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As part of ongoing work in the area, contractors will close Sooner Road beginning Monday. This full road closure is expected to last approximately three weeks with cooperative weather.

The area of Sooner Road to be closed is immediately north of Covell Road. During this time, traffic will be able to access the Sooner/Covell intersection from the south, west and east. All other motorists will need to find an alternate route to their destination.

The contractor will be installing a concrete drainage box and additional drainage pipes below the road.  Additionally, the grade of the road will be raised several feet during the closure.

The full project is being administered and inspected by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) with Allen Contracting Inc. selected as the contractor. The total cost is $12,499,405.26 with ODOT providing 47 percent of the funding ($5,905,800.00) and the City of Edmond providing 53 percent of the funding ($6,593,605.26).

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Edmond’s Joe Nicholson and his wife Pat are grateful for the care he received at ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Oklahoma City. They also made many friendships during his journey to becoming cancer-free.

“It’s just the greatest place I have been,” said Joe, 79.

Joe and his urologist watched as his prostate-specific antigen (PSA ) increased following a prostate examination three years ago. A biopsy revealed he was in the first stage prostate cancer, meaning it had not spread beyond the gland.

Joe educated himself about all the treatment options available and decided on proton therapy after consulting with two friends who had it.

The southbound lanes of Interstate 35 at Seward were shut down Friday morning due to an overturned semi leaking fuel, according to Charity Shipley of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

OHP was contacted about the traffic hazard at 8:58 a.m.

Traffic was backed up all the way to the second Guthrie exit as a result. Drivers faced a nearly two-hour delay driving from Guthrie to Edmond.

Traffic was still being directed off at Seward Road. at 2:30 p.m. OHP re-opened the southbound lanes at 3:17 p.m. after the lanes were closed for six hours and 30 minutes.

At 9 a.m. Saturday the traffic signal located on Boulevard just north of Fifth Street will be removed. The work is expected to be completed prior to the noon hour.

Work will remove the traffic signal equipment as well as the pavement markings. The outside lane in each direction will be closed while the signal mast arms are removed, but the inside lanes will remain open.

Traffic will be diverted from one lane to another while pavement markings are being removed. Traffic will still be able to flow through the area but motorists can expect delays and will need to be aware of workers on or around the roadway.

Drivers can expect lane shifts and the following closures at the intersection of Broadway and 33rd St. in Edmond:

• Eastbound 33rd Street is narrowed to one lane from the railroad to Broadway through Monday. Drivers may still turn right or left at the intersection.

• The right lane of westbound 33rd Street will be intermittently closed just east of Broadway through 7 p.m. Friday for driveway work.

Drivers should expect delays and are strongly encouraged to plan for extra time or to use an alternate route. This reconstruction and widening project continues through summer 2016. More information: http://www.ok.gov/odot/33rd_Broadway.html

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 $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.

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As Edmond’s newest middle school opens its doors Aug. 19, it will mark the opening of the sixth middle school in the district.

Heartland Middle School, located at 4900 Explorer Drive off Pennsylvania between Danforth and Covell, is adjacent to Frontier Elementary.

From the first pencil stroke to this moment, seeing a school rise from an idea on a piece of paper to the steel girders rising in the air, Edmond Public Schools Chief Operations Officer Christina Hoehn said this is what she has been waiting on to happen.

A lightning strike is believed to be the cause of a house fire early Friday morning in Edmond, officials said.

“The fire started about the same time the storms were coming into the area this morning,” said Edmond Deputy Fire Chief Chris Denton.

Lightning filled the skies and rain pummeled the streets a little after 7 a.m. as the storm rolled through Edmond.

Firefighters from Deer Creek, Edmond and Oakcliff fire departments responded to the fire. 

“The fire was in the Deer Creek response district jurisdiction, and they asked for mutual aid assistance,” Denton said. “We sent one crew of four men and a ladder truck over. We have a great working relationship with Deer Creek.

“We also have automatic assistance if something happens and it is on jurisdictional lines. Automatic assistance helps get aid faster.”

According to a spokesperson for the fire department, crews responded to the fire at a home in the 21900 block of Water Oak Circle near Coffee Creek Road and North May Avenue.

The roof was engulfed in flames when fire trucks arrived. Firefighters were able to contain the flames although the house is a total loss, officials said. No injuries were reported.

WASHINGTON, DC — The State Department is reopening an internal investigation of possible mishandling of classified information by Hillary Clinton and top aides.

Spokesman John Kirby says the emails probe is restarting now that the Justice Department isn’t pursuing a criminal prosecution. The State Department suspended its review in April to avoid interfering with the FBI’s inquiry.

Kirby set no deadline for the investigation’s completion. Clinton was secretary of state until early 2013. Most of her top advisers left shortly thereafter.

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Students will be paying more to receive an education at Oklahoma colleges and universities. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education approved increases in mandatory tuition and fees for students working toward degrees.

In a unanimous vote Thursday, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education voted to increase the costs for undergraduate students attending school at one of Oklahoma’s 25 public colleges and universities by an average of 8.4 percent statewide.

Tuition and fee increases for undergraduate students range from 3.7 percent at Langston University to about 13 percent at Rose State College.

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.”

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A former Edmond resident is back in town and has opened a gallery in downtown Edmond.

Reian Williams is the owner and featured artist of the new Hue Fine Arts Gallery at 1 N. Broadway.

Discovering his love for art at the age of seven after a sketching of a leopard garnered him the praise of his immediate family, Williams has been pursuing his craft for more than 30 years.

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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.

The Oklahoma City Thunder will host an open audition for the 2016-17 Thunder Girls dance team on Saturday, July 30, at the INTEGRIS Blue Development Center in Edmond, 14701 N. Lincoln Blvd. Auditions will begin at 10 a.m. and are open to participants only.

To prepare for the audition, nine optional prep classes are offered in June and July. Each two-hour prep class includes a warmup, across-the-floor technique, choreography, audition tips and question-and-answer sessions with Thunder Girls Manager Paige Carter. Prep classes are $15 each and will take place at the INTEGRIS Blue Development Center. Registration will begin 30 minutes prior to each class.

Pre-registration for the preliminary audition July 30 costs $30 and is now open on okcthunder.com/auditions. Walk-in registration on the day of the audition starts at 9 a.m. and costs $40. Participants must be 18 or older to audition.

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.

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Three Edmond teens plus Miss Edmond LibertyFest’s Outstanding Teen finished in the top five at Miss Oklahoma’s Outstanding Teen competition in Tulsa.

Nicole Jia, Miss Bethany’s Outstanding Teen, was crowned Miss Oklahoma’s Outstanding Teen 2016; Miss Tulsa’s Outstanding Teen Addison Price, Edmond North High School, finished 1st runner-up; Miss Frontier Country’s Outstanding Teen Megan Gold, Oklahoma Christian School, finished 2nd runner-up; and Miss Edmond LibertyFest’s Oustanding Teen Jordan Flippo finished 4th runner-up in the field of 39 statewide contestants.

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.”

Santa Fe Presbyterian Church celebrated its 20th anniversary March 17. On March 17, 1996, the church at 1603 N. Santa Fe Ave. was officially chartered as a congregation with 150 members.

On May 22 during Trinity Sunday/Heritage Sunday, 28 charter members of the original 150 were honored by the congregation.

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U.S. Congressman Steve Russell has had a number of hearings, queries and private briefings regarding U.S. cyber security breaches that have occurred in recent years.

Russell, along with Congressman Ted Lieu, D-Calif., had called into question why the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) should manage military records to confront cyber security.

“Why not put it back under Department of Defense where it would be secured?”

The Obama administration decided to have a new agency handle cyber security after the Department of Defense was breached in 2014.

“One positive step that they’ve taken is they have turned to have the Department of Defense take over the record keeping, but what they’ve not provided them is the authority,” Russell said. “So they’ve given them the responsibility, but they don’t give them the authority that’s coupled with it.”

Edmond Police have identified Brandon Lee Eason, 26, as one of four suspects in the Memorial Day robbery of Whataburger, located at 401 S. Broadway.

Four men with guns robbed the Whataburger at 4:30 a.m., leaving one 64-year-old male employee injured. The employee was taken to OU Medical Center Edmond for treatment and recovery.

Eason was arrested while dogs were searching for the other three robbers who escaped with $2,123, according to police.

Swimming runs in Steve Riggs’ family. His 106-year-old grandmother lived in Ponca City with his parents and started swimming early in her life. She decided to quit swimming when she turned 99.

“She said it messed up her hair,” Riggs said laughing.

If for no other reason, living past 100 seems a good enough reason to keep swimming, he said.

As a student Riggs swam at both the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.

The son of slain Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello was ordered Wednesday to have a competency test.

In February Special Judge Lisa Hammond ordered Christian Erin Costello to trial for the stabbing death of his father. Costello, 27, is charged with first-degree murder.

Christian’s family has stated that Christian struggles with a mental health disease. In November, his defense team described Christian as “very remorseful” of his father’s death.

State Senate District 41 candidate Kevin McDonald said he does not support the state legislature’s vote to eliminate the Earned Income Tax Credit.

McDonald, 41, said the credit is vital for working families in District 41 to make ends meet.

“I know these families; they live here in Edmond. My wife and I teach their children everyday in class. I know that when money is tight at home, they come to school less able to learn,” he said. “Their parents are forced to make unconscionable decisions between buying groceries, paying the electric bill, and visiting the doctor. We do our best to support those families in every way we can as teachers, but there is only so much we can do.

The founder of the Protect Life and Marriage Initiative, Pastor Paul Blair, had urged Gov. Mary Fallin to pass Senate Bill 1552, an anti-abortion bill that the governor vetoed Friday.

Fallin vetoed what her office called an unconstitutional antiabortion bill. Fallin cited the measure was vague and would not withstand a criminal constitutional legal challenge.

Senate Bill 1552 would have made it a felony for physicians to perform abortions. It also contained a provision to revoke their medical licenses unless the abortion was necessary to save the life of the mother.

OKLAHOMA CITY — Citing concerns about vague wording and about a potential legal battle over its constitutionality, Gov. Mary Fallin on Friday vetoed a measure that would have locked up doctors who perform abortions.

“The bill is so ambiguous and so vague that doctors cannot be certain what medical circumstances would be considered ‘necessary to preserve the life of the mother,’” Fallin said in a statement announcing a rare veto on an anti-abortion issue. The measure would have made it a felony for doctors to perform abortions and challenged a 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling which first legalized the practice.

A former Edmond comptroller received a sentence of 18 months in prison Friday for embezzlement and signing a false tax return, according to Mark A. Yancey, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.

LeAnn Marie Goode had served as an accountant/comptroller at Market Source, Inc. in Oklahoma City in 2012-13. Court documents show she pled guilty in 2015 to using interstate wire communications to defraud Market Source.

Transgender students’ access to bathrooms is at the front of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) agenda, but at this time states are divided on their stances.

The Obama administration sent a joint letter from the Departments of Education and Justice to schools with guidelines to ensure that “transgender students enjoy a supportive and nondiscriminatory school environment.”

Northbound SH-74 (Portland Avenue) traffic shifted to the recently-paved northbound lanes between Memorial Road and Northwest 164th St. Monday afternoon.

Northbound traffic will remain at one lane at this time as the contractor finishes the four-lane divided highway as part of an ongoing widening and reconstruction project. Northbound traffic will have access to the on- and off-ramps at Memorial Road and Northwest 150th Street. The intersection of SH-74 and Northwest 164th Street will remain a 4-way stop for the next three weeks as work on the traffic signal continues.

Edmond Police suspect a group known as the Felony Lane Gang is back at work in Edmond.

An auto burglary occurred Thursday at Goddard Preschool located at 6001 E. Covell Road near Covell Road and Air Depot. This activity fits the activity pattern of the Felony Lane Gang, said Jenny Wagnon, Edmond Police spokeswoman.

“We’ve made three arrests on them,” Wagnon said of a previous event in March when Edmond Police arrested three suspect members of the Felony Lane Gang, Wagnon said.

The gang members are responsible for multiple operations from Florida to the Oklahoma City metro, according to law enforcement.

Edmond Police have filed embezzlement charges against former City Utility employee Tessa Seales, 45, of Edmond, according to an affidavit involving Edmond Police Det. Jason Kushmaul.

“There wasn’t an arrest made. There will be I assume once a warrant is issued or she'll turn herself into the OK County DA’s office,” said Jenny Wagnon, Edmond Police spokeswoman.

Kushmaul reported that on March 2, he was contacted by City of Edmond Finance Director Ross VanderHamm, concerning possible Embezzlement by a City of Edmond Customer utility employee.

Congressman Steve Russell has been focusing his energy on supporting the POSTURE Act, a bill he supports in the House of Representatives that would prevent the budget from depleting the U.S. military to levels experienced before World War II.

Russell was in Edmond Friday engaged in a town hall at the Tealridge Retirement Community.

“Some of you will remember in this room before the 1940 National Defense Act that we had, our military was not ready for much,” Russell said.

Russell pointed out that President Barack Obama this year wanted to cut an additional 40,000 members of the military. So Russell joined the bill’s author Congressman Chris Gibson, R-N.Y., as a co-sponsor of the bill.

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Oklahoma’s most expensive interstate project to date is about to begin another phase of development with the reconstruction of Interstate 44 and the Broadway Extension, said Terri Angier, ODOT chief of the media and public relations.

The project’s cost is nearly $88 million when adding in another resurfacing contract with incentives that ODOT approved a few months ago. This third phase of reconstruction is farther south of the interchange.

The project was awarded to Allen Contracting Inc. of Oklahoma City. It is set to begin with resurfacing during the end of May or early June, Angier said.

“We want to get the highway ready for three years of pounding and construction and minimize potholes while we’re in the middle of a construction phase,” Angier said.

The Logan County Sheriff’s Office has placed two people in custody following a homicide, said Det. Greg Valencia of the Sheriff’s office. A third person is being detained for an unrelated arrest warrant.

An unidentified hispanic male related to the incident is still being sought by law enforcement officials, he added. The OSBI is assisting in the investigation.

Deputies responded to a stabbing call at 3:27 a.m. Monday. When they arrived at 8980 Ridgecrest Drive they found the victim, Adam Shane Harrison, 28, dead in the backyard of the residence from apparent stab wounds, Valencia reported.

Harrison’s girlfriend, Kylee Christine Arnold, 23, told deputies that the tenant of the residence, 28-year-old Richard Dean Bake Jr., had allowed them to stay at Bake’s home for a few days, according to the Sheriff’s report.

Only minor damage was reported in the City of Edmond Tuesday evening as a line of severe thunderstorms with small twisters spread across central Oklahoma.

The nearest tornado was spotted on the ground in northeast Oklahoma City south of Arcadia Lake and near Luther. No lives were lost in the state.

City of Edmond spokesman Casey Moore said the city experienced a power outage Tuesday night that lasted about two hours. Most of the 2,900 power outages occurred from 10-11:30 p.m., Moore said.

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Though Edmond’s Catherine Lisle tracked down North Liberty, Iowa’s Danielle Hodge in the final stride to win the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon Sunday, Hodge, 28, actually wasn’t the one on the front end.

“She (Hodge) passed me at mile 20,” Lisle said. “She looked so smooth and strong and I thought she was gone. I thought for sure she was going to just sail on in.”

But Lisle, 31, the mother of a pair of daughters ages 2 and 1, got a glimmer of hope seeing media tracking Hodge and Lisle knew she was closing on in.

“When I saw her again, I saw the media trucks; it gave me a little bit of hope,” she said. “I felt like I could force my body into another level of pain. I wanted to see what I could do.”

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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100.1 Edmond/88.5 Oklahoma City The House FM was recognized by the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters (OAB) as a Community Service Award recipient. This is the 14th year in a row that the radio networks have been a recipient of the award.

The House FM is the only noncommercial network to receive the award this year. Jamie Olivas, promotions director at the radio stations said, “It’s an honor to be employed at a ministry that consists of helping the community and sharing the love of Christ in every way we can.”

A 43-year-old Oklahoma City man traveling with a 2-year-old female baby both died from wounds suffered in a fatality collision at 1:05 p.m. Sunday. They were on Interstate 35 southbound, just one-tenth of a mile north of Covell Road, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Conditions were rainy, but the cause of the collision remains under investigation, OHP noted.

David Stephen Blair II, 35, of Midwest City, was injured and transported by EMSA to OU Medical. Blair was admitted in critical condition with head, trunk, internal and external injuries, according to OHP. Blair was driving a 1999 Ford Expedition.

The second passenger in the Ford Expedition was transported to OU Medical Center in critical condition with head, trunk, internal and external injuries.

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Later this afternoon staff and student volunteers will post 168 Oklahoma flags and 168 U.S. flags on the front lawn of the Oklahoma Christian University campus at 2501 E. Memorial Road. 

The “Ralph and Maxine Harvey Field of Flags” at Oklahoma Christian is a dual tribute to the victims of the Murrah Federal Building bombing on April 19, 1995, and the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Oklahoma Christian University performs this tribute twice per year: for the spring anniversary of the Murrah bombing and for the fall anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

OC is the only site in the world outside of New York City to have survivor trees from the Murrah Building and the World Trade Center side by side. These trees are located in the center of Oklahoma Christian’s campus between the Gaylord University Center and the Mabee Learning Center.

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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.”

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A large outpour of candidates running for state and federal government posts is expected this week at the Oklahoma State Election Board at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

Every House of Representatives seat and roughly half of state Senate seats are up for grabs, according to the election board.

U.S. Sen. James Lankford, R-Edmond, filed to run for a full term in the United States Senate on Friday.

“I want to continue my mission to bring common sense and practical solutions at this critical time in our nation,” Lankford said. “There are no easy answers to the issues we face, but we must confront the reality of our debt, our overregulation and the stagnant economy that hurts every Oklahoma family.”

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.

The Senate Appropriations Committee took steps this week to reform criminal justice for nonviolent offenders in Oklahoma.

State Sen. Greg Treat, R-Edmond, said his criminal justice reform bills would ensure public safety while saving taxpayer dollars.

“We’re first in the nation in the incarceration of women and one of the top states for the incarceration of men — but prison is an expensive route for nonviolent offenders, who can easily become hardened criminals after serving time with inmates in prison for violent crimes,” Treat said.

The original Edmond Public Schools 2015-16 approved revenue budget was $139,690,922. With updated revenue projections including variances from dedicated revenues and federal grants for a net increase of $1,353,272, the district should see an updated revenue projection at the end of June 2016 to total $141,044,194, said Edmond Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Lori Smith.

Smith added the original budget expenditures estimate for 2015-16 was $139,440,892. Projecting a net decrease of $213,937, the updated expenditure projection for 2015-16 is $139,226,955.

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.

This Week's Circulars

Obituaries

Charles Frederick "Freddie" Marks, Sr., died Oct. 12, 2019. Born Aug. 29, 1929, and raised in Edmond, Okla., he was the middle child of five and the third of four boys born to Mary Alice McCaulley Marks and Luther W. Marks II. Freddie's early life as part of a third-generation family active …

Dana Leon Stilwell, age 71, of Bella Vista, Ark., died Oct. 10, 2019. He was born Jan. 25, 1948, in Oklahoma City, Okla. Dana proudly served in the Navy. He is survived by his wife, Robin Stilwell. Arrangements by Bella Vista Funeral Home & Crematory. For condolences and full obit see ww…