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Archives for July 2012

State of Emergency Declared for Oklahoma Due to Drought

Governor Mary Fallin has declared a State of Emergency for all 77 Oklahoma counties due to the extreme or exceptional drought conditions around the state. The executive order will last for 30 days. This executive order will allow state agencies to make emergency purchases for disaster relief and preparedness. It is also the first step towards seeking federal assistance, if it should be needed.

This news comes as we are wrapping up a very hot July. Mesonet has the statewide average temperatures for the month, through yesterday, at 85.5. To compare that, last year was an average of 89.3 degrees in July. While this may make this year sound like nothing, we must remember, last summer was the hottest month for any state since records began in 1895. Mesonet shared the top-10 warmest Julys based on average maximum and minimum temperatures since 1895.

  • 2011 89.3
  • 1954 88.1
  • 1980 87.4
  • 1934 87.3
  • 1998 85.9
  • 1936 85.8
  • 2001 85.7
  • 1978 85.6
  • 1901 85.3
  • 1964 84.7

The other issue facing Oklahoma is the drought. It only takes a quick look out your window to see it’s dry out there. And Governor Fallin declaring a State of Emergency is another sign of just how dry it is.

“Precipitation-wise, we’re going to end up being somewhere in the top-20 probably, but that is deceiving since MOST Of the state has been dry as a bone. The statewide average through this morning was 1.11 inches, 1.54 inches below normal and the 15th driest since 1921. Those statistics will expand back to 1895 when we get to the end of the month. For Spencer, Waurika and Marshall, it has been THE driest July on record with 0.0 in the gauge. That’s good enough to get you put on double-secret probation in some places! Norman and Hollis show up as 0.0 but they actually received 0.02 inches and 0.03 inches, respectively.”- Mesonet

Mesonet goes on to say, as of right now it doesn’t look like we will be getting much in the way of rainfall anytime soon. This is bad news for all of us, especially struggling farmers.

“The drought comes on the heels of a wetter-than-normal spring, which benefited the Oklahoma wheat crop. That has helped cattle ranchers somewhat, allowing for some grazing, according to Schilberg. But he noted that the grass and forage are now dying due to the lack of rain, forcing him to buy hay.

“I’m feeding just like I would during the winter time,” Schilberg said.” –Huffington Post

The state has also been hit with several fires, including two burning right now. One fire is burning in Payne County and one in Canadian County. Currently 47 counties are under burn bans and that number is likely to rise as the drought continues.

How are you dealing with the heat and drought? Share your thoughts below or join the conversation on our Facebook page.  

2012 Elections Interviews: Nick Singer

Nick Singer is running for State Representative in District 87. We got the chance to ask him a few questions. Here is his bio, followed by the interview.

“Nick Singer moved to Oklahoma City in 2004 to pursue a career opportunity. Working as a full time sales representative at a locally owned company and running a small business has led to his significant involvement (and investment) in this great community.

As a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma City’s LOYAL Class IV in 2009, Nick has honed his leadership skills working on community activities and in civic organizations around the city, including the Resource Development Board for Big Brothers, Big Sisters. When he’s not at the office, Nick likes to spend time with his little brother, who he’s been paired with through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma for more than two years. He also volunteers at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. Outside of volunteering, Nick has also twice captained a corporate rowing team at the Chesapeake Boathouse.

Nick holds degrees in math and economics from Penn State University. In the brief moments he has to himself, Singer can be found reading — news on the Internet, books on leadership and business, or even a good fantasy novel.”

GO: Why did you decide to run for state representative?

Singer: I believe an effectively run government can help provide solutions to many of our problems. Right now the current state of politics is overly divisive and focused on keeping people in power instead of solving problems. I would like to bring a people and community focused voice to the legislature that focuses on socially conscious solutions while also cutting through the partisan politics.

GO: If elected what would you do, if anything, about current pollution issues?

Singer: I would be an advocate for cleaner sources of energy and stronger local communities. I believe that building stronger, better connected, and more walk-able communities encourages not only better environmental stewardship but also addresses some of our public health issues. Bringing attention to local goods and services (food and others) is not just good environmental policy, but good economic policy as well.

GO: What about energy issues?

Singer: I support cleaner forms of energy and appropriate regulation on existing forms. Oklahoma has vast resources of both traditional and renewable energy. We should look to be at the forefront of new energy sources.

GO: What are your views on climate change?

Singer: The planet is getting warmer, all available evidence shows that. I believe in the scientific method. It is what has provided all of the technologies we enjoy today and is the best means we have to understand the world around us. If science says climate change is man-made, then it probably is. Until evidence shows otherwise, we need to be aware and start taking steps to address the issue.

GO: And lastly, why do you think our readers should vote for you?

Singer: As an Eagle Scout who took his lessons to heart, I believe environmental protection and stewardship are part of our civic duty. Science being the backbone of our economy, shows us a greater understanding of our world every day. As we learn more about how we interact with our ecosystem, we learn about the consequences of our actions.

For my fellow citizens and future generations, I want air we can breathe, water we can drink and energy sources that are clean, abundant and lower cost. I believe through effective legislation, regulation and working with private enterprise we can achieve a future where these criteria are met and exceeded.

I believe planning better for the future includes infrastructure improvements, focusing on sustainable living and maintaining a safe water supply. I support securing water resources in an environmentally conscious way that also meets our future needs.

My opponent is Jason Nelson, a two term Republican incumbent who has taken money from most of the big business PAC’s in the state. He will not support environmental causes and I will. My campaign is well organized, understands the challenges and has the ability to win this seat. Check out my website for more info: nickforok.org


If you would like to learn more about Nick Singer check out his website nickforok.org, you can also find him on Twitter and Facebook.

Be sure to check out our other interviews as well.

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Disclaimer: Green Oklahoma doesn’t endorse any candidates. We urge our readers to learn about all of the candidates and make informed choices this year. And above all Green Oklahoma urges all Oklahomans to vote!

Protect Yourself Naturally from Mosquitoes and West Nile

The West Nile Virus has possibly reappeared in Oklahoma. One man in Pittsburgh County has contracted it and mosquitoes in Tulsa have tested high for the virus. West Nile is spread through the bite of Culex mosquitoes, which feed on infected birds. Symptoms of the virus include sudden fever, headache, dizziness, and muscle weakness. Long term complications include paralysis and tremors.

Keeping the mosquito population down and keeping them off of you is the best way to protect yourself. However, many bug sprays contain harmful ingredients that can be toxic to you and the environment. Thankfully there are many ways to protect yourself without these toxins, here are just a few tips.

  • Remove all standing water. If you have water for pets be sure to change it very often to prevent mosquitoes breeding in the water. If you find holes with standing water, fill them in.
  • Keep your lawn short, bushes pruned, and don’t let leaves pile up.
  • Plant, plants that repel mosquitoes. Mosquitos don’t like lemon grass, rosemary, or marigolds. Planting these can help keep mosquitoes away.
  • When you are outside in the evening, if possible cover up. Wearing long sleeves and pants can help prevent bites.
  • Use non-toxic bug sprays. Natural food stores often carry safe brands that are DEET-free and use essential oils to keep you bug free. You can even make your own bug spray.
  • Use a fan. When outside using a fan can help keep bugs away and keep you cool.
  • Use citronella candles, look for ones that use vegetable based wax or beeswax instead of petroleum and only use citronella for a scent, no artificial fragrances.

Using these tips will keep you and your family safe, without all the toxins. What do you do to protect your family from mosquitoes? Share your tips in the comments below or join the conversation on Facebook.

Photo Credit: dr_relling

Cloth Swim Diapers

The sun is shining.  Diapers are fluttering on the line.  Birds are sweetly chirping in the rustling leaves of the trees.  You get the picture….summer is here!  Ahhh…summer…my favorite time of year.  Give me 100 degree weather, some sunglasses, Episencial sunscreen and a pool to play in.

And what does EVERY baby (and toddler) need in the pool?  Why, a swim diaper, of course…something to catch those little accidents that are bound to happen with your little one.  Just for fun, I looked at Target.com to check out the price of “Little Swimmers”.  They are $8.99 for 12 if you are lucky enough to need a small and $8.99 for 10 if you need a large.  That’s almost a dollar a diaper!  They can’t be reused, and if your kids are anything like mine, you will have at least two diaper changes when you are at the pool.  We swim frequently, so 8-10 swim diaper changes in a week is not unreasonable.  To be conservative, I’ll say we’ll go through 5 a week over a 12 week period (not counting swimming lessons in the fall and spring).  I would spend almost $50 this summer on swim diapers.

I am often asked, “How do reusable swim diapers work?”  The short answer is, “They work just like disposable swim diapers.”  They are not absorbent.  They are just made to catch accidents.  Reusable swim diapers are specifically made to withstand repeated exposure to chlorine, and because they are not absorbent, they will not weigh your baby down in the water.

I like to have two reusable swim diapers so there is a backup just in case we need a diaper change at the pool.  Luckily, I have my Bonfire Red AppleCheeks swim diaper that my daughter used last year.  My son can wear it this year.  I spared him her Pink Flowers Imse Vimse swim diaper and bought him a “manly” Black Lizard Imse Vimse this year.

By using reusable swim diapers, I will save $30 for 12 weeks of summer. (And in reality, I’m probably saving closer to $80 since we swim so often.)  Yay, me!  I will also save more than 60 one-time-use swim diapers from entering the landfills.   And you can save, too.   If you have a little one in diapers, consider making the switch to a reusable swim diaper.  Happy swimming!

For local cloth diaper resources, visit Cloth Diaper Oklahoma, Bottoms and Beyond Boutique in Sand Springs, Gummy Giggles in Yukon, and Green Bambino or The Changing Table in Oklahoma City.

Do you use cloth swim diapers? If not, would you try them? Share your thoughts in the comments below or join the conversation on Facebook.

Photo Credits: Diaper- Elizabeth Pilgrim, Baby-  chimothy27