is a Sand Springs Salvation Army Advisory Council member. He is employed as the Development Manager for Junior Achievement of Eastern Oklahoma and was first elected in 2009. He is currently serving his third term.

Spoon holds a Bachelor’s of Pharmacy from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and a Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Oklahoma. He is a member of the Sand Springs Rotary Club, Sand Springs Education Foundation, and Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy. He owns two Spoon Drug pharmacies in Sand Springs and was elected to his first term in 2015.

Council members must be at least twenty-five years of age at the time of taking office and must reside within the ward they are elected to. Members are elected to three-year terms, are not term-limited, and do not receive any compensation for their duties. The City Mayor and Vice-Mayor are elected to one-year terms from within by a vote of the Council.

Ward 6 boundaries.

Powers of the Council include the ability to appoint or remove the City Manager, to enact municipal legislation, to regulate bond elections and raise revenues, to investigate any and all municipal affairs, to appoint or remove members of various municipal boards, and to create or abolish any offices, departments, and agencies of the City government not expressly created by the City Charter.

The Council is required to hold at least one monthly meeting, and individual council members may not be absent from more than half of all meetings within a four-month period. Any council member may be removed from office for any cause through a recall petition and subsequent election.

If only one candidate files, they will inherit the position unopposed. If more than two candidates file, a non-partisan primary election will be held on February 13th, followed by a runoff election on April 3rd.

Senate candidates discuss education and budget concerns at community forum

Left to right: R.Jay McAtee, Phil Nollan, Brian O'Hara.

Five of the seven Republican candidates for Senate District 37 spoke at a community forum event hosted by the Sand Springs Chamber of Commerce Monday afternoon. Held at the Tulsa Technology Center campus in Sand Springs, the event offered each candidates a five minute platform, followed by a question and answer session.

The recurring trend of the conversation was heavily education and State budget focused. 

"What I'm hearing is, we need to get our schools better funding," said Rick Hardesty, 56. "We need to get more money into our education system. To me that makes sense as a small business owner in needing to have a viable workforce and things like that...The reason I started running, the main reason, was I sat and watched...and they have practically closed every school over there and it kind of got me angry."

Nicole Nixon, 31, added "three of my community schools were consolidated." She blamed Tulsa Public Schools for the closures, alleging failure to properly utilize their funding.

For Sand Springs Municipal Judge R. Jay McAtee, 60, the primary issue was the State budget. "The legislature needs to take the budget and make it their number one item on day one, February 8-9, 2018 and they need to not attend to any other business until that budget is addressed...We can't pay our teachers until we figure out how to do the budget."

Nicole Nixon (left), Rick Hardesty (right).

Two Sand Springs City Councilmen are in the race, though one declined the invitation to speak. Ward 6 Councilman Brian Jackson, 34, who previously ran in the regular election last November, issued a statement.

"My campaign for Senate District 37 is a silent protest against the blatant disregard of the people’s voice through the elected official, who quit one year into his term. Too much time and too much money-to the amount of a half million dollars-have been wasted when we went through this political process a year ago. We are tired of the political nonsense we are bombarded with during elections. When will enough be enough? I will not raise one more dime, post one more sign, or campaign on any platform. Those that want to donate to my campaign, I ask you to find a local public school teacher and give that money to his/her classroom for supplies, as public education is still my number one priority. The choice of Senator for District 37 should be left to the people on voting day, not political games and influence.”

Ward One Councilman Phil Nollan, 59, spoke of his personal qualifications, his ties to Sand Springs, and his experience of working behind the scenes with his wife, House Representative Jadine Nollan. Jadine Nollan is in her seventh year at the Legislature, and previously served on the Sand Springs Board of Education for eleven years. 

"I'm a nationally-certified project manager. I think during my process of my early years I learned how to manage projects and programs, I learned how to lead teams...learned how to deliver things as promised - on time and under budget...My recent employment with EMC, I had to work with Fortune 100 customers...What I found in working with those companies is, they had big demands like I know this job has. Like I know the job that my wife has to do. Meeting those demands is not going to be easy, but you've got to keep your word. You've got to keep your promises, and you have to do the best you can do to make it happen."

Following their speeches, the candidates each responded to three questions from the audience. The first question regarded school vouchers, which allow parents to receive a tax refund to send their students to private schools. 

Hardesty declined to answer the question, citing a lack of knowledge on the subject.

Nixon expressed support for school vouchers in an ideal world, but said that our society and government isn't to the point yet that they would work. "We need to make sure that no children slip through cracks, ever. We need to find a good system."

Brian O'Hara, 56, touched heavily on vouchers during his opening remarks, and referred back to his earlier comments. "We're struggling, the schools are struggling...You make a choice if you want home school or private school and I respect that choice. I encourage that choice if that's what's best for your student...But that doesn't mean that tax payer money has to follow that student."

Nollan pointed out that proponents of vouchers often cite "school choice" as a major concern. "We already have school choice now...When we raised our kids in Sand Springs Public Schools, we could transfer our kids to a different school if we wanted to. We could ask for certain teachers for our kids to go through. If we didn't feel like public school was doing its job, we could home school our kids...You can send your kids to private school. If you don't live in the district, you can move into the district. In a sense, we really do have school choice now...Sending funding with the kid through a voucher system is not the solution."

"Lawyer answer, no," joked McAtee. "We need to fund our teachers, we need to fund our classrooms, we need to make it where we don't have to go out as a church, buy the supplies for all the teachers. We need to concentrate the money where it needs to be."

SEE RELATED: Word of Life church paints, cleans up Limestone Elementary

The second question asked "Will you increase the tax on oil and gas?"

"Yes, absolutely," said McAtee. "I don't want to put the tax burden on the citizens of Oklahoma until we have looked at every other alternative."

"It's an incentive tax, what's in place now," said Nollan. "The national average is 9.5%, in Oklahoma we average 3.2%. In Texas it's 8.3%. The research says that we probably need to take another look."

"Millions of dollars goes into drilling a well, which they may not get a dime out of if that well is dry," said O'Hara. "I've talked to a couple of companies, not the big guys, the guys that are just starting up. Their concern is that they can go elsewhere and drill...My position is, I don't support a gross production tax at this point. Only because the information I've received indicates that there would be a loss of wells if that were the case."

Nixon stated she would have liked to have seen the percentage increased to 4.5% during the last session, and that her biggest focus would be on getting Oklahoma away from a dependence on oil revenue. 

"It's really not raising a tax, it's taking away a tax incentive," said Hardesty. "The oil companies are well diversified. When they say 'if you take away our tax incentive we're going to cut back on drilling' that's a load of bull. That's how they make their money, they're not going to cut back. I have people in my family that own oil companies, and I have a lot of people in my family that work for oil companies. But that doesn't mean I want to sit and give the oil companies special treatment."

The final question asked for solutions to the ongoing budgetary problems.

"Take away the tax incentives that aren't working," said Hardesty. He also discussed consolidating State agencies and commissions. 

"Definitely want to look at incentives. I think that's a great start," agreed Nixon. "I think audits, very necessary. Anybody who's getting our tax dollars should be held accountable."

"I've told you where I think we need to start, and that means at the very beginning," said O'Hara. "The first month and a half, two months, if it takes the whole session we should be working on the budget. We don't need to throw bum legislation out."

"We need to do more on capping our incentives. Maybe some of the incentives stay, but we need to cap them," said Nollan. 

"We need to make Oklahoma a 21st-century state," concluded McAtee. "We have agencies that were created 150 years ago still in existence."

Grady Grant, 62, is also running for the Republican nomination, but did not participate in the event. Democrat Allison Ikley-Freeman, 26, filed unopposed and will take on the winner of the Republican nomination in November.

The Republican primary will be held September 12th. The voter-registration deadline is August 18, and the deadline to request an absentee ballot is September 6th.

Click on the candidates' images below to read their full statements.

Rick Hardesty.

Rick Hardesty.

R.Jay McAtee.

R.Jay McAtee.

Nicole Nixon.

Nicole Nixon.

Phil Nollan.

Phil Nollan.

Brian O'Hara.

Brian O'Hara.

Sand Springs City Council approves General Obligation Bond vote for November

Sand Springs Police Chief Mike Carter discusses the department's need for updated dispatch software at a Monday night City Council meeting. (Photo: Emigh).

The Sand Springs City Council unanimously approved a series of bond propositions at Monday night’s regular monthly meeting. The five propositions will appear on the ballot November 14th at the same time as the Senate District 37 special election. Each proposition will pass or fail on its own, and will require a simple majority of 50% plus one vote.

Proposition One totals $3.505 million for the purpose of improving street conditions and constructing new roadways. “The City has always made an effort to make streets and roadways here in Sand Springs a priority,” said City Manager Elizabeth Gray. $1.445 million will be used for street overlays and repairs, while $2.06 million will go to a new roadway over the levee separating Case Community Park from the Sheffield Crossing commercial development.

Proposition Two totals $2.27 million for the purpose of purchasing new public safety equipment and software. The money will be used to replace a fifteen-year-old Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) software for the Sand Springs Police Department, as well as the Records Management System. A new ladder truck will also be purchased for the Sand Springs Fire Department. The new unit will be able to navigate tighter spaces and will have a ladder approximately 30 feet longer than the current unit.

Proposition Three totals $3.765 million for the purposes of beautifying, renovating, and generally improving public parks, lands, recreational facilities, etc. $592,250 will go to paving the parking lot at the Jerry Adair Baseball Complex inside Case Community Park. $203,000 will go to Museum building improvements, $420,500 will go to park improvements, $231,750 will go to neighborhood trail improvements, $2.06 million will go to improvements at the Canyons at Blackjack Ridge, and $257,500 will go towards improvements at the Keystone Ancient Forest. KAF improvements will include a watch tower and a new visitor’s center.

Proposition Four totals $2.625 million for the purpose of improving municipal facilities and assets. $412,000 will go to purchasing a vacuum truck, $1.9055 million will go to City-wide beautification and landscaping, and $307,500 will go to City-wide computer hardware and software upgrades. According to City officials, the current vacuum truck is utilized daily and is one of the most heavily used piece of equipment in the city.

Part of the beautification and landscaping funds will go to the City Water Treatment facility on the corner of Morrow Road and Wilson Avenue. “We want to make sure that we don’t have an eyesore that people can see anymore,” said Gray. "The water tower is coming down, it’s already funded. The water treatment facility isn’t going to be moved, it’s just too expensive. We want to make sure that our city looks as good as it can.”

Proposition Five totals $6.180 million will go to acquisition, improvement, and development of lands for future economic development projects. “Our citizens still have wants that they want to see locally, and we want to see that happen,” said Police Chief Mike Carter. “Look no further than Walmart and Webco. Those would not have happened if the City didn’t have those resources.”

Under the proposal, the city millage rate will be kept to $13 per $1,000 of property value. According to City officials, the most Sand Springs citizens have ever paid was $13.5. “Even when we go to 13 mills, our millage rate will be below Bixby, Jenks, Sapulpa, Broken Arrow, and Tulsa,” said Councilman Phil Nollan. “It was intentional,” added Mayor Mike Burdge. 

In other news:

Council approved a renewal of their ten-year sales tax rebate agreement with Reasor’s, LLC. The 1% agreement caps at $2 million and is currently at $1.022 million after five years.

Council approved a $251,708 annual subsidy of EMSA services.

Council approved a contract of up to $190,000 with Dewberry Architects for expenses relating to the new Public Safety Facility.

Council approved the closure of the Southern half of Case Community Park from Sunday, September 3rd through Monday, September 4th. The park will serve as the launching point for the Great Raft Race that Monday. The park will also be closed to normal operations on September 9th and 10th due to the Riverfest Grand Opening event. 

Council approved a transfer of $20,000 for a sidewalk improvement project in Concord Estates.

Council approved an ordinance rezoning the formerly-planned Arms Estates housing addition from RS-2 to RS-3. Arms Estates was originally planned in 1958 but ceased development after a single home. The property is located between East 31st Place and East 32nd Place off South 113th West Avenue.

Alan Betchan of AAB Engineering plans on developing a twelve-lot subdivision named Rivercrest. The new zoning allows the lots to be as little as 60 feet wide, as opposed to 75 feet minimum under RS-2. The lots are expected to be about 70 feet wide and 9,000 square feet. The addition will include single-story homes approximately 1800 square feet, and two-story homes approximately 2200 square feet. They are expected to range from $200,000 to $300,000.

Council voted to create an exemption from the Sand Springs Parks Fee for new buildings on lots that have been previously developed as residential.

Council voted to approve current plans for a hardened room (storm shelter) to be constructed at the Case Community Center. Preliminary designs have been drafted by Studio 45 for a 40x14 room with an occupancy load of 97, able to withstand 250 mph winds. “This is simply a place for occupants of the building, this is not a community shelter” said Parks Director Grant Gerondale. The project will go to bid this fall.

Council awarded a $715,710 contract to Circle P Welding, Inc. for the replacement of the South McKinley Hills Water Storage Tank.

Councilman Brian Jackson announced the acquisition of several surplus books from the National Library of Congress that have been gifted to Sand Springs Public Schools.

The Sand Springs Museum Association will hold an annual meeting on August 5th that is open to the public from 11:00 a.m. to noon. Connie Fisher, a museum volunteer and nationally acclaimed storyteller, will provide entertainment.

City of Sand Springs accepts $2 million donation, sets date for upcoming bond election

Nine-time State Champion Cheyenne Walden receives the "Heart of the City" award at Monday night's City Council Meeting.

Nine-time State Champion Cheyenne Walden receives the "Heart of the City" award at Monday night's City Council Meeting.

The Sand Springs City Council held a regular meeting Monday night at the City Municipal Building. 

Mayor Mike Burdge presented recent Charles Page High School graduate Cheyenne Walden with a Mayoral Proclamation and the first-ever Heart of the City award for her accomplishments in competitive running. She is the most decorated athlete in school history and will run for Oklahoma State University in the fall.

SEE RELATED: Cheyenne Walden receives "Heart of the City" award from Mayor Mike Burdge

The City formally accepted a $2 million check from Mike and Pat Case. The Cases pledged the donation last year to help with the River City Park renovation. The park will be renamed Case Community Park at its grand re-opening this fall.

Click HERE to view recent photos of the park construction.

Human Resources Director Amy Fairchild gave a brief educational presentation regarding her department. According to Fairchild, the City has 199 full-time, thirteen part-time, five seasonal and one contractual employee. There are currently seven vacant positions, including three in the police department.

Click HERE to view open positions in the City of Sand Springs.

The Council unanimously approved the use of $99,474.00 to purchase four police pursuit units. The department will purchase two Ford Police Interceptor SUVs and two Dodge Chargers.

Council unanimously voted to approve the Parks Advisory Board's recommendation to terminate the Use Agreement with the Sand Springs Round Up Club. They also declared the rodeo grounds as surplus, allowing them to auction off valuables and demolish what's left.

SEE RELATED: Sand Springs Round Up Club petition hopes to reverse eviction from City park

Council unanimously approved a Deed of Dedication by the Sand Springs Home, officially dedicating South Lincoln Avenue as a public road. The City has been maintaining the road for a number of years under the assumption that it was a public road.

Council approved a new one-year contract with the Metropolitan Tulsa Transit Authority (MTTA) in the amount of $49,368. 

Council unanimously approved a resolution calling for a complete update to the City Comprehensive Plan. The plan has not been updated since 2002.

SEE RELATED: City of Sand Springs approves new comprehensive plan for next fifteen years

Council unanimously approved the renaming of two park sites. The City Garden Park will be renamed the Inez Kirk Garden Park in honor of former City Manager Inez Kirk. The Inez Kirk Soccer Complex will also be renamed. City Officials are waiting to announce the new name pending the notification of the namesake's family.

Council unanimous approved a resolution adopting the 2017 Sand Springs Police Department Policing Plan.

SEE RELATED: City of Sand Springs adopts new 2017 Policing Plan

Council unanimously approved a resolution creating a new fireworks discharge permit classification. Previously the City only allowed the use of Class 1.3G (large professional) fireworks by organizations, and the use of Class of 1.4G (small consumer) fireworks by private individuals at a residential address. The new permit allows for organizations to hold public fireworks shows with 1.4G fireworks. The Class 1.4G individual use permit is $20, the Class 1.4G entity use permit is $40, and the Class 1.3G use permit is $100.

Council approved November 14, 2017 as the date for the 2017 General Obligation Bond election. The State of Oklahoma is already holding a Special Election that date to fill legislative vacancies.

SEE RELATED: City Council prepares for upcoming bond election, discusses new roads and economic incentives

The Sand Springs Municipal Authority met immediately following the Council meeting and approved the use of $58,770 to purchase a Ford F550 pickup for use in the Water Maintenance & Operations department.

Several citizens were appointed to various advisory boards. All positions are three-year terms with the exception of the Sand Springs/Sapulpa Joint Board, which is a one-year term.

  • Nancy Riley was reappointed to the Board of Adjustment by unanimous vote.
  • Troy Cox was reappointed to the Development Authority by unanimous vote.
  • Joe Shelton was reappointed to the Planning Commission by unanimous vote.
  • Jason Mikles was reappointed to the Planning Commission by unanimous vote.
  • Mary Eubanks was appointed to the Economic Development Authority by unanimous vote.
  • Ronald G. Cloud was appointed to the Parks Advisory Board by unanimous vote.
  • Elizabeth Gray was appointed as an alternate to the Sand Springs/Sapulpa Joint Board by unanimous vote.
  • Dr. William Tom Campbell, Jr. was reappointed to the Airport Advisory Board by unanimous vote.
  • Robert J. Flennor was reappointed to the Airport Advisory Board by unanimous vote.
  • Dr. Mark Manahan was reappointed to the Airport Advisory Board by unanimous vote.

Sand Springs heads to the polls this Tuesday: a look at the candidates

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

Many Sand Springs residents will head to the polls this Tuesday, and some will have two ballots. Tulsa Technology Center Zone 5, comprising most of Sand Springs and Owasso, will vote between Roy D. McClain and Danny Hancock for the vacant Board of Education Office 5 position. Sand Springs Ward 4 will vote between Christine Hamner and Nancy Riley for the vacant position on the Sand Springs City Council.

The Board of Ed Zone 5 seat was previously held by John Selph, first elected in 2008, who resigned last June only six months into his second seven-year term. Board members meet once monthly and are compensated $25 per meeting.

Danny Hancock is a lifelong Sand Springs resident and Tulsa Tech graduate with 28 years in the construction industry. He is a member of the Tulsa Tech Education Foundation, a program advisor for Tulsa Tech and the Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology, and a construction manager at Cowen Construction. He earned a Plumbing Program Certificate from TTC and an Associate’s Degree in Construction Technology from OSUIT. He also serves on boards for the Plumbing Contractors of Eastern Oklahoma Association (PCEO), and was appointed by Governor Mary Fallin to his current term on the Oklahoma Uniform Building Code Commission (OUBCC).

Roy McClain is an Owasso resident, Oklahoma State University graduate, and currently works as a Community Business Development Manager for Barnes & Noble. He was a Personnel Administrative Specialist in the U.S. Army, a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives serving District 71, and an Adjunct Professor for Community Care College. He has worked as a political advisor for Steve Gallo for State Representative and Steve Gallo for County Commissioner. He holds a degree in Economics from OSU and has been with Barnes and Noble since 2010.

The Sand Springs Ward 4 seat was vacated in December by John Fothergill, who was hired as Chief Deputy to County Commissioner Karen Keith. Fothergill was serving as Vice-Mayor at the time. City Council member is an unpaid position, meeting seventeen times annually. Terms are three years, with the Mayor and Vice Mayor being elected annually by the council.

SEE RELATED: To the people of Sand Springs, from City Council candidate Nancy Riley

SEE RELATED: To the people of Sand Springs, from City Council candidate Christine Hamner