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Man pours fuel all over house, threatens to burn it down, police report

Jerry Seay, 68, was arrested on charges of arson

Jerry Seay, 68, of Muskogee, was arrested Saturday and booked into the Muskogee County Jail after he allegedly pour fuel throughout his house, threatened to burn it down and got into a physical fight with a juvenile, according to Muskogee Police.

Seay was arrested on complaints of fourth-degree arson, threatening to perform a violent act, domestic abuse and assault (physical) and domestic abuse assault in the presence of minor children.

Several minors were present while the altercation was going on, the report states.

Monday, May 2, 2016, 8:36 AM

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Kacey Musgraves will pay tribute to Merle Haggard at G Fest

Kacey Musgraves has announced she will pay tribute to Merle Haggard at G Fest in Muskogee this summer.

Nashville Star Kacey Musgraves will pay tribute to the late Merle Haggard in June, the Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter has just announced.

Musgraves, who has taken the country world by storm since her groundbreaking appearance on the hit show and numerous Grammy and country music academy awards, just finished an encore leg of her record-breaking 2016 world tour.

“Artists like Merle Haggard are important because they became legends and set trends not by worrying about money and fame but just by being themselves," she said. "So it just inspires me even more to uphold what’s important to me as a person and songwriter first and not worry about the rest.”

Single-day tickets to G Fest are now available, with Thursday available for $39, Friday for $49 and Saturday for $59 until May 15. General Admission three-day passes are available for $109, and VIP Reserved Seating and VIP Party Pit tickets for $329 until May 15. VIP Reserved Seating and VIP Party Pit gives ticket holders access to an exclusive area directly in front of the stage, parking, designated bathrooms and a separate bar. For fans wanting the true G Fest experience, primitive camping is available starting at $90 and RV camping starting at $375. Festival organizers are giving ticket holders the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see their favorite stars up-close-and-personal with the Party Pit. Located directly in front of the main stage, the Party Pit puts fans steps away from their favorite artists during their performances. Passes in the standing-room-only area must be purchased in addition to three-day or VIP tickets. Prices vary by artist and start at $10. For more information or to purchase tickets, party pit passes, visit:

Additionally, the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame has been given the green light to place a Merle Haggard monument on the north lawn of the Muskogee Civic Center, a step forward for a project about five years in the making. The memorial, as originally envisioned, would include a bronze sculpture of Haggard sitting on a bench with a guitar case and hat. It would be placed where visitors can take photos of "Old Glory down at the courthouse" and the Civic Center, where Haggard recorded the album Okie from Muskogee. OMHOF Executive Director Jim Blair believes an opportunity exists that would expand the scope of the memorial and add a monument Haggard designed and asked a Ponca City artist, Dan Jones, artist to create. Haggard planned to have the piece placed at his ranch near Bakersfield, Calif.

"They want to see that placed in Muskogee," Blair said about those who are part of Haggard's organization. "The bench will be great, but what a story to tell — to have a memorial standing next to it that was designed by Merle himself." 

G Fest will take place June 16-18 in Muskogee, and will feature performances by The Avett Brothers, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Swon Brothers, Marty Stuart, Turnpike Troubadours, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Jason Boland & The Stragglers, John Fullbright, Paul Thorn Band, Byron Berline Band, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, The Quebe Sisters, Uncle Lucius, Aubrie Sellers, Ricochet, Full Flava Kings, Paul Benjaman Band with Don White, Nicnos, The Cherokee Maidens, KALo, Darell Christopher & The Ingredients, The Bonham Brothers, The Red Dirt Rangers, Mountain Smoke, Hosty Duo, Desi & Cody, Carter Sampson, Brujo Roots, BC and The Big Rig, Jana Jae and Head for the Hills.

Monday, May 2, 2016, 5:53 AM

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Sooner Surplus is having a half-price tire sale today

Sooner Surplus is having a final warehouse sale today and tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 301 E. Shawnee Road for tires from BF Goodrich, Firestone, Bridgestone, Duro, Falken, Michelin, Ohtsu, Perelli and Vredestein tires.

Numerous sizes are available, and all tires are half-price.

Friday, April 29, 2016, 8:45 AM

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Renaissance Festival starts tomorrow

The weather for tomorrow midmorning is forecast to be sunny, sunny, sunny, which is perfect for the start of one of Muskogee's biggest yearly draws to tourists and lovers of all things medieval - the Muskogee Castle Renaissance Festival.

The annual festival, which presents entertainment, food and revelry fit for Renaissance-era royalty each year, is one of the largest and best-regarded Renaissance festivals in the nation. Every year, thousands of people travel from all over the nation and world to visit the festival at the Muskogee Castle on Fern Mountain Road.

Every weekend in May, starting tomorrow, the festival runs all day, beginning at 10:30 a.m.

Friday, April 29, 2016, 8:19 AM

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'Revenge Porn' bill heads to governor's desk

The full Senate has approved legislation to make “revenge porn” a crime in Oklahoma. The bill now advances to the Governor’s desk for her consideration.

Senate Bill 1257 passed the Senate 39-0. The measure criminalizes the unauthorized dissemination of intimate photos or video—usually after a relationship has ended—an act commonly referred to as “revenge porn.”

SB 1257 provides that a person commits a crime when they intentionally disseminate an image of another identifiable person who is engaged in a sexual act or is nude; they obtained the image under circumstances that would lead a reasonable person to know that the image was private; the image was disseminated with an intent to harass, intimidate, or coerce, and they knew or should have known that the dissemination was nonconsensual.

The legislation exempts disseminations related to law enforcement investigations, reporting of unlawful conduct, or when the exposure or sexual act was committed in public or in a commercial setting. In most instances, the act of “revenge porn” is committed by a person who captured or accepted the image in the context of a trusting relationship that has ended, at which time the person disseminated the image on the internet. The measure also gives judges the ability to order the image be removed, if that is still within the power of the person who committed the act. Someone convicted of the crime can be sentenced to up to one year in a county jail, and a fine.

If signed by the Governor, it would take effect November 1.

Friday, April 29, 2016, 8:10 AM

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Catch the Begonias tonight at the music hall of fame

When Rick and Terry Bentley got married, she was playing with Sisters of the Sun and he was playing with the Sons of the Boutonnieres.

"We'd have gigs across town on the same night," Terry Bentley said. "We finally went, 'Well, why don't we do this together?'”

The result was a trio called Ruby's Begonia, featuring Terry on vocals and bass, Rick on guitar and banjo and Terry's college-student son Levi Dennis on fiddle and guitar. Although the instrumentation might indicate a country act, Ruby's Begonia drew from an eclectic repertoire - including traditional pop and jazz numbers.

"It was a mixture of things then," she recalls. "We started out doing some of those American standards and just slowly evolved into doing more and more of them, and really got hooked on the Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bobby Darin type of stuff."

As the playlist evolved, so did the band. Levi left for Nashville - where he currently works in the band of country star Gary Allan - and Rick and Terry played as a duo for awhile, with A-list fiddlers such as Rick Morton and Shelby Eicher often sitting in. Then they added drums. And a couple of years ago, at the same time David Blue became the group's regular drummer, the Bentleys changed the name of the act from Ruby's Begonia (a reference to a famous line from both the Amos 'n' Andy and Laugh-In TV shows) to The Begonias.

The group plays at the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame tonight at 7 p.m.. Admission is $5 at the door.

Thursday, April 28, 2016, 8:04 AM

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Soccer students to serve pizza, raise money

The Oklahoma Arsenal U13 girls soccer team will have a fundraiser on Thursday from 5 pm to 8 pm at Pizza Inn on 1107 N. York St.

The girls will be waiting tables.

They will earn 10 percent of the sales and all of the tips.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016, 7:16 AM

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Winds damage Checotah

Downtown Checotah was hit by heavy winds last night, doing damage to businesses and homes, but no injuries have been reported.

Muskogee and the area were hit by high winds as well, but no injuries have been reported here either.

Power is out for many electric customers near US 69 south of Muskogee, and Oktaha schools are out for the day because of it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016, 6:56 AM

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Cherokees to build public archery park named for 99-year-old world champion

 Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden visit with Cherokee Nation citizen and 1961 World Archery Champion Joe Thornton, 99, for whom the new archery park is named.

The Cherokee Nation is building a public archery range near the tribe’s main complex in Tahlequah. It is the first range to ever be built on tribal lands, and will become only the third public archery park in Oklahoma.

The Joe Thornton Archery Range, opening by Labor Day weekend in a field just west of the tribe’s complex, will bear the name of Cherokee Nation citizen Joe Thornton, the 1961 World Archery Champion.

The 99-year-old Thornton was surprised with the honor on Wednesday at a groundbreaking attended by Cherokee Nation and Oklahoma Wildlife Department officials.

“The Cherokee people have a long and culturally significant history with archery, but no modern-day Cherokee is more famous with a bow than Joe Thornton,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “He’s been a teacher of the sport, so as we build this range for archery students, hunters, cornstalk and target shooters, it was natural to name it after the greatest archer in the Cherokee Nation.”

Thornton learned to shoot a bow and arrow in high school at Chilocco Indian School in north central Oklahoma. After serving in the Army, he returned to Oklahoma, found several archery clubs and began competing.

“I’m very happy to see a good archery range here and would like to see other archers come along and be world champions. I believe it is a possibility,” Thornton said. “It feels great. I owe the archers in this country something.”

Thornton won the World Archery Championship in Oslo, Norway, in 1961 and the British National Championship in 1962. He was a member of the USA World Champion Archery team.

The Cherokee Nation is providing the land for the archery range. Fifty thousand dollars to help build the park was provided by the Archery Trade Association, which helps states start archery parks. The Oklahoma Wildlife Department provides archery kits to schools so they may attend the range.

“We’re putting money into schools in this area to give them an opportunity to shoot at the range,” Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Education Supervisor Colin Berg said. “One of the popular features is a tower stand. A lot of hunters like to hunt off the ground, and finding a place to practice in Tahlequah is not always easy. Climbing onto a 12-foot stand to shoot at targets instead of hanging one in your backyard and worrying about whether an arrow will go across the fence is a great thing to offer the community.”

There are 500 schools with archery programs in Oklahoma. Currently Coweta and McAlester have public ranges. The Joe Thornton Archery Range will be the third.

The park will feature a 70-meter Olympic style range with a 125-foot awning to shield archers from the weather. There will also be a tower, restrooms and a 3D range.

The Cherokee Nation education services department offers archery camps each summer. The range will also be used for cornstalk competitions. For more information on the archery park, call coordinator Brian Jackson at 918-453-5000, extension 7053.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016, 6:12 AM

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DA returns money seized during drug arrest

Eh Wah

Earlier this month, Muskogee County deputies arrested a man named Eh Wah and seized more than $50,000 from him, alleging that the money was from drug proceeds after a police dog trained to sniff out drugs hit on the car.

A source at the Muskogee County Sheriff's Office, who asked not to be named because of the notoriety of the case, said the arrest was made after the dog hit on the car and cash was found "in every possible place you could stash a piece of cash," including the trunk, a glovebox, pockets inside clothes in the car, door spaces, under seats and "literally everywhere."

The assumption, the source said, was that Wah had just sold a lot of drugs, which was why the car smelled like drugs to the "highly trained" police dog. That, combined with the chaotic way the money was hidden all over the car, led deputies to believe the money was proceeds from drug transactions.

Wah, a U.S. citizen who manages a Taiwanese Christian band, has never filed taxes with the United States government, the source said. In addition, he didn't have a bank account that officials could find.

The case made national news this week as a way to highlight civil forfeiture laws, because Wah was never charged with a crime, but until today hadn't received the money back.

"I dismissed the cases today," said Muskogee County District Attorney Orvil Loge. "I couldn't meet the burden of proof to prosecute it, so I dismissed them and mailed a check to his attorney for the full amount. I do believe Mr. Wah needs to start complying with IRS laws and properly organize his band as a nonprofit organization, but those aren't my fights."

Monday, April 25, 2016, 5:41 PM

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Bacone names teacher of the year, outstanding students

Bacone College's Executive Vice President and Dean of Faculty Dr. Robert K. Brown, left, presents Associate Professor Linda Strange with the Teacher of the Year award at Bacone's recent awards ceremony.

Bacone College recently held its 2015-2016 Awards Ceremony, naming Linda Strange, associate professor of mathematics, as Teacher of the Year and honoring salutatorian, valedictorian and other exemplary students.

Dr. Jyoti Abraham, assistant professor of biology, was the 2015-2016 recipient of the Jack Kilpatrick Award for Excellence in Professional Creativity, and Dr. Peter Sullivan, professor of chemistry, was the recipient of the Walter Richard West Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The Tecumseh Medal of Honor Salutatorian is Kristi Chase of Rowlett, Texas. Chase is receiving her bachelor's of science in exercise science.

The Sequoyah Medal of Honor Valedictorian is Caitlin Thomas of Fort Gibson, Okla. Thomas is receiving her bachelor's of science degree in business administration.

Other awards include:

  • Student Support Services Tuition Scholarship, Jon Givens of Okemah, Okla. and Leslie Hodges of Stigler, Okla.
  • Earl Riley Scholarship, Tyron Yazzie of Page, Ariz.
  • Genevieve Jesson Getz Scholarship, Erick Medina of Arlington, Texas
  • Florence Nightingale Award in Nursing, Christy Jordan of Fort Gibson, Okla.
  • Rennard Strickland School of Criminal Justice and Tribal Law Bachelor of Science Student, Andrew Sanchez of Visalia, Cali. and Elsie Ceasar of Taft, Okla.
  • Rennard Strickland School of Criminal Justice and Tribal Law Associate of Science Student, Felicia Connor of the Cayman Islands. BSN Leadership Award in Nursing, Stacy Royse of Muskogee, Okla. Outstanding Student in Accounting, Dametria Dawson of Garland, Texas
  • First Place in Exercise Science Research, Rhiannon Bean of Broken Bow, Okla. Second Place in Exercise Science Research, Nathan Evans-Bonaparte of Montgomery, Maryland
  • Third Place in Excercise Science Research, Tobi Oganla of Muskogee, Okla.
  • Excellence in Exercise Science, Tobi Oganla and Kristi Chase

Monday, April 25, 2016, 5:28 AM

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Flower Power Bike Run set for Saturday

The 25th Annual Flower Power Bike Ride is scheduled for Saturday, April 30, 2016.

The non-competitive, multi-distance bicycle tour travels through the foothills of the Oklahoma Ozarks and the Arkansas River Valley.

There are five distances to choose from: 20-mile, 30-Mile, 50-Mile, 65-Mile or 100-Mile. The ride begins and ends at Three Forks Harbor in Fort Gibson located at 5201 Three Forks Road starting at 9:00 a.m. Registration will open at 7 a.m. There will be aid stations/rest stops every 10 -15 miles. The aid stations will be supplied with water and Gatorade, fruit, and cookies/snacks.

Road support is available along the routes and a cookout at the end of the race.

Entry fees are $35 for each route with the exception of the 20-Mile Route and the entry fee is $30. 100 percent of all registration fees and sponsorship contributions will benefit the Muskogee Parks and Recreation Department. Registration is open at

For additional Flower Power Bike Ride information, contact Joel Everett at 918-684-6302 or

Monday, April 25, 2016, 5:22 AM

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Escaped inmate captured at ex-wife's trailer in Muskogee

Jimmy Dwyane Wheat

Jimmy Dwayne Wheat, who escaped from a Muskogee County work crew on North Street a week ago, was captured today at the trailer home of his ex-wife, according to Muskogee County Sheriff Charles Pearson.

"We had a bunch of people working around the clock to get him," Pearson said. "The Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Muskogee Police and the U.S. marshals all helped with the fugitive task force that Deputy Darren Berry is a member of."

The work program from which Wheat walked away has been suspended, he said.

"It's a good program," he said. "We only used nonviolent offenders, and they save the taxpayers a bunch of money. The inmates get time off for working, so they save us money there, too. We're looking at getting some kind of GPS ankle monitors that they can't cut off before we look at reinstating the program."

Saturday, April 23, 2016, 11:37 AM

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Strip club owner beaten, sent to Tulsa hospital

Bobby Epperson

James Smith

Bobby Epperson, owner of Coco Bongos gentleman's club just south of town on US 69, was severely beaten this morning and sent to Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa with multiple facial injuries and bleeding in the brain, according to witnesses and relatives.

Epperson apparently forced a club patron to leave, and the patron waited around until closing time and attacked him.

Muskogee County EMS reports it took a man to a Tulsa hospital around 5 a.m. with serious head injuries that were not thought to be life-threatening.

James Cooper Smith was arrested, according to Chief Deputy Brandon Caster.

Saturday, April 23, 2016, 11:29 AM

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One hurt in wreck on 69

A motorcycle rider was injured after a collision with a car in the northbound lanes of US 69 just now.

The man was transported to the hospital with leg injuries.

No further details are yet available.

This is the motorcycle the man was driving.

UPDATE: Rebecca Williamson of Muskogee County EMS sent the following: 1 adult male with serious injuries to a local hospital. 2 other patients (ages unknown at this time) refused treatment at the scene.

Friday, April 22, 2016, 1:24 PM

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Defense attorney withdraws from child molestation case

Thomas C. Dodds Jr.

Full disclosure: Jim McClure represents me in a federal lawsuit filed by someone who was upset that I posted his mug shot on That lawsuit was dismissed. Furthermore, I am part of this story due to being mentioned by Dodds in an attack on his attorney.

Attorney Jim McClure today was granted a motion to withdraw as the attorney for Thomas C. Dodds Jr., who is accused of drugging and raping an underage boy.

"All I can say is I no longer represent Thomas Dodds in this or any other matter," McClure said after Judge Mike Norman granted his motion to withdraw. He would not comment on his reasons for withdrawing from the case.

However, earlier in the month, Dodds took to Facebook, attacking McClure openly, accusing him of ethical violations and moral failings.

Later, he alleged to McClure that I had said McClure had told me details about Dodds' case.

"None of that is true," McClure said.

To "prove" his point, Dodds fabricated a text message from me, full of spelling and grammar mistakes, alleging that I had heard details from McClure.

"I'm not going to prison your the one that's going away a long time," the text Dodds said I had written states - spelling and grammar errors are his. "I know more about your case than anyone else your forgot we have the same attorney. :)"

In his motion to withdraw, McClure stated that "the relationship between this attorney and the Defendant has deteriorated to the point that continued representation of the Defendant, even in name only, is impossible."

Dodds did not appear at the hearing, where Assistant District Attorney Ryan Roberts said "tell his attorney to be ready for trial, because we are ready to put him in jail."

He is due in court on April 28.

Friday, April 22, 2016, 9:07 AM

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Father accused of choking daughter out, MMA-style

Charles Barnoski of Muskogee is charged with strangling his 13-year-old daughter until she lost consciousness.

The girl told police he used his legs to choke her out around April 9 at 319 Lawrence Street around noon.

Thursday, April 21, 2016, 8:52 AM

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Man tases Muskogee woman, steals her purse

A Muskogee woman was giving a man she didn't know a ride yesterday and got out of her car to "stretch her legs" around 545 N. Sixth Street when the man shot her with a taser and stole her purse, according to Muskogee police.

The woman was not seriously injured, and the purse was later recovered with some items missing.

The taser struck the woman in the leg.

Police are investigating the crime.

Thursday, April 21, 2016, 7:24 AM

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Standoff closes Gore schools

Gore schools are closed due to a standoff, according to emergency officials in Sequoyah County.

The standoff is occurring between Gore police and an unnamed suspect at a trailer park next to the Gore Elementary School. Sequoyah County Sheriff's Office reported that the standoff is ongoing.

All Gore schools are shut down for student safety.

More info as we get it.

UPDATE: The standoff is over and police have a man in custody. The schools will remain closed for the day.

Thursday, April 21, 2016, 5:19 AM

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Cherokee chief praises removal of Jackson from currency

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker issued a statement Wednesday regarding the U.S. Treasury’s decision to remove President Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill.

Chief Baker’s statement is as follows:

“Andrew Jackson defied a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and forced the removal of our Cherokee ancestors from homelands we'd occupied in the Southeast for millennia. His actions as president resulted in a genocide of Native Americans and the death of about a quarter of our people. It remains the darkest period in the Cherokee Nation’s history. Jackson's legacy was never one to be celebrated, and his image on our currency is a constant reminder of his crimes against Natives. It's been an insult to our people and to our ancestors, thousands of whom died of starvation and exposure and now lie in unmarked graves along the Trail of Tears. This is a small but meaningful vindication for them, and for our tribal citizens today. The Cherokee Nation applauds the work of Oklahoma Senator James Lankford, the U.S. Treasury and all those who recognized the injustices committed at the hands of President Jackson, and worked to replace his image with the image of Harriet Tubman, whose legacy represents values everyone can be proud of.”

Wednesday, April 20, 2016, 5:32 PM

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