Monday, August 21, 2017

Oklahoma Troopers Spouses Assoc. Holding Blood Drive

The Oklahoma Troopers Spouses Organization will be holding a blood drive Tuesday, Aug. 22.

The blood drive will be held at the OK DHS-Conference Room at 502 George Glenn Blvd. from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

You can schedule an appointment by visiting and entering OTSS Sallisaw or call 1-800-733-2767.

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Fire on McGee Drive Does $25,000 in Damages

A fire at 420 S. McGee Dr. on Monday morning is believed to have begun in the kitchen, Sallisaw Fire Chief Anthony Armstrong said.

Sallisaw firefighters were dispatched at 10:37 a.m. Monday to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Kajesh Bhanot. Armstrong said the fire went from the kitchen, into an attic area and then into the back of the home.

“The fire,” Armstrong said, “did quite a bit of damage to the kitchen. It got inside a wall.”

Damage to the home was estimated at $25,000. There were no injuries, Armstrong said.

The home is insured.

Armstrong said Sallisaw firefighters were on the scene until about 11:50 a.m.

“We got it out quickly,” Armstrong said.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Gore Man Hospitalized after Motorcycle Crash

A 51-year-old Gore man was hospitalized Sunday after crashing his motorcycle northwest of Vian.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) reported Timothy Graves of Gore was transported by First Flight Air Service to St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, and admitted in critical condition with head, internal and external trunk and arm injuries.

The OHP reported Graves was driving a 2016 Yamaha R6 motorcycle east on a county road at a high rate of speed when he passed another vehicle and then laid the motorcycle down to avoid a deer.

The crash occurred at about 10:52 p.m. Sunday on River Road and Moonshine Road, five miles north and three miles west of Vian.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Gore Woman Drowns in Pond

Chelsee Cato, 31, of Gore drowned Sunday while swimming in a rural pond in Muskogee County.

Cato was reportedly swimming in a pond four miles south of Webbers Falls when she went under and failed to resurface.

Cato's body was recovered in seven feet of water, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported. 

Cato was not wearing a flotation device at the time. 

The OHP was assisted by the Webbers Falls Fire Dept.

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Marvin’s Getting a New Name, New Price Concept

Nancy Patterson, Manager

The old Marvin’s Food Warehouse in Sallisaw will soon be the new Shoppers Value Foods and will be offering shoppers a unique shopping experience.

Shoppers will be offered the store’s inventory for cost, plus a simple 10 percent. 

Ron Newby, Shoppers Value Foods area manager, was at the store Friday helping prepare for the change.

“We will have that posted all over the store,” he said. “We try to keep it as simple as possible. It’s what it costs to get it to the back door, into the store and on the shelf, to the check out, and out the front door. That’s our cost. Then we add 10 percent and that helps pay the light bill, salaries, and repairs and maintenance.”

This is a whole new way to pay for groceries in Sallisaw.

“It’s simple, fair and honest and that can add up to real savings on a family’s grocery bill. Just compare a Shopper’s receipt with the last store you shopped and you will see the difference!” store information encourages.

Store Manager Nancy Patterson is excited about the remodeling and new pricing. The store is already beginning to shine, and shoppers may find their favorite items on new shelves. Patterson said the first aisle past the bakery will soon be the 88-cent aisle, where shoppers will find bargains of all kinds

“We’re going to have some amazing deals,” Patterson said. “It’s a fresh new look. It’s amazing. It really is.”

The store is undergoing inside changes this week, and will be closed Aug. 28, 29 and 30 for more remodeling. A new sign is also expected to go up next week.

The store will reopen on Aug. 31, Newby said, with wholesome and quality grocery items. The Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce will sponsor a ribbon cutting at the store at 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 31. The store will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 .m. daily.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Former Sallisaw Resident Being Held in Florida for Allegedly Murdering Partner

A former Sallisaw resident is being held in a Florida jail after allegedly attacking and killing his sexual partner for being a 'cannibal'.

Justin Calhoun, 24, formerly of Sallisaw was taken into custody Monday in Key West, Florida after he admitted attacking his partner, Mark Brann, 67, according to the Monroe County arrest report. 

Calhoun, a male stripper, reportedly told a Florida detective that he and Brann had an argument after he accused Brann of being a 'cannibal'. The couple then struggled over a gun that was lying on the bed with them and Brann fired one shot without anyone being struck. Calhoun attempted to fire the gun but he stated that it jammed.

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office arrest report indicates that Calhoun then grabbed a pen and stabbed Brann in both eyes and shoved a piece of wood from a broken dresser into Brann's mouth 'to silence him'. He then 'stomped' on the piece of wood to lodge it further into Brann's mouth and grabbed a drawer from a broken dresser and used it to hit Brann.

Calhoun stated that he then locked the door to keep Brann's roommate from entering, grabbed his money and backpack and jumped out of the bedroom window while still naked.

He was captured by authorities several hours later. 

Police reports state that Calhoun admitted to his actions going beyond self-defense.

Brann was flown to a hospital in Miami where he died the next day from his injuries.

Calhoun is being held at the Monroe County Sheriff's Office jail without bond. He is reportedly being held in a private cell because he self-identified as a woman when he was booked into the jail.

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

KCS Work on Bridge Will Narrow Street

Cherokee Street in Sallisaw will be narrowed to one lane, with flaggers directing traffic, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Kansas City Southern Railway employees will be working on a bridge from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. The bridge is the underpass just east of the Cherokee intersection with Kerr Boulevard (U.S. Highway 59 south).

Drivers are encouraged to plan extra travel time or use an alternate route.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Deputy Arrests Women, Confiscates $107,000

Deputy Steven Jenkins arrested two women from California Tuesday on Interstate 40 near Vian.

He confiscated about $107,000 in drug proceeds and a small amount of marijuana, said Sequoyah County Sheriff Larry Lane.

The suspects were identified as Regina Chavez, 27, of Acampo, Calif., and Christina Stewart, 28, of Lodi, Calif. They were booked into the Sequoyah County Jail in Sallisaw on charges of acquiring drug proceeds, and possession of marijuana and paraphernalia, Lane said. Both have bonded out.

Lane said Jenkins stopped the women’s vehicle for speeding, and then found the $107,000 concealed in various places in the vehicle. The money was vacuum sealed in $1,000 bundles.

Lane said the Drug Enforcement Agency will handle the case and do the investigation.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Derailment Cleanup to Continue into September

Central School students will have one more day off before returning to school on Monday. The school will be closed on Friday as Union Pacific Railroad cleans up a derailment close to the school.

In a letter addressed to local officials, Brandon D. Morris, a Union Pacific public affairs director, said the railway is open, but crews are still working to empty the derailed cars and move them.

Morris wrote, “The railroad mainline is currently operational and the road crossing at Central Road…will be accessible to the public once the county removes the Road Closed sign (on Friday). Over the next few weeks Union Pacific will continue to remove the commodities from the derailed cars before dismantling and removing the tank and hopper cars. The propylene (propane) is tentatively scheduled for transloading via truck from the six remaining tank cars beginning the week of August 28 during the hours of 6 p.m. - 6 a.m. Weather permitting, the process is exceed to take up to 10 days to complete.”

Charles House, chief deputy with the Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Office, said the road will be open but law enforcement is discouraging travel to the derailment site so that the cleanup can continue unimpeded.

Morris continued, “The rail cars will remain secured in place on private property until they are emptied, cleaned and removed at the end of the month and into early September. Air monitoring operations will be conducted on site and in surrounding areas during the propylene transloading process.”

House said the sheriff’s office is providing security for the cleanup.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Parenting Center Gets Donation

The LeFlore County Maidens of Mayhem recently hosted the Oklahoma City Victory Dolls to raise funds for the Pervasive Parenting Center (PPC).

The group donated more than $400 to benefit the PPC.

The Maidens donate proceeds from all the home matches to a local nonprofit organization. The competition held in May was dedicated to helping the PPC.

Center Director Kodey Toney said, “We are thankful for the Maidens and everyone involved in the organization. They donate each year, and have been a great blessing to our efforts in assisting families in this area of the state. The funding will go a long way in our efforts to help area children.”

The LeFlore County Maidens of Mayhem play Women’s Flat Track Derby Association style games. They were formed to help give back to the community through volunteering at social events, establishments, and fundraisers. They also work to promote lasting friendships, create a healthier lifestyle, gain a sense of purpose and to bring the community together through training, practices, bouts, and fundraising.

Toney said that bond extends to beyond the rink through professionalism, organization, and community service. Toney and his wife Jennifer founded the organization in 2014, and he, as the father of a child with autism, wanted to create a network of support for other families facing similar challenges.

The PPC is a not-for-profit organization made up of families, local educators, community leaders, and health-care professionals. The organization works to provide a better life for the families in eastern Oklahoma who are coping with disabilities. In the past, the center has used donations to help with Sensitive Santa, Sibshops for siblings of disabled children, scholarships for students with disabilities, classroom grants for special education departments in eastern Oklahoma, and to bring conferences, trainings, and resources to the area. For more information on the Pervasive Parenting Center, visit

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Golf Scramble Winners Announced

The annual Cherokee Casino/Carl Albert State College (CASC) Scholarship Golf Scramble was held Aug. 5 at the Shadow Creek Country Club in Sallisaw.

According to CASC event organizer Paul Marshall, “We are a little later in the year than usual for this scramble because of a postponement due to inclement weather. Nevertheless, we had a great scramble and due to the generous contributions of the hole sponsors, Sallisaw Lumber, Pepsi, and Cherokee Casino we were able to raise some money for scholarships.”  

Taking first place this year was the team of Jeff Nick, Jay Hubbell, Joseph Nick and Sam Tehee.  CASC Sallisaw Campus Director Bryan Warner presented the first place award. The second place team included Lloyd Kingfisher, Mesa Falleur, Warner, and Trey Rogers. Not pictured is team member Todd Martin.

The wildcard drawing for third place went to the team of Logan Coatney, Travis Warner, Bryan Warner, and Matt Hawkins.

The longest putt on hole 14 prize went to Kelly Osburn. The longest drive award went to Jay Hubbell.

A number of CASC faculty and staff helped plan and participated in the event.  They were, from left to right in the photo, Paul Marshall, Marc Willis, Jerry Holton, Terri Cox, President Jay Falkner, Randy Graves, Bryan Warner, Jaime Henson, and Kristin Peerson.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Blood Drive Will Be Held Aug. 23

Donors who save lives by giving blood with Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) in August will receive a pass for two to the Oklahoma City Zoo and a free “Keep It Local” t-shirt.

OBI will hold a blood drive at Sequoyah Memorial Hospital in Sallisaw from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 23 on the bloodmobile.  Healthy adults, age 16 and older, can give blood.

OBI serves more than 160 hospitals and medical facilities statewide, and the need for blood is constant.

“Blood is essential for patients facing medical trauma or those undergoing treatment for cancer and other life-threatening diseases,” said John Armitage, M.D., president and CEO of Oklahoma Blood Institute. “Whether we know them or not, there are people right now who are counting on us to give.”

Oklahoma Blood Institute relies on about 1,200 volunteer blood donors per day to meet the needs of patients.  There is no substitute for blood, and the donation process takes about an hour.  Blood can be donated every 56 days.  Platelets can be given as often as every seven days, up to 24 times a year.

If donors opt not to take the t-shirt, funds will be given to Global Blood Fund, a  charity organization helping to procure much-needed blood center supplies in developing countries.

Appointments to give blood are not required but can be made by visiting or calling Greg at 479-652-2362.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Central Closed Thursday; Radar Records 10 Inches of Rain

Central schools, east of Sallisaw, will remain closed on Thursday, School Superintendent Larry Henson announced Wednesday afternoon.

The school remains closed while the railroad cleans up a derailment about a quarter mile away.

Steve Rutherford, Sequoyah County Emergency Management director, met with railroad and county officials Wednesday morning for an update on the cleanup.

“It’s going well,” Rutherford said. “It’s just a process now, getting it done.”

Heavy rains early Sunday are believed to have loosened the railway tracks resulting in the train derailment Sunday morning.

Rutherford said Union Pacific Railroad officials report special operations will unload the six tank cars filled with propane. The railroad has placed monitoring stations around the derailment that have not recorded any propane leaking from the cars. Rutherford said the railroad plans to off load the propane onto tanker trucks, then transport the propane to the Van Buren rail yard for further rail transport.

“It is very safe,” Rutherford said. “They are going to do one car a day for six days. They are going to off load the propane at night because of the school.”

Residents in the area will not be evacuated, and will be safe, Rutherford said.

“It is a safe process,” Rutherford said.

The railroad company, Rutherford said, “has done an awesome job in getting the clean-up done, and they work well with us.”

Rutherford said he expects Central High Road to be open by Friday. The road has no flood damage but is closed due to the derailment.

Other county roads did not fare well in the heavy rains that hit the county Sunday. Rutherford said county commissioners are in the process of assessing damages, and he believes there was heavy road damage in all three county districts.

The money threshold to receive Federal Emergency Management Agency money for repairs is $131,000 Rutherford said. He said the county will have no problem meeting that threshold.

“We know we have major road damage,” Rutherford said. “And five homes, mainly in the Central area and near the river, were flooded. I talked to one family that had four feet of water in their home.”

Rutherford said he has special radar which showed the heaviest rain on Sunday was from Sallisaw to just west of Muldrow, and in a 10-mile circumference. He said the radar revealed almost 10 inches of rain fell in the Gans area.

Rutherford said the flood control dams, north of Sallisaw, are all holding and doing their jobs.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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City Honors Sallee for Service on Planning Commission

Albert Sallee, center, was presented with a plaque recognizing his 39 years of service to the Sallisaw Planning Commission. Mayor Jim Hudgens presented the award, and said he valued Sallee as a friend. Sallee was accompanied by his wife, Jerry, right, and other family members. The presentation was at the city commission meeting on Monday evening.

After the plaque presentation, Bill Tackett of the Oklahoma Municipal Assurance Group (OMAG) explained new programs to the city commissioners. He explained OMG has Recognition and Retention Programs that could return about $30,000 a year to the city. One of the programs involves the training of city commissioners. A regional OMAG training has been scheduled in October in Sallisaw. The other program could return money to the city if no insurance claims are filed against the city with OMAG.

Keith Miller, city building development director, reported to the commissioners about a study conducted by himself and the planning commission on small or tiny homes, also known as mother-in-law homes. He said there is little information in other city codes and ordinances about small homes, or if someone wishes to have a subdivision of nothing but small homes. He said small homes should be considered differently than mobile homes, and should be placed on a foundation or concrete slab, not on wheels as mobile homes are. The commissioners asked Miller to continue formulating codes and ordinances they will consider later.

The commissioners also:

-approved $35,000 contract with Neel, Harvell and Associates for a traffic Impact Study in the Roy Frye Jr. Industrial Park;

-approved a pay request for $191,246 for the I-40 Delaware Bridge Water Line Replacement Project, the money is to be reimbursed to the city by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT);

-approved the purchase for an amount not to exceed $67,000 to Hudiburg Chevrolet of Oklahoma City for the purchase of two Chevrolet Tahoe Police Pursuit SUVs;

-approved a $222,098 grant from Federal Aviation Administration for the rehab of the taxi, runway and apron at Sallisaw Airport, the city has a $25,000 match for the $247,776 project;

-approved the award of a contract for $805,660 to McKee Excavating Inc. of Prague for the relocation of sewer lines along U.S. Highway 59 north, this portion of the relocation will be reimbursed by ODOT;

-condemned property at 1100 S. Opdyke as a public nuisance;

-convened in executive session of discuss negotiations concerning employees and representatives of employee groups, the commissioners took no action when they reconvened;

-and heard from city Manager Clayton Lucas that Kansas City Southern railroad officials will meet with the city on Aug. 23 to discuss an intermodal partnership near the landfill, which will help clean up their facility in Sallisaw.

Acting as the Sallisaw Municipal Authority, the commissioners approved a contract with APTIV for Digital Guide Services for Diamond Net.

Lucas reported on the flooding in Sallisaw over the weekend, and that the old wastewater treatment plant had to be shut down when it became inundated.

Hudgens asked that the city inspect easements and drainage ditches to be sure that flooding and rainwater can run off without being slowed by debris.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sallisaw Getting Auto-loading Trash Truck

The City of Sallisaw will be purchasing an auto-loading residential trash truck within the next few months.

The city is now advising residents there are certain guidelines that must be followed for the new truck.

The new truck will gradually be implemented throughout the community. In an effort to have a smooth transition, the city asks residents to familiarize themselves ahead of time with procedures. 

Polycarts must be placed within 2 to 3 feet of the street with the lid opening facing the street.

All trash must be bagged and must be contained in the polycart so that the lid can close properly. No additional trash should be placed on top of or next to the polycart. 

If there are two or more polycarts, they must be placed at least two feet apart.

An additional polycart is $5.50 per month.

Do not place polycarts next to fire hydrants or gas meters, or next to any obstructions such as parked cars or mailboxes. For more information about polycart placement, please contact the Sanitation Superintendent and he will schedule a time to come and visit on site.

Polycarts must be placed curbside by 6 a.m. on the scheduled day of collection.

All polycarts must be removed from the curb within 24 hours.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Community Services Clearinghouse in Grant Competition

The Community Services Clearinghouse in Fort Smith has been chosen to be in the top 200 out of 2,000 agencies nationwide that are eligible for the State Farm “Neighborhood Assist” grant.

The Top 40 agencies will all receive a check for $25,000. The clearinghouse has targeted the grant, if won, to the Meals For Kids/Backpack Program. The program provides food for children through the schools in Sequoyah and LeFlore Counties as well as in Arkansas.

The public votes for the organizations seeking the grants. All that is needed is a valid email address and use one of the supported browsers. IE10, the latest versions of Chrome, Safari, or Firefox, mobile Safari for IOS, latest models of Android mobile devices.

Voting starts Aug. 16, Wednesday. You can vote up to 10 votes per day, all at the same time. Once per day for the 10 days. Voting ends at 10:59:59 Central time (11:59:59 EST) Aug. 25.

Voting is on the State Farm website at

The program is listed as “Kids Helping Kids.” Each Program has a picture, a short description, and a catch phrase. The list will have all 200 programs. The Top 40 in the end will each receive a check for $25,000. 

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Smith Sworn Into Office as Cherokee Tribal Councilor

From the left are newly inaugurated Tribal Councilors Joe Byrd, Frankie Hargis, Victoria Vazquez, Janees Taylor, Harley Buzzard, E.O. Smith, Mike Shambaugh, Mike Dobbins and Mary Baker Shaw.

Nine Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilors were sworn into office Monday as they pledged to preserve, protect and defend the Cherokee Nation Constitution during their four-year terms.

Among those new councilors is E.O. Smith of Vian, District 5.

The new and re-elected Tribal Councilors vowed to promote the culture, heritage and traditions of the Cherokee Nation as they stood before hundreds of people in the Sequoyah High School gymnasium to be sworn into office by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Garrett.

"First off, I am humbled by the confidence of my district's citizens and will serve them to the best of my ability," Tribal Council Speaker Joe Byrd said. "Additionally, I look forward to working with the councilors who were re-elected, as I believe we charted a successful course for progress during our first term. We are also very fortunate to welcome four new councilors, and I know they will bring fresh ideas with them to share with the group."

Five incumbents were re-elected this year, including District 2 Tribal Councilor Byrd, District 11 Tribal Councilor Victoria Vazquez, District 7 Tribal Councilor Frankie Hargis, District 15 Tribal Councilor Janees Taylor and District 10 Tribal Councilor Harley Buzzard. Vazquez won re-election unopposed; Byrd, Hargis, Taylor and Buzzard were re-elected during the June general election.

Newcomers beginning their first terms in office include District 4 Tribal Councilor Mike Dobbins, District 5 Tribal Councilor E.O. Smith, District 9 Tribal Councilor Mike Shambaugh and At-Large Tribal Councilor Mary Baker Shaw. Dobbins and Shaw were both elected during the June general election, while Shambaugh and Smith were elected in a July run-off.

More than 6,000 Cherokee Nation citizens voted in the June 3 Tribal Council election, and more than 1,400 in the July run-off election.

The tribe’s legislative branch consists of a 17-member Tribal Council representing the 15 districts inside Cherokee Nation’s jurisdiction and two at-large seats representing citizens who live outside the boundaries. Members are elected by popular vote to four-year terms.

The inauguration ceremony featured a welcome from Principal Chief Bill John Baker and performances by the Cherokee National Youth Choir and Cherokee Community Singers.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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