December Editorial Winner

We Need Seven Ready

JOHN M. WYLIE III, The Oologah Lake Leader

Directors of Rural Water District No. 4 may vote as early as 2 p.m. Friday, during a rescheduled regular meting, on the Seven Ready Plan from OTEMS ambulance district.
The plan, already being implemented for OTEMS district residents served by Verdigris Valley Electric Cooperative, would allow residents of the ambulance district who are not members of VVEC to be billed for the $7 monthly fee on their water bill.
As in the VVEC program, any RWD4 tap holder who wants to opt out of the program could do so.
Those who decide to participate will be guaranteed to have no out-of pocket expenses for ambulance calls in the district. The $7 monthly fee will provide the district with financial stability.
We hope most of our readers will choose to remain in the program through VVEC, and that the water board will approve the program Friday. There is no downside.
Those who for whatever reasons don’t want to participate can simply opt out.
Those who do participate will be giving themselves and their families the peace of mind of knowing that there will be a paramedic ambulance available quickly if they need it, and that they won't face a financial shock from insurance co-pay if they use it.
The alternative, discussed at a public forum Tuesday night, is bleak. Because of antiquated ambulance financing laws, OTEMS' property tax millage is capped at 3 mills under an article of the state constitution approved by voters in 1976 and never changed since.
Costs of ambulance service have soared since then while insurance, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements have declined. The state has lost at least 50 ambulance services in the past decade and OTEMS is now on the list of nine at-risk services.
It is using a $150,000 line of credit in between property tax payments and the bank has expressed reservations about renewing the one that expires in July 2012.
It has no way to replace aging ambulance that should be retired this year.
It can't give employees raises.
The problem is not of OTEMS' making.
It isn't because it provides poor patient care. Patient care is excellent.
It isn't because it does non-emergency patient transfers. Those generate cash flow.
It isn't because of bad employees. OTEMS has lost just two full time employees in recent years, one to medical school and one to the Tulsa Fire Department. (That one has come back on a part-time basis).
It is simply because you can't run a quality ambulance service on a beans and rice budget.
If the plan isn't implemented, OTEMS faces the very real risk of being shrunk to a shell of itself or even shut down.
Despite coverage by two newspapers, two television stations and a half dozen web sites, only 15 average citizens attended Tuesday night's meeting. (Another 15 were public officials of one kind or another.)
Most either opposed the plan or had questions, but 15 out of around 2,800 affected is a very small group.
Jack Bogart, the VVEC trustee serving most of the OTEMS district, said he'd received just three phone calls about the plan. He said the other two trustees with OTEMS residents in their district, had received zero.
After two months of study, we hope the water board is ready to act Friday. It would be a great Christmas gift for our community.

2 comments (Add your own)

1. Pitchoune wrote:
These idiots along with Jeff Gray, and Cecil Smith they are the ones who certaed this mess. These people ought to be ashamed of themselves. Elected by the people to do what is best for the students and community. They all failed miserably! No one can see that Wilkovitch is destroying the school and community. She is the devil! Ask her family, her x-husbands, children, their spouses. She is a horrible, horrible person with no conscience. This woman is destroying the school by causing chaos, by mental abuse of staff, by eliminating people who are competent, and qualified. She boosts the egos of people like Evelyn Reda, John Martino, Carol Yakish making them think they are more valuable than they have, or ever will be to anyone, or anything. Fools them into thinking they and she are right and it's everyone else who is at fault, or are wrong. She illegally opens sealed bids before they are officially opened making sure Martino get the job, she doctors up PSSA and other state testing so she looks like less of a fool than what she is. She is also ruining ths district financially by adding a nine million dollar renovation and she will purposely miss deadlines so reimburement will never happen and the taxpayers will be stuck with the bill.This evil woman is setting the school to fail, and fall right along with her. It is pathetic, but we are all allowing this to happen. John and Evelyn will be dead in the next few years, Carol is moving away and washing her hands of the mess she has helped create, Zarich has already walked away with his tail between his legs, pouting and blaming everyone but himself. The other two are about done- they have had no impact- simply puppets, and Kaye is seeing the writing on the wall and is now leaning in the direction of where he intended in the first place. Wilkovitch will also be gone, and along with her our school and our money.We all need to file complaints with the PA State Education Association- even a public outcry requires a vote by the school board and those idiots are too stupid to see what she is doing. Call, write, or e-mail now.Well-loved.

Sat, March 10, 2012 @ 4:00 PM

2. Roxana wrote:
Good day Mr Bedell & Staff,Our thanks to Mr. Bedell for pripicitatang in the candidate forum this past Tuesday at Northeastern Univ. It is difficult to keep up with the many and complex issues facing government, so our family is especially interested in gaining an understanding of the character and values exhibited by each candidate. Judging from Mr Bedell's website, we are holding some similar values. Concerning the issues of education and abortion: while I have Republican' agreement with the strength of the individual and respect for the family unit, it is my observation that families of color - and quite frankly the darker one is the harder it seems to be - it seems a lack of economic opportunity feeds a vicious cycle of broken families, scholastic failure and crisis pregnancies. Is Mr Bedell's cross cultural experience pretty much summed up in the Paris experience? What type of connections does Mr. Bedell maintain with US citizens of diverse ethnic heritage? Should Mr Bedell be elected, will he indeed listen to the diverse voices of the 5th district? On behalf of my family and me, we sincerely appreciate Mr Bedell's (and his family's) willingness to apply his training, life and times to serving the USA. It was encouraging to see citizens rallying for upright government and true public servants at Tuesday's forum. Best regards,Shari Kittaka

Wed, March 21, 2012 @ 10:37 AM

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