OCCA RANCH TOUR


Event will be Saturday, June 20


The annual Ranch Tour offered by the Osage County Cattlemen’s Association is one of the Cattlemen’s Week events scheduled to be held this year, even with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The tour will begin at the Osage County Fairgrounds and is scheduled to last from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. It will conclude with a barbecue lunch.


ABSENTEE BALLOTS


Voters are urged to apply now


Voters in Osage County who want to have absentee ballots mailed to them for the June 30, 2020, city of Pawhuska Municipal General, Bartlesville I30 Board of Education General, Woodland I90 Board of Education General, and county, state and federal primary elections should apply now, County Election Board Secretary Kelly Chouteau said. Although the County Election Board can accept applications for absentee ballots until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, Chouteau urged voters who want to vote by absentee ballot to apply early.


Absentee ballot application forms are available at the County Election Board office located at 630 Kihekah Ave., Pawhuska, Oklahoma. An online version of the form can be filled out and submitted electronically at: www.elections.ok.gov. A print form can also be downloaded at that address.


Voters who have requested an absentee ballot can track their ballot at http://www.ok.gov/elections/Voter_Info/Online_Voter_Tool/.


Ballots must be in the hands of County Election Board officials by 7 p.m. on Election Day to be counted.


Chouteau said any registered voter may vote by absentee ballot in any election in which he/she is eligible to vote. It is not necessary to give a reason for voting absentee.


“While anyone can vote absentee without giving a reason, the law still provides several excuses, and it is to the advantage of some voters to use one of them,” Chouteau said.


For more election-related information, call the Osage County Election Board at (918) 287-3036, e-mail at OsageCounty@elections.ok.gov or visit www.elections.ok.gov or www.osage.okcounties.org.


CATTLEMEN’S WEEK PARTY CANCELED


The annual “Uncorked” gathering had been set for June 18


The Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce last Friday announced it had canceled the annual “Uncorked” welcome party that it uses to greet visitors to town for Cattlemen’s Week. The party had been scheduled for the evening of Thursday, June 18, at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile Event Center.


The committee that organizes the celebration said it is looking at rescheduling, and will provide information as it becomes available.


EXTENDED UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS


Benefits available through OESC


OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahomans eligible for 13 weeks of extended unemployment benefits may now file online at https://ui.ok.gov.


The federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program is designed for individuals who have exhausted regular benefits. Eligible claimants will receive an additional 13 weeks of relief for the period of March 29, 2020, through the week ending December 26, 2020.


“The online application process is up and running,” said Secretary for Digital Transformation David Ostrowe. “Individuals should login to their ui.ok.gov account and follow the instructions to apply for PEUC relief.”


Claimants whose benefit year has ended since July 1, 2019, will be required to file a new regular unemployment claim before a PEUC claim can be submitted. If eligibility for regular unemployment relief is approved, the claimant will receive regular unemployment as opposed to PEUC. Individuals ineligible for regular unemployment benefits will be allowed to file a PEUC claim, against the previous monetarily eligible claim.


“It’s important that individuals first file for regular unemployment benefits,” Ostrowe said. “The system is designed to determine eligibility in stages. Just as with PUA, PEUC applicants must have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits in order to file for extended benefits.”


To qualify for PEUC, claimants must:


—Have a benefit year ending after July 1, 2019;


—Have exhausted their regular unemployment benefit allowance;


—File the PEUC application.


For claimants who exhausted their regular benefit allowance after the week ending March 28, 2020, the PEUC claim will be effective the Sunday following the week in which their claim was exhausted.


For individuals who exhausted benefits prior to the week ending March 28, 2020, the effective date of the PEUC claim will be March 29, 2020.


“PEUC claimants will also receive the FPUC payment of an additional $600 per week through the week ending July 25, 2020,” Ostrowe said. “These payments may be backdated to March 29, 2020, depending on when an individual’s regular unemployment benefits were exhausted.”


More information about PEUC and program eligibility is available at https://oesc.ok.gov. Scroll down to the “Your Questions Answered” section on the main page.


PAWHUSKA PUBLIC LIBRARY


Library has reopened for patron visits


The Pawhuska Public Library is now open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Library visitors are limited to 10 at a time in the general library area, and another 10 in the meeting room, Library Director Yvonne Rose said.


The library is asking that patrons remain at least six feet apart, for social distancing purposes. Patrons are welcome to wear masks but it is not required, Rose said. The library is requesting that patrons limit their computer use to an hour at a time per person, and is also asking that patrons use the computers primarily to conduct personal business rather than for entertainment.


Planning for summer library programming is ongoing, Rose said. If you have questions about library services, call the library at 918-287-3989 and talk with a member of the staff.


OKLAHOMA BLOOD INSTITUTE


OBI collecting COVID-19 convalescent plasma


OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) is collecting convalescent plasma from donors who have recovered from COVID-19, as part of an experimental initiative to use the product to treat seriously ill patients.


By creating the only statewide registry of available patients, Oklahoma Blood Institute can ensure local patients receive the donated products and have the best possible chance at fighting the illness.


“We’re excited to play our part in ensuring Oklahomans have access to all treatment options, including convalescent plasma,” said John Armitage, MD, president and CEO of Oklahoma Blood Institute.


Donors are encouraged to sign up for Oklahoma’s registry at: my.bio-linked.org. Bio-Linked allows users to submit confidential health and social information via a secure site and to list themselves as potential volunteers for medical research. Once qualified, plasma will be drawn, with each donor providing up to three therapeutic plasma doses.


“The Oklahoma State Medical Association is proud to have partnered with the Oklahoma Blood Institute to initiate this proactive program for our COVID-19 patients who may suffer from severe disease in the future,” said Larry A. Bookman, M.D., president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association.


To provide convalescent plasma, donors must be eligible to donate blood and meet the criteria below:


—Prior diagnosis of COVID-19, documented by a positive laboratory test;


—Present negative results for COVID-19, either from nasal swabs or a molecular (RNA or nucleic acid) diagnostic blood test;


—Symptom-free for 14 days prior to donation;


—If female, either no history of pregnancy or negative for HLA (tissue typing) antibodies.


BRIDGE REPLACEMENTS


The project is to last until fall of 2021


A $16 million project to replace the State Highway 99 bridges over the Caney River and Pond Creek in Osage County got underway last week.


The SH-99/Caney River bridge is located two miles south of the Oklahoma/Kansas state line, and the SH-99/Pond Creek bridge is four miles south of the state line. Both were built in 1935 and are considered structurally deficient. The new structures will be wider to better accommodate traffic.


During the project, traffic will be reduced to one lane with temporary signals in place. Drivers should plan ahead for delays in this corridor.


The overall project is expected to complete in fall 2021, weather permitting.