By Jeanne LeFlore
McALESTER — The same time as a planned protest of the recent deaths at Narconon Arrowhead, the facility spent nearly $50,000 to repave the half mile of county road where the rally was to take place. Narconon Arrowhead is a non-profit drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Canadian with ties to the church of Scientology, according to Gary Smith director of the facility.
“The cost of the (road) project was estimated at $50,000 which was paid for by the Narconon organization at no cost to the county,” according to press-release from Narconon Arrowhead.
The road work took place in June 23 and June 24 during a planned protest by Shirley Gilliam, the mother of Gabriel Graves, a 32-year-old man who was found dead at the facility in October, and Collin Henderson, a former Narconon patient.
The June protest, which was centered around three patients who died while patients of Arrowhead Narconon, another death was recently reported at the same facility.
On Friday 20 -year- old Stacy Dawn Murphy of Owasso who was found dead in the early morning hours at the facility.
Meanwhile, Narconon and state officials were notified of the planned protest and Narconon Director Gary Smith sought help patrolling the area.
Pittsburg County Commission Chairman Gene Rogers said he was contacted by Smith for help the weekend the protest was scheduled — June 23 and 24th.
“He (Gary Smith) called me and said they might be having a problem with the public that weekend and he wanted help policing the area and he asked about doing overlaying (of the road),” Rogers said.
Safety, not the protest, was the reason the small section of county road was resurfaced, according to the Narconon director.
“One of the biggest issues public and staff have had to deal with is ice in the winter,” Smith said. “With this in mind, the new road surface was specially treated to create traction for vehicles which will help greatly in accessing the rehab center and public facilities in the park all year around.”
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Contact Jeanne LeFlore at firstname.lastname@example.org.