Alternative transportation is important to a growing community with happy citizens.
Metropolis cities like Portland, Ore., and Minneapolis, Minn., have dedicated many funds and resources to alternative transportation such as implementation of bicycling routes.
Minneapolis and Portland were ranked the most bicycling friendly cities in the U.S. this year by Travel and Leisure magazine. The two cities also consistently rank in the top of cities with the highest quality of life.
A coincidence, I think not. Closer to home, a study in Omaha on recreational trails examined the perceived effects on property values and 64 percent said that trails positively influenced their decision to buy.
Stillwater is a good candidate for bicycle commuting because it covers a small geographic area, has relatively flat terrain, and bicycling commuting can occur almost year round.
My family has called Stillwater home for more than 10 years. I am an alumnus of the Stillwater public school system from my first public educational experience at Will Rogers to my last as a Pioneer at Stillwater high school graduating in 2005.
Some of my favorite memories were born within the boundaries of this town, including walking around Boomer Lake with my dog Fargo to eating at restaurants downtown.
I am proud to call Stillwater my hometown. When it was time for me to think about college, I decided to attend Willamette University in Salem, Ore., to experience something new.
I had a great college experience and graduated this year with a degree in environmental science. I am back in Stillwater for the summer before I start my first career opportunity with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
One hobby that I have found while living in Oregon is, you guessed it, bicycling.
The benefits of bicycling are numerous. The number one reason to bike is that it enhances good health.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 64 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. Obesity has been shown to increase many health risks.
Physical activity through biking can provide health benefits such as controlling high blood pressure, reducing risk for type 2 diabetes, reducing arthritis pain and disability, and preventing osteoporosis and falls.
There are also environmental reasons for bicycling. Cars pollute the air by releasing dangerous chemicals such as nitrous and sulfurous oxide from the exhaust. Bicycling emits no pollution whatsoever.
I have visited friends and family in Stillwater every summer since I have lived Oregon. I cherish these visits to my hometown. However, I am very discouraged by the town’s lack of support for bicycling.
I have tried to bicycle several times already this summer to destinations across the city and it is impossible to do so without feeling in danger because there are virtually no on-street bicycle routes.
The Kameoka, Boomer, Couch Park, Sanborn Lake, Lake Mcmurtry, Teal Ride, Tech Park trails are good bicycling and walking trails but there needs to be more bicycle lanes on downtown streets such as Main and on other busy streets such as Perkins, Sixth, and the Washington strip.
The city should also supply bicycle racks in front of businesses for those people who do bike. It was made abundantly clear to me how unimportant bicycling is to the city of Stillwater when I began to conduct research.
Their last draft on the on-street bicycling plan was conducted in 2007 and as far as I can tell, there has been no follow up on progress since this time.
By committing funds and other resources to bicycling routes in Stillwater the community will greatly benefit. Community members will have better health, less traffic, and cleaner air and streets.
Bicycling routes will also enhance Stillwater’s image as a great place to live.
You can learn more about Stillwater’s transportation enhancement plan at http://stillwater.org/content/2007/per/TIF-draft-Oct2007.pdf. You can contact the transportation administrative office at city hall to show your support for alternative transportation such as biking at (405) 533-8491 or go online at Stillwater.org.
Mary Gail Lugg
There are still kind people in this world and proof of that is in Stillwater, Okla.
During Special Olympic Summer Games 2010 held in Stillwater, one of our 14 passenger buses broke down on the way from Vinita to Stillwater.
Along came a man that offered to assist us. He diagnosed the problem and then tried to find the correct part for the vehicle so these people could get back home in two days.
He ended up finding someone that could rebuild the part and he volunteered his time to take the part off and put it back on the vehicle for us.
If it weren’t for his kindness and generosity, we would have had to have paid a fortune to have the vehicle towed and worked on, not to mention the extra costs associated with having to take at least two more vehicles to pick everyone up to bring them back to Vinita.
We are truly grateful to Jayson Milligan for all he has done to help us!
I read the Saturday edition of the News Press, alluding to eight Morrison seniors being banned from commencement.
I have also read the letter of Michael Clyburn printed in the NewsPress this date.
My reaction is Kudos, Kudos to Superintendent Jay Vernon and the Morrison school board. The Morrison school is still under control of experienced and education-minded people.
This next school year my son and grandaughter will move to this area from another state. Sometime back I tasked myself to scout out some of the area schools for a possible transfer for a 12-year-old straight "A" student. The main condition was that the new school selected was not to be an out-of-control school that had to have a security guard on campus.
I have lived in Noble County for many years and graduated from the Perry school system. Passing through Morrison on a week day I decided to check the school system there as a possibility. That's the first time that I met Jay Vernon. Superintendent Vernon was very pleasant to talk with, very accommodating and seemed eager to receive a new enrollment.
Walking around the Morrison school campus I found everything pleasant and orderly. This country needs more Jay Vernons.
My grandaughter will be in Morrison schools this fall.
Steve H. Bunch
Younger brother concerned
I am concerned for my brother’s rights.
He was cheated by the Board of Education of Morrison, and staff. He was present at the senior prank. Mr. Vernon, who is the newly employed school superintendent, claims that he has videotapes of the prank but ... (we don’t know anyone who has viewed the tapes.)
My brother has always had good grades, never caused mischief, has represented Morrison school numerous times, twice at the state Capitol, has three state football championship rings, played basketball all four years of his high school career, played baseball and track.
He is also a member of the Morrison FFA. He showed goats, judged and has earned numerous ribbons and awards for his hard work and his persistence, knowing that it would pay off in the end.
He was cheated and I am outraged at the very disappointing decision of the school staff.
The decision was careless ... not the senior prank. I mean it was a little harmless prank that the students started cleaning up before school started.
Mr. Vernon was embarrassed because the day of the prank happened to be on the day of the awards assembly. ...
There was no spray paint and the flag pole has been damaged for six school years. Absolutely none of the prank was permanent or destructive.
The students were punished in an improper manner. Even some of the teachers disagreed with the punishment.
They should have been able to walk at their graduation that they earned as students of an American school system.
As a brother and fellow student I am ashamed of our school.
Stillwater! What a great place to be.
There are many good things about Stillwater, but the best thing is the people and the character of those residing here.
My home was in the path of the tornado on Wednesday, May 19. How blessed we are there were no injuries. However, there was a great deal of damage to trees and some homes. Large trees fell onto some neighbors’ homes.
I have many trees in my yard and lost several. One 50-year-old tree was uprooted and fell into the street. I am fortunate it did not fall toward my home.
Within a short time following the tornado, the city was in the neighborhood to clear the streets of trees blocking the way.
They were considerate, efficient and worked late into the night.
Accolades to several of my new heroes. The Will Rogers assistant principal and 12 fifth-grade boys came to help and later two classes of fifth-graders and their teachers came. Another class went to a different neighbor’s to assist.
What a sight with 47 wonderful worker bees in my yard. They picked up sticks, took branches to the drive to be hauled away, stacked logs, raked and even swept the walks, patio and drive.
They spent some of Thursday and Friday being good neighbors. It is uplifting to see our schools teaching not only the three “R’s”, but also helping our children to develop character and a sense of community.
Will Rogers fifth-graders are “The Best” in my book.
Complete strangers helped. Tim Twoguns helped carry logs to the drive. e was walking to his sister’s and just stopped to offer help.
The phone company was working on the phone lines and employees Rick Dermer and Jerry Riniker carried bags of debris to my trash area on their rest break.
My good friend, Barb Baker, spent five hard hours cutting and bagging limbs for yard trash pickup day. Brooke Buchanan hauled the very large tree away. A tree service working at a neighbor’s put some of my small logs in their mulcher.
Kevin and Vicki Ehlers spent the entire day on Thursday working here. Kevin did miracles with his chain saw and made at least 10 trips hauling the debris away. Vicki helped me in picking up and dragging branches to the drive for Kevin to load into his trailer, and directed the fifth-graders as they worked. What a fantastic couple.
I am not a youngin anymore and don’t handle the long days of work in the yard as well as in past years. These people were amazing.
If you drove by my house Friday, you would never know it was the same yard as on Thursday morning.
Stillwater!!! What a great place of great people.
I'm writing this as a concerned Morrison parent.
First off, the Morrison Superintendent, Jay Vernon, as well as the Board of Education mishandled the graduation for Morrison Public Schools this morning.
They feel they are on the right side - but they did not look at future consequences concerning the graduating seniors. One thing I want to touch on leads to another.
There were no flags put on the ground. I highly doubt if anything was done to them at all, including the flag pole.
I could go to into details about my military service - I allude to that because I want you to understand that I, my sons and my wife have a deep respect for our flag and our country. My youngest son, who was 9 on 9/11, attended school on an Air Force base. For months, we were bomb searched, dog sniffed, etc, each and every time we entered a housing area or a base. This includes school buses. That was done by fellow military as security, and for our protection. Everybody gets the same scrutiny. Machine guns, dogs, MPs, you get the picture.
I have a couple of flags important to me, one of them given to my grandmother in 1945. This was in honor of my uncle who was killed at Iwo Jima. My grandfathers saw service in WWI and WWII, other family members in world wars and Vietnam. The list goes on. My oldest son is military. At a very early age, my wife, who is from a military family, and I instilled patriotism and service into our sons. Our sons were raised on various military installations.
I'm sure you understand at this point that even though many others believe in our country, our flag, and our way of life; I dare say our standards for flags are a notch or two higher.
Patriotism and service are not something to pull out at a convenient time. They are perpetual.
My wife called up the school twice on Friday, once looking for a policy book online, and the lady she was speaking to said she didn't have time to speak, and my wife was asked to quit calling "and harassing (them.)" We eventually found out the book is listed under "teacher resources." Not readily accessible.
And the guidelines listed in the handbook, weren't followed. Due process wasn't followed.
Flag desecration was alleged. It didn't happen unless someone else did it at a time other than the toilet paper incident, and the writing of "Seniors 2010" with washable shoe polish on windows.
As far as I am concerned - it didn't happen at all. There was never any written notification regarding the incident. Mr Vernon and the school board are putting out weak information. And eight kids suffered. We made the best out of it in my home. I believe in my son. He's good.
But check this out. The flag pole has been in disrepair since my sons have been going to school there for six school years. It needs paint, a better pulley, and rope or chain. It is unserviceable.
A Morrison Public Schools event center has been built, and the football field has undergone renovation. There have been renovations on the school. The flag pole went unrepaired.
It seems to me like $100 of repairs could be done for a flag pole. Or is it possible (sure it is) that vandalism could be claimed, blown out of proportion which it was cause it isn't vandalism, a "state of emergency" could be claimed, as a quest for federal and state funding?
Mr. Vernon even told me that taxpayers dollars had been spent to cleanup. You gotta be kidding, right ? It was the last day of school.
The kids voluntarily did the cleanup, before instructed to do so, fully expecting this to be the consequence, as it had in the past. I was at the school on Friday morning at 10:30 and there were no signs anywhere of any mischief. I looked. I also asked to see the damage. However, that was denied. Except the unsatisfactory and unacceptable flag pole that has been that way for some time.
Once again - my son - didn't do anything to the flags. And by the way, the flag there is too close to the school, not high enough, and I'm not sure if it's lighted or not. All of these are unacceptable. They show a large amount of disrespect to our nation's flag in flying it in the manner they do.
At a time when we are trying to encourage graduations, and increase parental involvement, all that has been accomplished is the alienation of several families; and a disregard for those making leadership decisions.
Michael R. Clyburn
Stillwater absolutely is one of the best possible communities for a person to live.
Mona and I moved here to retire six years ago and have been welcomed with open arms in the community and our church.
I want to lift up a special thank you to Stillwater businesses who have spent money to beautify their facilities with God's beautiful flowers, which is a thank you for doing business with them. It makes me want to drive by or go into these businesses to just have my spirits lifted by the beautiful flowers.
Another big thank you to the Stillwater wonderful folks who gave with loving hearts and the Stillwater postal carriers who picked up over 20,000 pounds of food for individuals in our community who have fallen upon hard times.
As I listen to the needs of our homeless and hungry at the First Methodist Church community dinner, I can assure you the food not only fills their nutritional needs, but gives hurting individuals a spiritual assurance that someone cares.
When you have lost your job, get sick and cannot go to work, have a mate leave you with children and bills to pay, or get out of jail with no money or place to stay, everyone is in need of a friend who loves them unconditionally.
It is wonderful to be in a community and church where individuals do care.
I want to applaud the NewPress for printing the regular pieces written by Col. Gregory Breazile. What refreshing and down-to-earth insight into the Afghani culture and people.
Thank you, Colonel. Great job, NewsPress!
You have made a difference in the lives of hungry Oklahomans. The 18th annual National Association of Letter Carriers Food Drive collected a one-day total of 21,315 pounds of nonperishable food on May 8.
This shelf-stable food will stock four food banks in the Stillwater area. These food banks will feed hungry Oklahomans throughout the summer when the school lunch programs have stopped and our utility bills are high.
The USDA claims over half a million Oklahomans go hungry every day. In Payne County alone, more than 18 percent of all residents struggle with hunger. This is an increase of 40 percent over last year.
Yes, your participation and sacrifice in the NALC Food Drive was a success in Stillwater. The many families who will benefit from your donations do appreciate your efforts.
I would like to thank all of Stillwater for their contributions and all of the volunteers, especially Boy Scout Troop 828 for a second year of great service unloading postal trucks and reloading food bank trucks with your donations. Their organizational input is sure to help us in coming years. ...
Great job one and all!
president, NALC Branch #1595