CNB earns Sikorsky Gold Supplier status

05/17/2017 08:00 AM
STILWELL, Okla. – Cherokee Nation Distributors, a company within the engineering and manufacturing segment of Cherokee Nation Businesses, has again been named one of the most prestigious suppliers in the aerospace industry.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, recently awarded CND with its Gold Supplier status.

CND received the esteemed Gold Supplier status for its best-in-class performance in quality, delivery, lean techniques and customer satisfaction. The recent honor marks the company’s fourth year to receive the award since earning the Sikorsky Gold Supplier Certification in 2012.

The Supply Management Council for Lockheed Martin is recognizing CND for its superior operational performance in its manufacturing of main wiring harnesses for the MH-60S SEAHAWK and S-92 aircraft. CND is one of 13 companies selected from Sikorsky’s more than 300 vendor supply base.

“A commitment to excellence is imbedded in our company’s culture,” said Steven Bilby, president of CNB’s diversified businesses. “Our longstanding relationships with industry leaders such as Sikorsky and the growth and success of our diversified businesses are great testaments to our companywide dedication to first-class service.”

The company hosted an appreciation lunch to thank employees for their hard work and exemplary performance. Representatives from CNB and Sikorsky attended and presented staff with a Gold Supplier banner to display at the Stilwell location.

“Our employees’ dedication to providing the highest-quality products to each of our clients is unmatched,” said Chris Moody, CNB executive general manager of engineering and manufacturing. “We are very proud to see their efforts recognized with this prestigious honor.”

The framework for the Cherokee Nation’s economic prosperity was laid in Stilwell more than 40 years ago. The tribal enterprise specializes in aerospace and defense manufacturing, telecommunications and distribution services.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Connecticut, is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture and service. Lockheed Martin, based in Bethesda, Maryland, is a global security and aerospace company that engages in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.


News Writer – @cp_bbennett &
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
10/20/2017 08:30 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Phoenix visited local fall and Halloween attractions to help readers find ways to celebrate the season. Included is also a list for those looking for related attractions for either family friendly fun or something spookier. <strong>Rockin’ R Farms: Tahlequah</strong> <a href="'RFarms_sgbb_wc.mp4" target="_blank">Click here to</a>watch the video. Rockin’ R Farms officials hope visitors “get lost” with them as they offer a family friendly environment that is fun for children and adults. “This place is just not for the kids, it is adult-friendly. Anything that I’ve built, if I can’t get in it, it isn’t fun for adults, so I build it for everybody,” Richard Roberts, owner and Cherokee Nation citizen, said. “We just can’t have the kids having fun. We have to have everybody.” Roberts said the farm’s biggest attraction is the five-acre corn maze, which during October turns into a haunted maze at night. “We started laying it out last year. This was just a pasture with three big ol’ (old) pine trees in it,” he said. “We come out, we dug up the trees. I spent days digging up roots and killing the grass and preparing the soil for growing the corn. We wanted it to still be green at this time, so we waited to plant the corn until July.” For the haunted maze, Roberts said they only use a portion of the maze. “At dusk we will kick everybody out of the maze that come out during the day, and then we’ll go in here and set up,” he said. “We’re going to locate haunted people in special spots to basically drive you where we want you to go. No flashlights, no phones, it’s just walking through here in the dark.” There’s also a 1-acre pumpkin patch where visitors can pick a pumpkin. “We have a 1-acre pumpkin patch where you can pick your own pumpkin for 50 cents a pound,” he said. “Then we have a variety of other types of different pumpkins like Polar Bear, Rascals, Cinderellas that you can buy for 80 cents a pound, and they’re spread out throughout the area.” Other activities include a petting zoo, hayrack ride, a jump pad and horseshoes. There is also a picnic area and a country store where items such as T-shirts, flashlights, glow bracelets and necklaces, candy bars and beverages can be purchased. Roberts said he hopes to see new faces stopping by as they plan to stay open through November. “There’s a payoff in seeing the kids having fun and the adults, too. It’s all for the fun of it and it’s work. It’s a job, but it’s still exciting. I get to meet all kinds of people,” he said. Rockin’ R Farms is located at 15486 N. Spears Road and is open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Admission to the corn maze is $7 per person with children 2 and under free. Admission to the haunted maze, which is only on Friday and Saturday, is $9 per person, and admission for both the haunted maze and spook trail is $12 per person. For more information, visit Rockin’ R Farms on Facebook. <strong>The Asylum: Nowata</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Click here to</a>watch the video. People looking for a truly horrifying Halloween haunt may get more blood and guts than they bargain for at The Asylum Haunted Attraction. Visitors are invited to step inside a 1940s mental hospital, giving them a hands-on experience into the world of deranged doctors and assistants performing experiments on completely sane individuals. “This is a two-story haunt,” Russell Kyle Rhoades, assistant director, said. “You’re going to be going through twists and turns. You’re going to get turned around quite a few times. A lot of the areas that you see might not actually be a door. There might be something else entirely that you have to find, and it’s just challenging your senses.” The haunt will also require interaction with several characters, including a demented priest and a disturbed Peter Rabbit, which Rhoades called an “accident,” but has since taken off with visitors. “People have adopted (the characters) and started to flesh them out for themselves,” he said. “It’s the patrons that make it special. We’re just trying something and it stuck and the patrons just make it what it is.” Workers design and fabricate each costume and room, allowing what visitors see to be truly unique. “A lot of these rooms, all these things that you see around here, we’ve built,” Rhoades said. “We spend a lot of time (working) throughout the off season because we do three events now. As soon as one event is done, we’re getting prepared for the next one, so we’re busy all the time.” Many of the scenes in The Asylum are not for the faint of heart, especially when you might be asked to remove one from a body in the surgery room. “The scene that we’re known for the most is surgery, and you have to pull assortments of things from a carcass,” Rhoades said. “Prepare to get bloody. This is interactive and that’s what we’re known for.” No worries, though. The Asylum assures customers the fake blood washes out. There is no age limit to enter, though parental discretion is advised. If the experience becomes too much, the haunt has an easy out. “Fear is subjective,” Rhoades said. “It’s all personal, so I would suggest if you bring your kids, be prepared for them to ‘Bloody Mary.’ That’s the safe word that we use to escort them out if they’re too scared. But it’s completely subjective, so if you feel like your kids can make it, come on out. We definitely try to do something different with every event that’s unique in its own way that you’re not going to experience anywhere else.” The haunt has plans to move to a bigger facility as word of mouth continues to build its reputation. The current site is host to The Asylum in October, Sweetheart Slaughter in February and Dodsfall in June. The Asylum Haunted Attraction is located at 304 W. Cherokee Ave. It is open Fridays and Saturdays from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Sundays from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. through Oct. 29, with a special encore event on Nov. 4. For more information, visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. <strong>Other Halloween activities around the Cherokee Nation</strong> <strong>The Castle in Muskogee</strong> The Castle in Muskogee caters to all ages, from children to adults. Visitors can grab a drink at pubs, participate in a zombie hunt, take a haunted hayride, experience spook trails or see performers practice hypnotism and juggle fire. The activities are spread out across 14 acres and open Fridays and Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. until Oct. 28. <strong>Muskogee Haunted History Tours</strong> Muskogee Haunted History Tours invites guests walk or bike a tour of local haunts on Oct. 14, 20, 21 and 27. Tours begin at 6:30 p.m. and tickets are $15. For more information, visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. <strong>Route 66 Punkin’ Chunkin’ in Vinita</strong> Participants from around northeast Oklahoma will launch pumpkins from a catapult-type contraption to see how far their pumpkins go. There will also be free children’s games, pumpkin bowling, a children’s costume contest, pumpkin decorating and more. The event is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets are $5 per person and children 4 and under are free. For more information, visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a> or call 918-256-7133. <strong>Tulsa Zoo</strong> The Tulsa Zoo hosts HallowZOOeen from Oct. 27-31, inviting children to dress up and trick-or-treat at Goblin Stops, play carnival-style games in the Pumpkin Patch Playroom and take a ride on the Haunted Train. Activities begin at 6 p.m. Tickets for non-members are $8 and $7 for members, while Haunted Train ride tickets are $5. For more information, visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a> <strong>Pumpkin Festival at Shepherd's Cross in Claremore</strong> Families can wander through the Pumpkin Patch, pet farm animals, take a trek through a hay maze or construct a scarecrow at the Shepherd’s Pumpkin Festival. The festival is open from 9 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and runs until Nov. 4. For more information, visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a>
08/24/2017 04:00 PM
CLAREMORE, Okla. – The stables are filling up once again with the stocky build of some of the top American Quarter Horse competitors as fall racing returns Sept. 9 to Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs. The horses are set to contend for the lead position in high-paying races to be held on the grounds. The 2017 WRD racing schedule features 28 AQHA, Appaloosa and Paint stakes races through Nov. 12. Races post at noon every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with each day featuring 12 races. “Will Rogers Downs put on an excellent meet for Quarter Horses, Paints and Appaloosas last year, and we only hope to grow that in 2017,” John Lies, WRD racing secretary, announcer and oddsmaker, said. Seventeen stakes races worth more than $650,000 are included in the program, a significant increase from the 2016 Quarter Horse racing season in added Oklahoma-bred purse money for all overnight races. “Rick Robinson was a standout in the trainers division last fall and is back in full force with a large stable,” Lies said. “Other top barns such as Clint Crawford and Dee Keener will help make this another competitive season, one we hope to continue developing into one of the top Quarter Horse and Mixed race meets in the country.” The Black Gold 350 Championship Futurity Trials on opening day features the top 2-year-old Quarter Horses in the country going 350 yards. The 10 fastest qualifiers will then compete in the futurity finals on Sept. 24, guaranteeing an added $133,500. The following day the third annual Miss Ellen Stakes offers a 350-yard race for fillies and mares 3 years old and up and guarantees $18,000 in the purse. Nov. 4 showcases the Jerry Jaggars Memorial for 3 year olds and up, competing at 350 yards for the $35,000 prize. “The Black Gold nominations are deeper than last year and set us up for a strong night of trials right from the start,” said Lies. “We also shifted the dates of a couple stakes races to help create our best overall racing program.” On the final day of racing, racing fans can enjoy the $133,500 Black Gold 440 Championship Futurity Finals along with the Oklahoma Horsemen’s Association Mystery Derby Finals, worth $25,000, and the $75,000 Oklahoma Horsemen’s Association Mystery Futurity Restricted Grade III. Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs is located 3 miles east of Claremore on Highway 20. For more information, visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a> and click on the WRD tab, or call 918-283-8800.
News Writer
07/20/2017 12:00 PM
STILWELL, Okla. – For more than 48 years, Cherokee Nation Businesses Engineering & Manufacturing Companies have provided award-winning products and services to clients across the United States, as well as jobs for the Cherokee people. With its main office in Stilwell, locals mostly refer to the company as Cherokee Nation Industries. However, a few years ago Cherokee Nation Businesses placed the company within the Engineering & Manufacturing division of Cherokee Nation Businesses along with Cherokee Nation CND, Cherokee Nation Red Wing, and Cherokee Nation Aerospace & Defense. “We decided to come up with a name that more represented who we are and what we do,” Chris Moody, CNB’s Engineering & Manufacturing Companies president, said. “We provide engineering and manufacturing services, so engineering and manufacturing as part of Cherokee Nation Businesses became our name.” While CNI is largely known for assembling “military aircraft products”, that is only a portion of what CNB’s Engineering & Manufacturing division does. “Military aircraft is our primary niche, and wire harnesses and electrical assemblies is the primary product that we supply,” Moody said. “We also added additional capabilities, which are machine and metal working, and integration, which would be taking our electrical capability and our metal capability and combining them into a single product.” Established in 1969, CNI began as a small business constructing relay switches for Western Electric Company with roughly 12 employees. Today, it is has 300-plus employees, full-time and part-time, and four companies that make up Engineering & Manufacturing Companies: Cherokee Nation Distribution, CNI and Aerospace and Defense in Stilwell and the Redwing defense office in Huntsville, Alabama, and manufacturing in Pryor. The companies have contracts with commercial clients such as Sikorsky, Boeing and Bell, but officials said they hope to start working directly with the federal government. “Right now most of our work is commercial. A couple of years ago we started moving our strategy to focus more on government work,” Moody said. “Now we’re starting to win more work with the Navy, the Air Force and the Army. It hasn’t been a big piece of what we have done, but it will be as we are really going after that work and wanting to work directly with them.” He said government clients have different product requirements that will allow the CNB business to grow. As business grows, the need for expanding may be a factor in the near future. “The interesting thing about this business is we could get a call tomorrow, and it could be huge program, and in six months we cold be talking about needing another 40,000 square feet. So if something like that came up, we would be looking to expand,” Moody said. The growth in employees, companies and clientele is not the only thing that has changed since the company opened its doors. Moody said the work the employees do is more sophisticated than ever. “We started with a more simple product with WEC, and it was an electrical product, so the biggest changes are really in the complexity of the product we’re able to manufacture verses what we could initially and the technology it takes in order to communicate with our costumers,” he said. He also said a few employees from 1969 are still with the company. “We still have some of those original employees who are still providing really good service,” he said. “That’s one of the encouraging things. We’ve seen our employee base move along with the complexity of the product and technology.” Moody credits the employees for the company’s success. “The people are our greatest asset, and what makes us so unique is the value of our people,” he said. “That’s our product – the skill, talent and performance of our employees here.” CNB’s E&M companies have 20 full-time and part-time production positions open. For more information about open jobs, visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a>.
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
07/19/2017 08:45 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – From Atari 2600 to PlayStation 4, from Donkey Kong to Link, there has been several memorable consoles, games and characters that have played a role in people’s childhoods that continue to stick around. Les Wallace, Cherokee Nation citizen and Game Barn owner, is helping put those consoles, games and characters back into the hands of those who grew up with them and the younger generations. “People like games, so I’m making people happy by providing this service for them to find games at reasonable prices,” he said. “If it was a game that they remember playing as a child or as a teen, and I can have that in the store for them to purchase at a good price, then that makes me happy too, to see them happy.” Wallace began the business after his former job took a “toll” on him. “I just wanted something different where I could control my own outcomes, make my own decisions and just try to make more money to try to provide for my family,” he said. He said his customers can also find consoles, games and accessories such as controllers and power cords. “I try to keep the store where somebody will come in, and they’ll find something that they like,” he said. “People are different, and they like different things, so I try to keep a variety of things.” Wallace said Game Barn, which has a buy/sale/trade model, gives customers a chance to buy new games at a decent price. “Basically, my goals are to make this a place for the customers to come here and trade their games in and give the people that hasn’t played the games a chance to buy the game at a reasonable price. That’s why I’m so for pre-owned games because you can’t go in and buy the latest game for $25. The games are expensive,” he said. “So I just want to make this place a place for the community of people who play video games to come in and trade off and pass it on to the next person, so they can get a game at a reasonable price.” In the case of trade-in goods, Wallace said he tests them before he sells them. “Everything in my store, I test before it goes out in the cases or on the shelves. If something should happen to get by, I make sure that I make it right with the customer,” he said. Wallace said although he takes trade-ins, he doesn’t do console repairs. “I do some work with the old cartridges like cleaning them and refurbishing them and replacing the batteries, but that’s about the furthest extent that I go as far as repairs,” he said. With games ranging from $2.95 to $32.95 and consoles from $21.95 to $99.95, Wallace said he tries to keep his inventory at “fair market value.” “I try to run promotions, like on some of my handheld game cartridges I offer buy two, get one free of equal value or lesser. On my trade-ins, I offer a little more for trade-ins than most video game stores, I’m pretty sure, that way it gives people an opportunity to get the most for their trade so they can get that game that they’re looking for,” he said. He said he also runs weekly specials for those who wear video game-themed or Game Barn T-shirts. Wallace said he wants customers to know that this is “your game store.” “My phrase is, ‘Game Barn Video Games, Your Game Store.’ So it’s the people’s video game store,” he said. “It’s not my video game store. I’m just the mediator. I just present it and provide a place for people to come trade and sale and buy games.” Game Barn is at 1000 S. College Ave., and open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, visit Game Barn on Facebook or call 918-457-9663.
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
05/12/2017 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – From her house to Tahlequah’s main street, Cherokee Nation citizen Alyssa Henson began her creative journey of fashioning clothes with Indigenous flair approximately three years ago. On May 9, she held a grand opening for her brick and mortar shop on Muskogee Avenue. Henson said she opened the shop because the demand on Facebook for custom orders was “too high.” “The demand was too high on Facebook to just keep it running from my house, so it called for me to have a location that people can come to so that it would make it a lot easier,” she said. Henson said when customers enter her shop they will see Native-inspired clothing made by her or purchased from vendors. “What I’ve actually made is all of the Cherokee-inspired skirts. I make men’s vests and boy’s vests, which I will be putting more out. I make some bags too, as well, that are also Cherokee-inspired with the designs,” she said. She also has some of her customized hoodies along with backpacks, purses, jewelry and other Native-themed wears. Henson said in time she would like to create a place in her shop where she could sew. “I’m trying to make it where I’ll have a little place to sew here while I’m here,” she said. She said the goal is to have the store act as an “intertribal” gift shop. “Not just Cherokee, but I really care about the other tribes that we have that are in and around the Tahlequah area. You know, just a place where you can go and you can really find some authentic Native-made things, jewelry, the traditional skirts or just in general a tribal skirt or a vest.” Henson said she is still taking custom orders as she did before opening the store. “You can come here and get things customized. Like if you even bring your own hoodie in and you wanted a certain color or anything like that, I really try to be open,” she said. She is also working on creating a website for the 7 Clan Stand, and she’ll be updating customers on her Facebook page about its progress. “I’m going to be creating my website…where you can put things in a cart, pretty soon,” she said. “I can’t really say when, but I will be updating that on the (Facebook) profile.” She also plans to have a “grand opening” sale in which she will offer 20 percent off on some of her items. “We’ll have to get that set, and I’ll post that on the (Facebook) page as well.” Henson’s 7 Clan Stand is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and is located at 306 N. Muskogee Ave. For more information, visit “7clanstand” on Facebook or stop by the store.