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Tulsa zoo welcomes new infant siamang

TULSA, Okla. – A siamang infant is doing well after being born at the Tulsa Zoo earlier this week.

 The infant siamang was born on Aug. 8, 2022, to mother Boomerang and father Jambi.

The infant was born on Aug. 8, 2022, to mother Boomerang and father Jambi, through Tulsa Zoo’s ongoing participation in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums Siamang Species Survival Plan®.

“Both mother and infant are being monitored by our keepers and veterinary staff and are doing well,” said Tulsa Zoo Zoological Curator of Mammals Jordan Piha. “We’re thrilled to welcome this new infant to the Tulsa Zoo family!”

The birth of this infant marks the 16th siamang born at Tulsa Zoo. Both mother and infant have access to their outdoor habitat at the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation Siamang Habitat but may choose to stay behind the scenes.

Siamangs are the largest of the lesser (meaning smaller) apes and are native to Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. The species is endangered. Siamangs play an important role in keeping the forest healthy because they disperse the seeds of the fruit they eat. They mate for life and have a song (series of calls) that is unique to the pair. In fact, Boomerang and Jambi can often be heard calling to each other in the mornings at Tulsa Zoo.

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Grove man pleads guilty to charges he strangled a former girlfriend

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – A Grove man with a history of violating numerous domestic violence protective orders pleaded guilty in federal court to strangling a former girlfriend.

Tyler Craig Mitchell

Tyler Craig Mitchell, 30, entered a guilty plea to assault of an intimate or dating partner by strangling, suffocating, and attempting to strangle and suffocate in Indian Country and kidnapping in Indian Country.

The charges stem from a July 6, 2020 assault in Delaware County, records show.

Mitchell entered the plea rather than proceed with a jury trial on July 18 in United States Federal Court in Tulsa.

Federal prosecutors are asking for a three-year prison sentence and for Mitchell to have no contact with the victim or her daughter. The plea agreement also seeks drug, alcohol, mental health and domestic violence batter’s treatment or counseling for Mitchell.

Mitchel also faces charges in Cherokee Nation District Court with domestic abuse assault and battery by strangulation, kidnapping, and six counts of violating a protective order.

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Boys & Girls Club needs school supplies, Ottawa County

OTTAWA COUNTY, Okla. — It’s hard to do your homework without school supplies. That’s why officials at the Boys & Girls Club of Ottawa County are asking for the public’s help right now. Executive Director Mackenzie Garst says they simply want to make sure Club members are on an equal footing with other kids.

“The biggest need right now is back-to-school supplies. We’re ensuring that all of our Club kids are prepared for schooling and can be successful just like every other child in our community, and so any of those school supplies you can round up and donate to your local Boys & Girls Club, it will definitely be appreciated,” said Garst.

The Club operates five locations in Ottawa County. Those interested can follow this link here.

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NEO A&M College hires new agriculture instructor

Mattie Haynes-New NEO A-M College Instructor

Officials at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College announced Mattie Haynes as a new NEO agriculture instructor and head livestock judging coach.

“The NEO Agriculture Department is so excited to have Mattie Haynes joining us as our livestock judging team coach and instructor,” said Dr. Mary Booth, NEO Agriculture department chair.

“I watched Mattie grow up livestock judging and showing sheep. I know the talent, drive, commitment, and professionalism she has to help coach, instruct and lead young people to achieve their personal best. It is truly an honor to have Mattie as part of our NEO family,” said Dr. Booth.

Haynes is originally from Jay, Oklahoma, and attended NEO from 2018-2020.

While at NEO, she was a member of the Livestock Judging Team, Honors Program, Phi Theta Kappa, named a Top 10 Freshman, served as Student Body Government Vice President, Outstanding Graduate for the School of Agriculture, Honors Program Outstanding Research Award recipient and she was an Academic All-American in Livestock Judging.

​After graduating from NEO, Haynes continued her education at Oklahoma State University, where she double majored in animal science and agribusiness.

While at OSU, she was named a Leader of Excellence in Animal and Food Sciences, Honors College General Honors Award Recipient, Academic All-American in Livestock Judging, member of the 2021 National Champion Livestock Judging Team, member of the Oklahoma Agriculture Leadership Encounter and a member of the Tau Sigma Honor Society.

“I am humbled to return to NEO and give back to the program, department, and college that has blessed me immensely. The NEO Livestock Judging program was built on the tireless efforts, hard work, and a commitment to excellence from many. I am eager to work alongside faculty, staff, students, alumni and supporters to ensure that we not only continue the legacy of NEO but work to grow it,” said Haynes.

Haynes began her position on July 5, 2022.

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New study places OK near top for kids in poverty

MIAMI, Okla. — According to a recent study, Oklahoma ranks near the top of the list when it comes to children in poverty. It was done by the website “WalletHub” and focussed on 27 key indicators of poverty in all 50 states. Oklahoma ranked 6th.

Mackenzie Garst is the executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Ottawa County. She says it’s that organization’s purpose to try and prevent young people from all backgrounds in the county from falling through the cracks in the system.

“Whether it be in school, whether it be in their personal lives,’ we just want to make sure kids feel supported, so we may be addressing food insecurity one day, we may be addressing mental health the next day. And we just want to be that support for kids and families to ensure they can be successful kids but also become successful adults,” said Mackenzie Garst, Exec. Dir., Boys & Girls Club of Ottawa County.

Garst says there are five facilities they operate in the county, and serve 250 kids a day.

As for that study, Arkansas ranked 11th, Missouri 18th, and Kansas 31st.

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Miami School District implementing new cell phone policy

MIAMI, Okla. — An area school district is getting the word out ahead of time on when cell phones can and can’t be used during the school day. And, for some parents, it may take some getting used to.

The start of another school year is a little over a week away in Miami. But district officials want everyone to know ahead of that time when and where cell phones can be used. So they’re using social media to get that word out to both students and parents.

While the cell phone policy hasn’t changed here at the high school this coming school year, that’s not the case for the junior high.

“Students turn their phones off as soon as they get to school, and then they will not turn those phones on until it’s time for them to leave for the day. We understand parents might need their students during the day, if that’s the case, please contact our office and we’ll be happy to get those messages out to students,” said Pam Bevis, 9th & 10th Grade Principal.

While high school students can carry their phones around at any time during the school day, there are times they can’t use them.

“We do not want those cell phones on during class periods but during passing periods, before school, after school, at lunchtime our students are more than welcome to use their cell phones,” added Bevis.

Kanyen Cole will be teaching biology this year at the high school. He’s taught in other districts where it was up to individual high school teachers to come up with their own, and appreciates the effort involved in having one in place in Miami, both for the faculty and students.

“Me instructing people, I think it will help, and I think it will also help them keep their focus on one thing knowing that they can’t check their phones every 30 seconds like they do every day,” said Cole.

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Ottawa County Fair deeply rooted in agriculture

2022 Ottawa County Fair

MIAMI, Okla. — Starting tonight (8/10), the Ottawa County Fair is offering something for everyone, as more people begin to visit the Miami Fair Grounds.

A packed arena of carnival rides, along with several vendors, opened to fair-goers for the first time since the fair opened earlier this week.

Many 4H and FFA students from across Northeast Oklahoma have already shown several breeds of animals.

Tonight, the best looking sheep at goats were judged in the livestock arena.

Cattle will be featured on Thursday evening.

| Newton County Fair Queen Wears Many “Crowns” >

The grand prize in each animal category will be handed out on Saturday (8/13).

Those who have shown animals here for many years say agriculture is at the heart of the Ottawa County Fair.

“Through showing pigs and raising pigs, I’ve learned that I have a real passion for agriculture, and I definitely want to do something agriculture based through my future. I’m getting ready to go to NEO and I’m going to major in Animal Science and hopefully my passion for agriculture will take me farther and maybe I’ll be able to come back to my county fair in my community to bring that back and bring back what I know about agriculture and advocate,” said Taylor Fent who shows pigs at the Ottawa County Fair.

The Ottawa County Fair comes to an end on Saturday night (8/13) with an event that has become very popular over the years: “The Buddy Show.”

This is where special needs students, mentored by their 4H and FFA peers, show several animal breeds for judging.

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Walking for Missing and Murdered Indigenous People

MIAMI, Okla. — A Navajo woman is walking across the country to raise awareness about a heartbreaking reality. On Monday, Seraphine Warren was in Northeast Oklahoma to bring attention to the hundreds of missing and murdered indigenous women. It became a passion for her after her aunt, 63-year-old Ella Mae Begay, went missing in June of last year.

Miami’s City Manager also joined her in solidarity, walking with her down Main Street while police escorted her.

Warren says the resources to solve cases on native land are scarce, and she wants investigators to use more urgency to look into these unsolved indigenous crimes, like her aunt’s.

“I’ve seen a lot of other cases outside of the Navajo Nations or Reservations being solved quickly, and this one should be one of them. And I am tired of waiting, I’m losing patience, and we shouldn’t be treated like this,” she said.

“She chose to walk down Main Street and up Route 66 and we’re certainly honored to have her here. And, you know, she’s doing something that is so important and that is taking the efforts that she knows how to do to draw attention to a very serious problem,” said Bo Reese, Miami City Manager.

Warren began her journey at the doorstep of her aunt’s house in Sweatwater, Arizona. She plans to finish the roughly 2,300-mile trek to Washington, D.C. in October.

She will be in Southwest Missouri on Tuesday.

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Grove man wanted for enticing kids to his Corvette with candy

Kirk William Owen – Photo provided by Crawford County Sheriff’s Office

CRAWFORD COUNTY, Kans. — Authorities have identified and began their search for a man reportedly seen offering candy to kids and asking for their home address in Crawford County.

Following multiple reports, the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office have identified the man as Kirk William Owen, of Grove, Oklahoma.

In the first incident reported on the afternoon of July 31st, Owen drove up to several minors in a Cherokee, Kansas park in his white Corvette while wearing just underwear and a shirt. Owen first showed the kids his car and gave large bags of candy, promising more if they would provide their home address.

Owen said he would later show up at their house and “rev his engine” so they would know he’s outside and visit him for more candy. One of the children did give him their address, however, Owen would leave the area shortly after.

The second incident was reported just Wednesday around 9:30 AM with Owen driving the same vehicle. A neighbor spotted Owen as he was driving by the same children’s home in Cherokee and stopped him. After confronting him, Owen sped off and has not been seen since.

Owen’s white Corvette

Anyone with information on Owen’s whereabouts are asked to call the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office at 620-724-8274.

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Kids fish for free at Roaring River State Park on Aug. 20

CASSVILLE, Mo. – Four State youth can fish all day for free and connect with nature through a variety of upcoming activities at Roaring River State Park.

From 7 AM to 8 PM on Aug. 20, youth ages 15 and younger will be able to obtain tags from the park store at no cost to fish on the day of the event. One section of the river, from the first low water crossing up to the hatchery, will be specially designated for youth to fish. Adults will not be allowed to fish by themselves in this area. Some lunker trout will even be released for the youth to try to catch.

Roaring River State Park is located seven miles south of Cassville on Highway 112 in Barry County.

Volunteers will be present to assist the young fishers and parents and guardians are welcome to help the children as needed, but only one pole between the child and helper may be used at any time.

For more information about Free Fishing Days, contact the park office at 417-847-2539 or the park store at 417-847-4971.

The event will be held as long as weather conditions are deemed safe. This joint event with the Missouri Department of Conservation will also feature nature activities and bluegrass music.