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Saturday March 24, 2018

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OKW News | South East Oklahoma Latest News

David Deaton

David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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Poteau, Oklahoma - The LeFlore County Historical Society held an appreciation banquet for those who have supported the Historical Society throughout the years.

Bonnie Prigmore, Executive Director welcomed everyone and presented a framed photo of the Hotel Lowrey to the honorees.

“The LeFlore County Historical Society is celebrating ten years of its existence as an organization and ten years of its efforts to restore the historic Lowrey in downtown Poteau and the establishment of the LeFlore County Museum at Hotel Lowrey. Any organization is only as effective as the people who compose the organization.


The historical Society has been fortunate to have received the support of many individuals in LeFlore County in the last ten years and as the society celebrates its success certain individuals stand out as deserving special recognition,” said Prigmore.

Four people were honored at the banquet- Arlene LeMaster, Randy Bridgman, Robert (Bob) Lowrey and Susan Jenson. Arlene, Randy and Susan have served on the board since the beginning and Bob joined shortly after.



Arlene LaMaster and Bonnie Prigmore

"Arlene LaMaster has a love of history and a love of the people of LeFlore county. As the long-time office manager of LeFlore County Farm Bureau, Arlene came to know many of the people of the county. She has also served as a leader of the LeFlore county Genealogical Society and as an officer in the Eastern Oklahoma Historical Society. When Arlene heard the historic Lowrey Hotel was to be sold at auction by the county, she sprung into action. Arlene petitioned the county commissioners to donate the building for use as a museum. She worked with others to establish the LeFlore County Historical Society and has served as its Vice-President. Arlene has continued to support the historical society in all its fundraising efforts and in other community projects. She is always present for the monthly lunches, yard sales and projects for kids. Arlene has served the historical society and the community as a tireless worker and a true leader.


The goals of the society were to restore the Hotel Lowrey and establish a museum. From her position with the Eastern Oklahoma Historical Society, she was able to guide a merger of the two organizations. This had the effect of securing the first funding for the hotel restoration and eventually the relocation of the artifacts from the Kerr Museum to the LeFlore County Museum. With the initial funds and the artifacts, the historical society was able to establish a museum with meaningful exhibits in an historic building.

Arlene has continued to support the historical society in all its fundraising efforts and in other community projects. She is always present for the monthly lunches, yard sales and projects for kids. Arlene has served the historical society and the community as a tireless worker and a true leader," said Prigmore.



Randy Bridgman and Bonnie Prigmore

"Randy Bridgman, as a part of his efforts to revitalize downtown Poteau, Randy became concerned about the fate of the Hotel Lowrey. He joined in the efforts to restore the hotel and became the president of the LeFlore county Historical Society. Randy was able to secure funding to assist in the initial restoration of the hotel. He has continued to assist in the restoration efforts with his own labor and the donated labor of his employees.

Randy has brought consistent, calm leadership to the LeFlore County Historical Society. As others come and go, Randy has always been the leader that everyone relies on to see each mission through to a successful conclusion.
Members of the Bridgman family have been fixtures in downtown Poteau for over one hundred years. Randy Bridgman has operated Bridgman Furniture and managed real estate holdings for decades. Also, for decades Randy has served the community as a leader in Kiwanis, Shriners and at the Choctaw Country Club. He was a founder of Poteau Main Street Matters now known as Historic Downtown Poteau and served as a president of that organization. Randy has always been ready to do the work of all these community groups," said Prigmore.



Susan Jenson and Bonnie Prigmore

"Susan’s love for Poteau and the community has no rival anywhere. She has helped more organizations obtain their 501(c)3 status than anyone I know. She was the Poteau Main Street Director when Arlene came to her about the idea of the museum. Susan wrote the 501(c)3 application and the bylaws of the organization. She wrote a grant to get a study done and plans drawn on the building. Without Arlene’s idea and Susan’s resolve, there would be no LeFlore County Museum at Hotel Lowrey. Susan is one of 9 founders to the museum and is a Director’s Circle supporter. Susan is always willing to help with anything except cooking. She is always cheerful and I can count on her for anything," said Prigmore.

"Bob Lowrey became involved with the Historical Society shortly after the incorporation. Even though he worked full-time, he spent many hours at the hotel helping. He spent his summers doing an inventory of all of the items at the Kerr Museum and many, many hours on his hands and knees trying to get the glue off of the floors. Bob and Judy were one of our first founders. He also served on our board for many years. Bob has become my go-to person for the exhibits. When we started on our first exhibit together “The Century of Medicine in LeFlore County” we had several friendly disagreements in the way it should be arranged; however, we kept at it until it was perfect. What makes Bob so important to the museum is his dedication and love of history of LeFlore County and Poteau. When he quits coming around, I just may resign, it won’t be any fun disagreeing with myself," said Prigmore.

The Historical Society also paid tribute to some special people - the founders. “These people/organizations could see our vision and helped finance our efforts,” said Prigmore.

"Bob and Deanna Reed and the Community State Bank. Even after their initial $2,000, Bob and Deanna continued to give $1,000 each year for five years as well as $1,000 from The Community State Bank. They sponsored many of our awnings, matched grant funds for an exhibit and just recently sponsored one of the steps for our step up to lift up campaign. Bob is always finding something unique to the hotel and donating it. They continue to support our efforts through a supporter membership sponsor and they host a Tuesday Lunch at the Museum for us."



Steve Holton with Bonnie Prigmore

Steve and Pam Holton and Central National Bank. Steve and Pam have been involved with the museum from the very beginning. After their initial founder donation, they sponsored awnings, Ornaments at Christmas, matched grant funds for exhibits, They continue to help with a Director’s Circle Membership Sponsor, they also host a Tuesday Lunch at the Museum for us. Steve and Chris Fenton are sounding boards for me. Whenever I need some advice on boards or an idea about something, I go see Steve. Although he doesn’t show it, I suspect he cringes when he sees me coming, said Prigmore.

"I have to say that both Steve, Pam, Bob and Deanna are very supportive of our organization and many organizations in LeFlore County. We are so very fortunate to have them in our community.
Bill and Jodi Hoffman are also founders of our organization. Jodi served on our board for many years and continues to be a supporter of the museum. When the museum was standing empty, she went to Randy, picked out some furniture and had it delivered. She made curtains for the windows helped decorate and made the building feel less empty. Although Jodi isn’t active in the museum, I know I can call her and she will be here to help. Bill and Jodi are wonderful people."

Judith Orr Moore is also a founder. She helps each year with the Art Challenge and is a supporter of the museum. James Pittman, Janet Tolbert and the late Virginia Stanley were also honored.

“I would like to give out one more award – it goes to Brian Roberts and his wonderful staff. Brian donates his time and that of us employees to keep our financial records. The only thing I have to worry about is “do we have enough money to pay the bills!, said Prigmore.

If not for all of these people, we would not be where we are today.

LeFlore County Museum statistics
Last year, 2212 visitors sign the guest book. That is an average of 187 visitors per month. In 2015, there was an average of 67 visitors per month. “Our visitation is already above what it was last year,” said Prigmore. “We are open 5 days per week with a part time staff of 3. We have heat and air on the second and 3rd floors.

We are currently working on two exhibits – Robert S. Kerr and Dr. John Montgomery. We are applying for the next Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibit scheduled for 2020. In the meantime, we will host local exhibits.

Their needs are – A chair lift to 2nd and 3 floors -  sponsorships available

Operating expenses – so please support our events, become a member or just give us money.


LCHS board members are Randy Bridgman, Arlene LeMaster, Susan Jenson, Jean Whigham, Pam Mullins, Judy Ervin, Patty Wright, Bryan Nash, Brittany Chase, Lorraine Caldwell and Johnie Adams.

Submitted by Danette Russell, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences/4-H/Int. CED-LeFlore & Haskell County OSU Extension


Kayla Chaplin, LeFlore County 4-H member, has been chosen as the 2017 4-H Hall of Fame in LeFlore County.

Kayla has been an active 4-H member for many years and has always been ready to serve in many capacities, as a competitor, in service projects and as a leader. She has served in local, county, district and state offices.


She currently is the SE District Representative on the State 4-H Council.


She will be on stage at Oklahoma State University this July in Gallagher-Iba Arena in her capacity as a state 4-H officer to help conduct the 2018 4-H State Roundup.

Kayla’s portrait is now hanging in the LeFlore County Courthouse lobby.

For more information about the 4-H Youth Development program, contact Danette Russell, Extension Educator, at the LeFlore County OSU Extension office at 918-647-8231 or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Oklahoma State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, State and Local Governments Cooperating. The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, national origin, disability or status as a veteran, and is an equal opportunity employer.

Thursday, 15 March 2018 15:10

Pamela Kaye Sturm Obituary

Pamela Kaye Sturm, 56, of Pocola, OK passed away Thursday, March 15, 2018 in Ft. Smith, AR.


Pamela was born March 20, 1961 in Victoria, TX to Bluford & Floydean (Skirlock) Gibbons. She was preceded in death by her mother, grandparents, and sister, Lisa Morse.


Survivors include her husband, James of the home; daughter Melissa Sturm of the home; granddaughters, Harley, Athena, Grace Hampton; her father, sister, Becky Gibbons and Tammy Venable.


Memorial Services will be 2 pm, Friday, March 16, 2018, at Evans Memorial Chapel, Pocola, OK with Kathryn Dybad officiating.


You may leave an online message at


The family has chosen to entrust the care of the services to Evans & Miller Funeral Home.

Thursday, 15 March 2018 10:06

Capitol Greetings : March 15th

By Capitol Greetings by Representative Brian Renegar, DVMM

In the past it seems that a lot of bills on which I have reported have been taken as to be negative in nature. With that said I would like to report that HB 2772 by Osburn, Mike (R) Oklahoma City, which no longer requires “Hairbraiding Technician” to be registered with the State Cosmetology Board passed the House on Monday. Wow!! This has been long overdue and this is a “feel good” progressive move that will allow me to sleep better at night. I just want everyone in my district to know we are responsive to the needs of the people of Oklahoma. Nothing on education yet but hairbraiders licensing – Gone!!


Another feel good bill HB 2631 by Babinec (R) Cushing, will allow the Director of Corrections to wave requirements for hiring wardens with no experience. It’s about time we got some wardens that don’t know how to control inmates! I am thinking maybe people who work in donut shops would be more suited to protect us from felons. Of course, that’s just me, what do you think? I am sure this bill adds to the continuity of our Department of Corrections since our Director was hired by Governor Fallin and he had NO previous experience in the field of corrections.


One of the most common sense bills to come up for consideration is HB 3013 by Faught(R) Muskogee. This bill would exempt home schooled children from taking and passing the eighth grade reading proficiency test to acquire an Oklahoma Driver’s license. This bill passed the House so now public school and private school children have to pass the 8th grade proficiency test and home school children only have to have their parents sign a form that their children are exempt by being home schooled. On the House floor I asked the author if a parent of these home schooled children will be required to ride with the student so he/she can read the road signs. His answer was in the negative.


A real disappointment for me this week was failure to get a House vote on my bill  HB2655. This was merely a bill to extend the “sunset” date for the State Accrediting Agency. This is the agency that approves courses of on the job training, institutional on-farm training, apprentice training, war veterans programs or any other veterans training programs authorized by federal law. This agency has been running smoothly and has helped thousands of veterans get the training they need to reenter the work force after they either retire or are discharged from military service with the help of the GI bill. This bill passed unanimously out of committee and after multiple requests by me to the Floor Leader did not get a hearing simply because another agency (Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs) decided they wanted to usurp those responsibilities and administer the GI bill. They have told the personnel they won’t lose their jobs and if that is so, don’t you wonder why they (ODVA) need it under their umbrella?


Danny and Lee Baldwin came by this week and Jerry Pearce, Don Faulkner and Roy Griffin were here once again advocating for our veterans; thanks to all for dropping by.


Sure hope I left a good taste in your mouth with my report this week.


Phillipians 2:3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambitions or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.

Thursday, 15 March 2018 13:17

Here Is Where the Blame Lies

Capitol Considerations by Senator Micheal Bergstrom

On Wednesday night, March 14, the Oklahoma Senate Republicans once again offered a bill that would raise enough revenue to give every Oklahoma teacher a 12.7 percent ($5,000 average) pay raise, provide state employees a $2,500 raise, and restore the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). It was essentially the same revenue bill the Democrats in the Senate supported in November.

Wednesday night they voted against the bill.
As one Democratic Senator told me, “It doesn’t meet the ask.”
What is the ask?

Well, depending on who you talk with, the Dems want a revenue increase of as much as $1.5 billion. One Democratic Senator told me that they couldn’t support the bill because the Oklahoma Educators Association (OEA) doesn’t want them to. After all, the OEA is the one making the ask. This is the same OEA that joined House Republicans a couple months ago at a press conference to support essentially the same plan as being good for education.
So it seems that a $5,000 pay increase for teachers isn’t enough. They want $10,000, despite the fact that the 12.7% increase we have presented raises the average teacher salary higher than is found in any of the surrounding states, except Texas.

They want a billion-and-a-half dollars for education, or nothing.

That, despite the fact that over 50 percent of our appropriated dollars go to education, despite the fact that we have other pressing issues to deal with, like the fact that our prisons are at 113 percent capacity. Despite the fact that other essential services are crying for funding, everything from senior nutrition to our medical schools.

But apparently if the OEA wants all or nothing, the Democrats march in lock step. And, of course, there is the politics. With state-wide elections coming up in November, it seems that the Democrats prefer to shut down good policy so they can have a campaign issue in the fall.

That is unfortunate for Oklahoma.

The bill, HB1033xx, has a decent chance of being passed in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

There is an increase of the gross production tax (GPT) on all oil and gas wells to four percent, a $1.00 tax on cigarettes and a six cent excise tax increase on motor fuels. After 36 months, all wells increase to seven percent GPT. The motor fuel tax will still be lower than it is in surrounding states. Issues that lost votes in the House last time have been reduced or modified to pick up those votes.

I don’t think there was a Republican on the floor who voted for this tax increase who actually liked everything in the package. That includes me. However, if we want to meet some very real needs in this state, we need to increase revenue.

The revenue package we voted on Wednesday night is a reasonable way to get there. We lowered the ask on the cigarette tax by 50 cents from the last time we ran something like this, when it passed the Senate overwhelmingly. We changed the GPT increase from just new wells to all wells. We kept the motor fuels excise tax the same (more than 40 percent of which will be paid for by visitors to the state). That tax has not been increased in 31 years.
It seems that the Democrats were for this bill, before they were against it.

I guess it all depends on which way the political winds are blowing for them at a given moment. I, and the vast majority of my Republican colleagues in the Senate, many of whom will be hurt politically by their votes on this, prefer to pursue sound policy.

I welcome your questions and concerns, so please feel free to contact my office at the State Capitol if you would like to discuss a particular issue or problem.


Our office can be reached by phone at 405-521-5561 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you visit the Capitol, we are located in Room 428B.

Here Is Where the Blame Lies - 1.0 out of 5 based on 1 vote
Thursday, 15 March 2018 07:12

Calendar of events for March 15 and beyond

March 15

Poteau Upper Elementary Carnival 5:30 -7:30pm – Poteau, OK

OBN Forum – 6PM – Reynolds Center – Poteau, OK

LeFlore County Museum Members Reception – Poteau, OK


March 20

Tuesday Lunch at the Museum – Poteau, OK

LeFlore County Democrats March Event -Leflore Community Building, 43184 S. Broadway, Leflore, OK


March 31

Poteau Rotary Winefest- Reynolds Center 4pm-8pm - Poteau, OK


April 7

Night to Remember Dance for Special Olympics – Poteau, OK


April 20

Cooking with the C’s chili contest – Reynolds Center – Poteau, OK


April 21

Community Wide Trash Off – Poteau, OK

Prom Gone Wrong – 4:30pm – Skatereation – Poteau, OK


Historic Downtown Poteau First Friday events:

First Friday’s will run from April through September on Friday evenings of the first Friday of each month and will include a beer and wine garden in the Pocket Park as well as other events.



Recurring events at Strike A Lot Lanes

Strike A Lot Lanes in Poteau group special – 3 hours of unlimited bowling and laser tag - $13.00 Pizza and soda bash included.



 birthday ad

Wacky Wednesdays:

$1.00 Bowl Games (Shoe Rental $2.50) & ½ Priced Laser Tag


9-Pin Tourney Challenge - 7pm


Cosmic Bowl 9pm-11pm - 2 hr. unlimited bowling, $10 (shoe rental not included)

8pm-11pm; three-hour unlimited bowling and light show -$10 plus shoe rental


Bowlaraoke and Cosmic Bowl 8pm-11pm

Now Open on Sunday from 4-8pm.



Events at the Lounge in Poteau


Guy’s Night Out – Happy Hour Prices for guys All Night


Karaoke 9pm-Close & Reverse Happy Hour 9pm-12am


Thirsty Thursday = $2 large soda, games and shoes




Karaoke or scheduled band or event

Sunday's Fun day

Happy Hour 2pm-7pm

Pool tourney -5 pm




pues carnival


prom gone wrong

Thursday, 15 March 2018 09:50

Charles Allen Carmack Obituary

Charles Allen Carmack, 69, of Poteau, OK passed away Wednesday, March 14, 2018, in Pocola, OK.


Charles was born September 29, 1948, in Poteau to Walter & Aldean (Vaughn) Carmack.


He loved to hunt and fish. He was preceded in death by his parents & his wife, Joyce (Hudlow) Carmack on Sept. 30, 2017.

Survivors include his daughters, Lori Boblett & husband, Jerry; Caren Roath & husband Damon; son, Clint Carmack & wife Nina; granddaughters, Kayleigh Ashlock & husband Ben, Courtney Boblett; grandsons, Kameron Carmack, Cooper & Trip Roath; first great grandchild on the way, due in September; sisters, Kay Carmack & Sharon Carmack; other relatives, loved ones and friends.

Services will be 2 pm Friday, March 16, 2018, at Evans Chapel of Memories, Poteau with Rev. Jim Cook officiating.


Interment will follow at Oakland Cemetery.

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, Oklahoma

Thursday, 15 March 2018 09:48

Debra Lavonne Little,

Debra Lavonne Little, 63, of Bokoshe, OK passed away Sunday, March 11, 2018, in Ft. Smith, AR.


Debra was born August 31, 1954, in Bokoshe, OK to Dock & Dortha (McCollom) Ralls. She was a registered nurse for 43 years.


She was preceded in death by her husband, Earl "Brad" Little; son, Christopher Moore; sisters, Janet Ralls & Pat Price; and her parents.


Survivors include her sons, Shawn Bier of Bokoshe, OK and Mark Bier of Ft. Smith, AR; grandchild, Noelle Bier of Bokoshe, OK; brothers, Shawn Ralls of Bokoshe, OK, Grant & Sandy Ralls of Poteau, OK; numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives, loved ones and friends.


Memorial services will be 10 am, Saturday, March 17, 2018, at Poteau Church of Christ with Don Cherry officiating.

The family request that donations be made to the Humane Society.


You may leave an online message at


The family has chosen to entrust the care of the services to Evans & Miller Funeral Home, Poteau, Oklahoma.

Debra Lavonne Little, - 4.0 out of 5 based on 1 vote

Press release


New protocol currently being developed

OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter and Corrections Director Joe M. Allbaugh today announced inert gas inhalation will be the state’s primary method of execution once a protocol is developed and finalized.
The new method’s adoption comes as officials with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (DOC) cannot acquire the proper drugs required to perform executions by lethal injection.

According to the state law, if lethal injection is held unconstitutional or is unavailable, an execution shall be carried out by nitrogen hypoxia.

Attorney General Hunter said the new procedure is the best way for the state to move forward with executions and ensure justice is met for victims of heinous crimes.

“Executions are the most profound application of state power,” Attorney General Hunter said. “I believe in justice for victims and their families, and in capital punishment as appropriate for dealing with those whose commit these crimes. Using an inert gas will be effective, simple to administer, easy to obtain and requires no complex medical procedures.

“The people of Oklahoma spoke clearly when an overwhelming majority of the electorate voted to amend the constitution and guarantee the state’s power to impose capital punishment two years ago. As state leaders, it is our duty to utilize an effective and humane manner that satisfies both the constitution and the court system.”

Corrections Director Allbaugh said his agency is currently studying inert gas inhalation and is working to develop a protocol and procedure to carry out future executions.

“The victims of death row inmates have waited long enough for justice,” Corrections Director Allbaugh said. “Trying to find alternative compounds or someone with prescribing authority willing to provide us with the drugs is becoming exceedingly difficult, and we will not attempt to obtain the drugs illegally.”

According to the United States Air Force Flight Surgeon’s Guide, pilots who are exposed to high altitude tests breathe excessive amounts of inert gas experience fatigue, dizziness, headache, loss of breath and euphoria. Occasionally, there are no sensations leading up to the loss of conscious.

Other studies show, if oxygen does not displace the inert gas within just a few minutes, death occurs.

Press release

Voters in LeFlore County who want to have absentee ballots mailed to them for the April 3rd Cameron and Poteau Schools Special Election should apply now, County Election Board Secretary Sharon Steele said today. Although the County Election Board can accept applications for absentee ballots until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 28th, Steele urged voters who want to vote by absentee ballot to apply early.

Absentee ballot application forms are available at the County Election Board office located at 103 N. Church St., Poteau. An online version of the form can be filled out and submitted electronically at: A print form can also be downloaded at that address.

Ballots must be in the hands of County Election Board officials by 7 p.m. on Election Day to be counted.

Steele said any registered voter may vote by absentee ballot in any election in which he/she is eligible to vote. However, a voter must be registered and reside at an address within the geographical boundaries of a school district or a municipality to be eligible to vote in school district or municipal elections. It is not necessary to give a reason for voting absentee.

"While anyone can vote absentee without giving a reason, the law still provides several advantages to absentee voters in some categories," Steele said.

By stating one of the following reasons on their applications, absentee voters can activate special conditions that make it easier for them to use absentee ballots. The reasons are:

• Voters who are physically incapacitated and voters who care for physically incapacitated persons who cannot be left unattended may vote absentee. They may apply only by mail, by fax, by email, online or via an agent who is at least 16 years of age and who is not employed by or related within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity to any person whose name appears on the ballot.


• Voters who are confined to nursing homes in the county may vote absentee. An Absentee Voting Board actually goes to the nursing home a few days before the election, sets up a small polling place and allows these persons to vote under circumstances similar to those at a regular precinct polling place. They may apply only by mail, by fax, by email, online or via an agent who is at least 16 years of age and who is not employed by or related within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity to any person whose name appears on the ballot.

• Military personnel and residents of the county living overseas and the spouses and dependents of each group are eligible receive absentee ballots. These voters may apply only by mail, fax, or by email. Military personnel should contact the Voting Service Officers in their units for application forms and additional information or visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program website ( for more information and instructions. Residents of Oklahoma living overseas can obtain the same materials from any United States military installation and from United States Embassies and Consulates as well as on the FVAP website.

Latest Events

Sponsored By:
LeFlore County Republican Meeting
Thu Mar 29 @ 7:00PM - 08:00PM
Rotary Club – An Evening at the Gallery
Sat Mar 31 @ 4:00PM - 08:00PM