Bankruptcies Rise 18.7% in October

Article excerpt

Filings during October at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Oklahoma were up 18.7 percent from October 1999.

Bankruptcy filings at the court totaled 1,031 for the month, the highest since 1,072 cases were filed in March. Filings in October 1999 totaled 868.

Filings for the first 10 months of the year totaled 8,810, down 8.2 percent from 9,603 for the first 10 months of 1999.

Heath joins firm

Donald F. Heath Jr. has joined Musser & Bunch. He had been in private practice in Oklahoma City focusing on oil and gas and real property issues.

Reno makes surprise visit

U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno made an unannounced stop in Tulsa Tuesday at a national conference concerned with domestic abuse against American Indian women.

"Unless we end violence in the home and against the people we love ... it will be handed down to youth of today and youth of tomorrow that domestic violence is a way of life," Reno told about 350 people attending the third annual Women Are Sacred Conference.

Reno's visit was not publicly announced.

The national average of American Indian women raped or sexually assaulted is seven in every 1,000. That number is considerably higher than the three out of every 1,000 for African Americans and 2 out of 1,000 for white women, Reno said.

Reno said a change of attitudes and federal funding are the two solutions to the problem.

She cited her work as a district attorney in Miami in 1979 as a way she has seen community attitudes change toward violence against women. At that time, she said the thought about many women who had been battered, stalked or raped was that they had done something wrong.

But she said that attitude changed and more women came forth with complaints of violence when counseling programs were set up and punishment against domestic violence offenders was strengthened.

Reno said that by the end of fiscal year 2000, 265 tribal governments will have received a total of $34 million as a result of the Violence Against Women Act, signed by President Clinton in 1994.

While that funding is a step in the right direction, Reno acknowledged there is still room for improvement.

"The one thing I ask you to do is don't give up," she said. "I have seen the change."

Ward gets post

A longtime Oklahoma Department of Corrections employee will become the agency's new associate director, Corrections Director James L. Saffle announced Tuesday.

Ron J. Ward, who had served as regional director of the Eastern Region since January 1998, is replacing Mary Livers, who recently resigned. Ward began his career with the DOC in 1980 as a correctional officer at the Ouachita Correctional Center.

In September 1992, Ward was promoted to warden at the Howard McLeod Correction Center and was subsequently named warden at Oklahoma State Penitentiary in November 1994. He served there until his appointment as regional director. Ward graduated from East Central State University in 1992 with a bachelor's in adult corrections.

Drug court

conference offered

Actor Gary Busey, an Oklahoma native, will be the featured speaker at this year's Community Based Drug Court Conference scheduled Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at the Westin Hotel.

The conference is sponsored by the Oklahoma Drug Court Association in partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, the Council on Law Enforcement and Training, and the Criminal Justice Resource Center.

Geared toward treatment, judicial, criminal justice and legislative officials, the conference will promote the use of drug courts as an alternative to incarceration.

Busey, a Tulsa native, is a 1995 California drug court graduate. He will speak on his experience "Climbing the Hill to Recovery" at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 1.

An actor and musician whose career includes more than 65 motion pictures, such as Lethal Weapon and Under Siege, Busey was nominated for an Academy Award for the 1978 film The Buddy Holly Story. …