This Week in Sand Springs (8/21 - 8/27/17)


  • 4:00 p.m. Sand Springs Planning Commission meeting.
  • 6:00 p.m. Sand Springs Board of Adjustment meeting CANCELED.


  • First day of class for Sand Springs Public Schools.
  • 5:00 p.m. Lady Sandite Softball vs. Putnam City North (H).
    • Sandite Softball Complex
      405 West 55th Street.
  • 6:00 p.m. Lady Sandite Volleyball vs Jenks (A).
    • Frank Herald Fieldhouse
      311 East B Street
      Jenks, OK 74037


  • 5:00 p.m. Lady Sandite Softball vs. Sapulpa (H).
    • Sandite Softball Complex
      405 West 55th Street.
  • 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Open House and Meet the Teachers.
    • Central Ninth Grade Center
      14 West 4th Street
  • 6:00 p.m. Sandite Football scrimmage vs Claremore (H).
    • Memorial Stadium
      500 North Adams Road.
  • 6:00 p.m. Sand Springs Community Theater Fall Audition Prep Workshop.
    • Kids from 3rd through 8th Grade are invited to a two-hour course on auditioning for school plays, community theaters, etc. For more information visit this link.
    • First Christian Church
      501 North Main Street.


  • 9:00 a.m. Lady Sandite Volleyball at Broken Arrow Tournament.
    • Oneta Ridge Middle School
      6800 East Quincy Place
      Broken Arrow, OK 74014
  • 12:30 p.m. Lady Sandite Softball at Stillwater Festival.
    • Couch Park
      800 East 12th Avenue
      Stillwater, OK 74074
  • 6:00 p.m. - 6:00 a.m. Sacrifice: A Women's Prayer Gathering


  • 10:00 a.m. Free Rodeo Clown Clinic
    • Case Community Park - Round Up Club Rodeo Arena
      2500 South River City Park Road
  • 10:00 a.m. Lady Sandite Volleyball at Broken Arrow Tournament.
    • Oneta Ridge Middle School
      6800 East Quincy Place
      Broken Arrow, OK 74014
  • 5:00 p.m. Sand Springs Ducks Unlimited Diner
  • 5:00 p.m. Dylan Whitney Band live at Blues Challenge 2017 
    • Sand Springs graduate Dylan Whitney will be performing at the annual fundraiser for the Blues Society of Tulsa non-profit organization. The winning act will earn a trip to the International Blues Competition. Kids 12 and under are free. Concert begins at 6:00 p.m., Whitney is expected to take the stage at 8:00 p.m.
    • Cain's Ballroom
      423 North Main Street
      Tulsa, OK 74103
  • 8:00 p.m. Hannah Isabella Rose live at the Coffee House on Cherry Street.
    • Sand Springs's own Hannah Rose will be performing a free acoustic session.
    • 1502 East 15th Street
      Tulsa, OK 74120


  • 2:00 p.m. Sand Springs Round Up Club Play Day
    • Case Community Park
      2500 South River City Park Road

Add your event to our weekly newsletter. Email

  • Free for nonprofit/free/charitable events.
  • $5 fee for for-profit events.

Murder at Case Community Center! 11th Annual Sertoma Murder Mystery Dinner

Left to right: Brian Patten, Jenny Burke, Justin Tockey, Cliff Salas.

Left to right: Brian Patten, Jenny Burke, Justin Tockey, Cliff Salas.

More than 200 Sand Springs residents came together Saturday evening at the Case Community Center to eat dinner, bid on silent auction items, and help solve a murder. The murder was fictitious, the food was delicious, and the event raised thousands of dollars for the Sand Springs Sertoma Club and Quota International Club.

Sertoma stands for "Service To Mankind" and is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping individuals with hearing disabilities. The club sponsors community events such as the annual July 3rd fireworks show at Case Community Park (formerly River City Park). Quota International is a women's organization helping those with hearing and speech impairments. 

At the Eleventh Annual Murder Mystery Dinner, attendees were fed by Klein's Catering Service out of Perry, Oklahoma. Nearly a hundred items were donated to the auction, ranging from cookbooks to alcohol, candy baskets, jewelry, and more. The theme was "I Loathe A Parade" and participants competed in an American-themed costume contest.

The participants worked together with their table to solve the murder of Joe Possumz, mayor of the fictitious city of Elmtown. Possumz was a polarizing politician who died under mysterious circumstances during the town's Independence Day Parade.

Each table was given a newspaper article and each participant was given a clue. The suspects made their way around the room taking questions at each table over the course of the evening. At the conclusion of the interrogations, each table filled out a paper with their suspect, method, and motive.

Suspects included Rhonda Ripley (Jenny Burke), owner of Horsebalm Stables, who stood to lose half of her ranch to imminent domain if the Mayor's proposed new four-lane road was approved. 

Rockwell Kenmore (Justin Tockey), AKA Rocky the Clown, planned to run against the mayor in the upcoming election. Rocky leveled allegations of corruption against Possumz, and was excited that the City would be able to move forward under new leadership. He blasted the mayor in the face with a super soaker not long before his death.

Mona Minski (Patty Dixon) is an ex-girlfriend of the mayor's and is head of the Elmtown Marching Mommas. She admitted to spraying the mayor with itching powder that was concealed in one of her pompoms. 

Albert Ames (Cliff Salas), owner of Ames Chimney Sweeping and Fireplace Service, was regularly coated in chimney soot containing toxic materials. He was good friends with Vern Fullerton, who also handled his dry cleaning. 

Dottie Pinewood (Debbie Nobles), the mayor's assistant, was the daughter of a former mayor and may have been offended by Possumz's claims that he was the best mayor in town history. She gave Possumz a hot dog shortly before his death, and endorsed Kenmore during questioning. She claimed that Possumz was underhanded and hoped that Kenmore would win. 

Vern Fullerton (Brian Patten), part time weatherman for a local tv station, was Grand Marshall in the parade, and predicted that the mayor would "get the soaking of a lifetime" during the forecast the day before. He accused the mayor of bullying him in high school and had a fondness for Ripley.

The story and scripts were written by Jack Pachuta of

Also starring in the production were Ryan and Sue Price as Detectives Blew and Spangle, respectively. 

Patty Dixon as Mona Minski.

Debbie Nobles as Dottie Pinewood.

Debbie Nobles as Dottie Pinewood.

Meet The Sandites Thursday at 7:00, pregame tailgating at 5:30

The Charles Page High School football season is soon to kick off, and with it comes the local traditions of Meet the Sandites and pregame tailgaiting. 

Every year the season kicks off with Meet the Sandites, a preseason celebration of Sand Springs athletes. Sandite fans will be introduced to the Sand Springs football, softball, cross country, and volleyball teams, plus the cheer and dance squads. Not just the varsity teams either. The Sand Springs Youth Football and Cheer teams from elementary on up will get to storm the turf with the big kids in a preview of their future high school careers.

Prior to each football game, the award-winning Holy Smokers from Church That Matters host a tailgate cookout event with hot dogs, burgers, chips, and drinks as a fundraiser for the various Sandite athletic programs. The fundraisers routinely generate as much as $10,000 every season. 

The first fundraiser will be held on Thursday, August 17, prior to Meet the Sandites. Proceeds will go to benefit the football program. 

On Friday, September 1 the Sandites will host Pulaski Academy from Little Rock, Arkansas. That tailgate will help fund the volleyball program.

On Friday, September 8, the Sandites will host Choctaw and the tailgate funds will go to the cheer team.

On Friday, October 13, the Sandites will host Muskogee for Homecoming. The wrestling team will receive that tailgate's proceeds. 

On Friday, October 27, the Sandites will host Bartlesville and the boys' basketball team will be the fundraiser recipient.

The last tailgate will be on Senior Night before the Bixby game. The dance team will receive those funds.

The tailgating begins at 5:30 p.m. and costs $5. Meet the Sandites will officially begin at 7:00 p.m. Student athletes are asked to arrive early and begin lining up at 6:35. 

21st Annual Sand Springs Education Foundation Golf Classic set for Sept. 18

The Sand Springs Education Foundation is looking for team sponsors, hole sponsors, and participants for the upcoming 21st Annual SSEF Golf Classic. The fundraiser will be held on September 18th at the Tulsa Country Club.

The SSEF is a non-profit 501c3 organization formed in 1989 with the goal of collecting and distributing contributions from the private sector for the benefit of the Sand Springs Public School district. 

For more information, contact the SSEF at 918-245-6779 or email 

ODOT warns drivers not to be distracted by solar eclipse next Monday

As Oklahomans prepare for the upcoming total solar eclipse on August 21, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation urges drivers to plan ahead for viewing this phenomenon.

When the eclipse begins in Oklahoma during the late morning hours on Monday, the moon may not be the only thing causing a big block during that time. Traffic could be a challenge so drivers are encouraged to get to their viewing spots early and try to avoid being on the road during the eclipse.

ODOT offers the following safety tips to keep our highways and interstates safe:

  • Don’t park or stand along highways or bridges. Exit and find a safe parking lot or other location instead to view the eclipse.
  • Be alert to traffic around you as other drivers may not be giving their full attention during this time.
  • Turn on your headlights as needed.
  • Don’t take photos while driving.
  • Don’t wear special viewing glasses while driving.

Again, parked vehicles or pedestrians along highways and interstates will create hazards to the traveling public, so exit the highway and find a safe location. Also, drivers going through work zones during the eclipse are urged to use caution as areas may be narrowed and full attention needs to be given to the roadway.

Drivers should be alert to heavier than normal traffic in the days leading up to and immediately after the event, as eclipse chasers will be heading to Kansas, Missouri and other states in the path of the total eclipse.

To check on travel information for surrounding states, visit:

Kansas                   866-511-5368
Missouri                 888-275-6636

Church That Matters cancels Sunday service, serves Sand Springs instead

When Church That Matters (CTM) first began meeting in 2010, they set a goal to be a church that matters to God and to the community. A church that doesn't just take up space, but that makes a definite impact on the world in tangible way. 

One of the ways that CTM works to better the community is "Don't Go To Church Sunday." This past weekend, Church That Matters volunteers didn't go to church, but decided to be the church instead. 

CTM was one of nine churches in the Sand Springs Ministerial Alliance that hosted a Back-to-School Bash at the Tulsa Technology Center campus in Sand Springs. They teamed up with Olivet Baptist Church, Harvest Church, Broadway Baptist Church, HillSpring Church, St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Sand Springs Church of the Nazarene, Sand Springs United Methodist Church, and Word of Life to provide inflatables, haircuts, dental checkups, flu shots, school supplies, and more. CTM volunteers assisting in the setup, organization, and running of the event.

Many CTM members served at the home of a disabled citizen and client of Sand Springs Community Services. The volunteers replaced and repaired windows and doors, installed porch steps, performed lawn care and landscaping, and removed felled limbs from the client's home.

At Sand Springs Lake Park, the church scraped off the old sun-damaged paint on the pedestrian bridge over the dam and gave the structure a fresh paint job.

At DaySpring Villa, a shelter for victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking, the church cleaned the facility, sorted clothing, and hosted worship services for both the adult and child residents. 

CTM picked up the tab for patrons of Prattville Laundry and Bubble Town Car Wash, providing free laundry services and car washes for anyone who stopped by. Volunteers handed out quarters, detergent, and fabric softener, and helped drivers scrub their cars clean. They also offered prayer for the needs of the individuals. 

Volunteers also assisted Berryhill Baptist Church with a door-to-door survey in the West Tulsa suburb. 

Church That Matters is pastored by Rusty Gunn and meets at 3 West 41st Street on the south side of Sand Springs. The church has three Sunday services at 8:30, 10:00, and 11:30 a.m. The last service is specially geared towards individuals with special needs and families with special needs children. 

Gov. Fallin calls for special legislative session to adjust State appropriations

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today said the Legislature must return in special session to deal with the $215 million shortfall caused by a proposed smoking cessation fee being struck down.

“No money can be spent from any state fund unless the Legislature specifically appropriates it,” said Fallin. "Let's be clear. The director of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) does not have the authority to transfer monies to the affected agencies from different sources without legislation directing him to do so.”

Article 5, Section 55 of the Oklahoma Constitution states that no money shall be paid out of the state treasury, except through an appropriation by law. 

Fallin said state law (Title 62, Section 34.55) allows the director of OMES to borrow money from treasury funds to satisfy monthly allocations of appropriations made from the General Revenue Fund, but the appropriation has to be made by the Legislature.

The three agencies that received the bulk of the money from the proposed cessation fee are the Department of Human Services (DHS), the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (DMHSAS), and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA).

DMHSAS would have received $75 million (about 23 percent of its total appropriation), OHCA would have received $70 million (about 7 percent of its total appropriation), and DHS would have received $69 million (about 10 percent of its total appropriation).

Without legislative intervention, DMHSAS said it would run out of state appropriations in November. OHCA said it would run out of state funds in January and DHS said it would out of state funds in May.

The funding shortfall is the result of the Oklahoma Supreme Court last week striking down a smoking cessation fee approved this past legislative session.

Fallin said she and her staff have been discussing options with legislative leaders of both parties.

“A special session is the best option,” the governor said. “Failure to meet in special session would mean $215 million would be cut mostly from these three state agencies. These agencies and the people they serve cannot sustain the kind of cuts that will occur if we do not find a solution.”

This Week in Sand Springs (8/14 - 8/20/17)


  • 9:30 a.m. Tulsa County Board of County Commissioners meeting
  • 6:00 p.m. Lady Sandite Volleyball vs. Union (A)
    • Union Intermediate High School
      7616 South Garnett Road
      Broken Arrow, OK 74012


  • 1:30 p.m. Tulsa County Board of Adjustment meeting
  • 5:00 p.m. Lady Sandite Softball vs. Ponca City (A).
    • Ponca City High School
      927 North 5th Street
      Ponca City, OK 74601
  • 6:00 p.m. Sand Springs Cultural and Historical Museum Trust Authority meeting


  • 4:00 p.m. Sand Springs Development Authority meeting - CANCELED 


  • 8:30 a.m. Tulsa County Public Facilities Authority meeting
    • ExpoSERVE Culinary Training Center
      3902 East 15th Street
      Tulsa, Oklahoma 74112
  • 10:00 a.m. 2003 Sales Tax Overview Committee (Vision 2025) meeting
  • 5:30 p.m. Meet the Sandites
    • Church That Matters Tailgate Party benefiting Quarterback Club begins at 5;30. Meet the Sandites program begins at 7:00.
    • Memorial Stadium
      500 North Adams Road


  • Times TBA: Lady Sandites at Rogers State University High School Softball Festival
    • Diamond Sports Complex
      2901 West Blue Starr Drive
      Claremore, OK 74017
  • 8:30 a.m. Hillspring Church Kids Outdoor Zone Lake Day and Water Baptisms
    • 8801 West 41st Street South
  • 9:00 a.m. Lady Sandites at Union Varsity Volleyball Tournament
    • UMAC
      6836 South Mingo Road
      Tulsa, OK 74133
  • 11:30 a.m. Sand Springs Rotary Club Classroom Teacher Supplies Collection Drive
  • 5:00 p.m. Sandite Football at Jenks Trojan Preview
    • 205 East B Street
      Jenks, OK 74037


  • Times TBA: Lady Sandites at Rogers State University High School Softball Festival
    • Diamond Sports Complex
      2901 West Blue Starr Drive
      Claremore, OK 74017
  • 8:30 a.m. Hillspring Church Kids Outdoor Zone Lake Day and Water Baptisms
    • 8801 West 41st Street South
  • 10:00 a.m. Lady Sandites at Union Varsity Volleyball Tournament
    • UMAC
      6836 South Mingo Road
      Tulsa, OK 74133
  • 5:00 p.m. Sand Springs Sertoma Club Murder Mystery Diner
    • Case Community Center
      1050 West Wekiwa Road
    • $35 per ticket, advanced purchases only. Deadline to order tickets is August 14.


Add your event to our weekly newsletter. Email

  • Free for nonprofit/free/charitable events.
  • $5 fee for for-profit events.

State sales tax exemptions surpass $6 billion annually in Oklahoma

State Sen. Roger Thompson is calling his just-concluded study on Oklahoma’s tax code a success. The second of two meetings, featuring in-depth presentations on state taxes, exemptions, credits and spending, concluded Wednesday with eighteen members of the Senate attending the final hearing. Thompson, chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance, organized the hearings.

“You can’t reform what you don’t understand—that’s why these meetings were so important,” said Thompson, R-Okemah. “It’s an extremely complex issue, but ultimately it affects every single person in Oklahoma. These hearings were comprehensive, and included research gathered over the past two decades. We didn’t need to reinvent the wheel—but now it’s time to get that wheel rolling.”

Thompson noted that Oklahoma’s current sales tax exemptions are in excess of $6 billion a year. Various tax credits cost the state more than $250 million. But he said the amount of credits claimed, though not taken represent a potential liability of several hundred million dollars more.

Thompson said the next step will be an interim study on reforming Oklahoma’s tax code.

“We must be able to provide adequate resources for our most fundamental services, but instead of raising taxes, we need to broaden the tax base—doing that will provide the resources we need and we could even lower the overall tax rate,” Thompson said.

As part of his work on several national committees examining taxes and revenue, Thompson said a major issue for states like Oklahoma is the failure to adapt to significant economic shifts and other changes over the decades.

“In the early 1950’s, 67 percent of goods sold were taxed.  Today it’s just 32 percent—less than half. Yet here in Oklahoma, our population has grown by half a million people,” Thompson said.  “Modernizing our tax code and broadening the tax base will enable us to stabilize our budget and better fund our schools, health and mental health, public safety, and better address other critical needs.”

Senate candidates discuss education and budget concerns at community forum

Left to right: R.Jay McAtee, Phil Nollan, Brian O'Hara.

Five of the seven Republican candidates for Senate District 37 spoke at a community forum event hosted by the Sand Springs Chamber of Commerce Monday afternoon. Held at the Tulsa Technology Center campus in Sand Springs, the event offered each candidates a five minute platform, followed by a question and answer session.

The recurring trend of the conversation was heavily education and State budget focused. 

"What I'm hearing is, we need to get our schools better funding," said Rick Hardesty, 56. "We need to get more money into our education system. To me that makes sense as a small business owner in needing to have a viable workforce and things like that...The reason I started running, the main reason, was I sat and watched...and they have practically closed every school over there and it kind of got me angry."

Nicole Nixon, 31, added "three of my community schools were consolidated." She blamed Tulsa Public Schools for the closures, alleging failure to properly utilize their funding.

For Sand Springs Municipal Judge R. Jay McAtee, 60, the primary issue was the State budget. "The legislature needs to take the budget and make it their number one item on day one, February 8-9, 2018 and they need to not attend to any other business until that budget is addressed...We can't pay our teachers until we figure out how to do the budget."

Nicole Nixon (left), Rick Hardesty (right).

Two Sand Springs City Councilmen are in the race, though one declined the invitation to speak. Ward 6 Councilman Brian Jackson, 34, who previously ran in the regular election last November, issued a statement.

"My campaign for Senate District 37 is a silent protest against the blatant disregard of the people’s voice through the elected official, who quit one year into his term. Too much time and too much money-to the amount of a half million dollars-have been wasted when we went through this political process a year ago. We are tired of the political nonsense we are bombarded with during elections. When will enough be enough? I will not raise one more dime, post one more sign, or campaign on any platform. Those that want to donate to my campaign, I ask you to find a local public school teacher and give that money to his/her classroom for supplies, as public education is still my number one priority. The choice of Senator for District 37 should be left to the people on voting day, not political games and influence.”

Ward One Councilman Phil Nollan, 59, spoke of his personal qualifications, his ties to Sand Springs, and his experience of working behind the scenes with his wife, House Representative Jadine Nollan. Jadine Nollan is in her seventh year at the Legislature, and previously served on the Sand Springs Board of Education for eleven years. 

"I'm a nationally-certified project manager. I think during my process of my early years I learned how to manage projects and programs, I learned how to lead teams...learned how to deliver things as promised - on time and under budget...My recent employment with EMC, I had to work with Fortune 100 customers...What I found in working with those companies is, they had big demands like I know this job has. Like I know the job that my wife has to do. Meeting those demands is not going to be easy, but you've got to keep your word. You've got to keep your promises, and you have to do the best you can do to make it happen."

Following their speeches, the candidates each responded to three questions from the audience. The first question regarded school vouchers, which allow parents to receive a tax refund to send their students to private schools. 

Hardesty declined to answer the question, citing a lack of knowledge on the subject.

Nixon expressed support for school vouchers in an ideal world, but said that our society and government isn't to the point yet that they would work. "We need to make sure that no children slip through cracks, ever. We need to find a good system."

Brian O'Hara, 56, touched heavily on vouchers during his opening remarks, and referred back to his earlier comments. "We're struggling, the schools are struggling...You make a choice if you want home school or private school and I respect that choice. I encourage that choice if that's what's best for your student...But that doesn't mean that tax payer money has to follow that student."

Nollan pointed out that proponents of vouchers often cite "school choice" as a major concern. "We already have school choice now...When we raised our kids in Sand Springs Public Schools, we could transfer our kids to a different school if we wanted to. We could ask for certain teachers for our kids to go through. If we didn't feel like public school was doing its job, we could home school our kids...You can send your kids to private school. If you don't live in the district, you can move into the district. In a sense, we really do have school choice now...Sending funding with the kid through a voucher system is not the solution."

"Lawyer answer, no," joked McAtee. "We need to fund our teachers, we need to fund our classrooms, we need to make it where we don't have to go out as a church, buy the supplies for all the teachers. We need to concentrate the money where it needs to be."

SEE RELATED: Word of Life church paints, cleans up Limestone Elementary

The second question asked "Will you increase the tax on oil and gas?"

"Yes, absolutely," said McAtee. "I don't want to put the tax burden on the citizens of Oklahoma until we have looked at every other alternative."

"It's an incentive tax, what's in place now," said Nollan. "The national average is 9.5%, in Oklahoma we average 3.2%. In Texas it's 8.3%. The research says that we probably need to take another look."

"Millions of dollars goes into drilling a well, which they may not get a dime out of if that well is dry," said O'Hara. "I've talked to a couple of companies, not the big guys, the guys that are just starting up. Their concern is that they can go elsewhere and drill...My position is, I don't support a gross production tax at this point. Only because the information I've received indicates that there would be a loss of wells if that were the case."

Nixon stated she would have liked to have seen the percentage increased to 4.5% during the last session, and that her biggest focus would be on getting Oklahoma away from a dependence on oil revenue. 

"It's really not raising a tax, it's taking away a tax incentive," said Hardesty. "The oil companies are well diversified. When they say 'if you take away our tax incentive we're going to cut back on drilling' that's a load of bull. That's how they make their money, they're not going to cut back. I have people in my family that own oil companies, and I have a lot of people in my family that work for oil companies. But that doesn't mean I want to sit and give the oil companies special treatment."

The final question asked for solutions to the ongoing budgetary problems.

"Take away the tax incentives that aren't working," said Hardesty. He also discussed consolidating State agencies and commissions. 

"Definitely want to look at incentives. I think that's a great start," agreed Nixon. "I think audits, very necessary. Anybody who's getting our tax dollars should be held accountable."

"I've told you where I think we need to start, and that means at the very beginning," said O'Hara. "The first month and a half, two months, if it takes the whole session we should be working on the budget. We don't need to throw bum legislation out."

"We need to do more on capping our incentives. Maybe some of the incentives stay, but we need to cap them," said Nollan. 

"We need to make Oklahoma a 21st-century state," concluded McAtee. "We have agencies that were created 150 years ago still in existence."

Grady Grant, 62, is also running for the Republican nomination, but did not participate in the event. Democrat Allison Ikley-Freeman, 26, filed unopposed and will take on the winner of the Republican nomination in November.

The Republican primary will be held September 12th. The voter-registration deadline is August 18, and the deadline to request an absentee ballot is September 6th.

Click on the candidates' images below to read their full statements.

Rick Hardesty.

Rick Hardesty.

R.Jay McAtee.

R.Jay McAtee.

Nicole Nixon.

Nicole Nixon.

Phil Nollan.

Phil Nollan.

Brian O'Hara.

Brian O'Hara.

Senate District 37 candidate Brian O'Hara speaks at community forum

Brian O'Hara, a Republican candidate for Senate District 37, spoke at the Sand Springs Chamber of Commerce candidate forum at Tulsa Technology Center Monday morning in Sand Springs.

The following is a transcript of his opening remarks. Candidates were given a five-minute time limit, followed by a question and answer session.

"It's fantastic to be here, and what's even more fantastic is the fact that my wife and I have been married 34 years (points to McAtee and Nollan), 36 years, 35 years. That says a lot about the candidates that you have running for this office. 

There are certain people that when they run for office, they're a part of your community. I have been incredibly blessed to have been a part of your community. That's why I decided to run. Like Phil and others, I've had the opportunity to hear what you guys have to say. Not only on the doorstep, not just for the last two or three months, but for the last five years.

Working for Congressman Bridenstine, I've had to hear your concerns. I've had to listen. It's a privilege to know what you guys are talking about. Yes, education clearly is the first and foremost thing on most of your minds.

I want to set your minds at ease right now. I know people ask me, and they often ask me because they know where the congressman stands, 'where do you stand on education?' Well let me explain to you. I have five children, all five of them went to public school. My last just graduated from Jenks. I've had six exchange students come into my home. All six of them went to public school.

I was a PTA president. My wife has been a part of the PTA as well. My mother taught, my brothers teach - one has passed away - so I have a real desire to work on education. My youngest son's going to go to UCO and what he wants to do is be a teacher. Again, I have a vested interest because I don't want him coming home.

I say all this to say this. Congressman Bridenstine, and some of you may know this, does support vouchers. I met with a very conservative group, and I knew where they stood on vouchers. And they asked me point blank, where do you stand on vouchers? I said I don't support them, and I explained why.

One, the money. Two; when you allow City government, State government, Federal government to come into your classrooms, whether it be home schooling or private school, then you have the ability to have those entities tell you how to educate your children. And most of you are sending your children to private school or home schooling because you don't want that.

The budget is the second thing I hear on the doorstep, and you hear often. I've been saying this for two and a half years. The budget needs to be our priority. I owned a business, I owned a couple of Subways before I came to work for the congressman. It is ludicrous for us to consider the last two weeks of the session what we're supposed to do in the beginning of the session.

As a businessman, if I wanted to say my subway sandwiches, this is what I need to sell, at the end of the month rather than the beginning of the month, I would have gone broke. So I understand how important that is.

I was a City Councilman in Jenks. Look, Elizabeth (Grey) will tell you, we need to find a way to help fund them. The safety districts is something I will support. And what that does is give you the opportunity to decide what you want your money to go to.

Going back to education, one of the things I'd like to start seeing us do on education is to allow you, the individual voters, the people in the school districts to decide. We have an antiquated system that's thirty years old on how we fund schools. We need to look at that. We need to give off-the-top dollars, your dollars. Only about 78% of the money you use, you pay in taxes, actually goes to your school district. We have to change that. We have to allow you guys to decide where you want your money to go. So I would advocate that we change the funding to allow you guys to have your schools in better shape.

There are a lot of other things going on. Those are just three areas where I think I can be of benefit to you. But the main thing is, Phil said it, is relationships. I've built relationships over the past five years. With each and every one of you. I've come to your events. I've come to Chillin' and Grillin'. I've come to Boo On Broadway and I've had the opportunity to meet you individually, so I know who you are. I know where you stand on the issues. Now also note, that unless we build relationships what we do at the Capitol won't matter. 

So I'm asking for your support. The Republic primary is September twelfth. I would love for your vote. My cards are out there, my personal cell phone is on them. Any questions you have, I'll answer. And sometime's it's not going to be the answer you want, but it'll be an honest answer, it'll be a truthful answer, and I appreciate your support."

Senate District 37 candidate Phil Nollan speaks at community forum

Phil Nollan, a Republican candidate for Senate District 37, spoke at the Sand Springs Chamber of Commerce candidate forum at Tulsa Technology Center Monday morning in Sand Springs.

The following is a transcript of his opening remarks. Candidates were given a five-minute time limit, followed by a question and answer session.

"I'm used to being the guy in the background, doing the research. I know a lot of you out here in the audience already, and you know our background as a family. Maybe you don't know that I grew up in Tulsa and went to Tulsa Public Schools. I graduated and went to Oklahoma State University where I met my lovely, and through some miracle - I'm not sure how - I managed to talk her into marrying me, and we've been married thirty-six years ourselves. 

What was neat about that is, she brought me back to Sand Springs at a home football game when John Blake was still playing football. When Barry Switzer was recruiting him I saw him in a big fur coat down on the sidelines. But what was neat about that was the home town feel that we had here in Sand Springs, in the stadium. When Jadine walked around, she knew everybody. That's something I didn't get in Tulsa. I said, 'Jadine, when we get married I want to move back to Sand Springs and I want to raise our kids here.' That's what we've done. 

We have three kids, two grandkids, and we're blessed to have our two grandkids living close to us. I love being a papa, it means more to me than anything else.

Now a bit more about me and my career. I got a computer science degree at OSU when computer science was not the cool thing to get. I went to work for the oil and gas industry. I've been in the industry about thirty-five years as an information technology professional.

I'm a nationally-certified project manager. I think during my process of my early years I learned how to manage projects and programs, I learned how to lead teams, learned how to work on big IT budgets, learned how to deliver things as promised - on time and under budget. 

My recent employment with EMC, I had to work with Fortune 100 customers like Chesapeake, Devon, Williams, Conoco, Phillips 66, OU, OSU, and a lot of companies here in Oklahoma. What I found in working with those companies is, they had big demands like I know this job has. Like I know the job that my wife has to do. Meeting those demands is not going to be easy, but you've got to keep your word. You've got to keep your promises, and you have to do the best you can do to make it happen.

You've got to develop relationships with people in the organization. You've got to develop relationships with the people up in the House, and in the Senate. You have to develop relationships in the business community and in the school community. I think that's maybe an advantage that I have a little bit at least in the Sand Springs and West Tulsa and Berryhill area, because I've knocked on a lot of the doors that Jadine's knocked on. I've heard the concerns of the people at the door.

The number one polling issue is education and education funding. That is the number-one polling. What's number two? The State budget. How do we fix the State budget. Then public safety and health follow that.

Those are the big issues, and they're glaring everybody in the face. Everybody has answers to them. There's a lot of opinions on both sides of the aisle. There's even opinions within the caucus itself, and that kind of fragmented everybody to try to come up with a solution this past year which we didn't come up with too many good solutions this past year.

My wife and I, we've served all our lives in the community. We enjoy serving. We're at a stage in life now where our kids are grown up. This is something that I could do full time. I could be your State Senator full time.

I have a personal passion for education. My wife was on the school board for eleven years. I worked closely with her behind the scenes doing research and working with the schools. Heck, I was on the committee that helped build the stadium that we have now after fifty-seven years of the rock stadium that we had before. What a great project that was for Sand Springs. Our new stadium that we have and the track out there and our fine arts center. Those are some of the things that we've done.

We've got a lot of good things happening in Sand Springs in our community business-wise with the Vision 2025 corridor, our parks, our quality of life projects have really stepped up. We've had a lot of new things.

I want to take that excitement and that energy to the State Capitol. I want to say there are a lot of great things we can do, all we have to do is get together. We've got to come together, we have to stop this bickering between the aisles. And really, the Republican caucus is so big, there's bickering within the caucus itself. Those don't all work good together.

I'm just excited to be here. This is so much fun. I've been on the sidelines for seven years and I've wanted to get in the game. Coach, call me in! And I haven't had a chance. This is an opportunity and I'd appreciate your vote on September twelfth."

Senate District 37 candidate Nicole Nixon speaks at community forum

Nicole Nixon, a Republican candidate for Senate District 37, spoke at the Sand Springs Chamber of Commerce candidate forum at Tulsa Technology Center Monday morning in Sand Springs.

The following is a transcript of her opening remarks. Candidates were given a five-minute time limit, followed by a question and answer session.

"My name is Nicole Nixon. I'm a mom. I live in Southwest Tulsa.

Three of my community schools were consolidated. The schools that were consolidated; they'll have you believe that it was because we have low enrollment numbers. They'll have you believe that we have too many schools out there and we're spending too much money on them. The truth is, the more that I dug into this, the more their numbers were skewed, and the more none of this made sense. 

I was told that they were going to consolidate North Tulsa schools but because of the Betty Shelby case, that they didn't want to have a riot on their hands. So they attacked Southwest Tulsa. 

As far as the funding, Tulsa Public Schools is the second largest school district in Oklahoma. Tulsa Public Schools is not properly utilizing their funding. And the second-largest school district in the state not properly utilizing their funding is sending a message to the legislature that none of the public schools are adequately utilizing their funding. It makes all of us look bad. And when they stand their and they point their finger at the legislature, half of the reason that they have problems is because they put themselves in that. It's not acceptable. 

I used to be a metal salesman. I worked in the steel industry. I am familiar with hard hats, safety glasses, steel-toed boots. I worked with tons of manufacturing businesses: aerospace, defense. I have the ability to negotiate.

I want to have a voice when it comes to my children's education. I want all of us to have a voice when it comes to our community and what is going on in our legislature. It's not acceptable what they're doing.

We have leaders that are not being leaders. A good leader makes more leaders. They have tried to blame it on the freshman legislators. But when in actuality, they haven't reached out and tried to help them learn or pulled them on the team. They've been using them as pawns. 

I decided to run because I'm tired of it, as most of us are. As far as job growth and our economy, education comes number one. We have a great education, we attract businesses, we have a well-educated workforce.

Some of you may have seen me on the news. I was down in Oklahoma City at the Capitol, fighting for our schools. If you visit my website, there's media links to all the reports of me standing up and fighting. Tonight I'll be at the Tulsa Public Schools Board meeting, like I am at most of those board meetings.

Without a presence by the parents and the people, we have no chance of making government accountable to the people. We've got to step up, join our PTAs. You don't have to have a student that goes to school there to join. We have to make a bigger presence. 

As far as bringing more voter awareness, I think the key to that is having a solid election day every year. From school board all the way up, we need to create a culture where people know 'today is voting day and I'm gonna go vote for this candidate, but I know there's going to be a whole bunch of other names on that list and I don't want to get it wrong.' We need to have them looking at our school board members. We need to have them showing up. We've all got to do this together.

I humbly ask for your vote. Give me a voice. I just want to be able to help my children and your children and our state. I want to have the opportunity to get in there and find out what is going on and start fixing the root of our problems rather than treating symptoms."




Senate District 37 candidate R. Jay McAtee speaks at community forum

R. Jay McAtee, a Republican candidate for Senate District 37, spoke at the Sand Springs Chamber of Commerce candidate forum at Tulsa Technology Center Monday morning in Sand Springs.

The following is a transcript of his opening remarks. Candidates were given a five-minute time limit, followed by a question and answer session.

"My name is R. Jay McAtee. Today's my anniversary, I've been married to my wife thirty-five years today. I love you dear.

I'm a lawyer in Tulsa and a judge here in Sand Springs. I've been a municipal judge for fifteen years, it's taught me a lot. I've represented businesses and families for thirty-five years. I represent workers' compensation businesses and insurance companies, defending workers' compensation claims. 

I've been living in South Sand Springs (Prattville) since 1990. I live on Overholt Drive off 51st Street. Raised my two kids there, my wife and I did. We call Sand Springs home. I attend First Presbyterian Church, I'm a Clerk of Session there. I've been attending First Pres for sixteen-seventeen years. That's my church home.

That's who I am. Now why am I running for State Senate District 37? It's not for the money. I don't need it. I'm a successful attorney, I've got a good practice. My wife asked me 'why are we doing this?' I told her because I'm fed up of forty-eighth or worse. It's time I give something back to this state, and I think I've got the ability to do that. 

Just yesterday, what was in the Tulsa World? 'Deep-pocketed non-profits use dark money to sway Oklahoma elections.' Oklahoma is controlled by special interests. That's not right. We need to take Oklahoma back. We need to give it back to the citizens of Oklahoma. And I don't intend to let special interests dictate my vote. I truly believe that special interests have caused Oklahoma's problems.

The legislature needs to take the budget and make it their number one item on day one, February 8-9, 2018 and they need to not attend to any other business until that budget is addressed. Folks, you can't cut forever. I'm a businessman. You cannot cut down to the bone. If you get to the bone, you're done. So we have got to figure out how to meet Oklahoma's budgetary needs.

Gross production tax - yes I made the oil industry mad at me last week when I went in front of the State Chamber's lobbyists and I said this. First thing out of their mouth was 'where do you stand on gross production tax?' Well folks, the reality of it is, the horizontal drilling is robbing us. That horizontal gross production tax is for the first three years. You know what they get in the first three years? They get all that they're gonna get out of that well. 

The vertical drillers are paying 7%. They're getting robbed. And we're getting robbed by out-of-state interests - big oil - and it's time for them to step up and help fix Oklahoma.

We can't pay our teachers until we figure out how to do the budget. I am absolutely in favor of paying teachers. My mother taught in Laverne, Oklahoma, out in the panhandle thirty-plus years. She had her Master's in English. I believe in teachers. It's a profession just like lawyers, just like anything else. There's good, there's bad, there's mediocre, and there's excellent. I think teachers generally are excellent, because they're responding to a calling, and we need to support them.

We need to support roads and bridges, we need to do a lot of things, but none of it's going to happen until we have bold leadership that's ready to step up at the Capitol and say 'no, we are going to stop the special interests from dictating to Oklahoma what Oklahoma needs.' 

I hope I get your vote. We have a lot of good candidates running against me. It's gonna be a fun race."

This Week in Sand Springs (8/7 - 8/13/17)


  • 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Last chance to view "Dust, Drought, and Dreams Gone Dry" exhibit.
    • Sand Springs Cultural and Historical Museum
      9 E. Broadway St.
  • 2:30 p.m. Lady Sandite Softball vs. Claremore (A).
    • 1910 North Florence Avenue, Claremore OK.
  • 6:00 p.m. Lady Sandite Volleyball vs Bartlesville (A).
    • 1700 S.E. Hillcrest Drive, Bartlesville, OK.


  • 4:00 p.m. Lady Sandite Softball vs. Booker T. Washington (H).
    • Sandite Sports Complex
      408 West 55th Street.
  • 5:30 p.m. Airport Advisory Board Meeting
    • Airport Terminal Building Conference Room
      3200 Airport Road.
  • 6:00 p.m. Lady Sandite Volleyball vs. Booker T. Washington (H).
    • Ed Dubie Field House
      500 North Adams Road.


  • 7:00 p.m. Free Movie Night - The Lego Batman Movie
    • Case Community Center
      1050 W. Wekiwa Road.
  • Times TBA: Lady Sandite Softball at Broken Arrow Tournament


  • Times TBA: Lady Sandite Softball at Broken Arrow Tournament.
  • 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Open Hike Day at Keystone Ancient Forest.
  • 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. All Around Nutrition Back to School Bash
    • 430 West Wekiwa Road
  • 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Dog Dip Day at Chandler Park Pool.


  • 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Back 2 School Bash
    • Tulsa Technology Center
      924 East Charles Page Boulevard.

Add your event to our weekly newsletter. Email

  • Free for nonprofit/free/charitable events.
  • $5 fee for for-profit events.

Harper's Hut River City Concession Stand suffers break-in

Local entrepreneur William Nozak is asking for help in identifying person(s) of interest in a break-in at a City facility.

Nozak, who owns Harper's Hut Shaved Ice & Java, says that the concession stand in River City Park was broken into sometime between Sunday evening and Monday morning. 

The concession stand is operated by the Sand Springs Soccer Club, a nonprofit organization, as a fundraiser. The stand sells Harper's Hut Shaved Ice in addition to traditional concessions, and supplies free toys for kids to play with at the Rotary Super Splash Pad. 

In addition to stealing candy, soda, and coin change, the thief(s) also made off with a portable speaker system owned by Harper's Hut. The brand new orange amplifier is branded with the Harper's Hut logo and is worth $158.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to contact Harper's Hut.

Senate District 37 candidate Rick Hardesty speaks at community forum

Rick Hardesty, a Republican candidate for Senate District 37, spoke at the Sand Springs Chamber of Commerce candidate forum at Tulsa Technology Center Monday morning in Sand Springs.

The following is a transcript of his opening remarks. Candidates were given a five-minute time limit, followed by a question and answer session.

"What I'm hearing is, we need to get our schools better funding. We need to get more money into our education system. To me that makes sense as a small business owner in needing to have a viable workforce and things like that...The reason I started running, the main reason, was I sat and watched...and they have practically closed every school over there and it kind of got me angry.

Normally I'm not that politically involved, but after seeing all this going on I decided that our legislators that we currently have in Oklahoma City aren't really doing the job that they're supposed to be doing. That's looking out for the best interests of our state, not just a few corporate entities. 

The reason I think I can do a fairly good job over there is that I also do real estate, and in real estate we negotiate stuff every day. That's what real estate is. If I take a contract with a customer to sell their house or sell their business, I'm gonna get them the exact highest price we can get. And vice-versa. If I'm working with a buyer, I'm going to get them a property as cheap as I can. So every day, we're negotiating and I'm good at it. 

It's gonna take the citizens in the community to get together with public forums and let them know exactly how you feel.

We have over 75 different business tax incentives in Oklahoma in the name of promoting new business. They're not working. Very few of them give us a return on our investment and that's by their own studies. We have a tax incentive commission and they randomly pick different ones. And of the last report they did, ten out of the eleven that they did had a negative impact on our state. The businesses that are taking advantage of the tax incentives are the larger corporate people who are trying to hit a home run. 

I think that we had the opportunity to get our horizontal well drilling credit back to 7% and we missed out on it. In Oklahoma they've been paying 1%. Now it's 2%, which is far below the national average. If they go to Texas they're going to pay 11-13%. If they go to North Dakota they're going to pay 13%. In Oklahoma they pay 2%. I think it's time to do away with that. That was set up in times for if oil prices dropped below $15 per barrel. That's costing us hundreds of millions of dollars a year that could go toward other things. 

In all the surveys that are taken to attract businesses into Oklahoma, good education system was the number one answer to attract corporations and companies to start businesses in Oklahoma. It's not tax incentives. We need to get our priorities straight, put money back where it matters. That's my goal."

Word of Life church paints, cleans up Limestone Elementary

Photo courtesy of Micah Felts.

More than eighty members of Word of Life church in Sand Springs turned out for a work day at Limestone Technology Academy Sunday afternoon.

The event was the first of many service days the church will be hosting at local public schools. After four years of hosting a free community carnival, the church decided to focus on a series of projects to help the community rather than one big event.

Workers spent several hours after church painting the gymnasium, cafeteria, and other rooms, as well as cleaning up and improving the school's landscaping.

The first day of school for Sand Springs students will be Tuesday, August 22nd.

Word of Life is located at 1402 N. 81st W. Ave. and is pastored by Chad Stewart. The church has been meeting in Sand Springs since 1981. Click here to visit their website.

House Representative Jadine Nollan appointed as State Director for NFWL

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Representative Jadine Nollan has been selected to serve in leadership for the nation’s oldest non-partisan organization addressing the needs of elected women at all levels of government.

Nollan was recently appointed to serve as the 2017 Oklahoma State Director for the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL).

“I am excited and feel very honored to have the opportunity to serve as the Oklahoma State Director for the National Foundation for Women Legislators and look forward to working with the organization to help promote leadership development and effective governance at the state, county and municipal level. This organization serves as a valuable resource for women in elected positions and I am pleased to have been appointed to serve in this capacity.”

“We are so proud Representative Nollan has accepted a leadership position in our Foundation,” stated Minnesota State Senator Carrie Ruud, NFWL’s 2017 Chair. “NFWL’s theme for 2017 is leadership, and Representative Nollan exemplifies this theme. She will play a key role in aiding elected women in Oklahoma, as we continue to grow as an organization.”

Nollan begins serving in her new position immediately and will hold this office through the end of 2018.

Sand Springs park officials announce details for upcoming Riverfest event

Sand Springs Parks Department officials held a press event Tuesday morning at River City Park to announce the details of the upcoming Riverfest event. The park will be officially rededicated as "Case Community Park" with a Grand Opening celebration on Saturday, September 9th. City Council members will be on hand along with Mike and Pat Case, who donated $2 million to the park renovation.

"For those of you that don't know Mike Case, you should because he is a fantastic guy. He stands behind the community," said I.J. Ganem, a musician who will be performing at the event.

"About a month from now the park will be completed, and it will be open for business. We're very excited about that," said Parks Director Grant Gerondale.

The festivities will last from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and will include a car show, hot air balloons, sidewalk chalk art contest, free hot dogs, live music, fireworks, and more. 

Local band The Rogues Five will provide the entertainment for the event. The group of Sand Springs alumni charted regionally in the 1960s and opened for Jim Morrison and The Doors at the peak of their success. The band is comprised of I.J. Ganem, Randy Ess, Philip Wilson, Bard Coats, and Jamie Oldaker.

"What we tried to do as a committee in planning this party was reach out to all ages, to all genders, and I think we're doing that with the selection of these two artists," said Park Facilities Manager Jeff Edwards.

The Rogues will open up the show with classic rock music, while Morgan Ganem will perform during the evening festivities. Morgan is the son of I.J. and a prominent solo performer with residency at Safari Joe's H2O. 

(Left to right): I.J. Ganem, Morgan Ganem, Joy Turner, Jeff Edwards, Grant Gerondale.

SEE RELATED: Sand Springs musician Morgan Ganem releases new album, Paradise

"It's a great community," said I.J. Ganem. "I remember actually being here at the river parks...with my father for the very first raft race...Today is actually my wife and my 36th anniversary and we had our first semi-date here." The Great Raft Race will return to the park Labor Day weekend.

"Anytime our city gets behind what we're doing, it's a big honor," added Morgan.

The Oklahoma City Thunder basketball organization will send representatives to dedicate a new "Thunder Cares" basketball court. The park renovation also features new playgrounds, horseshoe pits, an 18-hole disc golf course, improved infrastructure and parking, and additional multi-use athletic fields. The amenities are anchored around the 1.94-acre Great Lawn and amphitheater.

Parking is limited and a $10 fee will be collected in the late afternoon. The parking ticket will also serve as a raffle ticket for a television giveaway.

"We have a brand new entrance. A lot of people didn't even know we have a park here, and a lot of people didn't know how large the park is," said Edwards. "There's something for everybody...Whether Riverfest happens around this time of year, or if it happens at a different time, I think what we're going to do is build the excitement to have a large community-sized event. An all day thing that families can come out to enjoy and use the quality of life features that we have in the park for them."

Existing features within the park include the Case Community Center, Inez Kirk Soccer Complex, Jerry Adair Baseball Complex, Rotary Super Splash Pad, Will Ramsey Softball Complex, volleyball courts, a BMX track, and a rodeo arena.

The rodeo arena is slated for demolition this winter, while two new park improvements will be on the ballot in November. In a November 14 special election, Sand Springs residents will vote on five general obligation bond propositions. Proposition One calls for a new roadway to be constructed over the levee separating the park from the Sheffield Crossing development. Proposition Three will provide funds for a new paved parking lot at the baseball fields.

SEE RELATED: Sand Springs City Council approves General Obligation Bond vote for November