Tahlequah Daily Press


January 23, 2014

Law enforcement officers honored for service

TAHLEQUAH — Representatives of local law enforcement agencies turned out Tuesday to honor their peers – including one who was honored for his 45-year law enforcement career.

The event is hosted annually by Tahlequah Elks Lodge 2601. Terry Bryan, exalted ruler, thanked all the agencies for participating in the event and for their service to the community.

Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office personnel chose to honor their leader, Sheriff Norman Fisher, this year. Fisher is in his third term as sheriff after serving 16 years as Tahlequah’s police chief.

“Anyone who can be in law enforcement for 45 years, and 25 of that as an elected official, is doing something right,” an emotional Undersheriff Jason Chennault said.

“You’ve made Cherokee County a safer place to live and work. You’re a role model and a hero for all of us.”

Chennault’s remarks were accompanied by a brief video that featured comments from people who have worked with and for Fisher during his career, along with pictures from throughout his tenure.

“We know you don’t like to be put on the spot,” Chennault told his boss. “You say that when the department gets credit, then you get credit.”

The undersheriff said he and the rest of Fisher’s employees believe Fisher doesn’t get enough credit. He said it was a struggle to come up with the right words to lead into Fisher’s award.

“I don’t know one person who could have come up with the right words,” he said. “You’re respected, and you’ve touched a lot of lives.”

Fisher told the crowd of officers and their families he doesn’t consider his employees workers, but rather feels as though they’re family.

He also acknowledged the award was a surprise.

He said he was keeping his remarks short because he, too, was getting emotional.

Police Chief Nate King, in making some opening remarks, said law enforcement in Cherokee County is “truly blessed” because all in all, the county supports law enforcement.

He was a college student working at a convenience store when he did a “ride-along” with former Tahlequah Police Officer Casey Baker.

“It took one time and I was hooked,” King said. “Norman [Fisher] hired me as a dispatcher.”

King said those who choose law enforcement as a career – himself included – wind up missing birthdays, anniversaries and other significant events, but the work gets in your blood.

“You have to answer the call,” he said. “You may not get to go home at the end of your scheduled shift, or you might have to come in early.”

King said law enforcement families sacrifice on a daily basis.

“Our families are as dedicated to the badges as we are,” he said.

Several other officers    were honored

Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission Ranger Capt. Bill James presented the Ranger of the Year honor to Dustin Davis, a part-time ranger and full-time Keetoowah Lighthorse officer. Davis logged most of the OSRC’s 100-plus DUI arrests in 2013, James said. He said Davis never had a citizen complaint about his work.

NSU Police Chief Patti Buhl presented her department’s award to Detective Sgt. Jim Flores, who started his career in California in 1992 and has been with the campus police for five years. Buhl called Flores a team leader and investigator, adding that he is dedicated to the community and has developed the department’s Facebook page.

Cherokee Nation Marshal Service Director Shannon Buhl said the CNMS was honoring Marshal Jess Anderson, who has served as a firearms instructor and been on the SWAT team. Buhl said Anderson served about $1 million in warrants in the 14-county Cherokee Nation jurisdiction.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt. Damon Tucker said Trooper Tommy Mullins, Trooper of the Year, was one of many quality OHP officers who work in the area. He said Mullins has been assigned to Cherokee County since 2001, and has nearly 20,000 contacts and about 500 DUI arrests to his credit. Tucker said Mullins ranks highly in several categories for which records are kept.

District Attorney Brian Kuester presented the DA Officer of the Year award to Investigator Chris Goforth. He said Goforth was working for the district – as a bogus check investigator – when Kuester became DA. Since that time, he has been assigned to work on violence against women cases. His current assignment is with the DA’s drug K-9. Kuester said Goforth has the heart and drive needed for the job and works well with other agencies.

King presented three awards, to Officer Cory Keele, Reserve Officer Austin Yates and Dispatcher Angie Scott.

Keele and Yates were involved in the rescue of a Basin Street family during a July 2013 flood. King said Keele has made several street-level drug arrests with the help of his K-9 officer, and those arrests have led to several search warrants.

King said Yates has logged more reserve hours than the other reserve officers combined. He said reserve officers volunteer their time, and Yates can always be counted on to be there when needed. Scott works as a dispatcher for the police department and sheriff’s office and remains calm, cool and collected when handling her duties.

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  • sp-symposium-art-panel.jpg Panelists discuss impact of Southeastern art

    Until recently, most people had a certain expectation of American Indian art – and it didn’t include images familiar to people in and around Cherokee County.
    “A lot of times, when people think about Native art, they immediately think of Plains art or Southwestern art,” said Roy Boney (Cherokee), Tahlequah artist and moderator of the panel discussion “Southeastern Indian Art: Building Community and Raising Awareness,” held Friday, April 11, at the NSU Symposium on the American Indian.
    Boney and the other panelists are frustrated by the divide between mainstream expectations of Native American art and their need for genuine self-expression.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-Teacher.jpg Dickerson believes in putting the student first

    As a child growing up in Elk City, Cherokee Elementary teacher Debra Dickerson lined up the neighborhood children and animals to play school.
    “I’ve been a teacher ever since I could talk. My mother always said she knew where I was because she could hear me bossing everyone,” she said.
    The classroom then was a blanket tossed over limbs of her big cherry tree on Eisenhower Street. Recess was spent tree-climbing, running, riding in the bus (her red wagon) and being creative.
    “Those were the days before video games and TV,” she said.
    Dickerson, 2013-’14 Cherokee Elementary Teacher of the Year, believes a classroom should be a safe haven for children, because school is often the best part of their day.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • kh-trash-pickup.jpg Cleaning things up

    Lowrey was part of the Cherokee Nation’s Career Service Center contingency of 11 volunteers. Other volunteers cleaned up trash along the roadway from the Cherokee Casino to the NSU campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • SR-NinthAmendment.jpg Right to privacy leans partly on Article 9

    While the other articles of the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights are straightforward – at least, enough for Americans to bicker over in court – the Ninth Amendment might cause a bit of confusion.
    It reads: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
    There are no rights enumerated, and it might be difficult to argue one’s Ninth Amendment rights in court, though it has been done successfully.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • stickball-2.jpg Stickball

    The American Indian Science and Engineering Society and Native American Student Associationat Northeastern State University hosted a traditional stickball game as part of closing cultural activities during the 42nd annual Symposium on the American Indian Friday. Participants included, from left: Nathan Wolf, Disosdi Elk and Chris Smith.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • green-bldng.jpg City council to discuss ‘green building’

    Tahlequah City Council will hold a special meeting Friday, April 11, at 5:30 p.m. to discuss, among other items, applying grant money to renovate the city’s “green building” at the corner of Water and Morgan, near Norris Park.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • alcohol-info.jpg Alcohol screening can be critical

    It has been decades since Prohibition brought Americans gangsters, flappers and speakeasies, but statistics for alcohol addiction are staggering.
    Millions of Americans suffer from alcohol addiction and abuse, which affects families and friends.
    Today, April 10, is the annual National Alcohol Screening Day, and raising awareness through education, outreach and screening programs is the goal, according to the website at www.mentalhealthscreening.org.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • jn-CCSO-2.jpg Law enforcement agencies to get new facility

    Area law enforcement agencies will soon have a new training facility in Cherokee County.
    The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office is building the new training room near its gun range, located north of the detention center. Sheriff Norman Fisher said tax dollars were not used for the building.
    “This is something we’ve been trying to work on, and it was built with no money from the taxpayers,” said Fisher. “It was paid for with drug forfeitures and gun sales.”

    April 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • Holiday Inn.tif Promise Hotels to build Holiday Inn Express prototype

    Tulsa-based company Promise Hotels broke ground recently on the nation’s first new Holiday Inn Express & Suites prototype. The new 46,000 square foot, 80-room hotel will be in Tahlequah near the intersection of South Muskogee Avenue and the highway loop.
    Construction will begin immediately with an anticipated completion date of February 2015. The $7.22 million hotel will feature a new contemporary look with an indoor pool, sauna, fitness center, and larger meeting room.

    April 9, 2014 3 Photos

  • rf-Volunteer-Harris.jpg Music still in the blood of retired music teacher

    Volunteer opportunities Harris supports include Court Appointed Special Advocates of Cherokee Country, Feed My Sheep, and directing the Go Ye Village Women’s Choir. She’s also served for many years as musical director of Tahlequah Community Playhouse.

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo


What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
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