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David Deaton

David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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Tuesday, 16 February 2016 14:45

Mary L. Thompson Obituary

Mary L. Thompson, 72, of Panama, OK passed away Tuesday, February 16, 2016 in Ft. Smith, AR.



Mary was born January 2, 1944 in Pond Creek, OK to Theodore & Rosie Alice (Richey) Wills.



She was a member of Jesus Name Assembly in Panama, OK where she was co-pastor and song leader. She was preceded in death by her parents; 1 sister & 4 brothers.



Survivors include her husband, Rev. Harold Thompson of the home; son & daughter in law, Fred & Sandy Dunn of Hartshorne, OK; grandchildren, Delilah Rodriguez & Holle Whitfield; 7 great grandchildren, Derrick, Kyle, Katelynn, Angela, Allen, Skyler & Zane; step daughter, Angel Ritter; step grandchildren, Douglas & John Ritter; other relatives, loved ones and friends.



Services will be 10 am, Friday, February 19, 2016 at Evans Chapel of Memories, Poteau, OK with Rev. Harry Powell officiating. Interment will be 2:00 p.m. in Elmwood Cemetery, Hartshorne, OK.




The family will be at the funeral home on Thursday evening from 6-8 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

Mary L. Thompson Obituary - 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 vote
Tuesday, 16 February 2016 14:39

Burn Ban for Sebastian County Arkansas issued


Sebastian County Judge David Hudson, has enforced Sebastian’s County Ordinance No 88-13 banning outdoor burning of trash, debris, brush and all other materials during this period when conditions are extremely dry.

Lawns, fields and wooded area are exceptionally dry and the flash point for outdoor fires is unusually low. Extremely high temperatures and wind gust are also expected for the next few day which will continue to dry out vegetation as well as spread fire more quickly.

Hudson’s said the ban was placed for the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the County.


The proclamation states:


All outdoor burning is banned until such time as relief from the hazardous dry weather situation is provided.

Compounding the hazard of low flash point are the factors of built in, self -producing wind from open fires during this type of weather situation which cause extreme difficulties in containing and controlling outdoor fires as well as the hazard and threat to life for those attempting to control and extinguish the flames.


Those who violate the restrictions will be prosecuted in compliance with the County Ordinance subject to a fine of not less than $25 or more than $300.00.


"We solicit and appreciated the support of each individual during this time period and would request additional caution and good judgment be used by smokers and that smoking material be extinguished in an ash tray or safe container rather than be discarded along the roads and highways," said Judge Hudson. "We urge all citizens to work together to protect the lives and property, themselves, their families and neighbors."


The burning ban will stay in existence until sufficient rain has reduced the fire hazard.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016 12:04

Eugene Howard Gott, Jr. Obituary

Eugene Howard Gott, Jr., of Spiro Oklahoma was born on April, 9, 1956 to Eugene and Geneva (Brown) Gott, Sr. in Saint Paul Minnesota and passed away on February, 15, 2016 in Fort Smith, Arkansas at the age of 59 years.

Eugene is survived by his wife Connie of the home, one daughter; Sabina Gott of Cinncinati,Ohio, ten grandchildren and five great grandchildren, one sister; Annell Gott of Russellville, Arkansas, one brother, Randy Gott of Round Rock, Texas.

Eugene was preceded in death by his parents, two daughters; Barbara Byrd Montgomery and Jeanie Lee Byrd. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping and loved his grandkids.

Private family services will be held at a later date.


Arrangements have been entrusted to the care and direction of Mallory Martin Funeral Home of Spiro, Oklahoma.


Condolences can be made to the family on Eugene's online guestbook at


OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin announced that three major research studies on the impact of tourism in Oklahoma show direct travel spending reached an all-time high of $8.9 billion in 2014.

That figure makes travel and tourism the third-largest industry in the state.

“Oklahoma has experienced a tremendous growth in tourism and recreation businesses, destinations and sites which greatly enhance not only our ability to attract visitors and improve Oklahomans’ quality of life but also creates jobs and revenue for our state,” said Fallin. “The money spent at these scenic spots and recreation destinations is a boon for local communities and the state of Oklahoma.”

The studies commissioned by the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department revealed that nearly 20.9 million travelers visited the state in 2014.

Visitor spending in Oklahoma generated $972 million in tax revenue, including $366 million for state government. That is a 15 percent increase over 2010.

The studies also showed that the tourism department’s most recent advertising campaign, which encourages visitors to “Come See for Yourself,” has had a return on investment of 7-to-1 in generating state and local taxes, said Executive Director Dick Dutton.

Dutton said the most exciting finding in the studies was the impact tourism advertising has on economic development.

“When out-of-state residents had viewed our tourism advertising and then visited the state, they were dramatically more likely to see Oklahoma as a good place to live, start a career and start a business,” said Dutton. “Thus, a dual purpose of tourism marketing is realized. It has a positive impact on the state’s image as a destination for leisure travel and recreation, while also enhancing Oklahoma’s ability to attract business investment.”

Full reports, a research summary infographic, and link to a Travel Impacts Interactive Website are available at

Highlights of the research studies findings include the following:

Economic Impact study – Dean Runyan Associates found that total direct travel spending in Oklahoma in 2014 was $8.9 billion, making tourism the third largest industry in the state behind oil and natural gas and agriculture. More than 95,000 jobs and $2 billion in payroll in Oklahoma are supported due to travel spending. Tourism spending generated $972 million in local, state and federal tax revenue in 2014. State tax revenues attributable to tourism spending at $366 million have increased 15 percent since 2010.

Visitor Volume and Profile study – TNS established that 20,866,000 travelers visited Oklahoma in 2014. This represents an increase of 2.4 million, or 12.8 percent, compared to 2010.

Advertising Accountability (ROI) and Image Awareness study – Longwoods International found that Oklahoma’s tourism marketing program attracted 1.22 million new visitors to Oklahoma with its first six months of advertising in 2015. These are visitors who would not have come to the state were it not for the advertising. These visitors spent approximately $205 million in Oklahoma, which resulted in $15.5 million in state and local taxes or a return on investment (ROI) of 7:1. This represents a 4:1 ROI for state taxes and a 3:1 ROI for local tax revenues.

Longwoods International also established that tourism advertising not only has a positive impact on consumers’ image of Oklahoma as a destination for leisure travel and recreation, but their research shows that advertising awareness and subsequent visitation combine to provide a sizeable lift on six key economic development image ratings. This is known as the “Halo Effect.”


For each of the six attributes studied, Oklahoma’s score increased with advertising awareness and visitation. When out-of-state residents had viewed OTRD’s tourism advertising and then visited the state, they were dramatically more likely to see Oklahoma as a good place to live, start a career, and start a business.


Thus, the importance of tourism marketing for economic development purposes is seen. It impacts the state’s national image and enhances Oklahoma’s ability to attract business investment.
For more information about these studies, contact:

Kim Caplinger, director of public policy and research for Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department
(405) 522-9555 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Monday, 15 February 2016 22:45

Billy Mack Wright Obituary

Billy Mack Wright of Howe, Oklahoma was born August 21, 1928 in DeQueen, Arkansas to William and Zula (King) Wright and passed away February 14, 2016 in Poteau, Oklahoma at the age of 87.


He is survived by:

Two daughters:

Barbara Dooty and husband Chuck of Shady Point, Oklahoma

Jannie Seamas and husband Jim of Heavener, Oklahoma

One son:

Joe Oliver and significant other Traudi of Heavener, Oklahoma

11 grandchildren:

Amy, Laura, Courtney, Jared, Christopher, Kaylie, Jeff, Jason, Taylor, Mike, and Jake

14 great grandchildren

Numerous other relatives and a host of friends


He was a preceded in death by his parents; wife, Gussie; a son, Dennis Oliver; and a grandson, Mack Coty Smith. Bill was a long-time resident of Howe, a retired Dairy Farmer, and a veteran of the Korean Conflict.


Graveside service will be 10:00 a.m., Thursday, February 18, 2016 at Heavener Memorial Park with Reverend Joe Haydon Hall and Brother Jeff Little officiating.


Burial will follow in Heavener Memorial Park under the direction of Dowden-Roberts Funeral Home of Heavener, Oklahoma.


Viewing will be from noon until 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, 8:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday and 8:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on Thursday.


Billy Mack Wright Obituary - 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 votes

Heavener Pentecostal Church of God will be hosting a benefit chili dinner and live auction.

The event will be held on Feb 20th at the Poteau Civic Center.

All proceeds will go towards building funds, for a new church.


In other news
On March 25, 2016 Heavener Pentecostal Church of God, will be having a benefit concert, with Adam Crabb & 14-year-old Tyler McClain, at the Fort Smith Convention Center.

Door for the concert open at 6pm, concert at 7pm.

Ticket prices are $15 in advance & $20 at the door.

Proceeds are going to help to purchase land for a new church.

For more information, contact the Church at (918) 839-0811.

Heavener Pentecostal Church of God is located at 101 Division St in Heavener.

According to the United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma, Larry Sanford Waters, of Edmond, pled guilty to check forgery and signing a false federal income tax return, in connection with a $1.5 million embezzlement from a local oil and gas company.


On January 27, 2016, Waters was charged by information with one count of a forged security and one count of filing a false federal income tax return.


From 1986 until early 2014, Waters handled accounting work and served as the financial officer at an Oklahoma City oil and gas company.


As part of his job, Waters prepared checks for the company to pay operating expenses and to pay oil well owners for their profits.


Waters pled guilty to preparing an unauthorized company check, in the amount of $65,541.32, to a separate business under his control.


He admitted that he did not have his employer’s permission in August 2011 to issue the check with the oil and gas company owner’s digital signature.


As part of his plea, Waters further admitted that he embezzled funds from his former employer from around 2004 through February of 2014 and stipulated that the total loss to the oil and gas company from his embezzlement scheme was $1,573,339.31.


Waters has already made payment to the victim in full for the stipulated amount of restitution.


In addition to pleading guilty to forgery, Waters pled guilty to signing a false tax return.


He admitted that on January 25, 2013, he signed a personal federal tax return for the 2011 calendar year that he knew was false because it reported only $379,373 in total income.


Waters also admitted that he omitted on the 2011 return more than $420,000 of embezzled income for that year from his former employer.


At sentencing, Waters faces up to 10 years in prison on the forgery count, plus three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.


Waters also faces up to three years in prison on the tax count, in addition to one year of supervised release, a $250,000 fine, and restitution to the Internal Revenue Service for the tax loss.


This case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations, and it is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris M. Stephens.

Sunday, 14 February 2016 23:27

Monroe Lady Eagles headed to State

Monroe Eagles and Lady Eagles competed in the finals of the ORES consolation tournament.


The Ladies got the win over Swink.

The Lady Eagles will now compete for the ORES Division IV Basketball State Tournament in Shawnee starting on Thursday.

The Monroe Lady Eagles are: Ashley Cauthen, Olivia Chambers, Montana Patterson, Kyla Roberts, Hayli Baxter, Shaelena Bacon, Destiny Francis, Jade McCoy and Hailey Stacy.

The team is coached by Paden Evans.



Good Luck girls!


MUSKOGEE, OKLAHOMA - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma announced that the United States District Court, after a non-jury trial, has entered judgment

against JOHN DEFELICE of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, for $119,218.00, which represents a sum of Social Security benefits paid to Janet DeFelice, his mother, who went missing in northern California and has never been found. On June 1, 2007, Mrs.Defelice wandered off from her son’s home in Templeton, California, in the middle of the night.


After a concerted search by her family and authorities, and the passing of five years, a certificate of death was issued for her by the State of California on June 1, 2012. During those five years the money was paid into an account jointly owned by Janet DeFelice and her son, John DeFelice, by the Social Security Administration.


The Social Security Administration had not been notified that Mrs.DeFelice’s whereabouts were unknown.


This investigation that lead to this civil prosecution is an example of the work that various federal agencies, such as the Social Security Administration, do to prevent financial loss to the taxpayer through federal programs.


Federal investigative agencies present the results of their efforts to the Department of Justice, usually through the appropriate United States Attorney’s office, to be prosecuted as Affirmative Civil Enforcement (ACE) matters. This case was a result of that effort to prevent financial loss and was prosecuted by the ACE Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma.


United States Attorney Mark Green stated: “It is Important that actions like this be brought and tried to the Court, if necessary, so that money mistakenly paid out from government programs such as Social Security is recovered.”


This case was a coordinated effort by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma and the Office of the Inspector General of the United States Social Security Administration.


The lawsuit is captioned United States of America v. John DeFelice, Case No. CIV-14-415-RAW (E.D. Okla.). Assistant United States Attorney Robert Gay Guthrie represented the United States.



A Public Public Forum on Earthquakes has been scheduled for  Tuesday, February 23, 2016, 4:30-6:30 PM at the University of Central Oklahoma Constitution Hall.

Topics :Earthquakes, injection wells and our water.


A panel of guest contributors will convene before the public to present information pertaining to Oklahoma’s recent earthquakes, the connection to disposal wells and the possible impact to our water supply.

Featured panelist, Erin Brockovich, will address her concerns for potential contamination of our state’s fresh water resources.


Among other contributors scheduled to appear:
Scott Poynter, Poynter Law Group
Johnson Bridgwater, Director, Oklahoma Chapter of the Sierra Club
Robert Jackman, Petroleum Geologist
Casey Camp-Horinek, Ponca Tribal Council


The event is hosted by State Representative Richard Morrissette, House District 92

Inquiries to Jacklyn Brink-Rosen
(405) 557-7404


Event is free with fee for parking at UCO – seating is limited to 500.


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