Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

December 18, 2013

Officials eye snow, street plan; Corn says no change is needed

TAHLEQUAH — A small group of city officials met Tuesday morning to discuss putting a written plan in place for clearing streets of snow and ice during winter weather.

City officials came under fire recently when a winter storm brought a blanket of ice and snow to Tahlequah. Many residents complained the streets had not been cleared as quickly as they wanted, but Street Commissioner Mike Corn said his crews worked as hard as they could. He said  the layer of ice beneath several inches of snow presented a major problem for road graders.

On Tuesday, Corn met with Mayor Jason Nichols and Tahlequah-Cherokee County Emergency Management Director Gary Dotson to talk about the city’s response. Nichols has said the city needs to be better prepared for winter weather, with a written protocol in place and a map dictating how the city clears streets.

“We’ve got to get our act together,” Nichols said. “You could take a map of this town and a highlighter, or maybe several highlighters, and say here’s Priority 1, Priority 2, and Priority 3, and maybe several of each. Knowing the rate at which we could work, we could give people a pretty good estimate on how long it would take to get each set of priorities done.”

Corn defended his crews, saying the street department responded well after the last snow and ice.

“I don’t think we really need any changes,” said Corn. “It was just a certain amount of ice we got.”

Nichols told Corn some residents feel the roads weren’t cleared in a timely manner. Dozens of those people complained on the Daily Press’ Facebook walls and elsewhere.

“Well, there’s a certain amount of people that would agree with what we’ve done,” said Corn. “I got a lot of compliments on what we done. It’s just the way that ice came down; there just wasn’t anything you could do with it.”

Corn later agreed to meet with Dotson and other city officials later this month to put a written plan in place, and to map out the street priorities. Nichols asked that the plan be ready by mid-January for council approval. Dotson agreed the plan needs to be in place “right away.”

“It’s supposed to be a bad winter,” said Dotson.

Dotson suggested emergency services, such as roads around hospitals, be cleared first when winter storms hit.

“Our No. 1 priority should be our main thoroughfares and emergency services, including police and fire and the hospitals,” said Dotson.

Dotson checked with other communities, including Muskogee and Tulsa, and learned their street departments do not clear residential streets immediately following a snow storm, but instead focus on higher-traffic outlets and emergency routes. In Tulsa, one study suggested the clearing of residential streets presented an average cost of about $400 per hour, Dotson said.

According to Corn, the street department considers its priority roads to be Muskogee Avenue, Choctaw Street, and Downing Street. Later, crews will attack secondary streets, like College and Water avenues. If schools plan to open, Corn said his crews will work around the school sites.

“Then we’ll come back and start working the residentials,” said Corn. “We try to get a lot of the hills and stop signs. We just work all the major hills, the bridges, then we’ll back up and start going into the residential areas.”

Corn said he has previously considered buying snowplows for the street department’s sand trucks.

“More than likely it would worth it, but they sit all year, like the state’s equipment,” said Corn. “Theirs sit out back all year long, but when they need it, it’s there.”

Corn estimates each snowplow attachment for a sand truck would cost more than $13,000. The city’s sand trucks are not equipped with the hydraulic attachments that would be needed for snowplows, and those would cost an additional $10,000, he suggested.

Nichols recommended Corn consider putting all four sand trucks on the streets during winter weather, rather than the two or three that were running during the last storm. Corn said he had two crew members in each truck for safety reasons, but is willing to consider placing one employee into each truck.

jnewton@tahlequahdailypress.com

1
Text Only
Local News
  • ths-jazz-2.jpg THS jazz band gets up early to hone performance skills

    It means getting up an hour earlier, and it doesn’t count as a class, but the jazz band at Tahlequah High School enjoys the dedication of a group of enthusiastic students.
    The THS Jazz Band practices every day at 7 a.m., an hour before the start of classes. It numbers 17, and is led by Director Orien Landis.
    “They have to do this before school and they get no class credit, but we have a full band,” Landis said. “They are really excited about this.”

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Easter-basket-kid.jpg Easter traditions date back centuries

    Some Christians may lament a partial shift of focus, but a Christian holy day - perhaps the most holy of all – is this Sunday, and it will be marked with celebrations all around the world.
    The Christian holiday of Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. For centuries, the observant have fasted, reflected or done penance in the weeks leading to the holiday. But today, many also associate the holiday with the Easter bunny, candy, and kites. In 2013, Americans spent $2.1 billion on Easter candy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Some oppose minimum wage hike; others decry strong-arming by state

    President Barack Obama and the U.S. Senate recently announced a push to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour, to $10.10. On the heels of the announcement, an initiative petition was introduced in Oklahoma City to raise the minimum wage to the suggested $10.10. If it gained 80,000 signatures, it would be put to a vote of the people.
    This legislative session, a bill passed prohibiting municipalities from setting a minimum was or vacation and sick-day requirements. Gov. Mary Fallin signed the bill into law earlier this week.

    April 18, 2014

  • Phone scam takes $500 from couple

    Authorities are warning Cherokee County residents to watch for a costly phone scam that recently targeted a local couple and ended in their loss of $500.
    According to sheriff’s deputies, a couple contacted authorities after losing $500 to the scam. The couple received a phone call from a man who identified himself only as “Mr. Green.” He told the couple they had won $1.5 million through Publisher’s Clearing House, but to collect the money, the couple would have to purchase a $500 money card to cover various fees.

    April 18, 2014

  • Missing local teen found dead

    The body of a missing 17-year-old boy was found in southern Cherokee County on Thursday, sheriff’s investigators said.
    Brikk Pritchett was reported missing earlier this month after disappearing on March 30, a day before his 17th birthday.

    April 18, 2014

  • ts honor flight 1.tif Flight of honor

    World War II veteran Charles Harra flew missions for the Army Air Corps, and if you ask him which flight was his most memorable, he’ll say it was his 35th mission.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man charged after leading authorities on wild chase

    Prosecutors have formally charged a man who allegedly led authorities on a wild high-speed pursuit across Cherokee County in late March.

    April 17, 2014

  • Sex offender bonds out after failing to register

    A Cherokee County man is out on bond after being arrested last week for failing to register as a sex offender.

    April 17, 2014

  • jn radiator shop.jpg ‘Greenbelt’ progressing

    Crews this week began to demolish an abandoned radiator shop at the corner of South Street and Guinn Avenue.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts slut walk.tif SlutWalk shines spotlight on crime

    “Two, four, six, eight, stop the violence, stop the rape; slut, slut, ho, ho, yes means yes and no means no!”
    This was the battle cry across the campus of Northeastern State University, as the student branch of the American Association of University Women held its third annual SlutWalk Wednesday.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Stocks