HULBERT – Hulbert Celebration Days for 2006 have been canceled, apparently due to a dispute over who should run the show, and how the proceeds should be spent.

Clyde McGowan, spokesman for the Hulbert Business Association, made the announcement during the Town of Hulbert trustees meeting Thursday evening. The annual event includes a car show, an ice cream social and cook-out. Proceeds from some of the events are used to purchase items for the town, including trash receptacles and Christmas decorations.

“I’m real sorry to hear about that, Clyde,” said Mayor Shirley Teague. “Are you planning to have it later in the year?”

McGowan said the topic was still under consideration, but during a special meeting of the HBA, members voted to cancel.

According to McGowan, residents are welcome to have annual garage sales during the weekend, and the car show will continue as planned, without the sponsorship of the HBA.

HBA President Beverly Runnels voiced her concerns about the event, while the board met in executive session.

“The Hulbert Business Association has a conflict of interest with George Truitt over the car show,” said Runnels. “Geroge said he had an agreement with HBA to run the car show for the next five years, but we can’t find it in our minutes where that was ever agreed upon.”

Prior to Runnel’s election as president, Truitt was appointed to fulfill the previous president’s unexpired term. Truitt made the agreement with the previous president, with proceeds from the car show being donated to the Eric Truitt Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Eric Truitt, the son of George and Lisa Truitt, was killed nearly two years ago in a swimming accident. Eric was an automobile enthusiast.

“After our success with the car show last year and raising about $700, we decided to go ahead and reserve the space in advance for this year,” said George Truitt, during a phone interview Friday morning. “Well, after Beverly was elected president, she decided she wanted to run the car show, with the proceeds going back to HBA. I asked her where she planned to have it, since I already reserved the space. She became angry, threatened to cancel Celebration Days, and actually hung up on me.”

Runnels called a special meeting of the HBA board to discuss the matter Monday night.

“We offered [Truitt] the chance to come to the meeting Monday night, and he chose not to,” said Runnels.

Truitt believes the timing of the disagreement is bad.

“We’re going to present a $1,000 scholarship to a Hulbert senior during graduation,” said Truitt. “This is the first time we’ve had enough money to do that, and the car show is the impetus. Now, $1,000 doesn’t seem like a whole lot of money when it comes to college expenses, but when you only have $1,900 in the coffers to spend, it is a whole lot. I can’t believe she’s going to ruin what should be a happy event with this kind of action.”

Truitt said the car show, which he and his wife have been advertising for over the past three months, will continue on June 24 in the Hulbert Park as planned.

“We’ve been passing out flyers at cruise nights in Tulsa, and posting on the Internet, because that’s how you get entries,” he said. “The Hulbert Fire and Police Department are still going to have their cookout, too. So we hope everyone will come and enjoy the event, despite the cancellation of Celebration Days.”

Truitt said Runnels’ intent was more about running the car show than it was about raising funds for the business association.

“A lot of people who own businesses in Hulbert live outside the town,” said Truitt. “The HBA was created so those people would have a representative voice in city government, which is why Clyde [McGowan] attends many of the city meetings. It was not created to raise funds for city improvements. Don’t get me wrong; the additions are truly appreciated, but it’s not about fundraising, it’s about businesses having a voice. Many of the current members don’t even own businesses in Hulbert.”

During open session, neither McGowan nor Runnels gave a specific reason for canceling Celebration Days, although discussion was welcomed by the board.

Other action

In other matters, the board approved:

• Refused final payment to Neel, Harvell and Associates engineering firm and McKee Utility Contractor for the sewer project, pending completion of the work. McKee requested payment of $41,748.41; NHA requested $1,400.

• Approved payment of $3,126.56 to Lake Region Electric Cooperative for providing electricity to the sewer ponds.

• Renewing property insurance coverage with OMAG for FY 2006-’07 at a cost of $12,969.34.

• Renewing the $100 public officials bond with OMAG for FY 2006-’07.

• Acknowledging receipt of the tort claim filed by Mary Shahan for repairs to her water line.

• Hiring Jay Johnson as a laborer for the Hulbert Public Works Authority.

• A $3,000 payment to Eastern Oklahoma Development District for administrative fees.

• Reappointing Trustee George Truitt to serve on the Eastern Oklahoma Development District board following the expiration of his current term on June 30.

• Placing speed bumps in the Plainview Addition of town.

• Sending out nuisance letters to residents with unsightly property, including those with high grass and garbage left in yards.

What’s next

The next meeting of the Hulbert Public Works Authority and the Town of Hulbert Board of Trustees will be held at 6 and 6:30 p.m., respectively, Thursday, June 8, in Town Hall.


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