Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Past & Present Quilt Show Is Friday and Saturday

The annual Quilts of Past & Present Quilt Show will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday at the Blackgum Harvestime Church.

The Sewing Sisters sponsor the show. Admission is $4.

This ninth annual show will feature judged and non-judged quilts, a vendor mall, boutique, demonstrations, and a tea room.

Items to be given away include a sewing basket filled with sewing and quilting supplies valued at over $250, a sewing machine tote, and a chair-side ironing table.

For more information call 918-457-9362 or 918-773-8767.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Pop Up Prairie Day Planned for Sept. 9

Pop Up Prairie Day will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 9 on the library lawn in downtown Sallisaw, and is free to all vendors.

The Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the event. Judy Martens, the chamber executive director, said this downtown event is the outcome of a workshop held earlier this year. Deb Brown of SaveYour.Town encouraged chamber members to try different projects to bring life to a small town and to get people enthused about their small town.

“We’re pleased that Main Street is already trying some of her suggestions,” Martens said about the Main Street organization’s Thursday Night Locals in downtown Sallisaw.

Martens said Pop Up Prairie Day will have three areas for pop up stores. There will be areas for foods, for flea market tents and a retail section that will include new arts and crafts. Individual spaces will be about 10 feet, or about the size of a pop-up tent.

Musicians are also invited, and it is hoped will provide entertainment while performing under the gazebo on the library lawn.

Martens said the chamber will coordinate efforts with the Sallisaw Farmers Market, held every Saturday and Wednesday morning in downtown Sallisaw.

Application forms for Pop Up Prairie Day will be available on the chamber’s website by the end of the week. Martens said those interested should stay in touch with the chamber’s Facebook page to download an application form. Forms will also be mailed upon request.

For more information contact the chamber at 918-775-2558.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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School Remodeling Continues at Dwight Mission

Dwight Mission Camp and Conference Center continues with its $2 million building project, said Dr. Robert J. Duncan Jr. this week.

Duncan is the mission’s executive director.

He said the project is to renovate the mission’s 1917 school house into a Heritage and Administration Center.

We are in phase one of an eight-year campaign,” Duncan said. “The campaign is to preserve our history.”

The first phase is the renovation of the 100-year-old school house. It will eventually include a Heritage Center and administration offices.

The building has three floors. Plans are to remodel the first (or basement) floor for conference rooms. The second floor will be for meeting rooms, offices and for the heritage display, and the 200-seat auditorium on the third floor will be renovated.

Duncan said the 200-seat auditorium has 100 chairs on one side for the boys, and one chairs on the other side for girls. He said the boys’ seats all had places underneath for the boys to stow their hats. The plans are for all those auditorium seats to be restored with hat racks during phase two.

At the present time, two outdoor stair towers are being added at the front and back of the building. Duncan said the towers are regular steel fire towers which bring the building up to the state fire marshal’s code.

Also underway or complete is a new roof and siding and elevators. Duncan said the area in front of the building is being graded so that visitors will not have to climb steps to the Heritage Center.

He expects the remodeling to be complete in September. Then the mission will begin the campaign to raise money for the interior remodeling. Duncan said that is expected to cost $1 million to $1.5 million. The exterior remodeling is projected to cost $1 million plus.

Crawford Construction of Fort Smith is the contractor on the project.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Marine Corps League on the March Upward

It’s all about helping others.

That’s why the members of the Cpl. Joshua J. Ware Detachment #1403 of the Marine Corps League in Sequoyah County are working hard to rebuild their organization.

The detachment took a hit last year when the commander was charged with embezzlement, and eventually removed from office. That allegation has been turned over to the justice system, and the detachment is rebuilding, said present commander, Bill Brocker.

On the agenda are a toy drive for Christmas (not titled Toys for Tots), assisting the families of veterans and the military, the search for a building, buying uniforms and rifles for honor detachments, a barbecue pit, water tent, and food trailer.

“We are still in the planning stages,” Brocker said this week. “We are looking for boxes and barrels to put out for the toy drive, that we will not call Toys for Tots. But donors may still get a tax deduction.”

Brocker said all funds donated to the detachment stay mainly in Sequoyah County. A few from Muskogee County will help families there.

“We will be putting out the boxes or barrels shortly after Halloween this year,” Brocker said. Brocker said he has been visiting with those who have supported the detachment and its programs in the past.

“We’re trying to be more visible. I’ve been visiting with individuals, businesses and industries that have supported us. We’re trying to rebuild our detachment and our reputation,” Brocker said.

The detachment had booths this spring at both Old Settlers Days in Muldrow and Diamond Days in Sallisaw.

“We had a pretty good response from everybody,” he said. “We had a really positive reaction in Muldrow.

He explained detachment members see the need for assistance in the depressed area.

“We want and need to step up,” he said.

Brocker said detachment members are fundraising for a building for the organization, but haven’t forgotten the immediate needs of veterans and the military. He explained detachment members provide rides to VA Hospitals for veterans, have helped veterans pay their utility bills, and recently helped an Air Force family whose vehicle broke down near Muskogee.

Brocker said, “We helped the family repair the car and put them up for the night. We helped provide a vehicle rental so they could continue on to their duty station. These are the types of things we normally do.”

Detachment members want the organization to be open to the public.

Brocker concluded, “We are accountable to the populace, and that’s the way we want it.”

For information on the detachment contact Brocker at 918-235-4590 or Charles Cloud Sr., vice commandant, at 918-774-4497.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Top Receivers of State Appropriations, By Rep. John Bennett

My next few columns will focus on the 10 state agencies that receive the largest amount of taxpayer money. Human Services is No. 4 on that list behind K-12 education, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority and higher education. I’m going to talk about them first, however, because of the current dustup in the news over the Department of Human Services (DHS) funding and programs that are being cut.

First of all, DHS let it be known earlier this year – through the media – that they were planning to cut programs that help disabled adults and seniors on Medicaid stay in their homes with home health services instead of being moved to nursing homes. The Legislature gave the agency supplemental funding of $34 million in early April to save these programs.

In the final budget, DHS was appropriated almost $700 million. This included $7.7 million so the agency can secure federal matching funds and $11.3 million for the Pinnacle Plan, which is helping ensure the state’s Foster Care system is meeting civil rights standards for the children in its care. Without counting the supplemental appropriation, the agency received almost $20 million more dollars this year than last year. Many other state agencies, including higher education, took an average cut of 4.2 percent.

Yet, even with this increased funding, DHS has decided it still has to cut programs, like the one mentioned above, as well as childcare assistance, senior meal assistance and some foster care and adoptive services.

I want to make sure it is understood that DHS decided to cut these programs, not the Legislature.

This is a load of bull. The agency could afford these programs last year with less money. But, now suddenly they can’t pay for them? That makes me question what they’re doing over there. An agency spokeswoman said the department has had to cut 1,200 positions in the last two years. They can still function, she said, but just barely. Does that mean they could have functioned without these positions all along? Probably. I also have to believe that DHS has other areas it could cut before it takes funding from vulnerable adults and children.

The Legislature does not line item funding for state agencies. We trust they can make decisions to care for the neediest citizens and forego things that do not need to be handled by the government or at the very least can wait until the state is completely out of a recession. I coauthored a bill with the speaker of the House that will require agency budgets to be audited, however, before future funding is granted. DHS should be among the first agencies audited when this bill takes effect.

Government should not be the fix-all solution to every problem. It can’t employee everybody and run every program ever dreamed up. What it should do, though, is take care of the most vulnerable.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Made in Oklahoma: Elderberries, Fish and Aquaponics

WEBBERS FALLS – 360 FARMS is an enterprise focused on growing elderberries as well as other produce and creating a high quality, healthy product that people love.

At 360 FARMS, they pride themselves on their research about elderberries. Elderberries are anti-viral and anti-inflammatory which allows them to be used in various forms to aid in healing. 360 FARMS raises, harvests, dries, and produces products with the elderberries. They also raise other produce like fennel which is used in the final products.

“We did this to transition our garden outside into here for agritourism,” said Brent Madding, owner and operator of 360 FARMS. “School kids come and we show them that there is another way to grow their food.”

360 FARMS is unique in that it uses an aquaponics system to grow their produce. This system constantly cycles water through the rock beds where the plants are planted. They have koi fish that live below the beds in the tanks and provide the nutrients. 360 FARMS is an advocate for using Oklahoma products and supporting local business.

360 FARMS produces the finest elderberries and superior products. They allow tours and teach about elderberries, the health advantages of them and the aquaponics system. They can be found in Webbers Falls and can be contacted online at They can also be found on the Made in Oklahoma website

Editor’s Note:  This is one of several stories about Oklahoma businesses by the Made in Oklahoma Program.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Train Misses Woman in Overturned Car by Inches

Muldrow Police Chief George Lawson, Assistant Chief Tim Keith and Muldrow EMTs are credited with rescuing a female driver from an upside-down vehicle on Monday morning in Muldrow.

An unidentified woman was reported to have rolled her vehicle at the Fargo Street crossing on the Union Pacific Railroad, just moments before a train passed by. Lawson said that the crossing is wide, but the street isn’t. The right front wheel of the tire ran off the road and caused the Hyundai Elantra to flip upside down.

Lawson, Keith and the EMTs arrived in the nick of time but were unable to get the upside-down woman out of her vehicle before a train came whistling by.

“Our hearts just sank,” said Lawson. “We just had to step back. I was only three or four feet away from the car when the train went by. It just missed the car by 18 inches.”

Lawson said two EMTs were then able to get into the car and help release the woman from her seatbelt, with the help of Lawson and Keith. Dispatchers were able to contact the railroad and have all rail traffic stopped until the rescue was complete.

The woman was uninjured, Lawson reported. 

“I was tickled to death she is OK,” Lawson said. “She was just sitting there and we asked her if she was OK. She said ‘I don’t think I’m hurt. But it’s hot. I just want to go home.’”

Lawson said Keith gave the woman a ride home.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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