Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

July 13, 2013

County to refurbish, repurpose CCHD facility

TAHLEQUAH — Several of the county’s elected officials will have new space to use in the coming months with the renovation of the facility that once housed Cherokee County Health Department programs.

The building – once known as the health department’s west facility – suffered from a sewer backup in October 2011.

Maria Alexander, the health department’s administrative director, said all services from the damaged facility were moved to the east building after the sewer backup, causing some programs to be reduced.

The health department had to pay nearly $100,000 for the initial cleanup of the west building, Alexander said. Those costs covered storage of the department’s equipment and the initial response for cleanup.

“We had to pay that,” said Alexander. “To redo everything just back to the previous standard was going to be in excess of another $100,000.”

Health department officials took the matter to voters last April when they asked for a millage increase that would fund the construction or purchase of a new facility for the entire health department, but voters ultimately turned down that proposal.

County commissioners have now taken back control of the building, which the county has owned for years.

District 3 Commissioner Mike Ballard hasn’t received an estimate on how much the renovation will cost, but he expects the price tag will not near the $50,000 mark.

At least three elected officials are set to have some space in the facility when renovation is complete: Cherokee County Sheriff Norman Fisher, Court Clerk Shelly Kissinger, and District Attorney Brian Kuester.

All three plan to use space at the building for storage.

“We are spending $100 per month for two off-site storage buildings, so we can take the stuff from those buildings and store it in the space we have down at the building,” said Fisher.

Kissinger’s office also rents off-site storage, and she expects the additional space will cut costs.

“We are very appreciative of the commissioners for allowing us to use that,” said Kissinger. “It’ll provide a big cost savings.”

Neither Fisher nor Kissinger plan to move personnel from the courthouse to the new facility.

Kuester, however, plans to use some of the space for storage, but also expects to take advantage of new office space.

“Our intent, at this point, is for the district attorney investigators, primarily drug task force investigators, to move down there,” said Kuester. “It will certainly free up some space at the courthouse. The drug task force director, Mike Moore, currently has an office at the courthouse, but his office will move to that location.”

Meanwhile, health department officials have continued their search for a new building, Alexander said this week.

“We are still looking for a building that can accommodate all our staff and services,” said Alexander. “Re-occupying the west building was not an option for us. Bottom line, we are still looking at partnership options with other entities. We are still performing all our services to our clients, just in the cramped environment.”


Text Only
Local News
  • ts-NSU-MAIN.jpg Fledgling RiverHawks arrive

    Over 200 incoming freshmen took part in orientation class at Northeastern State University

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-TCP-jump.jpg Tahlequah Community Playhouse revving up for new season

    Tahlequah Community Playhouse is kicking of its 41st season with a nod to friendship and aging.
    TCP finished auditions for its first play of the season, “The Dixie Swim Club,” on Tuesday.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Infant mortality dropping in county

    When a mom-to-be is expecting a healthy, happy baby, every week of pregnancy is crucial.
    Short gestation, or premature births, is a leading cause of infant mortality. Any child born before reaching 37 weeks of gestation is considered premature.

    July 23, 2014

  • Board considers combining tourism, chamber positions

    Members of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the local Tourism Council are discussing the possibility of combining two jobs into one.
    Chamber President Steve Turner encouraged board members Tuesday morning to be prepared next month to decide how it will begin a search for a new executive director.

    July 23, 2014

  • New chamber board members nominated

    Three new board members will likely be installed during the regular August meeting of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce.

    July 23, 2014

  • ts-camp-cherokee-main.jpg Camp Cherokee

    About 500 area youth attending popular camp for tribal citizens.

    In reality, two camps are taking place at the Camp Heart ‘o the Hills: a day camp for children in first through sixth grades, and a residential camp for those in middle and high school.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • leatherman-chad.jpg Man gets 20 years for robbing local Walgreens store

    A Tahlequah man accused of robbing a local Walgreens this year has received a 20-year sentence.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-orphan-train.jpg ‘Orphan Train’ authors visit Tahlequah

    Imagine, for a moment, being a child whose parents could not care for him, and the only alternative was to ride the rails across the country, hoping to find a new family and home.
    For local resident Peggy Kaney’s grandfather, this scenario was a reality.
    Alison Moore and Phil Lancaster shared the stories of over 200,000 children taken from New York City and then given away to families in western states from 1854 to 1929, at the Tahlequah Public Library on July 17.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • City council gives family deadline to rehab property

    Tahlequah’s city council is giving a family with local ties a little more than a month to develop and submit rehabilitation plans for two pieces of property containing six dilapidated structures in the 400 block of Lee Street.
    Members of the city’s abatement board recommended the homes be demolished, according to Tahlequah Building Inspector Mark Secratt. City officials then sent a certified notice as required by law, but the letter was returned.

    July 22, 2014

  • Man ‘howling like dog,’ arrested for APC

    When a Kentucky man pulled into an area convenience store over the weekend and began “barking and howling like a dog,” sheriff’s deputies checked on him and eventually hauled him to jail on alcohol-related charges, an arrest report shows.

    July 22, 2014


Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' House Committee at Odds Over Obama Lawsuit Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return