Man charged in the murder of Billy Fools in Porum

Shawn Lee McDaniel, 53, of Porum has been charged in Muskogee County District Court with the murder of Billy Fools, 56, from Porum in August of last year.

Fools was shot twice through the stomach with a high-powered rifle, Sheriff Charles Pearson reported at the time.

A man in camouflage was seen running out the back door of the house where Fools was shot.


This story has been revised 1 time
  • By Leif M. Wright on Monday, March 30, 2015 at 9:52:24 a.m. (VIEW)

Stoney LaRue to play free concert

The Cherokee Nation brings bandana wearing, boot stomping Red Dirt music mainstay Stoney LaRue live in an outdoor concert Thursday, April 2.The free concert will be held just west of the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex in Tahlequah.

Special guest Pumpkin Hollow Band, an all-Cherokee group, opens the show starting at 5:30 p.m. The concert is open to the public.

"These Oklahoma musicians have a strong local following and will put on a great show for our community and the entire Cherokee Nation," Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. "We wanted to show our appreciation to our employees and the community with a night of good music and family fun."

LaRue is best known for hits "Down in Flames," "One Chord Song," "Feet Don't Touch the Ground" and "Oklahoma Breakdown," but the Texas-born, longtime Oklahoman is excited to share tunes from his new album, "AVIATOR."

"The theme is, essentially, following direction, trusting in yourself and new beginnings," LaRue said. "I'd say it's a little combination of rootsy rock, country, folk and whatever else is in the hodge podge, and separate as much of the pride and ego from it, and put it in a format that's easy to listen to."

Cherokee Nation citizens Doo Reese, Kirk Reese, Spider Stopp and Rod Buckhorn, also known as the Pumpkin Hollow Band, named in honor of their birthplace Pumpkin Hollow, open the show. The country and Red Dirt genre band have opened for Brantley Gilbert, Mark Chesnutt, Tracy Lawrence and Luke Bryan.

The concert caps off the Cherokee Nation's annual employee appreciation day, which honors employees for their hard work over the past year.

No alcohol, tobacco or ice chests are permitted on the premises. Food vendors will be on site and shuttles available for parking. Lawn chairs and blankets to sit on are encouraged. The Cherokee Nation W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex is located at 17675 S. Muskogee Ave.


Get ready to give blood on April 6 at Sadler

Muskogee's Sadler Arts Academy will host its annual blood drive from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on April 6 at the school.

To sign up, you can go to and use the code Sadler, or you can contact Monica Skaggs at

Walk-ins are accepted, but may have a longer wait time.


Second victim, Fort Gibson man, found in drowning

A second victim was found in the drowning that occurred March 27 near Webbers Falls, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

The first victim, Emma Reece, 63 of Webbers Falls, was found yesterday near the area where the vehicle was washed into the creek. Today, Wade Kellogg, 56, of Fort Gibson was found about a quarter mile down the creek.

Kellogg was apparently in the vehicle with Reece when it was washed off the road, according to the highway patrol.


Woman's body found in Webbers Falls

A woman's body has been found in Webbers falls after she was apparently swept from a roadway by water.

More details as they become available.


Measles case confirmed in Oklahoma

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is investigating a confirmed case of measles in Stillwater located in Payne County. This is the first confirmed case in Oklahoma since 1997.

Measles was identified in an international traveler to Oklahoma. The individual is a spouse of an Oklahoma State University student who lives off campus. OSDH is working with the Payne County Health Department, Oklahoma State University and local medical facilities in the investigation.

Persons who visited the following locations in Stillwater may have been exposed to the measles virus:

  • Aldi (1188 N Perkins Rd) March 13
  • Crepe Myrtle Market (613 S Lewis) March 13
  • Food Pyramid (421 N Main St) March 13
  • Boba Fusion Cafe (211 N Perkins Rd) March 13
  • China Wok (917 N Perkins Rd) - March 14
  • Jimmy's Egg (811 W 6th Ave) March 16
  • University Health Services on March 17 or 19

    Anyone who thinks they may have been at risk of exposure should review their immunization records and contact their local county health department with any additional questions. Persons are protected if they are immunized with two doses of a measles-containing vaccine after the first birthday, or if they were born during or before 1957.

    Persons who are susceptible to measles usually develop symptoms about 10 days after exposure with a range of 7-18 days. Symptoms of measles begin with a mild to moderate fever, runny nose, red eyes, and cough. A few days later, a rash appears starting on the face spreading to the rest of the body accompanied by a fever that can reach up to 105 degrees. Measles can lead to pneumonia and other complications, especially in young children and adults over 20. The disease can also cause serious problems in pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems.

    Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease. People with measles can spread the virus up to four days before the onset of the rash and until four days after the rash starts. Measles can be prevented with the measles vaccine (usually given in combination with rubella and mumps, called MMR vaccine), and is recommended for all children at 12 to 15 months of age and again at four to six years of age. If a person has not received a second dose of the vaccine between four to six years of age, the booster dose may be given at any age thereafter. Two doses of vaccine normally provide lifelong immunity.


    This story has been revised 1 time
    • By Leif M. Wright on Friday, March 27, 2015 at 9:00:41 a.m. (VIEW)

    Ben Franklin Science Academy is accepting applications

    Muskogee Public Schools' Benjamin Franklin Science Acdemy is now accepting applications for the 2015-2016 school year through April 15.

    BFSA is a magnet school focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, which features excellent programs and activities for students in preschool through eighth-grade who have special interests.

    All ages study STEM topics, and participate in science-oriented activities, as well as utilize the school garden and outdoor classroom, and science is integrated in their studies throughout the day.

    Middle-schoolers in seventh- and eighth-grade are provided laptops and a digitial curriculum, change classes for each subject, and have exciting electives to choose from, including engineering, robotics, horticulture, archery, sports, and more. Students participate in the annual math and engineering fair and annual regional science fair.

    For more information, or to apply online, please visit the website at, or call the school at (918) 684-3870 to request a print application.


    Plant sale on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    Muskogee County Master Gardeners will be having a Spring Plant Sale as part of Daffodil Days at The Thomas Foreman House, 1419 W. Okmulgee on Saturday March 28th, 10 am until 2 pm.

    The plants come Master Gardeners own gardens, and just a few of the plants available for sale are; Flowering Almond, Goldstrum Rubeckia, Lambs ears, red daylillies, oregano, rose campion, and canna tubers, Prices start at $1, so get there early for the best selection.


    Betty Smith (now Ridge) releases book of Muskogee news

    When I started at the Muskogee Phoenix as a reporter, fresh out of college, I had never had a journalism class and had never worked in journalism.

    Kristi Fry, then city editor, liked my writing, however, so he sent me over to a reporter who sat by the door. As I approached her, the sound of her fingers hammering away on the keyboard was intimidating. She was blazingly fast at churning out story after story, her copy rarely if ever needing editing.

    Betty mentored me, taught me to be a reporter and how to write clean copy the first time out.

    Today, Betty has released a book of her experiences reporting Muskogee news, and I have to say, it's an excellent read. Betty has a long memory of the events that led Muskogee to where it is today.

    "I enjoy reading MuskogeeNOW and seeing that you're covering the children of the criminals I used to cover," she said last week. "I spent months in the library reminding myself of all the stories I wrote when I was there."

    The book is an excellent choice for anyone interested in Muskogee and the area. The title is "Deadlines," by Betty Ridge and is available in paperback and Kindle versions at

    I recommend it highly.


    This story has been revised 2 times
    • By Leif M. Wright on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 10:40:23 a.m. (VIEW)
    • By Leif M. Wright on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 10:42:18 a.m. (VIEW)

    OHP: Wagoner woman dies after striking highway worker's vehicle

    Deborah Crider, 38, of Wagoner died around 6 p.m. yesterday when the SUV she was driving ran into the rear of a highway construction vehicle, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

    Crider's 2002 Pontiac SUV was eastbound on Highway 51 east of the Verdigris River Bridge when she struck the construction vehicle driven by Siser Martinez, who was not injured. Martinez's passenger, Arturo Garcia, also was not injured.

    Crider was wearing her seatbelt at the time.


    Cherokee car tags to bring $4 million to area schools

    The Cherokee Nation will distribute checks totaling $4 million to 106 school districts on Friday during the tribe's annual Public School Appreciation Day event.

    Each year the tribe allocates 38 percent of tax revenue from the sale of tribal car tags to help school districts fund teacher staffing, buy new technology or other needs. School districts have total discretion on how to spend the funds.

    Since the tribe expanded car tag sales last year to Cherokee Nation citizens outside its 14-county jurisdiction for the first time, more school districts just outside its boundaries are now benefiting. Some of those school districts include Broken Arrow, Coweta, Jenks, Sand Springs and Wainwright.

    The $4 million is the largest amount ever distributed by the tribe to area school districts. Last year the tribe distributed $3.4 million. Area school district superintendents will be treated to lunch and pick up their check during the event.


    Wagoner man hurt when his motorcycle hits a deer

    Gary Polk Jr., 45, from Wagoner, was taken to a Tulsa hospital with head and leg injuries after his brand new Harley-Davidson Super Classic struck a deer in Wagoner County, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

    Just at 11 p.m. last night, Polk was southbound on a county road when the deer ran into the roadway and he struck it.

    Polk was not wearing a helmet. He is in stable condition.


    MHS choir to perform with Union University Singers

    Muskogee High School's Advanced Chorale will perform in a free concert with the Union University Singers from Jackson, Tenn. at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 26 at First Baptist Church, Muskogee.

    The Union University Singers will be on tour during this week, and have invited the MHS Advanced Chorale to perform with them during their performance stop in Muskogee.

    The University Singers have recently toured Ireland and Italy, and performed at the Tennessee Music Educators Conference and the National Association for Music Education. The University Singers are under the direction of Dr. Chris Matthews.

    The church is located at 111 S. Seventh St.


    Acclaimed actor to appear at hall of fame portraying Geronimo

    Rudy Ramos will be returning to The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame on Friday, April 4 for his stellar one man performance of "Geronimo Life on The Reservation."

    This story is about Geronimo's life as a POW on the Ft. Sill Indian Reservation. It focuses on the resiliency, humor, and genius of the great Apache warrior.

    In this presentation, Geronimo cleverly evolves from a surrendered Indian leader into a celebrity and entrepreneur. Keenly aware of how to work the political system, he joins the same church that Teddy Roosevelt belongs to and rides in his Inaugural Parade. Although he isn't successful in getting everything he wants, he certainly succeeds in making the best of his situation

    The acting career of Rudy Ramos has covered six decades and started with an appearance on the television show, "Ironside" in 1969. Six months later he was cast as a series regular, playing the part of Wind the volatile half-breed Indian boy in the legendary television western, "High Chaparral." Since then he has done over sixty guest shots on episodic television including recurring roles on the hit TV show, "Hunter" in 1987-88 and "Resurrection Boulevard" in 2002-2003.

    Ramos has done numerous movies for television including the ground breaking Helter Skelter (100 million viewers over two nights) playing the part of Danny DeCarlo, Everybody's Baby: The Rescue of Jessica McClure and Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman: The Movie as the villainous Captain Ruiz. Feature film credits include The Enforcer with Clint Eastwood, Walter Hill's cult classic The Driver with Ryan Oneal and Academy Award nominee French actress Isabelle Adjani, Defiance with Jan-Michael Vincent and Art Carney, Quicksilver with Kevin Bacon and Laurence Fishburne, Colors with Sean Penn and Robert Duvall and the 2001 sleeper Road Dogz directed by the up and coming talent Alfredo Ramos.

    Doors open at 6:30 and the performance starts at 7:30 pm. Advance tickets are $20 and are on sale now at: Tickets bought at the door will be $25. The show is for all ages.


    Okies photobomb Good Morning America


    Bill would ban AP history, replace it with state-mandated rewrite

    We missed this during last month's hacker attack, but it appears the Oklahoma Legislature is poised to enact a bill that would significantly alter the way Oklahoma schools are allowed to teach American history.

    The bill, which blazed through a Senate committee last month, takes exception with current Advanced Placement history curriculum, which includes dark episodes from America's past, including Manifest Destiny, slavery, "robust analyses of gender and racial oppression and class ethnicity and the lives of marginalized people, where the emphasis on instruction is of America as a nation of oppressors and exploiters," according to its author, state Rep. Dan Fisher, R-Oklahoma City.

    The bill has attracted national attention, with a CNN op-ed piece saying, "Oh, that pesky history of ours. Always holding us back. Why not just take a big ole' eraser to it? Smudge out the ugly parts."

    The bill bans state money from going to advanced placement U.S. history courses. It also codifies which US founding documents can be used to teach history, including only those that "contributed to the foundation or maintenance of the representative form of limited government, the free-market economic system and American exceptionalism," according to Fisher.

    Oklahoma's education system is currently ranked 48th out of the 50 states according to Education Week, with a D-plus rating. The CNN op-ed questioned whether picking on classes offered only to advanced students is a wise move, given the rating.

    More importantly, obscuring parts of history to focus only on the parts that portray America in the best light may limit students' abilities to critically analyze data and history, according to educators.

    You can read the bill here


    This story has been revised 1 time
    • By Leif M. Wright on Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 9:47:49 a.m. (VIEW)

    EMS now offers $50 memberships

    Muskogee County Emergency Medical Service has announced the availability of a membership program to Muskogee County residents and their families.

    For $50, the member and all qualified household members can be covered for one year ending March 31, 2016. The membership can cover out-of-pocket expenses for medically necessary emergency ambulance service not covered in full by insurance. Selected non-emergency transports may also be covered. Limitations apply so please see the membership brochure for full details.

    To enroll, or for more information, please call EMS at (918)683-0130.


    This story has been revised 1 time
    • By Leif M. Wright on Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at 5:47:52 p.m. (VIEW)

    Muskogee makes top 20 cities nationwide for an inexpensive date

    If you're single, Muskogee may just be the best place to be, according to

    Muskogee ranks as Number 11 in the top 20 least-expensive cities to have a date.

    The site cited the Castle of Muskogee, Three Forks Harbor and Honor Heights Park, as well as eating at Miss Addie's Cafe, Boomerang Diner or Pisano's Pizza as reasons Muskogee can be easier on the wallet than other cities across the nation.

    Pryor ranked Number 15, and Fort Smith ranked Number 10. The least-expensive city was Harlingen, Texas.


    This story has been revised 1 time
    • By Leif M. Wright on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 8:01:09 a.m. (VIEW)

    Pancake day set for the 25th

    It's pancake time again as the Muskogee Noon Lions Club hosts its annual Pancake Day from 6 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25, downtown in the Muskogee Civic Center.

    The menu includes the essential pancakes made by experienced Lions and celebrity cooks, served with Griffin's Syrup from Muskogee's own Griffin Food Company, Blue and Gold sausage, drinks from Love's, and dairy products from Highland Dairy. Tickets are $5 each and can be bought at the door or from Muskogee Noon Lions Club members.

    This event has been held for more than 40 years and benefits many charities in Muskogee. Through its fund raising activities, the Muskogee Noon Lions Club was able to aid several groups in 2014. These included Oklahoma School for the Blind, Muskogee County 4-H, Kelly B. Todd, Ark of Faith, three scholarships for high school seniors, Muskogee Public Library, Oklahoma Lions Club Boys Ranch, Oklahoma Eye Bank, Lions World Services for the Blind, and Leader Dog.

    Muskogee Noon Lions Club will mark its 99th anniversary this year and is celebrating 98 years of service to Muskogee. It is one of the oldest Lions Clubs in the world. Founded in 1916, it helped organize Lions Clubs International in 1917 making it one of the few Founders Clubs in the world.

    Sponsorships are available for those wishing to help support the event and the organizations which benefit from it. For information, call 918-869-1203.


    This story has been revised 1 time
    • By Leif M. Wright on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 7:47:07 a.m. (VIEW)

    Weather is back online

    Our weather has been offline for a week as the company that provides the data for us suffered a relentless Denial Of Service attack.

    A denial of service attack is when a group of miscreants focuses on one web server with an overwhelming number of requests, with the intention of clogging up the server's bandwidth so it can't reach its legitimate audience.

    The attack on our weather provider was so severe that even when they addressed it, the attackers tried from new angles and were successful at shutting the server down again.

    The company has addressed the issue and the weather is back up. You can view weather by tapping the "Local" menu above and selecting "Weather" from the menu that drops down.

    UPDATE: Well, I might have spoken too soon. The weather is up ... sometimes. I'm addressing the issue today.


    This story has been revised 1 time
    • By Leif M. Wright on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 7:47:47 a.m. (VIEW)

    Page 1  Page 2->