Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Local News

November 3, 2012

Countdown to SORC closure begins

Vote passes to transition state facilities to community care — What has been a highly divisive and debated issue through care for disabled residents over the past several years resulted in a decision Thursday, both met with praise and condemnation.

Both feelings resulted after a special meeting for the Oklahoma Commission for Human Services in Oklahoma City where commissioners voted six to three to close both the Southern Oklahoma Resource Center in Pauls Valley and its sister site in Enid.

Conducted primarily by Commission Chairman Wes Lane, the conclusion of a Department of Human Services (DHS) plan presented was that while money could continue to be dedicated to maintain aging facilities like those in Pauls Valley, the best option appeared to be a transition to various forms of community based care.

“So now the decision on what to do with these facilities rests with this commission. Do we request an appropriation of $34 million to expend on needed capitol improvements at these facilities... Or do we transition the residents out of resource centers into homes in communities where they can live like the majority of Oklahomans with the same developmental disabilities,” Lane said before the vote, adding how the vote was important because he did not feel it was appropriate to pass the issue on to someone else or delay it any further.

“Over the past year this commission has devoted a considerable amount of time on determining the future of these two remaining state owned operating facilities that provide care to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities... now we are at a crossroads.”

Though the meeting agenda did not allow for comments from those in attendance, Commissioner Mike Peck of Enid did call for a plea for his fellow commissioners to reject the proposal.

He referenced his own plan that would have closed SORC and transitioned residents to both NORCE and community options and how it was both denied a vote when Gov. Mary Fallin suspended any action to review the matter personally and when new commissioners were appointed several weeks ago.

Peck questioned the vote that only appeared days before election day on Tuesday that offers voters a chance to abolish the DHS commission through State Question 765.

His alternatives suggested allowing the advisory panel which would be then put in place if the commission were abolished handle the matter or even if the commission remained, to take a retreat to revisit any plans further.

“Four days ago I was given a draft on the resolution on how the commission was going to deal the SORC, NORCE and the community based issue... interestingly I was given no input on how this resolution works and I don’t think any of the other commissioners were either,” said Peck.

“I realize that the greatest risk that we take in the state of Oklahoma by not offering this other option is that the home based care providers will have the state of Oklahoma basically hostage because they don’t have to take anybody they don’t want to,” he said.

“If we don’t have another option for them then they can set the fees at whatever they want because we no longer have any choice.”

According to the plan, it calls for a closure date of no later than April 30, 2014 for SORC and Aug. 31, 2015 for NORCE.

As far as transition, the plan notes how parents or guardians will be involved in the process of developing a community home for their loved ones with no additional cost or burden. Along with the support provided, no clients would be transferred until everything needed is in place.

Each resident will be assigned a case manager to make sure needs are being met with access to everything that community provides and to make sure that happens the Disability Services Division will allocate resources to meet the needs.

However, as all of the details of the plan is not complete, a panel of parents, professionals and state agency representatives will develop the rest of the plan to deal with transition as well as help individuals on the waiting list for home and community based services.

“I also have learned that the empirical data that’s been presented to me shows transition to community based housing from the institutional setting are without a doubt in my mind the best decision for the clients,” said Commissioner Brandon Clabes.

“Will everybody thrive and improve with this change, only God knows and I firmly believe the majority, if not all will be better,” Clabes said.

After the vote was held and during a recess, a few of the parents or guardians from SORC took the time to address their displeasure with commissioners and the new DHS director, Ed Lake.

Shelia Day, who has a loved one currently at the former state school in Pauls Valley, struggled to speak through tears as she explained how well he has done and how his condition could be jeopardized in a transition.

“I’m just devastated,” said Day, noting how she had finally found a place where Justin has thrived at 21 years old since he was 12 despite it being the third place for him.

“They’ve just squeezed and squeezed and I’m afraid he’ll be one of the 15 percent that don’t survive... I don’t need people to make promises they cannot keep.”

Editors note: This is the first part of a series of stories based on the issue, more to follow in a future edition of the PV Democrat.

Text Only
Local News
  • Senior Housing Addition Senior housing gets first tenants

    The time is now for the official day one of a senior housing project as work continues to move forward on the west side of Pauls Valley.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bob's Pig Shop Fire Bob's Pig Shop Fire


    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • A school election that is no more

    First there was an election date, now there’s not as Wynnewood school officials are starting over searching for a new plan to address building needs.

    July 28, 2014

  • Dancing VBS Good times for VBS volunteers

    Summer can provide a plethora of enriching opportunities for kids with plenty of time to spend. One of the most popular avenues has always been the good old-fashioned vacation Bible school.

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • Pup up for adoption 7-25-14 Pauls Valley Pup up for Adoption


    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • One hurt in head-on wreck

    Authorities are not sure what caused a vehicle to veer to the left resulting in a head-on collision near Hennepin early Wednesday.

    July 25, 2014

  • Winners plentiful at peach festival

    With no shortage of visitors making the Stratford Peach Festival a summer destination, it was a win-win situation for all parties this past weekend.

    July 24, 2014

  • Indian Meridian and Grant Wreck Indian Meridian and Grant Wreck


    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Search on for new 911 boss

    The search for a replacement is now on after it was announced the coordinator of Garvin County’s 911 center is stepping down.

    July 24, 2014

  • Stratford Peach Festival 2014 PeachFest draws big crowd

    Unseasonably comfortable weather, a day full of family fun and one of the best fruit crops in recent years. Mix that together and you have one of the best-attended Stratford Peach Festival’s on record.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Business Marquee

  • How You Want It When You Want It Today's Pauls Valley Democrat

    Now you can view and download the Democrat right to your desktop on the day the paper is published. Click here to get more information on the Democrat's e-Edition.





    e-mail request to

    April 20, 2011 1 Photo 1 Link

AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage