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David Deaton

David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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Thursday, 21 February 2019 18:42

Education Areas in Need of Funding

Column by State Rep. Lundy Kiger


The biggest story of 2018, in the state Legislature, was funding public education that resulted in the largest pay raise for teachers in the state’s history.


But even as educators will likely receive another pay raise to help move state teacher pay closer to regional levels, there are other areas of education still in need of funding.


Work is ongoing between the House and Senate working with Governor Stitt to find the best options available for education overall.


I had the opportunity to spend over an hour with the governor and a small group from the House and Senate this week hearing the governor discuss his personal priority and passion for education and why it’s so high on his list.


With the state having nearly 3,000 emergency teaching certificates issued, it’s clear if we want to keep and draw new teachers to the state we must also pay a competitive regional wage. This is true for any business or agency if they want to draw and keep the best.


But at the same time we’re addressing teacher pay increases, there are other priorities we must also address.


Our classrooms are in need of so many tools available to help provide our children the best possible education that we need to provide.


Another very important issue is teachers not having to use their own personal funds for required classroom expenses. An average teacher in Oklahoma will spend between $500 and $1,500 annually on their classroom. I applaud them for their dedication, but it’s time for Oklahoma to do our part in meeting all classroom needs.


Professional staff members are also in need of additional funding to go with the recent increases they received. They are experiencing the same increases in costs of living. Without dedicated staff, we would be even farther behind academically as they will also look for and find other employment.


So often when pay raises are voted it goes to the starting salaries, which is good and needed, but we must also balance this with the need of keeping and rewarding our career teachers.


In closing, I don’t want to forget the retired teachers who spent their lives educating our children who are also in need of additional increases to their retirement. I hear from retired teachers weekly who we cannot forget about.


There are many options available of how we can address these needs, but the thing I’m happiest about is the desire by the Legislature and the Executive branch of state government working together in the spirit of getting on the same page of properly funding all areas of public education.


Remember, it’s about our children and giving them the best education possible, but we must be careful in where we find these funds to meet all educational needs!

Thursday, 21 February 2019 06:50

CNB Donates to PHS Choir




Poteau, OKLAHOMA - Central National Bank Executive Vice President, Mike Hall, presents a donation to Poteau High School Choir students, McKinlee Thomas and Cora Rolens, to help replace outdated choir robes that were donated as early as the 1980’s.


Anyone else wanting to make a contribution needs to contact Poteau High School Choir Director Alisha Smedley.





Press release

The flu continues to be widespread as the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and the OKC-County Health Department (OCCHD) report the first pediatric death associated with the flu since the season began in September.


The death occurred in an Oklahoma County resident between the ages of 5-17.

This week’s flu report indicates 1,244 flu-associated hospitalizations and 31 deaths so far this season.


Public health officials remind the public that there are several months remaining in the flu season, and the number of hospitalizations and deaths will continue to increase. A flu shot is encouraged for anyone over the age of 6 months who hasn’t already received one.

“Young children are among those most at risk for serious illness and death from influenza, so healthy individuals who get a flu shot are helping to protect those who cannot take a flu shot, including infants under the age of 6 months,” said OCCHD Executive Director Gary Cox. “Another benefit to getting the flu vaccine is that if you do by chance get the flu, your illness will be much milder than if you had not received a vaccine.”

For the current 2018-19 flu season, more than 500 Oklahomans over the age of 65, and more than 200 under the age of 18 have been hospitalized.


More than 20 people over the age of 65 have died from flu-related complications.

In effort to reduce the number of hospitalizations and deaths, flu shots continue to be offered at no out-of-pocket cost statewide at all county health department sites.

Cox said the OCCHD has given over 7,000 flu vaccines since the start of the flu season last fall.


Statewide, county health departments have given nearly 40,000 doses of flu vaccine.

“It’s not too late to get a flu shot,” said OSDH Interim Commissioner of Health Tom Bates. “At the beginning of the flu season, we made a strategic decision to offer the vaccine at no out-of-pocket cost in effort to lessen the financial burden for those in our communities. We still have an adequate supply of vaccine for our county health departments.”

In addition to getting a flu shot, it is important to practice frequent hand washing and prevent the spread of germs by covering your sneeze and cough. Those who are having flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, fatigue and chills are encouraged to stay home from public gatherings until they are able to go 24 hours without a fever, and without fever-reducing medication.

Those with the flu may develop secondary infections in the days or weeks following initial symptom onset which require additional medical attention.


Parents should be aware of children with emergency warning signs of flu including the following:

• Fast breathing or trouble breathing
• Bluish skin color
• Not drinking enough fluids
• Not waking up or not interacting
• Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
• Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
• Fever with a rash

Parents and caregivers should seek medical help right away for any infant who is unable to eat, has trouble breathing, has no tears when crying, and has significantly fewer wet diapers than normal.

Adults should seek medical attention if they or their child have difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe or persistent vomiting, and flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and a worse cough.

For more information, contact your local county health department or visit the OK Flu View at



Thursday, 21 February 2019 10:15

PUES Students of the week for February 11-15




The Poteau Upper Elementary School is pleased to announce their Students of the Week for the second week of February.


The Feb Character Trait:




Consideration for the individual differences, views, and beliefs of other people.


Students of the week are: Taylor Rowton, Eduardo Trejo, Braylon Bartels, Kylor Cooper, Galilea Duran, and Valancia Raudales



Thursday, 21 February 2019 08:58

Defending Second Amendment Rights

By Congressman Markwayne Mullin



The right to bear arms is a constitutional right and it is one that I do not plan to give up any time in the near future. Unfortunately for those of us who are ardent supporters of the Second Amendment, Democrats controlling the House of Representatives have different plans for gun owners.

Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats put forth a bill to turn law-abiding gun owners into criminals. H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, is a completely misguided piece of legislation that harms those who lawfully carry and does nothing to stop criminals from accessing firearms.

By requiring background checks for temporary transfers of possession, it would trigger penalties of up to a year in prison and/or a $100,000 fine for simply handing a firearm to another person. Even transferring a firearm to someone during a life-threatening emergency could be deemed a crime by a federal prosecutor or judge if the transfer wasn’t “immediately necessary to prevent...imminent death or great bodily harm.”

H.R. 8 also claims that “universal” background checks will prevent recent gun tragedies, but these checks are nothing more than a sham. Current law already requires a background check on every commercial gun purchase in America. H.R. 8 does nothing to fix the loopholes in the background check system and instead introduces more red tape for gunowners to cut through.

The bill does nothing to keep criminals from gaining access to firearms. A mere 6 percent of career criminals bought their firearms through non-dealers at gun shows and flea markets, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Moreover, 77 percent of criminals in state prisons for firearm crimes got their firearms on the black market, on the street, from a drug dealer, or through theft, according to the Department of Justice.

Unsurprisingly, House Democrats don’t want to hear from conservatives about their take on gun violence. Minority Whip Steve Scalise, a victim of gun violence at a congressional baseball practice in 2017, was not allowed to testify at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on H.R. 8. Whip Scalise himself offers that H.R. 8 would not have prevented his shooting as his shooter purchased his firearms legally in the state of Illinois.

For House Democrats, H.R. 8 is nothing more than a messaging tool and a blatant infringement on the Second Amendment rights of Americans that is dead on arrival in the Senate. I will continue to be a defender of all Americans’ Second Amendment rights and speak out in opposition to this misguided legislation.


Press release



OKLAHOMA CITY – It is estimated that around two million Purple Hearts have been awarded by the U.S. Military since World War I.


Sen. Frank Simpson authored Senate Bill 232 to recognize Oklahoma’s 1,340 recipients by designating Oklahoma a Purple Heart State.

“So many Oklahomans have sacrificed life and limb for our country,” said Simpson, R-Springer. “We want to honor their service and sacrifice and ensure it’s never forgotten by designating Oklahoma a Purple Heart State.”

The Purple Heart is the oldest military award still given to U.S. military members in the name of the president to those wounded or killed while serving since April 5, 1917. The Purple Heart is different from most military awards and decorations as individuals are not “recommended” for the decoration but rather are entitled to it.

SB 232 received unanimous approval by the full Senate Monday afternoon and is awaiting further consideration in the House.


Press release

OKLAHOMA CITY – House Minority Leader Emily Virgin (D-Norman) released the following statement after the Oklahoma Board of Equalization certified a surplus of $574.5 million for the next fiscal year.

“Last year, after a decade of Republican policies that favor high earners at the expense of core services and low and middle income Oklahomans, House Democrats pushed this body to responsibly raise revenue and begin to reinvest in core government services," Virgin said. "Today’s surplus is a direct result of House Bill 1010xx. However, this legislation must not be viewed as the end of our commitment to fund government but the beginning.

"Our education system is underfunded. Our criminal justice system is underfunded. The department of human services is underfunded. Rural hospitals are underfunded and many have closed. The buying power of our citizens has been greatly reduced and more Oklahomans find themselves working multiple jobs just to survive.

"The House Democratic Caucus believes that every dollar of this additional revenue should be put back into the agencies that have been raided in the name of high-income tax cuts and corporate greed.

"This additional revenue should go toward expanding Medicaid, putting more money into the classroom, and ensuring state employees are compensated fairly. This money should go toward restoring the earned income tax credit and creating a more equitable tax system. This revenue should go toward building a better Oklahoma.”


Press release



Oklahoma has an official state flower, a waltz, a state instrument—and on Wednesday, the Senate voted for a bill designating the ribeye as Oklahoma’s official state steak.


State Sen. Casey Murdock, R-Felt, is the author of Senate Bill 21. Murdock said the bill is all about promoting a vital part of Oklahoma’s economy and heritage.

“The cattle industry is a huge part of Oklahoma’s identity,” Murdock said. “We have 5.1 million head of beef cows in Oklahoma and we’re third in the nation in the number of beef cows.”

That’s not small potatoes. According to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, the most recent figures show more than 51,000 beef producers in Oklahoma and they’re in all 77 counties. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, annual cash receipts for cattle sales in Oklahoma total $3.3 billion.

But why the ribeye instead of a T-bone or some other cut of steak?

“Hands down, the ribeye is the most flavorful steak there is,” Murdock said, adding his own research verified polls he’d seen attesting to the quality and taste of the ribeye.

“This is a way to promote this industry and the contribution they make to our state’s economy—and our dinner table,” Murdock said.

SB 21 now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.



Press release


OKLAHOMA CITY – Efforts have been made in the legislature in recent years to improve access and make voting easier for Oklahomans.


The Senate passed another bill this week that will allow employees more flexibility in voting. Senate Bill 58, by Sen. Dewayne Pemberton, will allow employees who live two or more hours from their polling place to take leave to vote on the Thursday or Friday before an election when in-person absentee voting is allowed by law.

“Currently, employees are only allowed to take time off on Election Day but many times individuals can’t get away from work for one reason or another including those in rural areas that live a long ways from their polling places. This would allow them two additional days to choose from, making it easier for them to cast their vote,” said Pemberton, R-Muskogee. “Voting is one of our greatest rights as Americans and we need to give our citizens ample opportunities to exercise that right.”

The measure also prohibits employers from penalizing their employees for taking time off to vote provided the individual provides proof of their vote. Employees will need to notify their employers of their intent to vote at least one day in advance. The employer will determine the day and time the individual is released to vote.

SB 58 will next be considered in the House.




The Lumberjack Café in Howe Oklahoma is a great place to eat.

Open Monday- Friday 6:30am-2:00pm and Thursday evening from 4:30pm-8:00pm

Saturday 6:30am-1:30pm

Come hungry and leave happy.

The Lumberjack Café is located inside Ron’s Discount Lumber in Howe.

All for reasonable prices.

Latest Events

Poteau Chamber Banquet
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