Monday, August 31, 2020

Parrot Island Waterpark Hosts Coats for Kids Winter Coat Drive

Parrot Island Waterpark of Fort Smith is partnering with The Salvation Army to host the Coats for Kids Winter Coat Drive from August 20 through September 7 the final day of the 2020 season.

New and gently used coats for men, women, and children of all sizes will be accepted. Donations
can be made at Parrot Island Waterpark during office hours and on weekends. The Parrot Island Waterpark office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The full park is open on the weekends only from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Season calendar available at

Those who donate to Coats for Kids at Parrot Island Waterpark will be given a coupon for a BOGO (Buy One Get One Free) Day Pass to use during the 2020 or 2021 season. One coupon per coat will be distributed.

2021 Season Passes are on sale now at 10% off 2020 prices during an end of season sale. Guests who
are not currently 2020 Season pass holders can purchase their 2021 season passes now and receive the remainder of the 2020 season for free. Prices for a 2021 season pass start as low as $53. Guests are encouraged to purchase their passes online now. The end of season sale ends on September 7.

At this time, Parrot Island Waterpark is  following the CDC guidelines regarding social distancing and the operation of aquatic areas. There are a number of procedures that must be followed to enjoy their facilities this year.

Parrot Island strongly recommends that you visit their website prior to visiting the park in order to understand the changes, as all guests and associates will have to adhere to them at all times.

The 2020 operating guidelines can be found at

Parrot Island Waterpark features the region’s only FlowRider surf machine and wave pool, four awesome twisting turning water slides, a relaxing lazy river, an activity pool and a themed children’s aquatic play area. The outdoor waterpark has over 410,000 gallons of aquatic fun and has a variety of amenities, including party pavilions, cabana rentals, food and beverage concessions, 800 complimentary deck and lounge chairs, over 250 complimentary water tubes, expansive grass lawns for relaxing and much more, and is open Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Located at Ben Geren Park, residents and visitors can enjoy Parrot Island Waterpark along with miniature golf, playground equipment, outdoor picnic areas and pavilions, softball and soccer fields,
tennis courts, a 1 ½ mile fitness and circuit walking trail, two 18-hole disk golf courses, over eight miles of paved bike trails, 11 miles of mountain bike trails, and an outstanding 27-hole county golf course.

 For more information, please visit . Parrot Island Waterpark is also on Facebook at and on Twitter @ParrotIslandWP

KXMX News Staff

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Gore Slates 18th Annual Cruise Night

The 18th annual Gore Cruise Night will be Saturday, Sept. 19, and will be hosted by the Gore Chamber of Commerce and the Gore Street Kings.

The event will start with a burnout competition beginning at 6 p.m. First place will receive a trophy and $1,000 cash; second place will win a trophy and $200; third place will receive $100 and a trophy; fourth place will get a trophy and $50.

For more information, contact Megan Pitts at

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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CN Offering Free Online Cherokee Language Course

Have you ever wanted to learn the Cherokee language? Here is the perfect opportunity!

The Cherokee Nation Language Program is offering a free online Cherokee language course with Ed Fields from Sept. 14 through Nov. 19. Class registration opens Aug. 31. The class is open to the public.

For more information or to register for the class, visit

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Bedlam Blood Battle Drive Set for Sept. 3 in Sallisaw

The Bedlam Blood Battle is on again this fall, and it’s time to save lives and support your favorite team with the Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI).

The OBI is hosting a blood drive with Sequoyah Manor from 10 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 3 on the bloodmobile. Individuals ages 16 and up are urged to give blood. Appointments are needed to participate.

Donors will receive a free t-shirt in OSU orange or OU crimson to show their pride for their team. 

The OBI is the local, non-profit blood supplier, supporting the inventory for patients in more than 160 hospitals, medical facilities and air ambulances statewide.  

All donations will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies to identify potential convalescent plasma donors. Masks are required for all donors and will be provided if needed.

“Autumn is beginning in uncertain times, but one thing is always certain — patients need blood 365 days a year,” said John Armitage, M.D., president and CEO of the Oklahoma Blood Institute. “We urge all healthy adults to help support patients who rely on blood and blood products for the treatment of life-threatening illnesses or injuries.”

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

Blood donation typically takes about an hour, and one donation saves up to three lives. Appointments can be made by calling Greg at (479) 652-2362 or visiting More information on Oklahoma Blood Institute can be found at

Please note that 16-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds and provide signed parental permission; 17-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds; folks18 and over must weigh at least 110 pounds. Photo ID 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.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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State Parks Implement Parking Pass Program

The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department has implemented a new Parking Pass Program for state park visitors.

To roll out the new program, the agency is giving away 10 free annual passes! For your chance to win, simply post a photo from your favorite Oklahoma park in the comments section, sign up for their newsletter at and in a few weeks, Bixby the Beaver will select the 10 lucky winners. Once selected, winners will be notified via direct mail. For more information, visit

The program, which began June 15, was implemented after a 2019 analysis of state park facilities and infrastructure found that, for years, funding levels have been well below the amount needed to adequately maintain Oklahoma state parks at a level that would ensure the safe and enjoyable use of parklands. In response, the tourism department developed a multi-pronged strategy to streamline processes, reduce operational costs and increase revenue to adequately fund capital reinvestment in Oklahoma parks. Funding generated by the Parking Pass Program will provide much-needed resources to return park facilities and infrastructure to an acceptable standard and maintain them at that standard.

Parking pass fees from each state park are reinvested into the park where they were generated. With some exceptions, all areas of participating parks will require visitors to purchase a parking pass. Exceptions include golf courses and some concessionaire areas, as identified by park management and approved by the parks director. Signs will be placed at park entrances and in parking areas to notify visitors of parking pass requirements.

The following state parks are participating in the program: Arrowhead Area at Lake Eufaula State Park, Beavers Bend State Park, Boiling Springs State Park, Cherokee Landing State Park, Fort Cobb State Park, Foss State Park, Honey Creek Area at Grand Lake, Great Plains State Park, Great Salt Plains State Park, Greenleaf State Park, Keystone State Park, Lake Eufaula State Park, Lake Murray State Park, Lake Texoma State Park, Lake Thunderbird State Park, Lake Wister State Park, Natural Falls State Park, Osage Hills State Par, Robbers Cave State Park, Sequoyah State Park, Tenkiller State Park and Twin Bridges Area at Grand Lake State Park.

There are several state parks in Oklahoma that visitors can use without a parking pass, including Alabaster Caverns State Park, Black Mesa State Park, Bernice Area at Grand Lake State Park, Cherokee Area at Grand Lake State Park, Spavinaw Area at Grand Lake State Park, Little Sahara State Park, McGee Creek State Park and Roman Nose State Park.

A one-day pass is $10, $25 for three days and $75 for an annual pass. A parking pass for buses is available for $25. Vehicles with Oklahoma or Oklahoma tribal license plates will receive a 20 percent discount on rates. When purchasing passes, visitors will select the dates and time they want their pass to begin and end. The annual pass is valid for all Oklahoma state parks. Other passes are valid for the individual park selected during the purchasing process.

There are several ways to purchase a parking pass:

*TextPay -- Upon arrival to the park, instructional parking lot signs will direct visitors to text a park-specific code to 504504, which will take them to a website to purchase a pass. The text message also provides visitors the opportunity to download a mobile app.

* -- Each state park page on contains a link that visitors can use to pre-purchase passes before their visit.

*Mobile App -- Visitors may download the Premium Parking app from the app store or at

*Pay Machines -- Pay machines are placed at park offices and other locations within participating parks.

*Purchase of Annual Passes -- On Premium Parking’s initial screen page, where it requests “address, location or destination” – type in “Oklahoma State Parks.” On the second screen page, select a state park (it will receive the revenue from your subscription). Your pass is good at all Oklahoma state parks. Up to three vehicles can be registered on your annual pass account. To pay for your account, click the “Pay for Subscription” button. If you’re an Oklahoma resident, as you enter your Oklahoma car tag number, your account will be credited with the 20 percent discount at the last step of the subscription protocol.

For visitors who have reserved lodging or campsites, each paid reservation will include a parking pass for one passenger vehicle that will cover the entire reservation.

The following groups will receive discounts:

*State of Oklahoma and Oklahoma tribal license plates: 20 percent discount on parking passes automatically applied during the purchase process.

*Honorably discharged veterans who are residents of Oklahoma: 100% discount with eligibility verification by Oklahoma State Parks. For verification, the following documents are acceptable:

A valid Oklahoma driver license or state photo identification card and military discharge papers (DD Form 214) or similar evidence of an honorable discharge from the United States Armed Forces; or,

A valid Oklahoma driver license or identification card issued by the Department of Public Safety with a flag emblem and the word “veteran” in the upper left-hand corner of the front of the driver license or identification card.

*Oklahoma residents age 62 years and older and their spouses: 100 percent discount with eligibility verification by Oklahoma state parks. For verification, a driver’s license with an Oklahoma address is acceptable.

*Individuals who have been certified as totally disabled under state or federal law and their spouses: 50 percent discount with eligibility verification by Oklahoma state parks. For verification, the following documents are acceptable:

The presentation of a Medicare card issued to an individual before their 65th birthday;

A Notice of Award letter from the Social Security Administration; hunting and fishing license that notes total disability;

Award letter issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs or a document issued by a retirement or insurance board, commission or administration that attests to the individual's total disability; or,

A physician’s letter on letterhead stationery that declares the individual is totally disabled.

Visit any state park office and provide the required documentation listed above. Park staff will assist you in obtaining your parking pass account, which will reflect your discount.

Restaurants and other concessionaires may offer validations to patrons upon approval of the park manager and the parks director. Validations are provided via a promo code.

For patrons who have rented boat slips at a marina, marina concessionaires will provide one parking hangtag to each slip renter. This tag is good for the park where the marina is located and must be returned to the marina at the end of the slip lease term.

The parking pass requirement is enforced 24/7 by park staff and park rangers. Vehicles without valid passes may be subject to warnings, violation notices, towing and/or other enforcement measures.

For customer service and support, contact Premium Parking at (844) 236-2011.

KXMX News Staff

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Commissioners Proclaim September as Suicide Prevention Month

The Sequoyah County Board of Commissioners approved a proclamation declaring September as Suicide Prevention Month at their weekly meeting Monday.

Cindy Smith, an investigator with the Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Office, told the commissioners that Oklahoma has one of the highest suicide rates in the United States, with nearly 20 people out of 100,000 attempting to kill themselves, a statistic the sheriff’s office and the Sequoyah County Mental Health Court want to change.

“This is not something to ignore. This is not a happy time in America,” said Judge Kyle Waters, who oversees the Mental Health Court. “There are tools out there to help those individuals,” he added.

For more information on the Mental Health Court, contact Chrystal Schulz, the court’s coordinator, at (979) 200-8016.

In other business, the commissioners:

*Approved a claim form that will assign payment from the Dwight Mission Road Resurfacing Project to Union Pacific Railroad Co. in Sequoyah County’s District 2.

*Approved a change to the Courthouse Hallway Project that will allow for the installation of wood to match existing walls at the Sequoyah County Courthouse in the amount of $9,200.

*Opened bids for a truck purchase for the county assessor’s office.

*Approved the Sheriff’s Office’s request to hire part-time deputy Herbert Hutchinson.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Friday, August 28, 2020

Hammock Tries to Set Fire at Local Church

Gregory Dean Hammock

Fourth-degree arson charges were filed Aug. 19 against a Sallisaw man.

Gregory Dean Hammock, 33, was also charged with two misdemeanors for trespassing after being forbidden and resisting an officer.

The penalty for fourth-degree arson is a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment for up to 10 years, or both.

On Aug. 19 around 6 p.m., a Sequoyah County Sheriff’s deputy and two Sallisaw police officers were dispatched to an area church where a man was allegedly trying to burn a vehicle.

When the officers arrived at the scene, they saw a man carrying a gas can running behind the church. They ordered the man to the ground but he became combative. He was eventually placed in a patrol car.

The reporting party told officers he was mowing the church’s grass when he saw Hammock walking across the road with a gas can. He said Hammock began pouring gasoline on his wife’s vehicle, and when he yelled at Hammock, he reportedly became upset and said he would burn himself. He ran behind the church building when law enforcement arrived.

The reporting individual took police to his wife’s vehicle, which smelled strongly of gasoline. When asked why Hammock would do such a thing, he said Hammock had been ordered off the property just weeks before for hitting another member of the church.

When Hammock was taken into custody he was in possession of a red gas can and a butane lighter. The items were taken and logged into evidence.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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SCWA Reopens Office; Ends Water Rationing

Vance Mooney, Sequoyah County Water Association president, announced Friday morning that their offices will reopen to the public Monday, Aug. 31.

The offices have been closed to the public due to COVID concerns since Aug. 5. 

Mooney also stated that the voluntary water rationing that rural water customers have been asked to adhere to for the past several weeks is being lifted.

"Our water system is doing much better with all of the rain we've gotten," said Mooney.

KXMX News Staff

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Thursday, August 27, 2020

Florida Man Nabbed With 12 Bundles of Pot

A Florida man was arrested Aug. 17 and charged with the unlawful possession of a controlled drug with intent to distribute, records show.

Thomas Daniel Clarke, 38, of Lake Butler, Fla., faces up to five years in the Department of Corrections and a fine of up to $20,000 on the felony charge.

According to arrest reports, an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper was watching traffic on Interstate 40 when he spotted a Chevrolet Malibu at Mile Marker 306 traveling at 76 mph.

The trooper brought the driver, Clarke, to his patrol unit for a warning, but while waiting on records, the trooper ran his K-9 officer around the vehicle. The dog alerted on the car, which led the trooper to conduct a search of the Malibu.

The search turned up 12 bundles of high-grade marijuana, for which Clarke was arrested and transported to the Sequoyah County Jail. His bond was set at $11,000.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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VA Grants to Aid Homeless Veterans in Oklahoma

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it will award four grants to community organizations totaling approximately $1.4 million under the Grant Per Diem (GPD) program.

The GPD Program provides funding to community organizations that provide transitional housing and supportive services for homeless veterans, with the goal of helping them achieve residential stability, increase their skill levels and income and obtain greater self-determination. 

The award period begins Oct. 1 to support three different types of grants to address the unique needs of homeless veterans:

*Per Diem only grants are used to provide transitional housing beds and operate service centers for veterans experiencing homelessness. These grants provide funding in the form of per diem payments to reimburse grantees for the cost of care provided to veterans during the award period. 

*Special Need grants provide funding to organizations that incur additional operational costs to help veterans with special needs who are experiencing homelessness, including women, individuals with chronic mental illnesses and veterans who care for minor dependents.

Transition in Place grants provide funding to community agencies that place homeless veterans in transitional housing while providing them with supportive services. These services are designed to help veterans become more stable and independent, with the ultimate goal of veterans assuming full responsibility for the lease or other housing agreement. When that goal has been achieved, the transitional residence becomes the veteran’s permanent residence and supportive services come to an end.

The GPD program has provided homeless veterans with community-based transitional housing and supportive services since 1994. The number of veterans experiencing homelessness in the U.S. has declined by 50 percent since 2010 as a result of the GPD program and other VA efforts.

Information about the GPD program and a list of grantees is available at

KXMX News Staff

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Holland Charged With DUI After Hitting Gas Line

A Muldrow man was charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol on Aug. 18, court records show. 

Dennis Holland, 42, faces up to five years in prison, a fine of $2,500, or a minimum of 28 days of treatment followed by 30 days of aftercare at the defendant’s expense or all three. 

On June 3, a trooper with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol was told of an accident south of Muldrow on Wilson Rock Road. When he arrived at the scene, the trooper met with a Sequoyah County Sheriff’s deputy, who told him not to drive to the location because the wrecked truck was on top of a high-pressure natural gas line. 

The deputy walked the driver, Holland, back to the trooper, but as Holland was walking toward him, the trooper noticed he was staggering when he walked and his clothing was hanging off him. 

When asked what happened, Holland said he went to reach for his phone and swerved off the road and hit a gas meter. The trooper, who was about 200 yards north of the gas meter, could hear the meter and said “it sounded like a jet.” 

The trooper asked Holland how much he’d had to drink, to which Holland said “three beers earlier in the day.” Because Holland was swaying and slurring his words, the trooper tried to perform field-sobriety tests, but Holland refused to take them. 

He was transported to the Sequoyah County Jail. 

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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CN Receives Nearly $300,000 to Add New Transit Vans

(L to R) CN Infrastructure Data Coordinator Sherry Waters, Community Services Executive Director Michael Lynn, Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., Director of Transportation Andy Quetone and Deputy Principal Chief Bryan Warner.

The Cherokee Nation recently received a nearly $300,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration for five new transit vehicles that will replace older vans and expand services in Tahlequah and Stilwell.

The Cherokee Nation’s Department of Transportation program is one of only three tribal programs in Oklahoma and one of 36 total projects in 14 states to receive one of the FTA’s Tribal Transit Program grants. The Tribal Transit Program funds help tribes like the Cherokee Nation connect citizens to jobs, health care, school and other necessary services.

The new transit vans, which were delivered in July, replaced three of the Cherokee Nation’s older transit vans that provide employment-based commuter routes from Sallisaw to Tahlequah, Salina to Catoosa and demand response, known as curb-to-curb service, in Tahlequah. Two of the new vans will expand the tribe’s demand response services in Stilwell as well as additional areas in Tahlequah.

“Whether it’s to get to work, school, medical appointments or other vital services, our citizens need safe, reliable transportation now more than ever,” Deputy Principal Chief Bryan Warner said. “It’s a blessing to be able to upgrade our transit fleet and provide expanded services in areas where it’s needed most.”

The Cherokee Nation contracts with the Ki Bois Area Transit System, Pelivan Transit, Muskogee County Transit and Cimarron Public Transit to provide low-cost transportation throughout the tribe’s reservation in northeastern Oklahoma. Native Americans and tribal employees can access rides on fixed routes and on-demand service transit buses for $1 round trip as well as free transportation on Fridays. In fiscal year 2019, the Cherokee Nation’s transit services provided 115,389 rides, an increase of more than 7,500 rides compared to FY 2018.

Commuter routes are open to the public for those who need transportation to specified locations within established timeframes. Demand response routes are open to the public for individuals who are unable to use commuter routes and who do not qualify for Sooner Ride or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. The demand response service is also based upon availability, and patrons are encouraged to call providers 72 hours in advance. Destinations for these curb-to-curb service routes include places of employment, governmental facilities, health-care facilities, financial institutions and grocery stores nearest to the pickup location.

“Partnerships and grants like the Federal Transit Administration grant provides critical funding to purchase reliable transportation to help our citizens and employees get where they need to go safely and efficiently,” said Michael Lynn, the FTA’s executive director of community services. “We appreciate this grant opportunity and look forward to getting our five new transit vans out on the road and serving our communities throughout the Cherokee Nation.”

For more information on Cherokee Nation transit routes, schedules and fares, visit

KXMX News Staff

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Roland Woman Leads Police on Car Chase

Jamie Hill

A Roland woman was charged Aug. 18 with endangering others while eluding or attempting to elude a police officer, records show.

Jamie Hill, 31, was charged with the felony after she led Roland police on a short vehicle pursuit. She was also charged with two misdemeanors, for possession of a controlled dangerous substance and driving with a canceled or suspended license. The penalty for fleeing police is up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

On Aug. 18, a Roland police officer was on patrol when he spotted a four-door, black vehicle being driven by Hill. The officer knew that she had an outstanding warrant and was driving under a suspended license.

Once Hill turned onto Shady Lane from Roland Road, the officer began pursuing her. The officer watched Hill run through a stop sign at a high rate of speed and then accelerate, heading northbound on Carson Street. The officer estimated Hill’s speed at 60 mph. Shady Lane is a 20-mph zone.

Hill then ran a stop sign at Carson and Howard and continued north to Loop West at about 50 mph in another 20-mph zone. Hill continued driving until she reached her residence, where the officer exited his patrol car, drew his service weapon and ordered her to show her hands. She was then ordered to the ground.

The officer then had Hill’s passenger, Jorge Orozco, exit the vehicle and he and Hill were arrested.

A search of the vehicle turned up Hill’s purse, which contained a rainbow-colored zipper bag containing a green case with two pink baggies that held a white, crystal-like substance, a clear plastic baggie containing a brown, tar-like substance, a bent spoon with residue and a yellow glass smoking device.

Hill and Orozco were transported to the Roland Police Department. Hill was later transported to the Sequoyah County Detention Center. Orozco was booked into jail on a warrant through the Town of Roland.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Gore Schedules First-Ever Autumn Fest

The town of Gore will be hosting its first-ever Autumn Fest on Sept. 25-27.

The three-day festival is sponsored by the Gore Chamber of Commerce. Terry Sloan, the president of Gore’s chamber, says the event is garnering lots of interest around the area.

“We’ve had a lot of people inquire about it,” she said, and announced that vendors will be allowed to set up where they want in Gore and there will be no charge this year. Electricity will be available in a few, but not all, locations, she added.

“We had a lot of people who came and set up last year because the land next to Fin & Feather where the flea market was located was sold, so those vendors who had such thing as potatoes, flower and other items to sell did not have a place to set up.”

“That’s how it ended up in Gore,” Sloan said. “This year we’re giving it a name and … inviting anyone who wants to set up to come out.”

Sloan said that since the sale will be outdoors, masks will not be required, but people are still asked to follow social-distancing recommendations.

Vendors can also set up at the Steve Owens Complex in Webbers Falls at the City Park. The fee to set up in Webbers Falls is $15, Sloan said.

For more information, contact Kim Summerlin at Gore City Hall, (918) 489-2636.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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CN Seeks Entries for Virtual Powwow, Car Show

The Cherokee Nation’s 2020 virtual inter-tribal powwow is seeking participants to compete for a variety of prizes during this year’s 68th Cherokee National Holiday.

The Cherokee Nation’s 2020 virtual inter-tribal powwow and virtual car show are seeking participants to compete for a variety of prizes during this year’s 68th Cherokee National Holiday.

Categories for the virtual powwow include youth and adults. Participants can record their own dances and post them to their personal Twitter, Instagram or Facebook pages. Facebook videos must tag @CherokeeNationalHoliday to be considered in the contest, and posts made by the contestants should be viewable by the public. The full list of categories for the virtual powwow, along with contest rules, cash prize amounts and videos submitted to the contest can be found at under the “Events” link.

Powwow participants must load their dance videos to Facebook before 8 a.m. Monday, Aug. 31, to be considered for cash prizes. Winners will be announced Sept. 5.

“This year’s Cherokee Nation Holiday is unlike any other, because for the first time ever, our annual event is being held in a virtual format,” said Austin Patton, Cherokee National Holiday coordinator. “This presents us with a fantastic opportunity to showcase Cherokee traditions on a much grander scale by taking our events and making them available to watch anywhere, at any time. With our inter-tribal powwow, no matter which tribal nation you are affiliated with, you can join in with our celebration and submit your dance videos to Facebook. All you have to do is tag @CherokeeNationalHoliday when you post your video on your timeline, and make sure the privacy settings are changed to public. We’re looking forward to all of the entries.”

The powwow also includes an inter-tribal, non-judged category for dancers of any age to submit a video. The public can view the videos in this specific category and vote for their favorite by “liking” it on Facebook, with the number of “likes” determining the people choice.

Participants in the virtual car show can share a video of the interior and exterior of their classic rides on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Videos must be no more than two minutes long, and posts should include the #CNHCarShow2020. Facebook posts must tag @CherokeeNationalHoliday to be counted in the contest, and the post’s privacy setting must be set to “public.”

The virtual car show is open to the public and participants are not required to be affiliated with a tribe. The top three entries based on “likes” and views will be awarded a trophy and bragging rights.

Car show entries can be seen by visiting and following the “Events” link to the virtual car show. The deadline for entries is Sept. 5 at 5 p.m. Winners will be announced Sept. 5 after the deadline has passed.

To participate in these virtual events and many others, begin by logging on to and click the “Register Here” link.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Drugs and Firearm Possession Send Two Woman to Jail

Misty Mae Varner               April Robertson

Two women landed in jail after being caught with drugs and an illegal gun.

On Aug. 9, Sequoyah County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to Old U.S. Highway 64 and South 4790 Road in reference to multiple cars on private property and individuals shooting guns.

The deputies and a trooper with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol made contact with the vehicles, which were headed north back out to Old Highway 64. Two women in one of the vehicles were identified as Misty Mae Varner, 27 of Roland, and her passenger, April Robertson. When asked if they were among the group shooting guns Varner said they were.

Both women said there were no firearms in their vehicle, but they discovered that Robertson was sitting on a gun in the passenger’s seat and had marijuana on her. The weapon was an unloaded, .22-caliber RG Industries six-shot revolver, which the officers ran through dispatch.

The trooper then alerted the deputies that Robertson also had methamphetamine on her. Varner retrieved a clear plastic baggie containing a green, leafy substance out of the right side of Robertson’s bra and a marijuana pipe out of the left side of Robertson’s bra.

The deputies then learned from dispatch that both women had previous felony convictions and that Robertson had a valid warrant out of Nowata County and they were placing a hold. 

Robertson said the marijuana and meth belonged to her, but both women denied ownership of the gun, claiming they didn’t know it was in the vehicle. Robertson told Varner, "Own up, you know that gun is yours! All I had was weed and speed.”

Varner and Robertson were placed under arrest and transported to the Sequoyah County Detention Center without further incident.

Varner was charged with possession of a firearm after former felony conviction, court records reveal.

During inventory of the items found on the women, officers discovered seven clear baggies containing a crystal-like substance weighing 5.3 grams, two clear baggies containing a green, leafy substance, a metal container holding a green, leafy substance weighing 30.7 grams, three syringes, two metal smoking devices and a measuring spoon with a crystalline residue on it. The drugs were sent to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation for further analysis.

Varner was released on $10,000 bond and her next court appearance is set for 9 a.m. Oct. 27.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Chamber Members Hear Details of New Veterans Center: Lt. Governor Discusses Tourism

Joel Kintsel
Executive Director of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs

Joel Kintsel, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs, was on hand at Wednesday's monthly Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce meeting to share exciting information for the community regarding the upcoming construction of the new Sallisaw Veterans Center.

Groundbreaking for the 70 million dollar facility is set for Sept. 25, 2020. Kintsel shared photo renderings  and drawings of the facility and stated that it would be the "newest and best state of the art facility of its kind in the world."

Kintsel said that the vision behind the design of the center was to create a warm, homelike, happy place for its residents. "Our goal was to create something that's not too institutional," Kintsel said.

The 214,000 sq. foot facility will have the ability to house 175 residents and will be comprised of five separate areas connected by a central hallway designed to be a "main street" connecting the five "neighborhoods" which will house 35 residents each.

Each neighborhood will function as a self-contained community with an eating area and its own enclosed, private garden space. Each veteran will have his/her own private room within their neighborhood.

The facility will also contain 13 separate storm shelter spaces designed to withstand F5 tornadoes. 

The projected local economic impact of the Sallisaw Veterans Center to the area is $11.9 Million in personnel expenses and $18.5 Million in direct and indirect operating expenses.

The center is expected to be completed and ready to open in the Fall of 2022. 

Matt Pinnell, Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor

Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell also spoke at the meeting and shared with members his passion to make Oklahoma a "Top 10 State." 

"We need to keep people in Oklahoma and recruit people to Oklahoma in order to be a Top 10 State," said Kintsel. "We are better than just OK!"

Pinnell serves as the Secretary of Tourism and Branding on Governor Kevin Stitt’s cabinet and as such also oversees the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation. Pinnell is leading the state’s efforts to promote tourism, the third largest industry in Oklahoma. 

"I do not believe there is another state that can match our heritage and history," Pinnell said.

Pinnell also shared information regarding plans to update the Sallisaw visitor centers and rest areas located on Interstate 40 just east of Sallisaw. "We need to change the perception of people crossing into Oklahoma and our priority will be the Sallisaw facilities," stated Pinnell.

(l to r) Dist. 6 Tribal Councilman Daryl Legg, Deputy Chief Bryan Warner, 
and District 5 Tribal Councilman E.O. Smith

The Cherokee Nation was also honored during the meeting as the Chamber Member of the Month. "The Cherokee Nation has had a tremendous impact on our community," stated Chamber President Jaime Henson who went on to list many of the numerous organizations and programs that the CN supports locally. "They are opening doors every day for their tribal community," Henson added.

Deputy Chief Bryan Warner, Councilmen Daryl Legg and E.O. Smith, along with other tribal leaders, accepted the honor.

News Staff

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