Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Fatality Crash Under Investigation

A one-vehicle crash in Cherokee County at 12:52 p.m. Friday, that killed a Muskogee man, is under investigation, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported.  The OHP reported Gregory Standifer, 44, was pronounced dead at the scene from his injuries.

According to the OHP, Standifer was driving a 2000 Ford Ranger pickup truck east on State Highway 251A, three miles south of Hulbert, when he failed to negotiate a curve, went off the roadway and struck a cliff face.  Standifer was pinned in the vehicle for an unreported time and was freed by Fort Gibson Fire and Rescue.  The OHP reported the cause of the collision and the condition of the driver at the time of the accident remain under investigation.  By Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director.

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Five Killed In Two Car Crash

Five persons were killed in a two-car crash at 1:59 p.m. Saturday on U. S. Highway 169, four and a half miles south of Nowata in Nowata County.  The Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu driven by Micah Walker, 35, of Nowata, was traveling north when, for an unknown reason, the vehicle veered left and struck head-on a 2014 Kia Soul driven by Kevin Smith, 59, of Nowata.  Walker and a passenger in his vehicle, Calvin Wyckoff, 34, of Tulsa, were both pronounced dead at the scene.

In Smith's vehicle, Kevin, Maria Smith, 49 and a 13 year-old boy were all killed due to the crash.  Kevin and Maria Smith were pronounced dead at the scene and the child died while being transported by ambulance to St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa.  A 14 year-old male passenger in the Smith vehicle was transported to St. Francis Hospital and listed in critical condition with head, arm, leg and internal
and external trunk injuries. The OHP did not release the names of the juvenile boys.

Walker and Wyckoff were trapped in their vehicle for about an hour and a half before being freed by the Nowata Fire Department.  Their bodies were transported to Stumpff Funeral Home in Nowata.  Kevin and Maria Smith were trapped for almost two hours before being freed by the Nowata Fire Department.  Their bodies were transported to the Benjamin Funeral Home in Nowata.

The OHP reported the cause of the crash is still under investigation.  By Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director.

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Gans Man Involved In Crash

A Gans man was reported uninjured after a crash at 11:42 a.m. Sunday in Comanche County.  David W. Hedrick, 46, of Gans refused treatment at the crash scene, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol report- ed.  The OHP reported Kimberly R. Camp, 50, of Lawton was driving a 1990 Ford Ranger pickup truck west on Wolf Road when she failed to stop at a stop sign and pulled in front of Hedrick.  Hedrick was driving a 1998 Chevrolet pickup, the OHP reported.  Camp was transported by Comanche County EMS to Comanche County Memorial Hospital where she was admitted with leg injuries.  She was listed in good condition.  By Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director.

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Medical Examiner Rules On Deaths

Sallisaw police closed a case Monday after the state medical examiner reported that two persons found dead in September at a Sallisaw residence, died as a result of homicide and suicide.  Police Chief Terry Franklin reported on the police department's Facebook page, "At this time we consider this case closed."

On September 28, Sallisaw police did a welfare check on a man and woman in a residence at 108 S. Maple in Sallisaw.  Police found one woman, identified as Katie Waggle, 34 and one man, Vince Rayner, 47, dead.  The two bodies were sent to the state medical examiner to determine cause of death.

The medical examiner reported a short time later, that Waggle died of multiple sharp force injuries and her death was a homicide.  Last week the medical examiner concluded the investigation by reporting Rayner's death was a suicide, the result of multiple sharp force (knife) injuries to both sides of the neck and both forearms.  By Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Football Scores From Around the Area


VIAN (27) VS NOWATA (33)



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Vian Elementary Gets $100,000 Literacy Grant

Vian Elementary Schools is one of 20 Oklahoma public schools to receive a $100,000 grant from the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) to spur innovation in reading and literacy at the elementary level.

"We are very excited," School Superintendent Victor Salcedo said Thursday, when the grant winners were announced. "We want to give credit where credit is due." Salcedo said Kathy Wingo, elementary principal, and Dawn Childress, elementary assistant principal, applied for the grant. "They did all the grunt work," he said.

The OSDE $100,000 grant will be used over this school year and the next year. Childress said Thursday that a budget meeting is planned for Dec. 8. That is when the school finds out when they get the funds, and how it is to be spent. The program is for children in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. 

On Thursday the State Board of Education approved awarding of the Systems Changing Oklahoma Reading Expectations (SCORE) grants. The grants are designed to help schools improve literacy rates under the Reading Sufficiency Act (RSA), and fund comprehensive intervention reading programs in schools that have proven especially motivated toward addressing illiteracy.

Childress said Vian Elementary had already begun making improvement changes in reading and literacy. She said, "When we saw that grant application on the web site, we thought it would be perfect for us. So we applied. We were blessed to have received the grant."

According to the state board, each school that receives a grant will act as a model program over the next two years, sharing insights and techniques with all Oklahoma public schools.

Childress said Vian's reading and literacy program assesses students' reading levels through national assessments. Then teachers set aside 50-minute blocks every day to work with those not meeting the bench mark.

Childress said, "With school funding being cut back every year, that $100,000 means a lot to us. We want to be good stewards of that money."

Childress added that the school's teachers are essential to the program. "We are really proud of our teachers," she said. "They are willing to go in this new direction."

Dr. Lawrence Tihen, a literacy consultant to numerous states and the author of the Florida Reading Model, will be working with the grant awardees. He said people often mistakenly believe that if students are failing to read on grade level, then it must be the fault of the teacher, parent or leadership at the school. Instead, he contends, research and data shows that 95 percent of the time it is the fault of the system in place. Changing the system--along with related aligning of resources, teaching materials, professional development and funding--will result in many more students being able to read at grade level.

Michele Sprague, state elementary language arts director and grant coordinator, said the ultimate aim of the grants "is to provide support, guidance, professional development and funding so awardees will effectively change their systems into model schools for literacy." Under terms of the grant, the participating schools will submit progress reports, annual reports and a final report. The schools are expected to begin receiving the grant funds within the next few weeks. By Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Miss CASC 2015 Crowned

Summer Taylor from Stilwell was crowned Miss CASC 2015 Thursday evening at the annual pageant at Carl Albert State College Poteau campus. As the new Miss CASC, she will represent Carl Albert at the Miss Oklahoma Pageant in June. She will receive a $1,000 cash award for the state competition wardrobe and travel, plus a 16 hour tuition waiver at CASC. 

Contestants finishing in other top categories include First Runner up Lauren Estill in Bristow; Second Runner Up Chelsea Railey of Fort Smith; Third Runner Up Taylor Rutledge of Poteau; and Fourth Runner Up Alicealthea Stephens of Poteau.

The Crowd Pleaser Award went to Makayla McGehee of Muldrow, and Lauren Estill won the Swimsuit competition. The Miss Congeniality Award was also presented to Lauren Estill, and the Talent Competition award went to Summer Taylor. Brittney Fee, Miss CASC 2014, was on hand to crown Summer Taylor as Miss CASC 2015.

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Sheriff Warns Residents of Scam

Sequoyah County Sheriff Ron Lockhart is warning residents of an ongoing scam in our area. According to Lockhart, the Sheriff's department has received numerous calls in the past hour from Sequoyah County residents in reference to calls they have received. Calls are being placed from a 918-315-0519 phone number. The calls have been traced by satellite to The Jimmy Autry Correctional Facility in Georgia. Contact has been made with the correctional facility in Georgia in an attempt to locate the inmate conducting the scam. The caller is attempting to obtain money by claiming that the resident has a warrant for their arrest. If you call the number back a recorded message states that you have reached the Sequoyah County Sheriff's Department. Sheriff Lockhart stated that the Sequoyah County Sheriff's Department will never call residents requesting money. Anyone receiving one of these calls should hang up and contact the sheriff's department. Sheriff Lockhart also stated that residents should give these callers no information. 

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Naked Man on the Run

Last night at approximately 7:00 p.m. the Sequoyah County Sheriff's office received  reports of a suspicious vehicle stopping at vacant houses on East Redwood in Sallisaw. A game ranger who was in the area attempted to stop the vehicle. The vehicle fled, running two stop signs. During the pursuit the driver of the suspicious vehicle lost control and ran through a barbed wire fence. The subject exited the vehicle and fled on foot into a nearby pasture. Officers were surprised to see that the subject was nude. After a foot pursuit the subject was captured and placed under arrest. He was booked into the county jail under numerous charges, according to Sequoyah County Sheriff Ron Lockhart.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ned Christie Will be Topic at Libraries

Both Sallisaw and Tahlequah libraries will be working together on Dec. 10 when the story of Ned Christie, fugitive, is told. Roy Hamilton, a local historian, will share the legend of Ned Christie with a Tahlequah Public Library audience that will also be shared with an audience at Stanley Tubbs Memorial Library in Sallisaw at the same time using the library's new teleconferencing center. Ned Christie (1852-1892) was accused of killing a U.S. marshal, a crime he denied. Fearing he would not receive justice, Christie fled and hid in Indian Territory. A five-year search by lawmen ensued, in what is know as Ned Christie's War. Hamilton is a descendant of Ned Christie and a Cherokee Nation history instructor. He has authored three books on Ned Christie-- "Ned Christie: Cherokee Warrior, For Honor and Country;" "The Biography of Ned Christie" and "Ned Christie: A Family Remembers."

The program will be presented at noon Dec. 10, and lunch is provided. The audience is limited to 25 and reservations may be made by calling the Sallisaw library at 918-775-4481 or by stopping by the library's service desk. The Tahlequah and Sallisaw libraries are part of the Eastern Oklahoma District Library System

By Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Doctor with Roland Connections Arrested

An Arkansas doctor who has a medical clinic in Roland was arrested Wednesday in Barling by Barling police. Dr. David Furr, 50, whose home address is listed in Springdale, Arkansas, was freed on a $30,000 bond Wednesday the Barling police reported. Furr operates the Roland Available Medical office in Roland. According to the arresting officer, Furr was stopped at about noon Wednesday when he ran a stop sign in Barling. A check revealed he was wanted on a warrant for domestic battery. Police then obtained permission to search Furr's car and found loose pain pills and sedatives, two loaded and unlicensed hand guns, and $4,265 in cash. Investigator Keith Lindley said Furr was booked into the Sebastian County Detention Center on one count of possession of a schedule 2 narcotic, three counts of possession of a schedule 4 narcotic, one count of possession of a mislabeled drug, one count of drug paraphernalia, simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms, and the warrant for suspected third-degree domestic battery. Lindley said the case was turned over to the Sebastian County prosecuting attorney, and formal charges would most likely be filed by Friday. By Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Sallisaw 4-H Food Drive Feeds 106 Families

Members of the Sallisaw 4-H Club and their leader Rita Holmes, along with family and friend volunteers packed and delivered 106 food boxes to families in Sequoyah County on Thursday, to ensure the families had enough food to eat over the Thanksgiving holiday week when the children are out of school. Holmes and her family decided to continue the food drive after husband and father Kenneth died Jan. 28. Kenneth Holmes organized and oversaw the food drive for 15 years. Rita Holmes said it was Kenneth's idea to include the 4-H club, as a service project for the youngsters. At the food packing on Thursday (above, top) are 4-H members, from the left, Tyler Holmes, Claire Cude, Leif Cude, Faith Cude, Eli Cude, Seth Cude, Christen Cude, Gabriella Cude, Solomon Cude, Sawyer Pool, Brayden Holmes, Allison Holmes and Rita Holmes.

More than 100 boxes of donated foods lined the walls, (above, bottom), at the Sequoyah County Fairgrounds building Thursday waiting to be delivered to area families. The food drive began when the late Kenneth Holmes found out that some elementary school children in Vian did not have enough to eat over the Thanksgiving holiday. The first year the Holmes family collected enough food to feed five Vian families. Holmes said her husband lived long enough to see the food drive grow to where over 100 families were fed. That milestone was reached in 2013. Thid year the food drive fed 106 families.

Photos and Story by Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Muldrow Man Pleads Guilty to Murder

Kelly Wayne King, 55, entered a guilty plea to murder Nov. 3 in Sequoyah County District Court. District Judge Jeff Payton then sentenced King to a life sentence in the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. King was charged with first-degree murder, malice of forethought. King was accused of killing Terry Lynn Stuart, 62, on June 9. King was reported to be living temporarily with Stuart, and an argument left Stuart bludgeoned to death. Muldrow police and Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers chased King down on U.S. Highway 64, and stopped him on Sallisaw's east side. He surrendered without incident and has been held in the Sequoyah County Detention Center since. By Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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It's a Holly Jolly Holiday with Lots of Celebrations

*Nov. 19: Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce Shop Sallisaw Campaign begins. Shoppers get tickets at chamber-member businesses for a giveaway at noon Dec. 13 on the lawn at Stanley Tubbs Memorial Library for cash prizes ranging from $500 to $1,000. Participants must be present at giveaway on Dec. 13 and have tickets in hand to win.

*Nov. 20: Annual Sallisaw Christmas Lighting, sponsored by Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce. Event begins at 6 p.m. on the lawn at Stanley Tubbs Memorial Library. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served and Santa will visit with children in the library's gazebo.

*Nov. 21: Sallisaw Christmas Parade entry forms ready to pick up at the Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce. Call 918-775-2558 for more information. The 2014 theme is "Christmas at the Movies."

*Nov. 21: Sallisaw Storefront Decoration contest entry forms available at the Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce. Forms must be returned by Dec. 8, and the contest is open to all businesses not just chamber members. Trophies for first and second places will be given away to the best decorated in three city areas. There is no entry fee. For information contact the chamber at 918-775-2558. Judging will be the week of Dec. 8, and winners announced Dec. 10.

*Dec. 4: Vian Lions Club's annual Christmas Parade will line up at 5:30 p.m. and the parade will begin at 6 p.m. For more information contact Nell Mathot, club secretary, at 918-773-8510.

*Dec. 4-6: Dwight Mission will hold All-day Old Fashioned Christmas celebrations each day. The celebration includes an old-fashioned chicken and noodle dinner, for $5 per person, hayrides throughout the mission grounds to view the decorations, games and cookie decorating. For more information call 918-775-2018.

*Dec. 5: Marble City's Little Miss and Little Mister Marble City contests will be held at 7 p.m. at the town hall. Sign up is from 6 to 6:30 p.m. The contest is for two age groups--pre-kindergarten and kindergarten and first through eighth grade. Winners will receive "huge Christmas stockings" filled with candy and toys, and will ride in the town Christmas Parade on Dec. 13 as parade marshals. Children may come in holiday clothing, but it is not a requirement. They will be asked questions about Christmas. For information call the town hall at 918-775-3002 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday.

*Dec. 11: Roland's Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, sponsored by the Roland Chamber of Commerce, will be at 7 p.m. at the Roland City Park. The Town of Roland and the Cherokee Casino will provide cookies and hot chocolate, and choirs from Roland Schools will perform.

*Dec. 13: Greenleaf State Park will hold an Old-Fashioned Christmas Party with special events for the young and young at heart. For more information call Steve Evans at 918-487-7125.

*Dec. 13: Shop Sallisaw Giveaway, sponsored by the Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce, will be at noon on the lawn at Stanley Tubbs Memorial Library. Winners must be present, with entry tickets in hand. 

*Dec. 13: Webbers Falls Christmas Parade begins at 10 a.m. Line-up is at 9 a.m. west of SRS Lumber. The theme is "Keeping Christ in Christmas." Most entries continue across the river to Gore for that town's parade also.

*Dec. 13: Gore's Christmas Parade begins at 11 a.m., and has a Christmas in Toyland theme. Trophies will be awarded in eight categories--best antique car, best mule skinner, best bicycle, best horse, best four-wheeler, best commercial float, best non-commercial float and best band. Children may visit with Santa after the parade.

*Dec. 13: Roland's Christmas Parade begins at noon, with the theme "Sights and Sounds of Christmas." Prizes will be awarded for first place in three categories---open, non-profits, and antique cars. For information contact Stacy Day, Roland Chamber of Commerce treasurer, at 918-427-5551.

*Dec. 13: Muldrow's Christmas Parade begins at 5 p.m.

*Dec. 13: Sallisaw's annual Christmas Parade sponsored by the Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce. Line-up will be at 5:30 p.m. on Choctaw Street, and the parade begins at 6 p.m. Prize money will be awarded to the top entries in each of three categories--businesses, non-profits, and schools and churches. Call the chamber at 918-775-2558 for more information. Entry forms may be picked up at the chamber beginning Nov. 21.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Chamber Accepts Donation, Members Hear About Transmission Project

Jim Harris, left, People Inc. CEO, accepts the Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce 
Business of the Month Award Wednesday from Chamber President Gary Winton
Amber Nelson with Cherokee Nation Entertainment (CNE) presents a check for $10,500 to Gary Winton, Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce president, at a chamber luncheon meeting Wednesday. CNE donates to the chamber every year to help with chamber projects.

The Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce Monthly Membership meeting Wednesday at People Inc. was productive. Cherokee Nation Entertainment (CNE), represented by Amber Nelson, presented a check for $10,200 to the chamber. Judy Martens, chamber director, said CNE makes an annual donation to help with chamber projects. The chamber announce that People Inc. in Sallisaw is the Chamber Member of the Month. People Inc. CEO Jim Harris accepted the award from Chamber President Gary Winton. The guest speaker for the meeting was Phillip Teel from Clean Line Energy, which is in the process of developing a transmission line for wind-generated power from the Oklahoma panhandle to western Tennessee.

With the help of a Power Point presentation, Teel reviewed the project which is "clean, green and renewable." Construction will generate 5,000 construction jobs in Oklahoma, and, when finished, the line will have 500 permanent jobs. The company is still deciding upon a route for the power line, which, most likely, will go through Sequoyah County. Glen "Bud" Smithson of Sallisaw has signed on with Clean Line as an outreach consultant to work with area land owners. Teel said the U.S. Department of Energy is expecting to release a draft of the environmental study of the project on Dec. 12. That will be followed by a 90-day comment period. Teel said Clean Line Energy will most likely hold at least one more meeting in Sallisaw to answer questions about the project. He said the line would be about 40 miles long in the county, and would generate about $800,000 in ad valorem taxes, most of which go to schools. More information about the company and the project may be found on the company's web site at www.cleanlineenergy.com. Teel said that, if all goes as planned, construction of the line will begin in 2016. By Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Adcocks Preliminary Set for Jan. 21

The preliminary hearing for a rural Muldrow couple, accused of child abuse and other felonies, was set for 9 a.m. Jan. 21 in Sequoyah County District Court, Sallisaw. Tabitha Adcock, 31, is charged with child endangerment-permitting abuse, and her husband, Naamon Adcock, 40, is charged with child abuse, feloniously pointing a firearm, and reckless conduct with a firearm. Both entered not guilty pleas to the charges on June 4. Dispositions on the case were taken Wednesday in district court. According to the report filed with the charges, the Adcocks became involved in an argument at their home north of Muldrow, which led to the accusations that he had thrown her five-year-old son out the door, then threatened to shoot him. She told investigators the gun wasn't loaded, and later said nothing happened. He admitted to drinking and to shooting inside the residence after she left. Naaman Adcock, a Fort Smith police officer, resigned from the department a short time later. By Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Baker Looks to Retirement with a Smile, and a Bit of Apprehension

Bill Baker, Sallisaw city manager, has five good reasons to retire. They are his wife, Nelda, and four grandchildren who are living with the Bakers. But, although relaxed and smiling at the prospect of retirement, Baker faces retirement with a bit of apprehension.

"It's a new chapter in your life," he said. "Retirement is a scary thing. You are embarking into a new routine."

Baker announced his resignation into retirement at the Nov. 10 city commission meeting. Although he has been Sallisaw's city manager since December 2003, he worked with the city of Lawton in various city-related posts until his retirement from the Lawton city manager's  post after 29 years. He was age 54 when he left the Lawton post for retirement, and was a little at odds with all that extra time. And, he explained, "My wife said she was ready for me to go back to work." So he did. On his first trip to Sallisaw to interview for the job, Baker said he noticed the nice high school facing the interstate, and the nice cemetery just south of Interstate 40. He thought Sallisaw was a lovely community, and, when he was offered the job, Baker signed on. Sallisaw, in Oklahoma's green country, was pretty, and he and his wife were still close to family who are in Oklahoma. His first retirement lasted seven months. He is hoping for more on his second retirement.

Baker said his wife, an accomplished photographer and artist, has, for several years, taken courses through Oklahoma University (OU) in the art colony in Santa Fe, N.M., and has fallen in love with that area. Baker said, after he signed on as Sallisaw city manager, he had promised Nelda it was probably only for a year or two. Almost 11 years later, Baker said he owes his wife. "She said if she had to she was going to Santa Fe without me," Baker said, grinning. Not to be accused of backing out again, Baker said the family often spends summers in Santa Fe. "She's been very good about this job,"Baker said.

Still, there's another reason not to leave so quickly. That would be grandson, Cade, who the Bakers are raising. Cade is a sophomore at Southside High School in Fort Smith, and the Bakers will stay in the area so that Cade may graduate with his class. From there, it's on to college perhaps for Cade and on to a permanent home in Santa Fe for the Bakers. In the meantime, the Bakers have temporary custody of three granddaughters, whom they will continue to care for until they are returned to their parents. Baker proudly said, "We love them to death." He suspects he will "have plenty to do" during this retirement.

Nevertheless, Sallisaw will be missed, Baker said, and while the Bakers linger waiting on Cade's graduation, Baker said he will remain interested in Sallisaw. Baker explained why. "I've become a big Black Diamond fan," Baker said about Sallisaw High School sports. "I am very interested in Sallisaw. I'm interested in the new sports complex, and what the new water supply will be. I love this community. It's going to be sad to leave. This has been the best job I ever had. It's been only one-tenth of the stress I had in Lawton. The people here are such nice people."

Baker said he's also proud of the work accomplished in the past 11 years. He said, "Jim Hudgens (past city manager) left me a good organization. I was very fortunate. And he has never once criticized anything I did." Baker said the community has state-of-the-art communications, and water systems. He acknowledged the city had some debt, mostly due to the water system. which was approved by a vote of the citizens. "The city needs improvements that go on forever," Baker said. "It never stops if you are a growing community. You have to have debt." Baker also praised city employees and staff. "We have good employees, who care about the citizens and the community. They work in all kinds of weather."

Baker said that, as a young man, he did not plan on a career in city government. He got his bachelor's degree in social studies and later a master's in public administration from OU. In the meantime, he served in the U.S. Army, and, after he was hired in Lawton as a personnel director, (the first step on his way to the city manager post) Baker continued to serve in the U.S. Army Reserves. He retired from that job as a lieutenant colonel. "I never dreamed of being a city manager," Baker said.

Baker's resignation becomes effective April 1. In the meantime, Baker will work on an advertisement for his replacement. He said not retiring until April 1 gives the city time to find a good prospect.

After 29 years in city government, Baker said that his favorite hero, Teddy Roosevelt, said it best. Roosevelt praised those who get "in the arena."

Roosevelt said: "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

By Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Coats, Blankets and Heaters Needed

The early cold snap now enveloping the area has resulted in increased needs at the Catholic Charities Helping Center in Sallisaw. MaryLynn Lufkin, center coordinator, said the cold snap is draining the center's supplies. She said the center is handing out 100 coats a day, and is helping, on average, 40 to 50 families a day. The needs are depleting the center's supply of coats for all ages, blankets and electric space heaters.

Marley Abell of the Sallisaw Lions Club said the club is trying to assist with the need through the Coats for Kids program. Abell explained that Dr. Amanda Trudeau of Sallisaw is in charge of the Sallisaw Lion's Club eyeglass program and has found different funding sources for that program. As a result the Lion's Club has about $2,500 that members decided to dedicate to the Coats for Kids program. Abell said the club is challenging the community to match the club's donation. Donations for Coats for Kids can be dropped off at any Firstar Bank, in Sallisaw, Roland and Fort Smith. Abell said the club will also donate $500 to Liberty Elementary School and Eastside Elementary School in Sallisaw. He explained that often teachers take money from their own pockets to buy necessities for their students. With the $500 donation-$500 to each school-the teachers will be able to open a fund to help children who may need a coat or other items. If the community can match the Lion's Club challenge, then $5,000 in total will be donated to help purchase Coats for Kids, Abell said.

Lufkin's Keep the County Warm program is seeking all sizes of new and gently worn coats. She said she has raided her husband's and son's closets, and her friends' closets too. Now she asks that all residents raid their own closets to provide a coat for someone who may not have one. Blankets and quilts are also sorely needed, she said. The center is also providing electric space heaters to those who might be too cold. The center is asking for donations of new electric heaters.

Donated items may be dropped off between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday at the back door of the Helping Center, at 409 N. Adams in Sallisaw. The phone number is 918-775-6111. 

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Monday, November 17, 2014

School Board Candidate Filings Begin Dec. 1

Candidates for the board of education in 12 Sequoyah County school districts will file their Declarations of Candidacy over three days beginning at 8 a.m. on Dec. 1, and continuing through Dec. 3, Cindy Osborn, Sequoyah County Election Board Secretary, said.

Osborn said the official filing period ends at 5 p.m. Dec. 3. Candidates must file at the Sequoyah County Election Board office at 110 E Creek in Sallisaw, Osborn said.

The board of education positions at stake will be filled at the annual school election on Feb. 10. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the total votes cast in this election, the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes will meet in a runoff election on April 7.

Offices for which declarations of candidacy will be accepted at the county election board office include the following:

*Belfonte C-50 School District-Office No. 1 and Office No. 3 for an unexpired term;

*Brushy C-36 School District-Office No. 1;

*Central I-7 School District-Office No. 5;

*Gans I-4 School District-Office No. 5;

*Gore I-6 School District-Office No. 5 and Office No. 4 for an unexpired term;

*Liberty C-1 School District-Office No. 1;

*Marble City C-35 School District-Office No. 1 and Office No. 2  for an unexpired term;

*Moffett C-68 School District-Office No. 1;

*Muldrow I-3 School District-Office No. 5;

*Roland I-5 School District-Office No. 5;

*Sallisaw I-1 School District-Office No. 5; and 

*Vian I-2 School District-Office No. 5.

For more information contact the election board at 918-775-2614.

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Candidates for Commission Posts Begin Filing Dec. 1

Candidates for Sallisaw City Commissioner in Ward 2 and Ward 4 will begin filing their declarations of candidacy at 8 a.m. Dec. 1. Cindy Osborn, Sequoyah County Election Board secretary, said that filing period ends at 5 p.m. Dec. 3. Declaration of Candidacy will be accepted at the county election board office in Sallisaw. The Sallisaw Ward 2 and Ward 4 posts are both for three-year terms. The posts will be filled in the nonpartisan general election on Feb. 10. By Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Blevins Grabs Gold in Martial Arts Competition

Cherokee Nation citizen Wade Blevins, above, just struck gold in China. The 41-year-old won the World Traditional Wushu Championship in the bare-handed division, beating out some 3,000 top martial artists there competing from around the globe. Blevins was one of 30 to make the U.S. Wushu-Kungfu Federation team in February. Wushu is an ancient martial art created for self-defense and physical conditioning. He is thought to be the only Native American competitor at the international tournament.

"To win the gold medal feels absolutely incredible. It's one of the achievements I'm most proud of in my life," said Blevins. Blevins is from Tahlequah. "All the years of hard work and training in the gym, all the sacrifices I've made and eating better have paid off. I feel like I won this gold for my martial arts school, my family, my community and my tribe."

Blevins also earned a bronze medal in the weapons category during the championship held Oct. 26. He was scored on his balance, speed, technique and form by international judges.

Blevins works for the Cherokee Nation's Johnson O'Malley program that helps provide resources to Native students in pubic schools. He grew up in Jay watching kung fu movies and took his first martial arts class at age 12, earning a black belt six years later. Blevins spends more than 20 hours a week in the gym, training competitively and teaching students. For more information on the World Traditional Wushu Championships, visit www.iwuf.org.

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Friday, November 14, 2014

1st Round Playoff Scores From Around the Area








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Miss CASC Contestants Announced

Several area young ladies from the area are contestants for the Carl Albert State College Miss CASC Pageant, and all were recent guests at the home of Mrs. Deanna Reed for the annual Miss CASC Luncheon.

The contestants are pictured with Miss CASC 2014 Brittany Free. From left to right, this year's contestants, their hometown and their talent include:

Janae Brown-Muldrow-vocal
Chelsea Railey-Fort Smith-jazz dance
Jazzmyn Overton-Poteau-vocal
Makayla McGeehee-Muldrow-belly dancing
Alice Stephens-Howe-vocal with guitar
Taylor Rutledge-Poteau-speed painting
Summer Taylor-Stilwell-piano
Maria Hurtado-McCool-Poteau-dramatic monologue
Lauren Estill-Bristow-jazz dance

The 36th Annual Miss Carl Albert State College Scholarship Pageant will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 20 at the Hamilton Auditorium on the CASC campus in Poteau. Tickets are available at the CASC Bookstore. All seats are reserved and cost $10 each; for CASC students, faculty and staff the tickets are $5.

According to Terri Hardin, Pageant Committee Co-chair, the Miss CASC Pageant is a member of the Miss America Organization, and a preliminary to the Miss Oklahoma Pageant. Contestants will compete in private interview, swimsuit, talent, evening wear, and on-stage question competitions. The new Miss Carl Albert State College 2015 will receive a $1,000 cash scholarship, 16 hour tuition waiver, and will compete in the Miss Oklahoma Pageant in June 2015. Bill Day serves as Co-chair with Hardin.

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Good News for Students Seeking Education Degrees

It's good news for area students seeking a degree in education. Carl Albert State College (CASC) and Northeastern State University (NSU) are making it easier for students to receive education degrees in Oklahoma, and right here in Sallisaw. NSU President Steve Turner, left, and CASC President Garry M. Ivey signed the agreement in Sallisaw Wednesday at CASC Sallisaw.

Beginning in the fall of 2015, students pursuing an associate of arts in pre-elementary education can take classes for a bachelor of science in pre-elementary education or a bachelor of science in education-special education-mild/moderate disorders. This is the first time that a student in NSU's Smart Choice transfer program can pursue a four-year degree, without leaving their two-year school.

NSU President Steve Turner explains, "Oklahoma is experiencing a teacher shortage and NSU and Carl Albert State College are committed to finding innovative ways to increase the number of quality graduates who will ultimately have a profound impact in the classroom. President Ivey is a progressive leader who embraces and understands the opportunities and challenges that students face while completing a degree. This agreement is a natural progression of the strong relationship that our institutions share and I am pleased to be involved with any effort that increases access, affordability, and degree attainment for students."

According to President Ivey, "We are excited to enter into this agreement with NSU. We see this as a wonderful opportunity for students seeking a career in the field of education because they will be able to graduate from CASC and then pursue a four-year degree by taking NSU courses at Poteau, at Sallisaw and online." He continued, "The savings in travel time and/or the expense of relocating to a university will be significant for students in this area. We appreciate President Turner and his team for working with us to accomplish this goal, and we see this as a new chapter in our ongoing effort to make student success our mission."

Carl Albert State College is one of five two-year institutions that have entered into a Smart Choice agreement with NSU to help assure a smooth transition of courses from one program to the other. 

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