Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Missing Vian Teen Located

A Vian teen that disappeared from her grandmother's home on the morning of July 29 has been located and is safe and unharmed according to Sequoyah County Sheriff Larry Lane.

Lindsay Jones aka Lindsay Lasiter is now known to have ran away from her grandmother's Vian home.  No foul play was involved.

She was located by Investigators Goode and Rutherford at a residence south of Muldrow just moments ago.

KXMX News Staff

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Monday, July 30, 2018

Sallisaw's 75th Annual Lions Club Rodeo Kicks off Thursday

Cowboys and cowgirls from all around know that each year the Sallisaw Lions Club Rodeo will be a great one and this year it will be even more special. Celebrating 75 years of entertaining rodeo fans the Lions Club has great plans for their Diamond anniversary.

"We're looking forward to another great year," said Sallisaw Lions Club president and rodeo chairman Marley Abell. "The Sequoyah County Roundup Club started the rodeo in 1941 but we missed a couple of years because of war time."

The rodeo is sanctioned by the International Professional Rodeo Association (IPRA) and the American Cowboys Rodeo Association (ACRA) and is also part of the Ram Rodeo Series.

The Hampton Rodeo Company of Springdale, Arkansas will provide stock for the rodeo.

The Sallisaw Rodeo draws over 5,000 people a year, and showcases the elite athletes in rodeo competition. Talented cowboys and cowgirls from throughout the country and from the local area will compete for thousands of dollars in prize money in several different events. Abell said that this year contestants will be competing for $11,000 in added money.

The events include:

*Bareback Bronc Riding
*Bull Riding
*Cowgirl's Barrel Racing
*Saddle Bronc Riding
*Steer Wrestling
*Team Roping
*Tie Down Roping
*Cowgirl Breakaway Roping

The rodeo kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Thursday with a parade through downtown Sallisaw. Fan favorite mutton bustin' will be held each night at 6:30 p.m. with sign ups at 5:30 p.m. Nightly rodeo performances will kick off with the Grand Entry at 8 p.m.

Matt McGee will be returning as the announcer for the rodeo. McGee is a five-time IPRA Announcer of the Year. The Rodeo of the Ozarks Rounders drill team will also be performing nightly. Miss Rodeo USA Summer Weldon will also be on hand.

New to perform at the Sallisaw Rodeo is rodeo clown and specialty act Austin Stewart who has appeared on America's Got Talent. Myles Essick will be doing this year's bullfighting.

Cost for admission is $8 per adult and $5 for children 6-10 years of age. Children 5-and-under are free. "We like to keep the entry affordable so that people can come and bring their family. They don't even have to pay extra for the music entertainment," added Abell.

And this year's entertainment is worthy of a 75th anniversary. The Lions Club has great entertainment scheduled to perform on Friday and Saturday night at the after-rodeo dances.

Returning to perform on Friday night is local favorite, Crossroads. Made up of local musicians Crossroads has a loyal following and always draws a crowd.

On Saturday night Jason Boland and the Stragglers will take the stage. One of the most successful  Red Dirt Bands they got their start in Stillwater and also have local ties. 

"We had Jason Boland and the Stragglers here in 2000 but that was before they were really known outside of our area," said Abell. "We're having to get a bigger stage and lighting. We think it will be big."

Some other fun events you won't want to miss include the calf scramble, pony rides and always exciting wild-horse races.

KXMX News Staff

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Griffey Promoted to OHP Lieutenant

Lieutenant Derek Griffey

The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety announced that Sallisaw resident Derek Griffey has been promoted to Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lieutenant.

Griffey is a graduate of the 57th OHP Academy in 2007. He will be assigned to Troop D, headquartered in McAlester. Previous assignments have included Troop H (Washita County), Troop C (Sequoyah County), and the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office in Oklahoma City.

Griffey and his wife Jennifer have two sons, Grayson and Gunner.

KXMX News Staff

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Authorities Search for Missing Vian Teen

Lindsay Jones aka Lindsay Lasiter

A concerned grandmother is asking for help locating her missing 14-year-old granddaughter. 

Lindsay Jones aka Lindsay Lasiter was reported missing by her grandmother Melinda Jones of Vian. According to Jones, Lindsay was discovered to be missing from her grandmother's Vian home on the morning of July 29th. "She was just gone from her second floor bedroom,"said Jones. "The window was open."

Although the 14-year-old is currently being considered a runaway her grandmother and others are very concerned for her safety. 

The Sequoyah County Sheriff's Department is actively investigating and searching for Lindsay. "We have deputies out looking for her right now," stated Sequoyah County Sheriff Larry Lane. 

Anyone with information regarding Lindsay's whereabouts is asked to call the sheriff's department at 918-775-9155. 

Please share this post and help spread the word to bring Lindsay home safely.

KXMX News Staff

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Saturday, July 28, 2018

ATV Accident Leaves One in Critical Condition

An ATV accident that occurred Friday north of Vian left one man in a Tulsa hospital in critical condition.

Martin Stewart, 52, of Broken Arrow, was driving his 2012 Polaris Ranger southbound on County Road 4514 approximately 10 miles north of Vian when he departed the road to the right, overturning one-quarter time onto the driver side and coming to rest on the southbound lane. Stewart was pinned under the ATV for an unknown amount of time according the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) report. 

Stewart was transported by the OHP to Northeastern Health Systems where he was admitted in critical condition with head, arm, foot and trunk internal injuries. He was later transported to Tulsa St. Francis.

The OHP reported that Stewart was driving while impaired and noted the odor of alcoholic beverage.

KXMX News Staff

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Couple Helps Others, and Improves Their Own Lives

Jeremy Clark, left, and Chasity Patton, right, donated 45 backpacks filled with school supplies on Wednesday to the Catholic Charities Helping Center in Sallisaw. Helping Center Director Becky Ritchie, center, accepts the donation. 

A couple enrolled in the Sequoyah County Drug Program are bettering their lives by helping others.

Jeremy Clark and Chasity Patton recently raised the funds with the help of their church - the First Assembly of God in Muldrow - to donate 45 back packs filled with school supplies to the Catholic Charities Helping Center in Sallisaw. The back packs will be given to children who need a little help preparing for school.

Clark was honest about his and Patton’s efforts for The Helping Center. 

“They helped us out when we needed help,” he said. “Between us we’ve got seven kids at home.”

The children range in age from pre-kindergarten to the 10th grade, and were able to benefit from the Back-to-School Program last year.

This year, “Chasity was able to find a good deal on line,” Clark said. “We dropped off the backpacks July 25.”

Backpacks are not the only community project Clark and Patton have taken on. He said they also cooked out for the Special Victims Unit recently, and they help provide KATS bus tickets for those in need. 

Both are also sponsors for the drug program, helping others turn their lives around. Clark said he was arrested for drugs in February 2017, and because he and Patton were non-violent offenders, they were enrolled in the drug program.

Sequoyah County Drug Court is a special court given the responsibility to handle cases involving less serious drug-using offenders through a supervision and treatment program. The program includes frequent drug testing, judicial and probation supervision, drug treatment counseling, educational opportunities and the use of sanctions and incentives. The Catholic Charities Helping Center partners with the drug court and individuals in the food pantry, outside building and clothing room.

Clark and Patton are on schedule to graduate from drug court in October, and both are now gainfully employed.

Clark said they plan to stay involved in drug court.

“I’m just giving back,” he said. “So many people helped me when I decided to turn my life around. People can change. People can turn their lives around.”

The Helping Center stands as a witness to those words, and Becky Ritchie, Helping Center administrator, added her thanks.

“Thank you Chasity and Jeremy for all of your hard work!” said Ritchie.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Search Continues for Suspect in Spiro

Suspect in bank theft.

Police continue to search in the Spiro area for the second suspect in what authorities are calling a "felony theft" that occurred at the Bank of the Ozarks on Rogers Avenue in Fort Smith on Thursday morning.

Around 11:30 a.m. two bank employees were approached by a black male while they were servicing an ATM machine. The male suspect stole two metal cash canisters that reportedly contained approximately $20,000. The subject, who was later identified as Daniel Giles, ran to a waiting white Dodge Durango and fled the scene with another black male.

The two suspects fled into Oklahoma where they were pursued by Oklahoma law enforcement until they lost control of their vehicle. Giles was taken into custody at that time but the other suspect is still at large. The suspect is described as a black male wearing Nike sandals with white socks and a white cloth around his face.(See surveillance photo above)

A search command center has been set up at the Spiro High School gymnasium. 

The two damaged and empty canisters were later located in a drainage underpass near Jennylind and Harvard in Fort Smith.

$10,000 in cash has been recovered according to authorities.

Anyone with information on the identity or whereabouts of the missing suspect should contact the Fort Smith Police Department at 479-709-5100.

KXMX News Staff

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Tahlequah Man Dies in ATV Accident

A Tahlequah man died Wednesday, July 25 after losing control of his all terrain-vehicle.

Roy Lowery, 54, was driving a 2000 Polaris 500 ATV eastbound on 811 Road when he failed to turn at the intersection of 490, left the roadway, and rolled an unknown number of times.

Lowery was transported by First Flight to St John's hospital in Tulsa and was pronounced deceased by emergency room personnel at 11:52 p.m.

The cause of the accident was unsafe speed according to the OHP report. Lowery was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

KXMX News Staff

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Voter Registration Deadline is August 3

Friday, August 3, is the last day to apply for voter registration in order to be eligible to vote in the August 28 Runoff Primary Election, Sequoyah County Election Board Secretary Cindy Osburn said today.

Osborn said that persons who are United States 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 Friday, August 3.

Osborn said applications postmarked after that time will be accepted and processed, but not until after the Election on August 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 St. Sallisaw, OK 74955, and at most post offices, tag agencies and public libraries in the county. Applications also are available at www.elections.ok.gov.

KXMX News Staff

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Local Students Attend College Prep Week

Cherokee Nation Foundation (CNF) recently hosted 35 high school juniors and seniors, including six from Sequoyah County, at its annual Cherokee College Prep Institute last week.

County Students attending were Haley Flute, Muldrow High School; William Greer, Roland High School; Alyssa Jones, Muldrow High School; Melanie McHenry, Sallisaw High School; Taite Stites, Sallisaw High School; and Cash Wright, Vian High School.

Students worked closely with 14 university reps from across the nation to explore schools of interest, research scholarship opportunities and navigate the application process.

“For some students, this is their first look at opportunities in higher education, and our staff works hard to help them consider all the possibilities,” said Janice Randall, executive director for CNF. “We teach them about the resources that are available to help them succeed and guide them through the necessary processes so they don’t get overwhelmed. It is beyond rewarding to see them gain confidence throughout the week and take a proactive role in planning for their future.”

The weeklong camp features classroom curriculum developed in cooperation with College Horizons, the U.S. Department of Education and the Princeton Review. Lessons include ACT strategies, essay writing, interview skills and time management.

Outside of the classroom, students worked in small groups and benefited from one-on-one sessions with university recruiters to help them stand out among their peers in the application process.

Students stay in traditional dorms throughout the week and have opportunities to explore the campus to gain a better understanding of what college life is really like. Additional activities include learning to play stickball, movie night, laser tag, a closing reception and a dance.

“Last year’s CCPI was so fun, I knew I had to come back again this year,” said Ty Earp, senior at Welch High School and Cherokee Nation Scholar. “The college admissions process has always seemed so daunting to me, and this week has answered so many questions I’ve had about tuition, application essays and interviews. I feel confident and prepared and am looking forward to what comes next.”

Participating universities included University of California-Los Angeles, University of Central Oklahoma, Duke University, KY-WV-LSAMPS/STEM, Northeastern State University, University of Notre Dame, Oklahoma State University, University of Oklahoma, University of Pennsylvania, Pomona College, Rogers State University, Stanford University, Swarthmore College and Yale University.

For more information, contact the Cherokee Nation Foundation at (918) 207-0950 or Janice Randall at jr@cherokeenationfoundation.org.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Van Buren Man Sought for Burglaries

A 45-year-old Van Buren man is facing two burglary charges in Sequoyah County District Court, Sallisaw.

Teddy Lynn Wilson was charged July 16 with two counts of second degree burglary. He is accused of stealing items from two shop buildings in Muldrow.

Muldrow Police Chief George Lawson reported he was informed of the burglaries on July 5 and 11, and his investigation revealed the burglaries occurred between April 1 and July 11. Lawson reported he found several of the missing items were pawned at a Fort Smith pawn shop by Wilson. Lawson reported the loss in one case was $1,105, and the loss in the second case was not available as the victim was still listing missing items.

A bench warrant for Wilson’s arrest was issued Monday.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Groundbreaking Held for Aviagen Expansion

Aviagen and the Sallisaw Improvement Corporation (SIC) held a groundbreaking ceremony in Sallisaw Wednesday to celebrate the beginning of construction of Aviagen's latest expansion and new facility.

The new 10,000 square-foot facility is expected to be completed and operating by Dec. 31, 2019 at a cost of $1.9 million. It is expected to initially bring 45 new jobs to the area.

After the groundbreaking a luncheon was held at the Stites Room at Carl Albert State College where Sallisaw Mayor Ernie Martens stated that the construction project was a cooperative effort between Aviagen, the Cherokee Nation, the City of Sallisaw and SIC. 

"I appreciate what it will add to the community," stated Martens.

Martens also praised Buddy Spencer, SIC President, and his tireless efforts to bring the expansion and resulting 45 jobs to Sallisaw.

Spencer noted that Aviagen was initially considering building the new facility in Muskogee. "We started this process and negotiations 16 months ago. They needed around 10 acres to build. They had one and we had nine," stated Spencer.

SIC agreed to give Aviagen nine acres in return for a commitment from Aviagen for 45 quality jobs with quality benefits. "We didn't give land away. We traded it for quality jobs," emphasized Spencer. "We've got a quality company and we don't need to let them get out of town."

Bill John Baker, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, greeted Aviagen's Jason Mack, VP of Aviagen Operation, along with Corry Shadden, Aviagen Production Manager, by welcoming them to the Cherokee Nation. "Economic development is not easy. It takes a lot of work. It takes a lot less work if we can bring all of the partners to the table," Baker said. "Anytime we can create jobs it's a home run for everyone." 

"Sallisaw has been good to us," said Mack. "We would like to thank everyone involved in making this happen, especially Mr. Spencer. He really wants to see Sallisaw grow."

Aviagen's primary complex is located in Alabama. They started their Sallisaw operations in the early 1990's. They are a poultry breeding company that supplies breeding stock to integrated poultry companies such Tyson and OK Foods. They do not produce meat stock. Chicks from Sallisaw are delivered throughout the U.S. and Canada and flown internationally from the Houston airport. 15,000,000 chicks per year are shipped from the Sallisaw hatchery.

KXMX News Staff

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Saltworks Exhibit Opens Aug. 3

Learn about the history of saltworks operations and their impact throughout time at a new exhibit at Sequoyah’s Cabin Museum in Sallisaw.

While Sequoyah is known and honored for being a legendary statesman and for his work creating the Cherokee syllabary, he also ran a saltworks operation on Lee’s Creek near present day Sallisaw.

“The Saltworks of Sequoyah” provides details about Sequoyah’s operation including how salt in the 1830s was manufactured and the events that led to Sequoyah running his own operation.

The exhibit opens Aug. 3 and runs through Jan. 31.

Sequoyah’s Cabin Museum is located at Highway 101, seven miles east of U.S. Highway 59 north of Sallisaw. It is open Tuesday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The museum features the original log cabin constructed by Sequoyah in 1829 and welcomes more than 12,000 visitors each year. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1966 and a National Literary Landmark in 2006. The homestead includes a one-room cabin and nearly 200 acres. The museum also features large displays that share the story of Sequoyah, his development of the Cherokee syllabary and the Cherokee language today. Additional displays showcase the history of the Cherokee Old Settlers, Cherokee Nation post-removal and the Cherokee Nation today.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

NHS Sequoyah Honors Retiring Board Member and Physician

At the July 17th Board Meeting Northeastern Health System (NHS) Sequoyah congratulated both John Cripps and Dr. Rick Robbins for over 40 years of service to the hospital. For the last 40 years, Cripps has served as the Board Chairman and Dr. Robbins has served as a practitioner for the hospital patients. Both were presented with a plaque as a small token of appreciation for everything they have done for the facility. 

Cripps is known for empowering the local hospital staff to establish best practices and subject matter expertise in patient services. Cripps has experienced the growth of the hospital from watching the hospital be transformed from a high school gym, to financial ups and downs and multiple leadership changes. His legacy will continue on the board through the wisdom he has instilled in current board member. 

Dr. Robbins has been a local healthcare icon. From delivering hundreds of babies to performing countless athletic physicals to attending many funerals while comforting the family members of his patients that had gone on. Because of his impact in healthcare and the community, Dr. Rick Robbins Day will be celebrated every July 9th in Sallisaw, Oklahoma. 

“I have worked alongside both of these gentlemen for the last 25 years and have gained a great amount of respect for the many years of service that they have both given to the facility,” stated John Mayhan, NHS Sequoyah Board Chairman. “I would like to personally thank them for the countless hours they have both given to NHS Sequoyah, it has been a pleasure to work alongside them both.” 

“What a benefit the hospital has received to have two great men serve the facility for over 40 years,” stated Todd Martin, NHS Sequoyah Board Member. “It is such a rarity to have both a physician and board member to serve such a lengthy term and give nothing but the best in both clinical and leadership expertise. It is something that the community will forever cherish and be eternally grateful for.” 

KXMX News Staff

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NHS Sequoyah Hospital Welcomes New Administrator

Stephanie Six

Northeastern Health System Sequoyah named Stephanie Six as the new Hospital Administrator in Sallisaw effective July 9, 2018. Six, a native to Sallisaw, earned her high school education from Sallisaw High School, LPN licensure from Indian Capital Vo-Tech in 1991 and her RN licensure from Carl Albert State in 1997.

Six has more than 27 years of healthcare experience, with the last seven as Group Facility Administrator at DaVita Dialysis in Sallisaw where she managed day to day operations of four clinics with over 100 plus indirect reports. She also helped with the startup and growth of the Sallisaw branch. Six is also a former Area VP of Operations for Amedisys Home Health Care where she managed day-to-day operations of approximately 15 agencies over 3 states, including 5 start-up agencies and 3 acquisitions, and supervised a staff of over 300. Six has developed many relationships in her experience and hopes to build off those relationships with other administrators, patients and physicians to help grow NHS Sequoyah. 

"As a resident of Sequoyah County I am honored to be given the opportunity to serve in a leadership role with the hospital. My nursing background has provided me with the necessary skills to lead and serve our community in this role," stated Six.

Six enjoys serving her community. She is an active member and Vice Chair of the Marble City Volunteer Fire Department, as well as an active member and Vice Chair of the Marble City Festival Committee. 

Stephanie is married to Eardie, the Fire Chief of Marble City Volunteer Fire Department. She has two children and 3 grandchildren that she loves to spend time with. 

KXMX News Staff

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Monday, July 23, 2018

Dry Conditions Contribute to Fire on Lake Tenkiller Dam

Dry conditions contributed to the spread of a fire Monday afternoon that burned a large area on the side of the Lake Tenkiller Dam Monday afternoon. Area fire departments including West Tenkiller and Blackgum responded to extinguish the blaze.

On Monday oficials with Oklahoma Forestry Services released a statement asking citizens to use caution as record high temperatures and lack of rain are creating the potential for increased wildfire danger across the state. While the entire state is drying out, southern Oklahoma is already seeing increased fire activity. 

“We experienced a big increase in fires in southeastern Oklahoma over the weekend, with 19 fires burning 743 acres compared to 23 fires in the entire month of June,” said Aranda Chamberlain, who in her role as forestry fire control officer, dispatches fire information to firefighters from Oklahoma Forestry Services’ Broken Bow office. “We really want to encourage everyone to be aware of how dry it is and to be smart with anything that can cause a spark.”

The public can have a huge impact on preventing wildfires by delaying any burning until conditions improve, avoid dragging chains on vehicles, making sure that campfires are completely out, using extra care when grill outdoors and using caution with anything that can cause fire. Additionally, citizens are asked to report any new fires or suspicious smoke to the closest fire department. 

“We know that our increased ability to predict fire weather, combined with Oklahomans heeding the warnings, has a positive impact on preventing wildfires,” said Oklahoma Forestry Services Director and State Forester Mark Goeller. “So we ask everyone to please use caution and help us spread the word to others.”

KXMX News Staff

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CASC Concert Choir Open to the Community

The Carl Albert State College Concert Choir class will meet on Tuesdays from 12:30 – 1:20 at the Poteau campus this fall. Concert Choir Director Bill King stated, “We want to issue an invitation for new members to join us for the fall semester. The choir’s first year went very well, and we hope to have additional people on campus and from the community to join us.” 

He continued, “We perform several times in the fall, and will hold concerts again in the spring. I have been very pleased with our talent and would like to encourage others to sing with us.”

The class is open to community members wanting to join the concert choir, and to CASC students wanting to take the choir class in addition to other course work. Limited scholarships are available for students, faculty and staff, and community members.

For more information about the concert choir and scholarship opportunities, contact Bill King at wmking@carlalbert.edu. To enroll for the concert choir class, contact enrollment at 918-647-1248.

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