bosslady

DEATHS

Dora Dupont, 89

Born September 4, 1931

Died September 27, 2020

Kelsee Jolynn Sevier, 23

Born February 26, 1997

Died September 27, 2020

Walter (Buddy) Hale Stubbs Jr., 79

Born December 8, 1940

Died September 25, 2020

Bayard Palmer "Sud" Sudberry III, 75

Born January 28, 1945

Died September 21, 2020

Donnie Ashworth, 68

Born March 13, 1952

Died September 21, 2020

CLICK TO SEE MORE >>

Our death notices and obits are always free to the families and funeral homes.

THINGS TO DO

Monday, September 28

MONAA Meeting

Tuesday, September 29

Girl Scout Sign Up Night
Freddy’s Spirit Night

Wednesday, September 2, 2020, 7:38 AM

State Rep. Avery Frix, R-Muskogee, recently was appointed to the Oklahoma State Pension Commission by House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka.

The purpose of the commission is to establish uniform reporting standards among the state’s retirement system and to make necessary recommendations.

“It’s an honor to be selected to serve our state retirees in this capacity,” Frix said. “Since taking office in 2016, I have fought to secure additional dollars going directly to those who served our state as teachers, law enforcement, firefighters or other state employees. These people dedicated years of their lives to improve the lives of others, and they deserve someone in their corner making sure they get everything promised to them in return for their hard work.”

McCall said he appointed Frix because of his work on cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) legislation that granted retirees between a 2% and 4% COLA starting in July depending on their years of service. McCall said he appreciated Frix’ willingness to serve in this new role.

“Representative Frix is well-suited for this role because he understands the complexities of the state’s pension systems, the importance of protecting their funded status, and the needs of state retirees,” McCall said. “House Republicans have taken the pension systems from disarray to solvency over the past 15 years, and we will continue prioritizing this work through the leadership of Representative Frix and others.”

The state Pension Commission is made up of eight members including the state treasurer, the state auditor and the state secretary of finance, three government appointees and one appointee from both the Oklahoma House of representatives and the state Senate.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2020, 8:41 AM

Eddie Warrior Correctional Facility in Taft, just west of Muskogee, now has 637 active cases of COVID-19, exposing the inmates, staff and community at large to risk of infection.

Workers at the prison, all of whom asked to be not named for fear of reprisals, say the Oklahoma Department of Corrections is directly responsible for the huge outbreak at the prison, which houses about 800 prisoners in open-dorm type rooms.

MuskogeeNOW reported last week that there were huge numbers of uncounted cases at the prison, and the next day, DOC officials announced new testing and 400-odd cases of COVID. The number of infections took a dramatic leap last Monday, workers report, from zero cases to the current number. July 27, inmates began streaming into the prison, they say, after DOC waived COVID testing for transfers into minimum security prisons like Eddie Warrior.

Seventy-nine inmates came in that day, then, DOC told workers that 150 more inmates needed to be “fast tracked” within the next week because of a backlog of inmates waiting in county facilities all over the state. Fast-tracking, according to the workers, included waiving testing requirements.

On Aug. 6, another busload of inmates — dozens of whom were untested — were brought into the prison. Aug. 10, another 50. On Aug. 14, inmates from a facility known to be experiencing an outbreak were transferred to Eddie Warrior with no quarantine and no testing, according to workers. The inmates were placed into general population.

“They’re just inmates, right?” one worker said yesterday. “They forget us employees are also there and we have families.”

One worker with an at-risk child said they have to stay away from their child because of the outbreak.

“They couldn’t care less about our families,” the worker said. “They don’t care about the inmates, either. No matter what they’ve done, they are still human beings, and they deserve better.”

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Monday, August 31, 2020, 8:19 AM

Cherokee Nation citizen Shawna Baker of Tulsa was sworn into office as the Cherokee Nation’s newest Supreme Court Justice at the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex in Tahlequah.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. nominated Baker to the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court and the Council of the Cherokee Nation confirmed Baker’s appointment during a Council meeting held shortly before the swearing-in ceremony.

Baker joins former Justice Stacy Leeds and the late Justice Angela Barker-Jones as one of only three women to serve as a Supreme Court Justice in Cherokee Nation history.

Baker earned a bachelor’s degree from John Brown University, a master’s degree in biological science and a law degree from the University of Tulsa, a master of law from Columbia University, and a master of law in taxation from New York University.

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Saturday, August 29, 2020, 8:18 AM

Testing in the wake of the MuskogeeNOW story earlier this week at Eddie Warrior Correctional Facility in Taft has resulted in more than 400 new positive cases of COVID-19 in a single day, according to Muskogee Mayor Marlon Coleman.

“Members of the Muskogee City-County Task Force were briefed today regarding the COVID-19 outbreak at the Eddie Warrior Correctional Facility, resulting in Muskogee County showing a record high number of more than 400 new coronavirus cases reported in a single day,” Coleman said. “More cases are expected as testing continues.”

The prison’s open dorm-style housing does not allow for proper quarantining, and relying upon guards to decide who got tested did not adequately allow for preventing the spread of the disease either.

“This event, along with the reopening of schools, means we must be more vigilant in the battle against the spread of COVID-19, including consideration of stronger safety measures to be incorporated into the city existing mitigation plan in the coming days,” Coleman said. “We must protect families, small businesses and the local economy by staying at home if you are ill; wear masks when in public; and, when around people outside of your household, practice social distancing, and follow all other CDC recommendations in the ongoing battle to defeat COVID-19.”

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Saturday, August 29, 2020, 8:12 AM

David Hill, Creek Nation Principal Chief

Where the federal government failed, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation will not, according to Principal Chief David Hill.

“Our attorney general’s office has announced that they will pursue (Leroy Jemol) Smith to bring him to justice for his crimes,” Hill said. Smith is accused of raping at least five women in Muskogee in the 1990s, and also was accused of killing two people in Tulsa. Smith’s state criminal case was dismissed because he is part Native, and the state had no jurisdiction to prosecute him. Last week, a federal judge dismissed his case because the statute of limitations had expired on the rapes.

That release “is the result of legal and policy failures at the state and federal level that must be addressed to ensure injustices like this do not continue,” Hill said. “We have been presented with an opportunity to discard the problematic policies of the past and put in place new programs and protocols, with collaboration between federal, state, and tribal governmental partners, to ensure men like Leroy Smith are prosecuted for the crimes they commit.”

Smith was released from the Muskogee County Jail last week after his federal case was dismissed. There is no word on when the Creek Nation will issue a warrant for his arrest.

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Friday, August 28, 2020, 12:38 PM

Keilan Morgan reacts to a picture of Megan Fox as his teacher. Click to watch the video.

A Muskogee mother, Connie Morgan, put a photo of actress Megan Fox on her phone in the same place she would be if on a FaceTime call, then told her eight-year-old son Keilan he needed to come FaceTime his new teacher.

When Keilan saw the photo, he stopped in his tracks, big smile, eyes wide, and paused. Then the first thing he said was “She cute, though!”

The video, posted to TikTok, has now garnered almost 10 million views, with 1.4 million heart reactions and 27,000 comments — and other TikTok users have sampled Keilan’s voice to use with their own videos.

“It was all because of COVID and being stuck in the house,” Connie Morgan said. “He knew I was about to show him his teacher in the video, but he didn’t expect her to be so pretty.”

Click the image above to watch the video.

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Friday, August 28, 2020, 8:55 AM

There are around 800 inmates at Eddie Warrior Correctional Facility in Taft. Of those, 785 are in “quarantine,” although that doesn’t mean what one might think. The prison has an “open dorm” housing plan, meaning inmates don’t have cells to inhabit while distancing from other inmates.

That means inmates are crammed together during a quarantine in which 32 of them have positive test results and 13 staff members do. Inmates are only tested for the virus when staff members decide an inmate needs a test, so the number of actual infections at the prison may be much higher.

After being asked questions for this story, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections announced today — in Taft — that it is “ramping up” testing in “hot spot” facilities:

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections (ODOC) takes a proactive approach to increasing COVID-19 cases. In coordination with the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), ODOC has designated Eddie Warrior Correctional Center (EWCC) a “hot spot” for COVID-19 after identifying a spike in the number of infected inmates. More than 800 female inmates live in open dorm units there, creating a contact tracing web.

Declaring a hot spot initiates increased response protocols including providing additional PPE to staff, closing visitation and volunteer access, and shifting work stations within the facility to prevent further spread of the virus.

Identifying dozens of positive inmates at EWCC last week prompted testing of all potentially exposed inmates this week. With hot spot protocols in place, ODOC awaits official test results as staff continues to provide core services to all inmates.

Once test results identify infected inmates, staff will isolate them and quarantine those exposed.

ODOC is also implementing hot spot protocols at Joseph Harp Correctional Center and Mabel Bassett Correctional Center. With each positive COVID-19 test, OSDH and ODOC collaborate to ensure the agency complies with evolving best practices during this pandemic.

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Thursday, August 27, 2020, 12:22 PM

Leroy Jemol Smith

Leroy Jemol Smith, 50, of Muskogee and Tulsa, will walk out of the Muskogee County Jail either today or tomorrow after a federal judge dismissed serial rape charges against him, saying the statute of limitations had expired. Smith’s alleged victims have not been notified by the federal prosecutors.

Smith had formerly been charged in Muskogee County District Court with the rapes, and the statute of limitations had not expired there, since cases using newly-discovered DNA technology were exempt from the state statute of limitations. But Smith is a small percentage Indian, so his case was moved to federal court, and that exemption does not apply there.

State courts had identified him as the alleged rapist of five women in Muskogee through the 1990s using DNA technology. The tests showed that there was a one-in-trillions chance that Smith was the rapist, to the exclusion of every other possible suspect on earth.

Several federal laws that would have extended the statute of limitations were enacted after the original statute of limitations had expired, Federal Judge Ronald A. White ruled today. Prosecutors tried to say the statute didn’t start until the McGirt decision conferred jurisdiction on the federal government this year, but White ruled that McGirt did not confer jurisdiction, so much as recognize its existence.

White ordered Smith released from custody immediately. Smith previously also escaped a murder charge in Tulsa due to a faulty time stamp on a surveillance camera that allegedly caught him in the act.

You can read White’s ruling here.

UPDATE 3:14 p.m.: Muskogee County District Attorney Orvil Loge, who did much of the legwork on getting Smith into the court system in the first place, just issued the following statement:

“I felt confident the Oklahoma Statute of Limitations would have survived the same argument, but the McGirt case prevented that issue being resolve in State Court.

“To the victims, I applaud your courage, determination and readiness to endure this fight.

“To law enforcement, investigators and DNA chemists, I thank you for all your hard work and commitment.”

UPDATE 3:18 p.m.: US Attorney Brian Kuester and Assistant US Attorney Sarah McAmis have filed an emergency motion to reconsider or motion to stay pending appeal on Smith’s case’s dismissal.

The prosecutors ask that the court reconsider its order for dismissal based on lack of compliance with victim notification procedures, noting that it may violate the Federal Crime Victims’ Rights Act, which ensures that crime victims have the right to be reasonably protected from the accused. Further, the victims should have been notified in a timely manner that the dismissal was possibly imminent.”

They further note that the victims have the right to be heard at any public proceeding involving the release of the suspect.

The prosecutors also gave notice of their intent to appeal White’s decision to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and ask that Smith not be released “due to the violent nature of these crimes, the Defendant’s knowledge that he has now been identified through DNA, his access to information through the discovery provided in this case and his violent criminal history.”

The defendant, they argue, knows what his victims look like now, which “exponentially” increases the risk to the victims, and also creates a motivation for him to flee in case his dismissal is not affirmed on appeal.

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steve money

Thursday, August 27, 2020, 8:19 AM

Oklahoma is now eighth in the nation in COVID-19 positive rates, according to the CDC.

House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman, is calling on Gov. Kevin Stitt to implement a bipartisan, expert-led task force to help lead Oklahoma to an end of the pandemic.

“It is past time to get serious about our state’s response to COVID,” Virgin said. “Our caucus wants the governor to put together a task force, led by Oklahomans, that can provide the leadership necessary to end this pandemic in Oklahoma. COVID does not have to be Oklahoma’s ‘new normal.’”

Stitt has said his approach is sufficient, where local leaders are utilizing a COVID-19 alert system created by the Oklahoma State Department of Health to inform local leaders about decisions regarding the pandemic.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2020, 7:39 AM

The Cherokee Nation’s 2020 virtual inter-tribal powwow and virtual car show are seeking participants to compete for a variety of prizes during this year’s 68th Cherokee National Holiday.

Categories for the virtual powwow include youth and adults. Participants can record their own dances and post them to their personal Twitter, Instagram or Facebook pages. Facebook videos must tag @CherokeeNationalHoliday to be considered in the contest, and posts made by the contestants should be viewable by the public. The full list of categories for the virtual powwow, along with contest rules, cash prize amounts, and videos submitted to the contest can be found at holiday.cherokee.org under the “Events” link.

Powwow participants must load their dance videos to Facebook before 8 a.m. Monday, Aug. 31, to be considered for cash prizes. Winners will be announced on Sept. 5.

The powwow also includes an inter-tribal, non-judged category for dancers of any age to submit a video. The public can view the videos in this specific category and vote for their favorite by “liking” it on Facebook, with the number of “likes” determining the people choice.

Participants of the virtual car show can share a video of the interior and exterior of their classic rides on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Videos must be no more than two minutes long, and posts should include the #CNHCarShow2020. Facebook posts must tag @CherokeeNationalHoliday to be counted in the contest, and the post’s privacy setting must be set to “public.”

The virtual car show is open to the public and participants are not required to be affiliated with a tribe. The top three entries based on “likes” and views will be awarded a trophy and bragging rights.

Car show entries can be seen on by visiting holiday.cherokee.org and following the “Events” link to the virtual car show. The deadline for entries is Sept. 5 at 5 p.m. Winners will be announced on Sept. 5, after the deadline has passed.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2020, 8:59 PM

Andy Simmons

Longtime Muskogee Police officer Andy Simmons will be Muskogee County’s new sheriff after winning in a landslide over current Undersheriff Michael Mahan in the Republican primary runoff today.

Simmons received 1,697 of the total 2,736 votes cast, or 62 percent to Mahan’s 38 percent.

Since former Sheriff Charles Pearson, a Democrat, withdrew from the race last week, Simmons faces no Democrat challenger, meaning the Republican primary served as the general election, and he is the new Sheriff-elect.

Simmons was unavailable for comment late today, but Mahan conceded.

“I’m not sure what I will do next,” he said. “I am waiting on God to open a door.”

Simmons, currently a lieutenant at the Muskogee Police Department, is a US Navy veteran, a 24-year police officer and current president of the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police. His chief goals are to provide training for law enforcement, address issues at the jail and step up narcotics enforcement while reaching out to the county’s youth.

In endorsing Simmons for his old seat, Pearson said “Andy has served this county and city and country for his entire life. Every accomplishment I had as sheriff, when I look back, Andy was there, helping me the entire way. He’s taking a cut in pay to do this.”

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Tuesday, August 25, 2020, 7:43 AM

A Muskogee man received a life-threatening gunshot wound inside a Margaret Lynn Lane home around 10:30 p.m. last night, according to Muskogee police.

The man, whose name hasn’t been released yet, was inside the home on the 2500 block when shots were fired. Police arrived shortly after, and the man was rushed by Muskogee County EMS to Saint Francis Hospital here.

Police have not released any more details, except that they are currently investigating the scene.

UPDATE 10:13 a.m.: Police have just released the victim’s name and details about the story. The victim, Joshua Woods, 37, has died from his injuries.

On 08/24/2020 at approximately 1030pm officers responded to a shooting in the 2500 block of Margaret Lynn Ln.

Once on scene officers discovered there was a domestic assault between the two adults in the house that lead to the 17 year old step son intervening to help his mother. The step son shot his step dad who has been identified as Joshua Woods DOB 12-10-1983. Woods was transported to St Francis Muskogee were[sic] he later died from his injuries.

This is an ongoing investigation and further details will be released as they become available.

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Monday, August 24, 2020, 5:03 PM

Brandon Grant, 30, of Spiro was killed on the Muskogee Turnpike three miles west of Webbers Falls at 8:33 this morning, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Grant was driving a 2006 Jaguar that was involved in a collision with a 2006 Dodge pickup driven by Cody Handke, 34, of Fort Gibson. Grant died at the scene with massive injuries. Handke was transported by Muskogee County EMS to Saint John Hospital in Tulsa with internal injuries, where he was admitted in stable condition.

The cause of the wreck is under investigation, and no other information is available.

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simmons for sheriff

Monday, August 24, 2020, 8:05 AM

Muskogee Deputy Mayor Derrick Reed received a package from an unknown address that contained a T-shirt with the caption “I hate you, I hate you, I don’t even know you & I hate your guts, I hope all the bad things in life happen to you & nobody else but you.”

“It was a package from a return address where someone went online and ordered it,” Reed said. “It came from a distribution center.”

Reed, who has been on the City Council for nine years, turned the package over to police, who are attempting to track down its origins. He has, in the meantime, heightened his awareness of what’s going on around him.

“I’m vigilant,” he said. “I’m hoping to find out something on it to ease my nerves and the nerves of my family. You try to do the right thing, to serve everybody, and then things like this happen.”

City Councilor Ivory Vann earlier this year received empty letters from a city employee Dan Hurd, who was trying to establish his theory that Vann did not live in his district. The city disciplined Hurd. But Vann received four letters with varying degrees of negativity and veiled threats, and former mayoral candidate Tracy Cole received threatening texts.

One of the letters Vann received told him to “Get help learn to speak so others can understand you.” and “Learn to shut up and listen.” That letter closed with a diatribe against black people:

How come bank tellers, fast food workers, store clerks, etc. are not all black? How come professional black sport people use white managers - trainers - caddies - personal assistants - financial planners. How come? How come? You know what I mean. Think about it!

The three African-American politicians received the items within close proximity in time. Police are investigating.

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Monday, August 24, 2020, 7:35 AM

Five people were hurt in one boat collision on Saturday, when one boat struck another and then fled the scene, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Randall Brodner, 37, of Tulsa was operating a 2020 G3 22-foot pontoon that was drifting in the water near Paradise Cove around 9:30 p.m., when a 1997 Champion driven by Casey Mills, 50, of Hulbert ran into the pontoon, according to the patrol.

Mills then left the scene, the report states.

Brodner was treated at the scene for arm injuries. Suzanne Brodner, 35, of Tulsa was treated at the scene for leg injuries. Susan Evans, 64, of Ransom Canyon, Texas was treated at the scene for arm injuries, Hunter Adkins, 32, of Madison, Mississippi was treated at the scene for leg injuries and Mary Angelo, 44, of Madison, Mississippi was transported by helicopter to Saint John Hospital in Tulsa and admitted with leg injuries.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

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Friday, August 21, 2020, 12:51 PM

As positive COVID-19 cases rage in Muskogee County and in the area’s schools, including Hilldale and Fort Gibson, Muskogee Schools, which have also had positive cases of both students and faculty, will start the school year on Aug. 31, followed by a solid week of in-person education. After that, students will have the next week at home, doing distance learning. The week after that, they’re back in school for four more weeks, then another week of distance learning.

Asked whether gathering all the students together and then sending them home and then gathering them all together might defeat the purpose of distance learning, which is sheltering in place to avoid spread of the virus, the schools demurred. Spokesman Steve Braun offered the following statement:

This was and is a difficult decision and we have put measures in place with mask mandates and cleaning to try to keep students and staff safe.

We will continue to monitor and make adjustments as necessary as we go into and through the school year.

We have given options to families with the E-Learning Academy or students in buildings. Currently over 1,500 students and their families signed up for the E-Learning Academy and nearly 4,000 students and their families have chosen a traditional learning model.

The Superintendent and the Board of Education will continue to monitor and make adjustments as necessary.

In total, the school has five weeks of distance learning scheduled throughout the year, which ends on May 26, 2021 — another distance learning day.

Starting the school year with a week of in-person learning, Braun said, is so students can get to know their teachers.

“The thought behind the start of school schedule is for students to become familiar with their teachers in the first week, then following Laborday, use those four days to also become familiar with virtual work,” he said. “We will also use virtual days instead of being out due to snow or inclement weather.”

Overall, the majority of days during the school year will have students packed together in classrooms in person.

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Thursday, August 20, 2020, 10:55 AM

COVID-19 has claimed another county office today, as the Court Clerk’s office has had an employee test positive.

“The office will be closed Friday for cleaning and Monday for testing,” Court Clerk Paula Sexton said just now. “We have taken every precaution we can possibly take to avoid this kind of situation.”

Court filing deadlines will be extended two days to accommodate the office being closed.

The rest of the courthouse remains open, but restricted to people who have hearings scheduled, lawyers and employees of the courts and district attorney.

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Thursday, August 20, 2020, 8:19 AM

The Cherokee Nation’s single largest contributor to the Cherokee language since that of Sequoyah — Durbin Feeling — has passed away at age 74.

Feeling, born April 2, 1946 just east of Locust Grove, was a renowned Cherokee linguist who wrote the Cherokee dictionary and worked for the tribe since 1976, most recently in the tribe’s language translation and technology department.

Some of Feeling’s accomplishments include adding Cherokee Syllabary on a word processor in the 1980s. He also started the process to add the Cherokee language on Unicode, which today allows smartphones to offer Cherokee Syllabary, and he developed hundreds of Cherokee language teaching materials that remain in use by speakers today.

Durbin was a Vietnam Veteran, earning a Purple Heart and National Defense Medal, and was an ordained minister.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2020, 9:11 AM

Macen DeSilvey

Macen DeSilvey, 8, of Muskogee is being celebrated as a hero today at the Muskogee Police Department after rescuing his half-sister from drowning at a house in Wagoner County.

Macen was swimming in the shallow end of a pool. His sister, Whitley, who is a year old, walked over to the deep end and fell in. Macen quickly swam to the deep end and grabbed the toddler, hauling her up onto the ledge of the pool, where he began smacking her back until she started throwing up water.

The baby’s mother picked the girl up and resumed smacking her back until she was okay.

Muskogee Police Chief Johnny Teehee will present Macen, who told his parents he wants to be a police officer, with an award this morning for his heroism.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to eliminate some disputed facts.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2020, 7:43 AM

A schools employees at Irving Elementary and another at the Education Service Center have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a release from the district.

“In each positive case, the program area director or the supervisor was notified of the positive COVID-19 test and the appropriate protocols were followed,” the release states. “These individuals have been quarantined for 10 days and are following the Muskogee County Health Department guidelines.”

The schools are going forward with plans to open for in-person instruction despite those positive tests, the positive test of a member of the color guard, and greatly increased class sizes, which necessarily reduce the distance between students.

Either a student or staff member has also tested positive at Hilldale.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2020, 4:45 PM

Muskogee Public Schools will start in-person instruction in the midst of a growing pandemic with overcrowded classrooms, according to several parents and educators who called with concerns.

Creek Elementary, they said, has released several teachers with not much tenure, consolidating classes to untenable levels.

Kindergarten classes are expected to have at least 25 to 30 students each, first-graders are expected to have similar numbers, and each fifth-grade class is expected to have 35 students each. The school has cut several classes.

MuskogeeNOW yesterday sent the following question to the district:

“Have teaching staffs and classes been reduced elsewhere in the district from last year and class sizes increased since last year? If so, where and how many and which classes?”

Today, the district replied with the following:

Although the school year has not started and students are not in seats yet the district projects class sizes based on enrollment and previous trends. Based off the enrollment of Muskogee Public Schools and the number of certified staff we have proper coverage for our projected enrollment numbers for the start of school. The district will work with site principals and reassign teachers if necessary to accommodate any large class sizes in the first few weeks of school.

We always encourage parents that have questions and concerns to contact their student’s site principal.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2020, 4:30 PM

John Pearson, left, Charles Pearson and Election Board Secretary Kelly Beach pose as Charles Pearson withdraws his candidacy.

Former Muskogee County Sheriff Charles Pearson today endorsed Muskogee Police Lt. Andy Simmons for sheriff.

Simmons is in a Republican run-off with current Undersheriff Michael Mahan. Pearson was running as a Democrat before legal troubles derailed his campaign.

Pearson withdrew his candidacy today.

“Andy has served this county and city and country for his entire life,” Pearson said. “Every accomplishment I had as sheriff, when I look back, Andy was there, helping me the entire way. He’s taking a cut in pay to do this.”

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Tuesday, August 18, 2020, 7:35 AM

Shirley Stanley, 73 of Muskogee has died from injuries sustained in a wreck on the Muskogee Turnpike on July 17, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Stanley was a passenger in a 2018 Ford Focus driven by Terri Streeter, 41, of Muskogee westbound on the turnpike around noon. The vehicle struck the crash cushion on the west side of the left toll lane. Troopers were dispatched to the wreck but did not find the car.

Five hours later, troopers were advised that Stanley was in a hospital in Wagoner with injuries from the crash.

Yesterday, the highway patrol was advised by an Ohio coroner that Stanley had died from her injuries.

The cause of the wreck and the condition of Streeter at the time are under investigation.

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Monday, August 17, 2020, 11:07 AM

Luis Gerald Hernandez, 18, of Muskogee is charged in Muskogee County District Court with first-degree rape of a 17-year-old girl, according to documents filed with the case.

The affidavit filed with the case alleges that Hernandez forced himself onto the girl, having intercourse with her despite her protestations and refusals.

A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

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Monday, August 17, 2020, 10:25 AM

Bryan Steward

Bryan Christopher Steward, 34, of Haskell was arrested on August 12 and charged on August 14 with a felony count of eluding or attempting to elude a police officer and a misdemeanor count of obstructing an officer after an incident at South 64th Street and Okmulgee in Muskogee, according to documents filed with the case.

According to an affidavit filed with the case, Steward allegedly drove by a deputy’s patrol unit and slapped the driver’s side mirror with his hand, then accelerated the 2019 Harley-Davidson motorcycle “away at a high rate of speed.” The officer said he attempted to conduct a traffic stop, but the driver failed to yield. After Steward stopped, the officer said, “I exited my patrol unit giving verbal commands” but Steward allegedly did not comply.

He was later “assisted from the motorcycle” and placed under arrest.

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Friday, August 14, 2020, 10:13 AM

Less than a week remains for registered voters in Muskogee County to apply for absentee ballots to be mailed to them for the August 25th County Primary Election, County Election Board Secretary Kelly Beach said today.

Applications for absentee ballots must be received by the County Election Board no later than 5 p.m. Tuesday, August 18th, to be processed in time for the election.

Absentee voters may apply in person at the County Election Board office or may send their applications by mail, fax, or e-mail. An online version of the form may be filled out and submitted electronically at www.elections.ok.gov. Any registered voter eligible to vote in the election may vote by absentee ballot without stating a reason, Beach said, however absentee voters can activate certain special conditions in the following circumstances:

  • Registered voters who are physically incapacitated and voters who care for physically incapacitated persons who cannot be left unattended may apply for absentee ballots only by mail, fax, e-mail, online or via an agent who is at least 16 years of age and who is not employed by or related within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity to any person whose name appears on the ballot.
  • Registered voters who are confined to nursing homes in the county may apply by mail, by fax, by e-mail, online or via an agent who is at least 16 years of age and who is not employed by or related within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity to any person whose name appears on the ballot.
  • Military personnel, residents of Muskogee County living overseas, and the spouses and dependents of each group may apply only by mail, by fax, or by e-mail. For more information and instructions, military and overseas voters may visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program website: www.fvap.gov/oklahoma.

For more information on absentee voting, contact the County Election Board at 400 W. Broadway, Room 120 in the Muskogee County Services Building. The telephone number is (918) 687-8151. The County Election Board’s fax number is (918) 687-0382.

For additional election-related information, visit: www.elections.ok.gov.

Early voting will be August 20 and 21 from 8 am to 6 pm both days. Early voting will take place in the basement of the Muskogee County Services Building located at 4th and Broadway Streets in Muskogee.

The election is a Republican run-off for Muskogee County Sheriff and only registered Republicans are eligible to vote in this election. The winner will face Democrat Charles Pearson on November 3. The only exception to this is a special town question in the Town of Braggs where all registered voters within the Town Limits of Braggs are eligible to vote.

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Thursday, August 13, 2020, 6:10 PM

Deanna Joy Aldridge, 57, of Fort Gibson is charged in Muskogee County District Court with stealing $200,345.92 from her employer, Collision Center of Muskogee.

After the business discovered what it called unauthorized usage of a company credit card, the FBI, Muskogee Police and two banks got involved in the investigation.

A warrant for her arrest was issued today. She is due in court in front of Judge Robin Adair on Sept. 2 for a sounding docket.

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Thursday, August 13, 2020, 1:09 PM

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. has established a new commission to make funding and resource recommendations and examine other related areas in the wake of the historic United States Supreme Court McGirt decision. Chief Hoskin signed an executive order today that establishes the Commission for the Protection of Cherokee Nation Sovereignty. In addition, Hoskin proposed the Cherokee Nation Reservation, Judicial Expansion and Sovereignty Protection Act for Tribal Council approval. It authorizes the Cherokee Nation to apply for federal funding for expanded staffing and resources and to bring in court referees to help on assigned cases as the workload increases.

“We must begin taking steps to expand our Marshal Service, Attorney General’s Office, detention and probation budgets, our tribal court system and other areas, while staying engaged in any congressional response to legislation that protects our tribal sovereignty, keeps this historic ruling intact and ensures criminals that commit violent acts on Cherokee Nation reservation lands do not go free,” Chief Hoskin said. “This court decision is the largest victory for Indian Country in our lifetime, but also represents new challenges for the Cherokee Nation, so we are preparing vigorously for what we anticipate is coming. I look forward to a detailed report from the commission in the coming weeks.”

The commission will be comprised of Deputy Chief Bryan Warner, Human Services Executive Director Marsha Lamb, Marshal Shannon Buhl, several members of the cabinet, Cherokee Nation Supreme Court Justice John Garrett and Presiding District Court Judge Luke Barteaux, former U.S. Ambassador Keith Harper and Tribal Councilors Joe Byrd, Mike Shambaugh and Janees Taylor.

The commission will analyze resource concerns, costs and necessary steps as the Cherokee Nation prepares to exercise expanded jurisdiction over crimes committed by tribal citizens, non-member Indians and non-Indians.

The group will also give input on the courts, law enforcement within the Cherokee reservation, criminal codes, jails, re-entry and diversion programs, probation, prosecution, indigent defense counsel, cases involving the Indian Child Welfare Act, domestic violence cases, minor delinquent cases and other areas.

“I’ve spent decades working to protect our sovereignty and we need to be proactive now more than ever,” Byrd said. “I proudly join the commission and have asked Councilors Mike Shambaugh and Janees Taylor, who have experience in law enforcement and finance, to join as well.”

Under the order, all Cherokee Nation departments that intersect with the Cherokee Nation Court, Attorney General, and the Marshal Service that are impacted by the McGirt decision will submit a report of impacts and proposed recommendations to be delivered to the commission. The commission will be charged with issuing a final report to administration by Dec. 1.

The executive order also authorizes the Cherokee Nation Attorney General to create the Inter-Governmental Law Enforcement Task Force of external law enforcement and state and federal prosecutors to collaborate and ensure the prosecution of crimes committed on Cherokee Nation’s 7,000-square-mile reservation lands see no gaps in jurisdiction.

The commission and task force will be vital for discussions and decisions on resources as cases are transferred to tribal and federal court.

Cherokee Nation filed an amicus brief with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals last week asserting the Cherokee Nation’s reservation remains intact. That case involved the conviction of a Miami tribal citizen arrested inside the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation’s reservation for possessing a firearm after a former felony conviction.

There are similar cases also pending, which are just the first of what could be thousands of criminal cases challenged for lack of state jurisdiction. When or if those challenges are successful, the cases will be transferred to federal and Cherokee Nation prosecutors.

The Cherokee Nation Reservation, Judicial Expansion and Sovereignty Protection legislative act will also go before Tribal Council this month. It will allow long-term planning for more resources and staffing and authorize Hoskin to secure grants and federal funding.

“The Cherokee Nation will continue to fight to protect our sovereignty, the Cherokee reservation, the Cherokee people and all citizens living within our Cherokee reservation boundaries,” Hoskin added. “I signed this executive order today to put this commission in place to ensure stability and protection on our reservation lands and proposed this legislative act to secure federal funding to meet the challenges presented by the landmark United States Supreme Court McGirt decision.”

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Thursday, August 13, 2020, 7:13 AM

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality has advised the Boynton Public Works Authority to inform users of its drinking water to use water that has been brought to a full, rolling boil for at least one minute, bottled water, or water from another acceptable source for consumption, use in food preparation, dishwashing and brushing teeth.

The order was issued due to E.coli in the drinking water. 

This boil order is not related to the Coronavirus Disease pandemic.

“It is important to continue to wash your hands during the Boil Order,” Said Erin Hatfield of the DEQ. “During the Coronavirus Disease pandemic, keeping hands clean is especially important to help prevent the virus from spreading. It is safe to wash your hands with soap and tap water. If soap and tap water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol. If you have an open wound, you should use boiled or bottled water to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.”

Users will be notified when the water is considered safe for human consumption. Federal law requires that consumers be notified when a public water supply exceeds certain maximum contaminant levels and might be harmful to the health of consumers.

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