Ledger/LCJ newsletter 12-11-2020

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Blast from the past 12-11-2020

Blast from the past is a new feature we will run on ledgerlcj.com and our newsletter heavenerledger.substack.com.

In this image taken by Gene Hall, the Heavener High School band marches in downtown Heavener sometime in the mid-1970s.

To submit an old picture for Blast from the past, send an email to craig@heaevenerledger.com or bring it by the Ledger office at 507 East First Street in Heavener.

NEWS

Coronavirus update 12-10-2020

LeFlore County had 35 new coronavirus cases in Thursday’s report by the Oklahoma Department of Health.

Poteau had 10 new cases, Spiro six, Heavener five, Talihina and Wister four each, Howe had two, and Bokoshe, Cameron, Pocola and Shady Point each had one.

The county currently has 262 active cases, up two from Wednesday. LeFlore County has had 2,774 cases, 2,484 recoveries and 28 deaths from complications due to the virus.

Oklahoma had 2,460 new cases, 35 deaths and 2,704 recoveries in Thursday’s report. The state has now had 225,453 cases, 1,980 deaths and 194,229 recoveries.

Active cases are 29,224, down 279 from Wednesday.

The United States had 221,267 new cases, 3,124 deaths and 102,981 recoveries. Overall, the totals are 15,386,562 cases, 289,373 deaths and 5,889,896 recoveries.

Active cases are 9,207,293, up 115,162 from Wednesday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, speaks during a news conference following a weekly meeting with the Senate Republican caucus, Tuesday, Dec. 8. 2020 at the Capitol in Washington. (Sarah Silbiger/Pool via AP)

McConnell resists state aid in COVID-19 deal

By LISA MASCARO and ANDREW TAYLOR  Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — An emerging $900 billion COVID-19 aid package from a bipartisan group of lawmakers has all but collapsed after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republican senators won't support $160 billion in state and local funds as part of a potential trade-off in the deal.

McConnell's staff conveyed to top negotiators Thursday that the GOP leader sees no path to an agreement on a key aspect of the lawmakers' existing proposal — a slimmed-down version of the liability shield he is seeking for companies and organizations facing potential COVID-19 lawsuits — in exchange for the state and local funds that Democrats want.

The GOP leader criticized "controversial state bailouts" during a speech in the Senate, as he insists on a more targeted aid package.

The hardened stance from McConnell, who does not appear to have enough votes from his Republican majority for a far-reaching compromise, creates a new stalemate over the $900-billion-plus package, despite days of toiling by a bipartisan group of lawmakers to strike compromise.

Other legislative pile-ups now threaten Friday's related business — a must-pass government funding bill. If it doesn't clear Congress, that would trigger a federal government shutdown on Saturday.

McConnell's staff conveyed to other negotiators it's "unlikely" the trade-off proposed by the bipartisan group would be acceptable, as COVID aid talks continue, according to a person granted anonymity to discuss the talks. A senior Democrat first shared the Republican leader's views after being granted anonymity to discuss the private conversations, which were first reported by Politico.

Deadlines, real and perceived, haven't been sufficient to drive Washington's factions to an agreement, despite the U.S. breaking a record-high 3,000 daily COVID fatalities, and hospitals straining at capacity from soaring caseloads nationwide.

The House recessed for a few days, with leaders warning members to be prepared to return to Washington to vote on the year-end deals, while the Senate was planning a rare Friday session.

The breakdown over the COVID aid package, after days of behind-the-scenes talks by a group of lawmakers fed up with inaction, comes as President Donald Trump has taken the talks in another direction — insisting on a fresh round of $600 stimulus checks for Americans.

Sending direct cash payments to households was not included in the bipartisan proposal, but has been embraced by some of the president's fiercest critics — including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N,Y., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Independent who introduced an amendment to include the checks with Trump ally Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo.

Sanders said the unprecedented moment facing the nation with the pandemic and its economic fallout requires Congress to "take unprecedented action."

Trump's top negotiator on COVID-19 financial aid, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reported headway Thursday, before the package from the bipartisan senators' group fell apart.

"I think we're making a lot of progress," Mnuchin said.

A one-week stop-gap measure to prevent a federal shutdown appears to have sapped some urgency from the talks. The short-term government-wide funding bill, approved by the House on Wednesday, needs to clear the Senate before Friday at midnight to avert a partial closure.

The next deadline would be Dec. 18, but both House and Senate leaders say they won't adjourn without passing an aid measure.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Congress would keep working up to or even after Christmas to get an agreement. The new Congress is being sworn in on Jan. 3.

"Now if we need more time then we take more time, but we have to have a bill and we cannot go home without it," Pelosi said. She also gave an upbeat assessment on the talks.

The bipartisan lawmakers held another virtual "dinner group" meeting late Thursday to try to prop up the deal. They have been working furiously to try to bridge the stalemate over COVID aid.

The $900 billion-plus proposal provides sweeping new funds for vaccines, small businesses, health care providers, schools and families suffering from the virus crisis and the economic shutdowns.

A key hold up has been the standoff over more money for the states, that Democrats - and some Republicans - want and the liability shield that is McConnell's top GOP priority but that most Democrats oppose.

The partisan group tried to marry those two provisions as a compromise.

McConnell had initially proposed a five-year liability shield from virus lawsuits, retroactive to December 2019, but the bipartisan group was eyeing a scaled-back shield of six months to a year. Labor and civil rights groups oppose any shield, which they say strips essential workers of potential legal recourse as they take risks during the pandemic.

Democratic leaders had wanted far more in state and local aid, but were accepting of the lower $160 billion.

But many Republicans have long viewed the state and local aid as a bailout they would have trouble supporting, despite the pleas for funds coming from governors and mayors nationwide.

Late Thursday, Sen. Dick Durbin and other Democrats pitched another liability proposal to the bipartisan group, but it was rejected by Republicans, according to a Senate aide granted anonymity to discuss the private session.

The Trump administration is back in the middle of the negotiations with a $916 billion plan. It would send a $600 direct payment to most Americans but eliminate a $300-per-week employment benefit favored by the bipartisan group of Senate negotiators.

The White House offer has the endorsement of the top House Republican and apparent backing from McConnell, who had previously favored a $519 billion GOP plan that has already failed twice. But Democrats immediately blasted the plan over the administration's refusal to back the partial restoration, to $300 per week, of bonus pandemic jobless benefits that lapsed in August.

President-elect Joe Biden is pressing for as much pandemic relief as possible, though he's not directly involved in the talks. McConnell, like Pelosi, says Congress will not adjourn without providing the long-overdue COVID-19 relief.

Republicans say the right people to handle final negotiations are the four leaders of Congress and the Trump administration, with the focus on the streamlined proposal from McConnell, R-Ky.

The bipartisan negotiating group — led by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, among others — was seeking to rally lawmakers behind the $908 billion framework that includes the $300-per-week pandemic jobless benefit and $160 billion for states and local governments.

It also includes a four-month extension of jobless benefits set to expire at the end of the month, $300 billion for "paycheck protection" subsidies for struggling businesses, funding for vaccines and testing, and a host of smaller items such as aid to transit systems, the U.S. Postal Service and health care providers.

SPORTS

Sports scoreboard 12-10-2020

The LeFlore County sports scoreboard for games played Dec. 10 and schedule of games for Dec. 11.

Scoreboard

Basketball

Boys

Howe 91, Lakewood Christian 30

Whitesboro 48, Oktaha 45

Girls

LeFlore 52, Wister 20

Canadian 58, Panama 50.

Friday’s schedule: Stigler at Heavener; Howe, Bokoshe at Indianola Tournament

Because of the threat of cancelations due to coronavirus, contact the school to make sure the game is still on.

To submit scores or information on games involving LeFlore County teams, send an email to craig@heavenerledger.com, fax (918) 653-7305 or text (918) 649-4712,

Howe wins big over Lakewood

INDIANOLA – Howe’s boys and junior varsity girls won their games Thursday in the Indianola Warrior Classic.

The Lions improved to 3-1 with an easy 91-30 win over Lakewood Christian while the JV girls downed Weleetka, 64-43.

Boys

Howe advanced to the semifinals with the blowout win Thursday. The Lions play Maud in the semifinals Friday at 3 p.m.

Howe (3-1) jumped ahead 27-2 in the first quarter and extended the advantage to 50-12 at halftime.

Brayden Oglesby led Howe with 21 points; Zayn Coggins scored 13 and Jensin Coggins added 11.

Howe 91, Lakewood 30

LHS  2 10  9  9—30

HHS 27 23 22 19—90

Lakewood—Rollan Schropshire 2 0-0 3 4; Josh Burgello 0 0-0 1 0; Noah Hurst 1 0-0 1 3; Carter Terney 1 0-0 0 2; Malik Laurent 4 4-6 2 12; Treyton Salyero 3 0-0 1 7; Grifffin Crowson 0 0-0 1 0; Wyatt Shropshire 1 0-0 1 2. TOTALS: 12 4-6 10 30.

Howe—Brayden Dalton 3 1-2 0 7; Ky Lynn 3 0-0 1 6; Zayn Coggins 6 0-0 0 13; Brayden Oglesby 8 4-6 0 21; Naythan Ocampo 2 0-0 0 4; Aldon Lemus 3 0-0 0 6; Brody Sullard 2 0-0 0 4; Jaxon Remy 1 1-2 1 3; Eduardo Sanchez 1 1-2 0 3; Chay LaRosa 1 0-0 0 2; Kobe Brown 3 0-0 0 7; Jensin Coggins 4 3-4 3 11; Ricardo Sanchez 1 0-0 2 2; Kyler Brown 1 0-0 0 2. TOTALS: 39 10-16 7 91.

Oklahoma City Thunder's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) goes up for a shot as Houston Rockets' Russell Westbrook, right, looks on during the first half of an NBA first-round playoff basketball game in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., in this Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, file photo.

Gilgeous-Alexander leads young Thunder core

By CLIFF BRUNT AP Sports Writer

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is the man for Oklahoma City in just his third year in the NBA.

The Thunder surprised the league last season by making the playoffs, but veterans Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari, Dennis Schroder and Steven Adams are no longer with the team. Even with all of those established players on the roster, Gilgeous-Alexander was the team's leading scorer. He averaged 19.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.

Now, the franchise expects the 22-year-old swingman to carry more of the load.

"It's something I'm excited about," Gilgeous-Alexander said. "I think I've worked hard enough to deserve that responsibility and trust from Sam (Presti) and the rest of the front office and the rest of the coaching staff. But really, I'm just ready to take advantage of the opportunity I've been given."

Gilgeous-Alexander joins Lu Dort and Darius Bazley as the key holdovers from a young core that helped push Houston to seven games in the playoffs last season. Dort and Bazley were rookies who quickly proved themselves ready for the NBA.

"I think all those guys have been pushed to limits in which they're uncomfortable," said Presti, the Thunder general manager. "They've shown the ability to bounce back from setbacks. That's a big part of our organization. It's the reason why I think we've had success with some younger players over time, the resiliency they've shown."

Gilgeous-Alexander went into the summer knowing his role likely would change.

"My biggest thing was getting my body ready for the bigger task at hand in terms of loads and things like that," he said. "So I put on a little bit of weight, I got in better shape, I played a little bit more. Just being ready for the opportunity."

Dort, 21, was on a two-way contract when he worked his way into the starting lineup. The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 6.8 points per game and started 28 of the 36 regular-season NBA games he played in. He gained visibility by using his defensive intensity and solid frame to make things difficult for Houston's James Harden in the playoffs. He scored 30 points in Game 7 against the Rockets, and now, he's on a full NBA contract.

"He was playing because we had some injuries and we didn't have anybody really to play in that position without really I guess jumbling up the rotation," Presti said. "He got thrown out there and didn't fail. Next thing you know, he's Lu Dort."

Bazley started nine games last season as a backup to Gallinari. He was especially good in the regular-season bubble games. In one three-game stretch, he averaged 22 points and 8.7 rebounds on 56% shooting.

Now just 20, the 6-foot-8 forward compared the new situation to graduating from high school. He said he put in the work during the shortened offseason to take the next step.

"There's been plenty of time to do much of everything," Bazley said. "For the whole offseason, I worked, I lifted. I got on the court and worked on my game. It wasn't as short as some people may think it is or what it may have seemed."

Presti said the three have the right mental tools to handle the challenge.

"I hope they recognize that we're putting some faith in them both on and off the court," he said. "There's a lot of responsibility that comes with that. As a young player, I think you want that, you want that challenge, the opportunity to prove yourself. They're going to get that opportunity."

Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders (3) is hit and flipped in the air by TCU cornerback Tre'Vius Hodges-Tomlinson (1) as Oklahoma State wide receiver Dillon Stoner (17) TCU defensive end Ochaun Mathis (32) look on during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

OSU goes into Baylor makeup out of contention

By STEPHEN HAWKINS AP Sports Writer

WACO, Texas (AP) — When Oklahoma State was supposed to play at Baylor in mid-October, the Cowboys were the No. 6 team in the Top 25 with expectations to contend for a spot in the Big 12 championship game, maybe even the College Football Playoff.

Two months later, the Cowboys (6-3, 5-3 Big 12) are out title contention going into the makeup Saturday night at Baylor in what now is a regular-season finale.

The Cowboys have lost three of their last five games, including a 28-point Bedlam loss to No. 13 Oklahoma. They are coming off a 29-22 loss at TCU, which won last week despite having five turnovers.

Tylan Wallace is the Big 12's top receiver, but 2019 FBS rushing leader Chuba Hubbard hasn't played the last two games and has been plagued by injuries since piling up 480 yards rushing during a 4-0 start. And the Cowboys have a young and unseasoned offensive line due to opt-outs and injuries.

"The guys that are playing for us right now is the third wave. We have eight guys that have not been available that were available to us in June," coach Mike Gundy said, adding some "came from just hanging out at practice, drinking some Gatorade, looking forward to what lunch was going to be to all the sudden you're a starter."

Baylor (2-6, all Big 12) goes into the final game of coach Dave Aranda's first season after playing Oklahoma closer than the Cowboys did. The Bears in that 27-14 loss last week held the Sooners to 278 total yards, their fewest since 2015, and broke their 60-game streak of scoring at least 28 points.

"Just focus on what's right in front of you and knock it out," Aranda said of his defense.

ABRAM'S ASCENSION

Baylor junior linebacker Terrel Bernard was the Big 12's leading tackler with 55 in the first five games before a season-ending shoulder injury. Abram Smith, a junior converted running back, has started in his place the last three games, matching that 11-tackle-per-game average with 33.

"I love Abram, and just his willingness to learn and grow," Aranda said. "When we first started, I remember it was new for him to be in there, and there were some things that didn't come as natural as maybe you'd like. That didn't deter him. He kept at it."

NOT OVERLOOKING BEARS

Oklahoma State is a slight favorite, but the Cowboys have lost five of six in the series and each of their last four trips to Waco.

"This is like every game for us, with where we're at now as we're starting to get a little bit better up front with some guys, and as we start to continue defensively and try to make up for a few guys not being in there," Gundy said. "Every game will be challenging for us."

EXTENDED BREAK

Oklahoma State wound up with consecutive open dates when the Big 12 put off the scheduled Oct. 17 game at Baylor because of an outbreak of positive COVID-19 tests in the Bears program. They came out of that break with a 24-21 win over No. 10 Iowa State, the only conference loss for the Cyclones, who will play Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game. The Cowboys are 2-3 since, with their two wins by a combined eight points.

HURTING RUNNERS

Baylor running backs Qualan Jones and John Lovett missed the Oklahoma game with injuries, and Trestan Ebner left last Saturday's game with a high ankle sprain. Little-used redshirt freshman Jonah White could be the fifth different running back starter. He ran three times for 18 yards against Oklahoma, and caught nine passes for 63 yards.

SCORING D

Oklahoma State's defense has scored four touchdowns, returning three fumbles and an interception to the end zone.

COACHES IN COMMON

Gundy was Baylor's quarterback coach and passing game coordinator in 1996 when current Bears offensive coordinator Larry Fedora was their running game coordinator. Fedora was later Gundy's offensive coordinator at OSU from 2005-07, and current Baylor offensive line coach Joe Wickline was in that same role on Gundy's staff from 2005-13.

OTHER STORIES

County sets another record high

For the second straight day, LeFlore County set a record high for the date Thursday.

Thursday’s high was 75 degrees, breaking the previous record high for Dec. 10 of 69 in 1970.

Don’t expect any records for Friday as rain and cooler temperatures are expected. The high will be 63 degrees with a low of 37.

Sunrise is at 7:16 a.m. with sunset at 5:07 p.m.

Thursday’s low was 39. Record low for the day was 8 in 1977.

Average temperatures for Dec. 11 are a high of 55 and low of 28.

Calendar of events

The LeFlore County calendar of events lists the upcoming events in the area. This is a free service so if you or your group have an event coming up and would like it added to the calendar, please send an email to craig@heavenerledger.com.

Friday

Graveside funeral services for Roy Gordon Sr.

Funeral service for Patricia Trout

High school basketball: Stigler at Heavener; Howe, Bokoshe at Indianola Tournament .

Saturday

Funeral service for Joseph Davidson

High school basketball: Howe, Bokoshe at Indianola Tournament

Monday

LeFlore County commissioners meet 9 a.m.

Heavener, Howe, LeFlore, Poteau school boards meet

High school basketball: Heavener at FNB Classic at McAlester; Wister at Keota; Braggs at Bokoshe; Arkoma at Whitesboro.

Tuesday

Poteau Chamber Christmas open house 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Reynolds Center

Poteau Evening Lions Club meet 6 p.m. CASC

High school basketball: Heavener at FNB Classic at McAlester; Howe at Warner; Clayton at LeFlore; Red Oak at Panama; Keota at Cameron; Spiro at Muldrow; Whitesboro at Moyers

Wednesday

Poteau Rotary Club meets noon at EOMC

High school basketball: Heavener at FNB Classic at McAlester; Cameron at Arkoma

Thursday

Kiwanis Club meets noon at Western Sizzlin’

Heavener VFW bingo 6 p.m.

Heavener Utilities Authority and City Council meet 6 p.m.

High school basketball: Heavener at FNB Classic at McAlester; Howe, Pocola, Talihina at Choctaw Nation Tournament in Talihina; Whitesboro at Wister; LeFlore at Panama; Bokoshe at Cave Springs.

New York City police in protective gear wade along the FDR Drive on Manhattan's Upper East Side where they searched stranded vehicles and rescued occupants, Dec. 11, 1992. A combination of high winds and high tide sent the East River washing over the highway and swamping traffic at the height of a giant storm which swept over the northeast. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Today in history for Dec. 11

By The Associated Press

Today is Friday, Dec. 11, the 346th day of 2020. There are 20 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Dec. 11, 1936, Britain's King Edward VIII abdicated the throne so he could marry American divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson; his brother, Prince Albert, became King George VI.

On this date:

In 1816, Indiana became the 19th state.

In 1844, the first experimental use of an inhaled anesthetic in dentistry took place as Dr. Horace Wells of Hartford, Connecticut, under the influence of nitrous oxide, had a colleague extract one of his teeth.

In 1941, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States; the U.S. responded in kind.

In 1946, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was established.

In 1964, singer-songwriter Sam Cooke was shot to death by a motel manager in Los Angeles; he was 33.

In 1972, Apollo 17's lunar module landed on the moon with astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt aboard; they became the last two men to date to step onto the lunar surface.

In 1997, more than 150 countries agreed at a global warming conference in Kyoto, Japan, to control the Earth's greenhouse gases.

In 1998, majority Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee pushed through three articles of impeachment against President Clinton, over Democratic objections.

In 2001, in the first criminal indictment stemming from 9/11, federal prosecutors charged Zacarias Moussaoui (zak-uh-REE'-uhs moo-SOW'-ee), a French citizen of Moroccan descent, with conspiring to murder thousands in the suicide hijackings. (Moussaoui pleaded guilty to conspiracy in 2005 and was sentenced to life in prison.)

In 2004, doctors in Austria said that Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko had been poisoned with dioxin, which caused the severe disfigurement and partial paralysis of his face.

In 2008, former Nasdaq chairman Bernie Madoff was arrested, accused of running a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that wiped out the life savings of thousands of people and wrecked charities. (Madoff is serving a 150-year federal prison sentence.) The remains of missing Florida toddler Caylee Anthony were found six months after she disappeared. (Her mother, Casey Anthony, was acquitted of murder in her daughter's death.)

In 2018, a man who had been flagged as a possible extremist sprayed gunfire near the famous Christmas market in the French city of Strasbourg, killing three people and wounding 13 others; the suspect died in a shootout with police two days later. (A fourth person wounded in the attack later died.) A Virginia jury called for a sentence of life in prison plus 419 years for the man who killed a woman when he rammed his car into counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. (James Alex Fields Jr. received that sentence in July, 2019.)

Ten years ago: The eldest son of disgraced financier Bernard Madoff, 46-year-old Mark Madoff, hanged himself in his Manhattan apartment on the second anniversary of his father's arrest. A U.N. conference in Cancun, Mexico, adopted a modest climate deal. Auburn quarterback Cam Newton won the Heisman Trophy.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama signed legislation keeping government agencies open into the following week, giving White House and congressional bargainers more time to complete sweeping deals on taxes and federal spending. Dow Chemical and DuPont announced they were merging to form a company valued at about $130 billion. Willard Scott announced he was hanging it up after 35 years as part of NBC's "Today" show.

One year ago: Israel's parliament failed to meet a midnight deadline to form a coalition government, triggering an unprecedented third election in a 12-month period. Saudi Arabian oil company Aramco surpassed Apple as the world's most valuable public company when its shares made their debut on the Saudi stock exchange; a 10% rally brought the company's value to $1.88 trillion.

Today's Birthdays: Actor Jean-Louis Trintignant is 90. Actor Rita Moreno is 89. Pop singer David Gates (Bread) is 80. Actor Donna Mills is 80. Former Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., is 79. Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is 77. Singer Brenda Lee is 76. Actor Lynda Day George is 76. Music producer Tony Brown is 74. Actor Teri Garr is 73. Movie director Susan Seidelman is 69. Actor Bess Armstrong is 67. Singer Jermaine Jackson is 66. Rock musician Mike Mesaros (The Smithereens) is 63. Rock musician Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue) is 62. Rock musician Darryl Jones (The Rolling Stones) is 59. Actor Ben Browder is 58. Singer-musician Justin Currie (Del Amitri) is 56. Rock musician David Schools (Hard Working Americans, Gov't Mule, Widespread Panic) is 56. Actor Gary Dourdan (DOOR'-dan) is 54. Actor-comedian Mo'Nique is 53. Actor Max Martini is 51. Rapper-actor Mos Def is 47. Actor Rider Strong is 41. Actor Xosha (ZOH'-shah) Roquemore is 36. Actor Karla Souza is 34. Actor Hailee Steinfeld is 24.