Posts Tagged Oklahoma City Community
It’s almost 2014! And, what better way to greet the New Year than to be close with the nature? Once again, for the third year in a row, Oklahoma State Parks will be opening their doors on New Year’s Day with free guided hikes for those who love to commune with nature.
State Parks that will be offering free hikes are Foss State Park, Keystone State Park, Lake Eufaula State Park, Lake Murray State Park, and Osage Hills State Park.
Anyone who wants to join should bring along water, snacks, binoculars, and a camera if they desire. Hikers are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes and weather appropriate clothing. Park staff and volunteers will be leading the hikes, which will range from less than a mile to more than three miles in length.
New streetcar concept routes are being proposed under the MAPS 3 program. These new routes will help in efficiently creating better transportation that will maximize economic development within the downtown area. City Council is expected finalize the new routes in the coming days.
The proposed streetcar routes are still under evaluation by the City Council. A consultant team led by Jacobs Engineering has proposed four routes that will range from 4 to 4.6 miles. These routes will connect the area of Midtown and the St. Anthony Hospital Neighborhood with Bricktown. Said routes are expected to cost $94 million, which will be part of the $777 million MAPS 3 building program.
To obtain public feedback on the four proposed routes, City Council is holding a community meeting on Monday, July 15 at 6 p.m. to discuss the new routes and to learn what the public has to say. The meeting will be held at Ronald Norick Downtown Library, 4th floor located at 300 Park Avenue.
Citizens have continually supported the MAPS 3 project, with hundreds of residents attending the meetings and more than a thousand participate online. After the public meeting, the City Council will make the final decision on what route to implement, either modifying an option or combining route options. Expected date of construction is currently 2015.
Oklahoma has experienced great devastation in the wake of the massive tornadoes that hit Moore and Shawnee earlier this week. Thousands of people lost their properties and were injured and some even lost their loved ones. The tornadoes that plagued the state have brought tremendous grief and suffering to those who were directly affected.
With hundreds of people losing their homes and everything they own, every bit of help is significant. That’s why, a number of organization, universities, and the state governments are offering relief to tornado victims.
The Oklahoma House approved the use of the state’s constitutional reserve fund to help with the recovery process. The Senate and the House unanimously voted to use $45 million of the state’s Rainy Day Fund for tornado relief.
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management also announced the reopening of several emergency centers to accommodate those who are in need of help.
Oklahoma universities are also taking part in relief operations through fundraising. Three universities are working together to gather more funds to help the relief operations of the United Way. The University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, and the University of Tulsa will be selling disaster relief t-shirts, with proceeds being donated to the United Way.
Big stars from Oklahoma will also be showing their support through fundraising concerts. Blake Shelton and Toby Keith, both natives of Oklahoma, are planning to hold a benefit concert for the tornado victims. Both stars will do a separate concert, but dates have not yet been determined.
When Randy Keller moved from Texas to the Oklahoma City area seven years ago, he couldn’t find the house he was looking for.
“I was moving from Texas, where there are also a lot of tornadoes,” says the professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Oklahoma who experienced the . “But I just couldn’t find one.”
He didn’t know it at the time, but Keller, who is also the director of the , says he later discovered that the soil and water conditions in the central part of the state turned out to be the reason for the shortage of basements.
“We’ve got a high water table and red clay that expands and contracts depending on how much moisture there is in the soil,” Keller says. “That expansion and contraction causes cracks in basement wall, and cracks mean leaks.”
He isn’t the only prospective buyer to have noticed the paucity of below-ground residential accommodations.
“I’ve always been told our soil is not good for basements,” says Russell Benson, an Oklahoma City real estate agent asking why basements were so rare in Oklahoma. “I have sold a few older homes that had basements, but they were never in that great of shape.”
A realty agent friend told Keller that because basements in Oklahoma have such a reputation for leaks, they can actually be a barrier to resale.
The that swept through the region Monday, killing at least 24 people, missed Keller’s basement-less home by only a few miles.
For John Hole, the president of contractors, which operates in the Oklahoma City area, it was an even closer call. The twister hit just a mere six blocks from his house. But he and his wife weren’t there at the time. They don’t have a basement and decided instead to shelter at a nearby church, which does have one.
As the name of his company implies, Hole does foundations — but not many basements, especially in single-family homes. It’s that shifting red clay that’s the problem, he says, mostly for the central and northeastern parts of the state.
“Red clay is susceptible to water and heat. It moves; it causes cracks,” he says. “So, you’re going to need pumping systems and backup power to run the pumps because eventually the water’s going to get in.”
“For most homeowners, it just doesn’t make sense, moneywise,” he says.
According to , the frost line and Oklahoma building codes also might be a contributing factor:
“In the northeastern U.S., building codes generally require homes to be built with their footing below the frost line, which means that builders already excavate enough earth during construction to create a basement.
“In the southern U.S., however, building codes don’t require this.”
Adding a basement then would require more excavation than a contractor would normally be required to do.
Mike Hancock, president of Basement Contractors, says basements don’t have to leak. In fact, on his company’s website, there’s a prominent link to a section called “.”
“There’s an old stereotype that you can’t build basements in Oklahoma,” says Hancock, whose business is one of a few in the area that will even build residential basements.
His theory is that basements are out of many contractors’ comfort zone, so it’s easier for them to say it’s impossible than to admit they can’t do a leakproof job.
Basements are so rare, Hancock says, that the listings service for local residential real estate doesn’t even have a box to check for a basement. But the fear of tornadoes is a “prime concern” of many of his customers who do want a basement in their home, Hancock says.
“It’s always in the back of their minds, what am I going to do if there’s a tornado,” Hancock says.
He says that a lot of times, he’s asked to put a safe room inside the basement itself, with “extra-thick interior walls, FEMA-approved doors and concrete supports instead of wooden joists,” which can splinter and become razor-sharp shrapnel during a tornado.
At a news conference Tuesday, Albert Ashwood, the director of the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had funded similar safe rooms for more than 100 schools, but that the two schools flattened by Monday’s tornado were not on the list. At least nine students were killed at the two schools.
Safe rooms, Ashwood said, are a “mitigating measure. It’s not absolute.” However, any safety measure could have helped the kids survive, he said.
One alternative, he said, is a small shelter dug under a garage that can fit perhaps six people. Hancock says his company doesn’t do that kind of work, but he thinks it’s a good idea.
“The only problem is that they’re small and with debris piled on top, it could take rescuers some time — perhaps days — to reach the survivors,” he says.
Keller, the geology professor, still puzzles over the basement thing.
“I guess it’s not considered a plus,” he says. “But, a few more of these situations like what happened yesterday and maybe people will change their tune.” http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/05/21/185857916/why-oklahomans-dont-like-basements
Health should be an important priority for children, and a healthy lifestyle does not end at home. To further promote better health among students, it is vital that schools also create ways to help.
A district wellness policy was first instated in Oklahoma City in 2006 to help facilitate proper wellness implementation among public schools. The current policy is now being examined by a committee that is planning to propose new guidelines. One of the highlights in the proposed wellness policy is the need for a PE class and a health and wellness class. Students will need to have at least an hour of physical education and an hour-long class about health and wellness each week.
In addition, punishments must no longer focus on physical activity, such as running laps, and students cannot be withheld from gym class and recess for something they did wrong.
Aside from physical activities and classes, schools are required to promote healthy eating among students. The policy will include the need for each public school to provide healthy food in order to start reducing fat and salt in the food, while including more fruits and vegetables in meals.
To help facilitate the policy, there will also be a district wellness committee comprised of students, staff, and community members. They will track the progress of each policy implementation and make sure that each guideline is properly followed.
Autism has become more frequent in children than it used to be, and families that have kids with autism are deeply affected by the condition as well. They know how difficult it is to meet their child’s special needs, especially when it comes to communicating and socializing with other people.
To help promote autism awareness and kick off Autism Awareness Month, a Kickoff Luncheon will be held on March 7. Proceeds of the luncheon will benefit the programs of Autism Oklahoma, a charitable organization that provides special programs for families affected with autism.
The luncheon and auction will be from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm at the Will Rogers Theater. The luncheon is free and has a maximum capacity of 300 people. For the silent auction, many packed and individual items will be available, including a custom framed Jason Blackmon autographed print. Goodies from local bakeries will be part of the dessert auction.
In addition to the luncheon and auction, a raffle will be held during the event. Raffle tickets are available for sale without any limit on the number of tickets to be purchased. Ten tickets can be purchased for $20.
Concrete is a great material to use in your driveway or walkway because it adds a finished beauty to your property and allows you and your family to utilize it easily. However, concrete can deteriorate after a few years. So, to maintain the functionality and beauty of a smooth concrete driveway, it is best to pour new concrete when that starts to occur.
Keep in mind that such a project requires proper precautions and tricks in order to avoid problems while working. So, here are a few tips you can follow:
- Order the right kind of concrete. Concrete can be mixed at your project site or delivered pre-mixed via a concrete truck. If you opt for the former, you will need to know how to mix the raw concrete that you receive. If you don’t know how, consider ordering a pre-mixed concrete, so you won’t have to worry about whether or not it has been mixed properly.
- Work on a day with good weather. A moderate temperature with minimal humidity is idea for working with concrete. Even a little bit of rain can cause damage to your concrete, and too much heat can easily dry your concrete before you’re even finished working on it. So, monitor the weather and work accordingly.
- Seek help. Working on concrete is not a one man job, especially if it is a big project. You need someone else to work with you because it requires quick and careful pouring and smoothing. If you don’t finish the job within a certain amount of time, you won’t achieve a good final outcome. Wait to tackle the project until you have someone who can help you.
- Practice safety precaution. Concrete contains elements that can be harmful to the body. Work in working clothes and wear gloves at all times. Certain elements in concrete can cause burns and other skin diseases if they come into contact with your skin. If concrete comes in contact with your eyes, wash them thoroughly and see a doctor immediately.
- Use your wheelbarrow carefully. You need a strong and reliable wheelbarrow in order to transfer concrete from the mixing point to your driveway. Make sure that your wheelbarrow is durable enough to complete the job without hassle. In addition, avoid overfilling your wheelbarrow.
- Less water is ideal. You can use water to wet down the soil, but not too much. Water can alter the strength and stability of your concrete and can lead to a weak surface.