Tahlequah Daily Press

Features

August 29, 2013

Shelter being renovated for seniors

TAHLEQUAH — tsnell@tahlequahdailypress.com

When severe weather strikes, the people often in harm’s way are those least able to care for themselves, including the elderly.

Retired registered nurse and nursing home developer-turned builder and contractor Veraman Davis said his passion is providing safe, affordable places for those in their golden years.

His latest development includes repurposing a bomb shelter built in the early 1950s. Now a storm shelter, it will provide a haven for residents of his new retirement complex, Billie Davis Retirement Homes, when severe weather or a tornado approaches.

“People who have never been in a tornado always say, ‘It’ll never happen to me,’” said Davis. “Those who have experienced one, never forget it.”

The complex, on North Jones Avenue between the United Methodist Children’s home and West Allen Road, has a number of units already finished. The shelter renovation should be complete at the same time the complex is finished.

Davis’ own homestead is a stone’s throw from the complex.

“We moved to this property back in 1952,” said Davis. “The place we’re standing on now was owned by the Britt family, who were pioneers to this area. Well, back in the ‘50s, the Britts  built the shelter. Back then, everyone was afraid of a nuclear holocaust with Russia.”

Given the fearful climate of the time, the shelter was built to include beds, tables, and just about anything a family would need to survive over the long haul.

“It’s 10 feet wide and runs all the way to the street,” said Davis. “It’s got 12-inch reinforced concrete walls and ceiling, and I can say it’s tough, because I’ve driving over the top of it a bunch of times with backhoes and bulldozers.”

The shelter is wheelchair-accessible, and will include a carpeted ceiling and walls to dampen the sound.

“Every single resident will have a key to the shelter, but I’ve appointed the man who lives [nearest to the shelter] kind of the deputy sheriff,” Davis said. “When a storm comes up, he’ll be here with the door open, helping people get in and get situated.”

The shelter has not yet been rated by the local branch of Civil Defense, but Davis said it will be before it opens in earnest.

“It functions as a shelter now; I have electricity run to it,” he said. “But we want to make it more comfortable for the residents.”

Anyone who has lived in the area for a while is probably familiar with the tornadoes that leveled Peggs, as well as the near-misses on the north end of town in the past decade.

“I grew up in the Peggs area, and we didn’t have the advanced warning systems we have now,” said Davis. “With the technology available, we can get residents in and safe at the first sign of a bad storm.”

Davis believes the facility is an asset, as many elderly and retired people lack the means and ability to drive to a designated shelter elsewhere.

“Caring for the elderly has always been my passion,” said Davis.

“Now that I’m retired, building nice, safe affordable retirement housing is what I focus on.”

1
Text Only
Features
  • 20th-Amendment.jpg Inauguration day changed by 20th Amendment

    Sometimes an amendment is added to the U.S. Constitution that is uncontroversial and virtually unlitigated.
    Such is the 20th Amendment, which moved the seating of the new Congress and the presidential inauguration day to January, and enumerates procedure if a president-elect dies or cannot take office.
    Because the “Lame-Duck Amendment” addresses procedure, it is long.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-School-Fashion.jpg Fashion show to feature local teachers

    A fun fashion event that will provide funds for one lucky area school is coming up next weekend.
    Local teachers and students have until Tuesday, July 22, to sign up for the Teacher and Student Back 2 School Fashion Show at Arrowhead Mall in Muskogee.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-actress.jpg TV’s ‘Mistresses’ has second local tie

    Tahlequah has at least two ties to the TV drama “Mistresses.”
    Local florist Josh Cottrell-Mannon designed the flower arrangements for the show’s season finale, and Arriane Alexander, daughter of local resident Sharilyn Young, is portraying a television news reporter.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-Stark-Sequoyah.jpg Stark enjoys making a difference

    Kristin Stark, Sequoyah Elementary Teacher of Year, loves teaching, and has a desire to make a positive difference in the lives of children.
    “I love making a difference in the lives of children; it is a wonderful feeling to make a positive impact on a child,” said Stark.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • sr-19thAmendment.jpg Women got the vote with 19th Amendment

    During its first 140 years, the United States Constitution underwent a series of changes intended to extend voting rights to those who were not white or didn’t own property - but as the American experiment entered the 20th Century, half the adult population still had no protection to vote.
    Though they certainly had political opinions, women could not cast a ballot in most states. That changed with passage of the 19th Amendment.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • renee-storyteller.jpg Cherokee, Tlingit storytellers to share their craft during special NSU event

    Two Native American cultures will be represented during a storytelling workshop featuring Cherokee Gayle Ross and Tlingit and Cherokee dancer and storyteller Gene Tagaban, of Seattle.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • 1-ts CN opt 1.jpg Cherokees commemorate Act of Union

    Cherokee Nation dignitaries met on the historic courthouse square Tuesday to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the Act of Union following the end of the Trail of Tears Removal.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-vol-July.jpg Firefighting fills a big role for Kimble

    Community service is both work and volunteering for Cherokee County 911 Coordinator/Director Marty A. Kimble.
    Kimble is also fire chief for Gideon Volunteer Fire and Rescue, president of the Grand View School Board, and northeast regional vice president of OklaNENA (National Emergency Number Association).

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-artist-July-2.jpg Fulk discovered art talent after retirement

    It’s not unusual for retired folks to turn their hand to the arts. Count George Fulk among that number.
    The former optometry professor at Northeastern State University and bird-watching enthusiast has found he also has a talent for watercolor painting.

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • de-Sewing-Ruth-Kennedy.jpg OHCE members have ‘sew’ much fun

    Sewing machines were buzzing and conversation was flowing at the Oklahoma Home and Community Education Woodall Club’s quarterly workshop last week.
    The group assembled was working on placemat notebook organizers, made from regular table placemats.

    June 30, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you believe marijuana should be legalized in Oklahoma?

Absolutely not.
No, but it should be decriminalized.
Yes, but only for medicinal purposes.
Yes, both for medicinal and recreational purposes.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Stocks