Small Businesses Should be Prepared for ICE Investigations

Story by Staff Reports found in Bixby Bulletin.com

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has begun notifying 1,000 businesses nationwide it wants to review their I-9 forms and other documents to make sure they are hiring only people authorized to work in the United States. The Form I-9 is used by employers to verify an employee’s identity and legal status.

The government is focusing on companies vital to national security and other government and economic functions, but other businesses may be subject to inspection at any time.

“Employers must take the ICE investigations very seriously,” said Jerrod Shouse, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, Oklahoma’s leading small-business association.

Fines for I-9 violations range from $110 to $1,100 for one single, minor, or technical violation. Incorrect I-9 forms can be used as evidence of knowingly hiring an illegal alien that can result in a fine of up to $3,200 per violation.

Here’s how to prepare for an ICE investigation:

  • Make sure I-9 forms are completed correctly and accurately for all new hires.  There is no small business exception for the Form I-9.  Ensure the employee completes section one of the I-9 on the first day of employment. Accept only original documents, not photocopies, and don’t require additional documents from foreign employees.
  • Keep I-9 forms separate from other HR files. A separate file should be kept for terminated employees.
  • Conduct an in-house audit of I-9 forms and correct mistakes. Do not…

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Legislators Call for Oklahoma to be Better Prepared for Tonadoes

Story by Staff Reports found on BixbyBulletin.com

Two Oklahoma legislators are responding to abnormally violent tornadoes that pounded the state in the spring by calling for studies on tougher building codes and more storm shelters in certain areas. Oklahoma was one of three states in late May that experienced a rash of tornadoes that claimed 15 lives and displaced hundreds of people. The storms came just days after the nation’s most deadly tornado struck Joplin, Missouri, claiming the lives of 155 people.

The Tulsa Sun reported that Reps. Pat Ownbey, R-Ardmore, and Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, are requesting a state study on the viability of increasing access to storm shelters, as well as the possibility of increased building code standards. Currently, Oklahoma does not have a statewide building code standard and leaves it up to local jurisdiction.

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) recently…

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Verizon Wireless Set to Launch 4G LTE in Tulsa Area

Story found on PR Newswire

TULSA, Okla., June 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Verizon Wireless announced today that it is bringing the world’s first large-scale 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network to Tulsa, OK on July 21. The new 4G LTE network will cover Tulsa north to Collinsville, south to Bixby, east to Broken Arrow, and west to Sand Springs. Additional cities of interest within the initial coverage area include Claremore, Sapulpa, Jenks and Owasso.  Verizon Wireless customers with 4G LTE smartphones, laptop modems and hotspots will be able to take advantage of speeds up to 10 times faster than the company’s 3G network.

“This is great news for Tulsa. Our customers will now get the largest, fastest wireless network in America.  There has never been a better time to switch to Verizon Wireless,” said Steve Smith, president – South Central Region of Verizon Wireless. “Regardless of how you use 4G LTE – for business or personal use, for uploading pictures or downloading files – everything you do on your smartphone or laptop will happen at a speed incredibly faster than any other network.”

In real-world, fully-loaded network environments, 4G LTE users should experience average data rates of 5 to 12 megabits per second (Mbps) on the downlink and 2 to 5 Mbps on the uplink. Verizon Wireless introduced the globe’s first large-scale LTE network on December 5, 2010, covering more than 110 million Americans, and is quickly expanding national coverage, currently offering service in 74 metropolitan areas. The company is rapidly building out its 4G LTE network, and is on course to deliver 4G LTE to its entire 3G wireless footprint by the end of 2013.

As the first wireless company in the world to broadly deploy game-changing 4G LTE technology, Verizon Wireless is…

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BTC Broadband Awards Scholarships

Story found in GTR Newspapers

BTC Broadband, on behalf of the Daily Family, awarded two $1,500 scholarships. Casey Jo Smith, a Bixby High School graduate and Audra Hendrixson, a Liberty Mounds High School graduate are the well-deserved recipients of the 2011 scholarships.

Bixby High School’s graduate is Casey Jo Smith. Smith has earned a 3.84 GPA and plans on continuing her education at the University of Oklahoma, majoring in health and exercise with a goal of pursuing her doctorate in physical therapy. Smith was active at Bixby High School: senior class secretary, National Honor Society treasurer, varsity cheer captain, and a leader in the “Every 15 Minutes” program hosted by the Safeteam. She participated in the German Club and Business Professionals of America. She has many volunteer hours to her credit: BHS baseball concessions, Project Transformation, vacation Bible school, summer elementary cheer camps, Upward Football cheer coach, Bixby Green Corn Festival, Alzheimer’s Memory Walk, St. Jude’s Children Hospital Fundraiser, and more. Some of her honors are Girls State Delegate, Optimist Club Student of the Month, homecoming attendant, and cheerleading competition awards.

Liberty Mounds High School’s graduate is Audra Hendrixson. She has earned a 3.71 GPA and plans on continuing her education at Tulsa Community College, majoring in elementary education. Hendrixson was active in FCCLA, FCA, Student Council, Yearbook, Prom Committee, softball, and was the senior class president. She also received the following awards and honors: Superintendents Honor Roll, Principals Honor Roll, and Student of the Month, Who’s Who National Honor Society, Academic Excellence, Liberty School Endowment Foundation Scholar 2009, English Excellence Award and Science Excellence Award.

“BTC Broadband is proud to present Casey and Audra the Daily Family Scholarships to assist with their future successes. We wish them the best of luck with their higher education goals,” says Kelly Wilkerson, marketing manager.

BTC Broadband is a cutting edge, broadband communications company offering intelligent communication and entertainment products in Oklahoma. The company provides a variety of services to both residential and business customers, including…

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Bixby Teacher of the Year

Story by Staff Reports found in TulsaWorld.com

Three Districts Name Teachers of the Year

A fifth-grade teacher, a high school coach and a high school special education teacher are 2011 teachers of the year in Bixby, Collinsville and Glenpool.

In Bixby, Delana McManus, a fifth-grade reading and English teacher, was named teacher of the year.

McManus, who teaches at the Brassfield 5th and 6th Grade Center, is a national board-certified teacher in middle school literacy. She received a bachelor’s degree in early childhood at Northeastern State University and her master’s and doctorate degrees at Oklahoma State University.

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SpiritBank Re-acquires SpiritBank Event Center

Story from Staff Reports of BixbyBulletin.com

SpiritBank announced today that it has re-acquired the SpiritBank Event Center from MacPot, LLC, a real estate investment group that acquired the facility last year. The center is located at 106th Street & Memorial Drive.

A spokesperson for MacPot said, “We entered this transaction with certain plans for the facility, but because of the uncertainties in the economy those plans have changed. We believe it makes a lot of sense for the bank to own and operate this property. We appreciate and value our relationship with SpiritBank and look forward to watching the facility continue to evolve for the Tulsa and Bixby area.”

SpiritBank’s mortgage lending offices, formally in the bank’s branches, were consolidated and moved this month into the Event Center complex. “It’s over 6,000 square feet of a first class mortgage operation of which I’m very proud,” said Scott Veitch, President of SpiritBank Mortgage. “Having all our operations under one roof provides a great synergy for the bank and for the customers at a convenient destination point. We’ll also be able to have educational seminars for customers, builders and realtors with the banquet facilities here.”

The bank’s primary…

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Bixby Metro Chamber Finalist to Host Summit League

Story by Mike Brown of Tulsa World Sports Extra

The Bixby Metro Chamber of Commerce is a finalist to host the 2013-14 Summit League basketball championships at the SpiritBank Event Center.

Summit League presidents meet Tuesday in Chicago and are expected to decide whether to keep their postseason tournament in Sioux Falls, S.D., for an additional two years.

It might be a tough choice. The event has drawn the three highest all-session attendance totals in league history in its first three years in Sioux Falls, with one more year scheduled under the current contract for 2012.

Corporate sponsorships are also at an all-time high. For the second straight year, the tournament raised $300,000 in sponsorships.

But some league administrators favor moving the tournament periodically so that no one school or group of schools permanently enjoys what amounts to a homecourt advantage.

South Dakota State’s campus in Brookings is about an hour’s drive from Sioux Falls, as is the University of South Dakota campus in Vermillion. USD becomes eligible for the tournament in 2013.

Meanwhile, insiders say Bixby’s bid for 2013-14 is extremely competitive.

“We were impressed by the Bixby presentation. They really stepped up to the plate,” Summit League commissioner Tom Douple said.

The tournament was last held in Tulsa at the Union Multipurpose Activity Center in 2005-08, under the Tulsa Sports Commission.

“We know that Sioux Falls has done a tremendous job of hosting the tournament,” said Lisa Navrkal, president and CEO of the Bixby Metro Chamber of Commerce. “But we’d like to see it back here in Tulsa.”

Navrkal said…

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Bixby Historical Society’s Pioneer Family Breakfast

PIONEER FAMILY BREAKFAST

The Breakfast starts at 8:00 a.m. followed by a program on this year’s

PIONEER FAMILY OF THE YEAR: The WILLIAM JOSEPH and JULIE HALPAIN FAMILY and their descendants. Including long time Bixby/Leonard area residents: Leon, Art & Howard Smith and Helen (Beene) Cox among others.

Suggested Donation: $6 per Person

Call 918-366-1200 for more information