There’s a lot of information and news piling up. To try to catch up, here’s a ROUNDUP of various information for your calendar, your information and your action.
TOWN – $90,000 judgement
Remember the former Town Treasurer and Clerk who was convicted on nine felony counts of stealing money from the Town of Luther? Donita Roby was arrested in 2014 and sentenced in 2016 on her blind guilty plea for the theft of $48,000. The Oklahoma County District Court sentenced her to no prison time if she paid back the money, a little every month. However, she has not done that. The last check the Town received from Roby, via the district attorney’s office, was in December 2016.
So the Town sued her and won. In an Oklahoma County Court proceeding on Friday, attorney Matthew Winton represented the Town. Roby did not appear. The judge ruled in favor of the Town, granting a judgment of $45,000 in actual damages and $45,000 in punitive damages. The ruling allows Roby’s assets to be tapped, and is not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Since the discovery of the embezzlement, the Town has continued to deal with ramifications of the loss, including thousands of dollars in fines and penalties, in part, for payroll taxes unpaid during the time period that Roby was convicted of stealing from the Town.
NEW TOWN ATTORNEY
At the Special Board (Planning) Meeting of the Town Trustees in late January, the Board accepted the resignation of Town Attorney Ray Vincent who narrowly escaped getting fired by the Trustees at a meeting two weeks before that. Vincent has served the Town as attorney for a couple of stints, and was hired again before this “new” board was elected last April. Vincent agreed to do the job for $600 a month. It’s expected the Town won’t find another attorney for that rate.
Town Trustees are in the final stages of adopting a Master Plan for our Town and ready to embrace an influx of new opportunities from border to border. We desire a competent, confident municipal attorney who can help us appropriately navigate these waters.
- There is a surprise on Monday’s Luther School Board agenda, an item to consider the resignation of high school principal Jerry Martin. There are no other details yet, but it is the annual meeting for the board to evaluate principals’ performances during executive session. There’s the item about the resignation, then an executive session to do principal evaluations, and then in open session, an item to approve the contracts for Elementary Principal Sheila Wilson and Middle School Principal Shawn Meek. Other agenda highlights include approving the school calendar for 2018-19. Click here for agenda.
- Something to watch. Have you heard any buzz about a school bond election? We hear there are dreams and plans, and there could be an election later this year. Look for a call for facility improvement, perhaps to address the middle school cafeteria situation, and perhaps a new event facility and new band room and basketball gym. The package is expected to NOT be as big and controversial as the failed 2015 bond proposal.
- DISTRICTS. Luther hosts basketball districts this weekend and both the varsity girls’ and boys’ teams get a “bye” in round one. The local teams both play Saturday night, Feb. 17 at home beginning at 6:30. They will play the winners of the Langston versus Hominy games, also played in Luther, on Friday night.Find the brackets here, Luther is in Class 2A, Boys II and Girls II.
When is the last time a candidate for Governor has stopped in Luther? At least four years ago (the last election!). Some say longer. This election season Drew Edmondson, democratic gubernatorial candidate, will appear at a coffee on Friday, February 23, at 8 am, hosted by Mark Butenhof and Mary Wolf-Butenhof and held at the 116 Farmstead, Market & Table on Main Street in Luther. Wolf says she hopes Luther residents will stop by and listen to Edmondson’s ideas to tackle the state’s problems.
“Republican, Democrat or Independent, I think Luther folks will find a lot to like about Drew. He’s moderate, he’s small town born and raised, and he’s an experienced public servant who understands how to work with people of all backgrounds and political parties. Despite his quiet and gracious demeanor, he’s tough and has a long record of fighting long and hard for Oklahoma,” she said.
Wolf also said the event will be laid back, free and fun. She said she doesn’t remember a gubernatorial candidate ever taking the time to come to Luther, and she hopes neighbors will take time to get involved to ask questions and learn about Edmondson.
Talk about the problems and money at the Oklahoma County Jail is causing renewed concern for law enforcement in areas surrounding Luther, not covered by the Luther Police Department. It seems it’s connected to establishing a new Jail Trust, to be run by elected officials (county commissioners and the sheriff), but apparently to be funded by the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office, causing a furor from the OCSO FOP warning that the “patrol division” could be gutted to pay for the jail trust. LPD Chief David Randall attended a meeting last week about it and came out of it very concerned. He wants to ensure residents in Luther are served by law enforcement by his department and OCSO that Luther relies upon for coverage, investigation and dispatch. Officials from OCSO confirm that’s the talk, but say the cuts are not imminent. Still, we are supposed to call our County Commissioner to show our concern. For Luther, that’s retiring Commissioner Willa Johnson’s office, (405) 713-1501.
To end on a positive note, the community is invited to a fund-raising pancake breakfast, Sunday, February 18, at the Community Center on Hogback Road. The good cause is to send a Luther student to science camp next summer. Fourth-grader Cadie Loveless was one of only 17 students accepted in the National Youth Leadership Forum Pathways to Stem program. It’s next summer in Dallas.
During her stay at the University of Texas she will shadow instructors from Stanford University in hands on medical practice, build a robot, meet an astronaut from Nasa, and delve into a challenging curriculum built around STEM that will also help build up her confidence and leadership abilities. Cade has been telling her parents since she was two that she is going to work at Nasa some day and change the world.
The event is Sunday from 7 am to Noon. There will be silent auction items as well. Can’t go but want to support Cadie, here’s a Go Fund Me link.