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Norman Notes, March 3

Daily Oklahoman - 3/3/2017

March 03--Police, Sunbeam partner to find missing people

The search for missing persons with dementia or other impaired conditions may get easier with a new program that provides tracking bracelets.

The bracelets emit a radio frequency to help police and caregivers locate someone who is lost due to conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, dementia, Down syndrome or autism. Sunbeam Family Services and the Norman Police Department launched the program this week.

The bracelet is distributed to clients and outfitted by Sunbeam Family Services and is worn permanently. It emits a radio frequency that can be picked up by the police department's radio receiver, which helps officers find the missing person. The program is similar to one started in Oklahoma City in 2015, which has proven effective, police officials said.

The Care Trak program is open to residents of Norman who have a diagnosed and documented cognitive impairment. Individuals must have a caregiver, no longer drive and be at risk of wandering by foot. The fee is based on ability to pay, said police spokeswoman Sarah Jensen. Donations made to Sunbeam's Care Trak program have made it possible to ensure that everyone who qualifies has access to the program regardless of ability to pay, Jensen said.

"While Care Trak will not take the place of caregiving, it will provide peace of mind to caregivers that their loved one can be found quickly and safely," said Jessica Welp, Sunbeam's senior care manager.

"Care Trac can reduce the time that the loved one is missing from hours or days to less than an hour."

The department currently has 12 officers who are certified to use the equipment, Jensen said.

For more information, call Welp at 609-8939 or email jwelp@sunbeamfamilyservices.org.

Contract awarded for east-side library construction

Norman City Council members on Tuesday approved awarding a contract for an east-side library branch to Globe Construction Company. The contract amount of $3.65 million will be funded by the Norman Forward sales tax initiative, a half-cent sales tax passed in October 2015.

The 12,000-square-foot East Branch Library will include 3,700 square feet of adult/teen space, 1,100 square feet of children's space, a public meeting room with seating for 100, a study room, computer stations, staff space and 38 reader seats.

Construction is expected to begin soon, with an estimated building time of 464 days. The library at 3001 E Alameda St., adjacent to Fire Station No. 9., will be a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design project, with native plants and grasses incorporated into the landscape.

Celebrate women

Mayor Lynne Miller has proclaimed March as Women's History Month in Norman. The theme is "Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business."

It's a fact

When it opened in 1966, the Norman Central library -- then Norman's only point for public library service -- served a population of about 30,000. Norman's population has grown to nearly 120,000. Bids for construction of a larger central library are set to be opened on March 23. A west-side branch library already is open at 300 Norman Center Court, and construction will begin soon on an east-side branch at 3001 E Alameda St.

Need answers?

Email questions about Norman to jcannon@oklahoman.com.

Email Jane Glenn Cannon at jcannon@oklahoman.com. Follow her on Twitter @janecannon.

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