THUMBS UP to Neighbors Building Neighborhoods, Fort Gibson Police Department, the Gospel Rescue Mission and Green Country Behavioral Health for helping others combat opioid abuse and other forms of substance abuse using a grant totaling $1 million.

Neighbors Building Neighborhoods will receive $75,000 over three years for syringe disposal sites and drug take-back sites.

Fort Gibson Police Department will receive $135,000 over three years to staff a diversion program for people picked up on substance abuse.

Gospel Rescue Mission will receive $204,306 to staff the Getting Ahead while Getting Out program. It also will pay for 20 people to enter into the program.

Green Country Behavioral Health will receive $180,000 over three years for a staff member to offer group or individual therapy for people struggling with opioid use.

Funding also will help such programs as Celebrate Recovery, Muskogee Police Department, Cherokee Three Rivers Health Center.

The grant is the result of an agreement in 2020 to form a coalition to combat opioid abuse “and pinpoint what the problems are in the area, what the strengths are, the weaknesses. 

Unfortunately, opioid abuse is more common than one would think. Muskogee County has Oklahoma’s fifth highest death rate due to opioid overdose. Plenty of people in Muskogee need the help these organizations will be able to provide with the federal funding these groups receive.

• • • 

THUMBS UP to Bacone College for continuing its contribution to art history through their art program and the School of Indian Art Auction fundraiser. The display and auction run through Sept. 30.

During that time, people may see Bacone’s newly renovated art gallery as well as fine Native art.

Bacone Art Director Michael Elizondo Jr. said he expects 25 to 30 pieces of art to be sold.

“They’re artists from across the state, primarily Native American, and some local artists as well,” Elizondo said.

Artwork includes a variety of sketches and painting, including paintings on vinyl LPs. There also will be baskets, sculpture and jewelry.

Half of the money that is raised will go to the artist, and half will go to Bacone's art program, which will pay for equipment, supplies and facility needs.

The Bacone College Art Department was founded in 1935, and was led by directors as Acee Blue Eagle, Woody Crumbo, Walter Richard “Dick” West, Terry Saul, Ruthe Blalock Jones and Tony Tiger.

Other Bacone alumni include sculptor Willard Stone, who studied under Blue Eagle, and Enoch Kelly Haney, former principal chief of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma and previously served as a member of both houses of the Oklahoma Legislature.

And, you never know. That piece of art you purchase today could be from the next Enoch Kelly Haney or Willard Stone. It's definitely something that should be supported by the community.


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