County Commissioner

Monthly Archives: March 2014

Don Hawthorne of Cache has announced he is a candidate for re-election for Comanche County Commissioner, District 3.

 

Hawthorne said “I am proud of the accomplishments that we have made during my first term, but there is more I would like to see done.”

 

During Commissioner Hawthorne’s first term, he placed a major emphasis on repairing roads and bridges within the District and upgrading District 3 equipment.

 

Under his direction, the S.W. Lee Blvd project was completed. This project was 5.4 miles and cost over $6 million.  The road crew has redone over 60 miles of roads, using County Highway and FEMA funding.  Two bridges have been replaced and three more scheduled for replacement, as well as 42 bridges repaired. Working with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the City of Lawton, he initiated obtaining funding for the replacement of 112th Street between Cache Road and S.W. Lee Blvd.

 

He has upgraded District 3’s equipment, by replacing five older motor graders with new ones, bought a new backhoe and front-end loader, added newer trucks to the fleet, including obtaining a no interest loan from ODOT Revolving Fund for three 2014 10-wheel Mack dump trucks.  He also obtained a grant to purchase a new wood chipper.  He purchased a boom truck for trimming trees that hang over the road ways, a patch truck, and a Graudall to clean out bar ditches around culverts.

 

Commissioner Hawthorne values his relationship with local tribal governments.  Joint projects have been undertaken with both the Comanche Nation and the Kiowa Nation Transportation Departments.

 

He has made improvements to the District Barn adding 1,475 square feet of office space adjoining the existing structure using non-highway funds, which enhanced cohesiveness of the office staff and the road crewHawthorne stated, “We have a good team working in District 3.”

 

Commissioner Hawthorne prepared a balanced budget for the last two fiscal years for the County.  This was accomplished by working closely with other elected officials and department heads.

 

He currently serves on the Citizens Advisory Board for the Juvenile Detention Center and the Comanche County Health Department Board.  He is on the Board of Director’s of Circuit Engineering District # 6 representing Comanche County, and also is a member on the Association of County Commissioners of Oklahoma’s Legislative Committee.

 

Don graduated from Cache High School, where he was a member of the Bulldog baseball and basketball teams.  He then attended Oklahoma State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Management in 1965.

 

He began his federal service career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1965.  Later he transferred to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services and retired in 1999, with 33 years of service.

 

During his career, Don has held numerous positions of responsibility.  He has managed multiple levels of funding from federal, state, county and private sources.  He has been accountable for being a good steward of the monies that were entrusted to him, and to implement and manage programs that met the needs of the public.  Hawthorne received numerous awards and recognition for his leadership, management abilities and accomplishments.

 

After retirement from federal service, he served as Legislative Liaison for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture during the 1999 Session of the Oklahoma Legislature.  He was a Trustee and served as Chairman of the Cache Economic Development Authority.

 

Don has been married 51 years to Carolyn Holden Hawthorne.  They are the parents of 3 daughters, Dana, Sheri and Susanne and have five grandchildren.

 

He and his wife are active members of the First United Methodist Church of Cache and Don is the Church Treasurer.  He is a member of the National Cattlemen’s and the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Associations, the Oklahoma Farm Bureau and the National Rifle Association of America.  Don and his brother Arnold Hawthorne run a small cow/calf operation in the county.

 

Commissioner Hawthorne stated, “As rural populations continue to grow, more demands are put on our roads and bridges in the county.   I would like to have the opportunity to continue the improvements we are making in the Western District,  therefore I am seeking a second term.”

The ½ inch of rain we received in Comanche County was nice, but we all are well aware that much more is needed to break this long drought.  According to a recent report, we have a deficiency of over 50 inches of rainfall during the last 7 years.

I mentioned last month that we had 35 bridges out of 133 that were identified as needing some type of maintenance to keep them serviceable. The crew has repaired about half of those on the list, including replacing the wing wall on the bridge on old Cache Road where it passes under the railroad tracks.

We received the final bridge inspection report on the five truss bridges that we have in District 3.  All except one were determined to be in safe but fair condition.  The only one that rated a poor condition was over Medicine Creek at Medicine Park.  That rating was due to the condition of the deck.  This bridge is in the Town of Medicine Park, but the County has responsibility for inspections.  We have passed this information on to the City of Medicine Park officials.

We have been clearing out dead trees and limbs upstream from bridges to ensure the creeks and draws can handle high water, with hope the rains will come this spring.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation gave the County the beams from the I-44 overpass.  The beams are over 50 feet long and can be used in future bridge projects.

On March 10, 2014, the ODOT Commission approved $960,000 for the paving of Phase 2, which is the north end of the 112th Street project. The road crew has completely recycled the asphalt and we have acquired the needed right of ways.  The engineers will be meeting with the utilities companies concerning those that need to be moved.

At the request of the Fire Chief of the Paradise Valley Fire Department, we added gravel to their driveway from where a water meter had been removed.

The construction has begun by H K Builders, Inc. on putting a bridge on Gore Blvd. between Paint and Airport Roads to replace the low water crossing on Boulder Creek.  The total cost of the project is $692,000 and completion date is the 1st of June, depending upon the weather.

The road crew has recycled the old black top on 197th Road from State Highway 36 to Coffee Road.  This road is on our list to oil and chip this summer.

The bar ditches were cleaned on 197th Road between Woodland and Coombs Roads.  This was done to improve drainage and move the water away from the roadway.

With a fleet of trucks, graders, backhoes and loaders, it takes a lot of work to keep them serviced and running properly.  Wayne Cassell, and Kenneth Roach are the dedicated mechanics that we depend on to see to it that all the equipment is in tip top running order.  We appreciate being able to depend on these two guys to get the job done!

If you have questions or concerns, I can be contacted at don.hawthorne@comanchecounty.us or you may phone the Courthouse or County Barn.