Friday, June 15, 2018

Accident Claims Life of Gore Man



A Gore man was killed in a car crash at approximately 11:52 a.m. on Thursday, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) reported.

Don Mayes, 50, from Gore, along with Walter Alexander Fanning, age 25, from Miami, OK, were both pronounced dead at the scene from injuries sustained in the collision, according to the OHP report.

The crash occurred on U.S. Highway 59 approximately a half mile north of Heavener in Leflore County. The OHP reported that the 2007 Chevy truck driven by Mayes went left of center and struck the vehicle driven by Fanning head on. 

The condition of the drivers is still being investigated by the OHP. Seatbelts were in place in both vehicles but only in use by Mayes. Weather conditions were clear and dry.

KXMX News Staff

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Martens Retire from Chamber, High School

Judy and Ernie Martens

“This is home!"

That’s how Judy and Ernie Martens feel about Sallisaw.

Ernie Martens’ career in education spans 39 years, with 15 of those years as high school principal at Sallisaw High School.

Judy Martens has been executive director of the Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce for 14 years.

Ernie will retire from the high school on June 19.

Judy retired from the chamber on Wednesday (June 13).

They both took a few remaining vacation days to close out their careers. And they are not sitting home on the couch.

The plan includes spending time with their young grandchildren. The Martens have five grandchildren, ages 6 to 16, Ernie said.

“That’s our plan,” Judy said. “We’re going to spend a lot of time with the young ones.”

Ernie added, “And I’m going to fish, a lot!”

The grandchildren like to fish too, along with the Martens’ son, Tucker, and son-in-law, George Bormann, husband to the Martens’ daughter, Holly.

Ernie said he likes to fish for anything at Brushy Lake and Tenkiller and Kerr Lake. He’s also fond of trout fishing on the Illinois River below the dam at Lake Tenkiller.

Judy said she plans on a two-month quiet time, spending time with family and friends.

In addition to fishing, Ernie said the Martens like to go to the grandkids many activities, which include softball, baseball, football and band.

“I may volunteer with an organization or I may even go back to work,” Judy said. 

Both the Martens said they would like to take some short weekend trips over the coming year, and they would like to “work on the house.” 

But Ernie’s volunteerism make take up a lot of his time. He was recently elected Sallisaw’s mayor.

Being mayor is “going to take up a lot of my time, but consider that volunteer time. I knew that when I decided to run for mayor,” he said.

That was also a factor in the couple’s decision to retire.

“We both decided to retire on our own,” Judy said.

She explained that after 14 years as chamber executive director, it was just time to turn the job over to someone else. The new director is Marty Green.

Ernie said, “I love the students. I love the staff. But I want to be able to stay home at night.”

The Martens accomplishments are record setting. The chamber’s membership is at a high and the organization hosts a number of crowd-pleasing events throughout the year, including last week’s Diamond Daze.

Judy said her greatest accomplishment is the chamber’s “program of work.”

Ernie points to the school system’s graduating students.

“When I first came here,” he recalled, “the dropout rate was at 26 percent. Now it's down to 12 percent. We’ve made great strides with the students furthering their education at college and at the vocational level.”

The new high school principal is Russell Tillery who now is assistant principal. Brad Jackson is the new assistant principal.

Ernie concluded, “I appreciate the support of the community and the friends we’ve made here in town.”

Judy concluded, “When we moved here, the community accepted our family with open arms, and many members of the community are like family.

“This is home!”


Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Charges Against Ward Dropped

Julie Ann Ward

Charges of concealing stolen property, filed against Julie Ann Ward, former administrator at Sequoyah Memorial Hospital in Sallisaw, were dropped Monday in Sequoyah County District Court.

Ward’s attorney, Fourth Scoufos, said additional evidence presented to the authorities revealed Ward had no culpability in the incident, which involved the theft of a tractor in Muskogee County.

The motion to dismiss without prejudice was presented by Assistant District Attorney Mike Dunagan. Special District Judge Matt Orendorff granted the motion “in the best interest of justice,” and ordered that all reference to the defendant's name be expunged from the court record.

The charge against Ward, 57, of Vian, and her husband, Robert, were filed on March 16 in district court. The investigator’s report, filed with the charges, revealed a stolen tractor was allegedly found at the Ward home in the Evening Shade area north of Vian. But Robert Ward said he purchased the tractor with a $2,000 down payment.

Both Wards pleaded not guilty to the charge. Robert Ward’s preliminary hearing on the charge is slated for Monday in district court, according to court records.


Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Cherokee Nation Accepting Clothing Applications


The Cherokee Nation is accepting applications through June 29 for the 2018 Clothing Assistance Program

The tribe’s clothing voucher program helps Cherokee families purchase new clothes for school-aged children for the upcoming school year.

Last year the tribe helped nearly 6,500 students, grades K-12, from across the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction prepare for the first day of school with gift cards totaling $650,000.

To be eligible for the program, students must be age 5 before Sept. 1, be a Cherokee Nation citizen, live within the 14-county jurisdiction and meet additional income guidelines.

Once parents have provided the necessary paperwork and been verified by the tribe, the parents receive a $100 gift card for every school-aged child in the home.

This year, applications can be downloaded and printed from the school clothing voucher icon on www.cherokee.org. Applications can also be picked up at any Cherokee Nation Human Services field office or the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex in Tahlequah from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Cherokee Nation Human Services office in Sallisaw is at 101 E. Quesenbury.

All applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. on June 29 at a Cherokee Nation office location or by mail, and all mailed applications must be postmarked no later than June 25.

For more information on income guidelines or other eligibility requirements, please call Cherokee Nation Human Services Family Assistance at 918-453-5000, ext. 3899 or visit www.cherokee.org.


Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Warner Approves Family Grant

Bryan Warner

Bryan Warner of Sallisaw, Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor, supports a program that supports families.

The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council authorized the submission of an application to renew a tribal home visiting grant through the U.S. Department of Human Services.

The goal of the program is to prevent child maltreatment and abuse and to continue to provide families with access to quality services to support the overall well-being of their children.

Warner said, “It is an absolute necessity that the Cherokee Nation does its due diligence in finding resources to help support our young families in order to ensure our youngest citizens have the nurturing care they need at home.

“I commend our Human Services department for finding funding like this grant in order to maximize the services and resources available to our citizens.”

The skills training and education materials are delivered by the tribe’s early childhood educators in the participant’s home on a weekly basis for 18 weeks.

The next meeting of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council will be July 16 at the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex in Tahlequah.


Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Sallisaw Police Still Searching for Vian Fugitive

Joseph Wade Marshall

Sallisaw Police are still searching for Joseph Wade Marshall, 31, of Vian, who has been identified as the suspect involved in a vehicle pursuit from the Sallisaw Walmart on June 1.

Marshall is currently a fugitive from justice, with warrants out of Sequoyah County for burglary in the second degree and possession of a stolen vehicle out of Garvin County. It is expected that additional charges may be filed in Sequoyah County District Court in Sallisaw.

Capt. Jeff Murray with the Sallisaw Police Department said the department is still looking for Marshall, who was driving a vehicle belonging to Leslie Leah Monroe, 37. Monroe has come forward to talk with investigators.

“We still want to bring him into custody,” Murray said. “If anybody knows his whereabouts, we would love to know.”

Marshall was recently released from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. According to the DOC, his profile describes him as an American Indian male with brown hair and hazel eyes, standing 5 feet, 10 inches and weighing 200 pounds.

If anyone has information on Marshall’s location, please contact your local police.


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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Former Convenience Store Burns in Muldrow


A former convenience store burned to the ground near the Muldrow Middle School over the weekend.

The former Shary Mart Convenience Store was fully engulfed when Muldrow firefighters arrived on scene early Sunday morning along Shawntel Smith Boulevard, or Highway 64, according to Muldrow Fire Chief Alan Falkner.

Falkner said the fire was already through the roof when firefighters arrived. He said it “burned hot and burned quick”. There were no injuries, and the fire was contained to the one structure, which has not been an operating business for several months.

He did say the abandoned building has been the target of vandalism and recent break-ins.

The fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire.


Pam Cloud, Managing News Director

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