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Around The County

Staff Writer
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

VOTER REGISTRATION

Deadline is this Friday for June 30 elections

Friday, June 5, 2020, is the last day to apply for voter registration in order to be eligible to vote in 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, Osage County Election Board Secretary Kelly Chouteau said.

Chouteau said that persons who are United States citizens, residents of Oklahoma, and at least 18 years old may apply to become registered voters.

Persons who have never been registered to vote before or who are not currently registered in the county of their residence and persons who are registered but who need to change their registration information may apply by filling out and mailing an Oklahoma Voter Registration Application form in time for it to be postmarked no later than midnight Friday, June 5, 2020.

Chouteau explained that applications postmarked after that time will still be accepted and processed; however, the applications will not be approved until after June 30, 2020.

The County Election Board responds in writing to every person who submits an application for voter registration. The response is either a voter identification card listing the new voter’s precinct number and polling place location or a letter that explains the reason or reasons the application for voter registration was not approved. Chouteau said that any person who has submitted a voter registration application and who has not received a response within 30 days should contact the County Election Board office at (918) 287-3036 or email OsageCounty@elections.ok.gov.

Oklahoma Voter Registration Application forms are available at the County Election Board office located at 630 Kihekah Ave, Pawhuska, and at most post offices, tag agencies, and public libraries in the county. Chouteau said that applications also are available at our website www.osage.okcounties.org or the state website www.elections.ok.gov, and voters can check their registration status at www.ok.gov/elections/Voter_Info/Online_Voter_Tool/.

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.

ABSENTEE BALLOTS

Voters are urged to apply early

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.

BRIDGE REPLACEMENTS

The project was to begin June 1

A $16 million project to replace the State Highway 99 bridges over the Caney River and Pond Creek in Osage County was scheduled to begin Monday, June 1.

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.