Friday, July 31, 2015, 12:36 pm

Muskogee man Stephen Ezell was struck by a vehicle while walking along US 64, according to emergency workers.

Ezell, who is frequently seen walking downtown and around Muskogee, walks to town from his home south of Muskogee almost every day.

He is still alive, but there is no indiction of how severe his injuries may be.

Filed under: Local

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Friday, July 31, 2015, 9:22 am

Muskogee's outdoor summer concert series, "Dancing in the District," continues Friday, July 31st at the Beechcraft Hangar at Hatbox Field in Muskogee. The event has changed and will start at 7 pm and end approximately 11 pm, with the official after-party being held at Max's Garage, downtown Muskogee.

When brothers Jordan and Jonathan, raised in rural Missouri, met lively Arizona native Cassandra in the mountains of Flagstaff, Arizona, the foundation was laid for the adventure of a lifetime. All three classically trained students had plans of making the 2,600 mile journey to Music City to follow their dreams. But it wasn't until an impromptu concert in Phoenix that the trio realized there was an undeniable blend between their musical styles.

So in January of 2002, the eldest brother Jonathan was the first to pack up his little truck and make the 28-hour drive. Cassandra followed suit 6 months later, with Jordan not far behind. For the next several years, they each paid bills by working various industry jobs, playing for several country artists including Sara Evans, Josh Turner and Lorrie Morgan. But it wasn't until May of 2008 when they met the easy going Indiana drummer, Tyler Oban, that the story was set in motion. After a couple years of fitting shows in between rigorous touring schedules and school, they reached a crucial fork in the road. On April 11, 2010 they all took a deep breath and a leap of faith, signing their names on a crumpled cafe napkin that said "September 1, 2010 or Bust." Vowing to quit their jobs, and start their quest to becoming full time artists. "It was probably the scariest time in our lives, walking away from a steady paycheck and into the great unknown," vocalist, mandolin and fiddle player Jordan Lawson said.

But so far, it's paid off. Within the first month of freedom, they landed an opening slot on Sara Evans' Fall and Christmas tour. And shortly after that, another 60 show tour was booked with an Irish starlet. More than 200 shows and 12 months later, they were sitting in the office of the President and CEO of Sony ATV Publishing. After two songs, he wouldn't let them leave his office until a contract was in the works. By the next year, they were offered a major label record deal with Warner Music Nashville/Atlantic and show no signs of slowing down. By combining personal lyrics, air tight harmonies and earthy instrumentation using Mandolin, Violin, Concertina, and Acoustic Guitar and percussion, the group melts their energetic songs with classic groundbreaking styles of the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Dixie Chicks, Nickel Creek and Bonnie Raitt, leaving audiences with an undeniable sound and unforgettable live show.

Like the city that brought them together, Uncle Lucius is a gumbo, with hints of Americana and folk juxtaposed with a slow-cooked roux that is steeped in classic rock 'n' roll and the blues. A certain spirit inhabits the tunes and tunesmiths alike, a seeking and a questioning that leads one far from the prescribed path. It was that spirit that brought Kevin Galloway, then a banker and music minister, from his East Texas upbringing to the streets of South Austin, in search of a life more imbued with meaning than financial well-being. Around his voice and songwriting the other pieces fell into place. Mike Carpenter left his job on a Houston assembly line to vie for greatness in one of America's foremost guitar scenes. San Antonio's Josh Greco fortified the emerging group with his considerable classical and jazz training. The road brought them to Lexington, KY, where restless Jonny "Keys" Grossman was ready to eschew his comfortable life for a van's eye view of the country. Last to join was Nigel Frye, the pride of Tulsa, Oklahoma's outcast jazz scene, and low-end accomplice for some of Austin's finest musicians.

Deeply indebted to the country/jazz/rock fusion native to Austin, as well as the ever-evolving gumbo that is New Orleans music, the band serves as a vehicle for its lyrical vision, one that imagines a life where profits and losses no longer rule man's motives. Though its focus falls on the darker edges at times, at heart the band's vision is a hopeful one. What could we possibly lose, after all, when "right now is all we've ever had"? After 8 years of touring across Texas and to both coasts and back, the band was named 2014's Best New Band by the Texas Regional Radio Report. Their most recent release, "Live @ Grady's 66 Pub," is available for free download at: www.noisetrade.com/unclelucius. They are currently in preproduction for their next studio recording with George Reiff (Ray Wylie Hubbard, Shinyribs, Band of Heathens), with the album to be released in early 2015.

Filed under: Local Entertainment

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Friday, July 31, 2015, 8:31 am

Proud to Be a Rescue Dog will be at Petco, 938 W. Shawnee, on Saturday from 9:30 a.m until 4:00 p.m. They will be showing dogs from their rescue program. A

Adoption fees will range from $50.00-$200.00, all adoption fees including spay/neuter, current vaccinations, worming and microchip. The dogs have been heartworm tested and are on heartworm preventative and flea/tick preventative.

Onsite adoptions will be honored for preapproved adoption applications.

For more information on available pets visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/#!/proud2bearescuedog, email at P2BaRD@gmail.com or call/text (918) 348-4895.

Filed under: Local Good News

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Thursday, July 30, 2015, 11:03 am

Death notices and obituaries are some of the most-read parts of any local news source's publications, and MuskogeeNOW.com is committed to serving that need of our readers.

We have been publishing death notices and obituaries for more than a year now, and both are done as a community service, with no charge to the grieving families or funeral homes.

To view our death notices, simply go to the "Local" menu item at the top of the page and select "Deaths" from the dropdown menu. Or select "Obituaries," which are much longer than death notices and give more details about the lives of the people who are being remembered.

At the bottom of each of those pages, you'll find links to the death notices and obituaries on our other sites from around the area so you'll be sure to not miss anyone you know and love. Death notices and obituaries are also searchable.

MuskogeeNOW and its sister sites will always provide this service for free.

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Thursday, July 30, 2015, 8:14 am

Muskogee Police are pulling out all the stops to celebrate the National Night Out, a program for community relations from police forces.

The band Free Kennedy will play at Robison Park, a DJ will be spinning at Rotary, Ron and Don Mayes will be doing hip hop at Elliott Park, Spaulding Park will have music and a band will be playing at the Civic Center parking lot.

Hot dogs, chips, water, goodies for kids and free fingerprinting will be available, and Muskogee Cycling Association will be doing bike repairs and tune-ups and handing out spoke lights.

The event is Aug. 4 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and is free.

Filed under: Local Entertainment

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015, 9:24 am

Oklahoma has 11,684 parents owing past-due child support with active bench warrants for failing to appear at a court hearing. Throughout the month of August, these noncustodial parents can work with their local Child Support Services (CSS) office and the court to have their warrants recalled, not only removing the threat of arrest but also improving the opportunity to support their children in an initiative called Amnesty in August.

"Amnesty in August is an opportunity for Oklahoma parents who have fallen behind on child support to come in and work with us to get back on track," said Meg Cannon, a spokesperson for CSS. "Parents who seek our assistance in August have an opportunity to develop a payment plan that will help them move forward with their obligations and hopefully create stronger connections with their children."

Amnesty in August is available to noncustodial parents who have cases through CSS, a division of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

"Children deserve the support of both parents. The last thing we want is for a parent to fall behind and stay behind, losing hope of providing the support his or her child needs and deserves," said CSS director Gary W. Dart. "As children across the state prepare to return to school, we want to make sure that as many as possible have the benefit of receiving support from both parents."

Amnesty in August is Oklahoma's first child support amnesty program in more than a decade.

"Child support is a legal and moral obligation," said Cannon. "If the threat of arrest has been a parent's main obstacle to meeting that obligation, then Amnesty in August is the perfect opportunity for that parent to re-engage in the support of his or her children."

Filed under: Local Crime

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015, 4:47 pm

David Cody Lynch, 31, died of asphyxia due to physical restraint, according to the Oklahoma Medical Examiner, which ruled the death a homicide.

Lynch died April 3 after a Warner police officer stopped him for a traffic violation. He attacked the officer, according to law enforcement sources, even removing the officer's gun belt during the skirmish.

The autopsy noted scratches and bruises associated with the scuffle and noted that Lynch was handcuffed and leg-cuffed when he died, apparently while police were laying on top of him to restrain him.

Lynch was under "acute intoxication by methamphetamine" at the time of his death, as well as legally intoxicated on alcohol. He suffered abrasions, contusions, lacerations and hemorrhages in the head and neck, abrasions and contusions on the abdomen and legs and forearms. At the time of his death, he was suffering from hypertensive cardiovascular disease and had been shocked by a Taser device.

His blood-alcohol level was 0.12, almost twice the legal limit for driving. His blood also tested positive for 2.5 mug/mL of methamphetamine and 0.65 of amphetamine. Law enforcement sources say Lynch was still grabbing for the officer's gun after he was handcuffed.

In classifying the death as a homicide, the examiner was careful to mention that the actions of the police may have been justified.

The cause of death is asphyxia due to physical restraint. The combination of the decedent being in a prone position with police officers kneeling on top of him in an attempt to restrain him most likely cause a hypoxic event. Other significant conditions are acute methamphetamine intoxication, hypertensive cardiovascular disease and electric shock weapon discharge.

The manner of death is classified as homicide. According to the National Association of Medical Examiners Guidelines, "Deaths due to positional restraint induced by law enforcement personnel or to choke holds or other measures to subdue may be classified as Homicide. In such cases, there may not be intent to kill, but the death results from one or more intentional, volitional, potentially harmful acts directed at the decedent..."

You can read the autopsy here. (4mb PDF file) Warning: Graphic content.

District Attorney Orvil Loge says he is looking into the death still and hasn't made a decision on whether any prosecution is warranted.

"There's going to be additional investigation," he said. "I will make a decision in the next 30 days."

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015, 8:53 am

People today know the importance of breastfeeding. While most new mothers start out breastfeeding, many Oklahoma mothers are not able to exclusively breastfeed for six months nor continue for up to 2 years of age as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). One of the challenges they face is continuing to breastfeed after they return to work.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is promoting World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7, with the theme Breastfeeding and Work: Let's Make it Work. The goal is to empower and support all women, working in both the formal and informal sectors, to adequately combine work with child-rearing, particularly breastfeeding.

Major medical organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Association of Family Physicians recommend babies receive nothing but mother's milk during the first six months of life, and continue breastfeeding for at least the first year and beyond. Like any aspect of raising a child, breastfeeding requires the encouragement and support from a community of people. Support from hospitals, workplaces and family members go a long way in helping mothers and babies breastfeed for maximum benefit.

According to national and state surveys, mothers say breastfeeding is easier when they have support at home as well as at work. It is important that family members, clinicians, friends, co-workers and employers know how they can help make breastfeeding easier. Family members can help with household chores and other children, allowing the mother to have time to spend caring for her new baby. Employers can support mothers by being recognized as breastfeeding friendly worksites.

During World Breastfeeding Week, OSDH WIC clinics will be encouraging breastfeeding in Oklahoma by presenting award certificates to mothers who choose to breastfeed. Clinics may also hold receptions for breastfeeding mothers as well as display information that promotes the World Breastfeeding Week Theme.

OSDH and the Coalition of Oklahoma Breastfeeding Advocates (COBA) recognize worksites that meet the following criteria for becoming breastfeeding friendly:

  • Flexible break times and a private location are provided for mothers to express milk.
  • A water source is accessible for washing hands and breast pump equipment.
  • A written breastfeeding policy.

    For information about becoming a Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite, and a list of current recognized sites, visit the Oklahoma breastfeeding website at http://bis.health.ok.gov.

    For breastfeeding support and information, call the Oklahoma Breastfeeding Hotline toll free at 1-877-271-MILK (6455).

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    Tuesday, July 28, 2015, 7:47 am

    Online applications for free/reduced meals at Muskogee Public Schools are now available online at School Lunch App. The full link to the site can be found on the MPS homepage at www.mpsi20.org.

    Parents/guardians are able to apply for all of their children with one application at this site.

    Students enrolled at Cherokee, Early Childhood Center, Grant Foreman, Irving, Pershing and Whittier do not need to fill out a form, as breakfast and lunch at these schools only are free for all students regardless of income.

    For more information, contact Child Nutrition Services at (918) 684-3765.

    Filed under: Local Education

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    Tuesday, July 28, 2015, 7:43 am

    Roy Clark comes to the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame to share stories from his 65+ years in the music business. Accompanied by Hall of Fame inductee Jim Halsey and John Wooley, these stories will be part of a taping of the TV program "Oklahoma Music Shop."

    Clark has a long history of TV fame, country music hits and crossover hits.

    Doors open at 7, show starts at 8 pm. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door and seating is limited!

    Advanced tickets can be purchased at: www.eventbrite.com.

    The Oklahoma Music Shop (OMS) is a statewide Television show taped before a live audience at the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in Muskogee Oklahoma. The show provides singer/songwriters and bands a chance to showcase their talents while featuring Muskogee as a music destination location to all of Oklahoma on television and social media.

    OMS airs on Tulsa's CW 19 at 3:30 pm and OKC's KSBI 52 at 11:30 am on Saturdays.

    Filed under: Local Entertainment

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    Monday, July 27, 2015, 5:39 pm

    Capella, the company that owns the Eastar Hospitals in Muskogee, has sold to Medical Properties Trust, Inc., for $900 million in cash, according to a joint release from the companies.

    The transaction is expected to be finalized during the second half of 2015, following customary regulatory approvals. Capella is presently owned by funds affiliated with GTCR, a leading private equity firm.

    "After an extensive and year-long evaluation of different strategic opportunities, Capella Healthcare is pleased to announce that Medical Properties Trust, Inc. has agreed to provide the funding that will allow Capella continue to build upon our legacy of service excellence to our existing community hospitals and to provide attractive access to capital in support of our long-term growth plans," said Michael A. Wiechart, President and CEO of Capella. "Upon closing, we expect a management company - owned by current Capella senior management - will own with MPT the hospital operations and will operate and manage the hospital business while Capella's real estate interests are acquired by MPT."

    The management company will retain control of the day-to-day operations of Capella's hospitals with Wiechart continuing as President and CEO and no other changes anticipated in hospital management.

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    Monday, July 27, 2015, 4:10 pm

    Two earthquakes around 1:15 p.m. today in Guthrie rattled Muskogee, according to multiple reports.

    The earthquakes, one of 4.0 magnitude at 12:49 p.m., and one of 4.5 magnitude, at 1:12 p.m., were reported to the US Geological survey by thousands of people.

    Reports about the quake stretched even into Kansas. No reports of damage have come in.

    Filed under: Local

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    Monday, July 27, 2015, 9:45 am

    Yesterday, Muskogee County Drug Task Force K-9 units had information that David Branchcomb, who was the subject of several felony warrants, was in Muskogee County driving a Chrysler 200.

    The task force had received information that he was in possession of a firearm and large amount of methamphetamine, so they were actively looking for him throughout the evening. At approximately 11:40 p.m., Muskogee county K-9 unit made a traffic stop on Branchcomb's vehicle at the intersection of Live Oak and Gibson Streets. The driver of the vehicle pulled into a drive trying to elude the K-9 Deputy. The driver and a young child were found to be in the vehicle.

    During the investigation deputies learned that Branchcomb and his girlfriend, April Genzer - who also had felony warrants outstanding - were at Knights Inn Motel on N.43rd St. The task force went to that location to make contact with the fugitives. Task force deputies along with Muskogee Police department officers made contact with Branchcomb at that location where an officer had to deploy a Taser on Branchcomb to take him into custody.

    The task force secured the motel room until a search warrant was obtained to make entry at the motel room. Upon search of the room two loaded firearms, methamphetamine, digital scales and a large amount of drug paraphernalia were located in the room. Also located in the room was $1,800 in cash from sell of drug proceeds, according to the task force. Both Branchcomb and April Genzer were booked into Muskogee county jail on several felonies.

    The child in the car was Genzer's brother. The boy's mother was contacted and drove up from Shawnee to get him.

    Filed under: Local Breaking News

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    Sunday, July 26, 2015, 7:42 am

    A man from the Pryor area drowned yesterday at Spring Creek on Fort Gibson Lake in Mayes County after he jumped from a pontoon boat that was tied to several other vessels.

    The man, who has not been identified by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, was not wearing a life preserver and never resurfaced.

    His body was recovered in the vicinity where he disappeared. The water was 11 feet deep, and the boat was a mere 50 yards from shore.

    The victim's body has been transported to Shipman Funeral Home in Pryor.

    UPDATE: The victim is David S. Walton, 45, of Tulsa.

    Filed under: Local

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    Friday, July 24, 2015, 1:03 pm

    The Wagoner County Sheriff's Department has received a call that a woman near Redbird may have been killed by a pack of dogs, according to Undersheriff Mike Stickelmeyer.

    The sheriff hasn't had time to process the scene and cannot confirm whether a woman is actually dead or not, he said.

    We will report more details as they become available.

    1:50 PM UPDATE: The woman is dead, deputies have confirmed. Even though witnesses chased the dogs away, the dogs ripped the woman's clothes and face off, and she died before emergency workers could help her.

    There is no identification of the woman yet.

    Filed under: Local Crime

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    Friday, July 24, 2015, 9:13 am

    Muskogee Public Schools will be having Substitute Orientation for any individuals interested in substitute teaching for the upcoming school year from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 5.

    Orientation will be held at the Muskogee Best Center, 202 West Broadway.

    Interested individuals should bring the following items: Driver's license, social security card, voided check or financial institution document showing bank routing number and account number, $25 cash or money order for background check.

    If you substituted during the 2014-15 school year, you do not have to attend the orientation.

    Sign up for this school year by calling Tami Gardenhire, Substitute Coordinator, (918) 684-3700, ext. 1621.

    Filed under: Local Education

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    Friday, July 24, 2015, 9:11 am

    The 34nd Annual Country Showdown is America's largest country music talent show. It's designed to find the most promising country music talent in the nation and to give performers a chance to launch their professional music careers.

    The Country Showdown begins each spring with more than 450 local talent contests sponsored by country music radio stations throughout the US. Winners advance to their respective State competitions held at leading fairs and venues.

    Acts then compete for a $1,000 prize, the State Title, and the opportunity to advance to one of five Regional Finals. It's the last step before the prestigious, televised National Final.

    The audience cheers on the Regional Winners as they compete for the Grand Prize of $100,000 and the title of "Best New Act in Country Music."

    The show starts at 10 a.m. at Arrowhead Mall and is free.

    Filed under: Local Entertainment

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    Friday, July 24, 2015, 9:09 am

    The kids' fishing rodeo is tomorrow, starting at 8 a.m., at Three Forks Harbor, just east of the Arkansas River on Shawnee Bypass.

    The day is free.

    Each participant will receive a medal, a bag filled with items donated from local merchants and a t-shirt to keep as a memento.

    Drawings will be held throughout the morning for additional prizes. Entrants will also receive a free boxed lunch and beverage as well as ice cream from Braum's.

    For more information, 918-682-7886.

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    Friday, July 24, 2015, 9:08 am

    Alice Robertson Junior High School will host a public ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house for New Tech Academy at 2 p.m. Aug. 10 at the new building located at 402 N. S St.

    From 5:30-7:30 Aug. 10, all New Tech Academy students will be able to pick up their schedules and laptops, and meet their teachers.

    Seventh-grade Legacy Academy students will pick up schedules, laptops and meet teachers from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Aug. 11, and eighth-grade Legacy Academy students will do the same from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Aug. 13.

    For more information, call the school at (918) 684-3775 or public relations at (918) 684-3700, ext. 1613.

    Filed under: Local Education

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    Thursday, July 23, 2015, 4:18 pm

    Mobile is really hard to do well. But since 74.8 percent of our readers are on mobile devices, I had to come up with a solution to a serious problem (at least for me when I was reading the site): on loading the page, I had to zoom in to read anything.

    The solution might seem simple: make the text bigger. But it's not that simple, especially since many mobile devices compensate for that sort of thing, meaning it still looks horrible for them. The problem, frankly, was the ads on the sides of the page. It's hard to zoom in on the text with those ads there. But - and most sites probably won't talk about this openly - those ads go a long way toward paying the bills and helping keep this site free for you. We can't just skip them for mobile readers, which I mentioned before make up the majority of our readers. That wouldn't be providing a good value to the advertisers, which I also mentioned, pay the bills.

    And we couldn't just create a site specifically for mobile, because that becomes a major headache when trying to fix or maintain anything on the site; you have to go through and duplicate everything you do, and that's a hassle that makes it less enticing to try to make the site better.

    So I finally came up with a solution: drop the right column of ads (since they're repeats of the left column anyway) and modify the site so that it serves up the middle column much larger (proportionally speaking) to mobile viewers. Ultimately that means everyone wins: advertisers still get their money's worth (OK, more than their money's worth, if I do say so myself) and readers get a big bump in readability to the site.

    We hope you enjoy the change, you 75 percenters! Desktop readers will still get the two columns of ads, and the more proportional middle space containing the stories.

    UPDATE: MuskogeeMUGS.com is now mobile-friendly, too.

    Filed under: Local

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