Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

March 13, 2013

Local leaders aim to cut cost of crises

TAHLEQUAH — Community leaders are constantly looking for ways to deal with natural disasters, which cost the nation billions of dollars every year.

Cherokee County officials are in the early stages of updating a hazard mitigation plan for the city of Tahlequah and Tahlequah Public Schools. It’s a months-long process meant to pinpoint local needs and provide solutions for the future.

“Every five years, we go through and write a plan for the city. We find all of our major hazards, which allows us to go in and borrow money,” said Tahlequah-Cherokee County Emergency Management Director Gary Dotson.

Ronald Flanagan, principal planner for R.D. Flanagan & Associates Planning Consultants out of Tulsa, is leading monthly public meetings to allow local minds to work together on creating a new HMP. Meetings are every second Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. in the Armory Municipal Center.

“We, as a country, are sustaining losses due to natural hazards much faster than we can pay for them,” Flanagan said Tuesday. “In Oklahoma, in 2007, we passed the line where our damages and payments by the insurance companies exceed the premiums being paid, and we can’t sustain that. Either they’re going to raise all of our homeowners insurance rates, or we’ve got to find some way to mitigate or cut down on the losses.”

According to Flanagan, the Federal Emergency Management Agency suggests communities address natural hazards at the local level and find solutions to reduce damage and loss.

“And if they will do that, FEMA will give them 75 percent federal funding to implement the kinds of things they come up with,” said Flanagan. “So, in order to get the 75 percent funding, you’ve got to come up with a plan, you’ve got to go through a planning process, and that’s what we’re doing. The process involves everybody in the community who has anything to do with hazards and disasters: the Red Cross, the hospitals, the police, fire, emergency management, the city planning department.”

During the meetings, committee members look at varying phenomenon, and how to address those issues. Tuesday’s meeting focused on lightning and hail.

“We say here are the kinds of damages, here are the vulnerable populations and the vulnerable city infrastructure, and here’s what we can do about it, then we come up with a plan and identify mitigation measures,” said Flanagan.

As an example, Flanagan said 87 percent of all homeowners’ loss claims are related to damaged roofs.

“Well, the solution to that is obviously hail-resistant roofing. It costs so little more, and the insurance companies will give homeowners a 20 to 25 percent discount if they will put hail-resistant roofing on their houses,” said Flanagan. “It sounds like an easy deal, but it’s not, because, for example, the roofing industry would rather you replace your roof every five years than every 50 years. When a homeowner says, ‘Hey, I’d like to talk to you about hail-resistant roofing for my house,’ they don’t bother to tell the citizens that insurance will give you a discount. So these are the kinds of issues we discuss in this meeting.”

Later this year, the hazard mitigation plan will be wrapped up, when committee members have had the chance to talk about flooding, high winds, tornadoes, extreme heat, wildfires, hazardous materials, and more.

Text Only
Local News
  • rf-poker-run-main.jpg Poker run

    Fundraiser was in the cards for local philanthropic group

    It was perfect weather, with temperatures in the high 80s Saturday, as boaters filled their vessels with friends for a fun afternoon on Lake Tenkiller. A crowd gathered at Cookson Bend Marina, and folks lined up to support a local charity event.
    As fundraisers go, the Beta Sigma Phi Mu Omega Poker Run last Saturday could be considered huge success, as nearly $9,000 was collected.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • bilbrey-anthony.jpg Man arrested for blackmailing woman for sex

    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies put a man behind bars Monday night after he allegedly tried to blackmail a woman by threatening to post nude photos of her on the Internet if she did not meet him for sex.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Peach_photo_2.jpg Peach crop lean, but fruit still available

    Summer is all about peaches in Porter – especially at Livesay Orchard.
    The Livesay Orchard is still busy a week after Porter’s annual peach festival. The orchard’s crop this year was cut in half from what had previously been expected, according to Kent Livesay, one of the owners of the orchard.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • jackson-jaymee.jpg Tot’s injuries prompt abuse charges for two local residents

    A Tahlequah couple was formally charged Tuesday with child neglect and child abuse after an 18-month-old girl was found with a number of injuries.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • proctor-micah.jpg Pair accused of threatening man

    Two men behind bars at the Cherokee County Detention Center are accused of wielding a knife and gun and assaulting a man at a trailer park on West Keetoowah Sunday afternoon.
    Tahlequah Officer Reed Felts spoke with Reinaldo Flores, who told officers he heard a knock on his door and went to answer it.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Reach Higher an innovative approach to college

    The “Reach Higher” degree completion program is helping many Oklahoma students go back to school without drastically changing their lives.
    “This program is designed for working adults,” said Tim McElroy, program coordinator at the NSU- Muskogee campus.

    July 30, 2014

  • City attorney, others questioned chamber use of tourism tax

    Letters written in 2006 by City Attorney Park Medearis to former city councilor and Tahlequah Area Tourism Council board member Jack Spears suggest money from a hotel-motel tax could be disbursed through an agent other than the Chamber of Commerce, without voter approval.

    July 30, 2014

  • Hulbert council discusses Internet service

    During a meeting Tuesday night, members of the Hulbert Town Council discussed the possibility of Lake Region Electric Cooperative’s extending its cable and Internet service.

    July 30, 2014

  • ts-marching-MAIN.jpg Marching in step

    Tahlequah High School Orange Express Marching Band kicks off 2014 season with summer drills.

    The Tahlequah High School Orange Express Marching Band has added 30-35 freshmen to its roster this year, and drills began for the newest members last Thursday.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • studie-roberta.jpg Woman accused of stealing cash, taking it to casino

    A 35-year-old Tahlequah woman is free on bond after she allegedly took $1,200 from a man who had been jailed for old warrants.
    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies said they spoke with Jason Jones last week after Jones was arrested by park rangers for the outstanding warrants. Jones said he came to Oklahoma to see family, and when he was arrested, he left his wallet and cash with one of his daughters.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

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

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii
Stocks