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Started by Oklahoma State University, burn associations have been around the state for more than 10 years. As ironic as it may be, these associations have been spreading like wildfire since the idea came to fruition within the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at OSU.
“There are now 15 associations in the state covering 30 counties with more than 350 members,” said John Weir, rangeland ecology and management research associate. “In the last three years, six of the most active associations have conducted 125 burns on more than 60,000 acres. And that’s done the right way and done safely.”
The central idea of the associations is for landowners to pool their equipment and help each other burn safely.
“In areas where you have small land ownernships, where the pastures aren’t as big and you have fragmented ownership, people want to burn, but they have concerns about burning and not being able to do it,” Weir said. “It gives you added equipment and labor to make the burns safer. One of the biggest benefits members will see is a reduction in liability.”
Some landowners may be a bit apprehensive to burn because of lack of experience or the threat of a fire moving to a neighbor’s land. By joining as burn associations, these landowners can manage these risks with more experienced people.
“If the fire would happen to escape and spread to a neighboring area, it may be another member of the association who is probably going to burn anyway,” Weir said. “It is neighbor helping neighbor, sharing resources.”
Many of the associations receive financial aid through federal and local grants and donations, including some vehicles from local fire departments that support the burn associations.
“It’s a win-win situation for not only the landowners, but also the community in general,” Weir said. “I’d love to see every county in the state have them.”
For landowners interested in joining a burn association near their property, or starting an association if none are near by, information can be found at www.oklahomaprescribedfire
council.okstate.edu. Also, county Extension educators can be contacted for additional information.
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Sheriffs accuse state of ducking out on prisoner promises
State efforts to save time and money by shuffling prisoners more swiftly through the system are riling local sheriffs who are losing money because of the efficiency program.
A change in Department of Corrections practice is landing a “significant hit” on two-thirds of Oklahoma counties, which depend on reimbursements to house state inmates locally, said Ken McNair, executive vice president of the Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association.
“The sheriffs are now in a position where they have to make adjustments to their budgets,” he said.
Sheriffs converged on the Capitol on Tuesday, filling the Senate gallery, in part to protest efforts to remove inmates from their custody. The change will cost the sheriffs — but save the state — millions each year.
OK officials account for disaster spending
Nearly a year after deadly tornadoes hit central Oklahoma, officials announced that they have spent close to $9.4 million in private donations on relief efforts.
U.S. News ranks city high schools in state’s Top 10
All three Edmond high schools are ranked among the Top 10 in the state in a prestigious national list.
U.S. News & World Report, which publishes annual rankings, ranked Edmond North No. 3 in Oklahoma and No. 437 nationwide. Memorial ranked No. 6 in Oklahoma and No. 847 nationwide. Santa Fe ranked No. 8 in Oklahoma and No. 1,075 nationwide.
“This recognition serves as validation for our students, parents and staff members at all levels who work together relentlessly in pursuit of academic excellence, Edmond Public Schools Superintendent David Goin said.
OC expands to 5 academic colleges
Oklahoma Christian University will expand from three to five colleges beginning with the 2014-15 academic year.
OC’s five academic colleges will be the College of Biblical Studies, the College of Business Administration, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Natural and Health Sciences.
“Our academic and leadership teams have been planning, praying and discussing how to build on OC’s legacy of exceptional success in science, engineering and business,” said Scott LaMascus, vice president for academic affairs. “Our new colleges will focus on growth in these areas and implement strategic planning to help us serve more students.”
FBI seeks suspect in robbery of local bank
Police and FBI agents are investigating the robbery of a local bank by a suspect wearing a fake mustache and goatee, a spokesman said.
FBI Special Agent Martinus McConnell said the robbery occurred Tuesday morning at the Arvest Bank, 2025 Sonoma Park, Edmond.
Deer Creek students see bionic suit in action
In 2010, a car accident left Guthrie resident Mary Beth Davis paralyzed from the waist down.
In a few weeks, thanks to INTEGRIS Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation, determination and an Ekso Bionics suit, she will be walking across a stage to receive a college diploma from Oklahoma State University.
Wednesday afternoon, Davis was at Deer Creek Middle School where students of teacher Jamie Brehm got to see Davis and the suit in action and learn about how it helps people live a fuller life.
Brehm said the opportunity to have the demonstration fit perfectly with the testing schedule. Brehm said a bonus was having Davis with her inspirational story come to the school. In addition to graduating soon, Davis lives an independent life and she was recently crowned Ms. Wheelchair Oklahoma.
Antique clock collection on display at Edmond Library
In a world that’s often hurried and brief, the Sooner Time Collectors have nothing but time. Oklahoma chapter members of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors have provided antique pieces from personal collections to display at the Edmond Library until the end of April.
Since the 1950s, Sooner Time Collectors have gathered to learn about the inner workings of clocks and to admire one-of-a-kind finds. Of interest to the community is their involvement with repairs for the Cowboy Hall of Fame clock and the UCO tower. They now have 35 members who meet monthly as a chapter of the 16,000-member NAWCC community across America and the world.
Be on the lookout for termites
Warming temperatures and spring rainfall means swarming conditions for the homeowners’ nemesis in Oklahoma — the termite.
Termites are Mother Nature’s way of recycling dead wood, as well as aerating the soil and increasing its fertility and water percolation. They are an important food source for other insects, spiders, reptiles, amphibians and birds within the food web, and they are essential for the wellbeing of the environment.
Central students organize ‘Take Back the Night’ to end sexual violence
The University of Central Oklahoma’s National Organization for Women (UCO-NOW), Institute of Hope and the Violence Prevention Project will host a Take Back the Night (TBTN) march and rally to end violence, beginning 7 p.m. May 1 in Pegasus Theater in Central’s Liberal Arts building.
TBTN events date back to the early 1970s and focus on eliminating sexual violence in all forms. Thousands of colleges, universities, women’s centers and rape crisis centers have sponsored TBTN marches throughout the country.
Police investigate more home burglaries in Edmond
Residents have reported an additional seven home burglaries to the Edmond Police Department the day after an equal number occurred, according to city records.
Police spokeswoman Jenny Monroe said a detective is investigating the new incidents reported during the day on Tuesday. Monroe said similarities in them lead the agency to believe they are connected.
Tuesday’s reported burglaries occurred in different areas including near the Covell-Coltrane intersection and south of 15th Street along Santa Fe. According to city records, they were reported at:
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