DEATHS

Maxine Tate, 53

Born December 20, 1966

Died May 26, 2020

Kevin Lee Guy, 57

Born November 1, 1962

Died May 26, 2020

Howard S. Jayne, 75

Born July 9, 1944

Died May 24, 2020

Frank Steven Carvajal, 73

Born June 14, 1946

Died May 23, 2020

Floretta L. Leatherman, 80

Born August 31, 1939

Died May 23, 2020

Lisa Kay Mullen, 56

Born June 26, 1963

Died May 22, 2020

Kathryn Joyce Cookson, 82

Born December 24, 1937

Died May 22, 2020

Thomas S. Meeker, 81

Born February 24, 1939

Died May 21, 2020

Terry Lee Shipman, 65

Born June 2, 1954

Died May 19, 2020

Shirley Ann Jackson, 79

Born July 19, 1940

Died May 18, 2020

CLICK TO SEE MORE >>

Our death notices and obits are always free to the families and funeral homes.

Thursday, May 28, 2020, 9:57 AM

Cory Wayne Newsom

Cory Wayne Newsom, 21, of Muskogee was arrested on Monday on a complaint of lewd acts on a child.

Newsom is alleged by law enforcement to have coerced a 15-year-old autistic boy into letting him perform oral sex on him.

He has not yet been charged with the crime, but the case will be sent to the district attorney.

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Thursday, May 28, 2020, 7:16 AM

Kellen Gittens

Johnny Toomer
Kellen Leslie Gittens, 37, and Johnny Damond Toomer, 37, both of Muskogee, are charged with four felonies stemming from a May 9 incident that left a house on 11th Street riddled with bullets.

Police allege that Gittens was in an argument with his neighbor on 11th Street over parking in a driveway. They say Gittens and Toomer were driving around in Toomer’s 2000 Mercury Grand Marquis discussing shooting and killing the neighbor. Police say the pair pulled up in front of the neighbor’s house, at which time Gittens got out of the vehicle and shot 30 rounds at the house, then got back in the car, which sped away and got into a wreck at 24th and Shawnee.

Gittens is charged with shooting with intent to kill and possession of a firearm after former conviction of a felony. He was formerly convicted of two DUIs, felony menacing and robbery.

Toomer is charged with shooting with intent to kill and leaving the scene of an accident involving damage.

Warrants have been issued for both men.

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Thursday, May 28, 2020, 7:07 AM

Gage Ross

Gage Hayden Ross, 22, of Oktaha is charged with shooting with intent to kill and possession of a firearm after former felony conviction stemming from a May 24 incident in Oktaha, according to court documents.

Prosecutors allege Ross shot Logan Hubler, 20, also of Oktaha through the chest. Witnesses reported that the two men had a longstanding dispute.

Ross was convicted of felony assault and battery on a police officer in 2019 and received a five-year suspended sentence. He faces a preliminary hearing on June 1.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2020, 1:37 PM

Howard Jayne

Howard Jayne, who taught history, political science, international relations and other subjects in Muskogee Public Schools for 26 years, has died, according to the family.

His obituary appears here.

Jayne was known for engaging his students not as children or teenagers, but as equals, prodding them to learn through engagement rather than rote. Generations of Muskogee students proclaimed him their favorite teacher.

His wife, Lillian Jayne, a Muskogee Realtor, was also a longtime and beloved teacher.

Howard Jayne was 75.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2020, 10:24 AM

A child’s body was found in the Arkansas River near the Grand River (Neosha River) last night at 9:30 p.m., according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

The age, gender and race of the child are unknown.

Around 7:40 p.m. last night, a fisherman observed a body floating in the river near lock and dam No. 17. The Okay Fire Department was notified and observed the body as it floated under the Highway 16 bridge.

Wagoner County Emergency Management was able to locate the body near the mouth of the Grand River and made recovery in 10 feet of water. The child was not wearing a personal flotation device.

Two children went missing in Tulsa on Saturday. Miracle Lashay Crook, 2, and Tony Demone Crook, 1, were last seen by their mother Donisha Willis on Thursday in the area of 2200 S 96th E Ave, police said.

The toddlers disappeared around Mingo Creek, which eventually feeds into the Verdigris River, a tributary of the Arkansas River west of the Grand River. Tulsa police have said they are interested in whether this body may be one of the toddlers.

Willis is now booked in the Tulsa County jail for child endangerment.

UPDATE: Tulsa Police have identified the body as a young female:

The body removed from the water is that of a young female. The Medical Examiner will work to definitively identify the body. The search area for Miracle and Tony Crook has now dramatically widened.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2020, 8:41 AM

Muskogee and the state have seen a rash of cases of someone stealing people’s identities and using those identities to file for unemployment during the economic crash.

The initial investigative efforts of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and its partner agencies in the Unemployment Fraud Task Force have determined that the scope of the investigation must be expanded outside the borders of Oklahoma, and even the United States. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Secret Service will bring their national and global resources to bear on this effort as they assume leadership of the investigation. The OSBI will continue to be an integral part of the investigation by providing investigative support and continuing to investigate cases within the jurisdictional boundaries of Oklahoma.

“These criminals might be outside of our reach, but they are not outside the reach of the United States federal government,” said OSBI Director Ricky Adams. “Our agents and intelligence analysts will be here to assist our federal partners as necessary, especially if this criminal activity leads to an Oklahoma connection.”

If you receive any correspondence regarding an unemployment claim that you did not file, stop payment by emailing the OESC at fraud@oesc.state.ok.us. To have your case included in the investigation, you need to complete the form on the Attorney General’s web site at www.oag.ok.gov/coronavirus-fraud-resources.

If you are a business owner that is asked to approve a fraudulent unemployment claim, follow the instruction on the paperwork to contest the application.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2020, 8:28 AM

Christopher Hobbs

Christopher Jade Hobbs, 34, of Muskogee is charged with felony cruelty to animals after a domestic incident on May 21 where he is alleged to have grabbed two guinea pigs by their necks and thrown them outside a house, then grabbing them again and throwing them back in.

He is also facing two misdemeanors, one for allegedly pushing his girlfriend to the ground and spitting in her face and a second for allegedly telling her he was going to “smack the fuck” out of her.

Documents filed with the case allege that the victim’s ankle was sprained during the incident, where she was trying to get away from Hobbs.

Hobbs faces a sounding docket at 10 a.m. on June 9.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2020, 1:14 PM

Employees at the county services building were sent home today so emergency officials can clean and disinfect the building after a reported coronavirus case in the county assessor’s office, according to numerous employees.

“EMS has a system they use to disinfect their ambulances,” said county Emergency Management Director Jeff Smith. “They came over to use that on the building.”

Smith did not know if the virus case was an employee or someone else.

Employees say they’re being told they can return to work this afternoon, but were instructed to wash their clothes immediately.

UPDATE 2:24 p.m.: Smith said the case is a confirmed COVID-19 infection of an employee at the county assessor’s office. The building has been closed the rest of the day for disinfection by EMS using specialized equipment.

All employees will be tested tomorrow morning for the virus, but they are not required to quarantine or wear PPEs. The employee who tested positive will be quarantined and will not be able to report back to work until cleared by the county health department.

UPDATE 2:50 p.m.: Two employees are being quarantined in addition to the employee who tested positive, after an investigation by the health department. Employees are being asked to wear masks and to don gloves when dealing with the public.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2020, 8:20 AM

Online motor vehicle tag renewals can be processed by local tag agents under legislation enacted via veto override.

House Bill 4049, by House Speaker Charles McCall, requires the state to offer citizens renewing vehicle tags online with the option to digitally renew their vehicle tag through their local tag agent.

“Local tag agents provide a valuable service, especially in rural Oklahoma. As digital becomes the new normal, these tag agents will be able to continue serving their communities. I appreciate Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols and Representative Brian Bill for accurately clarifying what the bill does and does not do.”

Oklahoma has hundreds of local tag agents across the state that could be harmed if the state were to limit online renewals only through the Tax Commission directly, or if the state were to make it difficult to find the option online to renew through a local agent.

The bill does not prohibit direct renewal with the Tax Commission from being listed an option on the online tag renewal application. The bill does clarify that the Tax Commission is not a tag agent.

The bill takes effect Nov. 1, 2020.

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Monday, May 25, 2020, 9:09 AM

Fort Gibson National Cemetery held a solemn Memorial Day ceremony on Thursday, May 21. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s ceremony was not open to the public.

Bill Rhoades, director of Fort Gibson and Fort Sill National Cemeteries, said that despite COVID-19, the cemetery still did its best to honor America’s fallen.

“Everyone was clearly aware that we were representing the entire community who were unable to attend due to safety concerns from COVID-19,” said Rhoades. “I love this community and was touched by the community’s humble, reverent approach to this year’s ceremony.”

American Legion Post 20 provided the rifle volley and taps. Tim Smith, American Legion Post 20 Commander and vice mayor of Fort Gibson, served as the keynote speaker.

Other speakers included Jason McClellan, director, Muskogee VA Regional Office, Mark E. Morgan, director, Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System, and Bill Rhoades, director, Fort Gibson/Fort Sill National Cemeteries. Former State Rep. Jerry McPeak, District 13, served as the master of ceremonies. VA Chaplain Forrest Kirk provided the opening prayer, led the Pledge of Allegiance and the benediction, and Charmin Brown sang the National Anthem.

“All of us who participated understood the tremendous responsibility to pay our respects to our fallen Veterans on behalf of those who could not be there in person,” said Mark E. Morgan. “My sincere thanks goes out to Fort Gibson National Cemetery for hosting the event despite the limitations on the attendance.”

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Sunday, May 24, 2020, 10:11 PM

Gage Ross

Logan Hubler, 20, of Oktaha is being flown by helicopter to a Tulsa hospital in critical condition after he was shot through the chest this afternoon in Oktaha, according to Muskogee County Undersheriff Michael Mahan. According to Muskogee County EMS spokeswoman Trish German, he was shot in the back.

Hubler apparently has had a longstanding dispute with suspect Gage Ross, 22, of Oktaha, possibly over a stolen firearm.

After the shooting, according to Mahan, Ross went home and called Muskogee Police, saying he wanted to turn himself in. En route to Muskogee, he was stopped by the police department and arrested on complaints of shooting with intent to kill.

Law enforcement officials believe the bullet, from a handgun, went entire through Hubler’s body.

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Friday, May 22, 2020, 11:48 AM

Addison Paige Clark

Addison Paige Clark, 30, pleaded guilty today in Muskogee County District Court to manslaughter, DUI, transporting an open container, failure to yield, failure to carry insurance and driving with license suspended stemming from a June 2019 incident where her car slammed into a motorcycle driven by Joshua Ray Jackson on North York Street.

She told police at the time that she was attempting to go to a bar, but she was already drunk at the time. While trying to turn, she slammed into Jackson’s Harley-Davidson and killed him. Jackson’s passenger was also critically injured in the wreck.

Clark’s blind plea means she will receive and serve whatever sentence the judge pronounces without any deal from prosecutors. A pre-sentencing investigation has been ordered by Judge Josh King in Cherokee County, and she will be sentenced on July 24 at 1:30 p.m.

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Thursday, May 21, 2020, 9:52 AM

Feed the Children and Genesis 12:2 (a charity operated by Mini-Max grocery store owner Bill Johnson) are partnering together to feed and help 400 families currently receiving food stamp benefits.

Each family will receive a 25-pound box of food, a 15-pound box of essentials and additional food items.

Families can pre-register at the Mini-Max Foods grocery store today and tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The giveaway will take place on Saturday, May 23 in the store’s parking lot from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The store is located at 2408 E. Shawnee.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020, 7:50 AM

Georgia-Pacific has sued the manufacturer of the lift truck that burst into flames and later exploded on May 13, 2019, shutting down the plant and burning for days. The company is also suing the seller of the truck.

GP’s suit alleges that the truck was serviced and maintained by the companies it’s suing, used in the proper fashion since its purchase in 2015 and “lift trucks should not start on fire and explode.”

The company says it purchased and implemented all fire-related safety options offered and recommended by Hyster, the company that manufactured the lift, and Medley, the company that sold it.

GP is also suing Safecraft, which manufactured the fire-suppression equipment on the lift, and National Maintenance Services. It says the system should have been automatic, not manual, requiring the operator to activate it.

The suit includes quotes of contracts signed that require the two companies to compensate Georgia-Pacific for losses sustained as a result of their negligence, but neither company has.

The company is asking to be reimbursed for property damage to its buildings and inventory, costs for demolition and cleanup, additional costs associated with manufacturing, packaging, shipping and warehousing and loss of sales and profit in excess of $75,000.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020, 7:37 AM

Christopher Branton Melland

Christopher Branton Melland, 45, of Oktaha is charged in Muskogee County District Court with strangling his mother and threatening to kill her, according to documents filed with the case.

According to a police affidavit, on May 16, around 6 p.m., Melland wrapped and orange electrical cord around his mother’s neck and choked her until she couldn’t breathe. Police also allege he told his mother he would kill her and burn her belongings if she told anyone what happened.

Melland was convicted of domestic abuse - assault and battery previously in November 2017 and sentenced to a year in jail, with the sentence suspended. He’s also previously been convicted of endeavoring to manufacture controlled drugs, conspiracy to commit a felony, false personation, bribing an officer (two counts) and bringing contraband into a jail. He has received a total of 77 years in prison on those convictions.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020, 7:13 AM

State Rep. Avery Frix, R-Muskogee, on Tuesday commented on an announcement that the Taft Public Works Authority in Muskogee County received approval for a $99,999 Rural Economic Action Plan grant through the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to improve the authority’s water infrastructure.

“I very much appreciate the Water Resources Board working to administer this grant that will help improve the quality and delivery of water for the residents of Taft,” Frix said. “This also will help keep costs lower for these utility users in the long run.”

The Taft Public Works Authority will use the funds to sandblast and paint a water standpipe, to install an aeration/recirculation pump as well as a dedicated line at the standpipe, and to install other necessary valves and controls. The estimated total cost of the project is $345,838. In addition to the OWRB REAP grant of $99,999, the remainder is being funded by a Community Development Block Grant grant of $205,839, an Eastern Oklahoma Economic Development District REAP grant of $40,000.

Joe Freeman, chief of the OWRB’s Financial Assistance Division, calculated the grant will save the authority’s customers $179,998 in principal and interest charges by not having to borrow the project funds. Since 1983 the Water Resources Board has approved over $4.5 billion in loans and grants for water and wastewater infrastructure improvements throughout Oklahoma.

OWRB Executive Director Julie Cunningham expressed gratitude for Frix and State Sen. Dewayne Pemberton, R-Muskogee, for their continued support of water and wastewater infrastructure funding in Oklahoma.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 7:05 AM

Unemployed Oklahomans who are self-employed rallied at the state Capitol Monday wanting answers to why their claims have not been fulfilled after weeks of waiting. Sen. Mary Boren has been working tirelessly trying to get answers as many unemployed Oklahomans are facing eviction and other financial troubles.

“Being that the state has already received its federal unemployment funds, I don’t understand why these citizens aren’t getting their benefits,” Boren said. “It’s beyond frustrating that our citizens, through no fault of their own had to close their businesses because of the health crisis yet haven’t received the unemployment benefits they were promised. Something must be done immediately so these people don’t lose their homes, cars, or have to close their businesses permanently and experience complete financial ruin.”

Boren said her office has been inundated with calls and emails of Oklahomans who have not received any unemployment benefits, cannot get through to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission to get an update on their case, or if they do get through are told someone will get back to them but never does.

Three types of unemployment are currently available to self-employed Oklahomans, gig workers, independent contractors and those who have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits. 1. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is available to those who do not qualify for regular unemployment insurance benefits. PUA benefits became available at the end of April.

2. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Assistance will begin this week and will provide an additional 13 weeks of benefits (through the week ending Dec. 26, 2020) to those who have exhausted regular unemployment insurance benefits.

3. Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation provides an additional $600 per week to all eligible Unemployment Insurance claimants through the week ending July 25, 2020.

The Norman senator cited a survey from the Oklahoma Self-Employed Professionals, a group of private citizens who have received no PUA assistance and are demanding accountability from the OESC, the governor and other state leaders. The survey included responses from more than 300 Oklahomans.

Nearly half of respondents said they have received no confirmation that their claim has been approved or denied. Nearly 60 percent of those surveyed said they have been disconnected at least twice when calling in to check on the status of their claim. Only 14 percent of those approved for PUA have been able to file their weekly claims.

The survey found that when people did get through they experienced long wait times. More than 28 percent said they waited 30 minutes to an hour, nearly 16 percent waited 1-2 hours, and nearly 24 percent waited over 2 hours to talk to an OESC employee about their claim.

Of those surveyed, 88 percent said when their call was answered there was no Tier 1 Specialist available to help them. Nearly 46% said when they talked to a Tier 1 Specialist, they were provided incorrect information.

When speaking to a Tier 1 Specialist, 69 percent were told their case was “high priority” or “critical” and that they were at the top of the list for a Tier 2 agent to return their call. Nearly 85 percent of these individuals are still waiting to be contacted by a Tier 2 agent. Less than 3 percent of those who have talked to a Tier 2 agent said they were able to address their issue successfully.

“This is a just a small reflection of what is happening to Oklahomans all over the state. I urge Gov. Stitt to hold OESC accountable and get these hardworking Oklahomans the benefits they have earned and deserve before their lives are destroyed. This isn’t a game. These are people’s lives and they need relief immediately,” Boren said.

According to OESC, the state has received just over $1.21 billion in federal funds for PUA, PEUC and FPUC.

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Monday, May 18, 2020, 8:09 AM

Marissa Solenberg, 37, of Tahlequah was rushed to the hospital early yesterday morning after her car slammed into a tree, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Solenberg’s 2016 Hyundai Elantra was eastbound on Oklahoma Highway 51 near the intersection of Limbsey lane, around 1:30 a.m., when it departed the roadway to the left, traveled 217 feet and slammed into a tree. She was pinned in the vehicle for 20 minutes before the Tahlequah Fire Department was able to extract her.

She was rushed to the hospital, where she was admitted in critical condition with head, internal and external and leg injuries.

The patrol is investigating the cause of the wreck.

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Monday, May 18, 2020, 8:04 AM

William James Smith Jr.

William James Smith Jr., 39 of Okay is charged with seven crimes — including two felonies — after a high-speed chase that began on US 62 in Muskogee and reached speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour before running a Wagoner County deputy off the road and ending in Okay.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Duncan Smith attempted to stop William Smith’s white 2006 Nissan pickup truck at Shawnee and Country Club, but the suspect failed to stop. After the trooper shined his spotlight in the back window of the truck, Smith allegedly accelerated quickly and initiated a chase that turned north on York Street. Once in Wagoner County, Smith allegedly saw a Wagoner County deputy coming toward him and swerved into the deputy’s lane, forcing the deputy off the road.

When the chase hit Okay, Smith’s pickup allegedly ran off the road and got stuck in a yard, so he fled on foot. The trooper overcame him and arrested him. Smith then fell asleep in the trooper’s car after the trooper said he smelled a strong odor of marijuana on him and discovered numerous pieces of paraphernalia from the pickup.

Smith faces a felony charge of endangering others while attempting to elude a police officer, a felony charge of assault with a dangerous weapon (his pickup), a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence, a misdemeanor charge of possession of controlled dangerous substance, a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor charge of reckless driving and a misdemeanor charge of driving with a suspended license.

He has also been convicted of numerous previous felonies, including possession of drugs, seven counts of burglary of a vehicle, bail jumping, endeavoring to manufacture controlled drug and second-degree forgery.

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Friday, May 15, 2020, 1:06 PM

High winds — possibly a tornado — ripped through Muskogee County this morning southeast of Muskogee near Keefeton, according to law enforcement reports.

So far, no injuries have been reported, but Muskogee County EMS is on standby in case any are.

Several buildings were destroyed and trees were uprooted.

Emergency workers are on the scene now.

UPDATE: The National Weather Service has now classified the event as an EF-1 tornado.

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Friday, May 15, 2020, 7:12 AM

The Department of Public Safety is resuming drive tests and relaxing some other restrictions on the process of acquiring a driver license as Governor Kevin Stitt begins phase two of the state’s reopening.

Beginning today DPS will allow walk-ins at all offices for driver license and/or Oklahoma identification card processing. DPS has been operating on an appointment-only basis since offices opened to the public on May 1. Social distancing guidelines will continue to be enforced and citizens visiting our offices will still be required to wear a face covering and have their temperature taken before entering the building.

Also beginning May 15, DPS will resume all drive tests for Class D licenses as well as Commercial Driver Licenses These will be by appointment only and vehicles used for the drive test will have to be disinfected by the applicant. The applicant will also be required to wear a face covering that covers their mouth and nose. Appointments can be made by visiting ok.gov/dps and clicking on “Online Services.”

DPS is continuing to waive school enrollment verification and documentation of reading proficiency (the eighth-grade English language arts assessment) for those under 18 years of age. The reading proficiency requirement is permanently waived for all students who are eighth-graders during the 2019-2020 school year. All extended expiration dates of Class D driver licenses, state-issued identification cards, handicap parking placards, CDLs and Commercial Learner Permits (CLPs) will be considered expired after June 30, 2020.

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Friday, May 15, 2020, 7:10 AM

The Cherokee Nation is canceling the 2020 Remember the Removal Bike Ride in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The trek across seven states was initially scheduled to begin on June 1. Although the bike ride has been canceled, the nine Cherokee Nation cyclists who were selected to make the journey in 2020 will have first priority to participate in the 2021 program.

“The Remember the Removal Bike Ride is a tremendously important program for our Cherokee youth to learn the history and honor the legacy of their ancestors who endured some of the worst tragedy in the history of the great Cherokee Nation. There is not another life-changing opportunity like this ride,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “However, this year, with the threat of COVID-19, we simply cannot jeopardize the riders’ health and safety, nor that of our coordinators and all the volunteers who meet us along the Trail of Tears route. We understand this is disappointing, as our cyclists have spent months training both physically and mentally. They committed themselves to continuing this program’s legacy, and it is our hope that each one is able to participate next year. Our riders will be given first preference in 2021.”

The Remember the Removal Bike Ride is a youth leadership program that retraces the Northern Route of the Trail of Tears, beginning in New Echota, Georgia, the former capital of the Cherokee Nation, and ending in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the tribe’s modern-day capital.

The nearly 950-mile trek spans seven states including Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Participants retrace the same path their ancestors were forced to walk more than 180 years ago on the Trail of Tears.

The Remember the Removal Bike Ride was created in 1984 as a youth leadership program. The program was restarted in 2009 and in 2011 began to include cyclists from both the Cherokee Nation and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

The ride will resume in 2021.

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Thursday, May 14, 2020, 9:08 AM

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is investigating a homicide that occurred yesterday in Stilwell.

On May 13, the Adair County Sheriff’s Office requested OSBI assistance with a homicide, which occurred on S. 4725 Road in Stilwell. Brandon Stane was found deceased at that residence from a gunshot wound. After agents conducted interviews and collected evidence, 35-year-old Tyler Presley was identified as the suspect in Brandon’s death.

Presley fled the scene prior to the arrival of first responders and his whereabouts are currently unknown.

An arrest warrant was issued for Presley and multiple law enforcement agencies are assisting in the search for him. If you have any information about this case or know where Presley is, you are asked to contact the Adair County Sheriff’s Office or the OSBI at (800) 522-8017 or tips@osbi.ok.gov. You can remain anonymous.

The investigation is ongoing.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2020, 7:42 AM

Jason Keith Morris Jason Keith Morris, 41, of Muskogee is charged with felony terrorism hoax in Muskogee County District Court after an event on April 25 where police were trying to arrest him in an alleged physical altercation.

Morris is accused of being involved in the altercation with three other men in the Keetoowah Trails apartment complex parking lot that night. When police were attempting to arrest him, they say he claimed to have COVID-19 and then proceeded to cough at the officers on scene.

In addition to the felony, he is charged with misdemeanor resisting an officer.

The district attorney added in the filing that Morris has been previously convicted of numerous felonies: first-degree burglary (for which he received a 15-year sentence in 2006), feloniously pointing a weapon, for which he received 10 years; kidnapping, for which he received 10 years; and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, for which he received 10 years.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2020, 7:27 AM

Tuesday afternoon, the Muskogee City-County Port Authority and the Greater Muskogee Area Chamber of Commerce announced that a new task force has been created to strategically address how the community moves from disaster response to economic recovery.

The program, called ‘Muskogee Forward’, isn’t a short-term plan, but is expected to be a 12-month effort focusing on restoring the local economy.

“Muskogee has experienced more than its fair share of disasters, but this COVID-19 pandemic has been unlike anything any of us have ever seen,” said Marie Synar, Director of the Muskogee City-County Port Authority. “Just as with any disaster, there comes a time when you roll your sleeves up, pick up the pieces and you begin again.”

Muskogee Forward is not meant to take place of the Joint City-County COVID-19 Task Force and will not be making any recommendations on Muskogee’s re-opening strategy. “Our priority is to do everything we can to help our businesses and citizens recover from this crisis, and to take action that will enable our economy to return stronger than before.” Synar said.

The creation of task force comes at a time when not only private businesses, but city employers across the country are also facing job cuts and loss of business.

The newly formed Task Force has established a series of objectives to include:

  • Assess and forecast the economic impact of COVID-19 within the city and county.
  • Monitor the economic health of employers within the city and county.
  • Provide communication and technical assistance resources to businesses.
  • Develop a strategy to stimulate the economy within key sectors.
  • Develop a strategy to assist unemployed and displaced workers.
  • Identify additional services needed to help businesses, individuals and families recover.
  • Host industry roundtable discussions to incorporate input/feedback from businesses.

There will be opportunities for businesses and community members to come together around creative ways to rebuild and recover in the near and long term.

The task force is asking for the local business community to provide insight as to how COVID-19 has impacted their business by participating in a survey. The survey can be found here. Deadline for responses are Wednesday, May 20th.

The best way to stay informed on the Economic Recovery Task Force is to visit the Muskogee Forward website at www.muskogeeforward.com.

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gibson clean 1569417784

Tuesday, May 12, 2020, 9:37 AM

Muskogee County District Attorney Orvil Loge has cleared Muskogee police officers in the killing of Tulsa murder suspect Demontre Bruner on May 4.

After reviewing the case and watching the footage of the incident, Loge declared that officers Chris Dean and Lt. Shane Leach were legally justified to fire their weapons at Bruner after he fired several rounds at them.

You can read Loge’s report here.

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sooner surplus 1589999630

Tuesday, May 12, 2020, 9:27 AM

Jeremy Hooten

Jeremy Thomas Rosson Jr., 19, and Jeremy Sanuel Hooten, 19, both of Muskogee are charged in Muskogee County District Court with several felonies each after an April 7 incident at 1 a.m. in the 700 block of Fredonia Street. The men are charged with holding two people at gunpoint, tying up one of the victims, then assaulting both victims and stealing items from their residence before stealing their vehicle and wrecking it nearby.

Rosson was charged with first-degree robbery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (an H&R 676 .22 revolver) and possession of a firearm after delinquent adjudication, all felonies. He was adjudicated as a juvenile for committing the offense of possession of child pornography, distribution of obscene material or child pornography, and producing child pornography in 2015, when he was 15.

Hooten is charged with first-degree robbery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, both felonies.

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vote yes muskogee

Tuesday, May 12, 2020, 9:02 AM

Muskogee High School’s Air Force JROTC unit has been selected as one of only 79 recipients of the 2019-2020 Distinguished Unit with Merit Award, which recognizes units that have performed well above and beyond expectations and have distinguished themselves through outstanding service to their schools and communities.

“The cadets worked so hard for this,” said USAF Major (Retired) William L. Triplett, who leads the group. “As far as we can tell, this is the first time since the unit began that we have made the list.”

The objectives of the ROTC program are to educate and train high school cadets in citizenship and life skills, responsibility, character and self-discipline. In addition, it provides instruction in air and space fundamentals. It is open to 9th through 12th grade students.

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simmons for sheriff

Tuesday, May 12, 2020, 8:54 AM

Adrian Smith of Muskogee was shot in the back on May 10 on B Street, according to police.

The shooting happened around 7 p.m. on the 900 block of South B Street. Smith was transported by Muskogee County EMS to the hospital to be treated for injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening, according to police.

The police do not yet have a description of the vehicle from which the shot was fired, nor do they have any suspects.

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