Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

February 12, 2014

Area residents ‘go green’

TAHLEQUAH — The Tahlequah area is well-known for its natural beauty, and it takes a certain amount of stewardship to keep it that way.

An annual sustainability campaign kicked off last week, and although it is dubbed “National Green Week,” the event actually lasts through Earth Week, April 22-30. The campaign is the brainchild of the Green Education Foundation, which encourages schools across the country to adopt a theme –  waste reduction, sustainable water, green energy, green building, etc. – for one week during the six-week observance and build lesson plans and projects to raise awareness.

Locally, a number of groups exist with eco-stewardship in mind, including Save The Illinois River Inc., the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission and the Tahlequah Farmers’ Market. Tahlequah is also home to many residents who take sustainability seriously, and one of those is Coleen Thornton, TFM member, co-owner of Heaven Sent Food and Fiber, and sustainable agriculturalist.

“Our biggest thing is building back the soil and returning to a more natural process of growing, which reduces the use of fossil fuels and soil erosion,” said Thornton. “We employ pasture rotation and do a lot of composting, which increases the growth of the grasses. We use a system of plastic mulch, and are moving to a biodegradable mulch that will dissipate over one growing season.”

Thornton sometimes uses draft horses, similar to those used on Amish farms, to pull equipment.

“I don’t use them for everything,” said Thornton. “But my equipment is rigged to use either the horses or a tractor, and I try to use the horses at every opportunity. When the soil is wet, I can use them and it doesn’t compact the soil, and it also reduces our use of fossil fuels.”

Heaven Sent Food and Fiber is now recognized as a community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm, which is an operation supported by shareholders in the community. For an annual membership fee, which varies depending on the package selected, members receive boxes of food weekly that includes vegetables, meats or a combination of both.

“Heaven Sent Food and Fiber provides what we have been told is now called a ‘full diet’ farm-based CSA, because we produce not only vegetables but meat, grains, fruit, honey, etc.,” said Thornton.

STIR’s mission is to preserve water quality within the Illinois River watershed and Lake Tenkiller area. A recent “green” effort by STIR has been to provide pet waste disposal stations to cities, state parks and recreation areas in the Illinois River watershed. Locations include Tahlequah and Siloam Springs, Tontitown and Lowell, Ark. Park locations include Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission public use areas, Tenkiller State Park and Cherokee Landing State Park at Tenkiller Lake.

“The stations dispense biodegradable plastic bags for pet owners to use in order to clean up after their pets,” said STIR President Denise Deason-Toyne. “This helps protect the river and the lake from pollution from nutrients and bacteria. We have had very good cooperation from the Tahlequah Parks Department, the mayor’s office, OSRC and the state parks department.”

Illinois River Village resident Cherae Stone recently moved from her historic 3,000 square-foot home to a living space of 240 square feet to reduce her eco-footprint.

“The most green feature of my home is its size,” said Stone. “It requires much less energy to heat and cool than an average home, and I use no toxic chemicals in its care and cleaning. There’s far too much toxicity in our everyday environment without adding more when natural substances will do a better job and at a much lower cost to our pocketbooks and our environment. It just makes sense.”

Tenkiller area resident Renee LaCombe  becomes incensed when she sees people littering.

“That is so selfish and disgusting,” said LaCombe. “I’m no saint, but I take my own reusable bags to the store. It really gets on my nerves when store checkers stick three, two, or sometimes only one thing in those bags. The box they come in even says right on it ‘try to put six items per bag.’ I combine the stuff to fewer bags, which I know they find annoying.”

LaCombe also keeps an eye on product packaging for a variety of reasons.

“Even if it didn’t pollute the land and the oceans, foolish waste makes me sick,” said LaCombe. “I also refuse to buy anything with ridiculous over-packaging.”

tsnell@tahlequahdailypress.com

1
Text Only
Local News
  • svw-beagles-MAIN.jpg Going to the dogs

    Hounds at center stage for more than just Red Fern Festival

    Larry Blackman and Titus Blanket have always loved dogs, especially beagles. In their respective roles as president and vice president of the Cherokee County Beagle Club, they’ve turned that love into a passion.

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • sanders-jeri.jpg Murder charge against mother of dead boy, 3, dismissed

    A first-degree murder charge has been dropped against a 37-year-old mother accused in the death of her 3-year-old son.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • supersalary.jpg Okla. superintendents paid comparatively well; teachers 46th lowest

    Administrators say they work year-round, have other duties

    As public education in Oklahoma continues to feel the pinch of a shrinking state budget, watchdog groups and district patrons across the state are asking whether superintendents are getting a disproportionate piece of the financial pie.

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Boards keep city, county afloat

    City and county officials rely on a variety of boards to oversee diverse and complex issues, and many of their members work behind the scenes to keep the wheels of government oiled and turning.
    The city of Tahlequah currently has 10 boards and three trust authorities. Cherokee County has two county-specific boards.

    July 31, 2014

  • HPWA contract raises gas to $3.99 a gallon

    The Hulbert Public Works Authority renewed its natural gas contract with Constellation Energy July 29, raising fuel prices to $3.99 per gallon for the next two years.

    July 31, 2014

  • Tourism Council OKs compensation

    The Tahlequah Area Tourism Council held its annual retreat Wednesday, and approved paying former Director Kate Kelly 100 hours of annual leave.

    July 31, 2014

  • rf-poker-run-main.jpg Poker run

    Fundraiser was in the cards for local philanthropic group

    It was perfect weather, with temperatures in the high 80s Saturday, as boaters filled their vessels with friends for a fun afternoon on Lake Tenkiller. A crowd gathered at Cookson Bend Marina, and folks lined up to support a local charity event.
    As fundraisers go, the Beta Sigma Phi Mu Omega Poker Run last Saturday could be considered huge success, as nearly $9,000 was collected.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • bilbrey-anthony.jpg Man arrested for blackmailing woman for sex

    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies put a man behind bars Monday night after he allegedly tried to blackmail a woman by threatening to post nude photos of her on the Internet if she did not meet him for sex.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Peach_photo_2.jpg Peach crop lean, but fruit still available

    Summer is all about peaches in Porter – especially at Livesay Orchard.
    The Livesay Orchard is still busy a week after Porter’s annual peach festival. The orchard’s crop this year was cut in half from what had previously been expected, according to Kent Livesay, one of the owners of the orchard.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • jackson-jaymee.jpg Tot’s injuries prompt abuse charges for two local residents

    A Tahlequah couple was formally charged Tuesday with child neglect and child abuse after an 18-month-old girl was found with a number of injuries.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

Poll

Do you think "blue laws" related to Sunday alcohol sales in Oklahoma should be relaxed? Choose the option that most closely reflects your opinion.

Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars, and liquor stores should be open.
Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars only; liquor stores should stay closed.
Liquor stores should be open Sundays, but drinks should not be served anywhere on Sundays.
The law should remain as it is now; liquor stores should be closed, and drinks should be served on Sundays according to county option.
No alcohol should be sold or served publicly on Sundays.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Stocks