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Tee for the Soul hosted a ribbon cutting to celebrate its grand opening at 1381 Fretz Drive.

Tee for the Soul offers trendy women’s apparel, jewelry and accessories. It also has designed a new and fun way to shop where ladies can strut their stuff on the catwalk and upload pictures and video from digital mirrors to social media.

For more information, call 844-7685 or visit www.TeeForTheSoul.com

Quail Creek Bank, n.a., Oklahoma City, is pleased to welcome Summer Blades as the newest member of their team of audit and compliance professionals. The announcement was made by bank president and CEO Doug Fuller.

Blades formerly worked at Quail Creek Bank for three years early in her career. After a family move to Florida, she was the auditor for a CPA firm and then became the internal audit supervisor with a bank in Jacksonville, Fla.

Later moving to Dallas, Blades became the senior internal auditor for North Dallas Bank & Trust Company.

Edmond City Council members unanimously endorsed a resolution Monday in opposition to State Question 779 in order to protect the city’s general fund. Supporters of SQ 779 defended the measure.

Registered voters in Oklahoma will be asked on the Nov. 8 statewide ballot whether to approve SQ 779. Approving the measure would create an additional 1 percent sales tax in the state to be deposited into the Oklahoma Education Improvement Fund.

Part of the funding would provide a $5,000 teacher pay raise across-the-board in Oklahoma.

It is up to the people of Oklahoma to determine how much of their tax dollars government should have, Pastor Paul Blair said at a recent gathering of the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Then it’s our responsibility to fund that proper role of government,” Blair said.

Blair and Adam Pugh will face off in the Aug. 23 Republican primary runoff election for Senate District 41 being vacated by Republican Clark Jolley of Edmond.

Blair’s response was after being asked if he would support changes to Oklahoma’s tax structure and if he would support providing tax incentives for the attraction and expansion of businesses in Oklahoma.

The City of Edmond began purchasing water from Oklahoma City Monday due to peak demand on the city’s water plant, said Casey Moore, spokesman for the City of Edmond.

“That’s something that is a possibility every year. When demand gets above what we can produce we begin purchasing from them,” Moore said.

Oklahoma City water has a little bit different make-up than that of Edmond, Moore said. Arcadia Lake and the Garber-Wellington aquifer are Edmond’s main sources of water.

“It’s not that we are low on water, it’s water we can actually produce,” Moore said.

The $30 million Hilton Garden Inn and Conference Center is getting its foundation in place, said Steve Commons, city manager.

The 158-room hotel will be located at 2833 Conference Drive on the northeast corner of Covell and Sooner. It will be a gateway to Edmond with visibility at the northwest corner of Interstate 35 and Covell.

Further economic development of the Interstate 35 corridor will be spurred by the six-story Hilton Garden Inn and Conference Center.

Myriad Insight announced that Marcina Simons has joined the company to further develop their executive coaching and strategic planning services. Marcina comes to Myriad Insight with a wealth of experience after a tenured career with global Human capital firm, Aon Hewitt, based in Chicago and London.

While at Aon, Simons consulted with business leaders on all HR issues in the west region, led and redesigned the sales and accounts operations team, and most recently, established a change management methodology and team for Global Shared Services.

Marcina is certified in LaMarsh Managed Change, Ken Blanchard’s Team Building and Team Working, Bill Bridge’s Personal Transitions and Katie Brazelton’s Life Purpose Coaching.

The first check to the City of Edmond for fiscal year 2016-17 exceeds the Edmond City Council’s budgeted growth of zero percent by $5,000, said Steve Commons, assistant city manager. July 1 was the first month of the fiscal year.

“We’re ahead of last year’s receipts at this time by 1.47 percent,” Commons told the Capital Projects and Financing Task Force Tuesday.

He said city staff does not anticipate tremendous growth. A lot will depend on building construction, Commons said.

“That is the area we are down,” he added.

Registered voters will decide who is the best candidate for House District 81 when they cast their ballots in the Nov. 8 statewide election.

The three Edmond candidates vying for the open House seat left vacant by outgoing Republican Randy Grau include Democrat Dan Myers, Libertarian Steve Long and Republican Mike Osburn.

Each candidate wants the best for Oklahoma. They each have differing views about the state’s funding of Medicaid and the proposed State Question 779 meant to improve the funding of education by a 1 percent sales tax.

Long does not support the sales tax on purchases. The revenue would be deposited into the Oklahoma Education Improvement Fund.

“Education needs to be addressed,” said Long, a support specialist for Petra Industries. “But I don’t think throwing more money at the problem is the solution. That’s been done in the past and it’s been shown to be ineffective.”

OKLAHOMA CITY — The state’s economy continues to contract, which likely means more budget woes at the Capitol, the state’s treasurer warned Wednesday.

“There’s nothing to show marked improvement or a recovery in the energy sector,” said Treasurer Ken Miller, of Edmond, during a briefing at the Capitol.

But he also noted “moderation” in numbers that may suggest the worst is over.

The state’s oil and gas economy long kept people at work, and Oklahoma for more than a decade boasted unemployment levels below the national average.

But, for the first time in 13 years, the number of unemployed Oklahomans has reached the national rate, which is now 4.7 percent, Miller reported.

Dena O’Leary, M.D., is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and fellowship trained in urogynecology. She earned her medical degree from the University of Texas Medical School in Houston and completed her internship and residency training at John Peter Smith Hospital in Ft. Worth.

O’Leary furthered her education with fellowship training in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City. Dr. O’Leary is a member of the International Urogynecologic Society, American Urogynecologic Association and International Continence Society.

Audrey Goodwin, M.D., is a board eligible internal medicine and pediatrics physician. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine and completed her residency there, where she was chief resident.

“Good medical care is rooted in a great medical home, which I hope to provide for my patients,” said Goodwin. “Giving my full attention at every visit, letting my patients discuss concerns and addressing their needs are my top priorities. I want my patients to know we’re both working together to achieve the same goals.”

Goodwin joins doctors Doug Haynes, Caroline Merritt, Brooke Nida, Amie Prough and Grand Wong at INTEGRIS Family Care Edmond Renaissance located at 1700 Renaissance. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 844-4300.

The Edmond Planning Commission this week approved the rezoning of property from general agricultural to a suburban office district on a five-acre tract north of Second Street and east of Saints Boulevard.

Life Church owns the undeveloped land to the south and the Oklahoma Christian School is south of the property.

The vote was 4-0 for the application made by Tapp Development.

OKLAHOMA CITY — Paul Harold Doughty, 67, of Edmond, the former president and chairman of First State Bank of Altus (FSB), was convicted July 1 on 10 charges of bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, misapplication of bank funds, making a false bank entry, and unauthorized issuance of a bank loan in connection with FSB and various loan schemes, announced Mark A. Yancey, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.

On April 14, 2016, Fred Don Anderson, 67, of Eagle Point, Ore., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring with Doughty to commit bank fraud. Anderson partnered with Doughty in several businesses headquartered in Altus. In July 2009, state banking regulators closed FSB due to the bank’s loan losses, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation was appointed as the bank’s receiver, Yancey stated.

Edmond Democrat Tom Guild won the majority of the City of Edmond’s 31 precincts for the Democratic nomination to the 5th Congressional District of Oklahoma race.

Registered voters in Edmond awarded Guild with 915 votes to the 793 votes cast for state Sen. Al McAffrey in the June 28 primary election.

The two will face each other in the Aug. 23 primary runoff election. The winner will compete against Republican incumbent Congressman Steve Russell of Choctaw in the Nov. 8 general election.

Adam Pugh said he might have to buy a new pair of walking shoes as he continues his door-to-door campaigning for the Senate District 41 primary runoff election Aug. 23.

Pugh, a former U.S. Air Force Captain, won the majority of Edmond votes cast in Tuesday’s primary election. Of the 24 Edmond precincts listed in Senate District 41, Pugh received 2,902 of ballots cast.

“I’m taking today off to spend some time with my family,” Pugh said Wednesday afternoon. “I will spend the next two months campaigning with the same vigor that I have the last seven months.”

President and Chief Executive Officer George Drew confirmed the announcement in May of Grace Meyer being named senior vice president at Kirkpatrick Bank.

Meyer has been with the bank for 16 years. Prior to joining Kirkpatrick Bank, her banking career included experience as a loan officer with BancFirst. In 2014, she assumed management responsibilities for the bank’s loan administration department. Meyer also served as corporate secretary since 2010.

“Grace is an invaluable asset to the bank and an exemplary role model in professionalism and customer service. Her attention to detail is unparalleled,” Drew lauded.

Meyer is actively involved in her church and volunteers frequently for cultural organizations, such as Edmond Fine Arts and Oklahoma Contemporary.

What some have called a strange year of national politics did not discourage Oklahomans from going to the ballot box for Tuesday’s statewide primary elections.

A closely watched race in Edmond has been for the State Senate District 41 open seat being vacated by state Sen. Clark Jolley due to term limits.

District 41 Republican candidates Adam Pugh and Paul Blair now head to a Aug. 23 primary runoff election.

After nine years as president and CEO of the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce, Ken Moore informed the Chamber’s board of directors of his plans to step aside.

“I still love coming to work every day, have a great staff to work with and a supportive leadership team,” said Moore. “I’ve been involved in leading chambers of commerce in five different states for 47 years, so I’ve decided to take a break from the day-to-day activities I’m used to.

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The three Republican candidates for Senate District 41 shared their thoughts on issues facing Oklahomans as they made their best case as to why Republican voters should choose them as their candidate when marking their ballots Tuesday.

Edmond residents Paul Blair, Adam Pugh and Jeff Tallent spoke before members of the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce Friday morning.

With education on the minds of Oklahomans, each of the candidates were asked if they support University of Oklahoma President David Boren’s proposal to add an additional 1 cent sales tax on purchases to support education.

State Question 779 would create a 1 percent sales tax in the state to be deposited into the Oklahoma Education Improvement Fund.

Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb said he is opposed to the penny sales tax for education promoted by University of Oklahoma President David Boren.

Lamb spoke to members of the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce at Oak Tree Country Club Thursday afternoon.

Registered voters in Oklahoma will be asked on the Nov. 8 statewide ballot whether to approve State Question 779. Approving the measure would create an additional 1 cent sales tax in the state to be deposited into the Oklahoma Education Improvement Fund.

A penny sales tax for education would hamstring Oklahoma communities, Lamb said. He mentioned that Elk City already has a competing sales tax with a Texas community for the lowest sales tax.

The Edmond Economic Development Authority (EEDA) will host 4o’clock 4cast, Thursday, Aug. 11 from 3:30-5 p.m. at the W. Roger Webb Forensic Science Institute, located on the northeast corner of East Second Street and Garland Godfrey on the University of Central Oklahoma campus.

Networking will begin at 3:30 p.m., followed by featured speaker Russell Evans, executive director of the Steven C. Agee Economic Research & Policy Institute. Evans will present “State & Local Economic Outlook,” providing insight into U.S. economic conditions, challenges to U.S. economic activity and economic geography.

This free event will also include drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Register by Friday, Aug. 5 at www.eeda.com/4o-clock-4cast

Ann Chen, senior marketing officer at The Citizens Bank of Edmond, completed the Oklahoma Bankers Association 2016 Intermediate School at the Harris Event Center in Oklahoma City. Chen was among 23 students who attended the two-session school in February and June.

The OBA Intermediate School, conducted annually, prepares junior to mid-level bank officers and future officers to serve effectively the needs of their banks and consumers. The school exposes students to a broad range of banking functions and issues including economics, marketing, lending, investments, trust services, compliance and legal issues, bank financial analysis, ethics, human resource management, communications, strategic planning, regulatory examinations and asset/liability management.

The OBA conducts more than 70 educational programs and seminars each year, which reach more than 5,000 bankers across the state. The Association represents approximately 220 banks across the state and serves as the primary advocate for the banking industry. It’s also heavily involved in fraud training and prevention as well as legal and compliance services and communications for its member banks.

Edmond’s Patrice Douglas has turned down the CEO job offer from the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust.

After originally accepting the job offer and the annual salary of $250,000, second thoughts led Douglas to a different decision.

“After much contemplation and consultation with my family and friends, I have decided the right decision for me and TSET is to allow them to continue their search for a new CEO.

“I appreciate the support of the TSET board and many people in the public and private sectors. The words of encouragement were deeply appreciated, especially when the matter of hiring a CEO at TSET was unfortunately politicized. I stood ready and willing to fulfill the responsibilities of the job, but unfortunately, the TSET board had been informed that others will not permit this to occur.

Adversity breeds innovation and creativity, said House District 39 candidate Michael Buoy of Edmond.

“I just believe that hard work is an important feature that any leader needs to have,” Buoy said at a candidates forum Monday that was sponsored by the Edmond Republican Women’s Club.

A pastor at Victory Church, Buoy was formerly with Life Church and has operated his own real estate and mortgage business.

“You need to be willing to get in there. That’s going to fix a lot of our issues and our broken budget,” Buoy said.

Fewer government regulations would infuse the entrepreneurial spirit with ideas, said Frank Volpe, a retired Navy Commander for 27 years and a candidate for Oklahoma’s 5th District of Congress.

“That’s what I will fight for. That’s how we will help ourselves out of this $19 trillion (debt) and counting that they voted for in December,” Volpe said.

Volpe and other Republicans had an opportunity to hear from their local candidates Monday evening at the Festival Market Place in downtown Edmond.

“We’ve got to break out the entrepreneur backpack,” he said.

“My area of expertise is national and nuclear strategic command and control,” said Volpe, a Harrah resident.

The Oklahoma Second Amendment Association, the largest and most active gun rights group in Oklahoma, has endorsed Paul Blair in his Republican Primary for state Senate. Paul Blair is a candidate for the vacant Senate District 41 seat.

“Paul Blair’s character is impeccable,” says OK2A President, Tim Gillespie. “I trust Paul Blair to be a voice people can trust and a champion of the Constitution. He has a proven record of understanding, defending and championing the Second Amendment.”

OK2A actively advocates for Oklahoma’s gun rights with multiple pro-Second Amendment bills during each legislative session. Gillespie says he is confident in telling gun owners they should elect Paul Blair as their newest and strongest ally at the state Capitol.

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Former Edmond mayor and corporation commissioner Patrice Douglas was named the new CEO of the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Tuesday afternoon. The salary for the newly created CEO position will be $250,000 a year.

In a statement, the chair of the TSET Board of Directors, Jim Gebhart, said, “Her experience in business, banking, community service and building partnerships across the state will be a valuable asset as we work together to build a brighter, healthier, more prosperous future for Oklahoma.”

The Edmond Planning Commission will meet at 5:30 p.m. Monday to discuss the updating of Edmond Plan IV, the Edmond Master Plan, Land Use Plan and Maps.

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma office of National Federation of Independent Business presented its coveted Guardian of Small Business Award to state Reps. Gary Banz and Randy McDaniel, of Edmond.

The Guardian of Small Business award is the most prestigious honor that NFIB bestows on legislators in recognition of their efforts to support small business issues. The NFIB Oklahoma Leadership Council, an advisory board comprised of NFIB members, voted to present the award to the legislators for supporting small-business issues in the Legislature.

Trying to predict the oil and gas commodity market is a lot like predicting the weather, Devon Energy analyst Chris Schinnerer told the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce Friday.

“Whatever I say today might not come true,” Schinnerer said.

The Oklahoma State University alum has headed the Devon Energy’s commodity market analysis group for six years and in that time he’s seen highs and lows.

In January 2014, oil was at $100 a barrel and exploration and production was booming.

“Everybody in the world thought oil would be at $100 forever,” he said.

The market for West Texas Intermediate crude oil hovered around $100, reaching a high of $105.54 in June 2014 and then going into a sharp dive over the next six months, dropping to just below $50 in March 2015.

INTEGRIS Health Edmond and INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center have received the 2016 Women’s Choice Award as two of America’s Best Hospitals for Emergency Care. This designation is the only Emergency Care award that identifies the country’s best health care institutions based on robust criteria that considers female patient satisfaction, clinical excellence, and what women state that they want from a hospital.

The list of 360 award winners represents hospitals that provide exceptional patient care and treatment, signifying their commitment to meeting the highest standards in emergency care for women, their families and their community.

The Edmond City Council is hosting a special meeting at 11 a.m. Monday, June 20 at 20. S. Littler to discuss the FY 2016-17 budget.

Topics covered include general funds, special revenue funds, debt service funds, capital project funds, Public Works Authority utility funds and other enterprise funds.

Education leaders across the state have been telling the state Legislature this session that schools wanted more money directed through the funding formula so schools will have more discretion and flexibility. So the state Legislature did just that.

“The Legislature put $33 million previously line item for textbooks into the state-aid funding formula so schools can make spending decisions at the local level based on their own unique needs,” said Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview.

Appropriations Chairman Clark Jolley and Speaker of the House Hickman say they are puzzled as to why Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister in her news release regarding school textbook funding complained that budget appropriations do not earmark money for textbooks.

The Edmond Planning Commission voted 0-5 this week against a rezoning item from general agricultural to commercial planned unit development. This area is located on 3.21 acres. It also voted unanimously against rezoning property from general agricultural to multifamily residential PUD on 26.98 acres.

The proposal made by Danforth Crossing Happy Land, LLC, would include 252 apartments and 70 single-family lots, generally located south of Danforth Road and east Interstate 35, north of Arbor Creek Summit.

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Work to construct the new northwest water tower is slated to begin Friday. The project is expected to be complete in September 2017.

The new facility will be located just west of the railroad tracks on the northwest corner of Coffee Creek Road and Broadway. No road closures are anticipated with this project, but motorists and residents in the area should expect typical construction traffic for the duration of the project.

As recommended in the Edmond Water & Wastewater Master Plan, the northwest water tower will have a capacity of two million gallons. Edmond’s current water towers each have a capacity of 500,000 gallons.

“The northwest water tower will be a significant improvement for the northwest area of Edmond’s water system and help balance the water pressure during our peak usage times,” said Edmond Water Resources Superintendent Kris Neifing. “When complete, the new tower will better our water system as a whole.”

Landmark Structures is the contractor for the project with a total cost of $5,893,000.

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A bright and clear morning Thursday in Edmond ushered in the long anticipated groundbreaking of the nearly $30 million Hilton Garden Inn and Conference Center.

The 158-room hotel will be located at 2833 Conference Drive on the northeast corner of Covell and Sooner. It will be a gateway to Edmond with visibility at the northwest corner of Interstate 35 and Covell.

Mayor Charles Lamb said the six-story Hilton Garden Inn and Conference Center will spur further economic development of the Interstate 35 corridor.

Price Lang Consulting is pleased to announce veteran public relations professional Shelly Hickman and former journalist Sloane Wellner have joined the firm’s communications team.

Price Lang provides tailored communications and public relations services for a diverse client base that includes small businesses, a global corporation, local nonprofits and government affairs organizations.

Edmond teachers have agreed to work one day less during the 2016-17 fiscal year starting July 1 to help the district with a $3.6-million shortfall. Lower oil and gas prices have added to declining state monies causing a $1.3-billion state budget shortfall. The ripple effect has caused budget cuts across the board throughout the state including education.

When presented choices of layoffs and increased class sizes, members of the Edmond Association of Classroom Teachers (EACT) voted to shorten the 2016-17 school year by one contract day.

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All of the state’s treasury growth since the last recession has been erased as $20.8 million in gross oil and gas tax collections are the lowest since 1999, State Treasurer Ken Miller said Friday.

The 16-month trend of gross production revenue being less than the same period last year continued in April. Oil and natural gas receipts in April are based on February’s production activity. Miller said average oil prices have improved slightly during the past two months.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Annette Houchin worries that it’s hard enough for low-income families around Terre Haute, Indiana, to come up with the $2,000 necessary to get into a home built by Habitat for Humanity.

But a provision in the Dodd-Frank Act financial reforms means low-income people will have to come up with even more, said Houchin, executive director of the group’s Wabash Valley chapter.

Pastor Paul Blair, 53, of Edmond, will face two other Republican hopefuls in his bid for Senate District 41.

The district will be an open seat this year with the departure of state Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, due to term limits. Voters may recall that Blair was a 2012 Republican candidate for Senate District 41 but lost that election to Jolley.

“Our state is facing many challenges today,” Blair said. “Being born and raised in Edmond, I have seen our community and state pull together before in times of crisis with common-sense conservative solutions. I am confident that with the right kind of principled leadership, we can do the same today.”

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Republican State Rep. Randy Grau, of Edmond, announced Friday morning he will not submit his name as a candidate for a fourth term in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

The time for candidates to file for state and federal offices was set to close at 5 p.m. Friday at the Oklahoma State Election Board at the state Capitol.

At 2 p.m. Friday, three other candidates had filed this week for House District 81.

“Serving my hometown is one of the greatest honors of my life,” Grau said. “I have the deepest respect for the people I represent. They are my friends and neighbors, and I feel blessed just to know them.”

Two incidents of fraudulent charges on credit cards were reported to Edmond Police Wednesday.

“The similarity of the victims is that they have both used the (Circle K) gas stations at 15th and I-35,” Edmond Police Department spokeswoman Jenny Wagnon said Wednesday. “So our detective who is in charge of that type of crime called out there to the gas station to have them look and they said they were in the middle of actually switching out their pumps this morning.”

In the past year the Edmond Police Department has located credit card skimmers at Circle K at Edmond Road and Santa Fe, Circle K at 15th and Broadway, Circle K at 33rd and Boulevard and a Shell station located at Danforth and Bryant. The Shell gas station does not exist anymore, said Jenny Wagnon, Edmond Police Department spokeswoman.

Two incidents of fraudulent charges were reported to Edmond Police Wednesday.

“The similarity of the victims is that they have both used the (Circle K) gas stations at 15th and I-35,” Wagon said Wednesday. “So our detective who is in charge of that type of crime called out there to the gas station to have them look and they said they were in the middle of actually switching out their pumps this morning.”

OKLAHOMA CITY — Paycom Software, Inc., (NYSE:PAYC), a leading provider of comprehensive, cloud-based human capital management software, will host its annual UCO Night from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday at its corporate headquarters located at 7501 Memorial Road in northwest Oklahoma City.

Junior and senior-level students at The University of Central Oklahoma will be selected to join Paycom executives and recruiters who will be on site to offer interview tips, help students strengthen their resumes and teach the importance of self-branding for those entering the job market.

WASHINGTON, DC — Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), of Edmond, and Congressman Steve Russell (OK-5) introduced the Senate and House versions of the Free Market Flights Act Wednesday, a bill to terminate the Essential Air Service (EAS) program. The EAS was established in the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 with the intention of being a 10-year program to assist small communities in the transition to a free-market airline system. EAS spending has grown 600 percent — in inflation adjusted dollars — in the last 20 years even while half of all seats on EAS flights remain empty.

Instead of phasing down as originally intended, the program continues to grow. For 2016 alone, it received an appropriation from Congress of $175 million in addition to more than $100 million in flyover fees. This adds up to at least $275 million or more that will go toward paying down the national debt under the Free Market Flights Act.

OKLAHOMA CITY — A measure that would allow citizens to vote to modernize the state’s laws on the sale of beer and wine passed out of the House Rules Committee this week.

Senate Joint Resolution 68, by state Rep. Glen Mulready and state Senators Stephanie Bice (R-Edmond) and Clark Jolley (R-Edmond), would place a question on the November ballot to allow voters to remove the Alcohol Beverage Laws Enforcement (ABLE) Commission from the state Constitution. The commission would be replaced by a regulatory body created by statute.

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City of Edmond voters gave their nod of approval to extend two city sales taxes for 10 years each Tuesday night. Both the penny sales tax and the half-cent sales tax were set to expire in 2017.

Supporters of the sales tax initiative gathered at a watch party Tuesday night at the University of Central Oklahoma Jazz Lab to watch the election results.

With all 31 Edmond precincts reporting, Proposition No. 1 passed overwhelmingly with 80.12 percent of the vote. There were 4,894 yes votes to 1,214 no votes with 19.88 percent of votes cast against the proposition, according to the Oklahoma County Election Board.

McALESTER — U.S. Sen. James Lankford, of Edmond, made a stop in McAlester Wednesday afternoon to discuss politics and answer questions from members of the community.

The senator provided a brief update on issues he is working on and then spent nearly an hour answering specific questions from those in attendance at the informal session held at The Meeting Place. Affordable care, upcoming elections, U.S. Supreme Court nominations and more issues were discussed.

Lankford made it clear he opposed President Barack Obama nominating a U.S. Supreme Court justice during his final year in office.

Patti Verhille and Jeremy Johnson have joined Arledge and Associates, the Edmond accounting firm announced.

Verhille serves as the firm’s senior tax manager and Johnson joins the firm’s audit staff. Verhille is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Valuation Analyst. Her background includes service as tax director, tax manager and assistant controller in the energy and insurance sectors. A graduate of Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Verhille is a member of the Tax Executives Institute.