Ledger/LCJ newsletter 2-12-2021
The Ledger/LCJ newsletter for Friday
Thank you for visiting or subscribing to the Ledger/LCJ newsletter. For those of you who have already subscribed, please share our newsletter with anybody you think might be interested and encourage them to subscribe. For those of you who are visiting or are our free list, please subscribe for only $5 per month and get the daily newsletter or for a year for $50 and get the daily newsletter along with our e-edition and weekly newspaper. Thank you and if you have any questions please email email@example.com.
Winter storm watch issued for area
The National Weather Service in Tulsa has issued a winter storm watch in effect from Sunday morning through Monday afternoon.
A possibility of six to 10 inches of snow is possible for southeastern Oklahoma, making travel very difficult to impossible. The hazardous conditions could impact morning or evening commute.
Travel should be delayed for Sunday and Monday. If travel is necessary, drive with extreme caution. Consider taking a winter storm kit along with you, including such items as tire chains, booster cables, flashlight, shovel, blankets and extra clothing. Also take water, a first aid kit, or anything else that would help you survive in case you become stranded.
For more information from the National Weather Service visit https://weather.gov/tsa
Unemployment claims decline 33rd consecutive week
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) reports a continued decline in continued and initial unemployment claims, with the continued claims four-week moving average declining for the 33rd consecutive week.
“The continued decline in claims is certainly encouraging, but we remain focused on providing Oklahomans with the help they need as they continue to navigate unemployment,” said Shelley Zumwalt, OESC Executive Director. “Between March 2020 and January 2021, OESC paid out more than $4 billion in benefits. That’s more than our agency has paid out to Oklahomans in the past 10 years combined. Even as claims decrease, our staff continues to work hard to improve our systems and processes to meet the needs of Oklahomans throughout the pandemic.”
Weekly Unemployment Numbers for Week Ending Feb. 6
For the week ending Feb. 6, the advance number of initial claims, unadjusted, totaled 5,253, a decrease of 2,414 from the previous week's revised level of 7,667.
Initial claims’ four-week moving average was 6,580 a decrease of 441 from the previous week's revised average of 7,021.
The advance unadjusted number of continued claims totaled 30,467, a decrease of 5,897 from the previous week’s revised level of 36,364.
Continued claims’ four-week moving average was 36,291, a decrease of 2,752 from the previous week's revised average of 39,043.
Nationally, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims during the same period was 773,000, a decrease of 19,000 from the previous week's revised level, the U.S. Department of Labor reports. The four-week moving average was 823,000, a decrease of 33,500 from the previous week. For the week ending Jan. 30, DOL reports the advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.2%, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's revised rate.
The national weekly seasonally adjusted initial claims report is one of 10 components in the Composite Index of Leading Economic Indicators. To smooth out the volatility in the weekly initial claims data, a four-week moving average is used to assess trends.
Individuals seeking unemployment benefits should go to https://ui.ok.gov and create an account with the Get Started button to connect their social security number and pull all unemployment information into one location.
Unemployment claimants should be aware that not returning to work when recalled or when work is available could potentially lead to disqualification from receiving unemployment benefits.
Employers may report this activity by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 405-962-7524, or mailing OESC at P.O. Box 52006, Oklahoma City, OK, 73152-2006.
If a claimant returns to work full time, they should keep their unemployment claim open with OESC and not certify a weekly claim. If they return part time, a claimant may continue to certify their weekly claim and must report all gross earnings for the week to potentially receive a partial benefit. Eligibility for continued benefits is determined on the circumstances of each individual claimant.
OESC is an excellent resource for people looking to re-enter the job market by connecting Oklahomans with available employment through https://okjobmatch.com/.
If a PUA-eligible claimant reopens their business, they will still receive backdated unemployment benefits to when their COVID-19-related job loss or business closure occurred.
Only nine new cases reported Thursday
LeFlore County had only nine new coronavirus cases in Thursday’s report by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
Spiro had four, Bokoshe, Cameron, Heavener, Howe and Pocola each had one.
Active cases are 228, down from 244 Wednesday. The county has had 5,065 cases, 4,796 recoveries and 41 deaths from complications due to the virus.
Oklahoma had an additional 1,677 cases, 48 deaths and 2,175 recoveries in Thursday’s report. Overall, the state has had 409,401 cases, 3,948 deaths from complications and 382,342 recoveries.
Active cases are 23,111, down 546 from Wednesday.
Winter weather latest snag for vaccine rollout
By JIM SALTER Associated Press
O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) — Add another obstacle to the already stuttering rollout of COVID-19 vaccines — brutal winter weather creating dangerous conditions and forcing tens of thousands of would-be shot takers to wait longer.
Icy roads from the West Coast through the Midwest and into the South shut down vaccinations at many sites, pushing those with appointments back into the pool of those waiting. The schedule disarray could get worse, with nasty weather expected to last for several days. Places from Oregon to Oklahoma could see a foot of new snow by the weekend.
Limited vaccine supply, varying state plans and other points of confusion have slowed the effort to get doses to Americans. Statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday showed a little over 10% of the country — 34.7 million people — have received at least one dose, and 11.2 million have received both of the two doses required for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
With the elderly now the focus of mass vaccinations, state and local health officials decided the risk of falls or accidents outweighed the benefit of a timely shot.
"Unfortunately, if you look at the weather for next week, it's not going to be easy," Oklahoma Deputy Health Commissioner Keith Reed said. "It's just another challenge with this vaccine program. You talk about all the logistical challenges, and now Mother Nature wants to make it a little bit more of a challenge for us."
Ice-covered roads led to crashes and road closures in Oklahoma. A mass vaccination site in Tulsa was shut down, forcing 2,000 appointments to be rescheduled. At another site in Oklahoma City, 700 appointments were moved to March 10.
The prospect of an extended delay was worrisome for those who have received their first shot. The second shot for the Pfizer vaccine is recommended 21 days after the first, and the second dose of the Moderna vaccine is recommended 28 days later.
Dr. Dale Bratzler, Oklahoma University Health's chief quality officer, said a later-than-ideal second shot will still be an effective booster, whenever you can get it, though within six weeks of the first shot is best.
"If you don't get it within the 21 or 28 days, that's OK," Bratzler said. "Just go ahead and get it as soon as you can."
In Texas, where at least six people were killed Thursday in a massive pileup on an icy interstate, Dallas' largest vaccination site was ordered shut down after consultation with the National Weather Service, said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, the county's top administrator.
More than 42,000 people have received the first dose in downtown's Fair Park, which the Biden administration announced Wednesday would soon become one of three federal mass vaccination sites in Texas capable of delivering 10,000 shots a day. The dangerous weather conditions also come ahead of a long weekend for many because of Presidents Day, which state health officials warned could push back the arrival of vaccines even more.
"We have two potential events that may delay shipments next week," said Imelda Garcia, chairwoman of the state's vaccine allocation panel.
In Missouri, wind chills in the single digits was a big factor in postponing mass vaccination drive-thrus being operated by the National Guard.
"The National Guard tells us it's very difficult to thaw frozen vaccine at an outdoor event when the temperature may be 5 degrees," said Robert Knodell, deputy chief of staff for Gov. Mike Parson. He said most of the postponed events will be moved back only a few days, depending on when the weather breaks.
A forecast of up to 14 inches of snow in parts of Oregon was enough to cancel a drive-thru vaccination clinic at Portland International Airport for up to 4,500 people age 80 and older.
"Our goal is to keep our patients, members and volunteers safe by mitigating the risk of driving/commuting in the snow and exposure to freezing temperatures," the Oregon Health & Science University said in a statement.
Roland girls top Howe
ROLAND – Roland won a game between two of the top girls’ team in southeastern Oklahoma Thursday, 62-45.
Roland is 16-0 and the top-ranked team in Class 3A, while Howe is now 18-2 and ranked second in Class 2A.
Howe is scheduled to host Muldrow before hosting a district tournament at home against Gore Feb. 20.
The boys did not play as Roland as played all of its allotted games.
The Lady Rangers outscored Howe in every quarter to get the win.
Raelyn Delt led Howe with 15 points and Shiloh Fletcher scored 10.
Roland 62, Howe 45
HHS 10 11 14 10—45
RHS 14 14 19 15—62
Howe—Maddie Ramsey 2 0-0 4 5; Shiloh Fletcher 4 0-1 3 10; Gracie Lute 1 0-0 2 2; Makayla Twyman 3 1-2 1 8; Abby Huie 0 3-4 2 3; Caitlyn Stacy 0 0-0 2 0; Jayce Blake 0 0-0 1 0; Kalan Nye 0 2-2 4 2; Raelyn Delt 4 3-5 2 15
Roland—Malya Perryman 1 2-2 3 5; Martlyn Martinez 3 2-4 2 10; Jaiden Conway 4 1-6 1 9; Rachel Watie 5 7-9 4 19; Kyla Abdullah 1 2-2 1 5; Lili Vega 3 5-8 3 11; Martinez Vega 1 0-0 2 3. TOTALS: 18 17-31 16 62.
Big 12 releases conference football schedule
IRVING, Texas (AP) — The Big 12 released its 2021 conference football schedule Thursday, less than two months after Oklahoma won its sixth consecutive league championship.
Iowa State, which lost 27-21 in the Big 12 title game last Dec. 19, won't play the Sooners again until going to Norman, Oklahoma, on Nov. 20, two weeks before the next championship game.
The Cyclones last year beat Oklahoma and Texas in the same season for the first time, putting together a Big 12-best conference record of 8-1 during the regular season and going to their first championship game in any league. Iowa State recently gave coach Matt Campbell a new eight-year contract through 2028.
This will be the 11th season in a row with the 10 Big 12 teams playing round-robin league schedules with nine conference games. All also have three non-conference games, starting Sept. 4.
The first conference game is Sept. 18, when Baylor plays at Kansas. Every other team, except TCU, will open league play on Sept. 25. The Horned Frogs are the only team that will play their nine conference games in consecutive weeks, starting Oct. 2 at home against Texas and finishing Nov. 27 at Iowa State.
Over the last five weeks of the regular season, starting Oct. 30, every team will play conference games each weekend, except open dates for Oklahoma and Texas Tech on Nov. 6.
Cold temperatures continue Friday
Mostly cloudy skies and cold for Friday in LeFlore County.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather watch for Sunday and Monday.
There is a slight chance of snow along with a high of 31 degrees and a low of 23 degrees.
Sunrise is at 7:07 a.m. with sunset at 5:58 p.m.
Thursday’s high was 28 with a low of 23.
Averages for Feb. 12 are a high of 55 and low of 26. Records for the date were a high of 76 in 1987 and a low of 5 in 1981.
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 email@example.com.
High school basketball: Panama at Wilburton; Spiro at Roland; Class A districts girls at Wister Arkoma vs. Talihina; boys Wister vs. Talihina. Class B district tournaments (girls) at Red Oak; Bokoshe vs. Red Oak; Cameron vs. Schulter. At McCurtain, LeFlore vs. Paden.at Whitesboro, Whitesboro girls at Boswell; Whitesboro boys vs. Boswell. At Red Oak boys Red Oak vs. Bokoshe and Cameron vs. Schulter; at McCurtain LeFlore vs. McCurtain.
Wrestling: Poteau at 4A regional in Skiatook.
Wrestling: Poteau at 4A regional in Skiatook
High school basketball: Class A and B districts
College baseball: CASC at Allen
College softball: UA Rich Mountain, Coffeyville at CASC.
College baseball: CASC at Allen
LeFlore County commissioners meet 9 a.m.
High school basketball: Spiro at Panama
College baseball: Connors State at CASC
College softball: CASC at NOC (Tonkawa)
Poteau Evening Lions Club meet 6 p.m. CASC
High school basketball: Muldrow at Howe; Vian at Pocola.
Poteau Rotary Club meets noon at EOMC
Kiwanis Club meets noon at Western Sizzlin’
College softball: CASC at Eastern
College baseball: Rose State at CASC
Heavener VFW bingo 6 p.m.
Heavener Utilities Authority and Council meeting 6 p.m.
High school basketball: Class A and B regionals.
Blast from the past 2-12-2021
Here is today’s blast from the past.
Blast from the past is a feature we run daily on ledgerlcj.com along with our newsletter heavenerledger.substack.com.
Each day we feature an old picture of the people, places and events in LeFlore County from days gone by.
Today’s picture is of Heavener coaches from the 1990s. Front row are John Thompson, Doyle Harvell and Chad Ritter. Back row are David Long and Ed Wilson.
If you have a picture you would like to post on the blast from the past, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or bring it by the Ledger’s office at 507 East First Street.
Today in history for 2-12-2021
By The Associated Press
Today in History
Today is Friday, Feb. 12, the 43rd day of 2021. There are 322 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Feb. 12, 1973, Operation Homecoming began as the first release of American prisoners of war from the Vietnam conflict took place.
On this date:
In 1809, Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, was born in a log cabin in Hardin (now LaRue) County, Kentucky.
In 1818, Chile officially proclaimed its independence, more than seven years after initially renouncing Spanish rule.
In 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded.
In 1912, Pu Yi (poo yee), the last emperor of China, abdicated, marking the end of the Qing Dynasty.
In 1914, groundbreaking took place for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. (A year later on this date, the cornerstone was laid.)
In 1924, George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" premiered in New York.
In 1959, the redesigned Lincoln penny — with an image of the Lincoln Memorial replacing two ears of wheat on the reverse side — went into circulation.
In 1999, the Senate voted to acquit President Bill Clinton of perjury and obstruction of justice.
In 2000, Hall of Fame football coach Tom Landry, who'd led the Dallas Cowboys to five Super Bowls, died in Irving, Texas, at age 75.
In 2003, the U.N. nuclear agency declared North Korea in violation of international treaties, sending the dispute to the Security Council.
In 2013, At the Grammy Awards, Adele took home all five awards she was nominated for, including album ("25"), as well as record and song of the year ("Hello").
In 2019, Mexico's most notorious drug lord, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, was convicted in New York of running an industrial-scale smuggling operation; a jury whose members' identities were kept secret as a security measure had deliberated for six days. (Guzman is serving a life sentence at the federal supermax prison facility in Florence, Colorado.)
Ten years ago: Thousands of Algerians defied government warnings and dodged barricades in their capital, demanding democratic reforms; demonstrations continued in Yemen as well. Death claimed actors Betty Garrett, 91, and Kenneth Mars, 75.
Five years ago: Pope Francis, while en route to Mexico, embraced Patriarch Kirill during a stopover in Cuba in the first-ever meeting between a pontiff and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. New York Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia (HEN'-ree me-HEE'-uh) became the first player to receive a lifetime ban under Major League Baseball's drug agreement after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance for the third time.
One year ago: Holland America Line said a cruise ship, the MS Westerdam, which had been barred from docking by four governments because of fears of the coronavirus, would arrive the next day in Cambodia. In Japan, officials confirmed 39 new cases on a cruise ship that had been quarantined at Yokohama, bringing the total number of cases on the Diamond Princess to 174. A second case of coronavirus was confirmed in the U.S. among evacuees from China; the person had been aboard a flight from Wuhan that arrived the previous week at a military base in Southern California. Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, the last remaining African American candidate in the Democratic presidential field, ended his campaign after his late bid failed to catch fire. Pope Francis, in an eagerly awaited document, declined to approve the ordination of married men to address a priest shortage in the Amazon.
Today's Birthdays: Movie director Costa-Gavras is 88. Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Russell is 87. Actor Joe Don Baker is 85. Author Judy Blume is 83. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak is 79. Country singer Moe Bandy is 77. Actor Maud Adams is 76. Actor Cliff DeYoung is 75. Actor Michael Ironside is 71. Rock musician Steve Hackett is 71. Rock singer Michael McDonald is 69. Actor Joanna Kerns is 68. Actor Zach Grenier is 67. Actor-talk show host Arsenio Hall is 65. Actor John Michael Higgins is 58. Actor Raphael Sbarge is 57. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh is 56. Actor Christine Elise is 56. Actor Josh Brolin is 53. Singer Chynna Phillips is 53. Rock musician Jim Creeggan (Barenaked Ladies) is 51. Actor Jesse Spencer is 42. Rapper Gucci Mane is 41. Actor Sarah Lancaster is 41. Actor Christina Ricci is 41. Actor Jennifer Stone is 28. Actors Baylie and Rylie Cregut (TV: "Raising Hope") are 11.
Aging desktop source of attorney's cat filter
By JOHN L. MONE and JILL BLEED Associated Press
RICHMOND, Texas (AP) — Texas attorney Rod Ponton's appearance as a fluffy kitten during an online court hearing provided a moment of levity to a pandemic- and Zoom-fatigued world.
But that specific, adorable filter may be tough to find for anyone looking to replicate the viral moment.
Ponton told The Associated Press that he was using his assistant's 10-year-old desktop Dell computer when he logged in for a routine civil forfeiture hearing Tuesday in Presidio County, Texas, where he serves as prosecutor.
Ponton says his appearance looked normal on the webcam as he waited to be let into the Zoom hearing in Judge Roy Ferguson's court. But when the hearing began, to his shock and dismay, he was a cat.
"I think everybody in the world's seen the video now and heard me trying as I struggled to try to un-cat myself," he said.
Ponton said he's still trying to untangle the mystery, but he believes the computer's software and the assistant's young child are the likeliest culprits.
Texas-based Dell Technologies says the aging desktop was likely in need of a software update.
"Mr. Ponton was likely running an outdated driver which may have held him in cat filter limbo a little too long," said Glen Robson, chief technology officer at Dell's client solutions group. "While those of us techies were probably cringing watching that video, I'm sure cat lovers everywhere were celebrating."
Video filters and virtual backgrounds have exploded in popularity as much of the world's activities moved online during the pandemic. One commonly used program is Snap Camera, which lets users download all kinds of filters, including one that makes a person appear like a potato (as one woman famously did early in the pandemic).
Separately, Zoom offers filters of its own through its app, though none as realistic as Ponton's attorney-cat.
Mishaps in online courtrooms have occurred throughout the pandemic as the legal community adjusts to remote proceedings. A Georgia case last year was disrupted by hold music, background noise and the neglected mute button. And in Florida, a judge told attorneys they must get out of bed and put on clothing before appearing on video for proceedings.
Ferguson, the judge who oversaw Tuesday's hearing and posted the video online, told The Associated Press he had no idea the clip would become an instant hit.
"My phone started to melt within about two minutes, and I realized that this was going to take on a life of its own," Ferguson said.
In one of the more hilarious moments, Ponton tells the judge: "I'm prepared to go forward" with the hearing, despite his feline appearance. Ferguson said everyone involved was committed to maintaining the dignity of the court, despite the absurdity of the situation.
Ponton was good-humored about his new notoriety, telling the AP: "I'm happy to give the world a laugh because I think we needed it after the last few months."
Obituary for George Altstatt
George Francis Altstatt, 88, of Heavener, was born Dec. 22, 1932 in Eagleton, Arkansas to Hugh and Carrie Mae (Tolls) Altstatt. He went home to be with the Lord on February 10, 2021 in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Funeral service is 2 p.m. Saturday at the Dowden-Roberts Funeral Home Chapel in Heavener with Rev. John Mark Little officiating. Burial will follow in Heavener Memorial Park, under the direction of Dowden-Roberts Funeral Home of Heavener.
George was a long-time resident of the area. He was a 1951 graduate of Heavener High School. He served in the United States Army from 1952 through 1954. He was a veteran of the Korean conflict. George worked for Burnett Lumber Company and had 42 years of railroad service as a brakeman with KCS, Cotton Belt and Union Pacific. He loved gardening and was an avid woodworker. He will be missed by all who loved and knew him.
He is survived by two daughters Georgia “Doddie” Dean and husband Mike of Heavener, and Carrie “Candy” Irvin and husband Terry of White Hall, Arkansas; one son Jeffrey “Jeff” Altstatt and wife Shelley of Heavener; one son-in-law, David McClain; 13 grandchildren; 33 great-grandchildren; 13 great-great-grandchildren; a brother-in-law L.R. “Ray” Brown and wife Donna of Pine Bluff, Arkansas; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and a host of friends whom loved him very much.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife of 68 years, Ruth Ellen (Brown) Altstatt; and a daughter, Nancy Lynn (Altstatt) McClain.
Pallbearers are his grandsons Chris Dean, Patrick Dean, Scott Irvin, Bryan Altstatt, Andy Altstatt and Greg McClain. Honorary pallbearers are his great-grandsons
Viewing is from noon to 8:30 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to service time Saturday at the funeral home.
The family will visit with friends Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home.
To sign Mr. Altstatt’s online guestbook please visit www.dowdenrobertsfuneralhome.com.
Service planned for Gilbert Carter
BOKOSHE - Funeral service for Gilbert Ray Carter, 88 of Bokoshe, is 10 a.m. Saturday at Mallory-Martin Funeral Home Chapel in Spiro with Pastor Debbie Weigert officiating.
Services are under the direction of Mallory-Martin Funeral Home of Spiro.
He was born Aug. 4, 1932 in Spiro to Annie Marie (Dees) Carter and Benjamin Reece Carter and passed away Feb. 9, 2021 in Bokoshe.
Surviving family members are his grandchildren Jonathan Carter and Sam Carter; great grandchildren Colton Ray Carter, Cierra Carter and Nikayla Carter; a sister, Doris Davis; and a brother, Harold Carter.
He was preceded in death by his parents, wife, Geneva Carter; son, Stephen Ray Carter; and sisters Melba Wilson and Sondra Strickland.
Viewing is from noon to 7 p.m. Friday at Mallory-Martin Funeral Home in Spiro.
To sign his online guest book, visit www.mallorymartinfuneralhome.com.