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Damage to Grove city sculpture, cost of damage unknown

GROVE, Okla. – Two signs with unknown meanings were left as possible calling cards on a Grove statue that was vandalized.

An American Bald Eagle wooden sculpture was spray painted black on Friday night or early Saturday morning, said Craig Criger, Grove Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds.

Criger said the sculpture was carved out of the top of a tree and at the base of the tree was the letter “A” spray painted with a circle around the letter.  Earlier someone had paced a “purple and green sign with a joker card” at the tree, Criger said.

The words “Ha Ha Ha” and “Get Rid Of The Bat Man!” and “Not my Tree!!” were handwritten on the sign.

“We don’t know the value of the sculpture,” Criger said.  “In some ways it’s priceless.”

A city beautification project used five trees in the downtown area that were designated to be removed. Different sculptures were on the other trees, he said.

The eagle sculpture was completed on Nov. 23 by Richard Quick using a chainsaw, Criger said.

“The sculptures had to do with Grove and Grand Lake,” Criger said. “They were unique to our downtown area.”

If anyone has information about the vandalism, please contact the Grove Police Department at (918) 786-6121.

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Grove's undefeated season comes to a end; Carl Albert wins 55-21

OWASSO, Okla. – Grove turned the ball over three times and came up short on the scoreboard as the second-ranked Midwest City Carl Albert Titans defeated the Ridgerunners 55-21 in the Class 5A semifinals.

Carl Albert, a 16-time state champion, will try once again to take home the golden ball when they meet McAlester (11-2) next Saturday for the Class 5A Championship game at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Grove senior running back Emmanuel Crawford ended the night with over 6,600 career yards – a Class 5A record.  His three touchdowns on the night netted 152 yards.

Grove senior quarterback Carson Trimble had 96 yards in the air and rushed for 41 yards.

Two costly interceptions in the first half worked against Grove allowing Carl Albert to take an early 14-0 lead with a Xavier Robinson run of 21 yards and a 39-yard pass from Reed DeQuasie to Tashawn James.

Grove’s Crawford, who looked like he was going to get thrown for a loss, wiggled around Titan defenders and scored cutting into Carl Albert’s lead 14-7.

Carl Albert scored twice in the second quarter to take a 27-7 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Titans exploded in the third quarter putting up 21 points on a Trey Washington 75 pass from Dequasie, a 12-yard bootleg run by Dequasie and a 67-yard run by Robinson.

Trystan Haynes scored on a 67-yard punt return for the Titans in the fourth quarter.

Crawford added points in the fourth quarter on an 80-yard touchdown run and a 6-yard touchdown run.

Scoring Summary

Carl Albert 14 13 21 7 — 55

Grove 7 0 0 14 — 21

First Quarter

  • CA: Robinson, 21-yard run. (Ethan Spiwak Kick)
  • CA: Trystan Haynes 39 pass from Reed Dequasie (Spiwak kick)
  • G: Emmanuel Crawford 4 run (Cory Martin kick)

Second Quarter

  • CA: Robinson 6 run (Conversion run failed)
  • CA: Dequasie 6 run (Spiwak kick)

Third Quarter

  • CA: Trey Washington 75 pass from Dequasie (Spiwak kick)
  • CA: Dequasie 12 run (Spiwak kick)
  • CA: Robinson 67 run (Spiwak kick)

Fourth Quarter

  • CA: Haynes 73 punt return (Spiwak kick)
  • G: Crawford 80 run (Martin kick)
  • G: Crawford 7 run (Martin kick)
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OK School Board Elections set for April 4

JAY, Okla. – Voters in Delaware County have the opportunity to elect school board members to 12 school districts and two technology centers.

Candidates for school board positions may file to run from Dec. 5th to the 7th at the Delaware County Election Board located in Jay. The Board of Education General Election is set for April 4.

“If more than two candidates file for the same Board of Education position, a Primary Election will be held Tuesday, Feb. 14,” said Crystal January, Delaware County Election Board secretary.

If no candidate receives more than 50% of the votes, the two candidates receiving the highest votes will vie for the position during the April 4 election.

Two technology centers, Northeast Technology Center and Indian Capital Technology Center, also have two board positions open.

Delaware County School District

  • Cleora Public School Board, Board Position No. 2, three-year term
  • Colcord Public School, Board Position No. 3, five-year term
  • Grove Public School, Board Position No. 3, five-year term
  • Jay Public School, Board Position No. 3, five-year term
  • Kansas Public School, Board Position No. 3, five-year term
  • Kenwood Public School, Board Position No. 2, three-year term
  • Leach Public School, Board Position No. 2, three-year term
  • Moseley Public School, Board Position No. 2, three-year term/Board Position No. 1, unexpired term with two years remaining
  • Oaks Mission Public School, Board Position No. 3, five-year term

Other schools that have voting by Delaware County residents include:

Ottawa County

  • Afton Public School, Board Position No. 3, five-year term
  • Ketchum Public School, Board Position No. 3, five-year term
  • Turkey Ford Public School, Board Position No. 2, three-year term

Adair County

  • Westville Public School, Board Position No. 3, five-year term

Declaration of Candidacy forms can be downloaded from the State Election Board website HERE or by contacting the Delaware County Election Board office at (918) 253-8762 or delawarecounty@elections.ok.gov.

The Delaware County Election Board is at 225 S. 5th St., Jay, OK.

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Cherokee Nation Health Services wins honors

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee Nation Health Services was recently honored as the recipient of two national Indian Health Service awards.

The Pandemic Heroism Award for its COVID-19 Task Force and the Director’s Customer Service Award awards were presented to Cherokee Nation Health Services.

“Cherokee families have seen and felt the positive impact that our health system and our public health team have made on our communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chuck Hoskin Jr., Principal Chief in a prepared statement.

“Our Health Services and Public Health teams have put the lives of the Cherokee people first. They have served not only our own families, but our neighbors and friends across the reservation and in communities at large,” Hoskin said.

The Pandemic Heroism Award recognizes exceptional, dedicated work and selfless responses in the face of the COVID pandemic and the Director’s Customer Service Award recognized the innovation and exceptional performance of the Pandemic Vaccine Task Force team.

“Their expertise during the pandemic saved countless lives and helped us to lessen the negative impacts of the virus on our most vulnerable populations, which in turn helped to protect our precious Cherokee language and culture,” Hoskin said.

“We identified and removed barriers to services for both patients and employees and all of our decisions made were weighed with the current infectious disease evidence and epidemiological trends for our area at the time,” said Dr. R. Stephen Jones, Cherokee Nation Health Services Executive Director.

“Vaccine acceptance was our initial focus,” said Brian Hail, Cherokee Nation Health Services Deputy Executive Director. “Even before we had the COVID-19 vaccines in hand, we conducted focus groups with community members and outreach via Public Health, provided social media posts and mailers, and video messages from tribal leaders and physicians to educate our communities and address any concerns or questions.”

Cherokee Nation Health Services has administrated nearly 119,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine since receiving its first shipment in December 2020.

“We’ve gone to where the people are in an effort to reach everyone. Besides offering the vaccine at every health center, we hosted drive-through events across the reservation, with the help of our tribal Administration provided incentives for staff vaccinations, and offered the vaccine to anyone in our community, regardless of citizenship in a tribe,” said Wayne Coldwell, Cherokee Nation Health Services Deputy Executive Director.

COVID-19 vaccines including the COVID-19 bivalent booster are available to any member of the public at all Cherokee Nation health center locations Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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KC Holiday Express train to visit the Four State area

PITTSBURG, Kans. — The Kansas City Southern Holiday Express is back for the first time since 2020. The 6-car holiday train is already making stops as it travels through 20 communities in 8 different states this year.

The train is packed with several Christmas displays both inside and out — and of course, Santa and his elves are along for the ride.

Locally — the train will make a stop in Pittsburg on Saturday, December 10th at 4 p.m. stopping at the intersection of Elm and Monroe Streets. And like every year, proceeds from the Holiday Express will benefit the Salvation Army.

“We are very appreciative of the partnership we have with Kansas City Southern in supporting us in our efforts to meet the needs of children during the holiday season. We especially, uh, in years past we’ve received gift cards and we’ve received monetary donations and we use all of that to provide a nice Christmas for each child that comes through,” said Major Patricia Johnson, Salvation Army in Pittsburg.

Pittsburg stop is the only stop in the Four State area.

For more information or to check out this year’s train schedule follow this link here.

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Ridgerunners take on the Titans tonight in the semifinal rounds of Class 5A playoffs

OWASSO, Okla. – Tonight the top-ranked Grove Ridgerunners will put their undefeated season to the test when they take on second-ranked Midwest City Carl Albert Titans in the Class 5A semifinals.  

This is the first meeting between the two schools.  The winner advances to the finals next Saturday against the winner between No. 3 OKC McGuinness and No. 5 McAlester.

The game kicks off at 7 p.m. at Owasso Stadium and can be heard on KGVE 99.3 or live-streamed here.

Carl Albert brings to the gridiron a rich football history. The 14-time state champions have won five straight titles between 2016 and 2020.

This is the Ridgerunners’ fourth time to advance this far in the playoffs dating back to 1958.

Grove’s juggernaut three-head beast of an offense is averaging 48 points a game and is anchored by senior quarterback Carson Trimble.

Trimble has passed for 2,329 yards and scored 33 touchdowns and rushed 447 yards and scored six touchdowns on the season.

His go-to receiver, Hagen Hacker has caught 44 passes for 805 yards scoring 15 touchdowns.

The third foundation in the high-octane offense is senior running back Emmanuel Crawford.

Crawford has lit up the scoreboard rushing for 2,081 yards and scoring 41 touchdowns (33 rushing, 7 passing, and one punt return) this season.

The senior holds the record for career rushing in Class 5A with 6,555 yards.

On the other side of the field Grove’s defense hasn’t shirked away from its responsibilities holding opponents to 16 points a game.

Grove’s swarming defense has contained their opponents all year and scored twice during regular season games.

Carl Albert’s backfield is comprised of junior tailback Xavier Robinson and senior quarterback Reed DeQuasie.

The 6-foot-2, 225 pounds junior tailback is averaging over nine yards per carry.

Carl Albert brings a strong defense with senior Tashawn James at defensive back, defensive end Brock Johnson, linebacker Easton Harless, defensive lineman Tanner Norman and safety Chancy Lester.

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Commerce Thanksgiving Day fire claims life of elderly woman

COMMERCE, Okla. – An elderly woman died in a Thanksgiving Day fire, the state Fire Marshal’s office confirmed on Friday.

The woman’s name has not been released.

Judah Sheppard, State Fire Marshal supervisor said her identity will be released pending a report from the medical examiner’s office.

The one-story rock-veneer residence on North Maple Street was partially engulfed by the fire when firefighters arrived around 9:30 a.m., he said.

“There is no evidence of an explosion, foul play or any criminal activity,” Sheppard said as to the cause of the fire.

State Fire Marshal inspectors were at the scene on Thursday and continue to be on the scene on Friday, he said.

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Vinita woman dies in car crash

KETCHUM – A Vinita woman died in a car crash on Wednesday, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol confirmed.

Saffron Durham, 18, died at the scene from massive injuries, the patrol reported.

The fatal collision happened around 2:38 p.m. on OK-82 just north of OK-85, near Ketchum.

Kenneth Turner, 62, of Vinita, was the driver of the second vehicle, a 2011 Ford Econoline Van.  He refused treatment, the patrol said.  His passenger, Carson Wiley, 32, of Vinita was admitted to Mercy Hospital in fair condition with leg injuries.

Both vehicles were southbound on OK-82 when Turner’s vehicle slowed to turn eastbound onto OK-85 and was rear-ended by Durham’s vehicle, the patrol said.

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Beware of fraud when holiday shopping

OKLAHOMA – Almost a third of Oklahomans have been targeted by fraud.

Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor is urging Oklahomans to use caution when making purchases and donations this holiday season to avoid scams and fraud.

The FBI’s 2021 Internet Crime Report found losses due to cybercrime exceeded $6.9 billion in the United States last year. The report noted 4,156 Oklahomans made complaints to the FBI and lost more than $50 million.

“As we enter another exciting holiday season, I want to make sure Oklahomans are prepared with the latest consumer protection tips to help ensure safe, joyful festivities and shopping,” O’Connor said in a prepared statement.

“Scam artists view the holiday season as an opportune time to take advantage of consumers, which is why it is more important than ever to take precautions to protect yourself and your money. Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it is,” O/Connor said.

The state’s Consumer Protection Unit is offering the following tips to protect Oklahomans and their families this holiday season:

  • Buy gift cards for gifts, not for payments. If someone contacts you and demands that you pay them with a gift card, it is likely a scam.
  • Research charities before you donate.
  • Don’t click any suspicious links or attachments in emails, on websites, or on social media.
  • Check each website’s URL to make sure it’s legitimate and secure. A site you’re buying from should have “https” in the web address.
  • If possible, pay with a credit card. Credit cards give extra protection for most online purchases and many cards offer benefits like protection for returns and purchases.
  • Monitor the shipping process. Always get tracking numbers for items you buy online, so you can make sure they have been shipped and can follow the delivery process.
  • Spot and avoid government impersonators. This type of scam often starts with a call, email, or text from someone who says they’re with the IRS, Social Security Administration, or Medicare – but sometimes they give a fake agency name, like the non-existent National Sweepstakes Bureau. They will also give you some reason why you need to send money or give them your personal information immediately. If you get a call like this, hang up the phone. Government agencies won’t call, email, or text you and ask for money or personal information.
  • Learn how to recognize mail scams and mail fraud texts. These can come in the form of prize offers, threatened punishments, or even a text message.

More Resources

If you encounter a holiday scam, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission online or at 877-382-4357 and report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit at https://www.oag.ok.gov/consumer-protection-unit, or call 1-833-681-1895.

For more resources on charitable organizations, including ratings, reviews, and financial information visit:

  • Charity Navigator
  • CharityWatch
  • GuideStar
  • Federal Trade Commission Gift Card Scams
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Commerce resident dies in house fire

COMMERCE, Okla. – An early morning house fire has claimed the life of a Commerce resident, Police Chief Ray Horn confirmed on Thursday.

The victim’s identity has not been released. Horn said not all of the victim’s family had been notified.

Horn said the state Fire Marshal is on the scene.

Ottawa County Sheriff’s dispatchers confirmed the residence was on Maple Street.

This story is developing.