Friday, February 26, 2021

Sallisaw School Responds to Racial Comment Made by Students

On Thursday Sallisaw school officials were notified of racial statements made on social media by a small group of students. The issue was brought to their attention after a fellow student posted screenshots of a Snapchat conversation between the students. The Facebook post has gone viral and has caused many to be outraged over the words involved in the post.

On Friday morning Superintendent Randy Wood released the following statement:

"We are in the process of investigating the inappropriate use of social media by some of  our students. Remarks that were made will not be tolerated, and those involved will be disciplined. These remarks do not reflect in any way the beliefs of Sallisaw Public Schools or our student body. This is an opportunity for us to educate our students and community that words matter. We will seek racial and cultural sensitivity training for our students and staff in order to promote positive relationships among all our students, staff and community."

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Thursday, February 25, 2021

CN Now in Phase 3 of Vaccine Distribution Plan

The Cherokee Nation has now moved into phase three of their COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan.

Phase three includes all adults and those age 16 and older who are either Cherokee Nation citizens or those from federally recognized tribes and eligible to receive care within Cherokee Nation Health Services.

“The Cherokee Nation vaccine rollout is moving along quickly and available in more of our tribal communities so that we can reach more of our population and protect them from this deadly virus,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “Getting a vaccine protects our Cherokee speakers, our elders, our families and our tribal community.”

Vaccine appointments are available at all Cherokee Nation Health Centers. Appointments in Stilwell are available at the new Cherokee Nation office located at 402 West Locust Street in Stilwell while the Wilma P. Mankiller Health Center is undergoing expansion.

“From the beginning our goal has been to provide the vaccine to everyone in our communities,” said Cherokee Nation Health Services Executive Director Dr. R. Stephen Jones. “We now have the allocations of vaccine that give us the ability to accomplish this and we couldn’t be happier.”

Since receiving the first distribution of vaccines in mid-December, the Cherokee Nation has administered more than 24,000 vaccine doses.

“I highly recommend that everyone get the COVID-19 vaccine,” said CNHS Executive Medical Director Dr. Roger Montgomery. “We need to protect each other and our communities. Getting vaccinated helps to save lives.”

Vaccine appointments can now be scheduled on the patient portal. Appointments scheduled through the portal are for prime or first doses only and can be booked a minimum of one day in advance. Same day appointments are not available.

Vaccinations are being administered by appointment only for all established Cherokee Nation Health Services patients with a medical chart. Walk-ins are not available at this time.

Established patients can still call 1-539-234-4099 to schedule an appointment for vaccination. This phone line for scheduling is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, excluding holidays.

For patient portal self–registration instructions and more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, including answers to frequently asked questions, or to find Cherokee Nation Health Service registration forms and the latest updates to the Cherokee Nation COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, visit


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Jenner Charged with DUI After Crashing Into Church

A Sallisaw man was arrested Feb. 12 and charged with driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, court records show.

If convicted, Brian Fred Jenner, 55, faces up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000 on the felony charge.

On the evening of Feb. 11, a Vian police officer received a call in reference to an individual who had seen someone crash into Vian Assembly of God and they thought the person was going to try and leave.

Upon arriving at the church, which is on U.S. Highway 64, the officer saw a white truck sitting in the church’s grassy parking area with a white male, later identified as Jenner, standing there with papers in his hand. From the officer’s vantage point, he could see that the east side of the church had significant damage to it and a portion of the church’s interior was visible from outside.

When asked what happened, Jenner said he was going to the smoke shop, which is southeast of the church, when, for an unknown reason, he turned into the church. Jenner said he was going to back up and turn around but said after he stopped he put the truck in Drive and hit the gas too hard he “guessed as best he could remember.”

The officer could smell alcohol coming from Jenner, who admitted to drinking two 24-ounce cans of beer that day. He was then placed under arrest.

A breath test revealed that Jenner’s blood-alcohol content was 0.12.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Cheater Arrested for Driving Under the Influence

A Sallisaw man was arrested Jan. 20 and charged with actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.

Alternatively, Robert Eugene Cheater, 56, could face a minimum of 28 days of treatment followed by 30 days of aftercare at his expense.

On Jan. 20, a Sallisaw police lieutenant and an officer were dispatched to the area of East Cherokee Avenue and McGee Street in reference to a welfare check. The reporting party had stated that an older-model, two-tone truck had swerved into oncoming traffic and then parked in a parking lot in that area. The witness further reported that the driver appeared to have passed out.

When the police arrived at the scene, they found the truck parked on private property. When they approached the vehicle, they found a man, later identified as Cheater, sleeping with the truck’s engine and windshield wipers still running.

Tapping on the windshield with a flashlight failed to wake Cheater, so police opened the driver’s door and turned off the wipers and the ignition. After briefly shaking Cheater, he awoke, dazed, disoriented and very lethargic. He was asked what was going on and if he was OK. Though there was a faint odor of alcohol coming from the truck’s cab, Cheater stated that he was diabetic and had had three beers about two hours earlier. Officers requested EMS come check out Cheater for his safety.

When EMS arrived and checked Cheater’s blood sugar, he tested within a normal range and technicians advised officers that he was not having a diabetic episode.

Police then attempted several field-sobriety tests, which Cheater failed. He was then arrested. A breath test at the Sallisaw Jail showed that his blood-alcohol level was .20. 

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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KATS Slates Virtual Community Meeting at 5 p.m. Today

KI BOIS Area Transit System, a division of KI BOIS Community Action Foundation Inc., will have a virtual community meeting from 5-6 p.m. today to receive public input on KATS’ plans and application for operating a public transit system in Adair, Cherokee, Haskell, Hughes, Latimer, Leflore, McIntosh, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Pittsburg, Sequoyah and Wagoner counties.

The advantage of receiving open communication helps the program to better match service with needs. Public remarks assist staff with a better understanding of challenges and concerns from the community’s perspective. Every ride and every rider matters. Open forums provide a place to share ideas and comments to enhance the rider experience, foster the community and create efficiencies in the program to fulfill the mission to provide safe and reliable public transportation in the areas we serve.

Following is the information to access the virtual meeting:

*February 25, 2021 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Join Zoom Meeting
* Meeting ID: 935 6557 9697
* Passcode: 855437


Join by Phone
* 1-346-248-7799
* Meeting ID: 935 6557 9697
* Passcode: 855437

Those unable to attend a meeting can submit responses by email to, by fax to (918) 967-8025 or by mail to P.O. Box 727, Stigler, OK 74462.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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CASC Poteau Serving as Vaccination Site for Area Educators

Beginning on Tuesday, March 2, from 1 pm to 5 pm, and each Tuesday thereafter (sans March 16th), Carl Albert State College will serve as a COVID-19 vaccination clinic site for all area educators. “We have been working extensively with our area health departments and, as educators ourselves, are thrilled to offer this service to our area school systems,” said Vicky Russell, CASC Nursing Instructor. “To be able to fill a need in our area, and especially for those on the front lines each day, is just an honor.”

The CASC clinic will be held in the Mick Thompson Fieldhouse located in the south section of campus, and will run on a volunteer pool from CASC students, staff, and faculty. “We are so proud to partner with the health department on providing a site for life-saving vaccinations, and thrilled to serve as the vaccination hub for educators in southeast Oklahoma,” said CASC President Jay Falkner. “Anytime we can be part of the solution to a problem our communities are facing, we are fulfilling our responsibility as a community leader. We feel privileged to be part of this venture.”

CASC has worked collaboratively with area schools to ensure local educators have access to, and are informed of, the clinic. “Once all of our educators have been served, we do plan to open our vaccination clinic up to those who fall in the current distribution phase in Oklahoma,” said Russell. “It will be exciting to serve additional groups in our area.”

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CN Offering Assistance with Winter Storm Plumbing Repairs

The Cherokee Nation is launching an online assessment program and investing $4 million to help Cherokee homeowners living in the reservation repair plumbing problems caused by the February 2021 winter storm event.

The new online assessment is now available at Completing the assessment will allow Cherokee Nation staff to assess the damage to the primary residences of Cherokee homeowners located in the 14-county reservation and develop a response plan.

“As the recent winter storms moved out of the area, and even as temperatures began to warm up, many Cherokee homeowners throughout Northeast Oklahoma were left dealing with the damages caused by frozen pipes,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “We recognize the enormity of the situation. Without access to water, Cherokee citizens may be forced to go without, or to find other more-costly and more-inconvenient sources away from their homes. On top of this, they are already feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to do everything we can to help keep them home and keep them safe, while at the same time preventing the spread of COVID-19. Clean, running water for sanitation and handwashing is paramount to preventing the spread of COVID-19.”

Once a qualifying Cherokee homeowner has completed the online assessment, Cherokee Nation staff will review the specifics of each case.

“To help expedite these repairs and ensure we can reconnect water supplies to the Cherokees impacted by this storm, we may contact a third-party contractor to assess the damage to a homeowner’s property and repair it,” said Chief of Staff Todd Enlow. “This is why it is so important that Cherokees provide all information and documentation requested through the online assessment. Incomplete submissions will slow the process, and we are committed to sending help as quickly as possible.”

Cherokee citizens living in the reservation and who rent should work with their individual landlords to address plumbing problems caused by the recent winter weather. Landlords are responsible for maintaining “in good and safe working order” all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances, according to Oklahoma statute.

Along with the plumbing assistance program being offered to Cherokee homeowners, the Cherokee Nation also assisted communities throughout Oklahoma by providing food, water, firewood and other necessities to families impacted by the recent winter storm.

Funding for the emergency plumbing assistance is provided through the Cherokee Nation’s Respond, Recover and Rebuild plan.

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SH-82 Narrows at I-40 Junction in Vian During Road Project

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation has announced that north and southbound State Highway 82 will be narrowed to one lane with flagging operations in place at the I-40 junction in Vian from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and daily through March 5 as part of an ongoing pavement and bridge replacement project.

The $37 million project is replacing six miles of pavement on I-40 and also improving six bridges from near SH-10 to just east of the SH-82 junction in Sequoyah County. East and westbound I-40 remains narrowed to one lane in each direction in this corridor until further notice and delays can be expected.

The overall project is expected to complete in summer 2021, weather permitting.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Hoskin and Warner Propose Funding Source for Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities, Access to Wellness Centers

Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner are proposing new legislation that would provide Cherokee citizens with access to substance abuse treatment centers, wellness centers and fitness centers by setting aside a portion of third-party revenues collected by Cherokee Nation Health Services each year.

If approved, the legislation would earmark 7 percent of the unrestricted revenue generated by Cherokee Nation Health Services, including health insurance claims or billings to health insurance carriers and providers. It is estimated this would provide an annual investment of between $9 million and $12 million in funding for public health programs for Cherokee Nation citizens.

“Like many of our Native brothers and sisters throughout the United States, the Cherokee people have endured generational traumas that, unfortunately, weigh heavy on our families and our communities to this day,” Chief Hoskin said. “Providing a consistent funding source specifically set aside for substance abuse treatment and wellness centers for our citizens will be a significant moment in the history of our tribe. This legislation will be both life-altering and life-saving for many Cherokees and their friends, families and communities, giving us the ability to not only focus on treatment, but also on prevention. I encourage the Council of the Cherokee Nation to support the ‘Cherokee Nation Public Health and Wellness Fund Act’ and to pass this legislation.”

Revenue collected under the legislation could be used for capital investments and operational expenses for substance abuse treatment facilities and wellness centers.

“Our public health and behavioral health teams do a phenomenal job of caring for Cherokee citizens, and they’re consistently on the cutting edge of innovative treatment and prevention,” Deputy Chief Warner said. “Our approach to public health is a model for other tribes around the country, and I believe this new legislation will provide our public health and behavioral health teams with the additional infrastructure they need to take their efforts to new and unprecedented levels. The timing of this legislation is significant. Improving access to public health programs will be imperative as we start to emerge from the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic. For many of our fellow Cherokees, the impact of this virus on their physical and mental well-being will not simply go away when we finally tame the COVID-19 virus. Setting aside new funding will put more muscle behind the assistance we can offer Cherokees in the months and years to come.”

The “Cherokee Nation Public Health and Wellness Fund Act” will first be considered by the Council of the Cherokee Nation’s Rules Committee on February 25. If passed through committee, the legislation will then appear for a vote during the March regular monthly Council meeting.

“It’s very important for the Cherokee Nation to provide our citizens with more access to substance abuse treatment and other programs that will improve their overall health,” said District 5 Tribal Councilor E.O. Smith, of Vian. “I think it is equally important that this legislation will allow us to not only expand our public health programs, but to provide the help our citizens need from a Cherokee perspective that is respectful of our history, traditions and culture.”

Cherokee Nation’s existing public health programs promote and protect the health of Cherokee Nation citizens and communities. This is accomplished through the tribe’s Male Seminary Recreation Center, walking groups, cancer education programs, diabetes prevention programs, nutritional programs for women, infants and children, and the HERO Project, which provides counseling and support services for behavioral health issues impacting Cherokee families. Cherokee Nation also operates the Jack Brown Center, a 36-bed co-ed facility in Tahlequah that provides help to Native youth with substance abuse issues.

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Hoskin Wants Jeep to Drop ‘Cherokee’ Name

The leader of the Cherokee Nation has asked Jeep to stop using the tribe’s name on its sport-utility vehicles.

Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. wants the company to rename its top-selling SUVs under the Grand Cherokee and Cherokee brand names out of respect for the tribe and its rich history.

“I think we’re in a day and age in this country where it’s time for both corporations and team sports to retire the use of Native American names, images and mascots from their products, team jerseys and sports in general. I’m sure this comes from a place that is well-intended, but it does not honor us by having our name plastered on the side of a car,” Hoskin said in a written statement to Car and Driver magazine.

Jeep has sold SUVs under the Cherokee brand name since 1974. The company issued the following response:

“Our vehicle names have been carefully chosen and nurtured over the years to honor and celebrate Native American people for their nobility, prowess and pride. We are, more than ever, committed to a respectful and open dialogue with … Hoskin.”

Hoskin said he could not see any sort of agreement that would be acceptable to him that would allow Jeep to continue using the tribe’s name on its vehicles.

“It’s one of the most valuable things. It’s a part of our identity,” he said in an interview with CNN Business. “And if we wanted to match up who had the stronger claim and connection and affinity for the Cherokee name, it would certainly be the Cherokee people.”

Hoskin further defended his position to the Detroit Free Press, stating in an interview: “Our proud name should not be a corporate marketing tool. Our name dates back to before recorded history. It’s against all odds that we are even here. Our name is invaluable to us as part of our identity.”

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Swift Action Saves Vian Water Supply

A break in the Town of Vian’s main waterline Sunday would have been a lot worse if it hadn’t been spotted early on, Cherokee Tribal Council Member E.O. Smith Jr. said Tuesday.

Smith said members of the Vian Police Department noticed the problem at Illinois and Highway 64 and alerted city crews, who rushed to the scene and got to work. “If it had been noticed four or five hours later we would have been in trouble,” he said.

The town never lost water, Smith said, thanks to the workers’ efforts. Even Vian Mayor Dennis Fletcher got his hands dirty, helping move signs, directing traffic and supporting workers. “Not many mayors would do that,” Smith said.

Smith said he has been busy assisting Cherokee elders impacted by last week’s winter storm. “They’re in bad shape and nobody helps them, so I’m trying to do my part. They are proud and don’t like to ask for help, or don’t know who or how to ask for help. It hurts to see. If anyone would like to help the elders, they can call me at (918) 705-0000 and I will point them in the right direction.”

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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State Seeks Weather Impact Reports From Residents

The Oklahoma Department Emergency Management and Homeland Security has asked residents impacted by the recent winter storm to report property damages online at

“We are requesting all Oklahoma residents who suffered winter storm damages to please report online at,” ODEMHS Director Mark Gower said.

“Reporting damage as soon as possible will greatly assist our ability to request additional federal assistance for the state as we recover from this historic storm.”

Through the online damage assessment survey, residents and business owners can report winter storm-specific impacts including:

*Flooding from broken pipes

*Power surges that caused damage to furnaces, electrical systems or major appliances

*Number of days without water, gas or electricity

*Number of days displaced by the winter storm

*Injuries suffered as a result of the winter storm

Reporting damage helps ODEMHS document the overall impact of the winter storm and helps support the case for further assistance to help homeowners, renters and business owners recover.

Oklahomans can report damage to homes, businesses or agriculture through the online survey at

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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56th Sequoyah County Junior Livestock Show Begins Wednesday

The 56th Sequoyah County Junior Livestock Show is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 24, through Friday, Feb. 26, at the County Fairgrounds in Sallisaw.

The show, which is sponsored by the Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce, will have a different look this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Marty Green, the chamber’s executive director, said in a recent interview.

The most obvious change, Green said, is that there will be no Bidders Barbecue this year. “We’re going to miss that,” he said, “but hopefully this will only be a one-year deal.”

“We had a lot of obstacles to overcome this year,” Green said. “The Chamber wants to commend Sallisaw Mayor Ernie Martens, Mix 105.1 owner Darren Girdner and others who began meeting in November to make plans for the Junior Livestock Show. They did this for the kids and we appreciate all their hard work.”

The livestock show will begin at 4 p.m. Wednesday with goats, sheep and cattle, followed by swine at 4 p.m. Thursday. Awards will be handed out at 6 p.m. Friday and a virtual auction will follow, and both will be streamed live on The Mix 105.1 Facebook page and MixTV Channel 19. The events are being filmed and broadcast for those unable to attend. Bidding will be limited to those attending the bidder's auction. Bidding virtually will not be possible.

Bidders attending the auction will find seating that is separated by 6 feet for safety as well. As an additional safety measure, there will be no animals at the sale. The students will instead show photos, cutouts or other images of their animals for bidders to see. There will also be safety protocols in place to ensure the safety of those showing their animals or exhibiting items at the event, including required masks and social distancing. Green also noted that the city will be using its fogging machine to disinfect areas during the shows.

Roger Stites, Sallisaw High School’s Vo-Ag instructor and FFA leader, is the longtime chairman of the livestock show committee. He said being a member of Future Farmers of America is a great opportunity for students to learn the importance of hard work and commitment in working toward a goal. “These kids put a lot of work into their animals. Some have worked for nearly a year getting their animals ready, grooming them daily, exercising them and weighing them. It’s a long process.”

FFA teaches students a lot more than showmanship, Stites said. “They learn leadership, judging, welding and other tasks that often lead to successful careers in their future.”

Stites has taught 34 years and will be retiring this year after 18 years of working for Sallisaw High School.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Monday, February 22, 2021

March 2 School Bond Voting Information

Voters will go to the polls Tuesday, March 2 for the Sallisaw Public School Special Election, County Election Board Secretary Cindy Osborn said today.

Please keep the following information and tips in mind as the election approaches.

- Early voting will be available at the County Election Board office from to 6 p.m. Thursday, February 25 & February 26.

- Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Lines are possible at peak voting times. Wait times will likely be shortest at mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Anyone in line to vote at 7 p.m. will be allowed to cast a ballot.

- Anyone who needs to look up their polling place, verify their registration information, or view a sample ballot can do so online. The Online Voter Tool can be accessed on the Oklahoma State Election Board’s website: Those who vote by mail can also check the status of their ballot using the Online Voter Tool. Sample ballots are also available at the County Election Board office.

- Oklahoma law requires every voter who votes in person at the precinct polling place or during early voting at the County Election Board to show proof of identity before receiving a ballot. There are three ways for voters to prove their identity under the law (only one proof of identity is required): Show a valid photo ID issued by federal, state, or tribal government; or show the free voter identification card issued to every voter by the County Election Board; or sign an affidavit and vote a provisional ballot. (If the information on the affidavit matches official voter registration records, the ballot will be counted after Election Day.)

- Physically disabled voters who cannot enter the polling place, need help marking their ballots, blind or visually disabled voters and illiterate voters may be assisted by a person the voter chooses. In all cases, a person providing such assistance may not be the voter’s employer or an agent of the employer or an officer or agent of the

voter’s union. A person providing assistance also must swear or affirm that the voter’s ballots will be marked in accordance with the voter’s wishes. Alternatively, all blind, visually impaired, and physically disabled voters in Sequoyah County may use the audio-tactile interface (ATI), a feature offered on all Oklahoma voting devices, to vote privately and independently, either at Sequoyah County Election Board during early voting or at their assigned polling place on election day.

- Voters who have moved since the last election, but who have not transferred their voter registration to their new address, may do so on Election Day by going to vote at the polling place where their registration has been in the past. While voting, they may fill out a form instructing the County Election Board to transfer their registration to the new address before the next election.

- Those who became physically incapacitated after 5 p.m. Tuesday, February 23 still can request an emergency absentee ballot. Those who might qualify for an emergency absentee ballot should contact the County Election Board office at 918-775-2614 as soon as possible for more information.

- Any violation of election law will be reported to the proper law enforcement authorities. Electioneering is not allowed within 300 feet of a ballot box. It is also unlawful to remove a ballot from the polling location, possess intoxicating liquors within half a mile of a polling place or to disclose how you voted while within the election enclosure.

For additional election-related information, visit:

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Friday, February 19, 2021

Family Builds Front Yard Igloo

What do you do when your hometown gets eight inches of snow? You go out and build an igloo of course! At least that’s what one Sallisaw family did this week.

Brian Brannick and family took advantage of this week’s winter storm for their unique project. Brian, no stranger to construction, owns his own masonry business where he uses stonework to create his projects.

When the snow arrived, Brian along with his wife Brooklyn and their three kids, Brayden, Brynlee and Baylor, had one goal in mind, build an igloo. On Tuesday after all the snow had fallen the family went outside and started on their project.

The crew started off by making “snow bricks”, Brian said. They used large buckets to gather the snow and shape the igloo just like you would if building a sand castle.

To hold the roof up and make the igloo more stable, the family used three large pieces of wood to support the top. After six long hours of braving the cold, the igloo was built and will be standing strong until sun and rising temperatures cause the inevitable melting.

The family said their favorite part was family bonding time and having to rely on each other to get the job done. “My favorite part was packing the snow inside the igloo,” Brynlee said.

Anna Ramos, KXMX Staff

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Voluntary Boil Order in Effect; Customers Advised to Conserve

Sequoyah County Rural Water Association customers who live on Old Highway 17, Highway 59 North and the Rocky Point Area are under a voluntary boil order effective immediately. The order will remain in order until further notice.

Association Manager Vance Mooney stated that the water tower that supplies these areas had gone dry and they are currently working to refill the tank. As a safety precaution customers are encouraged to boil all water used for consumption.

Mooney and crews have worked throughout the recent severe winter weather to keep water flowing to residents. "We've fixed countless breaks and leaks and we are still working hard," Mooney said.

The association also struggled with phone service issues on Thursday making it difficult for customers to report outages.

"The phones are back up and the offices are open," Mooney said Friday morning.

Mooney added that ALL rural water customers are being encouraged to conserve water during this time. 

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Thursday, February 18, 2021

SPP Ends Energy Emergency Alert, Remains in Conservative Operations

As of 9:30 a.m. Central time, Feb. 18, Southwest Power Pool (SPP) is no longer under an energy emergency alert (EEA). Due to continuing high loads and other implications of severe cold weather, it remains in a period of conservative operations until 10 p.m. Central time, Feb. 20, for the entire SPP balancing authority area.

“SPP thanks its members, neighboring systems and the millions of people in our region for their response to this historic event,” said Barbara Sugg, SPP president and chief executive officer. “This has been a case study in everyone doing their part on behalf of the greater good. We take our responsibility to keep the lights on very seriously and appreciate the trust placed in us to do so. Thanks to voluntary conservation by people across our 14-state region, the quick actions taken by local utilities, and the dedication and expertise of our operators, we’re thankful we could keep the region-wide impact of this storm to a minimum.”

While grid conditions have improved, load and generation fluctuations are anticipated over the next 48 hours, and conditions could change rapidly. In periods of conservative operations, SPP may use longer-term unit commitment notifications, including making commitments prior to day-ahead and/or committing resources that are in reliability status.

SPP previously declared a move from EEA Level 2 to EEA Level 1 at 10:59 p.m. Central time, Feb. 17, 2021. An EEA is declared when all available resources have been committed to meet obligations, and SPP is at risk of not meeting required operating reserves.

“SPP’s and our members’ grid operators are highly trained in crisis situations and work closely together to bring power back online in a controlled manner to ensure grid stability and safety,” said Bruce Rew, SPP senior vice president of operations. “We appreciate how impactful the loss of electricity can be, especially in extreme cold, and only direct our utilities to temporarily reduce regional electricity use when it’s the only way to prevent longer, more widespread, more dangerous, and more costly blackouts.”

This cold-weather event marks the first time in SPP’s history that it has declared Energy Emergency Alert Levels 2 or 3 for its entire region. It is also the first time the grid operator has had to direct member utilities to implement controlled, temporary service interruptions to prevent widespread blackouts.

“Considering the historic nature of this storm and how broadly it affected the entire SPP region, we’re grateful we could limit the use of controlled service interruptions to lessen the chance of longer, more impactful and more costly outages,” said Lanny Nickell, SPP executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Since SPP’s issuance of a Cold Weather Alert to member utilities on Feb. 6, the first indication that heightened awareness was needed in response to forecast weather conditions, the grid operator only directed the interruption of service twice: once for approximately 50 minutes on the morning of Feb. 15, and again for a little more than three hours on the morning of Feb. 16.

While SPP works to maintain regional reliability, customers across the region should continue to follow their local utility’s directions regarding safety, conservation and potential outages.

About SPP: Southwest Power Pool, Inc. is a regional transmission organization: a not-for-profit corporation mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure and competitive wholesale electricity prices on behalf of its members. SPP manages the electric grid across 17 central and western U.S. states and provides energy services on a contract basis to customers in both the Eastern and Western Interconnections. The company’s headquarters are in Little Rock, Arkansas. Learn more at

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