Wednesday, November 25, 2015, 9:21 am

Are you looking for a way to kick off your holiday season? Grab your family and friends and head over to Honor Heights park today for the fFestival of Trees Season of Giving presented by CASA for Children.

Relax and take a walking tour of the alluring lights at Honor Heights before the park opens to the public. In addition to the light preview, participants will enjoy myriad activities, from live music to ice skating, cookies, hot cocoa, banner auctions, playhouse raffle, kid's zone, food and a cash bar, there will be something at the festival for everyone in the family. Don't forget to stop by the Noel Cox Photography booth for your free family photo, perfect for holiday greeting cards!

The Festival of Trees Season of Giving event tickets are $25 for adults and just $15 for kids. Tickets are on sale now at Arvest Bank, Armstrong Bank, BancFirst, Firstar Bank, Mabrey Bank, and the Pied Piper.

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children, Inc. strives to meet the needs of our most vulnerable children. The program recruits, trains and supervises community volunteers to become a voice in curt for children that have been victims of abuse and neglect. Volunteer advocates make recommendations which reflect the best interest of the children. In 2014, CASA had a total of 71 volunteers who guided 236 children through the complex court, social services and foster care systems.

For more information contact CASA for Children, Inc. (918) 686-8199 or email

Filed under: Local

Wednesday, November 25, 2015, 8:49 am

Judge Thomas Alford swore in 7 new individuals as CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteers this week for abused and neglected children. The seven advocates include: Morgan Abel, Martha Dixon, Deidra Edwards, Jessyca Guerra, Chris Haile, Michaela Perkins and Tim Payne.

The newly appointed CASA volunteers join more than 70 other dedicated community volunteers throughout the three counties served by CASA for Children, Inc. As officers of the court, they ensure that the children's needs are recognized and their best interests are considered.

CASA volunteers are asked to meet with the children about their case on a monthly basis. In addition to meeting with the children, volunteers spend 6-10 hours each month researching the backgrounds of the case, interviewing all parties and service providers involved in the children's lives, monitoring progress toward the case goals and attending court hearings to report their findings to the judge.

With many more children waiting for a CASA volunteer, additional advocates are still needed. There are no prerequisites for becoming a CASA volunteer other than having a passion for CASA's mission and being at least 21 years of age.

The next advocate training session for Muskogee County will begin after the first of the year. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a CASA volunteer please contact Jenny Crosby at (918) 686-8199 or

Filed under: Local Good News

Tuesday, November 24, 2015, 4:06 pm

Numerous Muskogee residents are getting calls claiming to be from the IRS, according to Sheriff Charles Pearson.

"They're robo-calls," he said just now. "Don't believe them."

Pearson's office is investigating the matter, he said.

Eric Smith, spokesman for the IRS, says if you get such a call, just hang up. The IRS never initiates contact with a taxpayer by phone, email or text message, he said. In addition, the IRS will never call about taxes owed without having first mailed a bill. Nor will the agency require a taxpayer to use a specific payment method or ask for credit- or debit-card numbers over the phone.

Filed under: Local Crime

Tuesday, November 24, 2015, 9:04 am

The Muskogee Police Department, in association with the county, are hosting the Jimmy Moore Memorial Coat Drive.

Jimmy collected coats for those in need every year on his own time and handed them out to people who needed them. To honor Jimmy and continue his tradition, the police department is hosting the drive in his name.

Coats in new or slightly-used condition can be dropped off at the Muskogee Police Department all day long or at any Archer's Cleaners location in Muskogee. The drive ends Dec. 1.

Filed under: Local Good News

Monday, November 23, 2015, 7:30 pm

City manager Howard Brown has submitted his letter of resignation, according to a release from the city.

He will serve through the rest of the year.

Mayor Bob Coburn will convene a special city council meeting on Dec. 8 to appoint an interim city manager and discuss plans to replace him.

Brown will become the city manager in Bell, California, near Los Angeles.

Filed under: Local

Monday, November 23, 2015, 8:26 am

Over on our Facebook Page, we've been running a contest for several days: tell us what you're thankful for, and the winner will get a free 14-pound hickory smoked turkey prepared by Cowboys Barbecue.

And boy, is Muskogee thankful. We got a lot of good stories, a few sad ones, but mostly, we got a picture of a community that maybe endures a few more hardships than most but keeps its collective head up and looks forward to a more positive future.

Rather than complaining about a granddaughter's illness, Julie Berg Gilbertson said this:

I am also thankful for the care at St. John's PICU. They are taking great care of our grand daughter! I am thankful that she is getting better day by day. Hopefully she will be able to come home for Thanksgiving.

And rather than complaining about the struggles a daughter had to go through to just be normal like other children, Jennifer Rainbolt said this:

I am thankful for my daughter she was born with clubfeet and was treated at Shriners Hospital for children we had to go up there every week for the first eight months of her life she had one surgery and through all the Shriners are there making sure we felt their love and support through the whole process now she walks like a normal child runs in place which wouldn't be possible without the Shriners and my husband was so thankful for their help that he became shiner to help kids like her that's what I'm most thankful for

And then there were the people who were just glad to see other people being thankful and providing perspective:

I don't need the turkey .. Im just thankful that so many people have shared their stories .. You get tears in your eyes reading everyone's stories it makes your own problems seem less than what they are...

Ultimately, the winner was a story of a family divided by a war and 7,000 miles, but thankful to be together existentially. That picture, of a family determined to celebrate the positive things while the husband and father serves his country, ended up resonating the most.

This year, I'm thankful for how Muskogee has supported this site, how you have turned it into what I envisioned almost seven years ago: a news site that gives "just the facts," that respects your time enough to never overwrite a story (current story excepted), that responds to news as it happens. Clearly, that vision was something that Muskogee could agree with, and to date, 45,000 of you on average view this site every day. Thank you, and thank all of you who poured out your stories on our Facebook page. We will be running another contest for Christmas, this one about the funniest family Christmas get-together stories, so be thinking about it!

Filed under: Local Good News Opinions

Saturday, November 21, 2015, 6:09 pm

A rollover accident on the 300 block of N 32nd Street has called out ambulances and the fire department's extraction team, according to emergency workers.

No word yet on whether anyone is injured.

We should have pictures shortly.

UPDATE: One male was injured and transported to the hospital, but the injuries were not considered life-threatening.

Filed under: Local Traffic

Friday, November 20, 2015, 8:30 am

Muskogee's Pecan Creek Winery is celebrating its first year with wine, cheese, how devours and cigars on Saturday from 7 p.m. to midnight.

The winery, located on Fern Mountain Road a few miles west of The Castle of Muskogee at 8510 W. Fern Mountain Road, is the only local winery in Muskogee, growing its own grapes and making numerous varieties of wine.

Musician Harley Hamm will perform at the celebration.

Information: 918-683-1087.

Filed under: Local Entertainment

Thursday, November 19, 2015, 9:28 am

The Cherokee Nation honored two military veterans with the Medal of Patriotism at Monday's Tribal Council meeting.

Jerry Wayne Daniels, 67, of Hulbert, and Christopher Dale Mayfield, 42, of Melissa, Texas, received the medal from Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden acknowledging their service to the country.

Pfc. Daniels was born Jan. 8, 1948, in Ray. Daniels was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1967 and completed basic training at Fort Polk, Louisiana, and artillery school at Fort Sill. Daniels was deployed to Vietnam and served with the 1st and 82nd Airborne Division as a gunner. Daniels was injured by mortar during a fight in which he and another solider were firing back with 50 caliber machine guns, with enemy fire piercing his face and eye. He received the Purple Heart for his actions. Daniels received an honorable discharge in 1969 and said he kissed the ground when he got back to the United States.

"I appreciate everything the tribe has done for me, and I'm really glad they honor our veterans," Daniels said Monday.

Lance Cpl. Mayfield was born Sept. 25, 1973, in Arlington, Texas. Mayfield joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1992 and completed school of infantry basic training in San Diego and security force training in Virginia. He was stationed in London for 18 months and assigned to the security forces company. In 1995, Mayfield toured throughout the Middle East as part of Operation Desert Storm on the USS New Orleans. He received an honorable discharge in 1996 and earned numerous medals for his service, including the Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal and more.

Each month the Cherokee Nation recognizes Cherokee service men and women for their sacrifices and as a way to demonstrate the high regard in which all veterans are held by the tribe. Native Americans, including Cherokees, are thought to have more citizens serving per capita than any other ethnic group according to the U.S. Department of Defense. To nominate a veteran who is a Cherokee Nation citizen, please call 918-772-4166.

Filed under: Local Tribes

Wednesday, November 18, 2015, 9:25 am

Muskogee High School basketball player Aaliyah Wilson, the Oklahoma Gatorade Player-of-the-Year in 2015, will sign with the college of her choice at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the MHS library.

Though Wilson is keeping it a surprise until signing time, Head Coach Doyle Rowland said, "This will definitely be a Division 1 - the largest school in my tenure as head coach."

Information: Athletic Director Garrett Davis, (918) 684-3700;1764 or Coach Rowland,

Filed under: Local Sports

Wednesday, November 18, 2015, 9:08 am

Tahlequah Police have arrested John Beckmann, 50. in the homicide of Roger Hawley, 55, who was found in a pool of blood in his house.

Hawley suffered at least one stab wound to the upper torso.

Beckmann is Hawley's brother in law, and had been living with him since early this month. He was arrested based on evidence from the scene, witness statements and an interview with the suspect.

Filed under: Local Crime Breaking News

Wednesday, November 18, 2015, 7:37 am

Muskogee police have arrested the suspect in two shootings yesterday that resulted in one man being shot in the face and a school being placed on lockdown.

Derrick Wooten, 24, was arrested less than half an hour after the shooting, after police located him at Little Caesar's on 32nd St. Wooten ran across the street to the Travel Inn, where he fired a shot at a member of the FBI violent crimes task force. He then ran behind a building, where he was taken into custody.

"It took a lot of restraint from our officers," Muskogee Police officer Lincoln Anderson said. "At that point, he put himself in a deadly use of force situation. Fortunately, our task force guys and officers are trained really well."

Filed under: Local Crime

Tuesday, November 17, 2015, 2:52 pm

Cherokee elementary school is on lockdown as police investigate a shooting nearby, emergency sources say.

Police are investigating two shootings, one of which was at 30th and Estelle, so police advised the schools to lock down Cherokee Elementary.

Police are on the scene.

UPDATE: Police say there are two shootings, with one person shot and transported to Eastar Hospital.

Other person ran from officers and fired a shot, but was apprehended with no further incident and transported to Eastar for an unknown reason. The police reiterated that this suspect was not shot by police.

We have a reporter at the scene.

3:10 p.m. UPDATE: The lockdown at Cherokee Elementary has been lifted, according to schools spokeswoman Wendy Burton.

3:51 p.m. UPDATE: The injured person is a black male, 27 years old.

Filed under: Local Crime Education

Tuesday, November 17, 2015, 8:07 am

A Checotah man was sent to the hospital with numerous puncture wounds to his torso after a fist fight with a juvenile turned into a knife fight, Muskogee County Sheriff's deputies report.

Matthew McClure, 18, of Checotah was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Tulsa on Saturday night after a juvenile, 15 or 16 years old, allegedly stabbed him during an altercation.

The incident occurred at 509 Cemetery Road in Oktaha, a tiny community south of Muskogee, deputies said. There were four people involved in the fight. The juvenile was arrested.

Filed under: Local Crime

Tuesday, November 17, 2015, 7:48 am

The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame will host Annie Oakley, Thursday, November 19 at 7 pm at the Frisco Depot, 401 S. 3rd in Muskogee. This show will be taped for an episode of the Oklahoma Music Shop.

Annie Oakley is an Oklahoma City-based Americana band fronted by twin sisters Sophia and Grace Babb. Known for flawless vocal harmonies and sharply observant lyrics, the sisters have been creating a stir in Oklahoma's nationally respected indie music scene. They exude confidence through a sophisticated stage presence yet connect with the audience as with personal friends, a winning combination that led to Rising Star and Best Local Band awards in 2015.

The group released their first self-produced and -recorded EP, Annie Oakley, in 2013. Since then, they've honed their songwriting and performance skills at venues and festivals every weekend while concurrently enrolled in high school and college. They released their debut studio album, Thought of You a God, in September 2015.

Doors open at 6:30, show starts at 7 pm. Admission is $5 at the door.

Filed under: Local Entertainment

Monday, November 16, 2015, 8:05 pm

Timothy Jameson, 49, of Muskogee was reported missing from the Belle Starr Marina area on Halloween, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

His body was found on Nov. 13, the patrol reported today, in 18 feet of water under a walkway.

The cause of death has not been determined. Jameson was not wearing a personal flotation device.

Filed under: Local Breaking News

Monday, November 16, 2015, 8:32 am

Muskogee High School is pleased to announce its fall sports athletes who have earned an Academic All-Conference award from the Frontier Valley Conference.

Muskogee High School Academic All-Conference athletes, who earned a GPA of 3.5 to 4.0 are:

  • Dance - Kelsey Chapuis, Gabriella Chitwood, Reyd Foster, Riley Huston, Sidnee Spencer, Calysta Wilkinson.

  • Volleyball - Claire Farmer, Abby Wayman, Madison Reavis, Carsen Lamont, Madison Wiebe, Allie Jiles, Cierra Lewis, Dayli Satterfield, Emma Hamilton, Jayden Williams.

  • Cheerleading - Kyah Fields, Malindi Holder, Peyton Niece, Jessica Moore, Molly Cooper, Jasmine Speer, Tess Huffer, Kimberly Acevedo.

  • Football - Caleb Carter, Colby Mason, Jacob Medrano, Jeremiah Medrano, Andy O'Dell, Zane Rasmussen, Hunter Watkins.

  • Cross Country - Imari Freeman, Megan Henningsen, Goldie King, Amy Perkins, Hanna Phillips, Zoe Skaggs, Bailey Tull, Sidney Rosson, Airi Bravo, Roy Grant, Holden Gray.

  • Fastpitch softball - Amber Purdin, Aubrey Johnson, Bre Virgin, Brookelyn Gilmore, Chelsea Morgan, Dee Emarthle, Elexis Watson, Hattie Matthews, Keisha Brown, Phynix Coleman, Zomaree McNac.

    Honorable mention awards for earning a GPA of 3.0 to 3.49 went to:

  • Volleyball - Wren Seabolt, Jalayiah Collins.

  • Cheerleading - Devan McCoy, Alexis Gatewood, Allison Boos.

  • Football - Cain Clayton, Quintahj Cherry, Tavian Davis, Randall Krech, Phillip Lafave, Devan McCoy, Cortre' Payne.

  • Cross Country - Brooklyn Garrett, Chad Davis, Eric Hernandez, Tuan Le, Jorge Reyes.

  • Fastpitch softball - Carlee Gann, Dymin Purdin.

    Information: Athletic Director Garrett Davis, (918) 684-3700.

  • Filed under: Local Sports Education

    Monday, November 16, 2015, 8:30 am

    A Sawyer man drowned while trying to retrieve a deer his daughter shot, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

    Stephen Newton, 51, followed a deer into the Kiamichi River near Fort Townson after his daughter shot it with a bow, the Patrol reported. After he entered the water while following the deer, Newton did not resurface.

    Newton was retrieved in 10 feet of water about 80 feet from the bank of the river. He was not using a personal flotation device.

    Filed under: Local

    Monday, November 16, 2015, 8:29 am

    An 80-year-old man was killed on Lake Tenkiller over the weekend near Chicken Creek, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

    Glenn A. Vaughn of Spiro was last seen in his 16-foot Glasstream Fast Boat casting an anchor into the water around noon on Saturday, according to witnesses. Twenty minutes later, the boat was seen without him in it.

    Witnesses rushing to the boat saw Vaughn in the water about 40 yards from the boat, pulled him into their boat and attempted to perform CPR.

    Vaughn was pronounced dead on the scene by the Cherokee Nation EMS. He was not using a personal flotation device.

    Filed under: Local

    Monday, November 16, 2015, 8:21 am

    Geoffrey D. Foster was admitted to Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa in critical condition after the pickup he was driving, a 1999 Dodge, slammed into concrete barriers in the center median of the Muskogee Turnpike five miles north of Muskogee in Wagoner County, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

    The wreck, which happened late Friday, was caused when Foster, 26, fell asleep at the wheel, the patrol reported.

    Filed under: Local Traffic