A good Samaritan may have been misled recently by a homeowner seeking repairs.
Chuck Sneed is director of Helping Hands, an agency designed to help the elderly and disabled. Sneed contacted the Press Wednesday morning, saying an elderly couple who had a home built by Tahlequah Area Habitat for Humanity were in dire straits and that the home construction was substandard.
The home, owned by Milton and Jenny Mims, is near Moodys. But according to TAHFH Executive Director Linda Cheatham, the structure was not built by the agency’s volunteers, although extensive repairs were made to an existing building in 2008.
“Jenny’s daughter was a Talking Leaves Job Corps student, and at the time, we were giving a presentation at TLJC,” said Cheatham. “Jenny came and asked for our help.”
Cheatham said the family members had built the home themselves, and when TAHFH staff inspected the site, they found the house in major disrepair.
“It was just a square box with no windows,” said Cheatham. “They built this house and it was not well-built. The septic tank was not set correctly; they had no flushing toilets, electrical problems.”
According to documents kept by Cheatham, Habitat offered to provide home repairs, labor and supplies totaling $5,374.11. Cheatham said the homeowners agreed and paid a no-interest loan for $2,005.11, less than half the total cost.
“They repaid the loan at $60 a month for 32 months,” said Cheatham.
“We went out and brought the electric up to code, put some windows in, reset the septic tank so the water would drain correctly.”
Cheatham itemized donated items, including the cost. Items included three insulated windows at $150 each; a kitchen faucet for $25; a partial roll of house wrap at $70; two days of backhoe work at $500 per day; four loads of trash pickup at $24; and 180 hours of volunteer labor at $10 per hour.
Milton Mims told Sneed Habitat built the home, and initially told the Daily Press the same thing. But when questioned further, he changed his story.
“Well, I was building the house, but [TAHFH] just came in and took over,” said Mims.
Mims refused to answer further specific questions about the repairs, and also said he didn’t know how Sneed had become involved in the flap.
Cheatham said she was taken aback at the accusations.
“Isn’t that a shame. Since that time, we’ve completed 28 repair and painting projects, in addition to the 20 houses that we’ve built,” said Cheatham.
When Sneed was informed of the specifics provided by TAHFH, he, too, was dismayed.
“I’ve been lied to, then,” said Sneed.
Sneed had been so concerned for the family, in fact, that he had contacted other media outlets about their plight.
“I was told Habitat built that house from the ground up, and felt like this family needed help,” he said.
A good Samaritan may have been misled recently by a homeowner seeking repairs.
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Jackson takes prize
Cherokee Heritage Center Museum Curator Mickel Yantz kicked off his 10th anniversary at the venue with the opening of the 43rd annual Trail of Tears Art Show this past Friday.
“The Trail of Tears show was my first exhibit opening when I arrived 10 years ago,” said Yantz. “Since that time, the show has changed so dramatically; we’ve added so many new artists, and the art work has excelled over time. It’s like Christmas for me.”
Yantz said he was exceptionally pleased with the opening reception.
“We had a fantastic turnout,” said Yantz. “We had a lot of fun and sold some artwork, which is great for opening night.”
The exhibit is on display at the Cherokee Heritage Center through May 26. This year’s show features 130 pieces of art spanning eight different categories, including basketry, graphics, jewelry, miniature, painting, pottery and sculpture.
Some NSU students find Church of Monett offensive
They turn heads every time they show up on campus, and some students at Northeastern State University are offended by their presence.
The Church of Monett, Mo., has made periodic trips to Tahlequah to stage quiet demonstrations in public campus spaces in recent years. They carry signs that read, “Wives, Obey your Husbands,”; “To be Married to the divorced is Adultery”; and “Don’t be deceived: fornicators homosexuals idolaters adulterers thieves drunkards - shall not inherit God’s Kingdom.”
Teen sent to hospital after being struck by tractor-trailer
An 18-year-old Tahlequah man was struck by a tractor-trailer early Tuesday morning on the State Highway 51 bypass near Mimosa Lane.
Tahlequah Police Capt. Tom Jones said officers responded to the scene at about 5:40 a.m., when Sage Sohns was found injured and lying in the road. A medical helicopter responded to the scene to transport Sohns to a Tulsa hospital, where he was being treated for a closed-head injury, police said.
TPS board hears architect presentations for cafeteria
Members of the Tahlequah Public Schools Board of Education heard from four architectural firms seeking a contract for construction at Cherokee Elementary School.
TPS plans to build a cafeteria-auditorium and a music room with a stage, which may also serve as a safe room during storms.
Local man hit with assault, burglary charges
Prosecutors have formally charged a Tahlequah man accused of breaking into a motel room, tying a rope around a man’s neck and stabbing him repeatedly with a syringe.
Jimmy Dale Briggs Jr., 33, is charged with first-degree burglary, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and two counts of threatening to perform an act of violence.
Boy whose mom scolded deputies in trouble again
Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies arrested a 15-year-old theft suspect Monday night after he allegedly assaulted his brother.
Deputy Kim Novak said authorities were dispatched to a home and ultimately took the teen into custody. While there, they also discovered items that had been reported stolen, including a bed and several tools.
Novak said the teen is the same boy who has previously been found to be in possession of stolen items.
Plane crash victims recovering
Two Arkansas men remained in a Tulsa hospital Monday after the plane they were flying crashed into a wooded area in Cookson.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the 1946 Ercoupe 415 crashed under “unknown circumstances” about a mile from the Tenkiller Air Park in Cookson Saturday morning.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says 75-year-old John McCreary and 85-year-old Albert Demarco Jr., both of Ozark, Ark., were flown from Cookson to St. John Medical Center in Tulsa.
Man taken for blood sample confuses hospital with hotel
Tahlequah police say an Austin, Texas, man stopped Saturday mistook a local hospital for a hotel when he was taken to have his blood drawn.
Officer Cory Keele’s affidavit says 20-year-old Terrance Walker was driving south on Muskogee Avenue at about 2 a.m. Saturday, swerving from one line to another.
Keele tried to stop the car near Muskogee and Chickasaw, and Walker eventually slowed to a stop near South Street.
Walker opened the car door as Keele approached. The officer said Walker had dilated pupils.
Knife-cutting incident lands man in jail
A Tahlequah man jailed for allegedly cutting a woman with a kitchen knife was released on a recognizance bond Monday.
Scottie Lee Ennis, 42, was arrested after Officer Austin Yates was sent to Tahlequah City Hospital late Friday night.
There, Yates spoke with Jennifer Pennell, who had apparently suffered a stab wound to her arm.
Pennell told Yates she and her husband, Ennis, had gone to Dewain’s Place earlier in the evening, and while at the bar, a man bought her a drink.
Tahlequah man bonds out after arrest for assault
A 22-year-old Tahlequah man bonded out of jail Monday after his weekend arrest on domestic assault charges.
Jeremy Hawley was booked into jail Sunday for domestic assault and battery in the presence of a minor and interfering with a 911 call.
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