Wednesday, 18 January 2012 17:23
HUGO –– The Hugo City Council met in regular session Tuesday evening to discuss the possibility of enlisting a tourism coordinator, who will work with the city, county commissioners, chamber of commerce and other facilities for the purpose of planning and recruiting events for the area.
Hugo resident, Tonya Payne has expressed an interest in this position and feels very strongly about utilizing and marketing what Hugo and Choctaw County have to offer. Payne is civic-minded and volunteers for many community groups.
Councilwoman Francine Morris made a motion to allow the city’s attorney, Gary Brownsworth, city manager Jeff Rabon and Tonya Payne to devise a contract to be voted on at the next scheduled council meeting.
Hugo girls softball coach, Teresa Montague addressed the council and asked permission for the softball team to use the new field for practices. Montague stated that the girls never had a home-field advantage because they never get to practice on it.
The council agreed upon a motion by Bart Tedder to grant a variance in the ordinance to allow the team to practice on the field, under supervision, for one year.
The Wall Engineering work order in the amount of $9,450 for a required environmental study was approved by the council.
Also approved by the council was a $12,060 payment to Farris Electric for their work on the Boys & Girls Club. This project is still within budget and looking to open sometime during the beginning of February.
Members of the city council retired into executive session for close to one hour to interview applicants for the position of city treasurer. Applicants who were interviewed were: Dama McLemore, Ronald Teague and Wanda Ward. More interviews will possibly be conducted during the next scheduled council meeting.
Purchase order lists, financial statements and the minutes of the Jan. 3 meeting were approved by the council. All members were present.
Hugo Municipal Authority Meeting
The Hugo Municipal Authority met in regular session directly following the city council on Tuesday evening.
Matt Lail, water/waste water supervisor at the Hugo Water Plant, addressed the council regarding the repair of a Headworks filter screen. Lail stated that the filter screen removes debris from water while it moves through and has been down for more than a year. He also stated the plant currently has the parts to repair it.
The council tabled the decision to hire the manufacturing company to send two men to repair it, until the current mechanic can assess the situation. The current mechanic is out on medical leave and is waiting to be released by doctors.
Approved by the authority were the minutes of the Jan. 3 meeting. All members were present.
Monday, 09 January 2012 16:46
By Karen Lyles
The Mighty Buffalo students and staff have begun the second semester with vigor. Report cards have been sent out.
On Jan. 11, 2012 and Jan. 18, 2012, personnel from each of the three Hugo school sites will participate in non-violent CPI training at the Kiamichi Technology Center. The training is one of the new requirements from the state department of education.
Schools throughout the nation are facing incidents of bullying, cyber bullying and bullicide. This past semester Hugo High School students were presented with a bully prevention program. Hugo Middle School will be having the program on Jan. 17 at 1 p.m. All parents are encouraged to attend. Parents, teachers and administrators, working together, can prevent incidents of bullying.
Cyber bullying occurs via cell phone, iPad, computer or other electronic device. Many of our students have parents or adults who monitor their student’s computer usage. However, there are students who have not internalized etiquette rules when using the internet. We will continue to remind students of the proper usage of electronic devices. We ask for parents to work with us to keep our students safe.
Bullicide has unfortunately become a new term in the bullying and suicide literature. It means that a victim of repeated bullying became depressed and then died by suicide. Our students need to know there is a responsible adult who cares enough to listen to them and react to any bullying issues.
Middle school will host “Meet and Greet” events with all parents, with seventh grade parents, Jan. 10; and eighth grade parents Jan. 19. Make plans to attend and enjoy a meal and conversation with teachers and other parents.
Our basketball teams participated in tournaments during the holidays and continue to be successful.
Thank you to everyone who attended or made a donation to the successful fund raiser for Dedrie Stephens, Hugo High School Flag Corps instructor. Thanks also to one Hugo High School student, Julianna Bennett, who went the extra mile by placing donation jars in several businesses. Please keep Dedrie and her family in your prayers.
If you have questions or concerns, come by or call the administration office.
Friday, 13 January 2012 21:18
ANTLERS — A full house of sportsmen and women filled the Wildlife Heritage Center in Antlers Thursday night during a special meeting called by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation to give regional residents input into a slate of new game and rule changes.
The meeting was directed by Southeast Region Supervisor, Joe Hemphill, as nearly two-dozen area game rangers and wildlife personnel looked on.
The proposed rule change that brought the standing room only crowd revolved around the ODWC’s proposal to close the Honobia WMA to ATVs and ORVs almost year-round, allowing only access with these machines during deer season. The proposed rules also sought to place numerous other restrictions on ATV riders, such as not crossing creeks, not riding double, must be 700 cc engine size or less, and even restricted ATV use to lawfully licensed deer hunters.
Hemphill said owners of property who had leased their lands to the Oklahoma Wildlife department, “wanted to gain control of their land back.”
One-by-one, citizens voiced their concerns and oppositions to the proposed rules. One woman, who advised she and her husband had invested a lot of money in rental cabins on the road between Cloudy and Pickins, said her business would be gravely hurt if the new proposals were adopted, as a large percentage of her clientele enjoyed riding four-wheelers along the mountain roads.
Another person questioned if the ultimate goal of the John Hancock Insurance Company and other landowners was to “run the hunters off and lease the land directly.”
State Representative R.C. Pruett commented that on a recent drive through the area, he noticed a significant amount of garbage and beer cans scattered along roadways. “These landowners have a lot of money invested and occasionally, they have other companies, who are interested in purchasing numerous sections of land, visit and tour the area. Obviously, they aren’t at all pleased when they see a lot of beer cans scattered along their roadways.”
Several sportsmen in attendance said the ATV riders would be willing to form “adopt a roadside” programs similar to the adopt-a-highway programs... and keep the area picked up and clean. Others said they would be willing to sign insurance waiver documents if liability insurance was an issue for the landowner.
Hugo Daily News Publisher Stan Stamper said he took exception to the fact that anyone not deer hunting was being discriminated against by virtue of the seasonal ATV use proposal. Stamper said he and his family would be required to take another vehicle 100 miles round trip just to retrieve a vehicle used to shuttle canoes up-river.
Addressing his comment to both Hemphill and ODWC Commissioner Mike Bloodworth, who was present at the meeting, Stamper said, “I think it is imperative that the Wildlife Commission adopt a policy that says it will not adopt access policy that discriminates between any of the lawful land users. Someone fishing or hunting squirrels should have the same access privileges to the WMA as a deer hunter.” He added, “People who are avid fishermen shouldn’t be treated like second class citizens.”
Stamper also took exception to proposals to ban ATVs crossing creeks or Little River, saying that such a policy would force sportsmen to have to drive many miles to access a hunting or fishing area and remain legal.
Longtime Hugo hunter and sportsman Tom Pence also addressed the Commission. “I’m 71-years-old and I’ve been hunting in these mountains for many years. I don’t think a four-wheeler riding or crossing creeks or streams does any damage at all, and it certainly doesn’t do the damage the timber companies do with their massive logging equipment.”
Pence’s comment drew a number of “amens” from the large gathering.
Also in attendance was State Sen. Jerry Ellis, who stated, “I think the land companies are getting a pretty good deal in Oklahoma (in their dealings with the Wildlife Commission.) They get fire protection from the state. They get a huge tax break. We all know that 98% of the people who use their lands are law-abiding citizens and there’s no way we can stop the 2% who want to break the rules from doing that anyway. I don’t think it makes sense to punish the law abiding citizens for the transgressions of just a few. We have a fragile economy right now. I don’t think we need to be taking any action that makes it more difficult for our business people to survive.”
Ellis said he attended a similar meeting many years ago when a group of Weyerhaeuser managers were discussing locking the sportsmen out of their lands. “One of the managers tossed a penny box of matches on the table and said that right there can do more damage to our lands than all the sportsmen combined.” Ellis said the WEYCO leaders quickly backed away from the idea of locking the sportsmen out.
Ellis said he hoped the Commission would table any action on adopting the new regulations and give all parties concerned an opportunity to find common ground and go forward with a cooperative plan.
Ellis asked Mike Bloodworth, who is currently the Chairman of the Wildlife Commission, if he would support a two-year moratorium to give all parties an opportunity to work together toward a long-term plan that would address everyone’s needs.
Bloodworth said he thought the two-year moratorium was a solid plan. “I fully agree and much prefer that we take a step back and try to work out a plan that addresses the needs of all three parties involved,” Bloodworth said. “The Commission hears what you are saying. I agree with Sen. Ellis. If there is any alternative to adopting these proposed regulations, I want to see if we can find it and work with area sportsmen and the property owners.”
Bloodworth said he was not sure when the matter would be placed on the Commission’s agenda for action but assured he would let area sportsmen know.
In discussing other rule changes being proposed by ODWC, Hemphill said bear hunting regulations would be changing from a quota system to a 21-day no-quota plan. He said last year 31 bears were harvested in two days in 2011, and 10 of the hunters reported they would have waited longer for a larger or more mature animal if given the opportunity to do so.
Wednesday, 21 December 2011 19:08
HUGO –– The Hugo City Council met in executive session Tuesday evening to discuss the final payment settlement for Granite Re/Lakecon for the Boys and Girls Club rehabilitation.
After a 19-minute stint in executive session, council members agreed to approve the settlement agreement and mutual release for $72,321.80 to Granite Re/Lakecon.
Code enforcement officer, Ricky Britt addressed the council regarding time changes for the meetings of the Planning and Zoning Board. Britt told the council the board would like to keep the meetings on every third Thursday of the month, but change the time from 7 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The request was approved upon a motion by councilman Bart Tedder.
Invoice No. 4024 in the amount of $7,844.49 to Farris Electric was also approved by the council. The invoice was submitted on Aug. 24 and was declined by the council due to the amount of work required not completed. The work has since been completed, therefore payment was approved.
According to the council, the balance remaining for Farris Electric at this time is close to $30,000.
The minutes dated Dec. 6, as well as purchase orders and financial statements were also approved by the council.
All council members were present.