Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

August 10, 2012

Drought assistance now available

TAHLEQUAH — Cherokee County residents experienced a brief respite from drought conditions, as the first measurable rainfall swept through the area late Wednesday and early Thursday.

But the area remains under a severe drought warning. Some rural water users who depend on wells may find supplies running low, and cattle ranchers are looking for ways to irrigate their livestock as pond levels ebb ever lower.

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board on Thursday announced grant funding has been made available for drought assistance. OWRB Executive Director J.D. Strong said his agency is receiving dozens of inquiries daily, either reporting drought-related water problems or requesting some type of technical or financial assistance.

“When it gets right down to it, no matter how dry our streamflow gauges and drought indices say it is, it’s the people on the ground – the citizens of Oklahoma and our water user community – who experience the true impact of drought,” said Strong in a press release.

The OWRB administers water rights in Oklahoma, monitors the quantity and quality of surface and groundwater, and provides financial assistance to address water infrastructure needs.

Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service Agriculture Educator Roger Williams said area cattle ranchers are having a hard time providing irrigation for livestock.

“It’s not at the critical point yet, but watering livestock is becoming a problem,” said Williams. “[Ranchers] are looking real hard at how to haul water to them. I haven’t heard many well complaints, but the pond levels are really getting lower, especially with all the wind we’ve had.”

Williams pointed rainfall in the county has been below average for 18 of the past 25 months.

“The only time we had plenty of rainfall was April 2011, and most of that didn’t going to the ground, it just caused problems,” said Williams. “We just haven’t had the solid rains to make the ground soggy.”

Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission Administrator Ed Fite is a member of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board. He explained about the grant funding available through the agency.

“We have a funding process at OWRB, that when a drought has been declared through the governor’s  proclamation, the agency has a rule allowing up to $300,00 in grant funding to provide drought-related aid for rural water customers and municipalities,” said Fite. “For instance, during the last declared drought, Chimney Rock, in Osage County, was out of water. The OWRB  actually tapped that money and gave funds to water district to put a float pump in to Chimney Rock Lake.”

Fite said he didn’t know if the OWRB could provide individual relief to cattlemen or farmers, but that it does provide emergency aid grants to rural water districts and municipalities having trouble providing safe, potable water.

“That said, encourage folks to contact Brian Vance at the OWRB, to see what sort of individual assistance might be available,” said Fite. “They should be very specific about the problem they’re having, and see if the OWRB can’t address that.”

Strong said the OWRB receives frequent requests for help from water users experiencing reduced yields from wells.

“Those  individuals who don’t have access to a municipal or rural water system are particularly vulnerable to drought and dry periods,” he said. “We can investigate the problem and provide information to the landowner on obtaining the services of a license well driller who can deepen their well or, if needed, construct an entirely new well. Or course, we encourage individuals to tie on to public water supply systems wherever possible.”

Text Only
Local News
  • sr-Sherman-Alexie.jpg Native wit

    Sherman Alexie Jr., self-professed “res” American Indian, dislikes casinos, mascots and Oklahoma for stealing his favorite basketball team.
    Northeastern State University welcomed the celebrated poet, writer and filmmaker to campus Wednesday, and the audience was treated to 90 minutes of witty and unblinking observation from the perspective of an American Indian all-too-familiar with life on a reservation.
    Alexie, named one of the 21st Century’s top 20 writers by The New Yorker, delivered what was essentially a standup monologue to a packed house in the auditorium of the W. Roger Webb Educational Technology Center. Some of Alexie’s best-known works are “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven,” a book of short stories, and the film “Smoke Signals.”

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • rock-jodi.jpg Woman serving time for burning baby seeks judicial review

    A Cherokee County mother sentenced to 17 years in prison for burning her 14-month-old baby with an iron is asking for a judicial review.
    Court records show Jodi Leann Rock, 21, requested a copy of her judgment and sentence, and this week filed an application for a judicial review. Copies of her request have been submitted to a judge and the District Attorney’s Office.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • SR-SchoolCharter.jpg Concerns expressed as SB 573 awaits House vote

    With an Oklahoma Senate bill now awaiting a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives, some parents are voicing concerns about the futures of rural K-8 schools in Cherokee County.
    Senate Bill 573 calls for a commission to establish charter schools throughout the state. A charter school receives taxpayer funding, but functions independently. They can be founded by an array of interests, including teachers, parents, universities and nonprofits. In Oklahoma, tribal entities can establish charter schools.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man gets suspended sentence for possession

    A 37-year-old Webbers Falls man has been given a suspended sentence on drug-possession charges.
    Dusty Kayl Skaggs was charged with endeavoring to manufacture methamphetamine earlier this year after he and 43-year-old Misty Hayes Paden, of Muskogee, were arrested during execution of a search warrant.

    April 24, 2014

  • sr-NSU-Earth-day.jpg NSU students observe Earth Day

    Students and members of the community converged on Northeastern State University’s Second Century Square on Tuesday to spend an afternoon celebrating Earth Day.
    The event featured tables sponsored by campus organizations, prizes and music by Chris Espinoza. NSU’s Earth Day theme was “Gather Here. Go Green,” and was organized by the Committee for Sustainability and the Northeastern Student Government Association (NSGA).

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts-smallholders-courtesy.jpg Rural smallholders host annual show

    More and more, many people are showing growing interest in learning the sources of their food, including meat. As such, interest in farm-to-table living is increasing.
    Saturday, the Rural Smallholders Association held its annual spring show at the Cherokee County Fairgrounds, promoting the farming of sheep and goats, along with giving the general public a sample of their products.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • pitts-hurley.jpg Wanted man nabbed during traffic stop

    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies arrested a wanted man this week after a traffic stop near South Muskogee and Willis Road.
    Hurley D. Pitts, 40, was being sought by authorities on a motion to revoke a previous sentence.
    Sheriff’s Deputy Jarrick Snyder said he stopped a car after it ran off the road a couple of times. A woman was behind the wheel, and Pitts was sitting in the passenger seat.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SR-Wikafile.jpg Communiversity Band performs Sunday

    Musicians from on and off the Northeastern State University campus have made their final preparations for an upcoming performance of the NSU Communiversity Band.
    The ensemble performs Sunday, April 27, at 7 p.m., in the NSU Center for the Performing Arts. The conductor is Dr. Norman Wika, associate professor of music and band program director. Guest conductor is student Kameron Parmain. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors.
    “Everything has come together very well this semester,” Wika said.
    “We have about 40 musicians, and everyone who started the rehearsals has stuck with it. This could be the best Community Band concert yet.”

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Council concerned over reports of land contamination

    Negotiations involving the purchase of nearly 20 homes on 7 acres of land near Basin Avenue hit a snag Monday night when concerns surfaced over potential contamination of the area.
    Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols had proposed the city purchase the homes and duplexes as a large step in a greenbelt project, which would establish a solid park and trail system from the downtown area to the site of the city’s old solid waste transfer station.
    Until Monday, details of the negotiations had been mostly discussed behind closed doors, though Nichols confirmed the list price for the property to be $480,000.

    April 23, 2014

  • Council tables cell tower permit apps

    Tahlequah city councilors on Monday opted to hold off on approval of two special-use permit applications that would help AT&T install a couple of 150-foot cell towers within the city.
    Branch Communications is asking for the permits as it attempts to construct two monopole cell towers – one on Commercial Road near Green Country Funeral Home, and another at the Tahlequah Public Schools bus barn on Pendleton Street. Other towers are being built outside of the city limits.
    Members of the city’s planning and zoning board gave their OK for both permits last month.

    April 23, 2014


How confident are you that the immunizations for infants and children are reasonably safe?

Not at all confident.
Somewhat confident.
Relatively confident.
Extremely confident.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video