Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Authorities Await ID for Muldrow Remains


Local authorities are still awaiting the state medical examiner’s report to confirm the identity of human remains found one month ago in Muldrow.

Eric Helms, District 27 Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force director, said the report from the medical examiner’s office has been delayed.

“They’re having trouble getting dental records,” Helms explained. “There’s really no big database that all the dental records go into.”

Helms did say authorities believe the remains to be Glen Cook, pictured above, who was reported missing to Fort Smith Police in 2012. Cook, who was 46 at the time and resided in Fort Smith, was believed to have been in the Muldrow area at the time he went missing. Cook’s car, a red Honda, was recovered in the river bottoms area near Muldrow shortly after he went missing.

Helms said since DNA obtained from Cook’s sister and daughter years ago was sent to the Arkansas Crime Lab instead of NamUS, a national database, that has caused a delay in identifying the remains as well.

“We’re trying to retrieve DNA on that,” he added.

Two rabbit hunters discovered human remains in a brush-covered area while hunting near the Wilson Rock area of the Arkansas River south of Muldrow on Christmas Day.

According to Sequoyah County Sheriff Larry Lane, the remains are believed to be that of a single individual.


Pam Cloud, Managing News Director

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Hogan Still Believed To Be In the Area


Area law enforcement officials continue to search for Quinlan Hogan (above) in the three-county area.

Hogan is wanted by Sequoyah County for several warrants, including knowingly concealing stolen property, eluding or attempting to elude police officers, driving under suspension, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, as well as looting and threatening acts of violence, according to Eric Helms, director of the District 27 Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force. He also has a criminal history of drugs, alcohol and felony firearm possession.

Authorities in Leflore and Haskell counties also have warrants for Hogan on additional charges.

Hogan led deputies on a high-speed chase Jan. 10 from Sequoyah County across the Arkansas River and into Haskell and Leflore counties. Hogan blew through road blocks in Panama and Spiro before fleeing his Ford Mustang on foot.

Helms said law enforcement officials are still searching in the three-county area for Hogan, who they consider "dangerous." He has been spotted near Bokoshe and in Sallisaw.

“He went into hiding for a bit, but he’ll turn up,” Helms said. “We believe he’s still in the area.”

Helms reminds individuals that anyone who has been hiding Hogan will also be arrested for aiding and abetting.

If you have any information about Hogan’s whereabouts, contact your local authorities immediately.


Pam Cloud, Managing News Director

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Cherokee Nation Honors 13 Veterans Including Local Men

Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden honored 13 military veterans with the Medal of Patriotism during the January Tribal Council meeting. Pictured L-R: Cherokee Nation Veterans Center Director Barbara Foreman, Army veteran Noah Welch, Army veteran Everett Sims, Army veteran Raymond Buzzard, Air Force veteran Robert Teague, Army veteran Russell Smith, Army veteran Clifford Bark, Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Navy veteran Jimmy McGrath, Marine Corps veteran Anthony King, Coast Guard veteran Johnny Kidwell, Navy veteran Jeffrey Conseen, Marine Corps veteran Weston Henson and Navy veteran Ruben Talley. Not Picture: Oklahoma National Guard veteran Terry Thompson.

The Cherokee Nation honored 13 military veterans with the tribe’s Medal of Patriotism during the January Tribal Council meeting Monday including three area veterans.

The veterans were recognized by Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, acknowledging their service and sacrifice to their country.

“The presentation of medals to our veterans is one of the great joys of my position,” Crittenden said. “We could never repay them for the sacrifices they made for our country, but we can show them gratitude and honor. Each veteran has played a role in protecting the freedoms and liberties of our great country, and I am so happy we, as a tribe, recognize the significance of that service.”

Each month the Cherokee Nation recognizes Cherokee service men and women for their sacrifices and as a way to demonstrate the high regard in which all veterans are held by the tribe. Native Americans, including Cherokees, are thought to have more citizens serving per capita than any other ethnic group according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

Sgt. Raymond Buzzard, of Marble City served in the Army from 1969-1971. His decorations include the National Defense Service Medal and Expert Rifleman M-16 Badge. 

Lt. Col. Jimmy McGrath, of Gore served in the U.S. Navy from 1971-79 and the Army from 1982-96 and 2006-09. His decorations include the Bronze Star, Iraqi Campaign Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. 

Sgt. Robert Teague, of Tahlequah served in the Air Force from 1973-79. His decorations include the Outstanding Unit Award, Longevity Service Award and Good Conduct Medal. 

To nominate a veteran who is a Cherokee Nation citizen, please call 918-772-4166.


KXMX News Staff

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Friday, January 18, 2019

Hoskin-Warner Campaign Makes Stop in Sallisaw


Sallisaw was recently one of the latest stops for the Hoskin-Warner campaign.

Several hundred supporters filled the People Inc. conference center on Thursday, Jan. 10, to hear the pair’s vision for the Cherokee Nation. Chuck Hoskin Jr. is running for Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation and Bryan Warner is running for Deputy Principal Chief.

Hoskin said he feels he and Warner will make a great team leading the Cherokee Nation.

“We’re just very excited about where Cherokee Nation is right now; we’re in a position of strength,” said Hoskin, who currently serves as the Secretary of State for the Cherokee Nation. “We can keep building this region up. We can keep making the dreams of the Cherokee people possible. We just have to keep doing it. I’ve got the background. I’ve got the skills. I’ve got the experience to make that happen.

“With Councilman Bryan Warner, he adds so much to what we’re doing,” added Hoskin, who lives in Vinita.

Warner said the pair have discussed at length things they want to accomplish for the tribe.

“We so much parallel one another in our leadership styles, our ability to look at a problem with a systematic approach to solving the problem,” said Warner, who currently serves as District 6 Tribal Councilor and lives in Sallisaw. “I think one of the first things I learned about this gentleman was his ability to lead and help people, and his sincere, caring and compassionate heart for the individual and for the rural communities, and I know in this area, that’s ultra important.”

Current Principal Chief Bill John Baker spoke during the rally, offering his support for the pair of candidates. Baker will not seek re-election due to term limits.

Also speaking at the rally was District 6 State Rep. Chuck Hoskin, a former Cherokee tribal councilor currently serving as Baker’s Chief of Staff and father of Chuck Hoskin Jr.

The general election is set for June 1.


Pam Cloud, Managing News Director

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Legislation Filed to Stop Transfer of Veterans Center


A Latimer County state representative has filed legislation intended to stop the transfer of an Oklahoma Veterans Center from Talihina to Sallisaw.

State Rep. Jim Grego said House Bill 1149 would eliminate the authorization to transfer the center that was first granted by legislation passed in 2017 and signed into law by former Gov. Mary Fallin.

“There is no reason the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs can’t update this existing facility to better accommodate the needs of its residents,” said Grego, R-Wilburton.

It was announced last fall the Oklahoma Veterans Commission and the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs would move the 175-bed, long-term veterans care center from the aging Talihina facility to a new $100 million center in Sallisaw within the next three to five years. The center employees about 275 people.

Sallisaw City Manager Keith Skelton said progress is still moving forward with Sallisaw officials for the relocation.

“A bill has been filed, but it still has to go through a lot of steps to be heard,” Skelton said. “As far as the City of Sallisaw and all its partners, we responded to the Oklahoma Veterans Commission’s request for proposals in good faith. We followed all the steps laid out in the law last year by Gov. Fallin.”

Skelton said Sallisaw submitted proposals like many other communities did; however, the Sallisaw proposal included moving considerations for center employees, as well as other property incentives and contributions from a number of Sallisaw businesses and organizations in a unified collaboration with the city. Officials are excited about moving forward with the relocation of the veterans center to Sallisaw, keeping in mind the best interests of the veterans and their families.

“We are very happy to be named the site of the new veterans center,” he said. “We just hope everybody realizes its in the best interest of the veterans that Sallisaw remains the site of the new center.”


Pam Cloud, Managing News Director

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Spencer Presented with Prestigious Key to the City


It’s been over three decades since Sallisaw has presented a Key to the City.

But it happened this week as community leader Buddy Spencer received the prestigious honor.

Mayor Ernie Martens presented Spencer with the key to the city during the monthly city commissioner meeting Monday, Jan. 21, as a token of appreciation for all he has done for the community of Sallisaw.

Sallisaw City Manager Keith Skelton said the presentation of the key, along with a bronze commemorative city coin, was meant to recognize Spencer’s contributions to Sallisaw.

“Buddy has done a lot for our community since he’s been here,” Skelton said. “It just comes down to thinking about all he’s done for our community – and it’s been so much.

“And he continues every day to market our community and try to improve it,” Skelton added. “For those reasons, we dusted off some old designs for the key and came up with a new token of our appreciation for all he’s done for Sallisaw. And he was the first recipient of one of the bronze recognition coins.”

Spencer remains an active member of the Sallisaw community and is well known for his love of public service. Skelton said he continues to support Sallisaw’s economic development and education in the community.

With a long and very successful career in the automobile business spanning more than 50 years, Spencer has owned and operated over 10 dealerships in three states. He owned Buddy Spencer Ford in Durant, his first dealership, before later moving to Sallisaw in September 1995. The Spencer family currently owns and operates Blue Ribbon Auto Group in Sallisaw.

With a passion to serve his community, Spencer has served as president of the Chambers of Commerce in both Durant and Sallisaw. He was appointed by Gov. George Nigh to the Executive Committee to study reform in state government. He currently serves as president of the Sallisaw Improvement Corporation, where he has been a tireless proponent for expanding the city’s industrial park, especially companies such as Aviagen.

Spencer has also lived a life dedicated to his passion for public education. He has served as a school board member and also as president of the Oklahoma State School Board Association. The Oklahoma School Board Association annually presents the Buddy Spencer Leadership Award in Oklahoma City. He was instrumental in the marketing for the new middle school construction in Sallisaw.

Spencer was selected as the Distinguished Alumnus at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in 1983, a recipient of the Oklahoma Education Association Award for Excellence in Education, and a 2014 honoree of the State Regents of Higher Education Business Partnership Excellence Award.

Instrumental in bringing the Carl Albert State College campus to Sallisaw, he continues to support business growth and Spencer currently serves as a trustee for the CASC Foundation and is chairman of the Committee for Excellence in Sallisaw where they raise scholarship money for graduating seniors in Sequoyah County. With Spencer's leadership, the committee has raised over $600,000 for the students. He is also a member of the Carl Albert State College "Hall of Fame."


Pam Cloud, Managing News Director

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Sallisaw Police Investigating Vandalism Cases


Several arrests have been made by the Sallisaw Police Department while investigating recent vandalism cases.

Capt. Jeff Murray, public information officer for the Sallisaw PD, said three juvenile males, ages 14, 14 and 15, were arrested for vandalism and malicious injury to property for incidents occurring Jan. 14-15.

Murray urges Sallisaw residents to report any vandalism of property, whether home, vehicle or other, to the police department.

“It’s vital that people call and report things to us,” Murray said. “We can’t help if we don’t know.”

Murray said so many people don’t report crimes, especially smaller incidents, such as fishing poles and tackle being taken from a boat or a bicycle taken from a front porch, as a couple of examples.

“I would urge anybody, if they feel a crime has been committed against them or they have witnessed a crime to call and report it to the local police,” Murray added.

Anyone who has had property damaged or may have witnessed a crime, can call the Sallisaw Police Department at 918-775-4177.


Pam Cloud, Managing News Director

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Angela Gray Files Motion to Withdraw Plea Agreement

Angela Gray of Muldrow follows her attorney, Gary Buckles of Poteau, 
into the courtroom before her sentencing on Dec. 20.

A motion to withdraw a plea agreement has been filed on behalf of Angela Gray with the Sequoyah County District Court in Sallisaw.

Through a plea deal offered by the District 27 District Attorney’s office, Gray plead no contest to the conspiracy charge against her for her involvement in the Sept. 1, 2013 ATV crash near Muldrow which left Christian Mayberry, 16 at the time, with a traumatic brain injury and partially paralyzed.

District Judge Jeff Payton gave Gray a five-year deferred sentence on Dec. 20, with a list of 17 rules and conditions of supervised probation.

District 27 District Attorney Jack Thorp said he has reviewed the motion to withdraw plea agreement filed Dec. 28 and said there appears to be an issue with the probation conditions.

“I haven’t talked with the defense attorney,” Thorp said. “These are things we can probably work out if we just sit down and talk about it.”

A spokesperson for Gray’s attorney, Gary Buckles of Poteau, said they have no comment until they talk to their client.

Thorp said the hearing was initially set for next week, but has now been moved to March.

At the Dec. 20 sentencing, Michelle Keely, assistant district attorney for District 27, said the deferred sentence carries with it a list of rules and conditions to which Gray must comply until Dec. 20, 2023.

A few of the rules and conditions include checking in monthly with a probation officer, not leaving the state of Oklahoma without written permission from the judge, not changing address without notifying the probation officer, not consuming or purchasing alcoholic beverages and not communicating with persons who have a criminal record, among others.

Keely said if Gray violates any of the rules and conditions of probation, the judge would then have several options available, including placing her in custody of the Department of Corrections to serve up to the maximum 10 years for the conspiracy charge.


Pam Cloud, Managing News Director

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Voters Should Apply Early for Absentee Ballots


Voters in Sequoyah County who want to have absentee ballots mailed to them for the February 12th Gans/Braggs Board of Education Primary Election should apply now, County Election Board Secretary Cindy Osborn said today. Although the County Election Board can accept applications for absentee ballots until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, February 6th 2019, Osborn urged voters who want to vote by absentee ballot to apply early. 

Absentee ballot application forms are available at the County Election Board office located at 110 E Creek St Sallisaw Ok 74955. An online version of the form can be filled out and submitted electronically at: www.elections.ok.gov. A print form can also be downloaded at that address.

Ballots must be in the hands of County Election Board officials by 7 p.m. on Election Day to be counted.

Osborn said any registered voter may vote by absentee ballot in any election in which he/she is eligible to vote. However, a voter must be registered and reside at an address within the geographical boundaries of a school district or a municipality to be eligible to vote in school district or municipal elections. It is not necessary to give a reason for voting absentee.

“While anyone can vote absentee without giving a reason, the law still provides several advantages to absentee voters in some categories,” Osborn said.

By stating one of the following reasons on their applications, absentee voters can activate special conditions that make it easier for them to use absentee ballots. The reasons are:

• Voters who are physically incapacitated and voters who care for physically incapacitated persons who cannot be left unattended may vote absentee. They may apply only by mail, by fax, by email, online or via an agent who is at least 16 years of age and who is not employed by or related within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity to any person whose name appears on the ballot.

• Voters who are confined to nursing homes in the county may vote absentee. An Absentee Voting Board actually goes to the nursing home a few days before the election, sets up a small polling place and allows these persons to vote under circumstances similar to those at a regular precinct polling place. They may apply only by mail, by fax, by email, online or via an agent who is at least 16 years of age and who is not employed by or related within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity to any person whose name appears on the ballot.

• Military personnel and residents of the county living overseas and the spouses and dependents of each group are eligible receive absentee ballots. These voters may apply only by mail, fax, or by email. Military personnel should contact the Voting Service Officers in their units for application forms and additional information or visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program website (www.fvap.gov/oklahoma) for more information and instructions. Residents of Oklahoma living overseas can obtain the same materials from any United States military installation and from United States Embassies and Consulates as well as on the FVAP website. 


KXMX News Staff

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USDA Directs DHS to Issue February SNAP Benefits Early


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has instructed the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) to issue February SNAP food benefits to eligible recipients by Jan. 20, 2019, even as the partial federal government shutdown continues. 

“This was welcome news to all of us at DHS as I know it will be for the more than 610,000 Oklahomans who depend on this program to help feed their families each month,” said DHS Director Ed Lake. “We have had numerous discussions with USDA officials over the past few days concerning details of this plan and coordinating our approaches. I have authorized voluntary overtime for our SNAP workforce that has been working through the weekend processing SNAP case renewals and applications already in the queue.” 

“We are working under a critically short deadline to make all of this happen,” said DHS Adult and Family Services Director Patrick Klein. “It is definitely ‘all hands on deck’ to ensure that we provide as much of February benefits as possible by January 20th. 
“SNAP recipients who are already receiving benefits will automatically receive their amounts for February on their EBT cards by January 20th,” said Klein. “It is important for our customers to understand, if they receive their benefits early, they will not receive any other SNAP benefits in February so they should budget accordingly. 

“Once these early benefits are distributed, the USDA plans to use limited SNAP contingency reserve funds to pay for benefits beyond January 20th. We have been instructed to continue normal operations, taking and processing applications and will provide benefits until we receive further notification from the USDA.”
Typical distribution dates for SNAP benefits are staggered on the first, fifth and tenth days each month to prevent temporary shortages of food products and allow retailers time to restock their shelves. 

Ron Edgmon, President and CEO of the Oklahoma Grocers Association, encourages SNAP recipients to use their benefits as normal and not rush out to grocery stores all at once, even though funds will be available early. 

“This will enable your local supermarkets to keep products flowing and not encounter shortages for any period of time,” said Edgmon. “We have association members in every county in the state and we work diligently, along with our wholesalers and the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, to make sure the consumer has fresh safe food on the counters when shopping your local store.” 

The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and its more than 300 partners are ready to step in and provide food assistance for SNAP recipients and anyone affected by the shutdown. 

“The ripple effect of the shutdown is being felt now and will only worsen as it continues,” said Katie Fitzgerald, CEO of the Regional Food Bank. “At the Regional Food Bank, we see firsthand how SNAP helps Oklahomans living with hunger.”

SNAP recipients who want to check their case status and eligibility are encouraged to go to www.okdhslive.org. 


KXMX News Staff

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Monday, January 14, 2019

Gore Man Charged in Stabbing


Clyde Stamp, 51, of Gore was charged January 8 in Sequoyah County District Court with one felony count of assault, battery, or assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

On January 4 the Sequoyah County Sheriff's department responded to a call at a residence in Gore in response to a possible stabbing. Upon arriving at the scene the deputy found Eric Kevitt holding his chest and observed blood on Kevitt's shirt and pants. Kevitt advised that he had been stabbed by his roommate.

While the deputy was interviewing Kevitt, the roommate, Clyde Stamp, "staggered" out of the residence according to the police statement. He was handcuffed and placed in a patrol car.

Kevitt informed deputies that he and Stamp had both been drinking and were arguing over money when Stamp stabbed him in the chest with a knife.

When officers entered the residence they found an open multi-tool lying on the kitchen floor with the knife blade open. The knife was taken into evidence.

Kevitt's wound was examined by EMS and found to not be life threatening. Kevitt refused to go to hospital but was treated at the scene. 

Stamp was placed under arrest and transported to the Sequoyah County jail. He is scheduled to appear Feb. 6 on Judge Waters felony disposition docket.

The charge is punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years in the penitentiary or one year in the county jail.


KXMX News Staff

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Friday, January 11, 2019

Muldrow Man Charged With Arson and Endangering Human Life


A 19-year-old Muldrow man was charged January 8 in Sequoyah County District Court with one count of arson-fourth degree and one count of endangering human life during arson, both of which are felonies.

Jhonathan [sic] White, 19, of Muldrow was charged on Jan. 8 after a Muldrow police officer received information from sources including a juvenile who allegedly stated that he and Jhonathan White burned down an unoccupied residence located at 105 S.W. 5th Street inside Muldrow City limits on November 24, 2018. The confession was made on a witnessed and recorded Facetime chat.

At the time of the fire there was no electricity or utilities at the residence. According to the original fire report, four firefighters responded to the fire but the house was fully engulfed and a total loss.

White had previously admitte in a written/recorded statement to setting the structure on fire commonly known as Sherry Mart Store in Muldrow at 608 W. Shawntel Smith Blvd. but had denied knowledge of the S.W. 5th Street fire. 

The arson charge is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment for up to 10 years, or both. The charge of endangering human life is punishable by imprisonment for not less than 7 years.

White is on Judge Waters' felony disposition docket for February 20. 


KXMX News Staff

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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Manhunt Underway for "Dangerous" Suspect

Quinlan Hogan

Authorities are searching for a suspect they consider "dangerous" near the Haskell and Leflore County line area. 

Quinlan Hogan, above, is wanted by police for a misdemeanor warrant for threatening acts of violence and he also has a criminal history of illegal drugs and firearm possession. 

Hogan was spotted in Sequoyah County on Thursday and led deputies on a high speed chase that reached speeds of over 100 mph. Deputies pursued Hogan, who was driving a Ford Mustang, along Highway 59 South and over the Arkansas River.  Hogan managed to run through two separate roadblocks set up by the Panama Police Department and the Spiro Police Department. The chase, which began in Sequoyah County, extended into Leflore County and also Haskell County. 

Hogan eventually abandoned the Mustang and fled on foot. 

According to authorities, there has been one alleged sighting of Hogan near Bokoshe.

Several local law enforcement agencies along with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol are continuing to search for Hogan and do consider him to be "dangerous."

Please share this story to help spread the word and if you have any information about Hogan's whereabouts contact your local authorities immediately.


KXMX News Staff

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The Swon Brothers Set For Lee Creek Tavern


Oklahoma’s own The Swon Brothers are set to play a free show on Feb. 2 at Cherokee Casino and Hotel Roland.

The country duo takes the Lee Creek Tavern stage at 8 p.m.

The Swon Brothers are comprised of Zach and Colton Swon, who hail from Muskogee. The duo rose to national prominence by reaching the 2013 finals of the hit NBC competition “The Voice.”

The following year, the country act released its debut album, “The Swon Brothers,” which features the Top 15 single “Later On.” The success of the album earned them CMA and ACM nominations for Vocal Duo of the Year.

In 2016, they released the EP “Timeless,” which peaked at No. 2 on the iTunes country charts and debuted at No. 19 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart.

The band’s most recent release is the EP “Pretty Cool Scars,” which features the single “Don’t Call Me.”

The Swon Brothers have toured with Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood. The past year, Zach and Colton have headlined their own shows on their About Last Night tour.

For more information about the duo, visit www.swonbrothers.com.

Cherokee Casino and Hotel Roland is located off Highway 64 on Cherokee Boulevard in Roland.

For more information on Cherokee Casino and Hotel Roland, visit www.cherokeecasino.com or call (800) 256-2338. All guests must be at least 21 years of age.



KXMX News Staff

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Voter Registration Deadline is January 18th


Friday, January 18th, is the last day to apply for voter registration in order to be eligible to vote in the February 12th Gans/Braggs Board of Education Primary Election, Sequoyah County Election Board Secretary Cindy Osborn 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, January 18th.

Osborn said applications postmarked after that time will be accepted and processed, but not until after February 12th.

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 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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Local Officials Meet To Discuss Poultry Moratorium Concerns

Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur

Members of the Sallisaw Improvement Corporation hosted a luncheon Wednesday with the newly appointed Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur.

Arthur, along with State Sen. Mark Allen, Cherokee Nation’s Secretary of Natural Resources Sara Hill and Sallisaw Mayor Ernie Martens shared lunch at Roma’s with others in the business community, including Ward 4 City Commissioner Shannon Vann, Aviagen complex manager Justin Kelly and representatives from all four banks in Sallisaw.

The main topic of discussion was the moratorium placed on new poultry feeding operations in the state since October.

Hill explained that Gov. Mary Fallin enacted the moratorium in response to concerns by residents in southern Delaware and western Adair counties as to the large number of broiler operations in that area. The moratorium is set to expire in May, if nothing is done to change or halt the moratorium before then.

Kelly voiced concerns that Aviagen, a local poultry breeding operation and hatchery that ships broiler breeding stock to companies all over the world, has been adversely affected by the moratorium by being unable to build new houses that typically only grow 20,000 birds, much smaller operations than larger poultry companies.

“Our broiler houses, what we do … is different from your average broiler farm,” Kelly told Arthur. “We’re small farms; we have contained farming. I would ask that you take that into consideration when you talk about these things.”

Arthur, who serves as the executive director of the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation and was the former deputy commissioner for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry, said she would have to familiarize herself with the moratorium once she settles into her new position as Agriculture Secretary after confirmation next week.

“Regulatory functions of agencies are challenging ones. We want to make sure we’re meeting with folks,” Arthur said. “I’m definitely looking forward to learning more; it’s good for everyone involved in the discussions.”

Martens commended Aviagen as a community partner.

“You’re leading the industry; you’re doing everything right,” Martens said during the discussion about Aviagen. “I’m impressed with what you’ve been doing in this county.”

Buddy Spencer, chairman of the SIC, also said Aviagen has been a great asset for the community, and encouraged Arthur to take information from the discussion into consideration when discussing a possible end to the moratorium.

Kelly was pleased to have the opportunity to speak with Arthur about the plight of his company.

“It was an opportunity for us to explain how we felt,” Kelly said after the luncheon. “I thought there was fabulous community support here today. It was a unified front for us.”

Sen. Allen, who is assigned to the agriculture committee this session, will be working closely with Arthur on topics such as this.

“We go into session Feb. 5, and we’ll start working on bills then,” Allen said.


Pam Cloud, Managing News Director

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Cherokee Nation Applauds Passage of JOM Reform Bill



The Cherokee Nation is applauding the recent signing of the Johnson-O’Malley Supplemental Indian Education Program Modernization Act by President Trump. The bill will establish a new baseline count of JOM-eligible Native students and institute a modern, accurate allocation funding formula.

The federal funding formula for JOM has been frozen since 1995, and restrictive caps have limited the number of students served each year by the program. The fiscal year 2018 federal budget allocated only $15 million of the estimated $42 million required for fully funding JOM in the United States.

The Cherokee Nation and leaders of the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Tribes have made JOM reform legislation a priority, passing a resolution earlier this year in support of the bill and encouraging the federal government to stop a decades-long decline in per-pupil funding.

“JOM reform is vital to the future of the Cherokee Nation and other tribes across the country,” said Principal Chief Bill John Baker, who serves as president of the Inter-Tribal Council. “While per-pupil federal JOM allocations have declined, Indian Country has grown by leaps and bounds. We must raise the bar. Here in the Cherokee Nation, we serve more than 26,000 students. With the passage of this bill, I believe we are poised to build a stronger future for the Cherokee Nation, for Oklahoma, and for all of Indian Country.”

The federal Johnson-O’Malley Program provides books, fees, equipment and other necessities to hundreds of thousands of Native children across the country. JOM programs also incorporate unique tribal culture and heritage in school curriculum.

Cherokee Nation JOM Program Manager Mark Vance serves as vice president of the National Johnson-O’Malley Association and has spent years advocating for modernization of JOM funding methods.

“We’ve spent several decades advocating for reform, and I’m very pleased to see this bill signed,” Vance said. “JOM is incredibly important for students to retain a cultural connection to their tribe through education. It instills within them a sense of pride. This bill is a major step in the right direction, and I look forward to seeing the positive changes it will make throughout Indian Country.”

Though federal JOM allocations have declined, the Cherokee Nation continues to invest millions of dollars into education each year. In fiscal year 2018, the tribe gave 108 schools in northeast Oklahoma a total of more than $5.4 million from the sale of tribal car tags, bringing the total to about $50 million since 2002. The Cherokee Nation has nearly doubled funding for the Cherokee Nation Higher Education Scholarship Program from $8.5 million in 2003 to nearly $16 million last fall, increasing the number of scholarships awarded by 43 percent. More than 27,000 scholarships have been awarded in the past decade.

To learn more about Cherokee Nation JOM or other education services, visit www.cherokee.org/services/education


KXMX News Staff

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