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Thursday January 18, 2018

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David Deaton

David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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Press release


Highlights of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission’s Wednesday, Jan. 3 meeting include an update on major interstate work in the Oklahoma City metro area on I-40 and I-235, reflection on major events affecting transportation in the past year, progress of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program and approval of an engineering contract for the I-40 interchange in Clinton.

Oklahoma Department of Transportation Executive Director Mike Patterson informed the Commission that roadwork is beginning this weekend on I-40 between I-240 and Peebly Rd. which will widen I-40 to six lanes and reconstruct the interchange at Choctaw Rd. Construction on the up to $75 million project is expected to take more than two years.

Also announced was a future weekend closure of I-235 in late January for an on-going construction project at N. 50th St. Crews will close all lanes of the interstate while moving in an overhead railroad bridge into place. The event date, currently targeted for the weekend of Jan. 20 or Jan. 27, will be determined as the initial weekend approaches as it is dependent on weather conditions among many other factors. The three day event will be live streaming online and seating will be provided on site for those interested.

Detailed information about the I-40 and I-235 lane closures and alternate routes will be issued by ODOT and made available online at under Traffic and Travel.

Patterson highlighted several major transportation news items from 2017 with an emphasis on the impact of state funding cuts to the Eight-Year Construction Work Plan. The department was forced to delay projects and even take the unprecedented action of removing projects from the plan due to $840 million in cumulative state funding reductions in the past seven years.

"In the past we’ve been able to adjust projects within the Eight-Year Plan to maintain a balanced budget, but this is the first year we’ve actually had to remove them due to budget reductions. We told the Legislature in 2016 that if we had to take another reduction this would happen," Executive Director Patterson said. "Removing projects, while difficult, was the fiscally responsible thing to do. When you have less money you have to make adjustments and keep focus."

Other highlights included the department's endeavors toward more safety measures to reduce the number of fatalities statewide like installing centerline rumble strips and the energies toward the department's Work Zone Awareness campaign. He touched on expediting the Lexington Purcell bridge reconstruction and the continued efforts to address remaining structurally deficient highway bridges.


The full 2017 Year in Review can be found at

Commissioners approved the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program to be forwarded to the Federal Highway and Federal Transit Administrations for formal and final approval.


The STIP is a detailed list of regionally significant construction projects anticipated for the next four federal fiscal years.


The STIP includes the first four years of highway projects in ODOT’s Eight-Year Construction Work Plan and federally funded projects by the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments, tribal governments and public transit providers.

Commissioners gave their approval for a $528,900 engineering contract to prepare construction plans to modify the interchange at the I-40 and I-40B west junction in Clinton.


The project is included in the Eight-Year Construction Work Plan with a scheduled let date in federal fiscal year 2024 for a total estimate of $20 million.

Since ODOT does not typically advertise new highway construction projects for bid in December, no construction contracts were awarded by the commission this month.

The eight-member panel, appointed by the governor to oversee the state’s transportation development, meets monthly. The next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 12 at 11 a.m.

Contracts, bid information, the commission’s monthly agenda and project details may be viewed at


bridge construction

At its Wednesday, Jan. 3 meeting, the Oklahoma Transportation Commission learned of the future weekend closure on I-235 at N. 50th St. to install a new rail road bridge over the interstate. The event date, currently targeted for the weekend of Jan. 20 or Jan. 27, will be determined as the initial weekend approaches as it is dependent on weather conditions among many other factors. The three day event will be live streaming online and seating will be provided on site for those interested.


At the Oklahoma Transportation Commission's Wednesday, Jan. 3 meeting, Oklahoma Department of Transportation Executive Director Mike Patterson reflected on several major transportation news items from 2017. One of those items was the department's $2.3 million initial investment of federal highway safety funds along rural highways statewide to install centerline rumble strips, designed to help reduce the number of crossover fatalities on two-lane, rural highways.

Mike Houck | Assistant AD/Strategic Communications, University of Oklahoma Athletics Department


Ricketts, Reed Make World Championship Roster


NORMAN — USA Softball announced Saturday that University of Oklahoma head softball coach Patty Gasso has been named head coach of the United States' second national team that will compete in the World Cup of Softball in Irvine, Calif., in July. Gasso will also serve as a USA assistant coach at the Japan All-Star Series in June.


One of the most accomplished and respected mentors in the sport’s history, Gasso is about to start her 24th season as the Sooners' head coach. She has directed OU to 11 Women's College World Series appearances and to four national championships (2000, 2013, 2016 and 2017).


"It's a thrill and honor to be part of USA Softball," said Gasso. "I look forward to working with some of the best softball athletes in the world and helping to take them to new heights. This is a challenge I am committed to and will give everything I have as we strive for the gold medal."


Former Sooner Keilani Ricketts and current OU volunteer assistant coach Janie Reed were announced as members of the 17-player 2018 World Championship roster Saturday. That squad, to be coached by Ken Eriksen, will also compete at the World Cup of Softball in July, as well as at the Women's World Championship in Chiba, Japan, in August. The Women's World Championship will serve as a qualifier for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.


Ricketts, who made the USA roster as a pitcher, was the 2012 and 2013 USA Softball Collegiate National Player of the Year and helped OU to the 2013 national title. As a Sooner, she went 125-35 in the circle with a 1.23 ERA, and hit .334 with 47 home runs. Ricketts has played five seasons with National Pro Fastpitch's USSSA Pride and in 2017 went 10-3 with a 1.38 ERA to earn All-NPF honors.


A three-time All-American outfielder at Oregon who finished her collegiate career in 2015, Reed, whose maiden name is Takeda, was a starter in 240 of her 241 career games. She was a career .392 hitter with the Ducks and stole 102 bases.

Under Gasso, OU has claimed 10 Big 12 regular season titles, including an unprecedented six straight since the 2012 season, and five postseason league championship crowns. Gasso's teams have finished first or second 18 times in the 22 years since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996.


She has coached 53 All-Americans, 125 all-region honorees and 89 first-team all-conference selections. In the Big 12 era, Sooners have been named Big 12 Player of the Year a total of 12 times and Big 12 Pitcher of the Year five times. Six Sooners have been selected as Big 12 Freshman of the Year and one as Big 12 Newcomer of the Year.


Oklahoma starts the 2018 season Feb. 9 against Weber State at the Grand Canyon University Kickoff Tournament in Phoenix, Ariz.

On January 7, 2018, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol were dispatched to the scene of a motorcycle accident that occurred on State Highway 144 at approximately 1:40 am, approximately 10 miles south of Clayton in Pushmataha County.


According to the report, a 2006 Harley Davidson motorcycle driven by Ross Johnson, 47, of Talihina, was westbound on SH144 and ran off the roadway.

Johnson was transported by Air Evac to St Francis Hospital in Tulsa with leg, arm, and trunk-internal injuries and was listed in stable condition.


According to the report the condition of Driver: Odor of alcohol.


The accident was investigated by OHP and the Pushmataha County Sheriff’s Office.

Sunday, 07 January 2018 15:57

Dave Akins Obituary

Dave Akins, 96, of Poteau, OK, went to be with the Lord on Saturday, January 6, 2018 in Ft. Smith, AR.


Dave was born July 9, 1921, in Williams, OK to Henry & Laura (Gregory) Akins.


He was a veteran of the US Army Air Corp where he served for four years.


He was a member of the First Free Will Baptist Church for over 50 years and a member of the Gideon's Int'l.


Dave worked in the plumbing, heat & air, electrical industry for over 59 years. He was the owner of Akins Supply since 1978.


At age 95 he retired and his daughter in law, Cindy provided care for him.


Dave was preceded in death by his wife Oleta "Mae" Akins, Feb. 1, 1988; his parents; 3 sisters & 2 brothers.


Survivors include his son & daughter in law, David & Cindy Akins; daughter & son in law, Darla & Ronnie Humphries; grandchildren, Madeline & Emily Humphries and Will Akins; his church family, other relatives, loved ones, friends.


Services will be 2 pm, Tuesday, January 9, 2018 at the First Free Will Baptist Church, Poteau with Jim Cook officiating.


Interment will follow at Oakland Cemetery, Poteau.


Pallbearers will be Garry Skinner, Leo Ritter, Tom Vineyard, Kenneth Thompson, Jody Thompson and Will Akins.


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

Press release



MUSKOGEE, OKLAHOMA – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma announced that James Michael West, age 64, of Tahlequah, Oklahoma pled guilty to Concealment Of A Material Fact, in violation of Title 42, United States Code, Section 408(a)(4), punishable by not more than 5 years imprisonment, and up to a $250,000.00 fine or both.


From on or about July 14, 2005, and continuing through December 31, 2016, in the Eastern District of Oklahoma and elsewhere, defendant James Michael West, in a matter within the jurisdiction of Social Security Administration, having knowledge of the occurrence of an event affecting the right to receive or continue to receive Social Security Disability Income payments, concealed and failed to disclose such event with the intent to fraudulently secure payment when no payment was authorized. S


pecifically, defendant James Michael West intentionally concealed that James Michael West secured gainful employment in order to receive and continue to receive Disability Income payments made by the Social Security Administration to him. By such action, defendant James Michael West took approximately $266,982.00 in Social Security Disability Income payments to which he was not entitled.


The charge arose from an investigation by the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General.


The Honorable Steven P. Shreder, U.S. Magistrate Judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, in Muskogee, accepted the plea and ordered the completion of a presentence investigation report.


Assistant United States Attorney Rob Wallace represented the United States.

Saturday, 06 January 2018 23:20

MBB vs. Harding

Written by Ray Fink, Director of Athletics Communications, Oklahoma Baptist University



SHAWNEE – Oklahoma Baptist got double-doubles from Chandler Rickey and Vladimir Nemcok in a 100-93 win over Harding Saturday.


Rickey scored 21 points and pulled down 10 rebounds while Nemcok went for 15 points to go with a career-best 11 assists as OBU won for just the second time after trailing at intermission.


It was the first time the Bison posted 100 points in a Great American Conference game.


The Bison trailed by as many as six points in the first half and Harding led 45-42 at halftime.


Britt Hammons knocked down a three-pointer to start the second half, which saw the Bison score 58 points.


OBU used a 9-0 run, including six points by Brantly Thompson to take the lead for good, 71-63 with 9:14 to go.



Harding closed to within four points but OBU posted another 9-0 run with Tyler Lester getting a pair of three-pointers. That spree put the Bison ahead 80-67 with 7:18 to play.


HU got as close as four points with 1:57 remaining, but back-to-back Rickey baskets put the game solidly in the hands of the home team.


OBU had six players in double figures in the scoring column with Travon Moore getting 16, Lester 12, Thompson 13 and Hammons 11.


OBU shot 53 percent from the field, including 14 of 28 from three-point range and 87 percent from the free throw line.


The Bison return to action Thursday with a home game against Southeastern Oklahoma State in the Noble Complex at 7:30 p.m.


Press release

OKLAHOMA CITY – Gross Receipts to the Treasury surged by 12 percent in December and grew at a healthy rate of 6.2 percent during the 2017 calendar year, State Treasurer Ken Miller announced today.
At $1 billion, December collections are up by $107.9 million compared to receipts from December 2016. During the last year, gross receipts topped the $11 billion mark, finishing at $11.45 billion ahead of 2016 collections by $667.6 million.
“What a difference a year can make,” Miller said. “At this time last year, calendar year gross receipts were down by more than 7 percent with every major revenue stream showing contraction. This year, we show across-the-board growth with an encouraging trend line.”

Monthly receipts during the calendar year were higher than the same month of the prior year in all but one month. The rate of increase has generally trended higher with each passing month.
In December, growth rates in the major revenue streams ranged from 42.7 percent in gross production taxes to 5.1 percent in motor vehicle tax collections. For the calendar year, growth ranged from 53.4 percent in gross production taxes to 2.6 percent in combined individual and corporate income tax receipts.

New revenue collections
The tax commission attributes $24.2 million in December to new revenue resulting from legislation enacted during the last regular session. The additional revenue comes primarily from changes in sales tax exemptions and gross production incentive tax rates.

The new revenue accounts for 22.4 percent of the growth in December collections compared to the prior year. Since August, law changes from last session have yielded $114.8 million in new gross revenue.

Other indicators
At 4.2 percent, Oklahoma’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in November was down by two-tenths of a percentage point from the prior month, according to figures released by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission. State jobless numbers improved by seven-tenths of a percentage point over the year. The U.S. jobless rate was set at 4.1 percent in November, less than Oklahoma’s rate for a fifth consecutive month.

The Oklahoma Business Conditions Index has topped growth neutral for five consecutive months. The December index was set at 59.3, down from 60.8 in November. Numbers above 50 indicate anticipated economic growth during the next three to six months.

December collections
December gross collections total $1 billion, up $107.9 million, or 12 percent, from December 2016.

Gross income tax collections, a combination of personal and corporate income taxes, generated $351.2 million, an increase of $32.2 million, or 10.1 percent, from the previous December.

Individual income tax collections for the month are $296.5 million, up by $27.8 million, or 10.4 percent, from the prior year. Corporate collections are $54.7 million, an increase of $4.4 million, or 8.7 percent.

Sales tax collections, including remittances on behalf of cities and counties, total $403.5 million in December. That is $40.1 million, or 11 percent, more than December 2016.

Gross production taxes on oil and natural gas generated $56.2 million in December, an increase of $16.8 million, or 42.7 percent, from last December. Compared to November reports, gross production collections are up by $3.4 million, or 6.5 percent.

Motor vehicle taxes produced $59.9 million, up by $2.9 million, or 5.1 percent, from the same month of 2016.

Other collections, consisting of about 60 different sources including use taxes, along with taxes on fuel, tobacco, and alcoholic beverages, produced $138.9 million during the month. That is $15.9 million, or 12.9 percent, more than last December.

2017 collections
Gross revenue totals $11.45 billion from the past 12 months. That is $667.6 million, or 6.2 percent, more than collections from the previous 12 months.

Gross income taxes generated $4 billion for the 2017 calendar year, reflecting an increase of $100.5 million, or 2.6 percent, from the 2016 calendar year.

Individual income tax collections total $3.6 billion, up by $141.6 million, or 4.1 percent, from the prior 12 months. Corporate collections are $405.3 million for the period, a decrease of $41.1 million, or 9.2 percent, over the previous period.

Sales taxes for the year generated $4.4 billion, an increase of $236.9 million, or 5.6 percent, from the prior year.

Oil and gas gross production tax collections brought in $537.2 million during the year, up by $187 million, or 53.4 percent, from the previous year.

Motor vehicle collections total $764.9 million for the period. This is an increase of $23 million, or 3.1 percent, from the trailing period.

Other sources generated $1.7 billion, up by $120.2 million, or 7.7 percent, from the previous year.

About Gross Receipts to the Treasury
Since March 2011, the Office of the State Treasurer has issued the monthly Gross Receipts to the Treasury report, which provides a timely and broad view of the state’s macro economy.
It is provided in conjunction with the General Revenue Fund allocation report from the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, which provides important information to state agencies for budgetary planning purposes.

Saturday, 06 January 2018 18:07

David Edwin Vaughn Obituary

David Edwin Vaughn of Heavener, Oklahoma was born July 18, 1959 in Midland, Texas to Jerry and Jolene (Webb) Vaughn and went to be with Jesus on January 4, 2018 in Heavener, Oklahoma at the age of 58.


He is survived by:

His wife of 40 years:
Teresa Vaughn of the home

Three sons:
Billy Vaughn and wife Candice of Poteau, Oklahoma
Bobby Vaughn and his dog, Roscoe of Hodgen, Oklahoma
Buddy Vaughn and wife Christina of Barling, Arkansas

His little dog:

His mother:
Jolene Vaughn of Heavener, Oklahoma

One brother:
Marvin Vaughn and wife Pam of the Glendale Community

Three grandchildren:
Nicholas, Zachary, and Lilianna Vaughn all of Poteau, Oklahoma

A host of other family, friends, and loved ones


He was preceded in death by his father, Jerry Vaughn and his grandparents, Esker and Ruby Webb.


David was a life-long resident of the area. He was a wonderful husband, father, brother, and friend.


While he was a railroader by trade, he was an outdoorsman at heart. David was known for his ability of making long stories short.


Memorial service will be 2:00 p.m., Monday, January 8, 2018 at Mt. View Baptist Church in the Glendale Community with Brother Tim Trent officiating.


Cremation arrangements are under the direction of Dowden-Roberts Funeral Home of Heavener, Oklahoma.


The family will visit with friends on Sunday from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the funeral home.


In lieu of burial, a celebration of life will be held during Turkey season at Broken Bow Lake.


To sign Mr. Vaughn’s online guestbook please visit


According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol an Oktaha man was transported by air to a Tulsa hospital from injuries he sustained in an automobile accident.

The accident occurred on January 5, 2017 at approximately 7:21pm on State Highway One at Damon Valley Rd, approximately 8 miles south and 8 miles west of Wilburton in Latimer County.


According to the report, Jay Smith, 20 from Oktaha was driving a 2016 Infinity 2 door was eastbound on SH1, the vehicle then departed the road to right, entered a broad slide, re-entered the road then rolled unknown number of times before coming to rest on its wheels.


Smith was transported by Tulsa Life Flight to St Francis Hospital in Tulsa he was listed in stable condition with head and trunk internal injuries.


The accident was investigated by OHP, the y The Latimer County Sheriff’s Department and The Veteran’s Colony Fire Department.

The LeFlore County Junior High County Tournament, hosted this year by Wister, is set to begin Monday January 8, 2018. Games will be played at Wister, LeFlore & Panama High Schools and CASC.


Games Monday at Wister High School:

Girls: Talihina vs Arkoma 1:30 (Play in Game) Heavener vs Wister 4:00 Cameron vs Fanshawe 6:30

Boys: Fanshawe vs Bokoshe 2:45 (Play in Game) Spiro vs Wister at 5:15 Hodgen vs Play in Winner at 7:45


Games Monday at CASC:

Girls: Poteau vs Spiro 4:00 Hodgen vs Bokoshe 6:30

Boys: Arkoma vs Howe 5:15pm Poteau vs Cameron 7:45


Games Monday at Leflore High School:

Girls: LeFlore vs Shady Point 4:00 Howe vs Play in Winner 6:30

Boys: Pocola vs Shady Point 5:15 Leflore vs Talihina 7:45


Games Monday at Panama High School:

Girls: Pocola vs Monroe 4:00 Panama vs Whitesboro 6:30

Boys: Panama vs Heavener 2:45 Monroe vs Whitesboro 5:15




Latest Events

Sponsored By:
KTC Presents Super Bowl Foods
Thu Jan 25 @ 6:00PM - 09:00PM
LeFlore County Republican Meeting
Thu Jan 25 @ 6:30PM - 08:00PM
Legislative Breakfast
Fri Jan 26 @ 8:00AM - 09:00AM