Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Voter Registration Deadline Is June 3

June 3 is the last day to apply for voter registration in order to be eligible to vote in the June 28 Primary Election, Sequoyah County Election Board Secretary Cindy Osborn said.

Osborn said that persons who are U.S. citizens, residents of Oklahoma, and at least 18 years old may apply to become registered voters.

Those who aren’t registered or need to change their registration may apply by filling out and mailing an Oklahoma Voter Registration Application form in time for it to be postmarked no later than midnight June 3.

Osborn said applications postmarked after that time will be accepted and processed, but not until after June 28.

The county election board responds in writing to every person who submits an application for voter registration. The response is either a voter identification card listing the new voter's precinct number and polling place location or a letter that explains the reason or reasons the application for voter registration was not approved. Osborn said any person who has submitted a voter registration application and who has not received a response within 30 days should contact the county election board office.

Oklahoma Voter Registration Application forms are available at the county election board office located at 110 E Creek Ave., Sallisaw, 74955, and at most post offices, tag agencies and public libraries in the county. Applications also are available at www.elections.ok.gov.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Muldrow Man Faces Attempted Rape Charge

Christopher J. Jenkins, 28, of Muldrow is being held without bond in the Sebastian County Detention Center in Fort Smith. He is charged with one count of attempted rape of a minor.

According to a press release from the Fort Smith Police Department, Jenkins contacted a 12-year-old girl in Fort Smith on the Internet for the purpose of a sexual encounter.

The press release relates that, on May 17, a woman reported her 12-year-old granddaughter was contacted by an adult male through her private Facebook account. The man, later identified as Jenkins, was able to obtain the juvenile female’s phone number and began texting her.

It was discovered that Jenkins is listed as an Aggravated Registered Sex Offender out of Oklahoma. Later on May 17, the man was able to convince the girl to meet him face-to-face, near her house, where the two met and engaged in a brief conversation. Shortly after the conversation began, the female’s grandmother drove by and witnessed the encounter. She confronted Jenkins about him talking to a 12 year old and he immediately fled the area. The grandmother contacted the police department and filed a report about the suspicious encounter.

Jenkins contacted the juvenile again through Facebook after his initial encounter with her. By this time, a detective with the Fort Smith Police Department’s Street Crimes Unit had assumed control of the juvenile’s Facebook account and began messaging Jenkins, posing as the young female. During the course of the next week, Jenkins made arrangements to meet with the juvenile at a local park for the purposes of a sexual encounter.

Detectives took Jenkins into custody after he arrived at the park to meet with the female

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Three Plead Guilty in Gun Theft Case

The U.S. attorney’s office in Muskogee announced Friday that two Sequoyah County men and a Tulsa man have pleaded guilty to stealing and being in possession of firearms stolen from a Federal firearms licensed dealer, Gems Gun & Pawn in Sallisaw.

Gregory McIntyre, 19, of Sallisaw and Jimmy Don McCoy Jr., 25, of Tulsa, pled guilty to stealing firearms from Gems Gun & Pawn. 

Christopher Jordan Lee Foreman 22, of Vian pled guilty to being in possession of stolen firearms.

Both crimes are punishable by not more then 10 years in prison, up to a $250,000 fine, or both.

The indictment alleged that McCoy and McIntyre stole the guns and Foreman possessed the stolen firearms, all of which had been shipped and transported in interstate commerce. The charges arose from an investigation by the Sallisaw Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

The defendants will remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshal Service pending sentencing.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Three Killed in Two-vehicle Crash Monday

A two-vehicle crash on State Highway 82, between Lake Tenkiller and Blackgum killed three people, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) reported.

The crash occurred at about 4:15 p.m. Monday, the OHP reported. 

The OHP reported Kathleen L. Zuniga, 42, was driving a 2003 Chrysler van south when she lost control, slid across the center line and hit a 2005 Ford pickup driven by Russell D. Hutchins, 86, of Tahlequah. 

Zuniga was killed in the crash, along with a passenger in the van, Jose Felipe Jimenes Morales. A passenger in the pickup truck, Caroline S. Hutchins, 74, of Tahlequah was transported to Northeast Health Systems in Tahlequah where she was later pronounced dead.

Russell D. Hutchins was transported to W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah where he was admitted in stable condition.

Another passenger in the van, Ebaristo Mata, 20, of Porum was transported to St. John Medical Center in Tulsa where he is listed in critical condition.

The OHP reported the crash is under investigation but that the condition of both drivers was apparently normal.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Gray’s Conspiracy Preliminary Held Today

The preliminary hearing for a Muldrow woman, facing conspiracy and other charges, was underway Tuesday in Sequoyah County District Court, Sallisaw.

Angela Gray, 41, her son Joey, 19, and Kyle Brannon, 20, are accused of covering up the ATV crash on Sept. 1, 2013, south of Muldrow that left Christian Mayberry with severe brain trauma.

Gray is charged with conspiracy, child endangerment by driving under the influence, and selling or furnishing alcoholic beverages to a minor, all felonies. The charges were filed Aug. 31 by the Sequoyah County District Attorney’s office after a mistrial on previous charges.

At a previous hearing, Assistant District Attorney Michael Ashworth asked Judge Larry Langley if Gray’s preliminary could be combined with the two other defendants in the case, Kyle Brannon and Joey Gray. Since all three face the same charge, the witnesses would only be asked to testify once in a combined preliminary hearing rather than three times in three preliminary hearings. Brannon and Gray allegedly helped clean up the area after the ATV crash.

Joey Gray and Brannon are also charged with conspiracy.

The judge ruled that the state had shown sufficient evidence and all three will go to trial.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Congratulations to Our Contest Winners

Danielle Rogers of Roland

Lisa Cowart of Vian

Michael Duncan of Sallisaw

Congratulations to yesterday's winners during the Find The Mix Truck to Win contest!

If you missed it Justin Pettit of  JP in The Midday would hide somewhere in The Mix truck and give listeners clues to his location. The first person to locate him won tickets, passes and/or Meet and Greets for the upcoming Diamond Daze performances.

We had a great bunch of listeners playing along and they managed to find us in a matter of minutes in each of the locations. 

Danielle Rogers of  Roland found us at the site of the old Sallisaw radio station and won two Meet and Greets for Tracy Lawrence.

Lisa Cowart of Vian found us near the Splash Pad and park in Muldrow and won two Meet and Greets for Brothers Osborne.

Michael Duncan of Sallisaw found us in Roland hidden near the Cherokee Casino and won a helicopter ride and two Tracy Lawrence Pit Passes. 

Thanks for playing and if you didn't win this time keep listening for more chances to win.We have a lot of great prizes and contests coming up. We love contests and  would love to make you a winner!

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

9-1-1 Legislation Will Improve System

Legislation signed Wednesday into law by Gov. Mary Fallin will reform and shore up the state 9-1-1 system.

“It’s a good thing,” said David Slaughter, Sequoyah County 9-1-1 Coordinator.

Slaughter said he sees more transparency and more accountability in the new system, as well as more money for the system.

House Bill 3126 increases the transparency and accountability for 9-1-1 fees and provides state coordination for improved 9-1-1 service delivery. The measure also replaces the funding that has been lost due to the drop in the use of landline phones with an increase to the individual 9-1-1 fee on each cellular contract. That fee would increase from 50 cents to 75 cents and is estimated to result in about $28 million.

Slaughter isn’t sure yet how much more money the local 9-1-1 system will be getting, but is sure it will be an increase.

He explained Sequoyah County 9-1-1 had a $382,000 budget in 2014, and had to overspend that by about $2,000. The budget was about $10,000 down last year due to the decrease in landlines. Any more loss of funds would have resulted in the loss of staff and improvements. The local 9-1-1 has four full-time staff and seven part-time staff plus Slaughter himself.

Slaughter said of the 25-cent increase in cell phone fees, 20 cents will go to the 9-1-1 systems and 5 cents will be used to fund the new state 9-1-1 coordinator’s office. Under the legislation, all 9-1-1 operations will be coordinated through a statewide director in the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management.

Slaughter doesn’t see that as a problem. He said, “The director’s job will be to look for new ideas, to coordinate with other states and to improve the systems.”

The legislation also:

· Requires annual audits and reports from each dispatch center go to the Statewide 9-1-1 State Advisory Board.

· Redirects the funding from fees to the dispatch center where the individual using 9-1-1 resides rather than where the contract was purchased;

· Requires the fees to be paid to the Oklahoma Tax Commission and be distributed by the state advisory board; and

· Requires the state advisory board to seek out efficiencies and cost savings.

Slaughter said the legislation also disperses a little more of the cell phone fees to rural areas rather than urban areas, meaning Sequoyah County 9-1-1 will also see an increase in funds based on population.

“Hopefully we will be able to keep our staff and do some improvements too,” Slaughter said.

Sequoyah County 9-1-1 is now a Phase 2 service, meaning a call to 9-1-1 will not only reveal the caller but also the caller’s location.

“Hopefully,” Slaughter said, “everybody can upgrade to Phase 2 now, everywhere in Oklahoma.”

Many systems have lost funding through the loss of landlines that upgrades were not possible.

Sequoyah County 9-1-1 just recently upgraded its radio dispatch, and Slaughter is hoping for more improvements in the near future.

“I’m hoping we can upgrade the phone system,” Slaughter said.

He expects that will cost between $150,000 and $300,000.

He concluded, “We will have to save up our money to do that.”

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Vian Police Chief Resigns

Vian Police Chief Levi Risley submitted his resignation to the Vian Board of Trustees on Monday. The board accepted the resignation

Risley has been police chief at Vian since July 2015, after the Vian board fired the previous police chief, Alan Ellis. At that time, Vian police were suspended because, it was explained, the officers could not work, by state law, without a supervisor.

Risley said he will remain on the job until June 2.

Risley grew up in Vian, is a 1985 graduate of Vian High School and still has family there.

He began his employment with the Fort Smith Police Department in 1989 as a patrol officer and has held positions as a criminal investigator, major crimes investigator, arson investigator, crime scene investigator, internal affairs investigator, domestic violence investigator and crime analyst. Prior to his promotion in 2009, he was the department's public affairs officer and was assigned to the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force. Risley said that assignment grew out of his position with the U.S. Air Force Reserve as a master sergeant special agent at the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. He joined the Air Force Reserve in 1989-90 and retired in 2007.

Risley received the "Officer of the Year" award for 1991 and the Judge Paul Wolf "Outstanding Young Law Enforcement Officer" award presented by the Fort Smith Jaycees for the same year.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Teens Learn Dangers of Texting, Driving Drunk

Charles House, far left, with the Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Office, and Bobby Qualls, far right, with the Sallisaw Police Department, taught 38 high school students about the dangers of texting while driving and drunk driving at Sallisaw High School on Thursday morning.

In 2014, the latest year for which data are available, motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of death among 13-to-19-year-old males and females in the United States, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Teenage crash victims account for 10 percent of all those killed in fatality vehicle crashes, the IIHS reports.

The Sallisaw Police and Sequoyah County Sheriff’s program is a joint effort to warn teens, through the schools’ driver education program, about the dangers of driving and texting and driving while drunk.

The program is being offered to about 60 Roland teens on Friday morning, said Sallisaw Police Chief Terry Franklin.

“We do this every year,” Franklin said. “The Oklahoma Highway Patrol will also help. They show the students what it’s like to get pulled over and have to do a field sobriety test.”

Franklin said the course uses Fatal Vision Impairment goggles, which simulate various levels of intoxication. With goggles in place, the students are asked to drive an obstacle course to demonstrate how impaired driving affects their driving abilities, balance and judgement.

This is about the fourth year for the program, Franklin said.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Roberts Appointed to Commission

State Sen. Mark Allen (R-Spiro) announced this week that Billy Roberts of Roland is Gov. Mary Fallin’s executive nomination to the Oklahoma Used Motor Vehicle and Parts Commission.

The Senate confirmation hearing with the Business and Commerce Committee was May 17, when Roberts was formally introduced and accepted by the committee. He will serve a six-year term as an at-large member, from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2022.

Allen said, “Billy has been employed by the family auto recycling business since his graduation in 1972 and he became co-owner with his father in 1992. He is active in the Automotive Recyclers Association and has served about 17 years on the board of directors. Billy has been an automotive dismantler for 4 years, and has a thorough knowledge of the business. It was my pleasure to nominate Billy Roberts for this appointment and I have every confidence he will serve Oklahoma citizens fairly and well."

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Sallisaw Police Arrest Burglary Suspect

Sallisaw Police Chief Terry Franklin announced today that the Sallisaw Police Department has solved the recent rash of car burglaries.

Franklin stated, “In the last two weeks officers have taken approximately 15 reports of vehicles being burglarized. During the course of the investigation a picture taken from one of the victim’s surveillance cameras was posted on the Sallisaw Police Department’s Facebook page. There was an overwhelming response from the public with information on who the male subject was. Officers were able to follow up on the leads that came in and located Colt Watkins.”

Franklin said Watkins, 21, was questioned at the Sallisaw Police Department and he confessed to the burglaries. Officers were able to recover four firearms that had been stolen during these vehicle burglaries, as well as other items.

Watkins was arrested and faces multiple counts of second-degree burglary and knowingly concealing stolen property charges. Watkins is being held at the Sequoyah County Jail.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

House Votes to Reduce K-12 Testing

Legislation approved Monday by the Oklahoma House of Representatives will reduce testing in public schools.

House Bill 3218 eliminates three EOI tests and several grade 3-8 tests in the upcoming year and gives the state education department the authority to make further changes. The bill also removes passage of the remaining EOI tests as a requirement for graduation. The education department is instead charged with coming up with new graduation requirements.

The bill was carried by Rep. Lee Denney, R-Cushing.

“We hope to strike the right balance on testing and classroom instruction,” Denney said. “We need to have some record of progress in our public schools, but not to the extent that it interferes with the primary purpose of public schools – to educate students.”

Oklahoma House of Representatives Speaker Jeffrey W. Hickman said the legislation balances classroom time with accountability. “This bill will result in more classroom time for our teachers to teach and students to learn,” said Hickman, R-Fairview. 

House Bill 3218 reduces the number of required tests to 18, from a maximum of 27. Remaining tests are:

One English and one math test in each grade from 3 to 8; 
Two science tests, one in grades 3-5 and one in grades 6-9; 
and four high school tests in English, math, science and U.S. history.

All of the remaining tests except for U.S. History are required by the federal government under the Every Student Succeeds Act. Tests removed include an art test, seventh-grade geography, fifth- and eighth-grade social studies and writing tests and three end-of-instruction tests.

The legislation requires existing tests to be used in the upcoming school year, but authorizes the state education department to look for new assessments to fulfill the federal and state requirements for the next year. 

State Rep. John Bennett said House Bill 3218 relieves schools from the burdens of over-testing while still meeting the requirements of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. Bennett co-authored the bill along with numerous other representatives.

“We’ve known for a long time we have too much testing in our schools,” said Bennett, R-Sallisaw, “but coming up with a bill that all parties can agree on – teachers, parents, students, community stakeholders – that has been a lot of work."

The bill is supported by the State Department of Education and the State Board of Education as well as teachers and other education groups such as the Oklahoma State School Boards Association, the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration as well as the Oklahoma State Chamber and other business groups.

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Flags Flying at Cemetery for Memorial Day Service

The flags are flying at the Sallisaw Cemetery in preparation for the annual Memorial Day Service.

The service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday.

Bill Aydelott of American Legion Carnie Welch Post 27 in Sallisaw, which sponsors the service, said more flags will be put out for Memorial Day.

Joe Peters of Sallisaw, a U.S. Air Force veteran and graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., will be the guest speaker for this year’s service.

The service will begin with singing by the audience, Aydelott said. He explained the singing draws the attention of those visiting the cemetery for Memorial Day and visitors then gather at the gazebo where the service is held.

Melanie Drummond will perform a patriotic solo. The post's color guard will post the colors and Stanley Collins will lead the Flag Salute before the audience sings the Star Spangled Banner.

Dana Davis and Holly Bormann will perform patriotic solos, and Post Commander Mike Mowzakis will introduce Peters.

The service will conclude with the Salute to the Fallen, a 21-gun salute, and taps performed by a bugler.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Sallisaw Pool Opens May 28

The Sallisaw Swimming Pool has been filled and will be opening on May 28.

The staff has been at the pool this week cleaning and preparing the facility for a season of swimming fun, city officials said.

Fees and hours will be the same as last year.

Admission will be $1 per person. Season passes are $20 per person or $40 for a family of three or more.

The hours will be from 11 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 1 to 4:45 p.m. and 7 to 8:45 p.m. Saturday, and from 1 to 4:45 p.m. Sundays and holidays. The pool is closed on Mondays.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Shooter, Deceased Identified

Roland police have released more information about a fatal shooting Sunday morning.

Assistant Police Chief David Goode reports the shooter is Alan Willis, 64. The deceased is Chase Carver, 19. The two men were initially thought to be grandfather and grandson but it was determined the two men are not biologically related.

Goode said in a press release that all parties have been interviewed and the results will be turned over to the district attorney to determine if charges will be filed against Willis.

The shooting was during an altercation in the early morning hours on Sunday at 107 Roland Estates Lane in Roland, police report.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Roland Shooting under Investigation

Roland police are not releasing information about a shooting that occurred  there early Sunday.

Assistant Police Chief David Goode released the following information on Monday.

“Roland Police Department, along with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, are currently investigating a shooting death that occurred in the early morning hours of May 22, 2016. At this time, the only details are that it appears to have been a dispute between two males both who were living at the residence. At this time, no arrests have been made.”

Goode would not say where the shooting took place.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Services Offer Hope to the Mentally Ill

May is Mental Health Month.

During May, those with mental illnesses have avenues to, and organizations that offer, hope.

But what does mental illness feel like? The Mental Health America organization asked those suffering from mental health problems to share their thoughts anonymously. They said the following about suffering from anxiety, depression, psychosis, being bipolar, and other conditions.

“Being so scared you are paralyzed.”

“You can’t breathe. Air is all around you, but you can’t get to it.”

“Having Bipolar Disorder, I’ve equated it to your life being a pendulum…it swings from left to right, and is hardly ever at rest.

“Being so uncomfortable you wish you could crawl out of your skin.”

“Your mind is racing and you have so many thoughts at the same time that it is hard to have one complete thought.”

“Not being good enough and always blaming yourself.”

"I have Bipolar and sometimes I lash out at people who are closest to me. I know my condition doesn't make it right to treat people like that but I don't even know what I'm doing until it's too late. By then, I'm too embarrassed to apologize because I don't think they will understand."

"I know I can't be the only one who feels like this, but I think they're better at dealing with life than I am. I just never feel good enough."

"I almost left my boyfriend after he told me he was the only man who would ever love me, because that's an abusive thing to say. I stayed because he's probably right and I'm terrified of being alone."

“Being powerless against your own mind.”

“Pretending you are okay but your really can’t breathe or think straight.”

“Needing to escape but not being able to.”

“Being repulsed and afraid of your own body and the illnesses it could possibly have.”

“I’m making all this progress but I’m still spiraling down and life is closing in.”

The National Alliance on Mental Health reports that one in five Americans live with a mental health condition. While the rest do not, they may understand and relate better to those who do after reading the comments on mental health above.

And all must agree that the most important comment is “There is hope.”

The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services lists mental health certified providers in the area. The list is available under Quick Links on the department’s web site at ok.gov/odmhsas.

Sequoyah County Health Department also offers referrals for child guidance services. The phone number is 918-775-6201.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Voters May Register at Diamond Daze

A drive to add new voters to the rolls in Sequoyah County will be held on June 2, 3 and 4 at Sallisaw’s Diamond Daze Festival, Cindy Osborn, secretary of the Sequoyah County Election Board, announced.

The festival will be held on the Sallisaw High School campus.

Osborn said the election board strongly encourages residents wanting to register for the upcoming primary and general elections to register at the booth to insure faster processing of their voter registration. Absentee applications will also be available as well as other election materials.

The statewide primary election is June 28 and the general election is Nov. 8.

“We will see you at our booth,” Osborn said.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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City Meeting Moved to June 9

The City of Sallisaw announced Friday that the date of the city commission’s next meeting has been changed due to schedule conflicts.

The commission meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on June 9. The regular meeting date would have been June 13.

The meetings are held in the city council chambers at 111 N. Elm, at the Sallisaw Civic Center.

Several city commissioners and officials were to be on vacation or had other conflicts with the June 13 meeting date.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Flowers Missing from Area Cemeteries

Each year families remember and honor their deceased loved ones by placing flower arrangements on their graves. Unfortunately this time proves ripe for thieves who scour county cemeteries looking for things to steal.

The Sequoyah County Sheriff's office has received numerous reports of stolen flowers at local cemeteries. "It saddens me that people steal flowers from a grave site," commented Sheriff Ron Lockhart. 

Lockhart added that deputies will increase their patrolling of area cemeteries over the next few weeks during this time of decoration and remembrance. Anyone caught stealing items from a cemetery will be charged with larceny.

Anyone with information about any theft is asked to please call their local law enforcement agency. 

"Please give respect to grave sites," concluded Lockhart.

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Run for the Wall Riders in Sallisaw on May 22

The riders in this year’s Run for the Wall will be stopping in Sallisaw at 10:15 a.m. May 22 for a break and to gas up their motorcycle.

Dennis Frye, participant in the Run for the Wall motorcycle ride, said the riders invite supporters to come visit at Ed’s Truck Stop.

“Tell people to come for a visit,” he said. “They like to wave at us and we like to wave back at them.”

The riders will be at the truck stop until about 11 a.m., Frye said.

The mission statement of Run for the Wall is “To promote healing among all veterans and their families and friends, to call for an accounting of all Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action (POW/MIA), to honor the memory of those Killed in Action (KIA) from all wars, and to support our military personnel all over the world.”

This year’s ride runs from May 18 to 27, and from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Obregon Pleads Guilty

Jade LaRae Obregon, 38, of Sallisaw has pled guilty to theft of federal program funds in U.S. District Court in Muskogee.

The U.S. attorney’s office announced Obregon’s guilty plea Thursday. Obregon was charged with stealing diabetic test strips from Sequoyah Memorial Hospital in Sallisaw, worth at least $5,000. The crime is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, or both.

The indictment alleged that Obregon, a hospital agent, stole the property from Jan. 1, 2012, through Dec. 31, 2013. The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the theft, and Obregon was indicted in March.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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ODOT Employees Honored

Tina Cassady

Rick Crall

Two employees with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) Division One were recently recognized for their exemplary performance and service to the agency in eastern Oklahoma.
Tina Cassady of Sallisaw was recognized as Employee of the Year for 2015.

She was previously honored as Employee of the Quarter for the first quarter of 2015. Cassady is an Administrative Assistant II at the Sequoyah County Maintenance Yard in Sallisaw and has worked for ODOT for 19 years.

During a recent agency-wide project to catalog several years of data into a new computer system, Cassady volunteered to coordinate the effort in Division One. This task had a tight deadline and was in addition to her regular job duties.

“Tina helped save the state money by training and assisting other clerks with the program and spot checking the work to ensure data entries were accurate and consistent,” a coworker who anonymously nominated her said. “Her willingness to take on the additional responsibilities and her hard work and performance are great examples of leadership to her fellow employees.”

Cassady enjoys going to the lake and spending time with friends and family. She and her husband Todd have three children and five grandchildren.

Rick Crall was honored as the Division One Employee of the Quarter for the first quarter of 2016.

Crall is a Transportation Equipment Operator III with the Division One Concrete Crew based out of Muskogee. He has worked for ODOT for five years.

In addition to paying close attention to detail when ensuring that equipment is kept in good condition, Crall regularly volunteers for difficult jobs like operating a grader during snow storms. He is also a quick learner who is eager to be trained in new areas. 

“Rick cares about ODOT and the quality of the work he does for the state,” said a coworker who nominated him anonymously. “He can always be counted on to do the right thing.”

Crall enjoys woodworking and fishing in his spare time. He and his wife Karen have three children and three grandchildren.

Division One is headquartered in Muskogee and oversees highway construction and maintenance in Adair, Cherokee, Haskell, McIntosh, Muskogee, Okmulgee, Sequoyah and Wagoner counties.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Fleeing Suspect Captured North of Sallisaw

A rural Sallisaw man was taken into custody after a foot chase north of Sallisaw Thursday.

Sheriff Ron Lockhart reported Preston Sparks, 33, was approached by sheriff’s deputies who were called to investigate a trespasser near the intersection of U.S. Highway 59 and State Highway 101. While deputes were talking with Sparks, the deputies reported he attempted to dispose of alleged narcotics and fled on foot, across Highway 59 to the southwest.

A search for Sparks followed with the assistance of the Sallisaw police and Oklahoma Highway Patrol. About a half hour later a caller reported to police that Sparks was seen emerging from a pond behind the VFW Post on Highway 59.

Authorities responded and captured Sparks as he ran down a creek.

Lockhart said Sparks was transported to the Sequoyah County Jail. 

Lockhart said Sparks has an outstanding felony warrant for failure to abide by the rules of the Community Sentencing program. A jail official said Sparks was booked into jail on the Community Sentencing warrant. The original charge was possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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