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Stillwater's First News with Bill Van Ness

 
 
Conversation opened. 1 read message. FROM THE CITY OF STILLWATER:FROM THE-------------------------FROM THE CITY OF STILLWATER:
 
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FROM OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY:

The Cowboy family is invited to celebrate the inauguration of Oklahoma State University’s 19th president – Dr. Kayse Shrum. The ceremony will be at 2 p.m., Aug. 26, at Gallagher-Iba Arena and serve as a ceremonial milestone for Shrum’s presidency, which began July 1, 2021.

The historic event, which was delayed due to pandemic considerations, is free and open to the public. It will feature messages from special guests, the presentation of the presidential medallion, live music provided by the Greenwood School of Music and a State of Orange address from Shrum highlighting OSU’s deep-rooted tradition as a premier land-grant institution, resiliency, progress and her vision for the future.

Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend. The celebration will also be livestreamed for alumni around the globe at insideosu.com. Following Shrum’s inauguration, a student celebration is planned for Aug. 30. For updates about these and other campus events, visit calendar.okstate.edu.

On April 2, 2021, the OSU/A&M Board of Regents voted to appoint Shrum OSU president, making her the first woman to lead the institution and the first woman to lead a Tier 1, four-year public research university in Oklahoma.

Dr. Trudy Milner, OSU/A&M Board of Regents chair, said Shrum has proven to be an excellent leader, forging a new strategic vision for the university while adeptly navigating through difficult challenges.

Navigating the realignment of the Big 12 Conference in her first few months as president highlights notable achievements, including: the launch of a systemwide strategy process to guide the future of the university, securing a transformative gift to establish the world-class Hamm Institute for American Energy at Oklahoma State University and establishing the Oklahoma Aerospace Institute for Research and Education (OAIRE).

Shrum expressed excitement and gratitude following her selection announcement, noting the special place OSU holds in heart and calling the opportunity the “greatest challenge and honor of her professional career.”

After her first year in office, Shrum is focused on coming together as a community behind a set of long-term goals to take OSU to new heights of academic and research excellence.

Shrum formerly served as president of OSU’s Center for Health Sciences (OSU-CHS), which more than doubled its enrollment under her leadership. Her selection in 2013 made her the youngest and first female president and dean of a medical school in Oklahoma. Before beginning her academic work at OSU-CHS, she served rural Oklahoma as a pediatrician.

As OSU-CHS president, Dr. Shrum secured a landmark investment in 2019 from Purdue Pharma for $197.5 million to create the National Center for Wellness and Recovery for addiction treatment and research to address the national opioid addiction epidemic. A strong supporter of collaborative partnerships, Shrum also worked with former Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker and his administration to establish the nation’s first tribally affiliated medical school – the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation – which opened in the fall 2020 semester.

Shrum led the construction of the A.R. and Marylouise Tandy Medical Academic Building – a state-of-the-art learning facility which houses the state’s largest and most technologically advanced hospital simulation center, and, in March 2019, was appointed Oklahoma’s first secretary of science and innovation. In that role, she played a critical part in the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and her innovative leadership approach and medical expertise helped the state secure much-needed PPE supplies and led to the formation of a COVID diagnostics lab – Oklahoma’s largest – on OSU’s Stillwater campus.

A fervent champion of rural health and primary care medicine, Shrum has made the creation of a sustainable, rural primary care physician pipeline a top priority. While leading OSU-CHS, she launched innovative high school recruiting programs like Operation Orange and Blue Coat to White Coat; created the Rural Medical Track curriculum; and expanded the number of residency training programs in rural Oklahoma by securing support from the Oklahoma Legislature, Oklahoma Health Care Authority and Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust.

Her long list of awards and accolades includes induction into the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame (2022), being named The Journal Record’s Woman of the Year (2019), and, most recently, DO of the Decade by the Oklahoma Osteopathic Association.

Dr. Shrum and her husband, First Cowboy Darren Shrum, have a farm near Coweta. They have six adult children – three of whom have already graduated from OSU.

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FROM THE STILLWATER PUBLIC SCHOOLS:
Beginning in August 2022, the United States Department of Agriculture is no longer providing schools with funding to maintain free meals for all students during the school year. When school resumes this fall, families across the country will once again be required to pay full price school meals or apply through their school district for free and reduced meals.

“We know that during the height of the pandemic, and even as it tapers off, free meals have been of great help to our community,” says Stillwater Public Schools Director of Nutrition Krista Neel. “They’ve helped family budgets, eliminated the daily worry of getting bagged lunches made and filled with healthy foods, and meant students that preferred home lunches were able to supplement their lunch with free fruits, vegetables, and milk.”

Funding for those free meals came from the USDA, Neal says. “We’d love to continue to provide free lunches, but funding just doesn’t allow that to happen. The district will be able to continue to support free breakfasts for all students in the coming school year, and we are excited about that.”

Full lunch prices for the fall will be $2.60 for elementary and $2.85 for secondary students, though not all students will need to pay that full price.

“We know budgets are tight with gas and home prices being what they are and with inflation on the rise,” she says. “I’m glad the government will continue to offer some support for school lunch funding.”

“There are a variety of factors that can affect whether a child qualifies for support,” Neal says. Children in foster care, runaways or homeless youth, children of migrant workers, and, of course, children in families under certain income limits which vary depending on the size of the family can all qualify. “So we encourage all families, regardless of income level, to complete a free and reduced meal application. If everyone in the district completes the paperwork, we can make sure we don’t miss anyone receiving that extra financial support.”

Those who qualify for reduced rates, will see lunch prices of $0.40 for both elementary secondary students. Some families will qualify for fully free lunches.

“One of the reasons we recommend everyone completes the form is to eliminate any stigma around completing the form,” says Neal. “We know income level can be a sensitive subject. If everyone is being asked to complete the form, there’s no reason to feel any sort of discomfort about being asked about it or completing it. You can complete it online, which is preferred, or via paper form at your school.”

Additionally, Neal says schools and districts may receive additional governmental support based on the number of students that qualify for free and reduced lunches. “Even if you think your family doesn’t qualify or your student doesn’t eat with us, please complete the application anyway. It just takes a moment, and you might be the one family that pushes us over the number needed to qualify for more grants and funding for Stillwater.”

SPS families can pay for meals or apply for free and reduced meals at: https://www.schoolcafe.com/StillwaterPS

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FROM THE STILLWATER PUBLIC SCHOOLS:

The Stillwater Public Schools Board of Education approved the hiring of Robert “Bo” Gamble as the Assistant Superintendent of Operations at an August 9 meeting. In his new role he will oversee district safety and security and supervise the departments of Facilities, Child Nutrition, Transportation, and Technology.

Gamble started with Stillwater Public Schools at Lincoln Academy in 2002, spending four years as a science teacher and coach there. He moved into a science position at SHS in 2006. In 2011, he moved into school administration at Will Rogers Elementary as an assistant principal, then assistant principal at Stillwater Middle School beginning in the fall of 2013. He served as principal at SMS for three years, and has spent the least two years as Director of Human Resources.

“It’s been exciting to take on new challenges in the district throughout my career,” says Gamble. “I appreciate the work, by departing Assistant Superintendent Dana Renner, to get the department to where it is now. She’s moved it forward, and I hope to continue that momentum.”

Gamble says he wants to review projects that have been completed, evaluate current projects, and work to plan out future district needs proactively. “We’ve done some great things to make progress - increased salaries where we can, made some adjustments in staffing, and we’ll continue to make a concerted effort to find the best people we can to fill those roles. We'll also work to analyze the departments to increase our effectiveness and efficiency. Times are lean, and it’s a challenge to deliver on the needs of our students, but we’ve got great people on board.”

Gamble says he looks forward to working more closely with the support employees and promoting all the things they do to support our students and our teachers. “The areas this position supervises me really excite me,” he says. “I actually have some degree of experience in a lot of these areas. Growing up, I worked construction. I worked for the street department of the City of Stillwater, drove buses as a coach, I even did summer work as a custodian, stripping and waxing floors.”

“I’ll miss working daily with my HR team, and I’m glad they are just down the hall,” he says. “It’s a great department with outstanding employees that support our efforts, and working with them has helped better prepare me for this new role as well.”

Superintendent Uwe Gordon says he was very pleased with Gamble’s interest in the role. “I’ve known Bo Gamble for many years and was so happy to see him apply for this role. I kind of take it as a vote of confidence that he wants to work more closely with me on the daily operations of the district. Now I have moved an outstanding employee from one role to another, which does mean I’ve got another spot to fill, but this is the right move for Mr. Gamble and for Stillwater. I’m confident we are in for great things with him leading Operations.”

Gamble received his masters and bachelors from Oklahoma State University, and he plans to complete his doctoral degree from the university this December. He is married and the father of four children. In his spare time, Gamble enjoys sports, fishing and spending time with his family.

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FROM THE CITY OF STILLWATER:

JULY 2022 TAX APPORTIONMENT REPORT

Note: The collection is based off of May transactions that were reported to the Oklahoma Tax Commission in June and apportioned to the City in July.

TOTAL SALES AND USE TAX COLLECTION: $3,134,908

·         PREVIOUS YEAR’S JULY TOTAL SALES AND USE TAX COLLECTION: $2,799,296
·         INCREASE FROM PREVIOUS YEAR: $335,612 (11.99%)

SALES TAX COLLECTION: $2,825,288
·         PREVIOUS YEAR’S JULY SALES TAX COLLECTION: $2,537,538
·         INCREASE FROM PREVIOUS YEAR: $287,750 (11.34%)

USE TAX COLLECTION: $309,620
·         PREVIOUS YEAR’S JULY USE TAX COLLECTION: $261,758
·         INCREASE FROM PREVIOUS YEAR: $47,862 (18.28%)

HOTEL/MOTEL TAX COLLECTION: $76,900
·         PREVIOUS YEAR’S JULY HOTEL/MOTEL TAX COLLECTION: $72,799
·         INCREASE FROM PREVIOUS YEAR: $4,101 (5.63%)

For more information about the budget and taxes, visit the City’s Financial Center at stillwater.org/budget.

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