Medical weed, young leaders, city trails

225

February 14th figures to be a red-letter day for Yukon.

Obviously, it is Valentine’s Day and many of you will spend time with your sweetheart.
As Yukon recovers from its annual chocolate fix (also known as the Feb. 2nd “Chocolate Festival”), two important events will occur on Valentine’s Day 2019.

The first, in the morning, is a hearing in Canadian County District Court in the case styled Charles Edward Bishop III, et al vs. City of Yukon.

You undoubtedly have heard about the lawsuit filed last fall by three residents against the City of Yukon over the city’s new medical marijuana ordinance.

These residents want to operate medical marijuana businesses in Yukon city limits but believe the city’s ordinance is too restrictive and an overreach of the city’s legislative authority. The plaintiffs allege Yukon has infringed upon their rights and privileges under State Question 788, which was passed by Oklahoma voters last June and legalized possession of marijuana for medical purposes.

Under Yukon’s ordinance, passed unanimously last September by the city council, a medical marijuana retailer cannot be within 1,000 feet of a school or 300 feet of a museum, playground, childcare center, church, park, pool, recreation facility, halfway house, correctional facility, substance abuse treatment center, or another marijuana business.
City officials contend enactment of this ordinance was proper under their “police powers” to protect the health, welfare and safety of citizens. The defendant says the ordinance only requires that retail marijuana retailers are in commercially zoned areas, subject to the same location restrictions as liquor stores.

The Valentine’s Day court hearing before District Judge Paul Hesse will allow attorneys for both sides to present evidence and argue their positions.

If Judge Hesse grants a temporary injunction against Yukon, the battle will not be over. A trial would then be scheduled on the merits of the case before the matter is resolved.
I have given up trying to predict the outcome of court cases, so we all must stay tuned to see how Judge Hesse rules after Thursday’s hearing.

I know there are people here who do benefit from properly prescribed, legal marijuana products to deal with pain and other health maladies. Enforcement of medical marijuana laws is critical to ensure licensed physicians prescribe marijuana to patients who truly need it.

SQ 788 was approved by 57 percent of Oklahoma voters. That is a strong majority, so everyone must accept that medical marijuana is allowed in our state.

* * *

Meanwhile, Valentine’s Day will be a memorable one for a special group of Yukon High School students. This is the 20th year for the YHS Leaders of Tomorrow program led by “Mr. A.” Darryl Andrews. Darryl is the longtime YHS Leadership advisor who Jim Poe (Yukon’s Volunteer of the Year) likes to call “Mr. Yukon.”

Whether he’s Mr. Yukon or Mr. A, Darryl Andrews is an educator who makes things happen.

Whether it’s a blood drive, pep assembly, Student Council convention, or food drive, whatever Darryl touches seems to flourish.

Next Thursday, 17 freshmen who comprise the 2018-19 YHS Leaders of Tomorrow class will receive graduation certificates at a Yukon Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Many of those students will talk to the audience about the influence Mr. A has had on them.
The Yukon chamber-sponsored Leaders of Tomorrow program would not have lasted 20 years without Darryl’s direction … and Yukon banker David Goodwin’s vision.

* * *

You may have noticed construction recently along stretches of Poplar Avenue and Cornwell.
A contractor is installing more than just a sidewalk, but a trail that ultimately will connect Dickenson Park with Lake Overholser.

Yukon city leaders want to improve residents’ health, and a major part of this effort is providing more opportunities for people to safely walk and ride their bicycles.

Yukon was awarded a federal grant last year that covers 80 percent of the $827,647.33 cost for 1.75 miles of new trail from Dickenson Park (First and Poplar) to the east city limits along Lakeshore Drive. Yukon’s section of this walking/bike trail will connect with the Lake Overholser trail.

City grant writer Claudia Krshka also has written a grant seeking $240,000 in federal funds for a 4,402-foot long concrete trail and bridge at L.C. Taylor Park, 410 N 11th.

It took four years for the city to receive the grant for the Dickenson Park-to-Lake Overholser trail. Let’s hope the Taylor Park trail can be funded sooner!

To see how valuable a walking/bicycle trail is to a community, just visit Chisholm Trail Park (500 W Vandament) on any nice day.