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By Trisha Gedon

STILLWATER, Okla. – For those who happened to be in the Oklahoma Capitol Building recently, not only did you notice many youth sporting green jackets or shirts, you also may have gotten a glimpse of a future state leader.

More than 100 Oklahoma 4-H’ers gathered at the Capitol recently to take part on the 19th Annual 4-H State at the Capitol, including Hattie Cox, of Morris. Cox is a member of the Morris 4-H Club.


Cathy Allen, 4-H curriculum coordinator at the State 4-H Office on the Oklahoma State University campus, said participants not only learned more about the state’s governmental processes, they also had an opportunity to tell Oklahoma’s legislative leaders about the positive impact the 4-H Youth Development Program has had on them.

Thomas Coon, vice president, dean and director, Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at OSU, encouraged participants to realize they do have a voice with the state’s leaders.

“This is where the business of our state takes place and you have a voice here,” Coon said. “As a 4-H’er, you’re already a leader, but think outside of yourself and imagine what it takes to be a state leader. You’re well on your way.”

Sen. Kim David spoke to the group and she explained her very first trip to the Capitol was with her local 4-H Club in Wagoner County.

“I learned all of the values 4-H teaches youth and I use what 4-H taught me every single day,” David said.

Jim Reece, Secretary and Commissioner of Agriculture, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, told the group he is a firm believer in the fact that 4-H allows you to get to know kids from the communities around you.

“Some youth today don’t have an opportunity to meet kids from other communities, but 4-H is an organization that allows you to continue to grow,” Reece said. “I encourage you to meet someone new in this group here today. You’ll likely know that person for the rest of your life. Do more than share your phone number because it’s more than just a text message. Actually get to know them personally.”

When speaking to the group, Rep. Leslie Osborn said she was confident she was looking at future state leaders.

“4-H is a great organization, so be sure to take advantage of all it has to offer,” Osborn said. “Glean those leadership skills because you’ll use them for the rest of your life.”

While at the Capitol, the 4-H’ers had an opportunity to meet one-on-one and eat lunch with their respective senators and representatives and share their 4-H stories.

“They talked about the positive impact 4-H has on them personally, as well as on their communities,” Allen said. “This is such a great opportunity for our state’s leaders to hear firsthand what a positive impact 4-H continues to have on our youth.”

The group met with Gov. Mary Fallin and posed for a group photo. A proclamation declaring April 7 as Oklahoma 4-H Day at the Capitol was read in both the House of Representatives and the Senate Chambers.

While visiting both the House of Representatives and the Senate, Brianna Vick, a 4-H’er from Logan County, and DaLacy Dockrey, a club member from Pottawatomie County, spoke to the legislators on behalf of the nearly 225,000 Oklahoma youth who were reached by 4-H last year.

“It was a little scary speaking before the House and Senate, but my experiences in 4-H have helped me with my confidence,” Vick said. “It’s definitely helped me get outside of my comfort zone.”

Dockrey, who currently is serving as president of the State Leadership Council, said she is thankful for the 4-H experiences that helped prepare her for speaking to Oklahoma’s legislature.

“Whether it was speech contests, sharing about community service projects, leading club meetings or giving livestock judging reasons, every experience has helped me to develop confidence in myself and understand how to clearly communicate my ideas.”

Two former 4-H’ers also were on hand to speak with the group. Meagan Rhodes and Conner Carroll currently are serving as legislative interns through OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

Both Rhodes and Carroll indicated it was the skills they learned as 4-H’ers that has helped them succeed in college and this legislative internship.

“Visiting the Capitol and meeting a legislator is an experience our 4-H’ers will remember the rest of their lives,” said James Trapp, associate director, OCES. “It’s also an experience that teaches them how they can communicate with their legislators and have input now, and in the future, on what our state government does.”

Friday, 24 April 2015 19:36

MCN 4-H to host speech contest

OKMULGEE, Okla. — The Muscogee (Creek) Nation 4-H Program will host the first annual speech contest Tuesday, May 12 at 4:30 p.m., at the College of the Muscogee Nation in Okmulgee.

The event is open to all Native and non-Native 4-Hers in Creek, Hughes, McIntosh, Muskogee, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Tulsa and Wagoner Counties.

“If I could teach a kid one thing that would be a valuable tool for success in their lives, it would be teaching them to speak in public,” MCN 4-H Program Manager Billy Haltom said.

Youth will be divided into three age groups, and five speaking categories that include: speech, illustrated presentation, extemporaneous, Power Point and first year ritual.

Awards will be given to the top five individuals in each age group and category.

4-Hers are encouraged to pre-register by Tuesday, May 5, but are not required to pre-register in order to participate.

The contest is free to enter.

“Whether it’s a job interview, business presentation or simply a casual social interaction, someone who can present themselves well has an advantage over someone that does not have that ability,” Haltom said. “Our youth can practice and perfect this skill through a speaking contest such as this.”

To pre-register for the contest, or for more information contact MCN 4-H Program Manager Billy Haltom at: 918-732-7628.

Beggs, OK – Twenty-eight Beggs Public School staff members completed training in Youth Mental Health First Aid on February 6th and March 6th of this year. Youth Mental Health First Aid is a voluntary prevention training program primarily intended for adults who regularly interact with adolescents such as teachers, administrators, and staff and is designed to improve recognition of mental health disorders, understand treatment resources, and assist in the de-escalation of youth in a mental health crisis. The program, funded by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) is being implemented by CREOKS Behavioral Health Services.

Participants in this hands-on activity training will be able to better identify common mental health disorders associated with youth like anxiety, depression, suicide, substance abuse, and disruptive behavior disorders. Furthermore they will increase their confidence in providing help to others, be able to lessen the stigma associated with mental disorders. The Youth Mental Health First Aid program involves eight hours of interactive training and certification must be renewed every three years. Graduating participants are considered “Koala-fied”, as the program’s mascot is a Koala bear names ALGEE. His name is an acronym for the 5 step action plan school personnel can use when someone is experiencing emotional distress.

CREOKS will be delivering the program curriculum, on behalf of the ODMHSAS, in all 77 Oklahoma counties. As the program provider, CREOKS is actively working with school systems and other stakeholders to train the target population to develop greater skill in working with youth in both crisis and non-crisis situations. The curriculum is listed on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Registry of Evidence Based Programs with demonstrated outcomes, and is defined as an evidence based practice.

Mental Health First Aid was created in Australia in 2001 by Betty Kitchener, a nurse specializing in health education, and Anthony Jorm, a mental health literacy professor. The program was adapted for the US as Mental Health First Aid USA and is coordinated by the National Council for Behavioral Health, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health.

CREOKS Behavioral Health Services is an established non-profit mental and behavioral health agency that has been serving communities in Oklahoma since 1980. CREOKS is certified by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and nationally accredited by CARF.

Free workshop equips participants with the information and supplies necessary for building a basic 2-day survival kit

SAPULPA, OK –   During an emergency is not the time to gather together essential items. Having a basic survival kit ready to go – for every family member – is important for every household.

Join Creek County Literacy Program and Creek County EMS as we learn how to build a Basic Survival (Emergency) Kit. During this very timely workshop. Larry Pickens, Special Projects Supervisor, will share great tips on building a 2-day survival kit. Participants will actually build their own survival kit that they can take home.

Pickens’ workshop will offer many worthwhile suggestions. He will cover topics such as where to keep your survival kit, how often contents should be rotated, and what should and should not be in a survival kit. The workshop will be held at the Library Annex, 15 North Poplar Street in Sapulpa on Thursday, May 14 at 5:30pm.

“Attendees will have a much better understanding on what is really important and can be lifesaving after attending this workshop,” shared Pickens.

17% of adults in Creek County 18 years or older do not have a high school diploma, and 4% of adults in Creek County 18 years or older do not have a 9th grade education. More than 400,000 Oklahoma adults are functionally illiterate. The Mission of the Creek County Literacy Program is to encourage, educate and equip aspiring readers to overcome the barriers of illiteracy.

This free event is a health literacy outreach project of Creek County Literacy Program, the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, with funding provided by the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. This free workshop is open to the public. Registration is limited to 25 participants. Attendees must be at least 16 years old and must register in advance. For more information and to register, please call 918-224-9647.

About Creek County Literacy Program

Creek County Literacy Program’s primary emphasis is youth and adult literacy. 136 struggling first and second grade readers tutor one-on-one with 58 senior citizen volunteers weekly through the Caring Grands program. In 2014, CCLP educated more than 2,400 adults and distributed more than 3,000 free children’s books.

Friday, 03 April 2015 11:36

Prepare Now for Storm Season

 By John D. Doak, Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner

Storm season in Oklahoma is here, and now is the time to prepare for the worst. It’s almost impossible to plan for tornadoes or severe weather since every storm is different and unpredictable, but having a few key tasks completed before a disaster hits will give you peace of mind.

First, make sure you have sufficient homeowners insurance. Standard homeowners insurance policies cover damage caused by tornadoes to the structure of the building and its contents. Your coverage limits should reflect the current cost of rebuilding your home and replacing your personal belongings. You should also check to see if your policy includes replacement cost or actual cash value. Replacement cost is preferred because it pays to replace the lost item with a brand new replacement. Actual cash value only pays what the item is worth now. For example, a laptop purchased for $2,000 four years ago may now be only worth $700. Finding another comparable laptop at that price would be extremely difficult.

If you rent your home, renters insurance will cover the loss of personal possessions if your house or apartment is destroyed in a tornado. Most policies will also reimburse you the difference between additional living expenses and normal living costs if you are forced to live somewhere else because of the damage.

Second, check your car insurance coverage. Damage to cars from a tornado is covered under the optional comprehensive portion of a standard auto insurance policy. Oklahoma does not require that drivers have this coverage. Minimum liability coverage will not cover the cost of replacing or repairing your car if it is destroyed or damaged in a storm.

Third, make a home inventory or update your current inventory. A thorough list of your possessions will help speed up the claims process and ensure that you are properly compensated for your loss. Include pictures or video if possible and write down as much detail as you can about each item including when it was purchased and how much it cost. Store both your home inventory and photos at a secure, off-site location like a safe deposit box or with an online storage service. For help making your home inventory, go to www.ok.gov/oid/HomeInventory.

Fourth, make a family emergency plan. Decide where your family will take shelter if there is a disaster. Determine how family members will contact one another and get back together after an emergency. Also, create an emergency supply kit that includes items like non-perishable food, water, a battery-powered radio, flashlights and batteries. And don’t forget about your pets. Include them in your planning and make sure you have supplies for them as well.

Finally, have copies of your insurance policies and contact information for your agent or insurance company. Keep these where you can access them after a disaster. Calling your insurance company or agent is the first step in filing a claim and getting you on the road to recovery.

Following these guidelines will help you face the unexpected during Oklahoma’s storm season. For more information or help with any insurance related questions, please contact the Oklahoma Insurance Department’s Consumer Assistance Division at 1-800-522-0071.

Free Heartsaver® CPR/AED Course Offered in Sapulpa

Nicole Michael, MPH, CHES, Public Health Educator with the Creek County Health Department, encourages area residents and families to attend a free Heartsaver® CPR/AED Course in June at the Library Annex in Sapulpa.

“This course is not for healthcare providers; rather, it is for anyone with limited or no medical training who needs a course completion card in CPR and AED operation to meet job, regulatory or other requirements,” explained Michael. “This course is good for those who have never taken a CPR course and for those that are renewing their card.”

Upon completion of this course, students receive a Heartsaver® CPR/AED Course Completion Card that is valid for two years. During the course, Michael will conduct video-based lessons and work with students to complete their CPR and AED skills practice and testing.

Course completion cards will be available approximately 3-4 weeks after the completion of the course. Proof of attendance can be provided at the end of class for those that need immediate proof.

“This course is typically never offered at no cost. We are very fortunate, through a grant, to be able to offer it at no charge,” added Melissa Struttmann, Executive Director of Creek County Literacy Program.

This free Heartsaver® CPR/AED Course will be held at the Library Annex, 15 North Poplar Street in Sapulpa on Friday, June 19 from 9am-1pm. This free Course is open to the public. Registration is limited to 10 participants. Attendees must be at least 16 years old and must register in advance. For more information and to register, please call 918-224-9647.

17% of adults in Creek County 18 years or older do not have a high school diploma, and 4% of adults in Creek County 18 years or older do not have a 9th grade education. More than 400,000 Oklahoma adults are functionally illiterate. The Mission of the Creek County Literacy Program is to encourage, educate and equip aspiring readers to overcome the barriers of illiteracy.

This free Heartsaver® CPR/AED Course is a health literacy outreach project of Creek County Literacy Program, the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, with funding provided by the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Thursday, 19 March 2015 18:17

What to watch for in the sky on Friday!

First the aurora borealis and now a solar eclipse — what a week for skywatchers! Plus it occurs Friday (the first day of spring) and the same day as a Supermoon.

One caveat: The total eclipse will not be visible anywhere in the USA and will be seen only by folks on some rather remote islands in far northern Europe Friday morning. Residents of the Danish-owned Faroe Islands and the sparsely inhabited Norwegian island group of Svalbard will be the only lucky ones to see the full spectacle.

A partial solar eclipse will be visible across all of Europe, northern Africa and much of northern Asia, according to Space.com. A partial solar eclipse occurs when the moon obscures only part of the sun from Earth's view.

"Depending on where you are in Europe, you will see anywhere from roughly 50 to nearly 99% of the sun's diameter eclipsed by the moon," according to Space.com's Joe Rao.

Those of us in the USA can watch the eclipse online starting at 4:30 a.m. ET Friday on Slooh.com.

This is the Earth's first — and only — total solar eclipse of the year and the first one since November 2013, NASA reports. The next total solar eclipse in the USA will be in August 2017.

There will be two lunar eclipses in the USA this year: April 4 and Sept. 28.eclipse

Two other astronomical events will take place Friday: the spring (or vernal) equinox, which marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and a so-called Supermoon.

The Supermoon is a full or new moon that occurs during the moon's closest approach to Earth on its elliptical orbit, according to AccuWeather.

What makes it super? It's when a full or new moon coincides with perigee — the moon's closest point to Earth in its orbit. Basically, the Supermoon, when full, appears a bit bigger and brighter than usual in the night sky.

Since this Supermoon is during a new moon, it will not be visible, but it will block out the sun during the solar eclipse.

The spring equinox, when the sun shines directly on the equator, occurs at 6:45 p.m. ET Friday.

The 2015 Premium Beef Sale is scheduled for Thursday March 19 at the Okmulgee County Fairgrounds. The sale will begin at 7 pm.  All auction proceeds go directly back to the 4-H and FFA kids.  Buyers are needed to supp0ort the program and will benefit by selecting quality beef cut to choice.

This is the final event for the 33rd Annual Beef Performance Program sponsored by the Okmulgee County Cattlemen’s Association. 4-H and FFA members from Okmulgee County will have 64 halves of beef for sale. Each animal originated from Okmulgee County and was fed specifically for this program.  This has been one of the best sets of steers to go through the program with 20 of 30 steers graded choice.

All carcass information and performance data will be available on each animal so that all auction goers will know the quality of the product. The halves of beef are currently hanging in a USDA inspected slaughter facility and will be processed according to the buyer’s instructions.

Pictures of each animal will be shown from the October weigh- in, the Okmulgee County Spring Livestock Show, as well as a picture of the loin that was graded by our carcass judge. This is an excellent opportunity for the general public to purchase fresh homegrown beef while supporting our local youth. The quality is excellent again this year. Oklahoma State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, State and Local governments cooperating. Oklahoma State University in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 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, gender, age, religion, disability, or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices, or procedures. For more information, please contact Doug Maxey at the OSU Extension Office at (918) 756-1958.



OKMULGEE, Okla. - A Muscogee (Creek) Nation delegation will travel to Washington, D.C. for the installation and display of the 1790 Treaty of New York March 16 as part of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian Nation to Nation Treaties Between the U.S. and American Indian Nations exhibit.

The 1790 Treaty of New York was the first treaty between the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and the newly formed U.S. government.

The document was signed to create “perpetual peace and friendship” between the two nations. The treaty established a boundary between MCN lands and those of the U.S.

“This is a historic moment recognizing the relationship we’ve had with the U.S. for a number of centuries,” MCN Cultural Center and Archives Interim Director Justin Giles said. “The 1790 Treaty of New York is a living testament of what our ancestors accomplished, endured and negotiated for the well-being of the Muscogee (Creek) people and the Mvskoke way of life.”

Giles said that having the active ceremonial ground leaders and descendants of the original treaty signors is an important part of remembering MCN history and continuing the legacy of our ancestors.

Attendees will include MCN Principal Chief George Tiger, active ceremonial ground leaders and direct descendants of the mekkos who signed the 1790 Treaty of New York.

Ceremonial Ground leaders include: Alabama Quassarte Mekko Bobby Yargee, Hickory Ground Mekko George Thompson and Nuyaka Mekko Phillip Deere.

Giles, a Broken Arrow Ceremonial Ground mekko descendent, will also attend along with MCN representatives CCA Special Projects and Grant Coordinator Chris Azbell and National Council Rep. David Nichols.

“While we know that there are likely additional direct 1790 Treaty of New York connections with other ceremonial grounds, the Muscogee (Creek) delegation making the trip to the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian represent the direct descendants and/or active ceremonial grounds associated with the Muscogee ancestors who signed the treaty,” Giles said. “The issues of the treaty regarding land, boundaries and friendship between the U.S. and the Muscogee (Creek) people continue to be an issue to this day.”

Of the 44 ceremonial grounds and tribal towns that were active in the Muscogee (Creek) ancestral homelands of the southeastern U.S. before removal, 16 remain active in Oklahoma today.

Created by U.S. Congressional legislation in 1989, NMAI cares for one of the most extensive collections of Native American artifacts, objects, artwork and archives in the world.

Beggs 1 IMG 8536

Beggs school was awarded a technology grant this year from AT&T-Funded Grants.

Representatives from the Oklahoma Educational Technology Trust (OETT) recently visited Beggs High School to participate in a site visit to view the technology and see the school’s 2014 OETT grant in action.

The $65,000 grant has provided technology and professional development to students and educators at Beggs High School. The OETT representatives took a look first hand to see how students and teachers have been employing the technology and training to enhance classroom learning.

“OETT is focused on creating long-term change in Oklahoma schools,” said Dr. Phil Berkenbile, OETT Board of Trustees chair. “Improving overall student achievement and learning through the use of technology is our goal.”

OETT was established in 2001 as a result of an agreement between then Attorney General Drew Edmondson and AT&T Oklahoma during the company’s transition to a modern form of regulation. As part of the agreement, AT&T contributed $30 million to establish the trust.

Photos by Paul Orosco - ONN Chief Photographer

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