A retired school teacher told the Tahlequah City Council Monday night, July 19, that Dr. Anthony Fauci has a patent on the COVID-19 virus, which he paid China to create with U.S. taxpayer dollars – and that the goal is to kill off as many Americans as possible.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Georgetta Richhart told the board she listens to "good doctors" who have said masks afford no protection but instead are harmful.

“[Fauci] himself said at one time that masks did nothing,’” Richhart said, adding that “they” want to "kill us off" as quickly as possible.

“The shot that they’re giving us right now has one purpose in mind, and this is to get rid of us, and the masks will help it. They have helped destroy our children and I’m a retired teacher, and children cannot function with those masks on,” Richhart said.

She never specified who “they” are, but went on to insist “they” are giving people who have taken the vaccine five years to live, at the most.

“And most of them aren’t lasting that long. They are going into cardiac arrest as quickly as they get the shot. Their bodies are shutting down, and so I want urge you not to do the mask mandate, because that is not good for our school system,” said Richhart.

As the meeting ended, two people quickly contacted the Daily Press to express shock over Richhart's comments. One stressed she had "serious issues" and added the city councilors shouldn't have let her speak, but since they did, "everyone needs to know."

During the meeting, officials informed the public about the surge of COVID-19 cases in this area. Mayor Sue Catron said she spoke with both city hospital officials, and they expressed concerns over the current surge the city, county, state, and country are experiencing with the Delta variant.

“This new Delta variant is 50-60 percent more contagious than the original COVID, and it has twice the risk of hospitalization,” Catron said. “Between our two health systems as of Friday, [July 16], we had 14 inpatient COVID cases.”

Northeastern Health System and W.W. Hastings Hospital are working together and trying to put together a plan that Catron said was designed “to keep people as close to home as possible.”

“Between our two health systems, Sallisaw and Poteau, they believe they will have 28 beds available. It is already getting difficult to transfer patients out of our area to other places,” said Catron.

Health care officials said 100 percent of the patients admitted locally were not vaccinated. Catron said officials called it “scientific proof” in the community.

“Oklahoma ranks among the 10 worst in the U.S. for vaccinated population percentage. Only 39.3 percent of the state’s population is fully vaccinated at this point,” said the mayor.

State health officials confirmed it is possible for a fully vaccinated person to catch the virus, and even die from it.

“But those numbers are very, very low in relation to the number of people who have not been vaccinated,” Catron said.

Because the vaccine is available in Tahlequah, the city will not, at this point, considering shutting down or enforcing a new mask mandate, she added.

“We will, however, be reactivating a portion of the Crisis Task Force so we can better communicate and better monitor our numbers,” Catron said.

On May 31, Catron announced that both task force committees were no longer needed. However, she said at the time that she would ask both groups to reconvene should there be a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

The council took no action to surplus-sell the ice skating rink, ice skates and the Zamboni that are part of the city's Snowflake program. Ward 4 Councilor Trae Ratliff, who is also Tahlequah Sports League president, said his group was awarded a $15,000 grant from the Arvest Foundation, and they may use that money to bring back the rink.

The Snowflake Winter Festival was never budgeted for 2019, and it has since been shelved by the administration.

“With that said, [the TSL] really can’t do anything if the ice rink is no longer available. It’s my recommendation would be to not sell it if possible, so that we can pursue that avenue,” said Ratliff.

The board gave its nod to the promotion of several Tahlequah firefighters. Fire Chief Casey Baker said the promotions were the result of former Chief Ray Hammons’ retirement last year.

“Even though this is the hardest part of this job, these are mine and the committee's recommendations for the promotions,” said Baker.

Lt. Rickey Hicks was promoted to captain. and his pay was adjusted accordingly. Hicks has been with TFD for 25 years and served has lieutenant for 15 years.

“In those years, Rick has repeatedly shown the traits required to be a leader in the fire service. Rick is hard-working and is dedicated to be a great employee. He is always willing to help others and give advice to the young firefighters,” said Baker.

Firefighter/driver Sean Valdez was promoted to lieutenant after serving in his role for eight years out of the 16 years he’s been with TFD.

“Sean is hard-working and always willing to help others in need. Sean, if you didn’t know, has been doing our Facebook page for the past five years and helping us stay connected in the community we serve,” Baker said.

Hicks and Valdez will take on their new roles immediately.

Volunteer firefighter Nick Crittenden was promoted to firefighter/driver after being on the department for four years. Baker said Crittenden will be a great asset to the city and to the department.

Dylan Hammons, who is the son of former Chief Hammons, was promoted to fighter/driver after being a volunteer for four years. Baker said Hammons will also be an asset to Tahlequah and TFD. Hammons and Crittenden will begin their roles once they have completed pension physicals.

What's next

The next Tahlequah City Council regular meeting is Monday, Aug. 2 at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall.

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