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Three die in wreck south of Tahlequah

Three people were killed in a collision south of Tahlequah around 4 p.m. today, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Kathleen L. Zuniga, 42, of Porum, Jose Felipe Jimenes Morales, 51, of Porum and Caroline S. Hutchins, 74, of Tahlequah were all killed in the wreck.

Zuniga was driving a 2003 Chrysler van southbound on Oklahoma 82 around 18 miles south of Tahlequah when, for an unknown reason, she lost control of the van, which went into a slide, crossing the center line. A 2005 Ford truck driven by Russell D. Hutchins, 86, of Tahlequah was northbound and struck Zuniga's vehicle. Hutchins was admitted in stable condition to WW Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah.

A third passenger in Zuniga's vehicle, Ebaristo Mata, 20, of Porum, is in critical condition at Saint John's Hospital in Tulsa.

Monday, May 30, 2016, 8:38 PM

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Preteen boy hurt on Illinois River

An 11-year-old boy is in the hospital after an accident on the Illinois River, according to Cherokee County authorities.

The boy was swimming and floating on an air mattress with friends on the river when he got tangled in tree limbs and was pulled under water, where he was pinned for ten or 15 minutes before the Illinois River Fire Department was able to rescue him.

He was flown by helicopter to Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa, where he is now on life support.

Sunday, May 29, 2016, 10:57 PM

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Checotah man dies in wreck

John Tanner, 52, of Checotah, was killed in a wreck late Saturday night, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Tanner was driving a 1993 Suburban south on the US 69 ramp from I-40, but was driving too fast, the patrol reported. His SUV drove off the roadway to the left, overcorrected and drove off the roadway to the right, overturning three complete times before coming to rest on its top.

Tanner was ejected from the vehicle and ended up less than a foot away.

He was wearing a seatbelt at the time.

A passenger, Douglas Henderson, 35, of Checotah was not injured.

Saturday, May 28, 2016, 11:08 PM

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Get rid of waste on June 4

As part of its ongoing efforts to protect area water and enhance home safety, the City of Muskogee will provide a special waste collection day Saturday, June 4 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Muskogee City-County Fairgrounds where residents will have access to free disposal of household chemical pollutants and waste tires.

This event is free to Muskogee residents who present a current city water bill. The collection day is sponsored by the City of Muskogee Public Works Department Stormwater Management Program.

Acceptable materials include pesticides, oil based paints, used motor oils, solvents, cleaners, acids, poisons, aerosols, fluorescent bulbs, and all types of batteries. Products should be kept in their original containers, if possible. Up to three computers or TV sets per household will be accepted for recycling and a latex paint exchange will be provided. Residents may also dispose of latex paint after solidifying it via air-drying and discarding it in their local curbside trash container. Passenger car, pickup, and large truck tires will be accepted with a 25-tire limit per household.

For safety reasons, select types of waste are excluded from this event. Such types include: pressurized gas cylinders, ammunition, explosives, any containers of unknown substances, tractor tires, large implement tires, tires on metal rims, or tires from commercial shops and dealers. Due to state and federal regulations, no wastes from commercial businesses or agricultural sources will be accepted. Rineco, a third party transport source will be onsite to dispose of fluorescent bulbs from commercial businesses with an applied fee to be directly paid to Rineco Environmental Services.

The Muskogee Police Department will accept pharmaceuticals and prescription drugs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with the exception of liquids and sharp objects.

Director of Public Works, Mike Stewart said “We encourage residents to make their homes and environment safer by disposing of waste properly through the city’s special collection program”.

In the event of a lightning storm, gates will be temporarily closed for the safety of attendees until the storm has passed.

Friday, May 27, 2016, 6:32 AM

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Hilldale football star, friend charged with forcible rape in Louisiana

Cole Kiser, 18

Hilldale football star Cole Kiser, 18, has been charged with forcible rape in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has discovered.

Kiser, the number 1 wide receiver for Hilldale's team, was elected player of the game numerous times by for his performance on the team. He is scheduled to graduate this year.

He is alleged to have raped a 15-year-old girl in Baton Rouge, who told police she was attending a youth conference at a local church in July of 2015 when the event happened.

Kiser and his accused co-defendant, name withheld because he is still a juvenile, described as Kiser's cousin, were attending the same conference, an affidavit filed in the case alleges. The girl says she met the pair at the pool of the hotel she was staying at. At first, she said, she and he began kissing consensually.

Later that night, the victim went to the pool with a friend, but the friend left, leaving her with Kiser and his co-defendant. The girl got out of the pool and Kiser allegedly asked her if "sex was an option," according to the affidavit. The girl told police she said no, and that Kiser said they were going to have sex, and if she screamed, he would "go to her hotel room where her family was and hurt everyone in the room."

The girl alleges he and the co-defendant looked around to find an area without cameras and ended up in a wooded area next to the hotel, where they took turns having sex with her.

The victim later that night posted to social media "I just cheated on my boyfriend with some random .... we had sex?" When questioned by police about the post, she insisted she was raped by the two boys.

A rape kit determined the girl had skin from two males under her right hand fingernails. DNA testing showed that Kiser could not be confirmed or excluded as the person whose skin it was, and that The co-defendant was excluded.

An arrest warrant was issued for Kiser on April 29 in Baton Rouge. Calls for comment from Kiser's family have not been returned. If they are, we will report what they say if they comment.

UPDATE: The family has declined to comment, but said through a friend that they're confident the evidence will exonerate the boys.

UPDATE: Cole Kiser was arrested in Baton Rouge on May 12, when he was also released on a $25,000 bond.

Thursday, May 26, 2016, 3:42 PM

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Parks to host crafts and plants festival on June 4 to coincide with Beer Fest

The Muskogee Parks and Recreation Department is making plans for a new summer event to be held in Honor Heights Park on June 4, 2016.

The Real Okie Plants and Things Festival is intended to serve as a bridge with the Second Annual Real Okie Craft Beer Fest and the 26th Annual Symphony in the Park.

As part of the activities planned for the Real Okie Plants and Things Festival, the Papilion, a seasonal butterfly house and garden in the park, is planning a Nectar and Milkweed Plant Sale in support of the National Wildlife Federation Mayors’ Monarch Pledge that Muskogee Mayor Bob Coburn has signed.

The City Recreation Department is planning activities for children including a nature walk at 11am and 2pm, garden activities, face painting and more. A variety of plants will be available for purchase through the Muskogee County Master Gardeners and Ray Wright from Muskogee. Admission to the event is $3 for adults and $2 for children, 65+and military. The event runs 10am-4pm.

For additional information call 918-684-6303.

Thursday, May 26, 2016, 7:42 AM

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Dick's Sporting Goods to expand hours to celebrate OKC Thunder win

If Oklahoma City Thunder win the conference championship tonight, Dick's Sporting goods at Three Rivers Plaza, 701 W. Shawnee, will open at 7 a.m. tomorrow to celebrate the win.

The store will offer conference championship gear to commemorate the Thunder win.

Thursday, May 26, 2016, 7:29 AM

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Woman charged with leaving children in filth without food, water or utilities

Cheyenne Scraper

Muskogee woman Cheyenne Scraper, 23, was arrested and charged with two counts of child neglect after her children, ages 6 and 4, were found alone in her home at 1928 E. Okmulgee earlier this month.

The children had been alone in the home for an unknown amount of time. Police contacted Scraper by phone and she told them she was in Tulsa and could not return to the house.

Inside, police found what was called "extreme amounts of filth" and numerous kitchen knives on the floor with the unsupervised children, who had no access to running water and an empty refrigerator.

The house was also without electric service.

The case states Scraper "leaves the children alone in the house for days at a time."

The children were taken into custody by DHS.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016, 8:21 AM

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Second person dies in alleged moonshine poisoning

Barbara Chandler, 55, is the second person killed by what police and ABEL Commission officials believe to be methanol poisoning from tainted moonshine on May 19, when 24-year-old Colton Hooper died and two others besides Chandler were hospitalized.

Methanol is a poisonous byproduct of the distillation of liquor, according to an ABLE Commission officer we spoke to last week. Even legal distilleries must invest in expensive equipment to test for methanol before they can legally and safely sell their products. Amateur distillers have no way to test for methanol or other contaminants such as lead or glycol.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016, 7:50 AM

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Reversing Radio to play here Thursday

The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame will host Reversing Radio Thursday, May 26th at 8 pm at the Frisco Depot, 401 S. 3rd in Muskogee.

Radio is Chris Tracy (vocals/guitar), Jeff Jones (drums), Bart Culver (lead guitar) and David Calvert (bass). One of the band's most desirable qualities is the ability to play a diverse range of music. Reversing Radio prides itself on playing Rock, Classic Rock, Country (new and old), Pop, Red Dirt, and the Blues.

They keep a busy yearly schedule playing everything from weddings to corporate parties, and backyards to the Civic Center. They have become a staple of the Muskogee music scene, headlining large events every year, such as, River Rumba, Muskogee Chocolate Festival, Muskogee Beer Festival, Garden of Lights Run, Muskogee Night at the Tropics, and many more.

Doors open at 7:30, show starts at 8 pm. Admission is $5 at the door and all ages are welcome.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016, 5:04 AM

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Stigler man drowns at Robbers Cave

Aquino Mendez, 26, of Stigler drowned on Carlton Lake at Robbers Cave Sate Park on Sunday, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Mendez, who was in a boat with two other men, was dumped into the water when the boat overturned. A nearby boater in a paddleboat was able to pull the other two men out of the water, but Mendez did not resurface.

Troopers later recovered him on Monday in seven feet of water using side scan sonar and dragging operations.

None of the men were wearing flotation devices.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016, 5:00 AM

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Muskogee man jailed after failing to bring attorney to court on 2014 child sex abuse case

Bryan Eugene Morris

Bryan Eugene Morris, 27, of Muskogee, is in the Muskogee County Jail after he failed to bring an attorney with him to court on a 2014 charge of child sex abuse, according to sources at the courthouse.

Morris is facing three counts of child sex abuse for allegedly forcing a nine-year-old to place his penis in her mouth, then by manually penetrating her and having intercourse with her.

In January of this year, a protective order was granted against Morris after he allegedly kicked in the door of Nina Gonzales, threatened her, punched a hole in her wall, flipped her couch over and tried to attack her until a bystander stopped him.

Monday, May 23, 2016, 8:47 AM

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Tenth-annual golf tournament for Kelly B Todd is today

The tenth-annual Kelly B Todd Golf tournament is scheduled today, but if the rain doesn't move on, organizers will have to move it to a rain-out date.

"We're hoping the rain moves on," said event volunteer Lindsey Ketcham. "We've raised more than $100,000 over the past ten years."

Money raised from the tournament benefits the center, which provides therapy and medical equipment to children with spinal and neuromuscular disorders.

Monday, May 23, 2016, 8:39 AM

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Muskogee MMA fighter beats 95-to-5 odds, champ

Jeremy 'The Warrior' Vaughn poses with the championship belt.

Muskogee mixed martial arts fighter Jeremy "The Warrior" Vaughn was a 95-to-5 underdog as he took on champion Andrew Yates in Colorado on Saturday.

Oddsmakers were expecting Yates to win by either knockout or technical knockout.

But in the second round, Vaughn showed that odds are just that - odds. Vaughn forced Yates to submit, losing his championship and the fight in which he was an overwhelming favorite.

Vaughn trains at Crunchtime Gym under Codale Ford.

Monday, May 23, 2016, 7:44 AM

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UPDATE: Allegedly deadly moonshine also hurt three others

The apparently tainted moonshine that on-scene police believe killed 24-year-old Colton Hooper last night also seriously injured three other people.

"There were people losing their sight," an officer with a state police agency told "That's generally a good indication that someone has methanol poisoning."

Muskogee County EMS took two victims to Eastar Hospital, according to a worker at EMS: a 23-year-old male who was in "serious" condition and a 54-year-old male who was also in serious condition.

Hooper was pronounced dead at the scene.

A 56-year-old female was transported by private vehicle to the Muskogee ER, but was later taken by Muskogee County EMS to a Tulsa hospital in life-threatening condition.

As of this writing, all three survivors are still alive.

Friday, May 20, 2016, 5:02 PM

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Longtime Muskogee teacher dies

Pat Lunn

Pat H. Lunn, a longtime teacher at Muskogee Public Schools, died Wednesday.

She was 93. Lunn was the parent of a prominent former Muskogee attorney and assistant district attorney, Bill Lunn.

Services for her are 3:30 p.m. May 23 at Saint Paul United Methodist Church. Cornerstone Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Friday, May 20, 2016, 7:46 AM

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EXCLUSIVE: Bad moonshine blamed for killing one, sickening others

Bad moonshine is being blamed for a death in Muskogee on North 37th Street. The victim is Colton Hooper, 24.

"Others are sick from it," a police officer at the scene said. "We need people to know this stuff is out there and it's dangerous."

Moonshine is homemade whiskey and is not subject to stringent alcohol sanitation standards.

Police are advising residents to avoid any homemade liquor.

"We will have to wait for a medical examiner's report to be sure" it was the cause, the officer said. "But meanwhile, people shouldn't be drinking this stuff."

UPDATE: Capt. Joe Daniels of the state's ABLE Commission, which regulates alcohol in the state, said homemade liquor is illegal for a reason.

"It's a felony because it can be dangerous on both ends - in production and when people drink it," he said. "When you're distilling liquor, you can burn down a house or kill people easily. When people who don't know what they're doing make it, the process can leech toxins into the alcohol and kill people."

Using lead solder is a common mistake, he said, because the distillation process leeches the lead into the alcohol.

"Old timers used to take some of it and light it on fire and look at the color of the flame," he said. "They'd say 'if it burns red, you're dead'."

Another common danger is using a condenser that came from a car, which can leak glycol into the alcohol, even if the equipment has been thoroughly cleaned.

A third danger is the inclusion of methanol in the homemade alcohol, which in some quantities is dangerous and even fatal. Relatives of the victims of last night's incident tell MuskogeeNOW that one victim was rushed from Muskogee's Eastar Hospital to Saint John's hospital in Tulsa with methanol poisoning.

"Old-timers used to say you had to get rid of the heads and tails," Daniels said. "Because when you distill alcohol, you make ethanol, which is the part you drink, but you also produce methanol, and if you don't know what you're doing and start collecting as soon as you start producing, you can have a lot of methanol in there."

He said even commercial producers have to watch out for methanol, which isn't easy to detect.

"Unless you have some really good testing equipment, you can make a mistake pretty easy."

According to

Methanol, also known as wood alcohol, is a commonly used organic solvent that, because of its toxicity, can cause metabolic acidosis, neurologic sequelae, and even death, when ingested. It is a constituent of many commercially available industrial solvents and of poorly adulterated alcoholic beverages. Methanol toxicity remains a common problem in many parts of the developing world, especially among members of lower socioeconomic classes.

Thursday, May 19, 2016, 9:41 PM

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Job fair is today at Martin Luther King Center

Neighbors Building Neighborhoods is hosting a job fair today at 3:30 p.m. at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, 300 Martin Luther King Street.

Positions available and hiring now include certified teachers for the MLK summer learning, after-school program and community treasures summer camp; program staff at the center's summer learning, after school and summer camp and summer program staff at night hoops.

Bring your application and resume, interviews will be conducted on-site and background checks are required.

For more information, call the center at 918-684-6314.

Thursday, May 19, 2016, 6:28 AM

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Three women charged with getting high while pregnant

Amyllia Wilson

Three Muskogee women have been charged with child neglect in Muskogee County District Court after drugs turned up in their blood or that of their babies. Amyllia M. Wilson, Calnekia Whitfield and Jessica Eguia were all charged yesterday with the felony counts.

Calnekia Whitfield

Wilson was charged after she tested positive for benzodiazepine, opiates and oxycodone. An affidavit filed with the case states that she had tested positive several times during her pregnancy as well.

Whitfield was charged after she tested positive for amphetamines, methamphetamines and benzodiazepine when she gave birth. An affidavit states that the baby "is having medical problems caused from the drugs."

Eguia was charged after her infant's cord blood tested positive for THC, the active chemical in marijuana.

Medical personnel in Oklahoma are required by law to report infants born with chemical dependency or while their mothers are on drugs.

Thursday, May 19, 2016, 6:10 AM

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Man reaching for dropped water bottle hurt when truck wrecks

Patricio DeJesus, 42, of Okay was injured when his 1999 Ford F-150 pickup slammed into a street sign and ended up in a creek yesterday, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

The wreck happened around 9:40 a.m. a mile north of Fort Gibson just east of 55th Street, the patrol reported.

DeJesus was trying to pick up a water bottle from the floorboard when his truck ran off the right side of the road and hit a sign, coming to rest in a creek.

DeJesus was transported to Eastar Hospital in Muskogee and then to Saint Francis in Tulsa with internal injuries. He was not wearing a seatbelt, according to the patrol.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016, 5:53 AM

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