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County not responsible for U.S. highways
A noticeable difference between conditions on U.S. Highway 62 on either side of the Cherokee-Muskogee county line in the wake of this week’s winter weather has local residents asking why they’re getting the short end of the stick.
The Daily Press has received queries from readers about the procedures followed in Cherokee County to clear roads. Some speculated Cherokee County commissioners may have been slower to respond than their counterparts to the southwest, but the county isn’t responsible for maintaining U.S. highways.
River zones source of contention for some
Thirty years ago, the recreation business on the Illinois River was limited to small, generally mom-and-pop operations that had a few canoes and a pickup truck as inventory.
Today, float operations can generate a healthy income, and operators have hundreds of rafts, canoes and kayaks, as well as trailers and buses to transport boats and people.
The Illinois River is one of three designated scenic streams in the state, and the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission’s mission is to protect the environmental quality of those rivers.
Recently, Jack Spears, owner of one of the largest float operations on the river, asked the OSRC to consider doing away with recreational floating zones. Commercial flotation device licenses are granted to operators in each area for a total of 3,900 licenses.
New e-cigarette ordinance mulled at Tahlequah council meeting
Though no vote was taken, most of Monday’s meeting of the Tahlequah City Council centered on discussion of a new ordinance that would prohibit the use of electronic smoking devices on city property.
A similar ordinance was read at an October meeting of the council, but did not receive a second reading at any subsequent meeting due to general opposition, and concern about the language.
The new Ordinance No. 1216-2014 received its first reading Monday. An ordinance must be read at two meetings before it can go to council vote.
Hulbert voters OK tax increase
Hulbert voters turned out for a special election Tuesday, approving a proposal to increase sales tax collection by 1 percent.
The measure passed 25-11.
Bill would let high school kids graduate a year early
Last week, a bill providing scholarship money for students who graduate high school early cleared the Oklahoma House Appropriation and Budget Committee and is headed to the House floor.
House Bill 2535, by Rep. Doug Cox, R-Grove, said the legislation will provide state scholarship funds for students who graduate after completing their junior year of high school.
“Many students have completed all but a couple of their requirements by their senior year,” said Cox. “Therefore, they take a couple of classes when they are seniors and are out of school before noon. This bill encourages those students to complete their graduation requirements by the end of their third year of high school.”
March in like a lion
Mother Nature dealt another wintry blow to residents of Cherokee County Sunday, with sleet falling most of the day, followed by over 2 inches of snow Sunday night.
Snow means traditional treat for some
In the ‘70s, a Frank Zappa song advised against eating yellow snow. But one local claims yellow snow ice cream is an interesting treat.
“We’ve been known to eat yellow snow,” said Sherry Matlock, “but only if we make it using banana or other flavoring instead of vanilla.”
Since time out of mine, snow ice cream has been a winter-weather treat for Oklahoma children. Some health experts say pollution has rendered it unsafe, but others still enjoy it.
Standoff in Hulbert
After a tense standoff, law enforcement officers from several agencies convinced a man to surrender after he barricaded himself inside a travel trailer northwest of Hulbert.
Michael Wyatt Earp, 43, was taken into custody after engaging in a deadlock with law enforcement that lasted about five hours.
“We received a 911 call around 10 a.m. from his family,” said Undersheriff Jason Chennault of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department. “He lives on their property in the travel trailer.”
Earp was reportedly firing an assault rifle and pouring gasoline around the trailer.
Aldridge sings the blues
The gray is beginning to cover his once-black hair, and it shows when the tall, lanky musician adjusts his black felt cowboy hat.
He’s admits to being a little nervous. To keep his hands busy and mind occupied before the show begins, he tunes his guitar, glancing around the room, waving or nodding to friends.
“An Evening of Blues Music,” presented at Webb Tower by Dr. Harold Aldridge, professor emeritus of psychology at Northeastern State University, was in observance of Black History month.
Key tax deductions phased out for ‘14
The federal government may have shut down briefly last year, extending the opening of tax filing season to Dec. 31. But filing deadlines remain the same: April 15, or Oct. 15 for an extension.
Denise Deason-Toyne, certified financial planner and local attorney, pointed out several items taxpayers need to remember when filing their 2013 returns.
“First off, several deductions expired at the end of 2013, meaning as long as you took advantage of the deduction before the end of December, they can be claimed.”
Expired deductions include teacher’s classroom expenses, mortgage insurance premiums, IRA distributions to charity, state and local sales taxes, and certain home renovations made for energy efficiency.
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