Ledger/LCJ newsletter 6-25-2021

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The Blog of Craig: 6-25-2021

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NEWS

Sales tax revenue continues to grow

Sales tax revenue in May 2021 increased over $134,000 from May of 2020.

LeFlore County also had a good month as its sales tac receipts increased from $636,939 in May of 2020 to $702,443 this May, an increase of $155,504.15.

Poteau had the biggest jump of $04,569 while Pocola’s revenue was $104,573, an increase of $15,707 from last year.

A total of 11 cities in the county had higher sales tax revenue for the month, Only four towns showed a decrease in revenue Bokoshe, LeF;ore, Rock Iskand and Wister, but all four were a small total.

Bullard named new CFO

POTEAU - Eastern Oklahoma Medical Center has announced Brandon Bullzrd as the newest member of its administration team. 

Bullard is our new Chief Financial Officer.  He was born and raised in northwest Oklahoma and attended Oklahoma State University, where he received his degree in business administration. 

He is a Certified Public Accountant.  Before Bullard began his career in healthcare, he worked as an auditor for KPMG out of Tulsa.  Bullard brings over 20 years of healthcare experience, working for both Hillcrest and AllianceHealth Health Care Systems in Oklahoma to his new role as Chief Financial Officer at EOMC.  

Oklahoma’s unemployment rate falls to 4%

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) reports that Oklahoma’s unemployment rate fell to 4% in May 2021. The agency also reports an increase in initial and continued claims’ four-week moving averages, with continued claims declining. 

“We are pleased to report that the unemployment rate for Oklahoma fell to 4.0% for May 2021, which is below the national unemployment rate and ranks our state 12th nationally,” said Shelley Zumwalt, OESC Executive Director. “We are making great strides here in Oklahoma, but pre-pandemic in February of 2020 the state’s unemployment rate was at 3.1%. This indicates there is still room for improvement in helping people rejoin the state workforce. The agency is continuing to focus on our re-employment efforts to boost the state workforce, especially as federal benefits come to an end effective June 27. We are hopeful that we will continue to see positive movement in unemployment as Oklahomans return to work.”

Effective June 27, all federal unemployment benefits, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), will come to an end. In an effort to help individuals as they return to work, the agency hosted a career fair at the Tulsa Expo Square - River Spirit Expo. On Friday, June 25, OESC will host an additional career fair at the Oklahoma City Convention Center where job seekers and employers will have an opportunity to connect.

Individuals who filed for unemployment between May 2-15 and who work two part-time jobs or one full-time job of 32 hours or more per week for six consecutive weeks are eligible for the governor’s return-to-work incentive. The application for the incentive will open to the public on June 28, 2021.

Weekly Unemployment Numbers for Week Ending June 12

  • For the file week ending June 12, the number of initial claims totaled 10,614, an increase of 1,680 from the previous week's level of 8,934.

  • For the same file week, the less volatile initial claims 4-week moving average was 10,158, an increase of 493 from the previous week's average of 9,665.

  • The number of continued claims totaled 35,665, a decrease of 132 from the previous week’s level of 35,797.

  • Continued claims’ four-week moving average was 34,404 an increase of 353 from the previous week's average of 34,051.

Nationally, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for the week ending June 19 was 411,000, a decrease of 7,000 from the previous week's revised level, the U.S. Department of Labor reports. The four-week moving average was 397,750, an increase of 1,500 from the previous week’s unrevised average. For the week ending June 12, U.S. DOL reports the advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.4%, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate.

The national weekly seasonally adjusted initial claims report is one of 10 components in the Composite Index of Leading Economic Indicators. To smooth out the volatility in the weekly initial claims data, a four-week moving average is used to assess trends.

SPORTS

Kopps named Golden Spikes Award finalist

By OLIVER GRIGG

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Kevin Kopps is one step closer to the college baseball’s most prestigious honor.

The Razorback pitcher is one of three finalists, along with Vanderbilt’s Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker, for the 43rd Golden Spikes Award, USA Baseball announced Thursday.

As college baseball’s most dominant pitcher, Kopps finished the 2021 campaign with a 12-1 record and 11 saves. He posted the nation’s lowest ERA (0.90) and WHIP (0.76), striking out 131 in 89 2/3 innings of work. Opposing hitters had a .162 average against the right-hander, who set the program’s single-season record for ERA during his historic year.

Kopps has taken home nearly every major award in college baseball this year. The Sugar Land, Texas, native won the Dick Howser Trophy and was named the SEC Pitcher of the Year as well as Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year.

He was voted the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association District 7 Player of the Year and was the first reliever to win the College Baseball Foundation’s National Pitcher of the Year Award. Kopps, a consensus first-team All-America honoree, was also named Pitcher of the Year by Perfect Game/Rawlings.

Kopps is just the third Razorback to be named a Golden Spikes Award finalist and the first since Andrew Benintendi took home the award in 2015. Arkansas’ Phil Stidham also earned finalist honors in 1991.

2021 marks just the second year in the history of the Golden Spikes Award that not only do all of the finalists hail from the same conference, but also the second time that they have all played in the Southeastern Conference. All four finalists for the award in 2015 also suited up in the SEC (Andrew Benintendi, Arkansas; Alex Bregman, LSU; Carson Fulmer and Dansby Swanson, Vanderbilt).

Additionally, this is just the second time ever that all the finalists for the award have been pitchers. All three finalists for the 2011 prize also made their mark on the mound, including eventual-winner Trevor Bauer (UCLA), as well as Danny Hultzen (Virginia), and Taylor Jungmann (Texas).

A final ballot will be sent to the Golden Spikes Award voting body consisting of national baseball media, select professional baseball personnel, previous Golden Spikes Award winners, and select USA Baseball staff, totaling a group of 200 voters. From Thursday, June 24, through Friday, July 2, the voting body will cast their final vote for the Golden Spikes Award winner and fan voting will simultaneously be open on GoldenSpikesAward.com. Selections made by the voting body will carry a 95 percent weight of each athlete’s total, while fan votes will account for the remaining five percent.

The presentation of the 43rd Golden Spikes Award will be

OTHER STORIES

CASC students claim awards

Despite the challenges faced during the 2020-21 academic year, Carl Albert State College’s Oklahoma Aspiring Educators Association, an organization for future teachers, found a way to remain active. In addition to monthly meetings, the chapter hosted Bunco nights for the campus and attended four state conferences. 

The chapter adopted literacy as its social justice platform, and held a professional development workshop entitled “Creating Positive Reading Experiences,” read to Heavener elementary students, and sponsored a book poster contest for area fifth graders. 

At the recent State Conference, two CASC students were recognized for their leadership and involvement in OAEA. Marlyn Cruz, a 2019 graduate of Heavener High School, received the Outstanding Chapter Leader Award.  According to chapter advisor Susan Hill, “Cruz exudes a quiet confidence that makes her an excellent leader.”  Serving as the Vice-President of Teacher Quality, Cruz was instrumental in organizing the reading event at Heavener Elementary and the professional development workshop.  As a May 2021 graduate of CASC, Cruz plans to attend UAFS in the fall, majoring in math with plans to teach on the high school level.

Mari (Kagen) Monks, a 2020 graduate from Panama, was awarded the Outstanding Underclassman Award.  In her first year of OAEA involvement, Monks stepped into the role of Vice-President of Social Justice and spearheaded a contest for fifth graders in LeFlore County, encouraging participants to read a book and draw a poster representing the book. Hill stated, “Kagen adds an energizing dynamic to our group.  She is positive, upbeat, friendly and encouraging.”  Monks will continue her education this fall at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah where she will pursue a degree in English.

“A world-wide pandemic certainly hampered many of our great plans, but rather than complain about what we couldn’t do, these young ladies were ready to explore what we could do,” said Hill. “I’m so glad the state organization honored their efforts.” 

Kiamichi Tech to recognize practical nursing grads

POTEAU– The Kiamichi Tech Practical Nursing Class of 2021 will graduate on Wednesday. The ceremony will be in the Seminar Center at 1509 South McKenna in Poteau at 9 a.m.

The graduating class would like to thank the following clinical facilities for their support: Eastern Oklahoma Medical Center, The Oaks Healthcare Center, Heart of Hospice, Poteau Dialysis Center, Poteau Family Medical, Dewey Medical Center, Choctaw Nation Health Services, Pocola Health & Rehab, and Mercy Health Clinics.

“We are proud of our practical nursing graduates,” said Michael Culwell, Campus Director at Kiamichi Tech - Poteau. “They have worked hard to achieve this goal and we wish them the best as they prepare to join the workforce.”

According to www.practicalnursing.org, Kiamichi Tech has the top Practical Nursing programs in the state of Oklahoma.  The Poteau Campus has a 93.33% pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examination for Licensed Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).

Hot again Friday

Partly cloudy skies and hot again Friday in LeFlore County.

The high will be 93 degrees with a low of 76 degrees.

Sunrise is 6:06 a.m., sunset is 8:36 p.m.

Thursday’s high was 93 degrees. The low was 78 degrees.

Average temperatures for June 25 are a high of 91 and low of 64

Records for June 25 were a high of 99 in 1980, and a low of 59 in 1984.

On June 25, 2020, the high was 91, with a low of 64.

Calendar of events

The LeFlore County calendar of events lists the upcoming events in the area. This is a free service so if you or your group have an event coming up and would like it added to the calendar, please send an email tocraig@heavenerledger.com.

Friday

Funeral services for Sgt. Rick Allen Entmeier

Saturday

Memorial service for Douglas Lovelace 

Monday

LeFlore County commissioners meet 9 a.m.

Tuesday

Poteau Evening Lions Club meet 6 p.m. CASC

Wednesday

Poteau Rotary Club meets noon at EOMC

Kiamichi Technology graduation of practical nursing graduates

Thursday

Kiwanis Club meets noon at Western Sizzlin’

Heavener VFW bingo 6 p.m. Highway 59 North

Heavener City Council meets 6 p.m.

This date in history 6-25-2021

This date in history for 6-25.

1864: Union troops start tunneling toward Rebels.

1876: Battle of the Little Bighorn.

1942: Eisenhower takes command

1950: U.S. World Cup team defeats England.

1950: Korean War begins.

1988: Teenager Debbie Gibson has No, 1 hit.

1996: Bombing kills 19 U.S. airmen.

2009: Michael Jackson dies.