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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Greenwood Elementary’s fourth-grade robotics team headed to world competition with innovative project
When five Greenwood Elementary School fourth-graders volunteered to be part of a newly-forming robotics team this past October, they never dreamed that six months later, they’d be competing in a world championship tournament in Anaheim, Calif.
Bryson Page, Lyndsie Kinney, Rylee Jafrie, Ryan Mattox and Ashton Kinsey, along with two robotics teams from Tahlequah Middle School, fared well enough at VEX robotics team regional and state competitions to earn slots among 72 other teams competing for world recognition.
“Back in October, we received a donation for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum from the Cherokee Nation,” said Nikki Molloy, Greenwood parent liaison and robotics team coach. “The donation was a robotic kit, and each elementary site, along with TMS, received kits. The first time we gave the kids the kits, we just let them have at it.”
Seizure issues growing more controversial
Aside from the texts and the rights they enumerate, there are some stark contrasts between the Third and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
Virtually no one disagrees about the Third Amendment. There are only rare instances of its being litigated, and it has never been the legal basis for a decision of the Supreme Court.
On the other hand, litigation and dissension over the Fourth Amendment is routine.
Education and consolidation topics at forum
State legislators enter the final week of bill hearings and committee meetings next week, and education and agency consolidation remain key concerns for local residents.
Friday morning, five area legislators made presentations and fielded questions from constituents during Legislative Focus at Go Ye Village. Lawmakers included Sen. Earl Garrison, D-Muskogee; Sen. Wayne Shaw, R-Grove; Rep. Will Fourkiller, D-Westville; Rep. Doug Cox, R-Grove; and Rep. Mike Brown, D-Tahlequah.
Plea deal arranged for ex-fire chief
A former Cherokee County volunteer fire chief has agreed to plead guilty to forgery and embezzlement charges in exchange for a suspended sentence and payment of restitution.
Third Thursday Art Walk
Shoppers will have a chance to visit downtown merchants in the evening during the Tahlequah Main Street Association’s first Third Thursday Art Walk and After Party on Thursday, March 20.
Participating downtown businesses will keep their doors open to offer specials until 8 p.m., and artists will display their work at different locations. Art exhibitors, including the Cherokee Art Center’s Spider Gallery, will stay open late.
Sex offender bill reaches House
By a unanimous 44-0 vote of the Oklahoma Senate, a bill that would make it more difficult for registered sex offenders to change their names has reached the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
Senate Bill 1421, authored by Kyle Loveless, Oklahoma City Republican, underwent its first reading in the House on Feb. 27.
Cherokee County Undersheriff Jason Chennault said he did not know of any instances, during his service with the department, of registered sex offenders evading detection with new names for any length of time.
SB 1497 may aid transparency
Government transparency advocates were pleased, and some were surprised, when a proposed bill designed to strengthen Oklahoma’s Open Meetings Act passed the Senate Judicial Committee recently.
Senate Bill 1497, by Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, would allow citizens who are denied access to public meetings to bring civil lawsuits, and if the court rules in favor, to collect attorney’s fees. A continuing resolution has already been filed.
Should the legislation pass into law, it would become effective Nov. 1 this year.
Moulton: Sovereignty is John Ross’ legacy
When describing the Cherokee people, the words “well-educated” and “independent” may come to mind. Those attributes were principles held most dear by John Ross, principal chief of the Cherokees from 1828-1866.
Dr. Gary Moulton, University of Nebraska Thomas C. Sorensen emeritus professor of American history, discussed Ross’ history during a presentation at the Tahlequah Armory Municipal Center Thursday. The event was organized by the history department at Northeastern State University.
The bear facts
A joint project linking two state agencies with researchers at Oklahoma State University is gathering the “bear facts” on a growing population in the northeastern part of the state.
A six-year study on black bears in Cherokee, Adair and Sequoyah counties is being conducted as a precursor to possible establishment of a controlled hunting season in Green Country. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Oklahoma Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management of Oklahoma State University have partnered for the endeavor.
Drug task force seizes K2 at a Tahlequah house
The District 27 Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force seized between $200 and $300 worth of synthetic drugs during a bust Friday.
The Tahlequah Police Department and the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service were also in on the raid. Members of the task force hope the seizure will aid in an ongoing investigation to find larger suppliers.
“We received information that sales were being made from a residence off Choctaw Street,” said Michael Moore, task force director. “Further investigation led to a state search warrant based on the federal Schedule I list of drugs.”
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