Thursday, December 31, 2020

Donate Blood and Receive a Free T-shirt

As Oklahomans ring in the new year, the Oklahoma Blood Institute has its “fingers crossed” for 2021! Blood donors will receive a free, long-sleeved “2021 Fingers Crossed” T-shirt.

The Oklahoma Blood Institute is hosting a blood drive with Walmart Sallisaw on Monday, Jan. 4, from 12:30-5:30 p.m. on the bloodmobile. Individuals ages 16 and up are urged to give blood.

Appointments are preferred. Walk-ins will be managed as schedules allow. All donations will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies to identify potential convalescent plasma donors. 

Those who have recovered from COVID-19 may be eligible to donate convalescent plasma at this drive. Call (888) 308-3924 or email to make an appointment.

“Oklahomans really did their part throughout a tough 2020 to ensure the local blood supply despite the numerous challenges, and we thank them for their selflessness,” said John Armitage, M.D., president and CEO of the Oklahoma Blood Institute. “We urge you make a resolution to take just an hour out of your busy schedule to give the precious gift of life — and offer families hope, healing and comfort this new year.” 

The Oklahoma Blood Institute is the local, nonprofit blood supplier, supporting the inventory for patients in more than 160 hospitals, medical facilities and air ambulances statewide.  

Blood drives will be managed according to CDC safety recommendations. The Oklahoma Blood Institute is committed to maintaining the safest standards for blood collection, testing and transfusion.

Blood donation typically takes only about an hour, and one donation saves up to three lives. Appointments can be made by calling (877) 340-8777 or visiting More information on the Oklahoma Blood Institute can be found at

Please note that 16-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds and provide signed parental permission to donate; 17-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds; and those 18 years old and over must weigh at least 110 pounds. Photo ID is required. Donors ages 16 or 17 need parental consent to be screened for COVID-19 antibodies and are not eligible to donate convalescent plasma. This test has not been FDA cleared or approved. It has been authorized by the FDA under an (emergency use authorization) for use by authorized laboratories. The test has been authorized only for the detection of the IgG antibody against SARS-CoV-2, not for any other viruses or pathogens. Blood drives will be managed according to CDC safety recommendations. Test results will be made available post-donation.

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Stay Safe for New Year's Eve!

The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol are teaming up with law-enforcement agencies across Oklahoma to combat impaired driving this New Year’s Eve. 

The goal is simple: To make Oklahoma as safe as possible by getting impaired drivers off the roads. Additional deputies, officers and troopers will be on the lookout for impaired drivers across the state before, during and after any checkpoints. 

Last New Year's Eve, more than 16 percent of crashes involved a potentially impaired driver. 

Officials state that there will be zero tolerance for impaired drivers. 

Everyone is highly encouraged to find a safe ride by calling a sober driver, using a cab, Lyft, Uber or any other ride-share service. Better yet, have a designated driver. 

Have fun and enjoy life, but do not, under any circumstances, drive while impaired by alcohol and any other substance. The cost is too high.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Hike Into 2021 at Tenkiller State Park!

                                                                        (Photo Cred: Travel Oklahoma)

The annual First Day Hike will begin at 1 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 1, New Year’s Day, at Tenkiller State Park in Vian. 

The guided hike will feature local business owners and city leaders, along with Tenkiller residents and park guests.

There will also be a 3 p.m. guided hike for moderate to advanced hikers through the restricted area at the park. 

Both hikes are about one and a half miles long and there will be plenty of staff to provide any help for hikers,

Registration is free, but is required. To register, visit: 

Social distancing measures will be followed and masks are required while indoors.

Tenkiller State Park is at the south end of Tenkiller Lake. The park has 40 cabin rentals, 87 RV sites, the Driftwood Nature Center, a newly remodeled pool, scuba park, Pine Cove Marina and more.

The park is known as Oklahoma’s “Heaven in the Hills” and it offers water enthusiasts many recreational opportunities in its 130 miles of shoreline and 13,000 surface acres. 

For more information, call the park office at (918) 489-5641.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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City Taking COVID Illnesses ‘Case by Case’

“The holidays have not been kind” to workers with the City of Sallisaw, Keith Skelton, city manager, said at a special meeting Wednesday.

Speaking at a special meeting of the Sallisaw Board of City Commissioners, Skelton said the city is dealing “case by case” with staffers going into quarantine because of the coronavirus.

Skelton said he doesn’t expect the situation to get much better, with New Year’s Day right around the corner and another wave of COVID-19 expected to follow.

The special meeting was called so the commissioners could discuss the city’s audit for Fiscal Year 2019-20 from FSW & B, CPAs. After discussing the audit, the commissioners unanimously approved it.

Skelton said more information on the audit would be released at the next City Commissioners’ meeting on Jan. 4.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Robbery Suspect Identified; Search Continues

Jeremiah Williams Tubbs

Authorities have identified the suspect wanted in a Tuesday morning robbery of a Muldrow convenience store.

Jeremiah Williams Tubbs, 48,  is suspected of stealing a cash drawer from Beth's Store at 5 a.m. Tuesday.

Tubbs was caught on surveillance video attempting to take the drawer from the hands of the store clerk on duty. After a brief struggle Tubbs left the store. The clerk, believing that Tubbs was gone, placed the drawer on the counter. Tubbs reentered the store and grabbed the drawer and left.

Roland and then Van Buren police pursued Tubbs before he eventually crashed his vehicle in Fort Smith and fled on foot. 

Tubbs is described as a 5'8" black male weighing 210 pounds.

Anyone with information on Tubbs whereabouts is asked to contact the Muldrow Police Dept.

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Health Dept. Begins COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

The Sequoyah County Health Department is beginning Phase 1 and 2 of  COVID-19 vaccinations.

First Responders and Health Care Workers that do not work at a hospital will have the opportunity to receive the COVID vaccine this Saturday, January 2 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. by appointment only.

To speak with someone about availability and to schedule an appointment, call (918) 775-6201.

Vaccines will be administered at the Sequoyah County Health Department located at 612 N. Oak St. in Sallisaw.

Distributions are also being held at other county Health Departments including Adair, Cherokee, Haskell, Muskogee, McIntosh (Eufaula location only), Okfuskee and Okmulgee.

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OHP to Hold 67th Academy in Summer 2021

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) has announced that it will have its 67th Academy in July or August 2021. 

The OHP is looking to add 65 men and women to its ranks from the upcoming academy.

Cadets undergo a rigorous program which includes written and physical tests. The academy last for 18 weeks.

Retirements and planned retirements have resulted in a great need for more OHP troopers. There are currently 760 troopers. 900 is the number the OHP is supposed to have. Reports indicate that with the current rate of attrition it could take 10 to 15 years to catch up.

Anyone interested in filling out an application can do so at The OHP has also changed the way it does the written test, which can be done at any time through a state Career Tech location,

Train Like a Trooper is a new recruiting campaign the OHP will be launching soon where the agency will be able to take its physical fitness testing to area schools. 

The deadline for submitting an application is Feb. 15, 2021.

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Wardens Find More Dumped Birds, Deer

Area game wardens made another disturbing discovery of illegally dumped waterfowl and deer Saturday, the second such finding in recent weeks. 

Sequoyah County Game Warden Jerry Henry said that in the most recent discovery, wardens found 17 uncleaned ducks, some of which had been wrapped in plastic as if they were possibly being kept for taxidermy purposes. Three cleaned doe deer carcasses were also found at the scene, which is on East 1070 Road about 1.4 miles east of Hog Creek Salvage on the east side of Little Sallisaw Creek. 

In the previous dumping case, wardens discovered 19 lesser Canada geese and one snow goose. That site was on Dwight Mission Road near the eastbound Exit 303 ramp off Interstate 40 in Sequoyah County. 

Henry said such activity is not allowed and those guilty of it may be fined up to $1,000. 

Sequoyah County game wardens are actively searching for anyone with information leading to the suspect or suspects who dumped the animals. If you have seen something, please call Jerry Henry at (918) 431-2544 or Game Warden Brek Henry at (918) 431-2550. 

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Police Searching For Suspect in Muldrow Robbery

Police are searching for a robbery suspect who sent officers on a chase Tuesday morning after he allegedly stole a cash drawer from a Muldrow convenience store. 

Around 5 a.m. Tuesday morning, a black male entered Beth's Store at 110 E. Shawntel Smith Blvd. in Muldrow and stole the cash register drawer from the store clerk, said Sgt. Mark Harkins with the Muldrow Police Department. 

The suspect left the scene in a white minivan. 

Roland officers spotted the minivan traveling east on Interstate 40 later that morning, but when they tried to stop the van, the suspect led them on a chase. Roland officers quit pursuing the minivan and Van Buren police picked up the pursuit. 

The suspect later crashed the minivan in Fort Smith near North 6th Street and ran from the scene on foot. 

“We have a definite ID on the suspect but we aren’t releasing that until we issue warrants,” Harkins said. 

Fort Smith and Muldrow officers are now processing the van for evidence. 

Police are still searching for the suspect. 

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Monday, December 28, 2020

Cherokee Nation Activates COVID-19 Surge Plan

Cherokee Nation Health Services has activated its COVID-19 surge plan for W.W. Hastings Hospital. 

The surge plan for Health Services involved purchasing and allocating resources for the ability to provide care during the pandemic in the event that the health system exceeded the limits of its normal infrastructure. As the number of COVID-19 cases have increased to over 8,200 since March, the health system has experienced an overwhelming number of hospitalized patients in the intensive care unit. 

“Back in March, our team started working on a surge plan in the event that we started reaching our hospital bed capacity,” Executive Director Dr. R. Stephen Jones said. “Recently, we’ve had challenges when transferring patients to other facilities due to their own capacity limitations. When we are full and when our partner facilities are full, we have to act to continue caring for our patients.” 

“W.W. Hastings Hospital began reaching its capacity of 49 beds in early November and with the increased number of cases has become overwhelmed,” Jones added.

The surge plan has allowed an increased capacity of approximately 50 percent to the ICU beds in the hospital. As the surge progresses, the health system may be required to engage staff from other Cherokee Nation outlying health centers to aid in caring for hospitalized patients with COVID-19. 

“We are utilizing all of our resources to assist in this surge,” Jones said. “It is our mission to continue providing quality care to our patients while keeping them close to home. We understand that it puts pressure on families when their loved ones are not cared for locally. Our health leadership is constantly monitoring our current capacity and looking ahead to decide when to initiate the next phase.” 

W.W. Hastings Hospital’s Chief of the Hospitalist Department Dr. Seth Yandell urged the community to do their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 since the hospital’s ICU beds are full on nearly a daily basis.

“Having personally treated over 400 patients hospitalized with pneumonia caused by COVID-19, I have seen the physical and emotional impact of this disease. I have seen patients struggling to breathe who had no history of lung disease, smoking or other issues to previously affect their ability to breathe. I have seen the impact of having to send patients home on oxygen with continued shortness of breath, that for many patients will be a lifelong condition. I have held patient’s hands while explaining that we needed to put them on a ventilator to try to save their life. I’ve had to deliver the terrible news to families that their loved ones did not survive despite all possible treatments being given. I’ve had to watch my staff struggle with the despair and the feeling of helplessness when despite every possible effort being made their patient’s condition continued to worsen and they didn’t survive. I have grieved the loss of a colleague, mentor and friend, who didn’t survive his fight with COVID-19,” Yandell said.

“We have warned our communities about the dangers of community spread and the impact it could have on our health system. We have asked citizens to frequently wash their hands, wear masks and social distance. Overwhelming our health system is something we have desperately tried to avoid,” Chief of Staff Todd Enlow said. “I urge everyone to keep safe for the sake of those who care for us.”

Amid the implementing the surge plan, Cherokee Nation Health Services began its first phase for vaccinating against COVID-19. 

“The vaccine does bring us hope as we move forward but it’s important to understand that the vaccine alone will not end the pandemic, but it is another layer of defense on top of masks, social distancing and all the other safety measures we have in place,” Executive Medical Director Dr. Roger Montgomery said. “Because we currently have a limited number of doses, we are making sure that our most vulnerable populations such as health-care workers, first responders, and those who are high risk are being identified and contacted to receive the vaccine first. We are planning to receive more vaccine so that we can vaccinate each tier group as it becomes available.”

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine and other related topics, visit

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Renters Charged After Allegedly Destroying Property

A pair of Sallisaw residents face charges after allegedly destroying a house they were renting.

Marcos Bain, 30, and Athena Irene Fowler, 42, were charged with malicious injury to property (over $1,000) and grand larceny, both felonies. The injury to property charge is penalized by imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for up to two years and a fine of up to $1,000 or both. Grand larceny is punishable by imprisonment for up to five years in the State Penitentiary and a fine of up to $1,000 or both.

On Oct. 1, a Sequoyah County Sheriff’s investigator met with a landlord who wanted to make a report of vandalism and destruction at her rental property in Sallisaw.

She said she rented the property to Bain and Fowler and had evicted them from the property, giving them until Sept. 30 to leave the residence.

When she returned to the home at 10 p.m. on Sept. 30, she discovered the house had been destroyed, with holes in the floor, a broken toilet and a yard full of trash. She also said she had a large safe inside the house filled with personal documents inside and a Dyno Vox that belonged to her autistic granddaughter and it was all missing. Locks on two storage buildings on the property had been cut off and replaced with new ones.

In a follow-up interview several days later, the landlord said that when she went to her property she noticed several items that were stolen and the whole house was damaged. She said Fowler was contacted and Fowler said she thought the items had been given to her so she would have to go look in the storage units to see where they might be. The landlord said she never heard back from Fowler or Bain.

***Fowler and Bain appeared in court on Feb. 10, 2021. All charges were dismissed.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Health Department Providing Flu Shots and COVID-19 Testing

The Sequoyah County Health Department has announced this week’s COVID-19 testing and flu shot schedule.

Testing will be available at 612 N. Oak St. in Sallisaw on Monday, Dec. 28, through Thursday, Dec. 31, from 8:30-10:30 a.m. Flu shots will also be available from 1-5 p.m.

Testing and shots will be available by appointment only. Please call (918) 775-6201 to schedule.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Bennett Announces Candidacy for OKGOP Chairman

Former State Rep. John Bennett

Former State Representative John Bennett has announced his candidacy to be the next Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party.

"As a retired Marine, I love this country and have protected her freedom," Bennett said, "and the best way I can help protect Oklahoma at this point is to provide strong leadership for Oklahoma's Republican Party."

"Since we want to leave our children a stronger America, now is the time to fight for that vision. Patriots can no longer afford to circle the wagons; it is now time to lead the way and storm the beaches to take back the Republic that we hold so dear," Bennett continued. "As your Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman, I will pave the way for elected officials to stand up and be heard."

“I look forward to working with patriots across the state and Nation, both those I met while serving in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and those I haven't met yet, in the coming months. I believe I am uniquely qualified for such a time as this. We will work together to build a strong coalition across the Republican party to make us a stronger and united Party. Together we will fight for Oklahomans and bring Oklahoma back to its roots of conservative values and core beliefs,” Bennett concluded.

John Bennett, a retired Marine First Sergeant and combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, represented House District 2 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 2010 to 2018. He is currently the Pastor of Lee Creek Assembly of God, and a small business owner. John Bennett lives in Sallisaw with his wife Nicole and their children.

The next Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman will be elected at the OKGOP’s Spring, 2021 convention. The Chairman position will be voted on by convention delegates.

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Monday, December 21, 2020

Thorp Named Oklahoma DA of the Year

District Attorney Jack Thorp

The Oklahoma District Attorneys Association recently named District Attorney Jack Thorp Oklahoma’s District Attorney of the Year. Thorp was presented the David L. Moss Memorial Award for Outstanding District Attorney by Oklahoma District Attorneys Association President Angela Marsee, district attorney for District 2, in a small ceremony attended by Oklahoma’s district attorneys, the District Attorneys Council and Thorp’s wife, Joy, senior deputy attorney general.

Thorp is a 21-year prosecutor who has served as District 27 district attorney for the last three years. He grew up in Catoosa and served in the U.S. Navy from 1988-1992. After his honorable discharge from the Navy, Thorp attended and graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of science from the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Ark. He then attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where he received his juris doctor in 1999.

Thorp has served as a deputy prosecuting attorney in the Fifth District in Arkansas, as well as an assistant district attorney for Districts 14, 13 and 10 in Oklahoma. As an assistant district attorney in Tulsa County, Thorp was chosen Top Gun Prosecutor for 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010. On Jan. 2, 2011, Thorp was chosen first assistant district attorney for District 27. On Oct. 2, 2017, the governor appointed Thorp district attorney for District 27. 

“Every morning I wake up and am privileged to fight for the rights of victims and seek justice in the courts of Adair, Cherokee, Sequoyah and Wagoner counties,” Thorp said in accepting the award.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Roland PD Offering Free Child ID Kits

The Roland Police Department is currently handing out child identification kits to local residents. 

Roland Police Chief Tommy Sessums said that each kit contains vital information that can be filled out and kept somewhere safe just in case something were to happen to your child. That information may include things such as a dental chart, identifying features, hair samples, medications, allergies and more. The kits also come with ink so users can add their child’s fingerprints. 

Sessums said he ordered 250 kits as a “start,” but that he will order more if he sees a need. “We’ve done this several times in the past,” he said, and there is always a need for the kits. 

If you live in Roland and would like a kit for your own child, stop by the Police Department, 801 S. Roland Road. 

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Commissioners Discuss Proposal for CDL Drivers

The Board of County Commissioners heard a proposal that would ensure drivers with commercial driver’s licenses working for the county are driving sober.

Two representatives with the federal Department of Transportation’s FMCSA Clearinghouse discussed the program, which would stop drivers who test positive for drug or alcohol use from leaving the state and getting similar jobs. The nationwide database would flag that driver and keep him from working in the transportation field again.

Employers can be fined if they don’t comply, the FMCSA representatives said, and the fee to join the program is $200 for the first 10 drivers to join, then $100 for each subsequent 10 sign-ups.

The deadline to sign up for the program is Jan. 5, 2021. Each driver must give their consent to participate; if they don’t join, they won’t be allowed to drive.

The program is renewable each year.

In other business, the commissioners:

*Awarded a bid to Pinnacle for a new phone system at the Sequoyah County Courthouse

*Tentatively approved an agreement with Superior Linen for the courthouse, pending approval by the district attorney

*Approved a resolution for the disposal of a copier and a printer by the Sequoyah County Clerk

*Approved a memorandum of understanding between the Cherokee Nation Department of Transportation and Sequoyah County in regard to a Tribal Transportation Facility Inventory proposal. This is a yearly contract that must be approved by the county commissioners

*Approved a 324a claim for the Dwight Mission Road Resurfacing project in Sequoyah County District 2

*Approved a turnover audit in county District 2. Outgoing District 2 Commissioner Steve Carter said the exit audit is to ensure there will be no improprieties when he leaves office in early January

The commissioners also designated Heath Orbanec and Julie Haywood as requisitioning officers for Rural Fire Protection District 1 for 2021 and Nick Martin and Dean Miller as receiving officers for Rural Fire Protection District 1 for 2021. The also appointed Dave Richards and Julie Haywood as requisitioning officers for Liberty Fire Department for 2021 and Mathew Henson and Erin Keen as receiving officers for Liberty Fire Department for 2021.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Thursday, December 17, 2020

Beach Jailed for Failure to Comply With Sex Offender Registry

Joshua A. Beach

A Gore man was arrested Dec. 11 and charged with failure to comply with sex offender registration, police records reveal. 

Joshua A. Beach, 27, faces up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000 or both on the felony count. 

On Dec. 11, a Sequoyah County Sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to the Gore Police Department in reference to a sex offender contacting two underage females. The mother of one of the girls told the deputy that Beach had been texting her daughter. She also said that on Dec. 8, a black car had driven by her house while her daughter was outside and the driver dropped off a note, which said, “Hey, txt me,” then gave a phone number. At the bottom of the note it said, “Your pretty.” 

The woman said the black car was parked in Beach’s driveway. 

The girl confirmed her mother’s story and said Beach had since called her multiple times. Beach later allegedly began asking the girl about her 16-year-old sister and wanting her to text and talk with him. 

The number on the note Beach allegedly handed to one of the girls is the same as the one in Beach’s sex offender registry packet, a sheriff’s investigator discovered. 

He was placed under arrest after an interview with investigators.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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