Liz Holliday

Communications Specialist
Posts Tagged ‘Oklahoma’

Residents pick up pieces after Ottawa County Tornado

Residents in Ottawa County, Oklahoma pick up the pieces after trained spotters report a tornado touching down Monday evening.

According to the National Weather Service trained spotters reported a tornado at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, located about eight miles south of Quapaw, Oklahoma. NWS says the report is preliminary until surveyors assess the damage to determine the strength and path.

Child support cases on the rise; fewer people paying them

This story originally aired on August 6, 2012 on KOAM News

Oklahoma child support cases are on the rise in Ottawa County while actual child support payments are down.

The month of August marks a federal awareness month for child support and the Ottawa Child Support Center will hold events all month long to educate the public on the issue.

“My first ex has $10,000 in back child support and my other ex is coming up on $5,000 and it would be a lot more helpful if I could actually receive any of that,” says Brandy Schmitt.

Schmitt is a single mother of four working a part-time job to pay her bills, something that makes it more difficult when the fathers of her children refuse to pay their child support on time.

“I love my kids, I don’t even have any words for it and then for them not to even want to help financially, it’s ridiculous,” says Schmitt.

Schmitt is taking the men to court this week to get her money and justice.

“Have some consequence – I mean they’ve been going so long without paying their child support and helping me with their kids – something should happen,” Schmitt says. “I’m hoping that they have to pay.”

Schmitt isn’t alone. Around 140 cases involving back child support are scheduled at the Ottawa County courthouse this week.

Authorities say they are currently around 2,500 open cases in Ottawa County, and the Ottawa Child Support Center says the recent Blitz plant closure and Tracker factory layoffs in Miami will only worsen the problem.

“Looking over the last three years we’ve had a steady decrease in collections, I think based mainly on the economy, the fact that we’ve lost several jobs in the area that were the better paying jobs,” says Jammie Sartie of the Ottawa County Child Support Center.

Not not everyone is fighting the Child Support Enforcement Agency to pay their child support. Rhett Green is a mechanic and father of one, who says he’s happy to pay his child support and thinks others should as well.

“I just think it’s something you’re supposed to do,” Green says. “If you have a kid you’re supposed to take care of them. Take care of your kids people.”

Growing problem of designer drugs

Originally reported on July 27, 2012 for KOAM News



GROVE, OKLAHOMA -Federal agents were breaking down doors this week to confiscate more than $36 million worth of synthetic drugs from 31 states.  An emergency room doctor in Grove, Oklahoma says two years ago he rarely saw synthetic drug cases in the emergency room.

Now, he sees them two to three times a week.”It’s becoming a bigger problem,” says Dr. F.C. Eaton of Integris Grove.  “We’re seeing an increase in the number of cases that seem to be coming through.”

Since there is no blood or urine test in the emergency room, doctors look for obvious symptoms in patients like hyper or erratic behavior.  But usually they must wait and hear it from the patient themselves.

“It’s generally a younger generation, they’re scared and you start quizzing them, and come to find out that’s what they’ve taken,” says Dr. Eaton.

The lack of an immediate test has not only caused problems for emergency room doctors, it’s also caused problems for law enforcement as well.  While drugs like marijuana or cocaine can be tested for immediately, synthetic drugs can not.

“Smells like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s usually a duck, but that’s not good enough for a core system, so we have it tested, and that takes time,” says Sgt. John Marrow of the Grove Police Department.

Grove police say the way to combat this problem is two fold:  education and getting it off of the shelf.

“Our administration has plans in the future of offering training of all emergency personal to help to recognize the symptoms of those people using so we’re better able to serve our citizens,” says Sgt. Marrow.

With task forces across the nation cracking down and educating the public on this drug officials say hopefully its harmful usage will soon be in decline.