Voters approve liquor by the drink, elect legislator

Wednesday, December 10th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Patrons in two Tulsa County school districts have approved multimillion dollar bond issues to fund construction and improvements.

A new Barnes Elementary school will be built after voters in Owasso approved two proposals totaling $16.2 million on Tuesday.

Voters in Jenks passed two proposals totaling $14.5 million that will primarily be used at the high school to improve the football complex and renovate a performing arts center.

The school bond packages in Owasso and Jenks replace older bond issues that are retiring and will not raise the tax rate, officials said.

Elsewhere in the state, Blaine County residents approved a proposal to allow the sale of hard liquor by the drink. Unofficial returns showed the proposal passed on a 724 (54.2 percent) to 613 (45.8 percent) vote. A similar proposal failed by a 5-4 margin in 1996.

Tony Kohl, chairman of a group supporting the proposal, said Blaine County residents are ready to cultivate tourism.

``This is a big plus for Roman Nose (State Park) as far as attracting conferences and business meetings and even golf course play,'' Kohl said. ``And it's a big plus for the restaurants of Blaine County.''

Watonga's Ministerial Alliance opposed the measure, saying the trade-off is not worth the cost of economic development.

A statewide referendum approved in 1984 gave counties the option of allowing the sale of liquor by the drink.

Before that, residents had to bring their own bottle of liquor to private clubs, where they paid a membership fee.

In Oklahoma City, voters elected the widow of Sen. Keith Leftwich to fill the remaining three years of his term.

Democrat Debbe Leftwich beat Republican Brian Maughan 2,979 (54.5 percent) to 2,482 (45.5 percent), according to unofficial returns from the Oklahoma County Election Board.

Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City, died in September after a long battle with cancer.

In other school bond issue elections, Edmond voters approved an $18.2 million, two-part proposal.

Proposition 1, $17.35 million for multiple projects, received 1,055 (74 percent) votes for and 368 (26 percent) votes against. Proposition 2, $850,000 for 11 buses and a sport utility vehicle, passed 1,058 (74 percent) to 365 (26 percent).

In Kingfisher, a bond issue that failed by 12 votes in May won easy passage.

Voters approved a $7.41 million bond issue to construct a new middle school by a vote of 901 (70.89 percent) to 370 (29.11 percent), much to the delight of Kingfisher Superintendent Max Thomas.

``The children are the victors on this,'' Thomas said. ``We're excited and appreciative of the support for the school.''

To pass, the bond proposal needed at least a 60 percent super majority of the vote.

The failed May proposal called for a $6.9 million bond issue. The increase to $7.41 million came as a result of increased expenses, according to school officials.