Yang discusses education with Hofmeister

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister held her final student advisory council meeting for the year last week, talking to students like Bartlesville High School junior Stone Yang about his perspectives on public education.

The group was formed by Hofmeister to provide a forum for student voices and concerns, and Yang was nominated by Bartlesville Public School District Superintendent Chuck McCauley.

“I was ecstatic when I found out I would be representing Bartlesville Public Schools. I was extremely excited to serve and represent the school district that I am so proud to be a part of,” said Yang.

Around 70 Oklahoma high school students were named to the 2019 student advisory council, and the first meeting was held back in January. The students hailed from across Oklahoma and represented rural, urban and suburban schools of all sizes.

“I experienced thorough and transparent conversation with Superintendent Hofmeister and the staff of the department of education,” said Yang. “They also took interest by conversing with me and my peers about the issues that we brought up.”

Students participated in small-group discussions and provided feedback on topics ranging from chronic absenteeism to how to better prepare students to be competitive nationally, said Yang.

“Another topic we discussed extensively was the implementation of the ICAP (Individual Career Academic Plan) program in schools throughout the state,” said Yang, who plans to study engineering in college.

ICAP refers to both a process that helps students engage in academic and career development activities and a product that is created and maintained for students’ academic, career and personal advancement.

Wellness survey available

How’s your health?

That’s what the Washington County Wellness Initiative would like to know as it makes plans to improve the overall wellness and access to health care in the area.

It’s administering a community assessment survey and hopes to have more than 2,000 adults in Washington County participate by May 1.

Paper surveys may be completed by respondents and deposited at the Anchor House (822 S. Johnstone Ave.), the Bartlesville Public Library (600 S. Johnstone Ave.) or the Delaware Child Development Center (5110 Tuxedo Blvd.). Online links and downloadable copies are available at wcwiok.org/Community-Assessment.

Everyone’s voice matters when trying to improve the health and wellness of Washington County, said Penny Pricer, who’s a member of the organization’s leadership team.

“We would like people 18 or older who work in, go to school in, live in, shop in, or frequently visit friends and family in Washington County to participate,” said Pricer.

“More than one survey is allowed per household. … We want to receive surveys from college students who live here for school but then go home, commuting workers and people who come to Washington County to shop our stores.”

The survey includes questions about heath insurance and health care, personal health and community health issues, community safety, substance use including tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and prescription medications, barriers to obtaining health care and issues facing parents of young children.

There are also questions about suicide, interpersonal violence, transportation, housing and respondent demographics.

The survey is secure and HIPAA compliant, said Pricer. It takes about 10-20 minutes to complete and the responses remain anonymous.

After the survey information is gathered, WCWI will aggregate and analyze the data collected and produce a detailed report for interested community members to view later this year.

Arraignment scheduled in embezzlement case

District Judge Linda S. Thomas ruled Friday the embezzlement case against former Nowata County Sheriff Kenny Freeman can proceed. Formal arraignment is scheduled for 9 a.m. March 17.

Freeman’s attorney Michon Hastings Hughes had filed a motion to quash Associate District Judge Carl G. Gibson’s Feb. 4 decision that there was sufficient evidence to bind the case over for trial. In her motion, Hughes said the evidence presented in the case at the Feb. 4. preliminary hearing didn’t prove the crime of embezzlement occurred.

Freeman, 43, is charged with a felony count of embezzlement of more than $1,000. He was arrested in October following an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the misuse of school supplies donated to public schools in Nowata County by Walmart. According to the complaint, some of the school supplies were distributed at a Nowata County Sheriff Office booth during the annual free fair.

Hughes’ motion said preliminary hearing testimony showed the school supplies were “damaged” goods that didn’t have any value to Walmart. The motion also said there wasn’t any evidence presented to suggest Freeman was present at the fair when the school supplies were distributed.

In the district attorney’s office response to the defense’s motion, prosecutors said there isn’t any record that the supplies donated by Walmart were damaged. The designation is part of the process Walmart uses to remove it from inventory.

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