Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

September 24, 2013

Three inducted to STIR Hall of Fame

TAHLEQUAH — Sunday afternoon, over 100 clean water advocates gathered at Go Ye Village’s Richardson Hall for the Save The Illinois River Inc. annual meeting and Hall of Fame induction.

The event included a silent auction to raise money for the ‘Bids for Bathrooms’ campaign, which helps the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission provide and maintain portable toilets along the Illinois River, election of STIR officers, award presentations and honoring special guests.

STIR President Denise Deason-Toyne thanked everyone for attending.

“We have waged many battles over nearly 30 years,” said Deason-Toyne. “We still have battles to fight, including watching the phosphorus standard within the watershed and the pending ruling on the poultry lawsuit. But our resolve has never wavered, and it never will. There’s no confusion about where STIR stands; we’re the momma grizzly in our watershed.”

STIR members voted unanimously to maintain the organization’s current officers, including President Deason-Toyne, Vice President Barb Daily, and Secretary/Treasurer Ed Brocksmith. STIR also welcomed new member Shannon Otteson-Gosa, a local attorney and stakeholder within the watershed.

STIR honored several members of the media for continued coverage of water quality issues, along with the Greater Tenkiller Area Association, and Dr. Tom Alexander, and environmental consultant for both STIR and OSRC.

Hall of Fame inductees included the late Julian Fite, Robert Kellogg and former Sen. Herb Rozell.

OSRC Administrator Ed Fite spoke of Julian fondly, and Jennifer Fite accepted the award on Julian’s behalf.

“Julian was a rare individual; he was always cheerful and positive - a practical philosopher,” said Ed.

“He was truly a wise man who reminded me of Will Rogers - a common man with uncommon wisdom.”

Bob Kellogg, of Edmond, is an environmental attorney who helped the OSRC and STIR over the years with many legal battles as well as legislative issues.

Kellogg grew up in Montana, and when he saw the Illinois River for the first time in the early 1970s, couldn’t believe how pristine the water was.

“It reminded me of being at home in Montana,” said Kellogg.

“Over the years, it was important for me to do what I could to restore the river to the way I remembered it.”

Former state Sen. Paul Magee, a recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage award, introduced former Sen. Herb Rozell, D-Tahlequah. Rozell was Magee’s orientation supervisor when he was a freshman senator, and the pair are both known for taking tough stances on swine and poultry pollution issues.

Rozell grew up in Welling, on the Barren Fork creek.

“That area was my life until I was 22,” said Rozell. “When I was a small child, my family was in the hay business and corn business and did it the hard way. My job was to get water and take it to the men in the fields. I learned to walk out into the middle of the creek where the rocks were white as snow, because that’s where the best drinking water was. Back in those days, you could see white rocks at a depth of 10-12 feet.”

As Rozell grew older, he began to see what was happening within the watershed, as poultry discharge and wastewater discharge from Arkansas began to have an effect on the river.

As a senator, he fought tirelessly for water quality standards and to help form the OSRC.

“And I’ll tell you now, you’ve never been in a battle until you start trying to clean up the water,” said Rozell. “You’d think it would be a simple thing, that everyone would want to help. But it’s not the case.”

He thanked the members of STIR for their efforts.

“Bless your hearts,” said Rozell. “Stay hooked. Silence accomplishes very little, unless you’re arguing with your wife.”

Deason-Toyne and STIR member Nancy Garber also presented Ed Fite with an award for his nearly 30 years’ service as OSRC administration.

Fite thanked his staff and board of directors, and said he would be nothing without them.

“Water is the life spirit of the soul,” said Fite.

-- tsnell@tahlequahdailypress.com

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


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.
     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