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Medical Clinic Now Open for Patients
Stonewall's medical clinic formally opened its doors at 10:00 am, Monday, January 13, 2014, during a grand opening event. The staff began seeing patients the following Monday morning at 8:30 am.
The grand opening event was attended by a host of local residents and those who have played a vital role in the project’s completion. State senator Susan Paddack, state representative Todd Thomsen, and retired state representative Paul Roan offered reflections on the project and its importance to the community and its residents. Brenda Ware, chief executive officer for the clinic’s operator, Central Oklahoma Family Medical Center of Konawa, offered her vision for how the clinic will provide much-needed patient services for the Stonewall area.
Both Paddack and Roan have been involved with the project since its inception back in 2005. Together with U.S. Congressman Tom Cole, they supported the efforts that resulted in two sizable grants from the United States Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services, totaling $841,190.00. Stonewall’s most stalwart advocate was Amy Childers-Elliott, who for much of the project’s life was executive director for Tri-County Indian Nations Community Development Corporation, Inc. Childers-Elliott put in countless hours preparing and advocating the grant proposals, and stayed out front to negotiate terms for releasing the funds to get the construction started.
Stonewall’s First American Bank, whose chairman is Jack Blair, came through with a one-time cash donation of $25,000.00, and funded the very dicey demolition of the rotted second-story floor joists. Pontotoc County District 3 Commissioner Justin Roberts supported the community with demolition and recovery work valued at more than $28,000.00. An additional $50,000.00 was garnered through an Oklahoma Rural Economic Action Plan grant. Various smaller contributions from members of the community brought the total available funds and in-kind contributions amount to just over $944 thousand.
Stonewall’s mayor, Jim Mills, welcomed the community to their new clinic, and encouraged them to tour the facility and meet the staff. Ed McKerley, project manager for MacHill Tribal Construction, LLC, along with architect Don Childers, of Childers-Childers Architects, reflected on how important it was to do this project, noting that it’s not every day you have the opportunity to make such a big difference in a community.
City Administrator, Dennis Heath, informed the crowd on hand that there would be a fund-raiser spaghetti lunch on Sunday, February 9, 2014, from 11 am to 2 pm, to raise the $10 to $15 thousand needed to make up the construction funds shortfall. “When you realize this is an almost $1 million project, that’s not too bad of a shortfall.” Heath said.
NOTE: Call City Hall at 580-265-4511 for tickets to the spaghetti fund-raiser.
Recent Water Supply Issues Highlight Improvement Needs
Stonewall residents recently experienced a nearly week-long water shortage caused by “a perfect storm.”
The icy temperatures in early January became a catalyst for a string of issues that took public works personnel on what could hardly be described as a joy ride. First, it was discovered that the temperatures that had fallen to the single digits had frozen water-level sensors in the tower and treated water tank. The sensors send signals to the treatment plant to activate pumps that are needed to continually transfer water and keep the tower and storage tank full. The frozen sensors allowed the water levels in each to fall to the point that it was impossible to keep up with the demand from the town’s residents.
Next, a water main break on Main Street kept workers busy for about half a day in frigid temperatures, adding to the already losing proposition of keeping water flowing to the town. The final component to the perfect storm was discovered when something outside the town’s control was significantly affecting the water flow rate from the wells that supply water to the town. In the end, after discussing the issue with landowner B. G. Cotton, whose artesian well tap accesses the same aquifer as the town’s wells, Cotton agreed to close the valve on his tap in order to restore the pressure to the aquifer. Within 24 hours, the flow rate had almost returned to normal.
The town has been on a tear, working to make badly needed improvements to the water and sewer systems. Since 2004, nearly $1 million has been spent to completely renew the treatment plant and to construct an irrigation system that removes the need to discharge into Buck Creek. Engineering firm Mehlburger-Brawley of McAlester, OK, are now working on plans to rehabilitate the existing wells drilled in the 1940s, and to replace the tower (ca. 1911), and to replace the iron pipes that carry water throughout the town (ca. 1920s).
When all the improvements are completed, the well-known brown water that results from turbulence in the pipes that knocks loose the caked-on ferrous iron from the artesian wells will disappear permanently.
Town leaders know that part of growing as a community, is making sure you have infrastructure to support it. With plenty of support, know-how and elbow grease, the sky’s the limit.
All in a day’s work!
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This page last updated on January 27, 2014
This is the unofficial website for Stonewall, Oklahoma