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OKW News | South East Oklahoma Latest News

David Deaton

David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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Friday, 19 July 2019 23:25

Josephine Cooper Obituary

Josephine Cooper, 82, passed away on July 19, 2019 at her home with family in Wister, OK. She was the widow of Jerry Cooper. They shared 43 years of marriage together.


Born in Wister, OK, she was the daughter of Toy and Thelda Adams.


She was a member of the First Southern Baptist Church, of Wister, OK. She taught school for 31 years, 29 of those in Wister. She had wonderful children in school, and loved every one of them.


She was preceded in death by one brother Sherman Adams and baby sister Wanda Faye Adams; parents Toy and Thelda Adams; grandson Justin Welch and great grandson Dawson Buddy Cooper.


She is survived by her son Martin and wife Dora Cooper of Wister, OK. Grandchildren, Travis and wife Kallie Cooper, of Huntington, AR. Trevor and wife Tarah Cooper of Cypress, CA. Emily Cooper and Cody Cash, of Wister, OK. Cody Cooper of Wister, OK. DelDeana and husband Josh Waymire, of Poteau, OK. Monty Billenger, of Wister, OK. She also had 6 precious great grandchildren, numerous family, and loved friends.


Services will be 2 pm, Monday, July 22, 2019 at First Southern Baptist Church, Wister, OK with Rev. Keith Stewart & Rev. Trevor Cooper officiating.


Interment will follow at Summerfield Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Donny Martin, John Paul McAlester, Bud Morgan, Richard Gibson, Jos Gibson & Billy Martin. Honorary pallbearers will be Quentin Sanders, Harold Gibson, Steve Walden, Derek Brewer, Scott Shadwick, Thad Martin & Chad Craig.


The family will be at the funeral home on Sunday afternoon from 2-4 pm to visit with friends & relatives.


You may leave an online message at


The family has chosen to entrust the care of the services to Evans & Miller Funeral Home, POTEAU, OK

Friday, 19 July 2019 18:22

Drowning in Rogers County




According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, a drowning incident occurred on July 19, 2019, at approximately 11:30 am at 4160 East 390 Road in Rogers County.

OHP had received a report of a possible drowning victim by Rogers County Sheriff’s Office and Northwest Fire Department.

According to the report, Michael Bunn, 59 of Oklahoma City was pronounced dead by Medical Examiner Liz Caldwell at the scene.

Bunn was located by a family member, floating face down on the opposite side of a strip pit located behind the residence. The victim’s shoes and shorts were located on the opposite shoreline.

Recovery was made by Northwest Fire Department at approximately 12:30 pm in less than 10 feet of water.

Friday, 19 July 2019 09:31

Chamber welcomes Heart of Hospice


The Poteau Chamber of Commerce welcomed Heart of Hospice with a ribbon cutting during the open house celebration on Thursday, July 18, 2019.

Heart of Hospice is located at 2703 North Broadway in Poteau.


At Heart of Hospice, their vision is to transform end life care in the communities they serve.

They are a compassionate team that you have come to know and trust for years as Peachtree Hospice.

At Heart of Hospice, they promote culture that exceeds the expectations of our patients and their families.

Press release

OKLAHOMA CITY – FELIPE GUTIERREZ, 48, was sentenced on July 15, 2019 to twelve months in prison for making a false statement to the United States Department of Labor ("DOL") about his employment of Mexican workers, announced United States Attorney Timothy J. Downing.


According to an Information filed February 12, 2019, Mr. Gutierrez, who owns and operates Felipe’s Lawn Care—a local lawn care company in Oklahoma City—falsely represented to the DOL that he had not sought or received any payment from his employees in connection with obtaining certification for their employment from the DOL.


Mr. Gutierrez pleaded guilty at a March 18 hearing, at which he admitted he submitted an H-2B Application for Temporary Employment Certification to the DOL in order to obtain permission to hire workers from Mexico. The application required Mr. Gutierrez to certify that he had not sought or received any payment of any kind from these prospective workers. He stated on the form that he had not, when in fact he had demanded and received payment from them.


At a sentencing hearing this morning, U.S. District Judge Robin J. Cauthron heard testimony describing some of the methods that Mr. Gutierrez used to ensure he received these illegal payments, including his participation in an assault upon one employee that caused serious bodily injury. Judge Cauthron sentenced Mr. Gutierrez to twelve months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. The court also ordered him to pay $74,800 in restitution to the Mexican workers from whom he procured these illegal fees.


This case was the result of an investigation by the FBI Oklahoma City Division and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia E. Barry.

Press release


The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is once again seeking input from private and public agencies, organizations, private citizens and consumers to monitor and enhance development of an effective statewide comprehensive child abuse prevention plan.

Public input is being requested from individuals willing to provide feedback by completing a brief questionnaire.

This is an additional opportunity for the public to share input on community resources in their local area. Responses will help inform the ongoing development of the Oklahoma State Plan for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.

Child abuse and neglect is a complex issue. Information is being gathered statewide to: determine current services and gaps, identify geographical areas with greatest need, pinpoint supports most valued, and further assess family needs and how those needs can be addressed.

The focus of the survey is on awareness, availability, and use of community resources which target identified risk factors for child neglect and abuse. The information received will help determine what community-specific programs individuals are aware of and use, as well as what is needed.

The OSDH encourages the public to share this information and survey link with others so they can provide input on child abuse and prevention activities and programs in their area.

For questions or more information about the State Plan for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, contact the OSDH Family Support and Prevention Office by phone, (405) 271-7611 or by email, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . The deadline for submitting input via the online questionnaire is Friday, Aug. 16.



WASHINGTON— Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) released the following statement after voting against H.R. 582, which would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025.

“We have seen record low unemployment rates and historic economic growth under President Trump, but this one-size-fits-all legislation would take all of that away,” Mullin said.


“The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that this bill would kill 3.7 million jobs, which is the population of the entire state of Oklahoma. This is unacceptable. Raising the minimum wage is not the answer to ensuring Americans have good-paying jobs. With 6.9 million open jobs in our country, we should provide people with the education and resources they need to succeed.”



• Current water treatment plant built approximately 1962.
• Water pipes are old and city doesn’t know where all are located.
• Water went out on June 14th for 8 hours and the 15th for 12 hours.
• Fire Hydrants weren’t turned on to drain until Monday. Citizens told to run water for 15 minutes to clean the color, and always charged for flushing this unusable water.
• Water is often brown or black and people can’t drink or wash with it.
• People are forced to buy bottled water or buying and installing expensive water filers or filtration systems.
• Many homes and businesses on the south end of town have no water pressure when the Splash Pad is turned on. By law each water meter is required to have a minimum of 25 lbs. of water pressure at every customer’s home or business or is a violation.
• One business south of town is losing customers because water is required to produce the product they sell.
• Most businesses, especially restaurants are buying and changing water filters weekly.
• Many water bills range from $125-$150 before having to flush water.

• Appliances and water lines are serviced by plumbers more often due to water quality and debris with many appliances having to be replaced at owner’s expense such as hot water tanks, dishwashers, washers, faucets and water filtration systems being installed.
• Some older people are experiencing burning on their bodies after showering.
• You can fill a bird bath and the next day an oil film will develop on top of the water.
• If a house, school or nursing facility catches on fire we are in more danger and loss of life during water line breaks.
• We have complained to city leaders for years and the water quality doesn’t change. No one cares to listen
• There are some days that we do receive clean water, but we still won’t drink it.
• The treatment plant closes at 3:30 daily and closed on weekends.
• Businesses are affected and losing money and customers and closing due to water line breaks.
• Employees complain they lose pay when the business closes which makes it difficult to buy food and make their monthly payments.
• Why would any new business want to locate here with bad water?
• OK Foods lost one of their biggest customers to water being down or poor water quality.
• According to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, OK Foods employees 650-700 people in Heavener with payroll between $20 and $21.5M and pays approximately $400,000 annually in county property taxes.
• Only 0.3% of Oklahoma industries have greater employment in the state than OK Foods in Heavener.
• We don’t want to lose OK Foods or any business or resident from the community over dirty water.



• In a meeting with city leaders and HUA, I asked members of the Oklahoma Water Resource Board and KEDDO to attend and hear city problems and see if there is help available.
• At the meeting OWRB announced the city was eligible for up to $2M in loans for city water improvements and infrastructure.
• KEDDO announced the city applied for a $450,000 grant, but did not qualify due to not having their annual audit completed in time to meet the criteria of the grant.
• The city’s annual audit for 2017 was completed in October 2018.
• Without a timely audit the city will never qualify for grants being missed annually.
• I’m happy to see the discussion of a Book Keeper is on tonight’s agenda.




• I was extremely happy for the people of Heavener when we reached a verbal agreement on a joint plan with the city, KEDDO and state agencies to help identify all water issues as quickly as possible.
• Even though I received word this week the city has changed directions of that agreement, I’m supportive of the city’s actions as long as there is a plan in place to reach the same goals of clean and safe drinking water and keeping the public informed.
• After watching these same issues now for decades, I will not turn my back on the citizens of District 3 living in Heavener and will confirm all steps and conclusions in the city’s plan until its end.




• To ensure the public is kept informed and up to date, the Team we selected and the city decided later not to utilize, will travel with me to OKC tomorrow to meet with engineering officials and discuss with DEQ what this Team believes could be the largest part of the reasons that Heavener is producing dark and dirty water. The overfeeding of chemicals may be the biggest and easiest issue to fix, but overfeeding is a violation.
• After looking at water samples, pictures and hearing personal comments directly from Heavener residents, our Team believes a complete evaluation of the operations and maintenance of the Heavener Water Treatment Plant is vital. Like many, we believed that the problem of discolored water was mostly due to old and outdated water pipes and lines. But now we have concerns with overfeeding of chemicals and the plant not manned enough.
• Water lines will still need to be replaced at some point soon, but our Team believes the discoloration of the water may be from the Ph. being off with higher alkaline that releases encapsulated materials in the pipes, and the brown or discolored water is really solid materials not recognized by WT operators before going through the treatment filtration. Dirty water must be treated properly before being filtered or it will get through and into the pipes and into your homes and businesses. Ferric (oxidized) iron (rust) may possibly be going through pipes due to adding more Manganese at the treatment plant.
• Purple Water is caused by adding too much Potassium Permanganate to oxidize the iron. Purple water occurs from overfeeding of chemicals and the treatment plant possibly unmanned at times and a violation.
• When water with Manganese comes into contact with chlorine, it producers Black Water. (After passing through the filtration system to remove solids) These solids should be removed before being released into the public water piping system.
• If operations is truly the largest reason or even a reason for dirty water entering the homes, city leaders should make this the Top Priority immediately and have a 3rd party engineering company available to evaluate the treatment plant, operations and report back with the facts.
• If this evaluation is not completed to provide assurances to the public, I’ll make request that state agencies get involved to a level that everyone has more comfort of what is actually found and provide to the public.
• DEQ or state agencies will not be able to help assist in fixing all issues unless they are related to overfeeding chemicals, maintenance or operation violations or falsification of records turned into the state.
• In fact, under the Color of Water test water can be dirty and not in violation for color alone and is classified as a nuisance by DEQ.
• But dirty water is also subject to Turbidity levels and is a violation the city doesn’t want to risk when producing dirty most days.
• If we can get an agreement from the city to make this a priority in working to rectify this problem for good, it would be in the best interest of everyone.
• If they city decides not to cooperate and keep the public informed, I will request DEQ and other state agencies to constantly monitor, inspect and confirm that no overfeeding chemical violations occur.
• Specific to homes and businesses, DEQ does not test water at the faucet. But the Oklahoma Health Department does and I’ll work with them to test often for any violations at the faucets that could be caused from overfeeding chemicals or from other maintenance or operation violations.
• I also have concerns with water line breaks occurring and possible loss of life and property from fires during these times.
• And lastly, I have concerns from the hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent needlessly on bottled water, clothing that turns brown, water filters and systems having to be added and replaced, and home and business appliances being lost from dirty water and costs to install.




• As stated, my priority is for the people of District 3 living in Heavener and receiving dirty water for consumption and use.
• I’m not beholden to anyone, or any specific business or industry. But I am beholden to everyone, and ALL businesses and industries in my District.
• One of the messages I’ve received multiple times and has become apparent as a real issue is the fact it appears that local politics has played a part in derailing a good Joint Plan, and that’s a shame for the people.
• My biggest concern of local politics killing this agreed Plan comes from the possibility of someone serving this city as a leader who may have a Personal Conflict of Interest that’s getting in the way of doing the right thing.
• If I hear or see this being a real possibility during implementation of the city’s New Plan to fix these problems for its citizens, I will personally take steps to ensure that no statutory laws are violated or conflicts of interest on decisions related to water were, or are made from a city leader having a relative working for the company that’s treating city water.
• I also want to state that if the contracted company producing water for the city is found in violation or cutting corners on operations or maintenance outside of the city’s current contract, I will take all steps necessary to ensure the company is meeting their contractual requirements in Heavener and other Oklahoma cities.


My hope is the HUA will take what has been said by your residents seriously and you will implement a plan of action now. My office is here to work with you, but regardless, my office is here first to work with the people of Heavener who live in House District 3.


Kiamichi Tech Centers - Poteau


This course prepares paraprofessionals to provide services to children and youth with disabilities.


Paraprofessionals assist schools in providing free and appropriate public education to students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment.


Must be at least 18 years of age, but you do not have to be employed by a school in order to enroll in this course.


Click on the link to register:


Thursday, 18 July 2019 08:22

Larry Bridges Obituary

Larry Bridges, of Spiro, Oklahoma, was born September 20, 1943 in Tulare, California to Herbert and Ada (Strickland) Bridges, and passed away July 16, 2019 in Spiro, Oklahoma at the age of 75.


He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Joyce Bridges of the home, daughter, Janet Rogers and husband Anthony of Spiro, Oklahoma, son, Shannon Bridges and wife Sarah of Spiro, Oklahoma, brothers; Kenny Bridges and wife Shirley of Tulare, California, Alan Bridges and wife Norma of Spiro, Oklahoma, sister, Beverly Newman of Bullhead City, Arizona, grandchildren; Seth Rogers and wife Katy, KaCee Rogers, Ryan Rogers, Olivia Bridges, Sadie Kate Bridges, one great granddaughter, Emma Rogers, numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives, and loved ones.


Larry was preceded in death by his parents, and son, Steven Bridges.


Funeral Service will be 10:00 am, Monday July 22, 2019 at Southside House of Worship in Spiro, Oklahoma with Reverend Gene Higgins and Sister Debbie Wegert officiating.


Burial will follow at New Hope Cemetery in Spiro, Oklahoma under the direction of Mallory-Martin Funeral Home in Spiro, Oklahoma.


Pallbearers will be Seth Rogers, Ryan Rogers, Alan Bridges, David Maynard, Jeremy Harrison, and James Finley.


Viewing will be Sunday from 12pm – 7 pm with the family greeting with friends from 3pm- 5pm.


To sign Mr. Bridges’ online guest book, please visit


bridges larry2 003

Wednesday, 17 July 2019 14:20

Billy Dean Sockey Obituary

Billy Dean Sockey, 76, of Poteau, OK passed away Tuesday, July 16, 2019 in Ft. Smith, AR.


Billy was born November 6, 1942 in Buck Creek, OK to Ruben Lamar & Margorie (Bowen) Sockey.


He was a bricklayer. He was preceded in death by his father Ruben, mother, Margorie Caldwell & son, Donnie Sockey.


Survivors include his sons, Eddie & Lesa Sockey of Shady Point, OK, Michael Sockey of Poteau, OK; brother, Ruben & Janet Sockey of Poteau; grandchildren, Timothy & Leslie Sockey of Haw Creek, OK, Holly & Patrick West of Roland, OK, Breanna Sockey of Panama, OK, Kayley Sockey of Shady Point, OK; great grandchildren, Summer, Autumn & Drake West; other relatives, loved ones and friends.


Services will be 10 am, Saturday, July 20, 2019 at Evans Chapel of Memories, Poteau, OK with Rev. Jim Cook officiating.


Interment will follow at Old Bokoshe Cemetery, Bokoshe, OK.


The family will be at the funeral home on Friday evening from 6-8 pm to visit with family and friends.


You may leave an online message at


The family has chosen to entrust the care of the services to Evans & Miller Funeral Home, POTEAU, OK

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