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David Deaton

David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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Wednesday, 21 March 2018 00:09

Aaron “Levi Gene” York Obituary

Aaron “Levi Gene” York of Heavener, Oklahoma was born August 1, 1983 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Aaron Raburn, Jr. and Glenda Faye (Landrith) York and passed away March 17, 2018 in Heavener, Oklahoma at the age of 34.


He is survived by:

His parents:
Aaron and Glenda York of the home

One sister:
Dayva Ballantine and husband Carl of Wilburton, Oklahoma

Two brothers:
Corey York and wife Camisha of Heavener, Oklahoma
Cobey York and wife Krissa of Heavener, Oklahoma

Three nephews:
Cameron, Ivan, and Luke Ballantine

Two nieces:
Cambree and Avalyn York

Paternal grandparents:
Lonnia York of Yukon, Oklahoma
Raburn York of Choctaw, Oklahoma

Maternal grandmother:
JoAnn Landrith of Heavener, Oklahoma

Special friend and caretaker:
Shelly Stiers and family

Many beloved cousins and a host of friends


He was preceded in death by his PaPa, Gene Landrith; his favorite Aunt Sharon Landrith; and his beloved boxer, George.


Levi was a long-time resident of the area and a member of the Shepherd’s Heart Pentecostal Church of God.


He loved country music, watching football especially the Tennessee Titans and Oklahoma Sooners.


Levi always had an opinion about everything and loved his dogs, Rosie and Adrian. He loved spending time with his family.


Levi will be missed deeply by many.


Memorial service will be 2:00 p.m., Friday, March 23, 2018 at the Shepherd’s Heart Pentecostal Church of God in Poteau, Oklahoma with Reverend Clyde Hess and Reverend Nick Hess officiating.


Cremation arrangements are under the direction of Dowden-Roberts Funeral Home of Heavener, Oklahoma.


To sign Mr. York’s online guestbook please visit



Aaron “Levi Gene” York Obituary - 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 vote

Press release

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 20, 2018) – The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) has been investigating allegations of misconduct including potential fraud and tampering with student grade and attendance records by Chickasha Public Schools. OSDE has requested and engaged the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) to assist in this matter.

The OSDE probe found unexpectedly high levels of district personnel logins and grade changes within the online Self-Paced Learning Center (SPLC) system used at the school district. A review of the SPLC found that during a four-month period, between October 2017 and January 2018, approximately 5,500 student course grades and 18,800 individual assignment grades were overridden. Additionally, there were significant discrepancies in the number of times individual teachers logged into the system.

“There have been complaints and reports of wrongdoing which continue to warrant further investigation. The allegations are extremely troubling and require the investigative authority of OSBI,” said Joy Hofmeister, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. “The integrity of student records must never be compromised, and academic honesty is of paramount importance. The district’s lack of oversight appears particularly disturbing as the consequences may be far-reaching and affect many students and families.”

Press release


OKLAHOMA CITY – State Senator Micheal Bergstrom, R-Adair, has proposed a three phase plan aimed at providing pay raises for state teachers and state employees.

“As a former teacher with close to two decades of experience in Oklahoma public school classrooms, I appreciate the frustration of our instructors,” Bergstrom said. “In the time since I took office in November 2016, one of the top priorities in my Republican Senate Caucus has been finding a way to give Oklahoma teachers a pay raise. Unfortunately, the budget hole and the constitutional requirement for 75 percent approval in both chambers have hampered our efforts. In the last several months, we have run through a special session, are still in a second special session and are nearly halfway through another regular session and there is still no pay raise. The planned teacher walkout looming in a few weeks adds yet another wrinkle to the situation.”

According to Bergstrom, three obstacles have kept the legislature from completing this task - insufficient revenue, unreasonable expectations and political maneuvering.

“My proposal deals with the first two issues. Hopefully, legislators choosing to put the best interests of the citizens of Oklahoma, our teachers and our students ahead of political desires will resolve the third,” Bergstrom said.
His proposal provides for a $6,000 teacher pay raise over three years, a $2,500 state employee pay raise for those currently making less than $50,000 over three years, and restoration of state aid formula funding for education in 2019. The revenue to pay for this phase only requires simple majority votes in both chambers.


Among the revenue measures funding the first year are:

• Capital Gains Tax Restoration – Senate Bill 1086 (Sen. Rader), expected to generate $50 million in year one, and $108 million thereafter.
• Casino Ball & Dice – Senate Bill 1195 (Sen. McCortney), expected to generate $23 million; and
• Medicaid Work Requirement – Senate Bill 1030 (Sen. Brecheen), anticipated to generate $84 million.

The revenue to pay for the second and third phases of the plan is dependent upon new revenue bills to be approved this year, either in the current session by the legislature or by a vote of the people in November. Those measures include a $1.00 increase on cigarette taxes and increased levy on cigars, chewing tobacco, and e-cigarettes. It also includes a 5 percent gross production tax on all wells currently at two percent, all new wells, and raising all wells to seven percent after the initial 36 months. Each of these forms of revenue requires a 75 percent vote in both chambers. Bergstrom wants each to be a separate vote during the current legislative session. Under the proposal, any of these revenue measures not approved by the legislature would be passed on to a vote of the people in November.

“It is time for the legislature to move forward with a common sense approach that raises teacher salaries well above the regional average while doing so in a way that is realistic and does not financially undercut the state’s budget in future years,” said Bergstrom.


Please contact Sen. Micheal Bergstrom at 405-521-5561 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.



Three obstacles have stood in the way of the legislature providing teachers with a pay raise in recent years:
• Insufficient Revenue
• Unreasonable Expectations
• Political Maneuvering


The following proposal deals with the first two issues. Hopefully, considering the best interests of the citizens of Oklahoma will resolve the third. It includes three phases, the first funded by measures requiring only 50 percent votes in both chambers.


This proposal provides for the following:

• $6,000 Teacher Pay Raise Over Three Years
• Restoration of State Aid Formula Funding for Education
• $2,500 State Employee Pay Raise Over Three Years

Fully Funded

• 2019 New Spending – $2,000 Teacher Pay Raise ($116 million), $1,000 State Employee Pay Raise for those making less than $50,000 ($35 million), State Aid Formula Funding Restoration, which may in part be used for school support staff raises ($115 million).
• 2019 Total Price Tag – $266 million
• 2019 New Revenue – Capital Gains Tax Restoration/Rader ($50 million first year/$108 million thereafter), Casino Ball & Dice/McCortney ($23 million), Zero Emissions Soft Cap at $25 million ($80 million), Medicaid Work Requirement/Brecheen ($84 million), Removal of Tax exemption on luxury items ($35 million).
• 2019 Total New Revenue (50 percent votes) – $272 million

• 2020 New Spending – $2,000 Teacher Pay Raise ($116 million), $1,000 State Employee Pay Raise for those making less than $50,000 ($35 million),
Each of these will be dependent upon passage of the revenue measures listed below, either passed by the legislature or a vote of the people in November.
• 2020 Total Price Tag – $266 million
• 2020 New Revenue – $1.00 increase on cigarette tax & increase levy on cigars, chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes ($170 million), 5 percent GPT on all wells currently at two percent, all new wells and raise all wells to seven percent after initial 36 months ($230 million)
Each of these forms of revenue require a 75 percent vote in both chambers. Each source should be voted on separately during the current legislative session. Any that do not pass should be passed on to a vote of the people in November.
• 2020 Total New Revenue – $400 million

• 2021 New Spending – $2,000 Teacher Pay Raise ($116 million), $500 State Employee Pay Raise for those making less than $50,000 ($18 million),
• 2021 Total Price Tag – $134 million
• 2021 Total New Revenue Needed – $0 (Already paid for if revenue passes in 2018.)

Poteau, Oklahoma - Teachers from Poteau Public Schools along with students and others who care about teachers, spent their Tuesday evening of Spring Break writing letters to their legislators to send a message.


The message, fund education properly!

These dedicated teachers and community members met from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm at Arties Art Studio in Poteau to write letters and then dropped them off at the Poteau Post office.


Because they say, it is time to be heard.

Susan Manlove,a teacher at Poteau Middle School, told news reporters on Tuesday "You can send an email and it's easy for your secretary to open or not open them at all, but when they have these physically delivered by the mail at the capitol, they have no choice but to look at them and say someone has taken a lot of time."

Anyone in the area, wishing to join the teachers in writing letters can address those letters to the following legislators.

Rick West
2300 N Lincoln Blvd.
Room 333
OKC, OK 73105

Speaker Charles McCall
2300 N. Lincoln Blvd
Room 401
OKC, OK, 73105

Senator Mark Allen
2300 N. Lincoln Blvd.
Room 234
OKC, OK 73105

Local Teachers start letter writing campaign - 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 vote
Tuesday, 20 March 2018 15:11

Marriage Licenses March 12-16, 2018

The following couples received the marriage licenses during the week of March 12-16, 2018 at the LeFlore County Courthouse:


Michael Allen Pipkins and Joyce Elaine Baker

David Jerrell Younger, Sr. and Glenda Darlene Kelley

Timothy Ryan Hampton and Jessica Lynn Schenck

Jeffery Gilbert Steinkamp and Winter Don Day

Rayden Lee Joe Pearson and August Raelene House

John Stanley Wood and Fantasya Nicole Garrett

Dante Sontwan Brown and Whitney Nicole Lambert

Dillon Shane Waller and Allison Rae Sullivan

Press release

OKLAHOMA CITY – Several House Democrats have responded to yesterday’s Oklahoma Supreme Court decision to allow an initiative petition to restore the gross production tax to pay for education costs to proceed.

State Question 795 would eliminate the tax rate that caps gross production at 2 percent and effectively restore the gross production tax back to 7 percent on all oil and gas wells. The restoration of the gross production tax will bring in an additional $340 million. A portion of this revenue would then be used to fund a $4,000 teacher pay raise and provide funding for other costs related to public education.

“This initiative represents the last stand for teachers,” said Minority Leader Steve Kouplen, D-Beggs. “In the absence of a substantial revenue package that restores funding to education, provides needed raises to teachers, support staff and state employees, this state question will give the people of Oklahoma an opportunity to increase funding for education by ensuring oil and gas companies pay their fair share.”

The Supreme Court’s decision doesn’t just signal a “plan b” for teacher pay raises. It also offers leverage to allow the Legislature to move on gross production and pass a more complete revenue package that addresses inadequate state agency funding and low teacher and state employee pay.

“The time is now,” said Rep. David Perryman, D-Chickasha. “The oil and gas industry has spent millions of dollars to keep the gross production rate at 2 percent. Now, they are staring down the barrel at 7 percent. Surely, with this added pressure on the industry, the Republicans inside the Capitol can come to the table and agree to a revenue package that includes a gross production tax of at least 5 percent.”

As the debate on gross production tax continues, oil and gas companies have threatened layoffs in response to the restoration of the tax rate, but many democrats have argued that the layoffs have already happened in education and other essential services despite the low GPT.

“Restoring the gross production tax isn’t about punishing oil and gas,” said Rep. Eric Proctor, D-Tulsa. “This is about restoring funding to rural health care so we can stop the closure of rural hospitals. This is about ensuring teachers in Oklahoma don’t have to take multiple jobs to provide for their family. This is about the Department of Corrections being able to hire more correctional officers so prisons are adequately staffed. This is about doing what is fair and what is right for the people of Oklahoma.”

Although restoring the gross production tax doesn’t bring in enough revenue by itself to shore up the state’s financial woes, it does provide a key element to a revenue package that could.

“Since early last year, our caucus has said we will not support a revenue package that continues to shift the tax burden in this state from the wealthy to working-class Oklahomans,” Kouplen said. “If Republicans are serious about wanting to fix this problem, now is their opportunity.Lawmakers will never have a better chance than this moment to negotiate a deal that fairly increases revenue to restore funding to state agencies and provide an opportunity to raise the pay of teachers, educational support staff and state employees.”

Monday, 19 March 2018 23:56

Voting For Our District

By Rep. Rick West


When voting on bills at the state Capitol, I always make it a point to vote for things that benefit House District 3 and against measures that could harm our community.


A few constituents have questioned my ‘yes’ vote on a bill that would move the Talihina Veterans Center. With only 99 beds occupied at the center, we are at risk of losing all 175 beds that we have in southeast Oklahoma. My ‘yes’ vote to relocate it was not an effort to shut the center down but to keep it open for 3 to 5 more years in hopes of another center being built. We must keep these 175 beds for our veterans. My vote was to provide the best for these dedicated individuals who sacrificed so much for our country.


I did everything I could to keep this center in Talihina. But when the director of the Department of Veterans Affairs tells me multiple times that ODVA is going to close the center, I have to listen. Those 175 beds – and 250 jobs – matter to me. So in the end, I decided to vote how I thought would best benefit the wellbeing of our veterans and their families.


On the House floor last week, representatives considered a measure that could ultimately lower the voting threshold for revenue-raising measures. Back in the 1990s, the people rallied up support and introduced a petition to raise the voting requirement to 75 percent. If voters want to lower that threshold back down, they should lead the charge on this and create an initiative petition of their own. I just don’t think lawmakers ought to be navigating this ship when the voters made their voice clear the first time around.


It’s important to also note any of these tax increases – from cigarettes to the motor fuel taxes – are eligible to go to a vote of the people. Under State Question 640, measures that do not receive 75 percent approval by the Legislature are able to go to a vote of the people. All those measures need by citizens is a 50 percent plus one vote. Perhaps we should let voters consider these bills that didn’t quite reach the threshold. That way, our constituencies can truly have a voice in this matter.


In other legislative news, I have gotten several calls from retirees about the Oklahoma Senate’s choice voting to end the capital gains deduction. One LeFlore County resident told me the bill meant he would pay an additional $1,200 annually – an amount that has him wondering if he’d be better off moving to another state. With so many retirees in our district, I was grateful to hear this man’s story. Please know I’ll be voting against killing the deduction if it reaches the House floor.


One last note: I enjoyed our somewhat-impromptu meeting on March 17 with members of the community, teachers and superintendents. I know our opinions may differ on certain issues, but I always appreciate the opportunity to discuss our views. The people of House District 3 are always kind and eager to listen. And trust me: I take your opinions back to the Capitol each week.


As always, if there’s anything I can help you with, please don’t hesitate to reach out.


I’m at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.and 405-557-7413.


Thanks, and God bless.




Press release


Poteau Oklahoma: 13th Annual Community Wide Trash-Off

Saturday, April 21st Check In 9:00 a.m.
Allstar Parking Center - Poteau


Daylight Savings Time has changed, Spring is in the air. It’s time to gather family, friends, neighbors and co-workers, club members, church members or just yourself to participate in the 13th Annual Community Wide Trash Off! FREE food is provided and some camaraderie among team-mates, and a little friendly competition for awards, makes the work fun for the day.


In addition to trophies for Most Business Members, Most Team Members, Most Bags Collected, Most Non-Profit Members, Most School/Organizations Members, Most Family Members & Most Church Members the Poteau Chamber is offering a $100 donation to the non-profit group that has the most members participating. Each year the volunteers come out in large numbers picking up trash around affected areas off Broadway, at City Parks, Downtown and at chosen neighborhoods. This does not include residents trash pick-up. We encourage to clean up the entire week or that day and haul their own trash south of town to the LeFlore County Solid Waste Transfer Station for FREE during the hours of 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.


The nice weather is already calling people outside for activities and the yard cleaning fever. With the changing land scape, the greener grass and flowers popping up everywhere, most certainly make the need to pick up trash more apparent to get involved keeping our Community clean. Each year hundreds of volunteers take time out to choose a team, choose a location and pick up lots of trash.


This year’s event is April 21st ; the date is set in conjunction with the state Trash Off day each year. Check-in will begin at 9:00 a.m. in the parking lot in front of Strike – A- Lot Lanes. Donuts and juice will be available at check-in provided by Dee at Cakes & More. The Community State Bank will be grilling and serving hot dogs for lunch beginning at 11:30 as groups return with loads of trash. Each participant will receive a ticket for a free hot dog, chips, and a drink. Awards will be given after the teams have returned and bags have been tallied.


There are several ways you can help make this event a great success! Organize a team from your business, club, sports team, church, family, or friends. Or just participate as an individual. If you can’t get out-doors to help, pray for good weather and safety for all the participants. If you are interested in helping “Keep Poteau Beautiful” call the chamber office.


The entire week is dedicated to keeping our community clean and promoting and educating students and residence. Each year in conjunction with the Community Wide Trash Off, the 4th grade students from Poteau Upper Elementary participates in a Poster Contest as part of a; litter awareness campaign. The top 10 posters will be placed on Facebook and the public will vote.


Posters are chosen as 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, “Judges Choice” and “People’s Choice”. The winners receive gift cards from Wal-Mart. & Certificates from the local McDonalds. The Poster Awards Ceremony will take place at the Upper Elementary School on April 19th at 2:00 pm this year. You can also order the 2018 Trash-Off Shirt by calling Poteau Chamber.


Deadline for orders is April 10th. The trash-off shirts are purple this year with the art work of last year’s winner.

To register or volunteer to help, call the Chamber of Commerce office (918-647-9178). Maps are available for volunteers to request to pick up designated areas, but please check with chamber office to make sure those areas are not already assigned or requested.




“When this event was started 13 years ago there were only about 4 people that came out that day to help. Now numbers total over 300 each year, collecting over 250 bags and helping us make a difference in our community. This year will be even better. Poteau Chamber can’t say enough about the volunteers that help with any event that we choose to host, “states Karen Wages, CEO Poteau Chamber of Commerce.



Monday, 19 March 2018 23:34

Get ready for Cooking with C's


Press release


POTEAU, OKLAHOMA – The City of Poteau, Carl Albert State College, Classic Country 107.3 and The Poteau Chamber of Commerce are getting plans ready for the 2nd Annual Chili Cook Off.

Friday, April 20th 11: -2:00 at The Donald W. Reynolds Center.


Carl Albert State College and The Poteau Chamber of Commerce have put together another great team that results in a great day for this event. Last year was the first time to host the event at The Donald W. Reynolds Center. The format was changed from the previous CASC Chili Cook Off and those that had teams and came out to eat loved the new format and larger venue at DWRCC.


As last year’s event, each team will have an 8ft round table and could decorate, display and get crazy with ideas to draw the most attraction and votes. Team requirements are, each team must have a minimum of 5 crockpots of chili. If any one of the pots is chosen as the winner the team wins total prize of $300 in cash, a traveling trophy and bragging rights. Registration is FREE, and each registering team will receive 5 armbands for entrance to the event.

Other prizes will be awarded include $200 for second place and $100 people’s choice for best costume and presentation. This is a great business networking event and most of all some great chili. This will expose the teams to all those that have purchased tickets to sample the great chili of Poteau and the River Valley.

Classic Country 107.3 will be here helping with promotion and working with the crowds during the length of the event. Donald W. Reynolds Center will host the event in the large banquet room allowing everyone to be there at one time with lots seating space. Poteau Chamber will be serving hot-dogs chuck wagon style. Mark your calendar, get your teams ready and stay tuned for more information on our Facebook page Poteau Chili Cook Off. Proceeds of this event will benefit a local non-profit organization. Last year’s benefactor was The LeFlore County Youth Services.


“We could not do this without our corporate partners Classic Country 107.3, Wal-Mart and Pepsi. These great businesses helped make this event a huge success allowing business to network with new people, make new friends and just have some fun for the day. Poteau Chamber wants to see this grow into the largest Chili Cook-Off in the River Valley Area”, states Karen Wages CEO Poteau Chamber of Commerce.

To sign up as a team visit our website or the Facebook page Poteau Chili Cook Off or contact Sara at the Chamber Office 918-647-9178. Deadline for Team Entry April 16th. To purchase tickets, call the Chamber Office. Tickets only $8 per person and will get a chance to win cash door prizes. Get your Chili Cooking or Tasting Skills on and join us on Friday, April 20th from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.




Get ready for Cooking with C's - 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 vote
Monday, 19 March 2018 23:32

Fatal Motorcycle crash in Payne County

At approximately 4:57pm on March 17, 2018, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol were dispatched to an accident between a semi-truck and a motorcycle.

The accident occurred on State Highway 51, just west of Prairie Road, approximately three miles east of Stillwater in Payne County.


According to the report, a 2007 Peterbuilt Semi truck driven by Hunter Clifton Taylor 24, of Glenrock, WY was east bound on SH51 and was attempting to make a wide turn to go south into a private drive when a 2014 Harley Davidson Motorcycle driven by Clarence H. Boss III 72, of Pawnee, OK was traveling east bound and collided into the front the semi.

Boss, expired at the scene due to massive injuries.

The accident is still under investigation by the OHP.

Payne County Sheriff's office and Stillwater Fire Department were dispatched to the scene.

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