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OKW News | South East Oklahoma Latest News

David Deaton

David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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Tuesday, 05 June 2018 13:55

Local Teen's Harrowing Story

LeFlore County resident Ciera Diggs has returned home from Colorado after allegedly being kidnapped. She sent OKWNEWS her story and the link to The Pueblo Chieftain’s article about the arrest of her alleged kidnapping and a photo of the Pueblo County Sheriff’s arrest record showing the charges her alleged kid-napper faces. Click HERE for the Chieftain article. Below is Digg’s story in her own words. She has chosen to write it in third person.


19-year-old Poteau resident Brittany Clark is facing Domestic Violence, 2nd Degree Kidnapping, 2nd Degree Assault, Vehicular Eluding, and Menacing with A Deadly Weapon in Pueblo County Jail in Colorado after kidnapping 19 year old Poteau resident Ciera Diggs on May 21st, the night before the two were supposed to go to court over a Protective Order Diggs filed against Clark. 


On Sunday, May 6th, Clark attacked Diggs in her college dorm at Carl Albert State College. Clark beat, choked, and sliced Diggs. Clark also made threats to kill Diggs and the people Diggs cared about. Diggs later called the police and fled to Indiana to be with her family. While Diggs was away, Clark began posting inappropriate photos of Diggs on Facebook. Diggs traveled back to inform police and place a protective order against Clark. After placing the order, Diggs left to stay with family until the following Monday when the order was supposed to be served to Clark. While Diggs was away, Clark posted more inappropriate photos of Diggs on Instagram and Snapchat. The photos were reported and taken down.


The following weekend Diggs was supposed to meet with an old co-worker, Justine Frazier. Fraizer messaged Diggs asking her to meet at the tracks near Walmart; however, upon arrival, Diggs noticed Fraizer wasn't there. Instead, Clark showed up. Clark advanced and started talking to Diggs. Diggs wanted to leave, but Clark was standing in between Diggs and her vehicle. Clark entered the vehicle and had Diggs drive them to Ft. Smith Arkansas. Diggs later texted a friend and told him what was going on. He then messaged back, asking Diggs where she was. Clark had Diggs drive back to Poteau, OK so she could go to her Nana's which is behind the Choctaw Plaza. Diggs told him, and the friend notified Poteau PD. The officers arrived on scene but did not arrest Clark. Clark hadn't been served the protective order, so she walked away.


Later that day, Clark had Diggs meet with her, so she could say goodbye. Diggs agreed, and Clark had Diggs drive them to the top of Cavanal Hill, where Clark had previously wrecked her mom's car. Clark blamed Diggs for the incident, saying it was because Diggs left her. After going back to the car, Clark pulled out a weapon on Diggs. Clark claimed the car was rigged with a bomb, said she'd kill Diggs, and then go after Diggs's family if Diggs didn't do what Clark said. Diggs went along with Clark and did what she asked. From May 21st to May 29th, Clark had Diggs drive them through Arkansas, back to Oklahoma, through the panhandle of Oklahoma, and to Pueblo, Colorado. On the 29th, Clark took the keys of the vehicle and drove Diggs to a secluded area where she proceeded to burn and slice Diggs's left leg. Clark was planning on killing Diggs and made many threats; however, a Pueblo cop passed by. Clark then had Diggs drive them to the Southside Walmart. Diggs told Clark she had to use the restroom. After entering the Walmart, Diggs told an employee what happened and used the employee's phone to call 911. Clark found out, took Diggs's car, and tried to run. Police caught up with Clark and proceeded to chase Clark. Clark ended up hitting a curb and crashing the vehicle. Clark was transported to a hospital, treated, and then taken to Pueblo County Jail. 


Diggs stayed in Pueblo until June 3rd, when Jordan Carver and Sarah Bennett arrived to take her home. Diggs is now safe and awaits the trial regarding the incident.

Anyone interested needs to contact the LCYS office at (918) 647-4196.


• Still spots available for the June 6th trip - call the office to get placed on the list.


Summer trips scheduled for Ages 7 to 11

June 6th
Ft Smith Water Park Summer and CiCi’s Pizza

June 27
Mall, Movie and Golden Corral

July 18
Alma Water Park and Cracker Barrel

Summer Schedule for Ages 12- 17

June 20
Ft Smith Water Park Summer and CiCi’s Pizza

July 11
Mall, Movie and Golden Corral

July 25
Alma Water Park and Cracker


Call the LCYS office by Monday of each week of trip to be placed on the list.

All times are from 8:30 am return at 4:30pm.

First 15 callers will make the list for the trip.





Monday, 04 June 2018 16:36

Riffey captured in Spiro

Press release


OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma Department of Corrections has learned that Jess Correctional Center walkaway Mark Riffey has been arrested by Spiro police.

Police took Riffey into custody after receiving a call from a member of the public about a man matching his description walking through a parking lot.

Riffey was arrested without incident, and will be booked at LeFlore County jail.

He walked away May 29 from Jess Dunn Correctional Center, a minimum security prison for men in Taft.

His brother-in-law and wife were arrested last Friday in connection with his escape.


Kevin Stitt, Republican candidate for Oklahoma Governor, will be in Poteau on Thursday, June 7,2018 for a meet and greet at the Days Inn and Suites beginning at 2:30 p.m.
Everyone is invited to attend the meet and greet in the Grand Room.


According to the Kevin Stitt for Governor webpage - Stitt is a conservative Republican candidate for governor who is running to end politics as usual at the State Capitol and to lead Oklahoma with a vision to be Top Ten in growth, education, infrastructure, healthcare, and government efficiency.


Stitt is an Oklahoman entrepreneur and businessman who founded Gateway Mortgage in 2000 with $1,000 and a computer. By delivering strong leadership and vision, Stitt has grown Gateway into a nationwide mortgage company that today employs 1,200 people, has 164 field offices in 41 states, and holds a loan servicing portfolio of more than $16 billion.


Stitt is promising to bring his proven business experience to state government where he will put Oklahoma’s checkbook online, apply performance metrics, and audit every state agency.


Stitt is a fourth-generation Oklahoman, raised in Norman where his dad was a pastor and spent many summers as a youth in Skiatook where his grandfather owned a dairy farm.


Stitt graduated from Norman High School and worked his way through Oklahoma State University by selling books with the Southwestern Company.


Stitt is a man driven by faith and family.


He has been married to his wife, Sarah, for nearly 20 years and together they have six children and live in Tulsa.

Sunday, 03 June 2018 23:00

Vanetta Mae Holstine Obituary

Vanetta Mae Holstine, 61, of Wilburton, OK passed away Friday, June 1, 2018, in Wilburton. Vanetta was born April 24, 1957, in Bartlesville, OK to Vaughn D. & Ella (Taylor) Fout.


She was a teacher’s assistant at Jones Academy.


Vanetta was preceded in death by her parents; and two brothers, Lonnie & Terry.

Survivors include her husband, Randy Holstine; sons, Rodney Melton of Wilburton, OK, Justin Holstine, Travis Holstine of Durant, OK, Jason Holstine of Atoka, OK; 3 grandchildren, Lucas, Kylee & Logan; sister, Linda Beal of Duncan, OK; brothers, J.R. Fout of Ochelata, OK, Dennis Fout of Panama, OK; other relatives, loved ones and friends.

Services will be 10 am, Wednesday, June 6, 2018, at Evans Chapel of Memories, Poteau, OK with Jim Cook officiating.


Interment will follow in Dog Creek Cemetery.


Pallbearers will be Danny, Brent & Tracy Fout, Travis & Justin Holstine, Zac Parrington & Jeremy Bullard.


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

Press release

McCURTAIN COUNTY—Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-2) announced that members of his staff will hold eight mobile office stops in southeast Oklahoma this month.


“In the Second District, I have offices located in Claremore, Muskogee, and McAlester,” said Mullin. “However, I understand that many constituents don’t live near one of my offices, or don’t have the time to travel to one. That’s why I’m sending my office staff to you so that members of my team can assist you in your own town!”


Marshall County Mobile Office Stop

Monday, June 25, 2018

9:00AM – 11:00AM CT

County Commissioner Office

100 Plaza Room 106

Madill, OK 73446


Bryan County Mobile Office Stop

Monday, June 25, 2018

1:00PM – 3:00PM CT

County Commissioner Office

323 W. Beech St.


Durant, OK 74701

Atoka County Mobile Office Stop

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

9:00AM – 11:00AM CT

County Commissioner Office

200 E. Court St., Suite 205W


Atoka, OK 74525

Pushmataha County Mobile Office Stop

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

1:00PM – 3:00PM CT

County Commissioners Office

303 SW B St.


Antlers, OK 74523

Johnston County Mobile Office Stop

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

9:00AM – 11:00AM CT

County Commissioners Office

403 W. Main, Suite 104


Tishomingo, OK 73460

Coal County Mobile Office Stop

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

1:00PM – 3:00PM CT

County Commissioners Office

5 W. Clay Street

Coalgate, OK 74538


McCurtain County Mobile Office Stop

Thursday, June 28, 2018

9:00AM – 11:00AM CT

County Commissioners Office

8 NE. 3rd St.

Idabel, OK 74745


Choctaw County Mobile Office Stop

Thursday, June 28, 2018

1:00PM – 3:00PM CT

County Commissioners Office

300 E Duke St.

Hugo, OK 74743


Call the McAlester office for more information: 918-423-5951.

Press release


OKLAHOMA CITY – Several House Democrats have released statements of praise for Virginia Democrats who fought to get the state legislature to accept the federal government’s Medicaid expansion.

Oklahoma House Democrats view Virginia’s success, which provides healthcare to more than 400,000 new Virginians, as an opportunity to pass similar legislation in Oklahoma.

“Virginia lawmakers showed empathy, humanity and understanding,” said Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, D-Norman. “Meanwhile, in Oklahoma, Republican lawmakers are working to get people off of Medicaid rolls. This trend must change. We have to refuse to support leaders that see healthcare as a waste of money instead of a right.”

Expanding Medicaid eligibility would expand coverage to more than 100,000 working Oklahomans, and it would encourage these Oklahomans to be more proactive about their health, which is necessary if Oklahoma wants to change its status as a leader in heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

“When you think about the families that expanding Medicaid would benefit, it’s just heart wrenching that the state legislature refuses to act,” said Rep. Meloyde Blancett, D-Tulsa. “This body, as has shown recently, won’t think twice about passing legislation that benefits a very narrow swath of Oklahomans, but when it comes to something as important as ensuring our citizens are taken care of and that our workforce is healthy, we do nothing. Oklahomans are suffering due to this inaction, and it’s sad.”

By increasing the number of Oklahomans that are insured, expanding Medicaid would offer rural health centers a larger consumer base to fund their operations. Many rural health centers today could not operate if not for Medicaid.

“Oklahoma’s rural health centers have been gutted and even closed due to the disastrous cuts that have taken place in state government over the last decade,” said Rep. David Perryman, D-Chickasha. “I applaud Virginia lawmakers for getting it right. I’m glad they realized that the biggest assets in their state are the citizens that live there. I’m happy they realized that defunding healthcare is bad business for the state. Now, I’m just waiting on Oklahoma Republicans to realize it too.”

Regardless of whether a person agrees or disagrees as to whether healthcare is a right, the goal should always be to ensure more people are covered.

“This shouldn’t be a political issue,” said Rep. Cyndi Munson, D-Oklahoma City. “Lawmakers are sent to the legislature to make the lives of Oklahomans better. By turning healthcare into a political football, we are masterfully doing the opposite. This isn’t about whether you are a democrat or a republican. This is about your commitment to humanity, and whether or not that commitment includes taking care of the vulnerable populations around you.”

Recent cuts, by the legislature, to Oklahoma’s health care agencies have affected communities across the state. Accepting the Medicaid expansion would bring more federal dollars into our state’s healthcare system. By definition, accepting this expansion would increase local control of healthcare and improve the health and wellbeing of Oklahomans.

“Virginia has joined 33 other states that have chosen to put the health of citizens over politics,” said Minority Leader Steve Kouplen, D-Beggs. “This expansion is about meeting the needs of disabled Oklahomans. It’s about restoring some of the funding that rural health centers have lost over the last decade. It’s about doing what is right for our elderly and more vulnerable populations. Our state’s inaction on this issue has failed our citizens. It’s time to change course and bring this money home.”

Sunday, 03 June 2018 22:42

Drowning on Oologah Lake


According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol a Tulsa man drowned near Hawthorn Bluff on Oologah Lake in Rogers County.

The incident occurred at approximately 5pm on June 3, 2018.

According to the OHP, Garcia De Luna, Yerson Manuel 19, of Tulsa and several friends were swimming in the swimming area. Manuel swam across the swim area, struggled, went under the water and never resurfaced.


According to the report recovery was made by drag bar at 6:37pm in approximately 7 feet of water, by the Oologah Corps. Of Engineers. He was pronounced dead at scene by Tulsa County medical examiner investigator, Liz Coldwell.


The incident was Investigated by Trooper OHP Marine Enforcement Division, Oologah Corps. Of Engineers, Northwest fire, and Rogers County Sheriff Department.

Sunday, 03 June 2018 22:33

Dr. Joe Ellis White Obituary

Dr. Joe Ellis White departed this life on May 31, 2018. He was 80 years old.


Dr. White was a living legend to his sons, grandchildren, friends, and colleagues. He will be dearly missed. Joe was born on July 3, 1937, and was raised in Alex, OK, to the proud parents, Charlie and Cleo White. Raised on White Farms, his parents instilled in him hard work and the value of education, which are lessons that he carried with him throughout his life.


A natural athlete, Joe enjoyed all sports, but excelled in boxing, baseball, and football. Joe was a competitive boxer and threw a hard-driving baseball, but his love was football. Joe played quarterback at Alex High School and received a football scholarship to play at Murray State College, where he was later inducted into the inaugural class of the Murray State College Distinguished Athletic Hall of Fame. Joe went on to Oklahoma State University and, while at OSU, met the love of his life, Melba Sue Curfman, which started his true life's adventure.


Joe and Melba Sue had two sons, Vance King and Joe Jr. It is unknown who was more proud -- Joe being "King's" and "J.J.'s" dad or Vance and Joe Jr. being Joe White's sons. They, like their father, loved the game of football, and it was a proud moment for Joe to see both of his sons attend college on football scholarships.


For a young Kennedy-Democrat, the 1960s were the best of times to start a career. Graduating from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1959, Joe began his long and distinguished Oklahoma educational career coaching football and teaching English in his hometown of Alex, OK. Three years later, in 1962, he accepted a position in Roswell, NM as an assistant football coach and teacher. But his heart was in Oklahoma, and he returned a little more than a year later to serve as the head football coach at Minco High School.


In 1964, Joe was hired as a teacher and head football coach at Elk City High School. During that time, Joe was attending Southwestern Oklahoma State University and, in 1965, received his Master of Education. Soon thereafter, he was promoted to athletic director and assistant principal. In 1968, he was named the head principal at Elk City High School. In 1970, Joe left Elk City to become Superintendent of Sentinel Public Schools. However, Joe soon was called back to Elk City to become Superintendent of Elk City Public Schools, replacing his mentor, Jerry Kirk.


While Superintendent at Elk City, Joe was just one of fifty superintendents across the United States to participate in a month-long international study mission to the then-Soviet Union. Joe returned to Oklahoma State University and, in 1974, completed his Doctor of Education.


In 1975, after a long career in secondary public education, Joe assumed the Presidency of Carl Albert State College (CASC) in Poteau, OK. At that time, CASC consisted of two single buildings. Today, CASC has dual campuses in Poteau and Sallisaw, over 24 classroom buildings, student housing facilities, and a strong academic environment, providing educational opportunities for all. Joe served as one of Speaker Carl Albert's trusted friends from home and, during Joe's Presidency, hosted gatherings at CASC for the great names of both parties — Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, and George H.W. Bush.


Along with local leaders, he established and built the CASC Foundation, which today has a ten million dollar fund for the enrichment of CASC students. He served as chairman of the Council of Oklahoma's College and University Presidents for two terms.


Throughout his life, Dr. White served on many boards and is a member of three Oklahoma Hall of Fame organizations. Upon Dr. White's retirement from CASC in 2007, he and Melba Sue relocated to Edmond, OK to be near their grandchildren. That same year, Dr. White created White Energy, LLC, which has mineral interests in fourteen Oklahoma counties.


Dr. White is survived by his two sons, Vance King White, of Los Angeles, CA; and Joe Ellis White, Jr., of Edmond, OK. Also surviving Dr. White are his five grandchildren, Joe Ellis White III, Jackson Barnes White, Jade Holly White, Jule Mechelle White, and Jilian Nicole White, all of Edmond and Oklahoma City. He was preceded in death by his parents, Charlie and Cleo White; his wife, Melba Sue White; and his daughter-in-law, Kimberly Barnes White.


Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, June 6, 2018, 11 a.m. at Santa Fe Presbyterian Church, 1603 N. Santa Fe Ave., Edmond, OK. Dr.


White will be laid to rest at a private ceremony at the Alex Cemetery next to his wife and parents.


In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to the Dr. Joe E. and Melba Sue White Academic Scholarship Fund at Carl Albert State College.

The funeral is under the direction of Sevier Funeral homes.


Press release


MUSKOGEE, OKLAHOMA – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma announced that James Paul Brown, age 47, of Stilwell, Oklahoma, was sentenced to 188 months imprisonment and 5 years supervised release for Possession with Intent To Distribute Methamphetamine and Felon In Possession Of Firearm.

The sentences on each count were ordered to run concurrently. The charges arose from an investigation by the District 27 Drug Task Force, the Stilwell Police Department, the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.


The Indictment alleged that on or about May 18, 2017, within the Eastern District of Oklahoma, the defendant, did knowingly and intentionally possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, a Schedule II controlled substance.

Additionally, the indictment alleged that the defendant, having been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, did knowingly possess in and affecting commerce, an FMK Firearms, Model 9C1G2, 9x19 caliber pistol, serial number BP3233, and a Yugoslavia, Model 59/66, 7.62x39 caliber rifle, serial number M-477781, firearms which had been shipped and transported in interstate commerce.


“It is not unusual to find weapons in the possession of people in the business of dealing methamphetamine. Firearms are a tool of the trade because drug distribution is inherently violent. The defendant in this case possessed methamphetamine and guns. Federal defendants, such as Brown, who possess firearms after having three convictions for a violent felony or a serious drug offense are sentenced as “armed career criminals” and face a mandatory minimum of 15 years imprisonment,” United States Attorney Brian J. Kuester said.

“This investigation and resulting prosecution demonstrates how agencies tasked with public safety can maximize their efforts by working together. I commend the District 27 District Attorney’s Office and its Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, the Stilwell Police Department, the Cherokee Marshal Service, the ATF, and members of this office for working together to make our communities safer.”


The Honorable Ronald A. White, U.S. District Judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, in Muskogee, presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Wilson represented the United States.


The defendant will remain in custody pending transportation to the designated federal facility at which the non-paroleable sentence will be served.


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