Ledger/LCJ newsletter 12-17-2021
The Ledger/LCJ newsletter for Friday
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Biden acknowledges $2T bill stalled
By LISA MASCARO and ALAN FRAM Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has all but acknowledged negotiations over his sweeping domestic policy package will likely push into the new year, as he does not yet have the votes in the Senate to lift the roughly $2 trillion bill to passage.
Biden issued a statement Thursday evening as it became increasingly apparent the Democratic senators would not meet their Christmas deadline, in large part because of unyielding opposition from one holdout: Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
The president said that in their recent discussions, the West Virginia senator has reiterated his support for the framework he, the president and other Democrats had agreed to on the flagship bill. Biden said he also briefed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer earlier Thursday about the most recent round of talks with Manchin.
"I believe that we will bridge our differences and advance the Build Back Better plan, even in the face of fierce Republican opposition," Biden said in the statement.
Biden said he and his team will continue to have discussions with Manchin next week. The White House and the congressional leaders plan to work "over the days and weeks ahead" to finish up the details, he said. Both he and Schumer are determined, he said, to bring the package to the Senate floor for votes as early as possible.
"We will — we must — get Build Back Better passed," Biden said.
Biden's statement was a much-needed intervention, allowing Senate Democrats an off-ramp to what has been months of tangled negotiations that appear nowhere near resolved as time runs out ahead of the Christmas holiday.
At the same time, Democrats were rushing to show progress on another jammed-up priority: voting rights legislation that, Biden acknowledged, also faces hurdles. "We must also press forward on voting rights legislation, and make progress on this as quickly as possible," Biden said.
Schumer, D-N.Y., had set Senate passage before Christmas as his goal, but disputes with Manchin and other Democrats remain. It had become clear that the party was seeking an explicit move from Biden in hopes he would cut a deal with Manchin, or urge lawmakers to delay action until January.
The sudden end-of-year shift comes as Democrats suffered another blow to their agenda late Thursday when the Senate parliamentarian decided that hard-fought efforts to include immigration law changes should be stripped from the package because they don't comply with the chamber's rules.
Schumer said Democrats "strongly disagree" with the parliamentarian's decision and vowed to "pursue every means" so that immigrants can achieve a path to citizenship in Biden's package.
The ruling is just one part of an ongoing, time-consuming review by Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough about whether many of the bill's provisions violate the chamber's rules and should be dropped.
As the day's business began, Schumer barely mentioned what was becoming an obvious stall. Instead, he described Democrats' efforts to break a logjam on voting rights legislation and a pile of nominations the Senate will consider "as we continue working to bring the Senate to a position where we can move forward" on the social and environment bill.
Using his sway in a 50-50 Senate where Democrats need unanimity to prevail, Manchin has continued his drive to force his party to cut the bill's cost and eliminate programs he opposes. All Republicans oppose the package, arguing the measure carrying many of Biden's paramount domestic priorities is too expensive and would worsen inflation.
"The best Christmas gift Washington could give working families would be putting this bad bill on ice," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
McConnell and Manchin met in the GOP leader's office, as they often do, a very public reminder of the West Virginia senator's conservative leanings and Democrats' slim hold on the majority. "We do appreciate the fact that he seems to be one of the few remaining centrists left in the Democratic Party," McConnell said.
A person who was unauthorized to discuss the rocky status of the Biden-Manchin talks and spoke only on condition of anonymity said Wednesday that Manchin was pushing to eliminate the bill's renewal of expanded benefits under the child tax credit, a keystone of Democratic efforts to reduce child poverty.
As he exited a Democratic senators' closed-door lunch, Manchin was mum on his next move, telling reporters he had "nothing" to share.
Earlier Wednesday, Manchin said assertions he wants to strip the child tax credit improvements were "a lot of bad rumors."
Democrats were livid over the possibility of eliminating one of the bill's most significant achievements — the continuation of enhanced child tax credits that have been sending monthly checks to millions of families during the COVID-19 crisis and will expire next year without further action.
Letting the social and environment legislation slip into next year, when congressional elections will be held, would be ominous for the bill's ultimate prospects.
With Democrats having blown past previous self-imposed deadlines on the push, another delay would fuel Republican accusations that they are incompetently running a government they control. Democrats are bracing for November elections when the GOP has a real chance of winning control of the House and Senate.
Word of Manchin's stance prompted a backlash from colleagues, whom he's frustrated for months with constant demands to cut the bill's size and scope. The measure also has money for health care, universal prekindergarten and climate change programs, largely paid for with tax boosts on big corporations and the rich.
The second-ranking Democrat, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, said "the level of emotion" among Democrats over the child tax credit "is very high," and said he was "stunned" when he heard about Manchin's demands.
Manchin has wanted the overall bill's 10-year price tag to fall below $2 trillion. He also wants all its programs to last the full decade.
The current bill would extend the enhanced child tax credit for just one year, a device to contain the bill's cost. Renewing the improved benefits for 10 years would increase its current one-year cost of around $100 billion to over $1 trillion, and doing that while cutting the overall bill's size would wreak havoc on Democrats' other priorities.
The Treasury Department says the expanded tax credit has helped the families of 61 million children.
Manchin's other demands have included removing a new requirement for paid family leave. Disputes among other lawmakers include how to increase federal tax deductions for state and local taxes.
The House approved its version of the legislation in November.
Associated Press writers Colleen Long, Darlene Superville and Farnoush Amiri contributed to this report.
5 dead as Midwest rocked by strong winds
By MARGERY A. BECK and MARGARET STAFFORD Associated Press
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — At least five people died as a powerful and extremely unusual storm system swept across the Great Plains and Midwest amid unseasonably warm temperatures, spawning hurricane-force winds and possible tornadoes in Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota.
In southeastern Minnesota, Olmsted County Sheriff's Lt. Lee Rossman said a 65-year-old man was killed Wednesday night when a 40-foot tree blew onto him outside his home. In southwestern Kansas, blinding dust kicked up by the storms Wednesday led to two separate crashes that killed three people, Kansas Highway Patrol trooper Mike Racy said. And in eastern Iowa, a semitrailer was struck by high winds and rolled onto its side Wednesday evening, killing the driver, the Iowa State Patrol confirmed.
The storm shifted north of the Great Lakes into Canada on Thursday, with high winds, snow and hazardous conditions continuing in the upper Great Lakes region, the National Weather Service said. More than 400,000 homes and businesses were without electricity in Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Kansas, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks utility reports.
A tornado was reported in southern Minnesota on Wednesday and, if confirmed, would be the state's first on record in December. The small community of Hartland, Minnesota, might have been the hardest hit, with a reported 35 to 40 homes sustaining minor damage and a few businesses severely damaged, county Emergency Management Director Rich Hall said.
The destructive weather system developed amid unprecedented warmth for December in the Plains and northern states. That included temperatures that rose to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) across southwestern Wisconsin on Wednesday evening. The Weather Company historian Chris Burt compared the heat to that of a "warm July evening."
"I can say with some confidence that this event (the heat and tornadoes) is among the most (if not THE most) anomalous weather event ever on record for the Upper Midwest," Burt wrote in a Facebook post.
The winds knocked down trees, tree limbs and nearly 150 power lines in northern and western Michigan's Lower Peninsula. In the western Michigan village of Fruitport, high winds peeled back a portion of Edgewood Elementary School's roof, leading officials to close all district schools Thursday.
There were more than 20 tornado reports Wednesday in the Plains states, scattered mostly through eastern Nebraska and Iowa, based on preliminary reports to the Storm Prediction Center. The storm system led to the most reports of hurricane-force wind gusts — 75 mph (120 kph) or higher — on any day in the U.S. since 2004, the center said.
"To have this number of damaging wind storms at one time would be unusual anytime of year," said Brian Barjenbruch, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Valley, Nebraska. "But to have this happen in December is really abnormal."
The governors of Kansas and Iowa declared states of emergency.
The system came on the heels of devastating tornadoes last weekend that cut a path through states including Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Illinois and Kentucky, killing more than 85 people.
On Wednesday, there were at least 59 reports of hurricane-force wind gusts regionwide, which exceeded the 53 recorded on Aug. 10, 2020, when a rare derecho wind storm struck Iowa, the Storm Prediction Center said. The destruction on Wednesday, however, was far less severe than from last year's derecho, which caused billions of dollars of damage.
The winds also whipped up dust that reduced visibility to zero in parts of Kansas and caused at least four semitrailers to blow over, leading officials to temporarily close much of Interstate 70, as well as all state highways in nine northwestern Kansas counties.
Kansas deployed helicopters and other firefighting equipment to help smother at least a dozen wind-fueled wildfires in western and central counties, officials said Thursday.
That dust and smoke was carried north by the storm and concentrated over parts of Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa, causing a dramatic drop in air quality in those areas late Wednesday. That spawned a glut of calls to already-taxed emergency dispatchers from people reporting the smell of smoke.
The system blew into the Plains from Colorado, sending gale-force winds across a swath from New Mexico to Minnesota, Wisconsin and upper Michigan. The weather service recorded a gust of 107 mph (172 kph) Wednesday morning at Lamar, Colorado, and gusts of 100 mph in Russell, Kansas.
Scientists say extreme weather events and warmer temperatures are more likely to occur with human-caused climate change. However, scientifically attributing a storm system to global warming requires specific analysis and computer simulations that take time, haven't been done and sometimes show no clear connection.
"I think we also need to stop asking the question of whether or not this event was caused by climate change," said Northern Illinois University meteorology professor Victor Gensini. "We need to be asking, `To what extent did climate change play a role and how likely was this event to occur in the absence of climate change?'"
The unusually warm temperatures on Wednesday were due in part to record high ocean temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico, which wouldn't have happened without global warming, said Jeff Masters, a Yale Climate Connections meteorologist who cofounded Weather Underground.
US jobless claims still historically low
By PAUL WISEMAN AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week despite signs that the U.S. labor market is rebounding from last year's coronavirus recession.
Jobless claims rose by 18,000 to a 206,000, still low by historical standards. The four-week average, which smooths out week-to-week volatility, fell by 16,000 to less than 204,000, the lowest level since mid-November 1969 when the American job market was less than half the size it is now, according Department of Labor figures released Thursday.
Altogether, 1.8 million Americans were receiving traditional jobless benefits the week that ended Dec. 4, down by 154,000 from the previous week.
Weekly claims, which are a proxy for layoffs, have fallen steadily most of the year since topping 900,000 one week in early January. They are now below to the 220,000-a-week level typical before the coronavirus pandemic slammed the U.S. economy in March 2020; COVID-19 forced consumers to stay home as health precaution and businesses to close or reduce hours and to lay off staff. In March and April last year, employers shed a staggering 22.4 million jobs.
Massive government aid and the rollout of vaccines helped revive the economy and the job market by giving Americans the confidence and savings to go on a shopping spree, often online, for goods such as lawn furniture and coffee makers. Since April last year, the United States has regained nearly 18.5 million jobs. But the economy is still 3.9 million jobs short of where it stood in February 2020, and COVID variants like omicron pose a risk to the recovery.
Employers added a disappointing 210,000 jobs last month. But the November jobs report also showed that the unemployment rate dropped to a pandemic low of 4.2% from 4.6% in October.
Businesses and other employers posted a near-record 11 million job openings in October. And 4.2 million people quit their jobs — just off the September record of 4.4 million — a sign that they are confident enough in their prospects to look for something better.
"Demand for labor is very strong and workers are in short supply, so layoffs are very low,'' Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group, said in a research note. "Those workers who do find themselves unemployed can quickly find new jobs. The biggest problem for the labor market right now is too few workers.''
LeFlore County sports scoreboard 12-16-2021
Cave Springs at Bokoshe (No score reported)
Roland 49, Howe 40
Pocola 63, Panama 50
Spiro 51, Stigler 40
Broken Bow 47, Talihina 38
Whitesboro at Wister (no score reported)
Caddo 54, Heavener 38
Pocola 61, Panama 23
Red Oak 42, Spiro 31
Whitesboro 47, Wister 24
To add scores or information, or to make corrections email firstname.lastname@example.org or text (918) 649-4712.
Lady Wolves fall short against Caddo
SAVANNA – Caddo’s girls grabbed the lead early and never allowed Heavener to get back in the game during a 54-38 win in the Freedom Ford Shootout semifinals Thursday.
The Lady Wolves are 6-2 and play in the third-place game 3 p.m. Saturday.
Milaya Riddled led Heavener with 10 points.
Rangers round up Lions
TALIHINA – Roland held on to defeat Howe’s boys in the opening round of the Choctaw Nation Invitational Tournament Thursday, 48-40.
The Rangers (5-1) advance to play Hugo in the semifinals. Howe (8-2) takes on Rattan Friday at 12:30 p.m.
After trailing early, Roland took the lead in the second quarter and held off the Lions.
Jensin Coggins had a big game for Howe, scoring 19 of Howe’s 40 points
Roland 49, Howe 40
HHS 11 4 7 18—40
RHS 8 13 11 17—49
Howe—Dalton 1 0-0 4 2; Lynn 2 0-0 3 4; Smith 0 0-0 3 0; Remy 0 0-2 0 0; Callahan 1 4-4 3 6; Wooten 3 0-0 3 9; Coggins 6 7-8 1 19. TOTALS: 13 11-14 17 40.
Roland—Noonan 4 4-7 2 12; Cruse 1 0-2 1 2; Wiggins 6 2-2 2 16; Peters 0 0-0 5 0; Whisenhunt 1 3-4 5 5. TOTALS: 12 9-15 15 49.
Jaguars fire Meyer after 13 games
By MARK LONG AP Pro Football Writer
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Urban Meyer never fit in the NFL.
His mottos. His methods. Even his moods seemed to go against what's considered normal behavior in a league filled with professionals and grown men. He rubbed just about everyone the wrong way: assistants, players and eventually his bosses.
Meyer's tumultuous tenure ended after just 13 games — and two victories — when the Jacksonville Jaguars fired him early Thursday because of an accumulation of missteps.
Owner Shad Khan made the move hours after former Jaguars player Josh Lambo told a Florida newspaper Meyer kicked him during practice in August. It was the latest black eye — adding to an already lengthy list of embarrassments — for the three-time national championship-winning college coach who failed miserably to make the transition to the NFL.
"After deliberation over many weeks and a thorough analysis of the entirety of Urban's tenure with our team, I am bitterly disappointed to arrive at the conclusion that an immediate change is imperative for everyone," Khan said in a statement. "I informed Urban of the change this evening. As I stated in October, regaining our trust and respect was essential. Regrettably, it did not happen."
Meyer joins former Atlanta Falcons coach Bobby Petrino as college coaches whose NFL careers flamed out in stunningly swift fashion. Petrino resigned in December 2007 to take over at Arkansas. He was 3-10 at the time.
Meyer went 2-11 in his partial season, and the Jaguars really started to unravel on the offensive side of the ball following the team's bye week. They averaged a measly 9.1 points in Meyer's final seven games, which ended with a five-game skid.
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will serve as Jacksonville's interim head coach for the final four games, beginning Sunday against Houston (2-11).
Meyer's biggest issues came off the field, where he tried to handle a professional team like he was on a college campus. He splashed slogans and catchphrases around the facility, instilled gimmicks in practice and repeated his misguided belief that coaches coach for players and players play for coaches. He brought in motivational speakers and kept blaming assistants for the team's mounting losses instead of the guys actually on the field.
One of Meyer's most damning decisions came following a Thursday night game at Cincinnati in late September. He chose to stay behind with family instead of flying home with his team and then got caught on video the following night behaving inappropriately with a woman at a bar in Columbus, Ohio. Khan publicly reprimanded Meyer then, saying he needed to regain the owner's trust and respect.
Bailing on his players showed just how out of touch Meyer was with NFL norms. And it was just one of many head-scratching choices for the 57-year-old coach who found success at every college stop: Bowling Green (2001-02), Utah (2003-04), Florida (2005-10) and Ohio State (2012-18).
Meyer simply never made the proper adjustments to the pro level.
Lambo's claim seemingly proved too much for Khan, who two days earlier said he didn't want to make an impulsive decision on the coach's future.
"What's different about this thing is you have losses and you have drama," Khan said then.
The Jags had way more drama than victories.
Lambo provided the latest when he told the Tampa Bay Times that Meyer kicked him while he was stretching at the start of a practice. Lambo, the team's place-kicker to open the season, said he told Meyer "don't you ever (expletive) kick me again" and said the coach responded, "I'm the head ball coach, I'll kick you whenever the (expletive) I want."
Meyer released a statement through the team denying the incident happened the way Lambo described it.
"Josh's characterization of me and this incident is completely inaccurate, and there are eyewitnesses to refute his account," Meyer said.
Lambo said he reported the kick to his agent, who contacted the Jaguars' legal counsel the following day.
"Jaguars legal counsel indeed acknowledged and responded immediately to the query made by Josh Lambo's agent Friday, August 27, 2021," the Jaguars said in a statement. "Counsel offered to speak with Josh, or to assist Josh in speaking with coaching or any other football personnel, if he was comfortable with her sharing the information. Any suggestion otherwise is blatantly false."
Lambo was released after he missed his first three field-goal attempts to start the season.
Lambo's allegation came on the heels of an NFL Network report which said Meyer created tension with multiple run-ins with players as well as assistants he allegedly called "losers." Citing unidentified sources, the report detailed a heated exchange between Meyer and veteran receiver Marvin Jones that stemmed from Meyer criticizing receivers by saying they weren't winning enough one-on-one matchups or getting enough separation.
"I would just say this: There was something that was brought to my attention that I didn't like too well," Jones said Wednesday, his first public comments since the report was published Saturday. "I approached him about it and we talked and we handled it like grown men. And that's all I have to say about that."
Jones denied threatening to leave practice over the argument.
"I mean, shoot, when you lose, you're always going to be the center of attention in a negative way," Jones said. "That just is what it is. That's all I have to say."
Other issues for Meyer:
— He hired strength coach Chris Doyle in February despite accusations of racist behavior and then had to let him go a day later because of a pending lawsuit.
— Jacksonville was fined $200,000 and Meyer docked $100,000 on July 1, a punishment that stemmed from an early June practice in which the league deemed receivers and defensive backs had too much contact during 11-on-11 drills.
— Meyer signed 2007 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow to play tight end, an experiment that ended with Tebow looking lost in the preseason opener against Cleveland.
— Meyer held a fake QB competition between Trevor Lawrence, a generational prospect, and Gardner Minshew in training camp. Meyer and general manager Trent Baalke traded Minshew to Philadelphia, where he's a backup to Jalen Hurts.
— The NFL Players Association launched an investigation after Meyer said vaccination status factored into the team's roster decisions.
— He repeatedly mishandled running back James Robinson, allowing the team's most consistent offensive player to get benched twice following fumbles and botched trying to explain why Robinson got pulled and how long he remained on the sideline.
All the drama became too much for Lawrence.
"I do think that has to change and that's something that we need to work on for sure," Lawrence said Wednesday. "You can't always be in the headlines. You just got to go play football, and that's where we're trying to get, and I have no doubt we'll get there."
More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
LeFlore County weather 12-17-2021
Thunderstorms are expected for Friday in LeFlore County with the potential for severe storms.
The high will be 66 degrees, with a low of 44 degrees.
Thursday’s high was 67, with a low of 47. The area received .01 inches of rain, upping the monthly total to .74 inches. Average rainfall for December is 3.56 inches.
Sunrise Friday is 7:21 a.m. Sunset is 5:09 p.m.
Average temperatures for Dec. 17 are a high of 53, and a low of 32.
Records for the date were a high of 75 in 1939. The record low was 7 in 1979.
On Dec. 17, 2020, the high was 53 with a low of 26.
County calendar of events
The LeFlore County calendar of events. It 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 email email@example.com or text (844) 673-0508.
Wister Lake lights on the island.
Toys for Joy 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Heavener City Hall
Heavener Christmas Parade
Wister Lake lights on the island
Wister Lake lights on the island
LeFlore County commissioners meet 9 a.m.
Wister Lake lights on the island
Poteau Evening Lions Club meet 6 p.m. CASC
Poteau Rotary Club meets noon at EOMC
Wister Lake lights on the island
Kiwanis Club meets noon at Western Sizzlin’
Heavener VFW bingo 6 p.m. Highway 59 North
Wister Lake lights on the island.
Shockley Auto Blast from the past 12-17-2021
The daily blast from the past is sponsored by Shockley Auto Sales in Poteau.
Every day we try to show a picture of people, places or events from Heavener and the surrounding area.
If you would like to submit a photo, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
In this picture from 2017, Heavener’s Jacob Hill clears the bar on the high jump.
Today in history 12-17-2021
By The Associated Press
Today is Friday, Dec. 17, the 351st day of 2021. There are 14 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Dec. 17, 1944, the U.S. War Department announced it was ending its policy of excluding people of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast.
On this date:
In 1777, France recognized American independence.
In 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright of Dayton, Ohio, conducted the first successful manned powered-airplane flights near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, using their experimental craft, the Wright Flyer.
In 1933, in the inaugural NFL championship football game, the Chicago Bears defeated the New York Giants, 23-21, at Wrigley Field.
In 1969, the U.S. Air Force closed its Project "Blue Book" by concluding there was no evidence of extraterrestrial spaceships behind thousands of UFO sightings.
In 1975, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme was sentenced in Sacramento, California, to life in prison for her attempt on the life of President Gerald R. Ford. (She was paroled in Aug. 2009.)
In 1979, Arthur McDuffie, a Black insurance executive, was fatally injured after leading police on a chase with his motorcycle in Miami. (Four white police officers accused of beating McDuffie were later acquitted, sparking riots.)
In 1992, President George H.W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (muhl-ROO'-nee) and Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari (sah-LEE'-nuhs deh gohr-TAHR'-ee) signed the North American Free Trade Agreement in separate ceremonies. (After President Donald Trump demanded a new deal, the three countries signed a replacement agreement in 2018.)
In 2000, President-elect George W. Bush named Stanford professor Condoleezza Rice his national security adviser and Alberto Gonzales to the White House counsel's job, the same day Bush was named Time magazine's Person of the Year.
In 2001, Marines raised the Stars and Stripes over the long-abandoned American Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.
In 2007, Iran received its first nuclear fuel from Russia, paving the way for the startup of its reactor.
In 2014, the United States and Cuba restored diplomatic relations, sweeping away one of the last vestiges of the Cold War.
In 2018, a report from the Senate intelligence committee found that Russia's political disinformation campaign on U.S. social media was more far-reaching than originally thought, with troll farms working to discourage Black voters and "blur the lines between reality and fiction" to help elect Donald Trump.
Ten years ago: North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died after more than a decade of iron rule; he was 69, according to official records, but some reports indicated he was 70.
Five years ago: President-elect Donald Trump said he intended to nominate Mick Mulvaney, a conservative Republican congressman from South Carolina, to be the White House budget director. Dr. Henry Heimlich (HYM'-lihk), the surgeon who created the life-saving Heimlich maneuver for choking victims, died in Cincinnati at age 96.
One year ago: A government advisory panel endorsed a second COVID-19 vaccine, paving the way for the shot from Moderna and the National Institutes of Health to be added to the U.S. vaccination campaign. California reported 52,000 new COVID-19 cases in a single day – equal to what the entire country had been averaging two months earlier – as the state emerged as the latest epicenter of the U.S. outbreak. French President Emmanuel Macron tested positive for COVID-19 following a week in which he met with numerous European leaders. Federal authorities expressed increased alarm about a long-undetected intrusion into U.S. and other computer systems that officials suspected were carried out by Russian hackers. Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected allegations that the Kremlin was behind the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and accused U.S. intelligence agencies of fomenting the claims.
Today's Birthdays: Actor Armin Mueller-Stahl is 91. Pope Francis is 85. Singer-actor Tommy Steele is 85. Actor Bernard Hill is 77. Actor Ernie Hudson is 76. Comedian-actor Eugene Levy is 75. Actor Marilyn Hassett is 74. Actor Wes Studi is 74. Pop musician Jim Bonfanti (The Raspberries) is 73. Actor Joel Brooks is 72. Rock singer Paul Rodgers is 72. R&B singer Wanda Hutchinson Vaughn (The Emotions) is 70. Actor Bill Pullman is 68. Actor Barry Livingston is 68. Country singer Sharon White is 68. Producer-director-writer Peter Farrelly is 65. Rock musician Mike Mills (R.E.M.) is 63. Pop singer Sarah Dallin (Bananarama) is 60. Country singer Tracy Byrd is 55. Country musician Duane Propes is 55. Actor Laurie Holden is 52. DJ Homicide (Sugar Ray) is 51. Actor Sean Patrick Thomas is 51. Actor Claire Forlani is 50. Pop-rock musician Eddie Fisher (OneRepublic) is 48. Actor Sarah Paulson is 47. Actor Marissa Ribisi is 47. Actor Giovanni Ribisi is 47. Actor Milla Jovovich (YO'-vuh-vich) is 46. Singer Bree Sharp is 46. Singer-songwriter Ben Goldwasser (MGMT) is 39. Rock singer Mikky Ekko is 38. Actor Shannon Woodward is 37. Actor Emma Bell is 35. Actor Vanessa Zima is 35. Rock musician Taylor York (Paramore) is 32. Actor Graham Rogers is 31. Actor-singer Nat Wolff is 27.
Service planned for Frances Myers
SPIRO - Funeral Service for Frances Myers, 77 of Spiro is 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021 at Mallory-Martin Funeral Home Chapel in Spiro, with Reverend Bryan Fouts officiating. Burial will follow at the New Hope Cemetery in Spiro, under the direction of Mallory-Martin Funeral Home of Spiro, Oklahoma.
She was born May 28, 1944 in Spiro to Wilma Juanita (Blevins) Schrimsher and Howard Schrimsher and passed away Dec. 15, 2021 in Spiro.
Survivors include her daughters Laura Nelson of Keota and LaDonna Hall of the home; sons Stephen Myers and wife Melinda of Spiro, and Buford Myers and wife Christy of Fort Smith, Arkansas; sisters Melba Davidson, Alice Fisk, Berneice Rhodes, Sissy Whitman and husband Bill, Ruth Slankard and husband John, Mildred Wilson, Nina Goins and husband Duane; brother, Lewis Schrimsher; grandchildren; and great grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Howard and Juanita Schrimsher; sisters Barbara Carlile and Debbie Lample; brother, Howard Eugene Schrimsher; great grandson, Jacob Bradley Hall; and son-in-law, Rick Nelson.
Pallbearers are Shawn Howard, Terry Ridenour, Christopher Goins, Travis Goins, David Williams, and Nicholas Guthrie. Honorary pallbearers are Darin, Ethan, and Brendyn Guthrie, Brandon Hall, Curtis Hall, Sean Donohue, Hunter Myers, Conner Myers and Duane Williams.
Viewing is Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. with the family greeting friends from 5 to 7 p.m. at the funeral home.
Death notice for Linda Luitze
POTEAU - Linda Lee Luitze, 82, of Poteau, passed away Monday, Dec. 13, 2021 at her home, and was born Dec. 12, 1939 in Litchfield, Illinois to Daniel and Ina Lorene (Robbins) Snyder.
No services are scheduled.
Survivors include her daughters Ina Cox and Mary Jenson; son, Paul Luitze, Jr.; grandchildren; great grandchildren; sisters Darlene Rathbone and Bonnie Ventura; and brothers Pete, George and Gary Prat.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Daniel Snyder and Ina Pratt; brothers, Daniel and Raymond Snyder, Gene Pratt; sister, Judy Braunel.