Grand Lake Ok

Nestled in the Northeast corner of Oklahoma lies one of the oldest lakes in the state, Grand Lake O the Cherokees - news, opinion, links about Grand Lake in Oklahoma

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Additional Sales Tax on August Ballot

Additional Sales Tax on August Ballot

Sales tax goes to vote
By BRENDA LUTHY World Correspondent

Vote is on financing of Delaware County Sheriff's Office

JAY -- Some $750,000 in county funds would be freed up for other needs if voters approve a sales tax next month to finance the Delaware County Sheriff's Office, officials said Monday.

County Commissioner Bruce Poindexter said the countywide tax, if approved Aug. 9, would replace the sheriff's current budget received from the county.

The sheriff would still receive money collected from the court systems for services, but the remainder of monies would come from the sales tax, Poindexter said.

"If the sales tax is successful, the Sheriff's Office would collect $1.2 million" a year, Poindexter said.

He noted the Sheriff's Office now receives about $750,000 yearly from the county. That money, he noted, would be free to spend on other vital county needs if the tax passes. Poindexter did not outline areas in which that money would be spent.

Poindexter said the sales tax would expire on Dec. 31, 2010, by which time voters would be asked to continue the tax. The tax would be used to hire more personnel and buy new vehicles, said Sheriff Jay Blackfox.

There may be trouble on the horizon for the proposed tax, however.

Last week, the Grove City Council said it would ask county commissioners to withdraw the tax from the ballot.

Councilors noted that the tax would raise Grove's total sales tax to 9.4 percent, making it one of the highest in the state.

Grove contributes 60 percent of the tax base for Delaware County; Jay contributes 10 percent, Councilor Terry Ryan said.

"I believe the commissioners need to remove this from the ballot and consult with Grove to find other opportunities to fund the Sheriff's Office," Ryan said last week.

But Poindexter said Monday that no one from the "Grove City Council or their legal counsel has approached us, asking commissioners to vacate the countywide half-cent sales tax question" from the ballot.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Grand Lake has another news source

Another source of news for Grove and Grand Lake

Jim Mills, local businessman, writer and entrepreneur has decided enough is enough. Friday, July 22nd, marks the launch of a new online newspaper for Grove and the Grand Lake area.

Jim said, "Our present local newspaper doesn't report the important news of the area, in my opinion, and when they do, they usually don't report it correctly. I wonder where they get their writers because if you highlighted the mistakes in red, the paper would look like a Chinese newspaper!"

Jim promises accurate and unbiased news reporting in the new The Grove Observer, free access and absolutley no pop-ups.

The Grove Observer will be updated each Friday with newsworthy material concerning Grove and Grand Lake.

Visit the online newspaper at

Monday, July 18, 2005

Battle over chicken droppings looms

Battle over chicken droppings looms
Tulsa World, 07/17/05

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TAHLEQUAH -- Arkansas farmer Gene Pharr scoffs at suggestions that chicken droppings are hazardous and he fears a lawsuit targeting the industry could put the waste on par with industrial solvents, pesticide remnants and old car batteries.

Decades of spreading chicken waste on the Ozark Mountains have turned the region a lush green, but a federal court lawsuit filed by Oklahoma's attorney general could stop the practice and, according to Pharr, gut an industry that has for 75 years helped transform an isolated region into a vital part of the economy.

"We could see the loss of this industry to this country," said Pharr, whose 125,000 chickens at his farm in Lincoln in northwestern Arkansas are but a fraction of the region's $2 billion industry.

But Oklahoma's attorney general, Drew Edmondson, sees it another way. He remembers that, as a college student in Tahlequah, he could stand chest-high in the Illinois River and still see his toes.

"I've seen it change," Edmondson said. "It's nice to have green land. It's not so nice to have green rivers."

Last month, he sued 14 Arkansas poultry companies -- including three run by Tyson Foods Inc., the world's largest meat producer -- accusing them of tainting Oklahoma waters with the so-called litter from millions of chickens and turkeys.

Edmondson says phosphorus from the litter fuels algae growth that reduces the clarity of rivers and streams, depletes oxygen and can kill certain populations of fish. Oklahoma's law suit seeks money to clean up the Illinois and is using the same South Carolina law firm that handled lawsuits against tobacco companies.

"The poultry industry is not the tobacco industry and poultry litter is not a hazardous waste," said Janet Wilkerson of Peterson Farms, a spokeswoman for the companies being sued. The farmers have banded together as a group called "Poultry Partners" in an effort to have a voice they say they didn't have in previous litigation.

The poultry industry has been good for the economy of northwestern Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. Tyson is a Fortune 100 company that had $26.4 billion in revenue last year, and thousands of people work in the industry -- from hatcheries to slaughterhouses to processing plants.

According to the lawsuit, Arkansas has 2,363 chicken houses in the Illinois River watershed while Oklahoma has 508. The chickens add phosphorus waste equivalent to 10.7 million people per year, Edmondson says.

Poultry companies say Edmondson is ignoring phosphorus added to the water by a growing population. But while the region is rapidly expanding -- the Milken Institute rated it as the nation's No. 1 economic growth region in 2003 -- it still has well fewer than 1 million people.

(Blog Admin. note: Portions of Grand Lake's, (where Grove gets it's water supply), watershed is affected by run-off from poultry farms in Southwest Missouri)

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Grove Downtown Revitalization Program

An info/opinion posted by 'Jim'
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With the approval of funds for the first phase of the Grove Downtown Revitalization Program by the Oklahoma Transportation Commission, it is worth noting that the plan does not include storefront renovations, that being left up to the property owners.

The first phase of the Project includes Third Street from Broadway to Hazel, and it is worthwhile to know who owns this property. Vacant real estate and run down store fronts will need to be addressed if the project is to be successful and those property owners will need to get involved. Some have already updated their storefronts while others will need to perform minor modifications, it should be noted.

According to the Delaware County Assessor's office, here are the property owners: (as of 5/05)

Block 18 (across from Community Center, north side of Third Street):
Lot 1 and 2 Michael Lewandowski
Lot 3 Peter M. Crow
Lot 4 Nolan Scarberry
Lot 5 Michael Bell
Lot 6 Merlin Eisenbarger
Lot 7 John T Blevins
Lot 8-10 Simpson Enterprises
Lot 11 June Evinger
Lot 12-12 Michael Lewandwoski
Lot 14 Glenda Williams
Lot 15 Galen Smith

Block 17 (north side of Third across from Grove Sun Daily):
Lot 1 and 2 June Evinger
Lot 3 and 4 NE Oklahoma Electric
Lot 5 Steve Wise (portion) & Larry Hestand
Lot 6 Larry Hestand and Carl Turner (portion)
Lot 7 Merlin Eisenbarger
Lot 8 Mitchell Family Trust
Lot 9 Eunice Formby
Lot 10 KCC Properties, Owasso
Lot 11-12 Joyce Henkle
Lot 13 Peter M Crow
Lot 14-15 City of Grove.

Block16 north side of Third:
Lots 1-4 First Bank of Grove
Lot 5 B&G Property LLC, Tulsa.
Lot 6 Larry Hestand
Lot 7 Bob Henkle
Lot 8 City of Grove
Lot 9 Burkhalter-Driskell Agency

Block 26 south side of Third:
Lot 1 Ramsay Corporation (former Mill Creek location)
Lot 2-4 Grand Lake Family Fellowship Church
Lot 5-12 Peter M Crow
Lot 13 City of Grove.
Lot 14 Peter M Crow

Block 27 south side of Third:
Lot 1 Merl Tinney
Lot 2 Herb Lungren
Lot 3 Robert Crocker
Lot 4-8 Samuel D Williams Jr. trust
Lot 9 Linda Hall
Lot 10-11 Steve Booth

Now is the time for those holding vacant or rundown properties to get with the program. If that is not possible, then the owners should sell the properties to persons who will fix them up.

Friday, July 15, 2005

OPA deems Grove executive sessions illegal

OPA deems Grove executive sessions illegal
By Janet Warford-Perry
The Miami News-Record

GROVE -- Executive sessions held for nearly two years by Grove city leaders concerning the sale of the civic center are probably in violation of the Open Meetings Act, said Mark Thomas, vicepresident of the Oklahoma Press Association.

An agenda item for a special meeting of the Grove Industrial Development Authority on July 6, 2005, reads, "Discussion, consideration and possible action on holding executive session for acquisition or disposal of real property including Civic Center as authorized by 25 O.S. S 307 (B)(3)."

Thomas confirmed that "possible action" is in violation of the act, since a public body is not allowed to take any type of action in executive session.

He also said that a public body could not go into executive session to discuss the disposal of real property.

"It can go into executive session to discuss purchasing property but not selling it," Thomas said. He cited Section 307 (B)(3), "Executive sessions of public bodies will be permitted only for the purpose of discussing the purchase or appraisal of real property."

At the July 6 meeting, the authority went into executive session inviting with them a man from the audience whose identity was not disclosed.

GIDA members emerged executive session, took no vote, adjourned the meeting and left without making any comment.

Thomas cited the Open Meeting Act, Section 307 (D), reads: "An executive session for the purpose of discussing the purchase or appraisal of real property shall be limited to members of the public body, the attorney for the public body and the immediate staff of the public body. No landowner, real estate salesperson, broker, developer or any person who may profit directly or indirectly by a proposed transaction concerning real property which is under consideration may be present or participate in the executive session."

Further, if the public body engages in an illegal executive session, then the tapes and minutes of those proceedings must immediately be made public as provided in Section 307 (F) of the statute.

On Friday, the News-Record attempted to obtain a tape recording of the Grove Industrial Development Authority's executive session of July 6.

Bonnie Buzzard, city clerk, said the executive session was not taped and the minutes had not yet been typed. Because the city is short-staffed, Buzzard explained that she had been assuming the responsibilities of the court clerk and would provide the requested minutes by Tuesday.

In the meantime, the News-Record researched agendas dating back to 2003 noting executive sessions that referenced the sale of the civic center. There were six such meetings noted -- Aug. 18 and Sept. 16, 2003; March 24, April 29 and May 17, 2005, and July 6, 2005.

The News-Record is also in the process of obtaining the minutes of those executive sessions.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Who owns downtown Grove?

If you would visit the County Assessor's office in Jay, it would reveal who owns what in downtown Grove along 3rd street, which is the first phase of the proposed Downtown Revitalization Project.

First Place goes to Peter M Crow, publisher of the Grove Sun Daily, who owns almost all of Block 26 fronting on 3rd street, where the newspaper office is located, and two corner properties across the street in separate blocks. Crow owns about 12 properties in downtown Grove. Those located adjacent to his newspaper and down the street are empty.

Exceptions in his block are the former Mill Creek location, still owned by the Ramsay Corporation, and the proposed Grand Lake Family Fellowship Church, property recently sold by another media magnate, Larry Hestand, owner of KGVE Radio. He recently sold Lots 2, 3 and 4 to the church for $275,000 in the form of a promissory note financed by the First Bank of Owasso on behalf of James E Fuller, President and Senior Pastor of the church.

Hestand had purchased part of this property in 2000 from Quentin A Martin Trust for $110,000, records show, but then took out a $312,000 mortgage to Grand Savings Bank in June 2003 on the property which had a due date of 6 months later, according to the assessors office records. One can forget any nice sidewalk cafe anywhere near this location, if it wants to serve wine, as being too close to a church.

Hestand also owns a property in Block 16 next to the Barber Shop, and of course his radio station location, cell phone sales office, and part of the property next door. So one might think that Hestand would come in second place, but he comes in third, if one looks at square feet.

Second Place goes to Sam Williams, who owns most of Block 27 with the exception of the Green Country Internet offices and two lots adjacent. Williams owns the balance fronting on 3rd street and around the corner to Grand Escapes Travel, which is managed by his wife, Carolyn Williams.

Blocks 17 and 18 are owned largely by a number of unrelated business people.

Based on the above, three people own basically 50% of downtown Grove fronting on 3rd street.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Grand River Dam News Release - Fish Kill

GRDA Lake Patrol investigating fish kill of nearly 400

Vinita OK­ According to the Grand River Dam Authority Lake Patrol, a major fish kill discovered this weekend on Grand Lake following a large bass tournament, is a major cause of concern and has prompted the patrol to launch a thorough investigation.
Bass Tournament responsible for fish kill on Grand Lake
"This is outrageous behavior," said GRDA Chief Executive Officer Kevin Easley about the incident which resulted in dead bass littering the shoreline. "GRDA is prepared to take quick and decisive action to stop this in the future."

GRDA Lake Patrol Chief Bruce Smith said Lake Patrolman Shawn Allred discovered several bass floating in the water near Patricia Island on Saturday. That prompted a closer look, and by Sunday evening, Smith estimates the patrol pulled as many as 400 dead bass out of the lake.

"This is certainly one of the worst fish kills we’ve seen," said Smith. "Combined with another kill discovered in early June after a tournament and it amounts to over nearly bass lost in a month’s time."

Smith said the fish kill was discovered about the time the Central ProAm Association’s weekend Grand Lake Pro Am bass tournament, which launched out of Martin’s Landing Resort, was wrapping up.

"This was a large tournament," said Smith, "and it appears sufficient steps were not taken by tournament organizers to protect the fish during weigh-ins. We’re estimating right now that over half the fish caught in this tournament died."

According to Dr. Darrell Townsend, GRDA’s ecosystems management superintendent, proper "weigh-in" protocol is a must in order to protect fish during tournaments. Sometimes, in locations such as Martin’s Landing, where the water may be too shallow and too hot to release the fish back in from the weigh-in site, a storage tank has to be used, said Townsend. Fish are placed there until they can be moved back to more open waters. However, Townsend said such tanks need to be properly aerated and oxygenated, using external tanks and monitored with dissolved oxygen probes. Also, he said, release tanks should only hold a maximum of one pound of fish per gallon of water. While the Central ProAm tournament did use a release tank, Smith said some of the fish kill could have been the result of overfilling that tank.

"There could have been as much as 1,300 pounds of fish in a 900 gallon tank," said Smith. "Also, long lines at weigh-ins can really be a problem. Those fish shouldn’t be in the bag for more than ten minutes but sometimes, fishermen have to wait 30 or more minutes to weigh in at a large tournament."

Bass Tournament responsible for fish kill on Grand Lake
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation was also contacted about the fish kill and did come to the scene as well. However, they failed to find any violations "which was particularly disturbing to me," said Easley, "especially when you consider they do have a formula for calculating fines on these type of incidents. Therefore, GRDA will take action."

Even as the GRDA Lake Patrol continues to look into the incident, Easley said GRDA’s "action" would be steps to prevent any similar incidents from taking place in the future. "We can do something about this and we will," he said, "there’s no reason this had to happen."