Monday, April 12, 2021

Cherokee Nation Hosting Free Virtual ACT Boot Camp

Cherokee Nation Foundation is offering a free virtual ACT Boot Camp on Saturday, May 22, for Native American students preparing for the national exam. The course is designed for students in grades 10-12, with preference given to Cherokee Nation citizens.

“A new class of students are working hard to prepare for their future in higher education, and they are facing new challenges as a result of the pandemic,” said Janice Randall, executive director of Cherokee Nation Foundation. “Bringing these programs to a virtual platform has enabled us to reach more students, both locally and at large. We look forward to helping them prepare in any way we can and are proud to play a part in the next chapter of their lives.”

ACT Boot Camp is led by MasteryPrep, an organization dedicated to building students’ confidence on test day by providing essential test-taking strategies and skills. Instructors guide students through content strategies for all four subjects and administer practice tests to help students identify their strengths and weaknesses.

Students participating in the virtual boot camp must be registered for the June 12 or July 17 National ACT exam. Students interested in the course can call the foundation at 918-207-0950 or apply online through May 7 at .

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CN Provides Record $6.3M to 107 School Districts

The Cherokee Nation presented more than $6.3 million to 107 school districts during the tribe’s virtual Public School Appreciation Day Wednesday. (L-R) Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Tina Glory-Jordan, Executive Director of Cherokee Nation Education Services Corey Bunch, Cherokee Nation Tax Commission Administrator Sharon Swepston, Deputy Chief Bryan Warner, Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., Cherokee Nation Tax Commissioner Fan Robinson, District 14 Tribal Councilor and Education Committee Chair Keith Austin

The Cherokee Nation presented more than $6.3 million to 107 school districts during the tribe’s annual Public School Appreciation Day held in a virtual format Wednesday. This year’s disbursement is the largest since the tribe began its annual contributions in 2002.

Aside from the millions of dollars the Cherokee Nation provides to the state of Oklahoma for education funding each year through the tribal-state gaming compact, the Cherokee Nation also allocates 38 percent of its annual car tag revenue directly to education.

“In order to have a bright future, we need to have a lot of our energy dedicated to the cause of education,” Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “This past year has been particularly challenging to school teachers, administrators, students and parents alike as we navigated the worst public health crisis in generations. I’m proud that our tribal government not only continues to support public schools, but that we also continue to expand our working relationships with those schools, finding more and more ways to offer assistance throughout the year. By doing this, we help guide the next generation to that bright future we all want them to have.”

Each school district makes the decision on how to use the funding for their schools. In the past years, schools have used the funds to cover anything from teacher salaries, facilities, operations, technology improvements or school programs. Many schools also used tribal car tag dollars to respond and recover from the impacts of COVID-19 over the past year.

“I want to thank all of our teachers and school administrators for the difficult work they have done over the past year. None of us have ever been faced with this situation and despite all of the barriers they had, each and every school district had to find innovative ways to transition into a safe learning environment,” said Deputy Chief Bryan Warner. “As a tribal government, we were positioned to offer our help in various ways and we did so without hesitation. It really does take all of us to bring up our children and ensure they have the tools and the skills they need to be our future leaders. I admire our educators for stepping up and leading the way for our children. As a parent, I truly am thankful for their commitment and determination and I’m proud that the Cherokee Nation is a partner in those efforts.”

For Westville Schools in Adair County, the Cherokee Nation tribal car tag dollars support the district’s COVID-19 protocols as well as the drivers education program that was started in recent years, according to Superintendent Terry Heustis.

“The Cherokee Nation has always helped Westville Public Schools. We have received a drivers education car, masks and PPE to help during COVID-19, along with extra funding to help us deal with COVID,” Heustis said. “Of course, we also receive motor vehicle tag money that has no strings attached and we have used it in multiple ways over the years. It always comes when we need an extra hand. The Cherokee Nation is always finding ways to help our Cherokee students, but they also help take care of all of our students. It is a great relationship and we can't thank the Cherokee Nation enough for all of their help.”

Sand Springs Schools also used Cherokee Nation’s generosity to respond to the past year’s changes caused by the pandemic.

“The Cherokee Nation's generosity has enabled our district to enhance our capability to provide mobile devices to all students and to provide support for connectivity. This is helping us address inequities that exist among our students,” Sand Springs Superintendent Sherry Durkee said. “This contribution is important due to the financial challenges that always seem to exist in public schools. However, in these ‘pandemic years,’ this partnership has been even more important in making sure our students and staff have the resources they need to access educational resources.”

School districts receive money based on the number of Cherokee Nation citizens they have enrolled, yet funding benefits all students.

“The Cherokee Nation Administration and the Council of the Cherokee Nation continues to remain committed to the safety, welfare and learning of all students located within our reservation boundaries,” Executive Director of Cherokee Nation Education Services Corey Bunch said. “There are over 30,000 Cherokee students attending schools inside of Cherokee Nation and this year over $6.3 million will go to public schools from the MVT funds to address the needs of all students.”

During Wednesday’s event, Bunch also announced that the Cherokee Nation will soon begin providing a virtual tutoring service for all students within in the tribe’s reservation in grades K-12, regardless of whether they are a tribal citizen. The Cherokee Nation will offer the service through Varsity Tutors, a company committed to assessing every student’s unique needs and learning styles and connecting them with a tutor best fit to work with the student. Cherokee Nation will work directly with schools in the tribe’s reservation to offer the tutoring service to students, and more details about this program will be announced at a future date.

“Principal Chief Hoskin, Deputy Chief Warner and the members of our Tribal Council appreciate all of the work school teachers and leaders have done to continue to educate our youth during this trying year. We consider it an honor to work in the field of education and working together with public schools has been, and will always be, one of our highest priorities,” Bunch said.

Since 2002, the Cherokee Nation has awarded school districts in northeastern Oklahoma $68.6 million in education contributions from car tag revenue.

These counties received funds totaling the following amounts during the 2021 Public School Appreciation Day event:

Adair – $529,277
Cherokee – $921,784
Craig – $164,340
Delaware – $416,387
Mayes – $545,993
Muskogee – $591,366
Nowata – $104,422
Osage – $2,822
Ottawa – $111,369
Rogers – $627,838
Sequoyah – $533,401
Tulsa – $1,327,317
Wagoner – $213,404
Washington – $216,660

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Warrant Issued for Roland Man Accused of Scheme

A felony arrest warrant was issued for a Roland man charged with fraud.

Bond for Phillip Leverette, 48, was set at $10,000.

On Nov 11, 2019, Montea Wight of Muldrow contacted Leverette and his associates, doing business as K&P Steel Erectors, to erect some mini-storage buildings in Muldrow. Wight paid Leverette with two checks totaling $9,000 for the purchase of concrete and other building materials. Leverette cashed the checks but never returned to do the work, according to court documents.

On March 13, 2020, Wight filed a lawsuit for $10,000 against Leverette, Sizemore, Oliver and K&P Steel Erectors. On Sept. 8, 2020, a court order indicated that Leverette was not found to be served, forcing the case to be dropped.

Documents state that Leverette has never brought any goods to the Muldrow work site, nor has he made any contact with Wight. Multiple efforts by law enforcement to locate Leverette have failed.

Since the Wight case, other people have come forward with similar stories about being defrauded by Leverette.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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2nd United Way Classic Golf Tournament Set for May 17-22

The United Way of Fort Smith Area is partnering with the All Pro Tour for a second-consecutive year to bring professional golf to Fort Smith, Ark. The 2nd annual United Way Classic will take place at Hardscrabble Country Club on May 17-22.

The week will be packed full of events, including a pro-am Tuesday, May 18, a youth clinic Wednesday, May 19 and a Sip N Chip on Thursday, May 20.

The pro rounds will take place Wednesday-Saturday, with the trophy and check presentation Saturday afternoon, May 22. The tournament purse for the 2021 Classic is $135,000, with the winner taking home $25,000.

Eddie Lee Herndon, president and chief executive officer of United Way of Fort Smith Area, said, “Thanks to our sponsors, APT Tour staff and players, Hardscrabble Country Club, participating partner agencies and volunteers, the United Way Classic was a huge success in the inaugural year. Overcoming COVID challenges, the pros had an incredible tournament. We raised $60,000 for our agencies and the economic impact to the area was over $500,000. We are expecting great things again this year and greatly appreciate all of our sponsors.”

One-hundred and fifty-six professional golfers participated in the United Way Classic in 2020.

This year’s event this year is open to the public. COVID-19 safety protocols that are in place at the time of the tournament will be followed.

The pro-am is a fun opportunity to improve your game, play with a professional and improve your network. Teams of four will be paired with a professional from the All Pro Tour. There will be a morning and afternoon flight with shotgun starts at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The youth clinic is open to first- through 12th-graders. Registration is limited to the first 50 and will be on a first-come, first served basis. One parent or guardian may attend and must stay with the child. Registration for the pro-am and the youth clinic can be made online at

Event sponsors include Arvest Bank, Orr Auto Park, First National Bank of Fort Smith, Times Record, Cox Business, 5NEWS, University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, Rheem, Harry Robinson, Buick GMC, Firstar Bank, Strategic Realty, Sodies Wine & Spirits, Roy and Karen Slagle, City of Fort Smith, Lovvorn Lumber, ServiceMaster and MP Warehouse.

This annual charity event supports participating United Way agencies. Sponsorship opportunities are still available.

For more information, contact the Fort Smith United Way office at (479) 782-1311 or email

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Marble City Takeout Dinners Set for Monday

The Marble City Historical Society has scheduled April’s Takeout Dinners at the Bank from 4-6 p.m. Monday, April 19, at the old Citizens State Bank Building downtown.

This month’s menu includes your choice of baked ham or baked chicken breast with scalloped potatoes and buttered carrots, hot roll and your choice of strawberry cake or lemon cake for dessert. Meals are $10 each.

Because last month’s meal sold out early, organizers are asking diners to call in their orders by 10 a.m. Monday (or as early as possible) to ensure enough food is cooked for everyone. To place an order, call Judy at (918) 315-9337, Mildred at (918) 571-8025 or Tamara at (918) 230-0605.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Commissioners Declare 911 Dispatchers Week

Tiffany Harrell, holding proclamation, represented Sequoyah County dispatchers 
at Monday's commissioners' meeting.

The Board of Sequoyah County Commissioners declared this week National Public Safety Telecommunicators Appreciation Week at their meeting Monday.

Every year during the second week of April, 911 dispatchers around the United States are honored for their lifelong dedication to serving the public.

Dispatchers are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, Sequoyah County dispatcher Tiffany Harrell said, and most people don’t realize that. “When the pandemic started, we didn’t get time off. When bad weather hit, we still had to work.” Dispatchers “do a lot more than just sit in a chair,” she said, “and we don’t get recognition as much as we should.”

District 3 Commissioner Jim Rogers agreed with Harrell’s statement, saying, “It’s not an easy job, and we appreciate everything you do.” District 2 Commissioner Beau Burlison added, “I know it’s a thankless job, but you are much appreciated around here.”

In other business, the commissioners:

*Approved a lease-purchase agreement between the Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Office and Welch State Bank for a 2021 Chevy Silverado

*Approved transfers from the VOCA Lease-Purchase account to the Sheriff’s Service Fee account and the VOCA Personal Service account to the Sheriff’s Service Fee account

*Approved the Sequoyah County Assessor’s Office’s five-year exemption reimbursement from the Oklahoma Tax Commission for the 2020 tax year

*Approved, on contingency of the district attorney’s approval, payment to Assessor Kelly Miller for accrued paid time off

*Declared as surplus 16 Galls duty vests by the Sheriff’s Office.

 Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Friday, April 9, 2021

Sallisaw Proclaims April as Alcohol Awareness Month

On Wednesday the City of Sallisaw proclaimed the month of April as Alcohol Awareness Month. Presenting the proclamation to Amy Edwards. of the Sallisaw NOW Coalition. along with the City of Sallisaw is Mayor Ernie Martens.

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