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
  • ths-jazz-2.jpg THS jazz band gets up early to hone performance skills

    It means getting up an hour earlier, and it doesn’t count as a class, but the jazz band at Tahlequah High School enjoys the dedication of a group of enthusiastic students.
    The THS Jazz Band practices every day at 7 a.m., an hour before the start of classes. It numbers 17, and is led by Director Orien Landis.
    “They have to do this before school and they get no class credit, but we have a full band,” Landis said. “They are really excited about this.”

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Easter-basket-kid.jpg Easter traditions date back centuries

    Some Christians may lament a partial shift of focus, but a Christian holy day - perhaps the most holy of all – is this Sunday, and it will be marked with celebrations all around the world.
    The Christian holiday of Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. For centuries, the observant have fasted, reflected or done penance in the weeks leading to the holiday. But today, many also associate the holiday with the Easter bunny, candy, and kites. In 2013, Americans spent $2.1 billion on Easter candy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Some oppose minimum wage hike; others decry strong-arming by state

    President Barack Obama and the U.S. Senate recently announced a push to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour, to $10.10. On the heels of the announcement, an initiative petition was introduced in Oklahoma City to raise the minimum wage to the suggested $10.10. If it gained 80,000 signatures, it would be put to a vote of the people.
    This legislative session, a bill passed prohibiting municipalities from setting a minimum was or vacation and sick-day requirements. Gov. Mary Fallin signed the bill into law earlier this week.

    April 18, 2014

  • Phone scam takes $500 from couple

    Authorities are warning Cherokee County residents to watch for a costly phone scam that recently targeted a local couple and ended in their loss of $500.
    According to sheriff’s deputies, a couple contacted authorities after losing $500 to the scam. The couple received a phone call from a man who identified himself only as “Mr. Green.” He told the couple they had won $1.5 million through Publisher’s Clearing House, but to collect the money, the couple would have to purchase a $500 money card to cover various fees.

    April 18, 2014

  • Missing local teen found dead

    The body of a missing 17-year-old boy was found in southern Cherokee County on Thursday, sheriff’s investigators said.
    Brikk Pritchett was reported missing earlier this month after disappearing on March 30, a day before his 17th birthday.

    April 18, 2014

  • ts honor flight 1.tif Flight of honor

    World War II veteran Charles Harra flew missions for the Army Air Corps, and if you ask him which flight was his most memorable, he’ll say it was his 35th mission.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man charged after leading authorities on wild chase

    Prosecutors have formally charged a man who allegedly led authorities on a wild high-speed pursuit across Cherokee County in late March.

    April 17, 2014

  • Sex offender bonds out after failing to register

    A Cherokee County man is out on bond after being arrested last week for failing to register as a sex offender.

    April 17, 2014

  • jn radiator shop.jpg ‘Greenbelt’ progressing

    Crews this week began to demolish an abandoned radiator shop at the corner of South Street and Guinn Avenue.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts slut walk.tif SlutWalk shines spotlight on crime

    “Two, four, six, eight, stop the violence, stop the rape; slut, slut, ho, ho, yes means yes and no means no!”
    This was the battle cry across the campus of Northeastern State University, as the student branch of the American Association of University Women held its third annual SlutWalk Wednesday.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

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.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Stocks