Oklahoma County Commissioner Carrie Blumert came to Luther on Thursday night for a community meeting style “get to know me” and “ask me some any question” session that drew about 40 neighbors together at The Farmstead Cafe at 116 S Main.
Topics ranged from changes in administration at the Oklahoma County jail, damage to Oklahoma County roads from the turnpike construction, mental health help county-wide and when Luther’s homecoming game is scheduled. Commissioner Blumert, whose District One includes Luther, is visiting a community in her district about once a month.
Oklahoma County Jail
Blumert said the Oklahoma County Jail Trust recently voted to appoint a new administrator for the beleaguered county jail. She aid the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office is no longer in charge of the budget for the jail, but remains in control of the law enforcement budget, that includes public safety coverage for our area.
Turnpike Road Damage
Blumert confirmed the county is in negotiations with the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority over damage done to county roads from the construction of the Eastern Oklahoma County Turnpike. Her staff said there are 90 lane miles in EOC with damage from heavy equipment traveling the roads that abut the new 21-mile stretch that snakes down the east side of the county, roughly along Luther Road. She said the estimated repair cost is $4 million. Trouble is, she said OTA says its number is more like $1.8 million in culpability. Negotiations continue.
Blumert campaigned on a message of improving mental health services for county residents, and said she is pleased that the new Oklahoma City Maps 4 project component includes $40 million that would build mental health crisis cetners and addiction facilities. She said she anticipated the facilities would be available to all county residents. That was good news to Jennifer Winton who attended the meeting.
Winton is the executive director of U!Shine, a nonprofit organization that brings awareness to the prevalence of mental health disorders on college campuses, and teaches students the warning signs and symptoms of common mental disorders such as anxiety and depression.
“As someone who works in the mental health nonprofit world, I see a lot of unmet needs and confusion about mental health, in general, and how to find affordable treatment options. I am thrilled that someone with Carrie’s mental health background is acting as County Commissioner. This platform is clearly important to her and it certainly needs attention in our state,” said Winton.
“More treatment facilities are beyond a want and squarely in the need category and part of that funding would supply this. There is also more monetary support needed for organizations like Palomar, NAMI, A Chance to Change and our organization, UShine. These nonprofits are run by people who are passionate about helping others in Oklahoma and are often taking up the slack where the state can’t provide needed help and prevention. And I believe her when she says she these resources will be for the rural communities like Luther and Jones that often get overlooked. I think she cares about all the areas under her supervision and I’m hopeful we will see more positive change in our town with her at the helm,” she said
Fixing Triple X Road
Other residents asked questions about zoning and road maintenance. On that note, one of the most promising pieces of news of the night was the hint of some movement to fix Triple X Road. The craggy, potholed stretch of road that connects SH 66 to Hogback Road is in need of repair. After a recent meeting in Luther with Blumert, Luther Mayor Jenni White and Oklahoma City Councilwoman Nikki Nice, an agreement apparently is in the works. Blumert said the county is willing to pay the labor if Oklahoma City pays for the materials to fix the road. The road is in the vast Oklahoma City limits, though traveled by many Luther motorists and those coming to or from the Turner Turnpike to 66.
White said she was grateful and said this has been an issue the Town of Luther has been trying to address for a couple of years.
Blumert put the date of Luther’s Homecoming on her calendar. The Lions take on Chandler for the homecoming matchup on September 13.