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July 9, 2013

Storm recovery almost finished in east part of county

NORMAN — Tornado cleanup in east Cleveland County is nearing completion, according to District 2 County Commissioner Darry Stacy.

“We are just completing our first pick-up of construction and vegetative debris. We’ll start our final pick up July 15,” Stacy said. “It’s going very well.”

Residents in east Norman near Lake Thunderbird and the Little Axe area were hit by tornadoes May 19. Damage was extensive, and the heavily wooded area has meant a lot of vegetative debris. Several homes also were destroyed or damaged. Cleveland County crews and a private contractor are working on picking up debris.

County commissioners continued with a heavy schedule of annual routine contract renewals and other business as the new fiscal year was under way. Among the contracts approved Monday was an agreement with Alcohol & Drug Testing Inc.

“When we hire someone new, they take a drug test,” Commission Chair Rusty Sullivan said. “Also, all of our CDL drivers are randomly tested.”

The independent testing company determines who is tested on any given day, Sullivan said. The routine, random testing of those with a Commercial Driver’s License is mandated by state and federal regulations.

While some heavy equipment doesn’t require a CDL, the county takes steps to ensure county employees are drug and alcohol free while on the job.

“It’s our policy at our barn that everyone who works there that drives heavy equipment is randomly tested,” Sullivan said.

That initiative is effective countywide in Cleveland County.

“I run background checks, as well,” Sullivan said. “If they’re in a county vehicle or representing the county, we want to make sure we have the best people and that they have clean backgrounds and are drug free.”

In other county business, Commissioner Rod Cleveland said the south parking lot project is moving forward and should be completed by Aug. 1.

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