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David Deaton

David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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Friday, 22 January 2016 11:16

It’s time for Leadership LeFlore County

The Poteau Chamber of Commerce and the OSU Extension is now taking applications for Leadership LeFlore County 2016.

Leadership begin its 2016 Session March 10, 2016 with the application deadline February 19th.

The course will consist of seven sessions.

Tuition Cost $50.00

Classes will be held throughout the county.

As with all worthwhile endeavors, this program requires a definite commitment of time on the part of each participant.

Attendance is mandatory for successful competition of the program.

Absence from more than one full session or the accumulation of partial sessions will make the participant ineligible to graduate. Make-up may be available.

To apply download the Leadership Agreement below and mail it to:

Leadership LeFlore County
Poteau Chamber of Commerce
501 S Broadway Poteau OK 74953

By email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Applications: Must be signed by both candidate and the employer

OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Scott Pruitt on Friday announced insurance fraud charges in two separate cases in Love County.

Jimmy Elvis Morgan, 36, of Marietta, allegedly filed a false insurance claim stating his vehicle was stolen. Morgan told his insurance provider he had loaned his vehicle to a friend of a friend, but it had not been returned.

Morgan filed a police report with the Marietta Police Department. After further investigation, it was apparent Morgan had agreed to sell his vehicle to the friend after falling behind on several payments.

Morgan is charged with one felony count of false claim for insurance. If convicted, Morgan faces up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.

Deborah Leshawn McIntyre, 48, of Lancaster, TX, allegedly filed a false insurance claim after reporting her dentures and contact lenses were missing from her room at Winstar Hotel in Thackerville. McIntyre was asked to provide receipts for the stolen items. When an insurance agent contacted the doctors listed on the receipts, neither doctor reported having ever treated McIntyre.

McIntyre is charged with one felony count of false claim for insurance. If convicted, McIntyre faces up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.

The Workers’ Compensation, Social Security and Insurance Fraud Unit investigates and prosecutes fraud on the part of claimants, doctors, attorneys and insurance companies. The unit also provides education and training about workers’ compensation fraud. To report workers’ compensation, social security or insurance fraud contact the Attorney General’s Office at (405) 521-3921 or visit the AG’s website at

OKLAHOMA CITY — Governor Mary Fallin today announced she is reappointing Connie Reilly to the Board of Regents of the Regional University System of Oklahoma. Reilly originally was appointed to the post in 2007 by former Governor Brad Henry.

Reilly, of Okemah, has served as chairman of the board and participated in search committees that were involved in hiring presidents for five of the six universities the board governs.

“Connie Reilly has earned another term as regent with her meritorious service over the past nine years,” said Fallin. “Her experience as an educator makes her an invaluable part of this board.”

Reilly will continue on the board until 2025 if her appointment is confirmed by the Senate.

Reilly said she is passionate about education at all levels.

“I have a keen interest in expanding the dialogue between secondary and higher education,” said Reilly. “For example, we need to get feedback from classroom teachers about what they want our universities to teach for teacher preparation and implement classroom curriculum based on professors’ feedback for preparing students for college.”

Reilly spent more than 30 years as an educator in Okemah Public Schools, as a teacher, librarian and administrator. She also worked with several other school districts as an educational consultant.

Reilly was educated at the University of Oklahoma. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English in 1971 and a master’s degree in library science in 1981. She also completed certifications as a secondary principal and superintendent.

Reilly also has been active in the business community of Okemah, where her family owns several businesses. She has been inducted into the Okemah Hall of Fame, and her family recently received a Commitment to Excellence Award from the Okemah Chamber of Commerce.

Reilly and her husband, Bob, have two children and two grandchildren.

About the Regional University System of Oklahoma
The Regional University System of Oklahoma board governs six regional universities: East Central University, Northeastern State University, Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Southwestern Oklahoma State University and the University of Central Oklahoma. The board consists of nine members. Eight are appointed by the governor, with the consent of the Senate, while the ninth is the elected state superintendent of public instruction.

Friday, 22 January 2016 09:33

John T. Brooks Jr. Obituary

John T. Brooks Jr., 53, of Panama, OK passed away Wednesday, January 20, 2016 in Ft. Smith, AR.


John was born August 18, 1962 in Monrovia, CA to John Thomas "J.T." Sr. & Glenda Lee (Hall) Brooks.


He was a veteran of the US Navy.


He was preceded in death by his father; grandmother, Anna; grandfather, Elmer Hall; uncle, Dowe Hall and great uncle, Barney Brooks.


Survivors include his wife, Dana Brooks of the home; daughter, Brittany Dill & Casey of McCurtain, OK; son, Trace Brooks of the home; stepson, Zack Foster; his mother Glenda Sweeden & husband, Ted of Adkins, AR; sister, Belinda Brooks of Panama, OK; stepbrother, Tim Sweeden & wife Cresha of Adkins, AR; grandchildren, Maverick, Kynlei and Mayli Dill; nephews, Ricky Gollihare of Panama, OK, Tyler & Tate Sweeden, Ashley & Tawnie Sweeden all of Adkins, AR; aunts, Linda Solomon & Joe of Spiro, OK, Shirley Powers of Sand Springs, OK; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives, loved ones and friends.


Services will be 10 am, Saturday, January 23, 2016 at Evans Chapel of Memories, Poteau, OK with Rev. Bryan Fouts officiating.


Interment will follow in Greenhill Cemetery, Cameron, OK.


Pallbearers will be Brian Scamardo, Curtley Joe Solomon, Rick Hall, Casey Dill, Tim Sweeden, Lance Duncan, Eric Duncan, Randy Darneal.


The family will be at the funeral home on Friday evening from 5-7 pm to visit with relatives & 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

Friday, 22 January 2016 03:29

Shirley Ann Raymond

Shirley Ann Raymond, 56, of Spiro, OK passed away Sunday, January 17, 2016 in Tulsa, OK.



Shirley was born August 8, 1959 in Phoenix, AZ to George Wesley & Bertha Aline (Chapman) Gollihar.



Survivors include her husband, Guy Wolf Raymond Sr.; son, Guy Wolf Raymond Jr.; daughter & son in law, Brandy Jean (Raymond) & David Peña Romero of AZ; brothers, Richard Arvle & Christopher James Gollihar of Spiro, OK; grandsons, Justin Allen Raymond of Spiro, Braxton Wolf Romero, Ezequiel David Romero, Linken James Romero of AZ; other relatives, loved ones and friends.



Memorial services were 2 pm Friday, January 22, 2016 at Fanshawe Free Will Baptist Church, Fanshawe, OK with interment following in Fanshawe Cemetery, OK.


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, 22 January 2016 09:24

Danna Suzette Barnes

Danna Suzette Barnes, 62, of Monroe, OK passed away Monday, January 18, 2016 in Pocola, OK.


Danna was born November 1, 1953 in Poteau, OK to John H. & Wanda (Mitchell) Barnes.


She was preceded in death by her parents and a nephew, Shawn.


Survivors include her sister, Donna & Rocco LaRosa of Monroe, OK; nieces & nephews, Jon & Mandy Mitchell, Jon and Beth LaRosa; 4 great nephews, Mason, Ashton, Eben and Caden; 1 great niece, Chloe; other relatives, loved ones and friends.


Services will be 2 pm, Saturday, January 23, 2016 at Monroe Baptist Church, Monroe, OK with Rev. Tommy Harris officiating.


Burial will be in Monroe Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Jim Daniel, Tyler Barnes, Jason Bowles Jr., Jason Bowles Sr., Jeremy Woods, Jon LaRosa.


Honorary pallbearers will be Dale Barnes, James Daniel, Gary Mead, Allen Bowles, Mark Callahan, Vernon White.


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

Playing Friday night in the LCT

5th Place games:

Girls: Wister vs. Heavener Friday 4:40 pm
Boys: Panama vs Howe Friday 6 pm.

Boys' Semi-finals:
Wister vs Talihina Friday 7:20 pm
Poteau vs LeFlore Friday 8:40 pm


 Third Place boys games  will be played at 2:20 pm on Saturday.


Girls' Championship game is set and will be played on Saturday evening at 6:30 pm.

Howe Lady Lions vs Spiro Lady Bulldogs

3rd Place Game:

Pocola vs Poteau will be played Saturday at 1 pm.

All games will be played at Wilburton High school.


Download updated bracket below

Thursday, 21 January 2016 22:47

Propane truck rollover accident in Haworth

A propane truck accident occurred on January 21, at approximately 1:05pm on State highway 3.

Four miles southeast of Haworth in McCurtain County.


According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol a 2004 GMC propane truck driven by Shaun L. Atterberry, age 37, of Idabel, was eastbound on SH3, when he ran off the roadway to the right, overcorrected causing the vehicle to roll 1 time coming to rest on its tires in the west bound lane. The accident caused a gas line to rupture.


Atterberry was flown by Eagle-Med to St Francis Hospital in Tulsa with head injuries, he is listed in stable condition.


The accident was investigated by Trooper Brandon Johnson of the McCurtain County Detachment of Troop E. Assisted by Trooper Rocky Green, Trooper Joe Nichols and Trooper Joe Jefferson all of the McCurtain County Detachment. Trooper C.L. Parkins of Troop S. Also assisted by Haworth, Tom, Broken Bow and Idabel Fire Departments, McCurtain County S.O., McCurtain County EMS, ODOT, and Oklahoma LP Gas Association.

Thursday, 21 January 2016 14:03

Hugh Lawrence Gardenhire Obituary

Hugh Lawrence Gardenhire was born July 14, 1921, in Echo, Arkansas to Jefferson and Eva (Wade) Gardenhire and passed away January 20, 2016, in Heavener, Oklahoma, at the age of 94.


He is survived by:



Ruth (Miller) Gardenhire


One daughter:

Glenda Gatlin of Howe, Oklahoma


One son:

Larry Gardenhire and wife Lonnie of Howe, Oklahoma


One sister:

Eva Lee Hemphill of Gilbert, Arizona


Six grandchildren:

Dana Goforth and husband Dennis, Jana Pickle and husband Paul, Todd Gardenhire and wife Dana, Derek Mason, Shelley Snow and husband Jimmy, and Tyler Gardenhire and wife LeeAnn


Ten great-grandchildren


Three great-great grandchildren


One special nephew:

Paulx Miller, Jr. and wife Sandy


Three nephews:

Z.C., Will, and Jeff Hemphill


Two special nieces:

Beverly Hemphill and Sharon Miller


Host of many friends


Hugh has been a Christian since he was sixteen years old and a Baptist. He belonged to Spring Hill Baptist Church. He was a veteran of the U.S. Navy serving in World War II for three years on the Submarine USS Tuna and also twelve years in the Army Reserves. He received several medals in different battles. He was a 64 year member of the Heavener Masonic Lodge #154. At one time he taught young boys Sunday school Class and other classes. He loved to fish, play baseball, and read. Hugh loved the Lord and enjoyed going to Church. He was a retired Captain at Jim Hamilton Correction Facility. Hugh was a most loving husband for over 74 years, great father, grandfather, and on down to great- great-grandfather and loved his friends so much.


Funeral service will be 1:00 p.m., Saturday, January 23, 2016, at Springhill Baptist Church in Monroe, Oklahoma, with Rev. Don Laughlin and Rev. Bob McCaslin officiating. Burial will follow in Monroe Cemetery under the direction of Dowden-Roberts Funeral Home of Heavener, Oklahoma.


Pallbearers will be: Paul Pickle, Tyler Gardenhire, Terry Hearron, Seth McKenzie, Chad Beames, and Jess Gatlin


Viewing will be from 8:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m., Friday at the funeral home.


To sign Mr. Gardenhire’s online guestbook please visit







Hugh Lawrence Gardenhire Obituary - 3.0 out of 5 based on 1 vote

Sen. David Holt is proposing a $10,000 teacher pay raise, and he has introduced a package of six pieces of legislation to implement the pay raise without a tax increase, using a multi-year, multi-faceted approach that can be considered this legislative session.   Oklahoma teachers have not received a pay raise since 2008 and salaries now lag behind the national average by more than $10,000.


“I believe that Oklahoma’s future success depends on educated citizens, which depends on great teaching, which depends on competitive salaries for teachers,” Holt said.   “Our salaries are not competitive, which means we will ultimately fail to meet our goals as a state.   As the son of a retired teacher, a parent of a public school student, and a cheerleader for Oklahoma’s future, I appreciate the urgent need from various perspectives.”

Holt, R-Oklahoma City, said even though current budget shortfalls require a multi-year approach, he believes there is a “moral obligation” to address the issue in a definitive way this legislative session, and his plan is designed for immediate consideration.


“I believe I am proposing a practical and realistic solution, and to achieve that on this issue, I think a plan must have at least three characteristics – no tax increase, multi-year implementation, and a multi-faceted approach.   By multi-faceted approach, I mean that there is no silver bullet.   You can’t accomplish this with one idea or one bill,” Holt said.  “I believe a teacher pay raise must rest on a three-legged stool of tax reform, efficiencies in school administration, and a statutory commitment of future revenue growth.   The precise details of my proposals may or may not be the perfect approach, but I believe strongly in these principles and this framework.”


There are approximately 41,000 public school teachers in the state of Oklahoma, meaning that a $10,000 raise will cost the state approximately $400,000,000.   Holt’s package is intended to identify those funds without a tax increase.   The timing of full implementation is determined by multiple factors, but Holt’s plan is intended to reach the goal as soon as is possible using the methods he has proposed.

Holt commented on why he outlined a raise of at least $10,000.


“I believe that if we’re not talking about at least a $10,000 raise, we’re not doing what it will really take to be competitive.   A $10,000 raise would move Oklahoma’s current average near today’s national average, but a realistic plan for accomplishing this will take years to implement, at which time the national average will be even higher.   We have to start thinking ahead of the curve, not years behind it.”


The senator also explained why he would not propose an increase in the income tax rate.


“Increasing the income tax rate is not something I believe the people of Oklahoma want, which means it is a political non-starter, and I wanted to make a proposal that is realistic,” Holt said.  “Further, I don’t think it is good public policy to increase the income tax rate, as a competitive rate is a key contributor to future economic growth.  But most importantly, I believe you can implement a significant pay raise without a tax increase, as I have demonstrated with my proposal.   If you can do it without a tax increase, then that’s what you should do.”


Holt’s plan is composed of the following six pieces of legislation, which cumulatively lead to a $10,000 raise and likely more, if fully implemented.   His comments follow the summaries.


Senate Joint Resolution 57 – This puts a state question on the November ballot that would require the Legislature during the 2017 legislative session to identify $200 million in ongoing annual savings by reforming tax credits, rebates, exemptions and deductions.   If the measure is passed by the voters but the Legislature fails to accomplish its task, two years of future tax credits will be canceled.


Senate Bill 1238 – This works in concert with SJR 57 to codify this legislative session a $5,000 pay raise contingent on successful implementation of the goals set forth in SJR 57.   The $5,000 pay raise is effective for the 2018-2019 academic year.


“There is no question that our tax system can be reformed and that revenues of $200 million can be identified without an increase in tax rates.   I think there is wide agreement on those points, but we clearly need a push.   This legislation creates that framework, and it brings tax credit recipients to the table as motivated partners in reaching a fair outcome.   Further, it ensures that the savings go directly to teacher pay raises.  I truly believe there is not one person who might ultimately be affected by tax reforms that wouldn’t like to be a part of funding a teacher pay raise.”

Senate Bill 1256 – This codifies that all revenue growth after Fiscal Year 2017 will be captured exclusively for future teacher pay raises, up to $200 million.


Senate Bill 1278 – This works in concert with the legislation above to codify this session a $5,000 pay raise contingent on the capturing of future revenue growth envisioned in SB 1256.  The pay raise based on this captured revenue would be capped at $5,000, but could partially begin as soon as new revenues come in.


“We know that the economy will improve sometime in the future, and we know that state tax revenues will rise as well.  Rather than an oral commitment, this makes it lawfully required that future revenue growth goes first to teacher pay raises.  The current shortfall actually presents an opportunity to do something we might have otherwise found impossible.  Two years ago, if you had suggested that the state find $200 million in existing spending and redirect it to teacher pay raises, it wouldn’t have happened because no one wants to rob Peter to pay Paul.   But this year, we have no choice but to take money from Peter because we don’t have it.   So, the hard part will already be accomplished.   When revenue growth returns, it will no longer be spoken for.   Let’s turn today’s pain into a future opportunity to increase teacher pay.”


Senate Joint Resolution 58 – This puts a state question on the ballot in November that would create the School Modernization and Renew Teaching (SMART) Commission to redraw Oklahoma’s school districts so that there are no more than 200 school districts statewide.   The resolution calls for the burden of merger to fall equally on urban and rural communities and it bars the closing of any school site.  The plan would face an up-or-down vote in the Legislature in the 2020 legislative session.


Senate Joint Resolution 59 – This puts a state question on the ballot in November that works in concert with SJR 58 to shift all of the administrative savings exclusively to teacher pay raises beginning in 2021.   If the two $5,000 raises envisioned in SB 1238 and SB 1278 have already come to pass, then SJR 59 will work to help Oklahoma keep up with what will surely be escalating national teacher pay averages by 2021.   Or, if SB 1238 and SB 1278 have not succeeded, SJR 59 will work to fill the gap.


“We all know that the time for efficiency has arrived.   We can be a low tax state or we can be an inefficient state, but we can’t be both.   If we want to be a low tax state, and I want that for Oklahoma, then we have to spend money wisely.   This resolution creates the framework to finally do what we know has to be done, but accomplishes it fairly and in a way that protects school sites.  Most importantly, the exclusive beneficiaries are teachers.   If we’re going to merge district administrations, I think it is imperative that the savings go exclusively to teacher pay raises.”


Senator Holt’s teacher pay raise package can be considered in the 2016 legislative session that begins February 1.

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