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Saturday October 19, 2019

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OKW News | South East Oklahoma Latest News

David Deaton

David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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According to a press release from LeFlore County Sheriff, Rob Seale, on October 4, 2019, a civil jury trial was completed in Federal Court in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

The case was Chad Ousterhout vs. Kendall Morgan and the LeFlore County Board of Comissioners.

The case was a civil suit claiming an excessive use of force by former LeFlore County Undersheriff Morgan following a motorcycle pursuit of Mr. Ousterhout in 2015 on Nubbin Ridge Road in LeFlore County.

The Jury awarded 4 million dollars in this case.

One million dollars was for punitive damages against Morgan for use of excessive force and three million dollars for compensatory damages.

Appeals in this case are pending and being considered.

No further information to be released.

Press release

WAGONER, Okla. – Today the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI), Wagoner Police Department and the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) Police Department dive team searched the Verdigris River under the Highway 69 bridge in Wagoner County. The dive was an effort to find the potential weapon used in the murder of 59-year-old Richard Piersall in April of 2001.


A customer trying to buy a cup of coffee at the Kum & Go convenience store around 1:30 a.m. on April 9, 2001 called police when he couldn’t find a cashier and noticed an empty cash register drawer on the floor. Wagoner police arrived at the store and found Piersall shot to death in the back room of the store where he worked as a clerk. The store did not have any surveillance equipment. Investigators developed several suspects during the investigation but no arrests have been made.


Piersall is the ten of hearts in the first deck of the OSBI Cold Case Cards. The cards are distributed by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections through prison canteens where they can be purchased by inmates.


The goal is to generate leads through the prison system by having a murdered or missing persons face, name and case information seen by inmates. Even though Piersall's case is cold, the OSBI is still actively pursuing leads as demonstrated by today’s search for the murder weapon.


If you have any information about the person or persons responsible for Piersall’s death, please contact the Wagoner Police Department or the OSBI at (800) 522-8017 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


You can remain anonymous.

Friday, 04 October 2019 09:51

Semi Truck Roll Over in Poteau

Press release

On October 4, 2019 at 1:32pm, the Poteau Police and Fire were dispatched to the Wister exit off ramp of the Cavanal Scenic Expressway on a call of an 18 wheeler overturned.

Preliminary investigation found that a 2007 Freightliner truck with a box trailer loaded with paper goods, driven by Meri Getu Sebsibie (46 of Richardson, TX) was southbound in the outside lane of the Cavanal Scenic Expressway. Sebsibie exited onto the Wister exit off ramp and in the most pronounced portion of the curve, overturned onto the passenger side.

The cause of the overturn is being attributed to Sebsibie’s speed being too great coming into the curve. Sebsibie reported no injuries.

Traffic flow on the off ramp is limited and will be closed once wrecker crews begin the process of removal.

Press release


The Carl Albert State College Aspiring Educators Association is set to host a professional development workshop entitled "Recognizing Trauma in our Students" on Tuesday, October 15, on its Poteau campus. The workshop will be held in the Ollie Center, room 1321, and is set to begin at 4:00 p.m.


Guest presenter Kim Littrell will provide helpful information on how to recognize the cognitive and emotional impacts of trauma on children and identify strategies to help overcome them. The workshop is designed for those who teach, or plan to teach, and anyone who works with children.


Littrell has taught secondary language arts classes in Tahlequah, served as a teaching and learning UniServ specialist for OEA, and now works as the student program coordinator for the Oklahoma Aspiring Educators Association (OAEA). She holds a Masters in Teaching from Northeastern State University and additional master's and Ph.D. coursework in educational leadership and educational policy.


The CASC OAEA would like to invite anyone in the surrounding area who is interested in this free workshop to attend. For more information, contact OAEA Faculty Advisor Susan Hill at (918) 647-1472 or via email at ‘This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Press release


WILBURTON, OK (Oct. 3, 2019) – Mental health conditions impact millions of Americans each year and Eastern Oklahoma State College is working to erase the stigma surrounding the issue.


Eastern will host “Active Mic Night: Mental Health Through Music” featuring Kai Roberts on Monday, Oct. 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the Tourtellotte Student Center in Wilburton. The event is free and open to the public.


According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 47.6 million U.S. adults experienced mental illness in 2018. This represents one in five adults. In addition, 39 percent of students in college experience a significant mental health issue.


“We all know someone who is touched by mental health conditions,” said Trish McBeath, vice president of Student and External Affairs at Eastern. “Our goal is to encourage students and members of the community to have open, honest conversations about mental health so we can correct misconceptions and erase the stigma surrounding these issues. It’s important that our students and young adults know there are resources available and they are not alone.”


Active Minds, a national, nonprofit organization that supports mental health awareness and education for young adults, is partnering with Eastern to host the event. McBeath said Roberts is a spirited performer and speaker with a passion for uplifting his audience. He will share the story of his battle with anxiety and panic disorder through interactive dialogue and hip-hop music.


Roberts experienced chronic mental health issues as an undergraduate student at Carnegie Mellon University. He began his healing process through music, translating his thoughts and frustrations into poetry and lyrics. His resulting album “Carnegie Café” has become a resource for students and others dealing with mental health disorders and the ordinary stresses of life.


Eastern will give away mental health awareness T-shirts at the event, as supplies last. Licensed mental health counselors from CREOKS Behavioral Health Services will also be on hand to speak to attendees, if needed, and provide information about local resources available.


For more information about the event, contact McBeath at 918-465-1804.

Thursday, 03 October 2019 18:18

Tanya Annette Newnam Obituary

Tanya Annette Newnam, 49, of Poteau, OK passed away Wednesday, October 2, 2019 in Ft. Smith, AR. Tanya was born August 27, 1970 in Alameda, CA to Norman & Brenda (McCion) Tackett. She was a registered nurse for many years. Tanya was a loving wife, mother & grandmother. She was preceded in death by her father; grandparents, Ray & Frieda McCion and Faye & Bertha Tackett.


Survivors include her husband, Mike; sons, Will & Jacob of the home, Derick Landrum of Tucker, OK, Blake Tackett & wife Amanda of Searcy, AR; mother, Brenda Tackett; sister, Tamie Tackett of Panama, OK; sister in law, Missy Newnam of Pocola, OK; 3 grandchildren; other relatives, loved ones and many friends.


Services will be 2 pm Saturday, October 5, 2019 at Greenhill Cemetery Pavilion with Jim Cook officiating.


The family will be at the funeral home on Friday 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

Thursday, 03 October 2019 18:14

Ira Wayne Vinson Obituary

Ira Wayne Vinson of Spiro, Oklahoma was born February 22, 1959 in Poteau, Oklahoma to Elza and Betty (Oliver) Vinson and passed away October 2, 2019 in Fort Smith, Arkansas at the age of 60.

He is survived by:

His wife:
Claudia (Peters) Vinson of the home

Two daughters:
Patricia (Vinson) Jabor of Verdigris, Oklahoma
Mandie (Goins) Stewart of Poteau, Oklahoma

Two sisters:
Donna (Vinson) Maness of Fort Smith, Arkansas
Connie (Vinson) Glasco of Howe, Oklahoma

Seven grandsons:
Jace, Jayden, Jax, Ashton, Logan, Zaden and Hudson

Numerous other relatives and a host of friends


Ira was preceded in death by his parents. He was a life-long resident of the area.


Ira graduated from Panama High School in 1977, where he was involved in all sports and an active member of the FFA. He worked for the total of 42 years for the Rock Island and the K.C.S. Railroad.


He was a member of the Brotherhood Maintenance of Way of Engineer Union, United Transportation Union and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineer Union. Ira loved drag racing and was a member of the NHRA Association. He loved spending time with his family and friends and will be missed by all.


Funeral Services will be 2:00 p.m., Saturday, October 5, 2019 at the Springhill Baptist Church in Howe, Oklahoma with his cousin David Davis, Reverend Keith Stewart and Reverend Larry Stacy officiating.


Interment will follow in Howe Cemetery in Howe, Oklahoma under the direction of Dowden-Roberts Funeral Home of Heavener, Oklahoma.


Pallbearers will be:
Steve Newcomer, Mark Dunaway, Norman Willhite, David Ford, Rick Ford, and Lyndell Stewart


Honorary pallbearers will be:
His grandsons: Jace, Jayden, Jax, Ashton, Logan, Zaden and Hudson, and his KCS Railroad and racing buddies


Viewing will be from 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., Friday, and 9:00 a.m., until noon, Saturday.

The family will visit with friends from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Friday at the funeral home.


To sign Ira’s online guestbook please visit


Thursday, 03 October 2019 18:09

New time for Benefit for Blake

Submitted by Britney Dunn


** UPDATE: The time has been moved to 11:00!!


We have had several gracious donations (I will list them at a later time) Because of the amazing donations we will be having pulled pork sandwiches and burger baskets for $5!! So come out right after church for a delicious lunch!!


We will have music, a bounce house for the kids and an incredible bake sale!!! #Blakestrong


Please help us spread the word!!!! Continued prayers for Blake and all of his family!

(Thank you to American Sign Works for the flyer!!)


We will also have food cooked by Bambi Pete Restine. Michelle Mccoy Will have lots of her yummy treats for a bake sale! There will also be Team Blake bracelets for sale! Again - all proceeds from everything will go to Blake’s family 

Thursday, 03 October 2019 18:03

Kiger Calls For City to Ax Veolia


State Rep. Lundy Kiger (R-Poteau) today called on the City of Heavener to cancel its contract with Veolia for the treatment and delivery of water.


Kiger said the Aug. 28 inspection by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) shows 27 Oklahoma Administrative Code violations and seven Notices of Violations related to producing water. DEQ’s report clearly illustrates that black water started appearing in the water lines of the citizens and businesses of Heavener only after Veolia started working to produce water.


“I have used the timeline of 25 years ago when our company was asked to bring in our water professionals at the request of the city to help with water issues,” Kiger said. “According to city leaders, Veolia has been under contract for the last year. But, 25 years ago Veolia had a 20-year run, and when Veolia went away for four years, the Veolia people were kept on at the city water plant until Veolia returned last year. So over the past 25 years, Veolia, or Veolia's water technicians, have been a large part of the water plant's history and problems. From this report, Veolia is the source of the black water while the city pays Veolia for producing water and treating wastewater at approximately $194,000 per month.


“The DEQ report clearly shows much incompetence from Veolia at the water plant beginning with lack of communications, who's responsible for certain chemicals in the distribution system, technicians not testing raw water entering the plant, chemicals did not have measuring devices for the feed rate, several chemicals had excessive feed lines, technicians were unsure of the parameters triggering various alarms, technicians were also not sure what certain alarm sounds were indicating, and some equipment not working properly or at all,” Kiger said.


“The most troubling violations (turbidity) from the report were related to operations. From October 2018 to the date of the assessment, Monthly Operating Reports could not be verified or even matched with past records that had also been sent to DEQ as facts. In fact, the records for turbidity couldn't be located as well. In addition, the meters measuring turbidity at the water plant were not even in the proper locations to even correctly measure turbidity. So, at this point, it appears that Veolia violated turbidity which is a primary and serious offense related to public health,” Kiger.


“With the same values recorded and reported to DEQ for turbidity for many months in a row, it's evident that incorrect values were recorded and this appears to me to likely fall into the category of falsification of data. To back this up, DEQ brought in hand-held meters to measure turbidity, and DEQ showed the water at the plant had two-and-a-half times higher turbidity compared to Veolia's numbers.


“In addition to high turbidity that isn't properly treated, this breeds the opportunity for bacteria to hide and make its way into the distribution system and into homes. Other chemicals that posed possible health issues is a lack of chlorine in the water lines to the homes, low Ph – below 7 – causing corrosion in water lines and breaking up the metals and other chemicals, along with hard starts when flushing lines that shocks or helps put pressure on water lines. Without a proper amount of chlorine, water received will also have living bacteria and organisms making its way to residents.


“On top of all of this someone has to sign off on these records produced by Veolia to DEQ as facts. This could very well turn into an ordeal of its own if chemical reports are confirmed as incorrect or falsified. This is serious enough that criminal charges can be issued.

“When you look at just a few of the items I pulled from the DEQ report, and with Veolia lying to city leaders about the source of black water and the requirement of an A Operator, it's evident that Veolia has put the city of Heavener in a bad and costly situation. It's also time for city leaders to step up and end the agreement with Veolia right now before more damage is done, fines are issued, violations become criminal, or the risk of public health is increased!


“For over 25 years Veolia has lied to city officials that old pipes are causing the black water. The water professionals that I assembled helped educate the public on what's really going on, and I hope the city officials who attended these meetings were also educated. Clean water will now cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair what Veolia should have known from the beginning. But now that DEQ has conducted a complete inspection, with more to come, the people of Heavener are on the right road in getting clean water that will help this beautiful community to flourish in the future, without having to spend $194,000 a month.”



Wednesday, 02 October 2019 21:39

Bettye Lou Cupp Obituary

Bettye Lou Cupp, a beloved matriarch and child of God, died Tuesday, October 1, 2019 at the age of 89. Cupp died at home in Dalton after a long struggle with lung cancer in the arms of those she loved.


Bettye Lou Cupp was diligent in her love for the Lord. She was a woman who will be remembered for her love of God, family, and friends. She was preceded in death by the love of her life and husband, Warren Cupp, son, DeWayne Cupp, and parents, Ben and Molly Gedosh.

She is survived by her daughter Sandy Gonzales, brother and sister-in-law Dr. Edgar and Joanne Gedosh; sisters, Nancy Clemmons and Priscilla Mc Bride and brother Sonny Blackstock; Grandchildren , Jennifer (Deric) Beaudoin, Joshua (Elaina) Gonzales, Delores (Reggie) Walker and Katherine Rebecca Cupp; Great grandchildren, Alyssah Duran, Gabriel Crespin, Braden Beaudoin, Bella Beaudoin, Brielle Beaudoin, Dallas Gonzales, Jalin Gonzales, Jocelyn Gonzales, Hector Gonzales, Dawn Walker, Zoey Walker, Joshua Walker and Jinger Walker and Great great grandchild Artorius Gonzales.

Funeral services will be held Friday, October 4, 10 am at First Baptist Church, Poteau, 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

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