Home Town Heroes Return from Kuwait

Photo courtesy of Miranda Hamm: SPC Joshua Knighten receives a welcome home kiss from his wife Marah Knighten while holding their son Taygen after returning home from active duty in Kuwait. The Knighten family was recently reunited during special ceremonies at the Will Rogers Air National Guard Base in Oklahoma City.

By Susan Stone
News Star Reporter

Chances are most everyone has a loved one or knows someone serving or that has served in the military.

It takes a special kind of person to put their lives on the line for our country and Stratford has many of these hero’s living right here.

Just recently SPC Josh Knighten of Stratford returned home from serving with the 45th infantry division in Kuwait.

Knighten was put on active duty and started training to go to Kuwait in February of 2011 and on July 4 of 2011 he along with the others in his unit landed in Kuwait.

“Our main mission in Kuwait was doing convoy escorts,” Knighten said. “We would escort convoys from Kuwait into Iraq,” Knighten continued.

While on their missions they couldn’t call home to talk to their family some missions lasted as long as two weeks.

While serving in Kuwait Knighten missed his son Taygen’s first birthday as well as Christmas, New Years and all the other holidays throughout the year he was gone.

However there is one special event he didn’t miss out on.

“We got a two week leave to come home, mine just happened to be November 4th through the 19th so I got to be home with my wife for our first anniversary, which was on November 13th,” Knighten said

Saturday, March 13, 2012, Knighten returned home to his family after serving his country for the past 11 months. This was Knighten’s first deployment.

Knighten isn’t the only hero Stratford has that served in Kuwait. Ryan Smith, Zach Gates, T.J. Bratcher, William Bratcher and Brandon Hockersmith all returned home from serving in Kuwait with the 45th Infantry.

If you see any of these brave men just stop and take a minute to say thank you and welcome home.

Pursuit ends at jail’s doorsteps

Frank Raboski

By Jeff Shultz

A Maysville man led area law enforcement officials on a high-speed pursuit Thursday afternoon, April 5, which began in Murray County and ended literally at the doorsteps of the Garvin County Jail.

According to Garvin County Sheriff Larry Rhodes, 59-year old Frank Raboski of Maysville, was the subject of a narcotics investigation by the Murray County Sheriff’s Office.

Murray County Sheriff Darin Rogers said Raboski had been selling meth in the Sulphur area.

“He was well supplied,” Rogers said. “Every time our confidential informant (CI) wanted to buy some meth from him he was always stocked up – didn’t matter how much it was.”

Rogers added his department arranged for a “buy” from Raboski at the Sulphur Walmart parking lot last Thursday.

“Once the buy was made and the CI made the purchase we attempted to block him in the parking lot,” Rogers told the News Star.

However, once Raboski realized he was about to be arrested he managed to escape the parking lot and the chase began.

“He was driving at a high rate of speed down Highway 7, all the while he was throwing contraband out of his window,” Rogers said.

Law enforcement officials gather around the car of Frank Raboski, Maysville, after he crashed his car into the curb of the Garvin County Jail. Raboski led numerous law enforcement agencies on a high speed chase that began in Sulphur. (News Star photo by Jeff Shultz)

The high-speed chase took authorities down Highway 7 through Davis where Raboski then exited onto I-35 and headed north toward Pauls Valley.

The Garvin County Sheriff’s Office joined the pursuit at mile marker 70 on I-35 and deployed a stop stick, which blew out one of Raboski’s front tires.

Another stop stick was deployed at mile marker 71, causing further damage to Raboski’s tires, Rhodes added.

Raboski continued driving his car and exited off of Exit 72 and started heading into Pauls Valley.

“By the time he got off the highway he was basically driving on rims,” Rhodes added.

The pursuit then traveled into Pauls Valley and ended when Raboski crashed his car on the curb of the Garvin County Jail, behind the Garvin County Courthouse.

According to Rogers, the pursuit ended when an Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper “tapped” Raboski’s car after he turned on Guy Street, just behind the Garvin County Courthouse.

“The Trooper ‘tapped’ his vehicle and he crashed right there at the jail,” Rogers said.

Rhodes, a Murray County deputy and another officer then took Raboski down on the street and arrested him.

Raboski’s rap sheet is a long one. According to court records he has been arrested numerous times on drug and firearms charges in Garvin County dating as far back as 2000.

The pursuit involved officers and deputies from the Garvin County Sheriff’s Office, the Murray County Sheriff’s Office, Sulphur Police, Pauls Valley Police, Wynnewood Police, the Chickasaw Nation’s Lighthorse Police as well several OHP Troopers.

House fire kills one

News Star photo by Judy Baker: This home in Maysville was one of two homes destroyed by fire on Friday, April 6. The other home was one in Pauls Valley, where a wife and mother was killed after attempting to go back in the house to rescue the family’s pets.

By Jeff Shultz

A Pauls Valley woman’s decision to return to her burning home to rescue her pets proved fatal for her, according to the Pauls Valley Police.

PV Police and Fire units responded to a house fire at around 2:45 Friday morning, April 6, at 517 S. Mohawk Dr.

According to Assistant Police Chief Derrick Jolley, when the units arrived at the scene of the fire an adult male and two teens were outside the home.

The adult male informed the officers his wife had gone back into the home to retrieve the family pets and had not returned outside.

PV firefighters made entry into the home and found 35 year old Lisa Jackson inside the home.

She was quickly removed from the burning structure and taken by PV EMS to Pauls Valley General Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

“There are currently no suspicious circumstances surrounding this case, however the incident is being investigated by the Pauls Valley Police Department and the Oklahoma State Fire Marshal’s Office,” Jolley said.

A second fire Friday morning in Maysville scorched a home in the 800 block of J Avenue.

The fire call came in at 5:45 a.m. Friday, April 6.

The occupant of the home, Dianna Klohn, was not injured in the blaze. Cause of the fire is currently being investigated by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Meanwhile, law enforcement authorities are seeking information on a “suspicious” fire from almost three years ago.

According to the Garvin County Sheriff’s Office, the fire occurred on June 10, 2009, east of Erin Springs.

The residence was a total loss and an investigation into the cause of the fire revealed the fire was deliberately set.

The investigation also revealed that prior to the fire the home was burglarized and property was taken from the residence before the fire was set.

The occupants were out of town at the time of this incident. Witnesses reported seeing a vehicle near the residence prior to the fire.

Any person with information about this crime is asked to contact Garvin County Crimestoppers at 1-855-211-7867.  Callers will remain anonymous and could earn a reward of up to $1,000.00 for information leading to an arrest.

Stratford Men Arrested for Theft in Pontotoc County

By Susan Stone
News Star Reporter

Two Stratford men picked the wrong home to burglarize last Monday morning, April 10, eventually landing them in the Pontotoc County Jail.

Monday morning around 4:00 a.m. OHP Trooper Brian Bagwell was awaken by the sound of a vehicle running outside his residence near Pickett in Pontotoc County.

When Bagwell went to see what it was he noticed his utility trailer that was parked outside his residence had just been stolen.

According to reports by Pontotoc County Sherriff’s Deputy Kevin Wood, Bagwell immediately got into his personal vehicle and started to follow the suspects and also notified Pontotoc County Central Dispatch of the situation.

Bagwell lost sight of the suspect vehicle, which was traveling at a high rate of speed.

It wasn’t long before Ada police officer Jason Mosley spotted the suspects vehicle on State Highway 3 and conducted a traffic stop.

Mosley found Johnny Dewayne Flowers Jr., 35, and Robert William ”Bobby” Page, 37, both of Stratford, in the vehicle.

Both Flowers and Page were taken into custody on suspicion of grand larceny, conspiracy to commit a felony and possession of stolen property.

“Flowers is also a suspect in other Pontotoc County burglaries,” According to Pontotoc County Sherriff John Christian.

Flowers was also arrested for having 12 outstanding warrants in Garvin County.

Terri Smith arrested

By Jeff Shultz

Another Maysville Town Board member has found herself on the wrong side of the law.

According to Garvin County District Court Records, Terri Lynn Smith was arrested in late February by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol for driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, a misdemeanor.

Smith was recently appointed to the Maysville Town Board to replace former Town Board member Don Ivey, who had resigned due to health reasons.

According to court records, the arrest was made in Garvin County on or around February 28.

Your Framer relocates to downtown PV

News Star photo by Lindsey Temple: Amber Brumley rings up a coffee sale at the new location of Your Framer - Gifts and Coffee. Monday was the first day for the long time PV business in its new location at 114 S. Chickasaw.

By Lindsey Temple
News Star Reporter

Local Pauls Valley business, Your Framer, has a new look, new location and a refreshed mission of eco-friendly awareness.

Monday, April 9, marked the grand opening of Your Framers new location at 114 S. Chickasaw.

Owners, Amber and Zac Brumley, are hoping being downtown will not only boost their business but also help bring more people to the downtown area.

“I have always loved this building, and I really loved the idea of being downtown, up until now the opportunity hadn’t presented itself,” explained Amber.

Lots of hard work went in to restoring one of Pauls Valley’s oldest buildings to prepare it for Your Framer’s new home.

Lighting, plumbing, flooring and ceiling tiles all had to be replaced, four walls were knocked out to make room for the shop and a doorway was created within the building.

In addition to her specialty coffees and custom framing, Amber is using her store to reflect her lifestyle and make room for a bigger purpose.

Your Framer will now offer eco-friendly and vegan friendly products like soap, candles, kitchen towels, and plastic-wear.

“People should know that there are good products out there that are good for our environment as well. We need to be aware of our earth and cautious of what we’re doing to our environment,” said Amber.

“These products are part of my lifestyle and I want my store to be a reflection of me and my life,” added Amber.

Being a small business owner, Amber knows the importance of supporting small businesses; all of the eco-friendly and vegan products featured at Your Framer come from small businesses and are often handmade.

“I want people to know, when they support me and buy from our store, they are not only supporting one small business, but two,” said Amber.


The following candidates have filed for office on Wednesday, April 11. The candidate filing period ends on Friday, April 13. The News Star will update this listing after each day’s filing period is completed.


County Clerk

Lori Fulks (D)

County Court Clerk

Cindy Roberts (D)

County Sheriff

Larry Rhodes (R)

County Commissioner, Dist. 1

Stan Spivey (D)

David Kinard (D)

County Commissioner, Dist. 2

Shon Richardson (D)


U.S. Representative, Dist. 4

Tome Cole (R)

Gary D. Caissie (R)

Donna Bebo (D)

State House Dist. 20

Gil Hensley (R)

Matt Branstetter (D)

State House Dist. 22

Charles McCall (R)

William R. Claxton (R)

Doris Row (D)

State House Dist. 42

Lisa J. Billy (R)

State Senate Dist. 13

Fred E. Smith (R)

Susan Paddack (D)


16 arrested in two day warrant sweep

By Jeff Shultz



A two-day warrant sweep conducted by the Garvin County Sheriff’s Office has resulted in the arrest of 16 individuals with outstanding arrest or bench warrants.

Sheriff Larry Rhodes praised the effort of his staff and deputies in making the warrant sweep such a success. The sweep began Tuesday and ended Wednesday, April 11.

“Currently, we have over 3,000 outstanding arrest warrants dating back to the year 2000,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes said advance warnings in various county newspapers and featuring several warrant fugitives through the Garvin County Crimestoppers Program resulted in nine individuals voluntarily complying with the provisions of the warrants on them.

“Additionally, the sweep provided a platform to develop useful information on persons trying to distribute illegal drugs in the county,” Rhodes added.

During the sweep, Rhodes said, two persons were arrested for obstructing deputies during the execution of an arrest warrant in Elmore City, as well as another individual being arrested in Pauls Valley for having a small amount of methamphetamine.

The week’s activities also included the execution of search warrants at two convenience stores near I-35 believed to be selling a product that is being marketed as a legal alternate to marijuana.

“We responded to citizen complaints on the possible sales of a substance commonly referred to as ‘K-2,’” Rhodes explained.

The Oklahoma Legislature recently passed legislation banning many of the substances found in the herbal blend.

“Execution of the search warrants found an estimated $10,000 worth of the “K-2” like substances that will be analyzed to determine if it contains the outlawed ingredients,” he said.

Rhodes said the owners of the convenience stores were cooperative in stopping the sale of K-2 as well as any smoking pipes being purchased for the ingestion of illegal drugs.

“No arrests were made as a result of the search warrants,” Rhodes said.

School Bond issues pass in all three district

By Jeff Shultz

There are a lot of smiles in Maysville, Pauls Valley and Wynnewood as all three school districts saw the passage of bond proposals by wide margins.

Maysville school patrons gave a huge green light to a $1.25 million bond issue to construct a multi-purpose facility for the schools and community to use.

The bond issue passed by a 72 to 28 percent margin, paving the way for the school district tear out the current old elementary gymnasium and convert the gym into a cafeteria and multi-purpose community building.

In Pauls Valley, voters gave the thumbs up to a pair of bond issues totaling $5.7 million.

The first bond issue was for the renovation of the PV Junior High auditorium, expansion and renovation of the football field house and upgrading the Wacker Park gym.

That measure passed with 321 “yes” votes and 63 “no” ballots.

A second transportation bond issue totaling $550,00 for the purchase of new buses passed with a 328-61 vote.

In Wynnewood, it was third time is a charm for school officials there as a $1.105 million bond issue was passed 423-163.

Projects slated for the bond proposal include the purchase and installation of HVAC and windows and general improvements to school sites.

A second $385,000 bond proposal for the constructing and equipping bleachers and the press box at the football field passed overwhelmingly, 388-197.

Mean spirited letter did not come from EC schools, Darrow says

Photo courtesy of Lisa Rollings: Students from the EC-P High School Art Class work on creating the mural for the Footloose Festival, which has drawn criticism from school officials and the general public. Shortly after this photo was taken the art class was removed from the project.

By Lindsey Temple
News Star Reporter

Donnie Darrow, Superintendent of schools for the Elmore City-Pernell School District, denies he or his faculty had any involvement in a mean spirited letter recently sent anonymously to City Clerk, Lisa Rollings.

The letter, received at EC City Hall on Tuesday, March 20, was not signed by any one particular person, yet claimed to represent the entire EC-P faculty regarding the recent mural painted on one of Elmore City’s most noticed buildings.

The building on the southeast corner of the four way intersection in Elmore City has recently been transformed into a mural, advertising this year’s upcoming Footloose Festival, but not everyone in the town has been thrilled about the city’s choice of artwork.

One of the festivals entertainers is a Christian rap group known as “Mike Bone”; a dark, large silhouette of the duo can be seen on the building, depicting the twosome’s logo.

Some residents, including EC-P superintendent, Darrow, have voiced concerns about the perception the logo might give to visitors of the town.

“When I saw the picture of those two gang looking individuals, I didn’t not know they were a Christian group, I went into City Hall and asked that the painting be removed. It is important for me to portray a good perception of our school,” explained Darrow.

“I spoke to Lisa directly, I would never send a letter anonymously,” Darrow went on to say.

After learning the group was Christian based and positive in nature, Darrow stood behind his concern stating, “Perception trumps reality.”

“We have good quality kids here from good hard working families,” stressed Darrow.

A few days after Darrow’s meeting with Rollings, City Hall received an envelope with no return address, enclosed was the letter in question. The letter expressed, with questionable language and very strong opinion, disdain for Rollings’ efforts with not only the mural, but also her ideas and plans concerning the community.

“Our High School Superintendent came to the City Hall the other day and asked that the ‘CRAPPY GRAFFITY’ be removed from the building at the 4-way stop in Elmore City. We, the ELMORE CITY SCHOOL FACULTY, can only agree that this type of advertisement does not reflect the true nature of most citizens who live here,” read the letter.

The letter then went on to heed Rollings a lofty warning, “Better said, if you want to keep your job, don’t insult your superiors!”

EC Mayor Larry Cleveland weighed in on the controversy with anger, explaining Rollings is an elected official and questioned the warning made in regards to her job.

“I approve everything she does for this community,” explained Cleveland, referring to Rollings, “she does not act alone and she did not deserve this.”

Superintendent Darrow did not speak to his faculty directly in a meeting, which was suggested by Cleveland. Darrow could only say that the letter was ill-written, contained misspellings and was not language that he or his staff would use.

“It’s a shame that something so positive for this community has had such a negative effect. Lisa Rollings has worked very hard for this community and should be admired, respected and appreciated for her work to make this a better place to live,” explained Darrow.

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