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Saturday March 24, 2018

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David Deaton

David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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Poteau, Oklahoma - Oklahoma teachers are seeking a pay raise and better funded schools. If they don’t get what they are asking for, teachers statewide will walk out on April 2.

The Southeast Oklahoma Teacher Walkout, held a very informative meeting on Tuesday evening at the Donald W Reynolds Center in Poteau, where our teachers throughout the county could voice concerns and get some questions answered.

State Employees are also joining on for better pay as well.


crowd 1
Good Crowd came out to support the teachers and the state employees


Superintendent of Howe Public Schools, Scott Parks

carrie alexander reading

Carrie Alexander, tells her story

alicia priest

Alicia Priest with OEA

POE representative and Lawyers with Terri Chitwood

Eli Plant, Blake Sonney, Jeanette Taylor with POE with Terri Chitwood, Elementary teacher at Poteau Public Schools.


James Lockhart

kenneth corn

Kenneth Corn

Oklahoma teachers are seeking a pay raise and better funded schools. If they don’t get what they are asking for, teachers statewide will walk out on April 2.

The Southeast Oklahoma Teacher Walkout, held a very informative meeting on Tuesday evening at the Donald W Reynolds Center in Poteau, where our teachers throughout the county could voice concerns and get some questions answered.

Speakers and many attendees at the meeting agreed that the walkout is for the kids and to let legislators know that Now is the time. Teacher throughout the state are just not going to take it anymore. So, if Lawmakers cannot come up with adequate funding for education, then on Monday, April 2, schools in many districts throughout the state will be closed indefinitely until Oklahoma state leaders create a permanent sustainable plan to pay educators the professional salaries they deserve. In the words of OEA President Alicia Priest, a public school Spanish teacher from Yukon, “Enough is enough.”

The forum, was moderated by Scott Parks, Superintendent from Howe Public Schools and representatives from both (OEA) Oklahoma Education Association and (POE) Professional Oklahoma Educators, along with two former legislators, James Lockhart, and Kenneth Corn, offered some great insight as to what teachers should do.

Carrie Alexander, a teacher at Heavener Public School, stood before the crowd of 300 to 350 people and read the letter she wrote in response to a Facebook comment someone had made about Oklahoma Teachers and if they really cared for their students.

Here is Alexander’s letter in full.
To whom it may concern,
I saw where someone posted a comment the other day about Oklahoma teachers and how if they cared about their students, they wouldn’t go on strike. They wouldn’t walkout.
I didn’t take it well. In fact, this is how I took it.
I took it to heart.
I took it to heart because as public school teachers in Oklahoma we have stood by the past ten years and watched as our students have received less and less support from our state for their education. We’ve watched as those we have elected to represent us have in essence told everyone else they are more important than our students. We have tried our best to make up for this short change by purchasing out of our own pockets. We have become experts in digital coupon clipping, made ourselves thrifty Pinterest queens and kings, and we have exhausted every community resource available to us. We have picked up countless side jobs peddling everything from energy patches and jewelry, to candles and makeup in an effort to put back in our pockets what the state has forced us to dig out. We have spent our twenty minute lunch breaks trying to figure out which tape will do the better job of holding a twenty year old text book together. We’ve spent hours trying to unclog copy machines because the budgeted paper quality is so low it’s only good for about 15 copies before jamming. We’ve done this while drapes and shutters with a $30,000 price tag were being hung in a single break room at our state Capitol. Break rooms, that for teachers were considered luxuries and left when the funding that prevented overcrowding did.
I took the statement that teachers who choose to strike must not care to heart because it hit me personally.
I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve purchased clothes and supplies for my students. How many times I’ve paid out of my pocket for field trips, snacks, and for my students to attend fun days at school. I’ve taken food to my students’ door steps and purchased toys at Christmas for fear they wouldn’t have any. I’ve rallied with other teachers to help round up items for students after their homes burnt. I’ve spent more than one or two evenings driving around looking for a child who was either missing or had run away. I have even found myself over Christmas break once at the feed store buying puppy formula and bottles for one of my students who was heartbroken because her dog died after having a litter of pups and her mom couldn’t afford to bottle feed them. Once, I searched hours for a student’s stolen bicycle only to end up purchasing him a brand new one to help restore some of his faith in humanity. I’m not telling you these things to boast or for any personal glory. I’m just telling you SOME of what WE do. How dare anyone say we don’t CARE about OUR students. We DO care and that’s why we are trying to save this system. Our public education system in the state of Oklahoma is broken and we are begging for it to be fixed. We’ve held it together as long as we possibly can with the bandaids we can afford. By walking out we are admitting that we can’t do it anymore and we are asking our state for help. We are begging others to please see and value our students.

Please understand with us that we MUST invest in our students by restoring critical funding. Overcrowded classrooms are not acceptable. Twenty-year-old textbooks that are being held together by duct tape and super glue are not acceptable for Oklahoma’s students. Teachers should not feel pressured to go to work when they are sick because there isn’t money to hire substitutes. Adding anywhere from 7 to 20 more students to your coworkers already full classroom makes learning nearly impossible for the day and adds strife among already tired and strained teachers. Teachers should be handed basic supplies like staples, paper clips, file folders, and dry erase markers in August and not be made to feel like they should be purchasing these things out of their own pockets. Students should once again be given materials for hands on science instead of being handed worksheets because they are cheaper than the consumables. Students who seldom leave our county should be afforded the opportunity to visit nearby museums and places of history rather than be told fuel is too expensive.

And finally, to the guy who told my friend she should just go pump gas if it payed more. We didn’t choose careers in education for the money. But we are at a point now where the underfunding has caused a crisis. We see this crisis from a point of view that you do not. We see the danger of not having fresh teachers coming on board. We see the danger of having good teachers leave. We see the dangers of our students doing without because of critical cuts.

I knew when I graduated high school I could make a lot more in the health field. I could have been a nurse, dental hygienist, physical therapist or just about anything and made more money with the same investment of time in college. I chose education because I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to inspire. I wanted to help mold the future. I still do. I STILL choose to be in my classroom, but I WILL NOT sit by any longer while our state refuses to offer the help we deserve in order to do that. I’ll stay in Oklahoma. I’ll stay because I have roots here now. I’ll stay because I want my children to grow up in my small town. I am a minority though. More and more will leave if it does not change. We will fill more positions with emergency certifications and lone applicants. I heard someone not very long ago ask “How did he get that job?” The reply was, “He was the only applicant.” That’s not who we want to trust our future to. You can figure my hourly wage up all you want. You can tell me I get summers off and only work until three o’clock. I’ll tell you I am responsible for our state’s most valuable resources day In and day out. I am in the position to have more impact on the future of our state than any other job you name. My success or failure at my job will have an impact on the number of Oklahomans who end up on welfare, in prison, or on drugs. The way I handle the bullying that occurred at recess will directly impact the mental health of student who will make a decision whether or not to cut themselves, commit suicide, or act out violently toward his peers. My success or failure at my job will impact whether or not a student seeks higher education and a better paying job. The success or failure of my job will have a direct impact on Oklahoma and it is time that Oklahoma acknowledges such. Contrary to popular belief, our most valuable resource is not OIL and GAS. It is our students.

We understand hard times. We have stood as bodyguards shielding our students from harm as best we could during these hard times, but enough is enough. We are bottom in teacher pay and per pupil spending. It’s time to fix it Oklahoma. The time is NOW.

Carrie Alexander
Heavener Elementary School


OEA gave information on what they want law makers to do: 1. Pay raises for education employees, 2. Full funding for education, 3. Cost of living adjustment for retirees, and 4. Funding for core state services. President Priest said “these goals are the minimum we will be willing to go back into the classrooms for.” See photo below for specifics about these goals.



Advice from former Senator Kenneth Corn-Mass “emails don't work. Personal emails are good, personal letters are better, but flooding their offices with phone calls is the most effective as well as flooding the capitol building.”
The speakers also emphasized the importance of conducting oneself in a professional, respectable manner when making contact with a senator or representative.


Hodgen teacher Denise Collins posted on her Facebook page “We were given a lot of good information tonight! Please support our teachers, our schools, our support professionals, and state workers! The OK Senate and House of Reps have to do their jobs better! They are the reason we are in this mess! They have to fund EDUCATION! Thanks to OEA, POE, POE’s Legal Team, Kenneth Corn and James Lockhart for coming to help us put a plan together and answer a lot of Q&A. #teacherslovetheirstudents”

"If you (teachers) won't stand up for your own profession...the profession you have devoted your life one else will." -- Kenneth Ray Corn

Tuesday, 13 March 2018 10:00

OSBI Agents Arrest Major County Sheriff



According to a press release from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, Major County Sheriff Steven Randolph is under arrest.

According to the release, last November, the District 26 District Attorney’s Office requested OSBI agents investigate allegations against the sheriff in relation to a confrontation with his daughter’s boyfriend in May 2017.

The release states that, Randolph pulled his sheriff’s vehicle in front of Carlos Aguilar, reached through the open window of Aguilar’s truck and grabbed Aguilar by the clothes near his neck, and threatened to kill him. Randolph’s wife persuaded him to let go of Aguilar. Randolph then pointed his gun toward the roadway and fired a shot. The investigation culminated today with Randolph’s arrest on three misdemeanor counts including assault and battery, malicious injury to property, and reckless conduct with a firearm.

Agents arrested Randolph 44, at the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office.

He was booked into that county’s jail.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018 09:46

Carl Russell Henson Obituary

Carl Russell Henson of Spiro, Oklahoma was born October 4th, 1934 in Arkoma, Arkansas to Henry and Grace Henson.


He passed away on Sunday March 12th, 2018 at Sparks Regional Medical in Fort Smith, Arkansas at the age of 83.


He is survived by: His daughter, Patty Teufel of Montgomery, Texas and his sister Shelia Garrett and husband Larry of Keota, Oklahoma. 3 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild. Numerous nieces and nephews.


Carl was preceded in death by his parents Henry and Grace Henson, his wife Delores Henson, daughter Carla Crossno, one brother Burl Henson, and two sisters Ruth Smith and Phyllis Lovett.


Funeral service will be held at 10:00AM Thursday, March 15, 2018 at the Fort Smith National Cemetery with Reverend Vernon Stone officiating.


There will be no viewing or visitation.


Services entrusted to Mallory-Martin Funeral Home of Spiro, Oklahoma.


By OICA CEO Joe Dorman


There is nothing more important for Oklahoma’s children and the future of our state than ensuring every child has access to a good education. Education is a fundamental building block for a successful and fulfilling life; lack of education is often the driving force behind poverty, poor health and social problems.


It goes without saying that Oklahoma’s ability to recruit and retain quality teachers in our public school system is immensely important. Unfortunately, extremely low teacher salaries and poor working conditions are driving some of our most talented education professionals out of state and destroying the morale of those who choose to say.


Oklahoma’s teachers are taking matters into their own hands with a planned Teacher Walkout on April 2.


At OICA, we are glad there is a spotlight being put on education and teacher pay, but we also want to ensure children do not fall through the cracks while schools are temporarily closed.


Currently, 436,000 children in Oklahoma are participants in the National Free and Reduced Lunch Program according to data from the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. Many of these children are also supported by backpack programs which send food home over the weekend for families in need. Obviously, those resources are unavailable when schools are closed.


To fill that gap in services, the Regional Food Bank is preparing and distributing boxes of food to impacted families. We know there are a lot of other groups offering resources like this to parents as well, and we want to help them. Organizations that are offering services to children and families can contact OICA at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in order to have their information listed by community. Once uploaded, Oklahomans will be given options listed at on where their children can be taken during the day for child care and food services while parents/guardians are at work.


Teacher pay in Oklahoma is a serious issue that needs to be addressed and requires the attention of our lawmakers and our state. We are proud of the Oklahoma organizations working to care for children and lessen the impact on families while this important public policy discussion takes place.



About OICA
The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy was established in 1983 by a group of citizens, to create a strong advocacy network that would provide a voice for the needs of children and youth in Oklahoma, particularly those in the state’s care and those growing up amid poverty, violence, abuse and neglect, disparities, or other situations that put their lives and future at risk.

Our mission statement: “Creating awareness, taking action and changing policy to improve the health, safety and well-being of Oklahoma’s children.“




Poteau, Oklahoma - The LeFlore County Historical Society is pleased to announce their first Membership Appreciation Reception to be held at the LeFlore County Museum at the Hotel Lowrey.

The reception will be held Thursday, March 15, 2018 from 5:30 to 6:30 PM. Light hors'douvers will be served.


“We are celebrating our 10th Anniversary this year,” said Executive Director, Bonnie Prigmore.” “To kick the celebration off, we want to honor our founding members and volunteers who helped make the LeFlore County Museum at Hotel Lowrey what it is today.”

The LCHS is located inside the Hotel Lowrey at 301 Dewey Avenue in Historic Downtown Poteau.


reception 002


Leilana McKindra, Communications Specialist Agricultural Communications Services, Oklahoma State University


STILLWATER, Okla. (March 12, 2018) – Even after recent rains, Oklahoma wheat producers managing their crops for yield and grain quality are facing tough decisions about if, when and how much to fertilize at this critical juncture of the growing season.


The good news is producers still have time to act. However, in the wake of an extremely dry fall and winter and the window for fertilizing quickly closing, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension experts see three different scenarios taking shape.


In cases where there is good plant stand overall, producers should evaluate the crop’s current yield potential, which could still be decent, and apply enough nitrogen to achieve it.


“With the rain and some sunshine, these plants will start growing again. For producers who use N-rich strips, if your field needs nitrogen, it should show up,” said Brian Arnall, OSU Cooperative Extension precision nutrient management specialist.


Under a second scenario that could play out principally in southwest Oklahoma, some fields may be experiencing uneven growth, with a combination of already established wheat and wheat that has only started germinating and emerging with the most recent rains.


Producers may have a lot of questions about what to do under such circumstances, said David Marburger, OSU Cooperative Extension small grains specialist.


For example, if producers decide to keep the crop, will the newly emerging plants still have enough exposure to cooler temperatures to switch from vegetative growth to reproductive growth, and if so, what is the crop’s yield potential overall?


“This is where it gets complicated, when we bring it back to the question of nitrogen management,” Marburger said. “This is going to come down to producers closely assessing their stands and the yield potential of their crop. I think in most cases those newly emerging plants will switch to reproductive growth and put on a head. However, those plants will be delayed in their development, and the amount of grain produced by those heads will likely not be close to full potential.”


When assessing a field’s grain yield potential, a general rule of thumb is 60 to 70 tillers per square foot are needed to maximize yield. Dryland production in southwest Oklahoma and the Panhandle can lower that number to 50 to 60 tillers per square foot.


“If you have half or less, that’s not a positive sign for taking the crop to grain. If you’re a cattle producer just wanting to graze-out, that may be enough for you to keep the stand,” Marburger said. “It comes back to your objective. If you decide to keep the stand in this case and apply nitrogen, consider lowering the rate from your normal application.”


Meanwhile, a third scenario is emerging in far northwest Oklahoma into the Panhandle, where it has not rained and plants coming out of winter dormancy will begin growing.


“If there’s no water there for those plants, they’re going to quickly go backward and eventually die,” Arnall said. “Producers should have their N-rich strips down in case it does rain soon, but most are likely hesitant to spend money to apply nitrogen to their fields if there’s little to no yield potential.”


For more information on wheat crop management strategies, contact the nearest county Extension office, visit and download free OSU Fact Sheets on the topic, including PSS-2149, “Estimating Wheat Grain Yield Potential,” and AGEC-241, “Wheat Grazeout versus Harvest for Grain,” at


Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 408 Whitehurst, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; phone 405-744-5371; email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director of Equal Opportunity. Any person (student, faculty, or staff) who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator 405-744-9154.


Monday, 12 March 2018 18:10

Time to Prepare for 2018 Storm Season

Press release

In the blink of an eye, disasters can alter a family’s normal routine. Neighborhood streets can be closed because of large debris or downed power lines. Suddenly, an area that is a familiar part of a normal daily routine is now unrecognizable. In times like this, it is crucial for a family to have a plan to reunite and meet at a safe location.

With severe storm season around the corner, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) encourages families to create a plan for both adults and children to follow. A family may not be together when a disaster strikes so it is important to plan in advance: know how to get to a safe place; how to contact one another; how to get back together; and what to do in different situations. During a disaster, roads are often blocked or closed and alternate routes must be used. Knowing multiple routes of travel in advance can save time and frustration when trying to reach loved ones.

OSDH also encourages families to have a basic, 72-hour emergency kit consisting of water, snacks, first-aid kit, flashlight, batteries, prescription medicine and important paperwork. Parents can help reduce the effect of disasters on children by adding a few simple kid-friendly supplies such as books, games, a favorite toy or comfort item and medical items such as infant/child fever reducer to the kit. Those with babies should consider a three-day supply of formula, diapers, antibacterial wipes, non-perishable baby food and sealable plastic bags for soiled items.

Scott Sproat, director of the Emergency Preparedness and Response Service at OSDH, reminds families who have members with medical conditions and disabilities to consider any unique needs during and after a disaster.
“If you have, or care for someone, with a disability or access and functional needs, it’s especially important to include needed supplies, equipment and medications as part of your planning efforts,” said Sproat. “If evacuating from the home is necessary, it is important to take medication and specialty equipment such as hearing aids, oxygen, a wheelchair, diabetic supplies, food for a special diet or supplies for a service animal.”

OSDH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer the additional following tips for families preparing for disasters:
• Check with your mobile carrier for options on wireless emergency alerts being delivered to your cell phone or other device.
• Practice your plan by quizzing your children periodically, and conduct fire and other emergency drills.
• Check emergency supplies throughout the year to replace batteries, food and water as needed.
• Plan alternate ways to charge communication and assistive technology devices if there is loss of power.
• Plan for medication requiring refrigeration.

Severe storms are often followed by flash flooding. If an evacuation of a neighborhood is ordered, it is important to leave immediately. If possible, make arrangements to stay with a nearby friend or relative as hotels will be filled quickly. A disaster shelter may be used as a last resource. Remember that not all shelters allow pets, and plan to bring your own emergency supply kit.

OSDH released videos in English, Spanish and American Sign Language to ensure the message of preparedness is available to various populations.


To access these videos, visit the OSDH YouTube channel and select the Preparedness playlist.

Families may begin preparing for disasters by downloading, printing and completing a family plan by visiting For more tips and information, like the OSDH Emergency Preparedness Response Service page on Facebook.

Press release

DURANT – Governor Mary Fallin today helped welcome Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar to Oklahoma, where he visited here with members of the Choctaw Nation who donated money to Irish famine relief in 1847.

While in Oklahoma, Varadkar personally thanked Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton for the contribution made by his ancestors and announced a scholarship program that will allow members of the Choctaw Nation to come to Ireland to study. The prime minister made his comments during an event in which the Choctaw Nation presented traditional cultural and sporting performances.

“I appreciate Prime Minister Varadkar for coming to Oklahoma to thank descendants of the Choctaw Nation for collecting money to assist his forefathers in the mid-1800s during the potato famine,” said Fallin. “His visit demonstrates this unique relationship between the two nations. His arrival just ahead of St. Patrick’s Day helps illustrate the bonds of compassion and strength that unite them.”

On March 23, 1847, members of the Choctaw Nation raised $170 for Irish potato famine relief, an incredible sum at the time worth in the tens of thousands of dollars today.

Members of the Choctaw Nation visited Ireland in June 2017 to join in the unveiling of Kindred Spirits, a monument commemorating the bond between Ireland and the Choctaw Nation. In 1995, Ireland's then-president, Mary Robinson, visited the tribal complex here.

The Choctaw Nation has a history of deprivation themselves. Sixteen years after being forced off their lands in 1831 and forced to make a 500-mile trek to present-day Oklahoma, the Choctaws learned of people starving in Ireland. Having faced hunger and death on their Trail of Tears, tribal members raised money to help provide relief to the Irish people.




Monday, 12 March 2018 18:00

Patricia “Tris Sue” Martin Obituary

Patricia “Tris Sue” Martin, 81, passed away peacefully on March 11, 2018 in her home in Wister, Oklahoma, surrounded by loved ones.


Tris Sue was born on September 24, 1936, in Beggs, Oklahoma, to B.E. Ray and Irene Miller Ray.

Tris Sue was preceded in death by her parents; her daughter, Della Haynes of Wister, Oklahoma; her brother, Willie E. Ray of Henryetta, Oklahoma.

Tris Sue is survived by her husband, Thad “Bockey” Martin, of the home; Daughter, Peggy Irene Adams and husband Johnie, of Wister, OK; Six grandchildren: Matthew Haynes and wife Jana of Jay, OK; Luke Adams of Poteau, OK; Sarah Dyer and husband Ryan of Panama, OK; Nathan Haynes and wife Lauren of Spiro, OK; Suerene Freeman and husband Jamie of Hackett, AR; Della Adams and husband Tiago Santo of Fayetteville, AR; Thirteen great-grandchildren; Sister, Donna Martin and husband Joe of Wister, OK. and many special nieces and nephews, numerous other relatives and close friends.

Funeral services will be held 10 am, Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at the Faith Community Church in Wister former Methodist Church with graveside services immediately following at Ellis Chapel.


Pallbearers will be Johnie Adams, Luke Adams, Ryan Dyer, Lane Dyer, Tiago Santo and Steve Martin.


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.

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