Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Grand Opening for Sequoyah’s Cabin Set for Thursday

The Cherokee Nation is planning a grand opening for Sequoyah’s Cabin, the historic property northeast of Sallisaw the tribe purchased from the state last year.

The grand opening will be held from 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. Thursday.

The historic site has undergone a complete renovation, a spokesman said, including a renovated gift shop with new walls around both the gift shop and cabin, which is enclosed for protection.

A new collection of historic items and photos has been added and a new children’s area is under construction. The grounds are also undergoing more maintenance.

The spokesman said the site has remained open while renovations were underway, and tours are available.

According to the website, Sequoyah’s Cabin is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was designated as a National Literary Landmark in 2006.

Sequoyah built this one-room log cabin in 1829, shortly after moving to Oklahoma. The actual cabin is located inside a stone memorial building built by the Works Progress Administration in 1936 and is surrounded by a 10-acre park. The cabin is made of hewn logs with a stone chimney and fireplace and is maintained as a historic house museum, furnished to appear as it might have when Sequoyah lived there. There are relics and documents associated with his life on display. 

Sequoyah, also known as George Guess or George Gist, was born in Tennessee around 1778. He was among the “Old Settlers” of Cherokee Nation, who migrated to present-day Oklahoma and western Arkansas around 1818, prior to the Trail of Tears. Though lame in one leg, Sequoyah became known as a skilled blacksmith and silversmith as well as an artist. 

In 1809, he began experimenting with an alphabet for the Cherokee language. After many years of experimentation, Sequoyah realized the Cherokee language is composed of a set number of recurring sounds. With this insight he identified the sounds and created a symbol for each sound, producing a syllabary. By the 1820s, his work was complete. When Sequoyah demonstrated that he and his daughter, Ahyokah (Ah-yo-ka), could communicate by reading written messages, the teaching of the syllabary spread and literacy rates among Cherokees soared within just a few years.

Sequoyah left his eastern home in 1818 to operate a salt production and blacksmith works near present-day Russellville, Ark. In 1828, Sequoyah joined a delegation sent to Washington by the Arkansas Cherokees to make a treaty to exchange their lands for lands in Indian Territory. Following this trip, Sequoyah traded his land and salt works for land located on Big Skin Bayou Creek in Indian Territory.

Sequoyah's Cabin is located on Oklahoma 101, seven miles east of U.S. Highway 59 in Sallisaw.

The site is open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

The phone number is (918) 775-2413​.

Cherokee Nation took ownership from the Oklahoma Historical Society in November 2016 when the Oklahoma Historical Society was no longer able to operate and maintain the site due to budget cuts.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Jan Sebo: A Significant Woman in Oklahoma Agriculture

Jan and Don Sebo of Spiro operate 
one of the largest sod farms in the region.

Near the Oklahoma-Arkansas border is the small town of Spiro, population of 2,167.

Twenty two years ago, even Jan Sebo could not have imagined that it would become home to one of the largest sod farms in the region, and she would be a part of that operation.

Jan was raised on her family farm in Spiro where her father ran a small operation of Angus cattle. There was not a 4-H program in the area, and FFA was not an option for young women at that time.

It wasn’t until marrying her high school sweetheart, Don Sebo, that Jan really had the opportunity to get involved with farming.

“We went to high school together,” Jan said, “and now we will have been married 45 years next month.”

The two were married in 1972, just a few months after high school graduation. Jan and Don began farming soybean and wheat on Don’s family farm that he ran with his father and older brother. In 1985, Don’s father retired and they bought his family farm. The early years of building their farm were full of long, hard hours.

Jan recalled early years of a severe drought where they had to irrigate 24 hours a day, moving the lines every four hours for a few weeks while their three children stayed with family.

But even through those difficult times, it was the life they both wanted to live.

“I enjoy it,” Jan said. “The Lord has blessed us with a good business, but it wasn’t without some stress.”

Their three children grew up in rodeo, and in the early 90s they met a couple at a rodeo that planted a seed for their future business.

“We met some people that had a sod farm near Durant,” Jan recalled. “They told us to look into it; we said ‘that’s not our kind of thing.’”

Five years later when their son Justin returned from college and decided to help with the family farm, the Sebos began a sod farm of 40 acres. After about a year, the sod farm had already begun to take off.

Twenty two years later, that 40-acre sod farm has grown to nearly 1,200 acres and has become one of the largest sod farms in the region with a tremendous market in Northwest Arkansas.

Some of their largest customers have been sports complexes, golf courses, Walmarts and commercial landscaping. In addition to their sod farm, they still run 1,500 head of Red Angus and Brangus, and raise 6,000 acres of soybeans, 1,500 acres of corn, 2,000 acres of wheat, 500 acres of alfalfa and a few hundred acres of oats.

Now that they can hire help on the farm, Jan’s role in the operation has changed over the years from running hay rake or plows to managing the finances of the farm. A job that cannot be praised enough according to Don.

“She has the hardest role of us all,” Don said. “She’s as good a money manager as there is.”

Jan and Don have also opened their farm to the Ag in the Classroom tour for the past two years, bringing over numerous teachers onto the farm, feeding them and giving them a tour of their sod and cattle operation.

“The Sebo Family graciously hosted the Ag in the Classroom summer road trip in 2015 and 2016,” said Audrey Harmon, Market Development Coordinator. “They provided an amazing lunch, as well as a tour of their cattle ranch and sod farm. They took time out of their busy schedule to educate the teachers about agriculture and answer all of their questions. Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom appreciates the Sebo family and their contributions to Oklahoma agriculture and increasing agricultural literacy.”

While a lot of hard work and years have gone in to building their successful farm together, the Sebos say they are blessed.

“God has been good to our family,” Don said. “We lean on the good Lord every day.”

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Make July 4 a Safe Day, Not a Sick Day

It’s time for Fourth of July celebrations – a time with family, friends, fireworks, a backyard barbecue, and maybe a trip to the lake. However, this American holiday is also one of the most dangerous.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) offers the following safety tips for preventing injuries and illness during this year’s Fourth of July activities:

Firework Safety

Obey all state and local laws regarding the sale, possession and use of fireworks.

A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities. Never give fireworks to children.

Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.

Make sure you, your kids and others watch fireworks from a safe distance.

Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area, away from buildings and vehicles.

Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.

Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.

Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and placing in a metal trash can away from any buildings or combustible materials until the next day.

Safe Food Preparation

Clean: Wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and running water before, during, and after handling food. Hold friends and family accountable by asking them if they washed their hands. Wash all surfaces and utensils with hot, soapy water before and after preparing each food item.

Separate: Avoid cross-contamination. Use separate cutting boards, plates and utensils for fresh fruits/veggies and for raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs. Also make sure to keep these items separate when shopping at the grocery store, storing in the refrigerator and during preparation.

Cook: Grill and cook all meat products to the correct temperature. Use a food thermometer to correctly measure temperatures. Hamburgers should be brown throughout, with no pink in the center and reaching at least 160 degrees. Whole poultry should reach at least 165 degrees; and leftovers should also reach 165 degrees when reheated.

Chill: Leaving food sitting out all day to snack on can cause abdominal discomfort and diarrhea. To prevent illness, refrigerate easily spoiled foods within two hours. If the temperature is 90 degrees or higher, refrigerate within one hour.

Illness: Do not cook food for others when you are ill. If you have had vomiting or diarrhea, wait at least 72 hours after symptoms have stopped before preparing food for others.

Grilling Safety

Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.

Never grill indoors – not in your house, camper, tent or any enclosed area.

Grill out in the open, away from the house, tree branches or anything flammable.

Use long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill.

Never add charcoal starter fluid or any other flammable liquids when coals have already been ignited.

Lake Safety

Always wear a life jacket when in the water or on a motorized water vehicle such as a boat or personal watercraft.

Stay alert for local weather conditions.

Check for warning signs or flags.

Protect the neck – don’t dive headfirst into the water. Walk carefully into open waters.

Never let your children swim alone. An adult should always be present and paying attention.

Always have a phone handy should an emergency arise.

Follow safe boating practices: use an observer if towing a person, stay a safe distance from the shore and use good judgment operating around other watercraft.

Chart a safe course. The Fourth of July is sometimes the first and only time people venture out on the water after dark. Visual navigation markers you rely on during the day may not be visible.

Designate a sober driver. The side effects of alcohol are impaired judgment, reduced balance and poor coordination, which are magnified by the boating environment. It is illegal to operate a boat or water ski with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more.

Sun Exposure

Try to limit sun exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when UV levels are the highest.

Always wear a sun protective factor (SPF) of at least 15 with UVA and UVB protection and reapply every two hours, even on cloudy days.

Stay hydrated and watch for signs of heat stroke – high body temperature, hot, red, dry or damp skin, headache, nausea, and/or passing out. A heat stroke is a medical emergency; call 911 is someone is showing these warning signs.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Fireworks Extravaganzas Planned

It’s time to celebrate the U.S. of A. on July 4, and Sequoyah County towns are planning explosive celebrations.

Fireworks shows will be held in Roland, Sallisaw, Vian, at Lake Tenkiller, and hopefully at Webbers Falls.

Travis Cox, Webbers Falls fire chief, said the town will definitely have a Fourth of July celebration, but he isn’t sure where it will be held. Town officials said the Webbers Falls Park, where the celebration is usually held, was badly damaged in a recent storm and cannot be used for the celebration.

Cox said it is hoped the fireworks show, which is managed by the fire department, can be moved to the sports complex but, as of June 26, the details had not yet been worked out. Information will be published when plans are complete.

Roland plans a Fourth of July celebration on July 1 (Saturday). The celebration begins at 5 p.m. and continues with the annual fireworks show at dusk.

The Roland Chamber of Commerce reports the festival includes free swimming at the Roland Pool, water slide inflatables, crafts, face painting, live music by War Pony from 7 to 9 p.m., foods and desserts, and door prize drawings.

Vian’s celebration will be held Monday, July 3. The fireworks show will be at dusk at the St. John Stadium. The Favorite Sons and Daughters Awards will begin around 8:30 p.m. There is no admission for the show, but donations will be taken at the gate. To enjoy the show to the fullest, it is recommend visitors come into the stadium to hear the music and support the Favorite Sons and Daughters program.

At Lake Tenkiller, the Greater Tenkiller Area Association (GTAA) will present the Lake Tenkiller Fireworks Extravaganza at dusk (9:30 p.m.) on Tuesday, July 4. They recommend the best viewing is towards the dam.

George Harris, GTAA board member, said this show has the possibility to be the biggest ever. Harris said the fireworks show at Lake Tenkiller is always a sight to behold and is a great way for people and families to enjoy a quality display.

Harris said, “The show will once again be shot from the Tenkiller State Park Sanitary Lagoon Area, which is just north of the campgrounds on the right as you enter the park. The area between the two big islands should afford excellent viewing. In addition, the shoot site is somewhat higher in elevation than the site on the dam that we have used on past years, so there should be excellent viewing in the central part of the lake, perhaps as far north as Cookson Bend and Sixshooter. Most of the shots should also be visible from Gore and Webbers Falls.” 

Sallisaw’s Fourth of July celebration will begin at 6:30 p.m. July 4 on the grounds at Sallisaw High School. The fireworks will blast off at dusk, and Marley Abell, who heads up the show for the Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce, said this year’s show includes about 2,200 shots. The largest will be the more than 125 shots of 5 and 6 inch shells. Along with these, there will be over 400 shots of 3 and 4 inch shells as well. 

The celebration includes traditional Fourth of July foods such as free hot dogs, chips and bottled water, as long as the supply lasts, and activities aimed mostly at children will include face painting, the chunk-it game, volleyball, bounce-a-rounds and more.

The celebration is free of charge and sponsors include the chamber and Sallisaw churches.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Sallisaw Police Seek Suspect Shoplifters

Sallisaw police are looking for two male suspect shoplifters.

The two men are believed to have shoplifted merchandise in Van Buren and Sallisaw.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sallisaw Police Department at 918-775-4141.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Refrigerator Causes Fire

A home at 221 S. Cedar in Sallisaw has smoke, water and fire damage after a refrigerator caught on fire at about 10 a.m. Thursday, Sallisaw Fire Chief Anthony Armstrong reported.

Home owner Mary England was not injured but was concerned about her dog which rushed back into the home after the fire began. Armstrong said firemen found the dog uninjured after they extinguished the fire and set up exhaust fans to remove smoke from the home.

Armstrong said about 15 firemen responded to the dispatch at 10:07 a.m. and had the fire out in about 10 minutes.

The Red Cross was contacted to assist England until the damage to the home, mostly behind the refrigerator, could be repaired, Armstrong said.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Cherokee Bike Ride Concludes in Tahlequah

Original 1984 Remember the Removal Bike Ride participant and 2017 Remember the Removal Bike Ride Mentor Rider Will Chavez leads the 19 other cyclists to the Cherokee Nation Courthouse Square in Tahlequah.

The 2017 Remember the Removal Bike Ride cyclists rolled into Tahlequah Thursday, completing their three-week journey retracing the northern route of the Trail of Tears.

The ride started on June 4 in New Echota, Ga., the former capital of the Cherokee Nation prior to removal. The 14 Cherokee Nation cyclists and six Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian cyclists rode nearly 1,000 miles across seven states.

The Cherokee Nation held a return ceremony at the Cherokee Nation courthouse square on Thursday, where tribal leaders, friends and family gathered to greet them.

“When I look out at these fine young adults today, I see a perseverance that carried our people from the old homelands to the new homelands. It is a perseverance that allowed our ancestors to not just survive, but prosper in their new home. I see that same Cherokee perseverance in these young men and women today,” said Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “Many times they have been asked, ‘Why are you doing this?’ with the answer always being, ‘To remember our ancestors and what they overcame.’ I commend each and every one of these riders for honoring them and showcasing the strength of the Cherokee people.”

The original Remember the Removal Bike Ride was in 1984, with the leadership program resuming as an annual ride in 2009. Cyclists learn about Cherokee Nation history, language and culture and get a glimpse of the hardships their ancestors faced while making the journey on foot.

This year, 33 years after the original ride, Will Chavez, a member of the 1984 group and assistant editor for the Cherokee Phoenix, joined the 2017 participants to serve as the inaugural mentor rider. 

“I really took being a mentor to heart. I wanted to encourage them and lead them the best I could,” said Chavez, 50. “I knew what it would take to come out here. You run through a lot of emotions. It’s tough.”

Throughout their journey, the Remember the Removal Bike Ride participants visited historical landmarks that were important to Cherokee people, including Blythe Ferry in Tennessee, which was the last part of the Cherokee homeland walked by the ancestors before beginning their journey into Indian Territory, and Mantle Rock in Kentucky, which provided shelter to many ancestors as they waited for safe passage across the frozen Ohio River.

Of the estimated 16,000 Cherokees forced to make the Trail of Tears journey to Indian Territory, about 4,000 died due to exposure, starvation and disease.

The 2017 Remember the Removal Bike Ride cyclists included the following:

Cherokee Nation 
Breanna Anderson, 21, Sand Springs
Brian Barlow, 22, Tahlequah
Ellic Miller, 23, Tahlequah
Gaya Pickup, 21, Salina
Hunter Scott, 16, Bunch

Hunter Scott, 16, Bunch
Macie Sullateskee, 19, Tahlequah
Raven Girty, 20, Gore
Shelby Deal, 19, Porum
Skylar Vann, 23, Locust Grove
Susie Q. Means-Worley, 24, Stilwell
Trey Pritchett, 19, Stilwell
KenLea Henson, 23, Proctor
Will Chavez, 50, Marble City, mentor rider
Sarah Holcomb, 28, Vian, trainer

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians 
Chavella Taylor, 26, Painttown, North Carolina
Israel Rodriguez, 26, Yellowhill, North Carolina
Renissa McLaughlin, 48, Birdtown/Big Cove, North Carolina
Sheyahshe Littledave, 32, Painttown, North Carolina
Zane Wachacha, 20, Snowbird, North Carolina 
Taylor Wilnoty, 20, Painttown, North Carolina

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

For more news stories stay tuned to The MIX 105.1 or visit www.kxmx.com