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On Oct. 16, 2014, credit union members around the world will celebrate International Credit Union Day®, an annual event to commemorate the credit union movement's impact and achievements. In honor of this special day, First Family FCU invites its members and the entire community to celebrate with Open House from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Visit your nearest location for free refreshments, free FFFCU goodies and lots of free fun!

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives that provide an effective and viable alternative to for-profit financial institutions for nearly 208 million members in 103 countries worldwide. Worldwide, 57,000 credit unions exist to serve their members, providing a safe place to save money and access affordable loans. First Family FCU has locations based in Henryetta, Okmulgee and Checotah. Do you live, work, worship or attend school in Okmulgee, Okfuskee or McIntosh Counties? Then YOU can become a member.

Since 1948, International Credit Union Day has been celebrated annually on the third Thursday of October. Each year, the international event affords the opportunity to remember credit unions' proud history and promote awareness of and support for the credit union difference. This year's theme, "Local Service. Global Good.TM," emphasizes credit unions' positive impact in their communities and around the world.

Credit unions are recognized as a force for positive economic and social change and have provided significant value in both developed and emerging nations. International Credit Union Day is sponsored by World Council of Credit Unions, the international trade association and development agency for credit unions, as well as numerous national credit union trade associations and federations around the world.

On Oct. 16, credit unions from around the world will join forces to celebrate the day with membership drives, contests and fundraisers to help out their local communities. For more information about First Family's events, visit online at www.firstfamilyfcu.com or at www.facebook.com/firstfamily to like them on Facebook.


ARDMORE, OK – Department of Public Safety officials are pleased to announce and congratulate Oklahoma Highway Patrol Communications Officer Renee Lovett, the winner of the "Everyday Hero Award" from the Oklahoma Public Safety Conference sponsored by the Oklahoma Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) Chapter and the Oklahoma National Emergency Number Association (NENA). CO Lovett is currently assigned to the OHP Oklahoma City Communications Center, but at the time was assigned to the Troop F Communications Center in Ardmore, Oklahoma.

On January 16, 2014, After two Federal ATF Task Force Agents were shot in the city limits of Ardmore by a suspect wanted for several murders in south central Oklahoma, Troop F Communications Officer (CO), Renee Lovett was instructed by the Troop F Troop Commander to activated the Signal One plan (A plan the OHP uses to suspend normal patrol operations and redirects assets to focus on locating a suspect(s) considered wanted for questioning.)

CO Lovett activated the Signal One plan then took it upon herself to move troopers into strategic observation locations throughout the southern Oklahoma area. OHP units responding were from the following Troops
throughout the State: Troop A – Oklahoma City, Troop D – McAlester, Troop E – Durant, Troop F - Ardmore, and Troop G – Lawton.

In addition, CO Lovett contacted the Sheriff's Offices in: Johnston, Marshall, Pontotoc, Murray, Love, and Garvin Counties and requested dispatchers, in those locations, to move personnel to primary and secondary checkpoints that were plotted on a large map at troop headquarters that CO Lovett maintained and updated.

"Her [CO Lovett's] actions on that date, allowed me to focus on managing the evolving incident," said Captian Ronnie Hampton, Troop F Troop Commander. "As part of the Oklahoma Incident Management Team, Lovett used her training and skills to assist command staff in planning operations, and facilitated cross communications between numerous agencies, while maintaining a calm reassuring voice on the radio during a manhunt, pursuit,
and shots fired radio traffic," Hampton added.

CO Lovett was largely instrumental in containing a deadly, evolving situation which brought about a positive resolution. Her actions reflect great credit upon herself, Troop F, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Friday, 03 October 2014 12:51

Dewar Fire Dept. fight abandoned house fire

An abandoned home caught fire in Hoffman near 4th and Main this morning around 10:30 a.m. on Friday Oct. 3. The Dewar Fire Dept first got a report called in by the owner of the property.  According to Dewar Fire Chief George Powell, the property had been not been occupied for a while.

The home was engulfed in flames before crews got it under control.  The fireman were able to isolated the fire to the home, so no other properties were threatened. No reports of any injuries.

Chief Powell said the cause of the fire is unknown at this time. If you have information leading up to this fire, please call 918-652-8302.

Photos by Allen Gardner - ONN

Wednesday, 24 September 2014 11:03

Sweat shows “no remorse” for murders

by Laura Rosbrugh correspondent Okemah News Leader

The pre sentencing investigation is complete and convicted murderer Kevin Sweat, who pled guilty on July 31 to the murder of his fiancé Ashely Taylor in 2011, and the girls from Weleetka, Taylor Placker and Skyla Whitaker in 2008, is reported to have “no motivation to change his behavior, based on his failure to admit or acknowledge his involvement in these crimes.” 

The investigation, completed by Probation and Parole Officer Julie Hensley of the Southeast District Community Corrections in Chandler,examined Sweat's family history, mental health, previous criminal records, employment history, and education. The investigation report summarizes Sweat as a 28 year old high school graduate from Henryetta, Oklahoma who denies any chronic physical or mental issues during his life time. The recommendation for sentencing is that of incarceration based on the violent nature of the crimes committed.
Though Sweat pled guilty just days before his trial was set to begin, Sweat has since spoken with officers on August 13, and made claim that any statements he had provided up until that point had been “bogus”. Sweat did however offer to provide a verbal statement of his version of the incident.   When Sweat was asked about the death of Ashley Taylor, the defendant reported Taylor to have had a history of mental health issues and claimed that she had attempted suicide several times during their time together. 
Sweat shows “no remorse” for murdersSweat claims that Taylor had been upset that they were not going to be married and "went for the gun" Sweat  kept in his vehicle. Sweat claims that a struggle ensued and the gun “went off” but claims he is unaware of who pulled the trigger. This version of events differs greatly from the original statements made by Sweat, in which he and Taylor argue, ending in him cutting Taylor’s throat and throwing her into Nichols Lake in Henryetta, which was later proven to have been a lie when Taylor's remains were found in a burn pile.  When asked about how Taylor’s remains were found in a burn pile on Sweat’s fathers residence, Sweat claims he didn't how the fire was started or how Taylor's remains ended up in the burn pile, but states that he may have “blacked out” at that time. (Photo by Paul Orosco - ONN)

When asked about the deaths of Whitaker and Placker, Sweat admits to being in the area at his grandmother's home and noticing an ambulance in the area, which he considered uncommon. He tells the investigator that he drove near the crime scene on his way home but was unable to proceed due to the road block. Sweat denies any involvement in their shooting or having any familiarity with the two girls, though Sweat had previously stated that he “had panicked” and “shot two monsters” that were coming at him using a .40 Glock handgun and a .22 caliber handgun. Bullet casings were found on Sweat’s father's property, where Sweat was reported to frequently shoot his guns, that matched the bullets recovered from the scene of Placker/Whitaker’s murder.
In addition to his verbal statement, the investigation report states that Sweat has had no diagnosed mental illnesses, though he was prescribed antidepressants for a short period while he was in military bootcamp.

Sweat’s mother states in the report that from a very early age, Sweat did not “do well” with change, but denied any diagnosis of mental illness or use of medications during his childhood. Sweat lived with his mother and two older brothers, one of which died in 2007 from “unknown causes”. Sweat’s mother describes him as never having been violent as a child nor as an adult and was raised much like an only child. She also states that Sweat had been bullied during his time at Wilson School but had always “taken everything in stride.”

The investigator found that Sweat scored medium-high on his social score. This score provides a measure of rebellious and antisocial behavior and to what extend the client endorses rule breaking, egocentrism, and lack of concern over law violations. Also scored during the investigation was Sweat’s mood. This scale measures a single dimension of psychology and emotional disruption, and Sweat’s mood score was found to measure at “high” indicating that a mental health evaluation is highly recommended.

The report also states that Sweat has established a “persistent pattern of criminal and violent behavior” and  the motivation for these crimes is “not readily apparent.” Sweat has also proven himself a threat to the community and society as a whole and the investigator dismisses the idea of probation. The report states that Sweat showed “little to no remorse” on these crimes and spoke more of himself, his future, and his interests while “setting up a disjointed story line explaining his whereabouts or involvement while the crimes were occurring and has no motivation to change his behavior.”

In addition to incarceration, the investigator recommends that restitution be paid to the families of the victims, stating that the “loss and trauma experienced by the victims families has been insurmountable and will likely be lifelong” with restitution an appropriate consideration in these cases.  District Court Judge Lawrence Parish will sentence Sweat at a later date, after a review of the findings of the pre sentence investigation.


Wednesday, 10 September 2014 12:56

OSUIT makes top 25 list in US News & World Report

The U.S. News & World Report's Best Regional Colleges rankings were released Tuesday and OSU Institute of Technology made the top 25.

OSUIT, which participated in the rankings for the first time, was listed 24th in the West division that encompasses 15 states including Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

OSUIT LogoOSUIT was also ranked fourth in the West's top public regional colleges listing.

"Once again, OSU Institute of Technology is gaining national attention and recognition for our quality and quantity of programs available to our students," said President Bill R. Path. "It's quite an accomplishment earning a top 25 ranking with such a large number quality institutions across our 15-state region."

U.S. News rankings take into consideration several factors such as freshman retention rates, graduation rates, student to teacher ratios, acceptance rates, ACT/SAT test scores and percentage of classes with 20 or fewer students.

OSUIT was also ranked ninth in the Best Colleges for Veterans ranking, as well as making the list of regional colleges with best ethnic diversity and gradates with the least amount of debt.

"I'm so proud that our institution was also recognized as a top 10 Best Colleges for Veterans, as well for our efforts to make sure students' higher education experience is affordable and diverse on our campus," Path said.

Other Oklahoma schools that made the West region's top 25 include Oklahoma Baptist University, Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Southwestern Christian University and St. Gregory's University.

For the full report, go to usnews.com/best-colleges

DURANT, Okla. – Barbecue and music are on the game day menu Saturday, Sept. 13, as Southeastern Oklahoma State University opens its home football season.

Arkansas-Monticello will visit Paul Laird Field that evening for a 6 o'clock kickoff.

Prior to that, the True Blue BBQ Cook-off and SE Tailgate Party will be held. Charlie Robison, with special guest the Chase Sanford Band, will liven up the festivities with a free concert in Tailgate Alley (University Blvd. and 2nd Street across from Paul Laird Field). The Sanford Band will take the stage at 2 p.m. followed by
Robison at 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, the second-annual True Blue BBQ Cook-Off, sponsored by the Durant Area Chamber of Commerce, will be in full swing from noon to 3:30 p.m. at Tailgate Alley.

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University will celebrate Homecoming 2014 on October 23-24-25.  This year's theme is "Destination Homecoming" and the three-day event will offer something for everyone, including current students, alumni and friends.  

Honored as 2014 Distinguished Alumni will be Dr. Jesse Arnold, Ms. Josephine Wildcat Bigler, and Dr. David Whitlock. Recognized as 2014 Distinguished Former Faculty will be Dr. Pat Dunham, Dr. Phil Dunham, and Dr. Robert Oliver. Along with banquets, pep rallies, parade, campus tours, the Whang Bang golf tournament, tailgate alley and the Homecoming football game, numerous reunions are scheduled.

For information on reunions, check http://alumni.SE.edu.

The following schedule includes some of the many events scheduled for Homecoming:
Thursday, October 23 SE Night at the Museum, 5:30-7 p.m., Three Valley Museum, 401 W. Main Street. Enjoy an evening full of surprises as the Durant Historical Society hosts this popular event. Refreshments will be provided.

Friday, October 24
28th-annual Whang Bang Golf Tournament, Chickasaw Pointe Golf Course. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and a shotgun start is set for 9 a.m. Participants may register online at http://alumni.SE.edu. The Whang Bang has started a highly popular tradition that has legends from Southeastern's storied athletics history serving as honorary starters.
Distinguished Awards Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Visual and Performing Arts Center. This event features introduction of the 2014 Distinguished Alumni and Distinguished Former Faculty award recipients.
True Blue Rally, 8 p.m., amphitheater.

Saturday, October 25
Coffee and Conversation with Southeastern Athletic Legends, 8 a.m., Bloomer Sullivan Gymnasium. Former Southeastern athletes gather to reminisce. Hosted by Southeastern president Sean Burrage and Director of Athletics Keith Baxter.
Homecoming Parade, 10 a.m., downtown Durant
Alumni Tailgate Party, Alumni Alley, 11 a.m., across from Paul Laird Field.
Southeastern Campus Tours, 11:30 a.m. Explore the campus during the one-hour tour. It's great for students and their families who are considering Southeastern. Student tours will include campus and residence halls, plus a lunch ticket. Special Alumni tours will also be held. Register online at http://www.SEedu/future-students/visit. Tours leave from the entrance to Paul Laird Field.
Southeastern Marching Band Enters, 1:45 p.m., Paul Laird Field.
Pre-Game Ceremony, 1:50 p.m., Paul Laird Field. Introduction of Distinguished Alumni and Distinguished Former Faculty
Kickoff: Southeastern vs. Northwestern, 2 p.m.
Discover Durant "A Market Fair," downtown Durant, 6 p.m. Alumni and friends of Southeastern are invited to enjoy an evening of food, live music, arts and crafts hosted by the Durant Young Professionals.

Sunday, 31 August 2014 12:11

Help Firefighters 'Fill the Boot' for MDA

Five-year-old Tallon Thompson makes a donation to "Fill The Boot" as Battalion Chief Dave Miller (L) and Firefighter Jason Scott (R)look on. - Phoitos by Paul Orosco - ONN CHief Photographer

Okmulgee Fire Department answer another important call to duty.

If you have been to the Okmulgee Wal-Mart you noticed this big red truck and 2 of Okmulgee's First Responders asking for your help to "Fill The Boot" for the MDA!

The firemen said that for the first 2 days the Okmulgee area citizens have been very generous in supporting this worthwhile cause.

The Okmulgee Fire Department is proud to be serving on this nation-wide fund raiser. The fire department is proud to be serving on the 60th anniversary of the IAFF partnership with the MDA organization.  The Okmulgee Fire Department personnel will continue to be there at Wal-Mart asking for your help Sunday and Monday (Labor Day) from 9 am to 7 pm. The Okmulgee Fore Department says thanks for your contributions. Be sure to say thanks to firefighters for their duty to Okmulgee.

Okmulgee FIre FIghters are a part of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) which is the largest national sponsor of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). More than 280,000 members of the IAFF in the United States and Canada are pledged to saving lives, both as fire fighters and paramedics and as the strongest campaigners for the worldwide research efforts of MDA to eradicate 40 neuromuscular diseases. The contributions of the fire fighters also go towards MDA’s summer camps for children, professional and public health education, and other programs.

As the greatest contributor to MDA, fire fighters are everywhere in the efforts of MDA to raise money. The IAFF is the biggest sponsor of MDA’s Labor Day Telethon.

The IAFF raised millions of dollars throughout the entire year through their passionate Fill the Boot campaigns, in which fire fighters greet motorists, shoppers and others and ask them to donate money to MDA. This year’s upcoming IAFF-MDA events are expected to raise even more to cure these crushing illnesses.

The partnership between the devotion of fire fighters with the cause of MDA has emerged as one of the strongest example of selflessness in the history of charity.

The City of Muskogee and QuikTrip will soon break ground on the Tulsa-based company's first Muskogee location.

The groundbreaking ceremony will be at 10 a.m., September 3, on the corner of 32nd Street and Shawnee. This QuikTrip Travel Center, located along US Highway 69, is expected to receive wide exposure on a daily basis encompassing major traffic from truckers, tourists and the city of Muskogee. The travel center's location is ideal with its prime location of real estate being one of the most-traveled highways by truckers in Oklahoma.

"We are very excited to welcome QuikTrip to Muskogee," said Roy Tucker, City Attorney for the City of Muskogee. "The corner of US Highway 69 and Shawnee Avenue is the gateway to the Shawnee retail corridor and is a major artery for travelers to and through our city."

The new QuikTrip Muskogee location, spanning across 6.73 acres, will be one of the largest travel centers in the country.

The City of Muskogee aggressively recruited QuikTrip to bring a travel center to Muskogee because of their premier fuel, food and convenience store accommodations.

For several years, the City has worked in cooperation with Muskogee County Commissioners to spur retail economic development in the area. This travel center is the first major achievement in this partnership, with more in the works.

"Our City Council is heavily focused on development in new areas and redevelopment of economically declining areas," said Tucker. "QT will be built in a new area that has not seen development in 59 years, which is incredible."

QuikTrip is a well-known, privately owned corporation based out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. They have served local communities with excellent customer service for more than 50 years. In 2012, QuikTrip opened their 600th location.

The new location in Muskogee will not only benefit customers, but will also create potential jobs for more than 15 people in the county.

"QT is much more than another convenience store to our city," said Tucker. "It is a state-of-the-art customer-driven company that has been identified as one of the best places to work by top media outlets, such as Fortune Magazine."

In addition to job creation, Tucker said it will include a better variety of services as well as an increase in sales tax as and property taxes for Muskogee County and area schools.

"QuikTrip is truly appreciative of the private-public relationship that exists in Muskogee," said Mike Thornbrugh, QuikTrip Corp. "Now our challenge is to create the same relationship and trust with our customers from Muskogee, and we look forward to the opportunity."

QuikTrip purchased the land from the City of Muskogee for expansion purposes with an expected grand opening in the summer of 2015. The city will work with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) to expand the highway and construct a turning lane to accommodate increased traffic expected from this future location.

A skateboard competition is being held at the Henryetta Skate Park today from 1 to 5 p.m.  The Competition is being headed up by Kevin Bailey with Knowledge Skateboards out of Tulsa.  

Bailey said Quik-Mart in Tulsa donated $700 in prizes for the event.  Also, Okmulgee Wal-Mart donated $25 in water and Jeff Williamson of the Henryetta Nazarene Church donated the use of a sound system for the day.

The City of Henryetta recently removed a fence that outlined the park.  People comment the park was now more inviting.

Photos by Allen Gardner

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