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UPDATE: Pott. County Courthouse closes to public due to COVID-19

Elisabeth Slay

Pottawatomie County Commissioners have declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19 concerns and have closed the Pottawatomie County Courthouse and its offices to the public effective immediately, except for limited court functions.

According to the commissioners' proclamation following a special meeting Wednesday, the state of emergency is for 30 days unless otherwise lifted or expanded and enacts the Pottawatomie County Emergency Plan.

District 1 Commissioner Melissa Dennis said the County Courthouse will be closed to the public except for limited court functions and only employees and essential personnel will be granted access.

Dennis explained the commissioners will hold their regular meeting Monday, March 23 to handle purchase orders, payroll and other such functions and plan to hold another meeting April 6 to revisit the closure of the courthouse and the possibility of an extension.

For inquiries regarding filings, correspondence and other county functions, Dennis said community members can call the County Clerk’s office at (405) 273-8222, the Court Clerk’s office at (405) 273-3624, the Assessor at (405) 275-4740 and the Treasurer at (405) 273-0213.

According to an Emergency Response Order from the Pottawatomie County District Court, District Court in the county is operational for limited court functions with temporary adjustments due to COVID-19 concerns.

The order states that all court functions including the Civil Division, Domestic and Family Court dockets and Probate and Guardianship Division dockets are suspended until the week of April 20 unless emergency matters occur.

In addition the order states, Fine and Cost appearance dockets are suspended until the week of April 20.

Felony and Misdemeanor Criminal Division items and all juvenile matters can continue to operate with temporary adjustments as outlined in guidelines by the District Judge.

Court advises the public to call the following judges' office for any information they need pertaining to these and other court functions.

The judges include District Judge John G. Canavan, Jr. at (405) 275-1296; Associate District Judge Tracy McDaniel at (405) 273-4308; Special District Judge David Cawthon at (405) 273-0971 and Special District Judge Emily Mueller at (405) 273-0971.

In addition, the County Election Board located in the Pottawatomie County Commissioners Office on Acme Road is also closed.

However, according to a press release the office released Wednesday, the Election Board will continue to conduct business as usual by phone, email and mail.

The release said business hours may be adjusted due to the unusual circumstances but those who call or email with inquiries will receive a response in a timely manner and those who need to handle business in person can contact the County Election Board to make arrangements.

For more information, the County Election Board encourages people to contact their office at PottawatomieCounty@elections.ok.gov or call (405) 273-8376.

While the County Courthouse is closed, Pottawatomie County Sheriff Mike Book said the County Sheriff's Office will continue helping the county.

All county offices and elected officials will continue monitoring the COVID-19 situation as it continues to change and provide the public with new information as it becomes available.

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