The City Council met recently to discuss the closing of a section of Fifth Street between Perkins Road and Dryden Street. Local business owner Greg Hughes is not happy about the street closing, claiming it would negatively affect his businesses
Kinnunen Sales and Rentals and Kinnunen Service Center, located across from each other on East Sixth Avenue, will suffer greatly if the street closes according to Hughes. He said that parking would be depleted, which would cause his customers to lose interest in doing business with him. If the only entrance to his businesses was through Sixth Street, trucks and trailers would run into difficulty trying to turn across four lanes of traffic and a turn lane. He fears that these disruptions would kill his businesses, which he thinks the government should help him avoid.
The council members decided to continue the item until the next meeting, which is to be held on Oct. 20. By continuing the issue, the council hopes that this will give time for the property owners on either side of Dryden Street to come to an agreement on constructing a commercial driveway between their properties.
“We have private access easements filed all over Stillwater, where owners have gotten together for each other’s benefits to allow access to their adjacent properties,” said Paula Dennison of development and services.
Hughes said he has tried to talk to the other property owner in the past and they could not come to an agreement. The two discussed a resolution in which Hughes would pay the other property owner’s property tax but Hughes did not agree. Since then the two could not come to an agreement, Hughes has not tried to contact him. The other property owner did not attend the city council meeting.
“I don’t know which type of action would put one of the parties in a better, appreciatively stronger position over the other,” Mayor John Bartley said.
The council was unsure whether voting on the issue was a good move, so they decided to continue it until the next meeting in hopes that a resolution would come about.
“It’s better for individuals to settle it that government to settle it for you,” Councilor Gina Noble said.
Hughes proposed to pay for the pavement of Fifth Street using the money he was compensated by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. Hughes took the $280,000 compensation because the city has control over the road, so his choice was to take the money and profit from the road close or get no compensation. The city would still have control over the road either way. Hughes said that he took the money and would like to pave and maintain Fifth Street so that his customers could still have access to his businesses.
Mayor Bartley also declared the week of Oct. 5 -11, 2014 Fire Prevention Week in the City of Stillwater. Joined by the Stillwater Fire Department and Sparky, the fire department’s mascot, Mayor Bartley explained the importance of working smoke alarms in the home. According to the National Fire Protection Association, three out of five home fire deaths result from properties without working smoke alarms. Bartley also encourages residents to practice fire prevention by creating a safe fire escape plan for their homes. The Stillwater Fire Prevention Week’s message is “Working smoke alarms save lives, test your every month.”
First world countries like the United States could be doing more to help areas affected by the Ebola virus, according to experts in Oklahoma.
“We, as a well-developed nation with lots of resources, should be providing more personnel,” said Dr. Randolph Hubach of the OSU public health program.
In the last month, there have been 1,000 new cases per week, according to the World Health Organization, a UN agency. The number of cases doubles about every three weeks. The public health infrastructures in West Africa are struggling to maintain public safety and health.
“Lots has happened with the spread of Ebola recently but I am not surprised by it,” said Dr. Ulrich Melcher of the OSU Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
Actual numbers of cases are unknown because disease detectives cannot venture into infected areas due to safety concerns. The Centers for Disease Control is estimating that the actual number of Ebola cases is 2.5 times higher than what is officially known.
“Steps need to be taken to improve the outbreak in West Africa due to lack of supplies and proper healthcare, but we could see a recovery in the next six to nine months,” said Cynthia Harry of the Oklahoma City Health Department.
The CDC has contained Ebola in the United States and says that it has deployed teams of public health experts to West Africa and will continue to send experts to the affected countries.
Although the virus seems to be contained in many places, the fight is far from over. Nigeria, which had 20 cases, has just been declared Ebola-free by the WHO. Countries that are void of the virus have taken measures to contain and prevent it but are not helping with the worldwide problem. Liberia and Sierra Leone are in serious need for hospital beds according to the WHO. The two countries have 942 beds, but need more than 4,000 to satisfy the needs of the infected patients.
Although things seem grim, there might see improvement in the near future.
The WHO has proposed a “70/70/60” plan. To get the epidemic under control in 60 days, 70 percent of Ebola patients will be isolated and treated and 70 percent of burials will be safely executed.
The CDC has issued a six page checklist to help healthcare providers in the United States determine if a patient is infected. Symptoms of Ebola can take more than a week to appear in patients but healthcare professionals have to take every precaution.
But experts said with only four cases and one death reported in the United States, Americans don’t need to worry about an epidemic. Hubach thinks that the government has handled the situation well.
“The fact that we have not heard of Ebola in the United States until this year shows how effective public health has been,” Hubach said.
Classes. Studying. Exams. Social life. Fraternity events. Family. All of this sounds like the typical life of a college student, but try adding music gigs a few times a week to that. Senior Luke Roberts juggles his college career with his music while still staying afloat.
Roberts is a Business Management major from Roland. His dad started a network of Lifechurch, where he began leading worship for the youth group when he was in ninth grade. The following year, he began voice lessons to improve his skill. Roberts said that was when he really started improving vocally by learning breathing and technique.
Despite the fact that both of his siblings attended the University of Arkansas, Roberts only applied to OSU and traveled farther from home. He joined Farmhouse fraternity, where he participates and directs shows like Varsity Revue and Spring Sing. Robert’s cousin, Zachary Roberts, an older member in Farmhouse, was leading worship for Overflow, a weekly worship night held at Lifechurch in Stillwater for OSU students. At the time, Luke was involved with the prayer team that met before Overflow and eventually the team decided to bring him on stage as a part of the worship team. The fall of this sophomore year, Luke led one to two songs a week at Overflow. Since then, Luke has gone on to lead four to five songs a week and has devoted most of his time to Overflow.
“Once everyone on our team became comfortable with the group, Luke really started to show his leadership style,” Overflow sound technician Ty Prather said.
The worship leaders for Overflow practice about three hours a week, on top of the actual hour-long service on Tuesday nights. Roberts said he doesn’t mind the time commitment because he knows that Overflow is where the Lord has placed him at this time in his life.
“Ministry is where my focus is and where I want my focus to be for the rest of my life,” Roberts said.
Although he feels the pull to ministry, Roberts doesn’t think a teaching-pastor position is what he wants to do. He thinks he is better suited to one-on-one relationships rather than speaking to an audience. Roberts said that he would like to intern for a church or be a worship leader after he finished college.
“If ministry is what he wants to do, he’ll do it well,” Zachary Roberts said. “He’s smart, talented and people like him. There’s not much you can’t do with those attributes.”
In the mean time, Roberts plays different gigs around Stillwater at coffee shops and philanthropy events. Recently he has learned to play ukulele so that he doesn’t have to be dependent on a guitarist to accompany him. With his full schedule, it becomes difficult to coordinate practice times with other students whose schedules are just as jam packed as his own. He said that often times, these gigs pop up at the most inconvenient times. Although he enjoys what he does, it gets tough to balance his schoolwork with his music.
Luke’s performances at coffee shops and charity events are where his indie/folk music style is best suited to. He began performing around Stillwater his sophomore year with his cousin, Zachary. Luke said that he gets asked to perform a lot because people know he is available and wants to.
“Music is simply another way Luke expresses himself,” Eric Duell, a friend of Luke’s from Farmhouse said. “I think it gives him confidence.”