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Sunday, September 20, 2020

Preregistration available for Chickasaw Nation COVID-19 testing centers


The Chickasaw Nation Department of Health has established COVID-19 temporary testing centers in the parking lots of the Chickasaw Nation Health Clinics in Ardmore, Tishomingo and Purcell, and the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center on the Ada South Campus.

To make the testing process more efficient and quicker for all, preregistration is recommended. By using a smartphone or computer, preregistration can be completed online prior to the visit. Preregistration information is located at CovidTesting.Chickasaw.net. Once completed, patients will receive registration confirmation through email or text message.

Testing centers are stocked with necessary medical equipment to assess patients for potential infection of COVID-19, without the need for them to exit their vehicles.
 “We are here to not only serve the Chickasaw people, but the public at large as needed,” said Chickasaw Nation Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Krueger. “We want to keep our community healthy and do our part to fight this pandemic with a warrior mentality.” 
If someone feels they are having signs and symptoms of the virus, the Chickasaw Nation has established a COVID-19 Call Center to help assess patients over the phone. The COVID-19 Call Center can be reached by calling (580) 272-1315.

It may take up to 12 days for patients to receive the COVID-19 test results. Results are made available to patients through a confidential, online portal. If the COVID-19 test is positive, a medical provider will contact the patient directly to discuss the result and answer questions.

For more information regarding test results, contact the Chickasaw Nation Department of Health COVID Test Result Center Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at (580) 272-1319.
Drive-thru test centers are open Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. 
Criteria for COVID-19 testing:

  • Must be at least 18 years old or accompanied by an adult
  • Must have valid photo ID
  • Must be able to drive safely through the test site
  • No walk-ups or bicycles
  • No pets in vehicle
  • Exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with a positive COVID-19 case
  • If applicable, provide health insurance card and/or CDIB or tribal affiliation verification
    Provider orders or referral strongly preferred but not required

Round Ryan


Alison Levi Keller was born in June of 1867 in Jacksonville, Calhoun County, Alabama.  A. L. Keller’s family moved to Cook County, Texas when he was eight years old and then in 1879 they moved to Holder, Indian Territory in what is now Marshall County, Oklahoma.  In early January of 1907, A.L. Keller along with his son Jesse and friend Bob Mitchell came to Jefferson County, Indian Territory to work a farm that was leased from the Indian landowner.  In early summer Mrs. Keller, Mrs. Mitchell and the remaining children joined the original party at the camp that was established on the leased land.  A.L. Keller and Bob Mitchell had built  a temporary home, a wood sided tent was put up and used until a more permanent house could be built.  It was in this tent that the first child was born at their new home.  Allen Alexander Keller was born to Rosie and A.L. Keller five months before Oklahoma became a state and officially joined the union as the forty sixth state in these United States.  Allen’s sister, Annie, told the story that it was raining so hard the day Allen was born that the family ducks were swimming inside the tent.  A.L. Keller bought the original lease and added more land over the years.  He farmed the land until his death in 1943.

     Upon the death of A.L. Keller, his son Allen and his wife Nila bought the farm from Rosie Keller.  Allen Keller had started helping his father on the farm at a very young age.  He told his family about plowing with a team and having difficulty throwing the plow into the ground because he was so small.  His father would hitch the team and take them to the field and get Allen started.  By being thrifty and working hard Allen Keller  added more acres to the farm that his father had built.  Over the years I have heard stories about Mr. Keller and his being a hard worker always came up in the conversation.  Besides being a good farmer, Allen was a skilled carpenter and often had to go to where the work was.  He worked not only in Oklahoma but also in Texas and New Mexico.  Like many people, Allen Keller worked hard to raise and provide for his family.  Other than two years when he “ran off” to California and Oregan, he lived on the farm his father established in Jefferson County from 1907 when he was born until 1996 and farmed for most of those years.  

     In 1981, Allen’s daughter and her husband Lane Corley, moved back to the area and became more involved with the farm and in 1993 became owners of the Little Dipper Ranch, located southeast of Ryan, Oklahoma.  When it was established in 1907, A. L. Keller grew cotton, oats and sorghum, I know that Allen farmed as well but have found no record of what he grew,  The present day owners, Loretta and Lane Corley raise beef cattle and through the years have continued to do what her father and grandfather did before them.  For three generations, the family has been good stewards of the land and have added to the original holdings that started with a small Indian lease of two hundred acres.

     The first permanent structure built was a barn in 1907.  Windmills were added in 1930 to pump  water for the cattle and in 1950, Allen built a new barn and a house.  The first is still in use as a horse barn and the house is still being lived in today.   

Introducing the Native West Trading Company


The Native West Trading Company, downtown Waurika, is one of the latest additions to the brick and mortar locations in the community but has had an online presence for around two years. Owners, Robert and Lauren Forst are excited about the new venture. 

Lauren, the master craftsman, has been working with leather for many years, dating back to her time in Arizona. She apprenticed with friends who had a leather business. Since then it has been a passion of hers and the results speak for themselves. 

Customers can find a variety of beautiful leather goods including purses, wallets, key chains, and more. The store also offers wild rags, crochet animals, t-shirts, blankets, handmade jewelry, baby clothes and much more. Most of the items in the store are made by herself and other local craftsmen and artist. Clay Forst even has some pictures on canvas available.

The idea of a physical store in Waurika began when Lauren was looking for a place she could use as a workshop for her online store nativewesttradingco.com. Once she found the location downtown, it was just logical to go ahead and use it as both a workshop and a local store for her business. 

And business has really taken off. She says it’s been fun trying to keep up with the demand for both the website and the store downtown. She loves the challenge. 

Robert and Lauren invite everyone to stop by and visit The Native West Trading Company downtown Waurika. There you will find something for everyone. 


Photo by Curtis Plant

New Elementary Principal Ready for New Year


 Waurika’s New Elementary Principal, Meaghan Johnson, is excited and ready for the upcoming school year. 

The Central native enjoys the close knit family atmosphere of Waurika’s rural setting because it reminds her of her own upbringing. Johnson was born, raised and educated in Central. It’s the place she calls home till this day. 

After graduating from Central High School, Johnson earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Cameron University, then later went back and acquired her Master’s degree in Education Administration.

Johnson served 7 years as a teacher at Central. She only left to serve in Lawton as an Elementary principal to gain experience as an administrator. Her heart’s desire has always and continues to be able to serve in a rural school setting. 

After leaving Lawton, Johnson spent a year teaching for Epic. She believes this experience will serve her well in the upcoming years because of the experience she gained while teaching in a virtual environment. 

She enjoys being an advocate for her students and teachers. She longs to give her teachers the tools they need to better educate students. 

In her spare time she loves spending time with her family. She and her husband Aron have a plumbing company and raise cattle. When the opportunity arrises, they like to go camping as a family. The Johnsons have three children, Brock – 13, Jake – 8, Hank – 4 years old. 

We welcome Principal Meaghan Johnson to the community. 

Sheltons Grocery Providing Affordable Beef to Customers

Photo courtesy of the Grocery Gal

 Beef shortage has been a concern since the beginning of the pandemic. Thankfully, the Good family, owners of Shelton’s Grocery, proactively made arrangements to see that local customers would not have to suffer from the shortage.

They were able to accomplish this feat through family connections.

As a matter of fact, life and business for the Goods is all about family. 

  Jena Good, general manager of Shelton’s Grocery in Waurika and Walters Hometown Grocery, said in a recent interview that upon learning the news of the shortage of beef her family rustled together their resources and sprang into action. When looking for an alternative source for beef they didn’t have to look far.  Jena’s brother Teddy and his wife Brooke Good are owners of “5th Avenue Processing and Retail” in Sterling, Oklahoma. It is a butcher shop with a retail front that is state inspected. This family connection has since proven fortuitous. Especially since there is a lack of approved processing centers in Oklahoma. 

  The Goods then purchased some cattle and made arrangements with Teddy to cut and quarter their beef. 

  Next they wanted to guarantee the beef’s timely arrival to the stores, so the Goods bought their own refrigerated truck, which is driven by another family member, grandpa Ray Emmons, Jena’s mother Cheryl’s dad.

  Their goals were twofold. They wanted to maintain the supply to customer’s and wanted to keep prices as low as possible. They have been able to meet these goals and their customer’s deeply appreciate it. One customer drives from as far away as Loco for the savings. 

  Needless to say, the results have been positive. 

Customer’s are now getting fresher meat. They are also getting specialized cuts, such as breakfast steaks, that were previously not available. For members of the older generation, a trip to the meat counter is like a trip down memory lane. They are now seeing cuts of meat that were standard back in the good old days. 

  Because of the Good’s forward thinking their meat counters are fully stocked daily with beef produced in Oklahoma.

  Lately, Shelton’s has been able to supplement their beef supply and allow their customers to take advantage of special pricing and deals straight from the wholesaler but they are still planning to continue to offer their own beef raised here in the state.  

  The mission of the Good family has always been to put food on the tables of their valued customers. Shelton’s is genuinely a family business. Stan and his wife Cheryl are the owners. Their daughter, Jena, is the general manager. Jena’s son Drew even helps out occasionally. He can be found pealing onions or visiting with customers. 

  Jena had originally thought about practicing law, the decision to come back to the grocery business was based on the feeling she enjoys working with family and serving the families in the community. After all, it’s truly all about family.

Yard of the Week


The Chamber of Commerce Yard of the Week for this week was awarded to Rick and Dynese Coody.  Their beautiful yard could win the award every week because it’s always beautiful. Photos by Monica Bartling

Photo by Monica Bartling

Rattlesnake Royalty


Hunter Russ (King), Cassly Childress, and Kendell Willis (Queen). Hunter Russ and Kendell Willis sold the most tickets for this year’s Rattlesnake Hunt.

(Submitted Photo)

Waurika Ranch Rodeo

Photo by Elizabeth Scott

Veale Ranch/Carco Creek was the Champion Team for this year’s Ranch Rodeo.

2nd place – Burns Ranch, 3rd Place – Thompson Ranch, 

4th Place – McPhail Land & Cattle Company.

Photo by Elizabeth Scott

Top Horse, Robert Forst from Stuart Ranch here in Waurika.

Photo by Elizabeth Scott

Zane Davis (left) was this year’s Top Hand from Bonds Ranch.

Zane is pictured with Carl Gholson.

Photo by Curtis Plant
Photo by Curtis Plant
Photo by Curtis Plant

Free Program to Help with Teen Vaping Epidemic


Julie Bisbee

TSET Executive Director

The biggest challenge to Big Tobacco’s business model is that its product kills its most successful customers. The solution is hooking new, young users on their deadly products. These strategies have been well documented in internal tobacco industry documents where children are referred to as “replacement smokers.”

While cigarettes may be are less in vogue, and Big Tobacco continues its business strategy to addict young people in hopes of gaining a lifelong customer. Big Tobacco continues to peddle addiction with an array of products like vapes, lozenges and snus, all in fruit and candy flavors and packaged with bright, fun colors. 

As a result, vaping is erasing two decades of success in reducing teen smoking. It is endangering the health of our children and the future workforce.

Building on its success with the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline, the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) launched a new service to help teens. My Life, My Quit, a free texting/chat program for teens 13-17 who want to quit tobacco in any form – cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vape pods or smokeless tobacco. 

In Oklahoma, 1 in 6 high school students use e-cigarettes. One in 4 high school students nationally reported using tobacco in past month. The rise of e-cigarettes and vape use among youth has been declared an epidemic by the U.S. Surgeon General. 

My Life, My Quit is an evidence-based cessation program that offers live text support, webchat and phone coaching specifically for teens. The program is operated by National Jewish Health, a leading respiratory hospital and the largest non-profit tobacco quitline provider in the United States. 

My Life, My Quit combines best practices for youth tobacco cessation adapted to include vaping and new ways to reach a coach using live text messaging or online chat. The program also includes educational materials created with input from both youth and subject matter experts. My Life, My Quit gives youth who want to quit access to resources that can help them live longer, healthier lives. 

TSET’s goals include lowering Oklahoma’s rising numbers in teen tobacco usage. Research shows that the teen quit experience is very different from the adult experience. My Life, My Quit will meet Oklahoma teens on their level and communicate with them via channels in which they are comfortable. Nicotine replacement therapy is not provided to youth.

TSET is pleased to introduce this specialized quit service to help our kids live longer, healthier lives. To learn more, visit My Life, My Quit at www.mylifemyquit.com.

Wearing masks still critical in stopping spread of COVID-19


In light of the recent resurgence of COVID-19 nationwide, Dr. John Krueger, under secretary of health for the Chickasaw Nation, says wearing masks remains a key component in limiting the pandemic’s spread.

“What we’re seeing in Texas is beginning to slowly come across (Oklahoma’s) borders,” Dr. Krueger said. “This is a time to be vigilant. We want to keep people safe without the need to shut down our economy or overwhelm our medical services.  For this reason, we want to encourage everyone to wear a mask and practice social distancing when out in public or when in groups of people.

 “We have good evidence that this works and can be an effective alternative to closing the economy; however, it requires that everyone do their part and participate.”

 Krueger said studies have shown wearing a mask may reduce COVID-19’s transmission rate by as much 80-90%.  Without wearing a mask, transmission of COVID-19 to others is much more likely, he said.

“Since most individuals with COVID-19 look healthy and have no or limited symptoms, it is difficult to tell who may be spreading the virus.  For this reason masks are a simple and effective intervention that can reduce the risk of infection.”

 Research has demonstrated a buffer distance of three feet when talking with others is beneficial, but six feet of separation is ideal.

 “If you can stay a six-foot distance away from people, especially when you’re inside, that makes a massive difference,” he said.

 “There have been several studies on how far the water droplets in our breath travel.  If I’m just speaking normally without the mask, when I’ve not been walking around or running, the droplets go about the length of your arm.” 

 Even a slight cough sends particulates four-to-six feet. A strong cough can result in launching them up to 15 feet or more, he said. The same is true with a big sneeze.

 “Masks stop almost all respiratory water droplets that are present in the air when we talk, cough or sneeze. The mask has a small effect on you breathing in another person’s respiratory droplets, but it really helps prevent you from spreading your respiratory droplets with others.”

 Krueger said prior to the onset of this pandemic, it was far from certain that masks helped to stem the spread of influenza or other viruses.

 “A lot of research was done really quickly, necessity being the mother of invention. Researchers had people cough and sneeze with masks on and then they took a radiolucent tracer and a blacklight and saw how far particles spread.”

 Particles didn’t spread when the test subjects wore masks.

“If you wore a mask, very little if any particle spread. This has now been extrapolated to human studies. The evidence is mounting that if you wear a mask, it keeps other people from being infected.” he said.

 “Just talking, or if you cough or sneeze, even if just a small, inadvertent cough that we probably do several times a day, you can spread the virus. You can imagine that happening at a dinner table while you’re out at a café or having dinner with friends.

 “COVID-19 loves respiratory droplets. It especially likes to hitch a ride on those small respiratory molecules coming out of your mouth and nose. COVID-19 is so tiny, hundreds of thousands of viruses can flood on just one microscopic particle. 

 “The more respiratory droplets you inhale or that get into your nose or eyes, the more likelihood you have of being infected.  There appears to be a relationship with how much exposure you have and how likely it is you will get sick or suffer complications of COVID-19.”

 Wearing masks outdoors is also advisable.

 “It would be helpful to wear a mask outside because it really does help stop the spread of infection to keep you and your family and people in the community from getting infected.  Many times we are closer to one another than we recognize. Wearing a mask is most helpful when we are in crowds and around others.  If you’re completely alone and away from everyone else outdoors, then it would be acceptable to not wear a mask in that situation.”

 Krueger says covering one’s nose is as important as covering the mouth.

 “We breathe in and breathe out air through our mouth and our nose. The mouth is going to get the most droplets out, but we should really cover both our mouth and our nose. When you sneeze, or when you exhale through your nose, the diameter of the nasal passage is basically the same thing as a water hose, if you think about it. It creates a force jet of air that is coming out.”

 Krueger said healthcare providers wear masks because they work.

 “We all wear masks here at Chickasaw Department of Health. If it didn’t work, we wouldn’t wear them. They do stop most of the particles from coming out. Even if a particle gets through, it doesn’t go as far. Getting infected with one COVID virus probably won’t make you very sick. Getting infected with a hundred thousand COVID viruses all at one time can make you really sick.”

 He said avoiding large groups is still prudent.

 “Avoid attending large group events such as funerals, concerts, sporting events, social events and such if there is not thoughtful social distancing. If people are not wearing masks, in close proximity and likely sharing respiratory droplets with one another, it is not advisable.  If you have to attend such an event, then it is advisable to wear a mask and practice social distancing. 

 “We continue to see well intentioned people who attend events without adhering to social distancing, wearing masks and/or washing hands who are becoming infected.  This has resulted in increased spread of COVID-19 and in some cases hospitalization and preventable deaths,” he said.