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DEATHS

Kathryn Lucil Wolf, 69

Born May 22, 1951

Died February 26, 2021

Bobby Joe Thompson, 83

Born January 1, 1938

Died February 26, 2021

Marion Lee Harris , 70

Born January 24, 1951

Died February 26, 2021

Rose "Faye" Weaver, 91

Born September 9, 1929

Died February 25, 2021

Jewell Anne Scrivner, 58

Born September 12, 1962

Died February 24, 2021

CLICK TO SEE MORE >>

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

THINGS TO DO

Monday, February 1, 2021, 8:31 AM

More people have died in Oklahoma from COVID-19 than died from the 911 attacks and the Oklahoma City bombing combined.

Legislative Democrats are scheduled to hold a memorial at the Oklahoma State Capitol on Monday to honor more than 3500 Oklahomans who have died from COVID-19.

The legislators are asking the public to join virtually via the Oklahoma House Democrats Facebook page (www.facebook.com/oklahousedems).

WHAT: Legislative memorial to honor victims of COVID-19

WHEN: Monday, Feb. 1, 6:00 p.m.

WHERE: Oklahoma State Capitol Southside steps

“Too many Oklahomans have experienced the pain of losing a family member or friend to Covid-19 over the past year, but state leaders have provided few opportunities for collective healing,” said Rep. Merleyn Bell, D-Norman. “My Democratic colleagues and I believe it is important to show our fellow Oklahomans across the state that they are not grieving alone. Their pain is felt by each of us and their loss is at the forefront of our minds as we begin this legislative session.”

https://muskogeenow.com/muskogeenow.png https://muskogeenow.com/virtual-memorial-for-covid-victims-set-tonight-at-6-at-okc-capitol-building

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Friday, January 29, 2021, 3:40 PM

Leroy Jemol Smith

Leroy Jemol Smith, 51, who is accused of raping at least five women in the 1990s in Muskogee, is now being held without bond in the Muskogee County Jail after District Attorney Orvil Loge refiled a case against him earlier this month.

Smith had been charged before, but was released after the United States Supreme Court ruled last July that Oklahoma has no jurisdiction over Native Americans enrolled in federally recognized tribes on Tribal reservations. Most of Muskogee lies inside the Muscogee (Creek) Nation reservation, while some lies inside the Cherokee reservation.

Once Smith had been released, the federal government declined to prosecute him, citing that the federal statute of limitations had expired. The Creek Nation vowed to bring him to justice, but no motion was ever taken.

Loge re-filed his case this month, according to victims, because Smith was not a registered member of a federally recognized tribe when the crimes were committed; only after did he register. The state’s statute of limitations has expired, too, but an exception to that statute is made for cases where DNA evidence is used to later identify a suspect.

A new technique of DNA testing identified Smith as the perpetrator of at least one of the rapes, The state alleges. One of the victims of the serial rapist has since died.

Smith has a sounding docket on February 16 at 10 a.m.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1611956094.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/alleged-serial-rapist-held-without-bond-in-muskogee

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Friday, January 29, 2021, 10:45 AM

Dr. Jarod Mendenhall, Muskogee Schools' superintendent, talks on an Instagram video.

Students nationwide are falling behind due to the COVID pandemic, according to data quoted by Dr. Jarod Mendenhall, Muskogee Public Schools superintendent, on an Instagram video released yesterday. As a result, Muskogee will offer summer school to all students to catch up.

That should have been the lede of the story. But the data Mendenhall cited singled out black students as falling behind, leaving out all other minorities’ statistics and white statistics, and Instagram readers were offended.

Statistics quoted by Mendenhall singled out blacks.

One student wrote a concerned email to the superintendent:

“Why you put black students on their own is absolutely disgusting to me. What does race have to do with their learning?”

Others expressed their outrage on Instagram:

“it makes little sense why he would single out the black community,” one wrote. “why would he not also include Asian, Hispanic and Native America communities? ... it would probably be in your best interest to take the video down.”

Another:

“As an administrator ... this act of carelessness is disgusting. please remove this video.”

Another:

“Why would he single out the black community?”

Another:

“Maybe you need to enroll in that summer schooling to get some more education.”

Steve Braun, spokesman for the schools, said “Dr. Mendenhall is planning on putting out another video today addressing that.”

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1611938263.jpeg https://muskogeenow.com/while-offering-summer-school-to-all-students-superintendent-offends-blacks-by-breaking-out-data-solely-on-them

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Friday, January 29, 2021, 9:54 AM

A series of loud explosions south of town early this morning were made by homemade explosive devices, according to the Muskogee County sheriff’s office.

Between three and five of the devices were exploded by civilians, and four unexploded devices were found.

The devices and the explosions were not near any population centers or buildings, the officials said.

The US Department of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms is now investigating.

There have been no arrests, nor are there currently persons of interest.

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diamond finance

Thursday, January 28, 2021, 7:46 AM

James Patterson

James Walter Patterson Jr., 52, of Muskogee is charged with a felony count of larceny of merchandise from a retailer and a misdemeanor charge of larceny of merchandise from a retailer after an alleged shoplifting spree last fall.

Patterson is charged with stealing $2,100 worth of property from Lowe’s, Kum & Go, Tractor Supply and Dollar General on Nov. 27, 2020 and of stealing $500 worth of merchandise from Lowe’s and Tractor Supply on Aug. 6 and Sept. 28, 2020.

He has been convicted in the past of larceny of merchandise from a retailer six separate times. This is the first time he’s been charged with a felony.

Some of the items he is accused of stealing:

  • Craftsman inverter
  • Craftsman inverter (again)
  • Dewalt construction heater
  • $73 of merchandise in Kum & Go
  • Dewalt construction heater
  • $200 worth of laundry detergent
  • $378 worth of merchandise from Lowe’s
  • $109.99 worth of merchandise from Tractor Supply

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1611840916.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/man-charged-with-felony-after-alleged-shoplifting-spree

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Wednesday, January 27, 2021, 7:40 AM

Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, filed legislation this week to allow Oklahoma voters to decide whether to provide equal protections to the unborn in Oklahoma’s Constitution.

“I don’t understand how some in society don’t believe the rights given us under the U.S. Constitution and Oklahoma Constitution don’t extend to the unborn. They are living, breathing beings just like each of us – they just can’t speak for themselves, so we must speak for them,” Bullard said. Scientifically speaking, unborn fetuses are not yet breathing.

Senate Joint Resolution 17 would create a state question regarding whether the rights of unborn persons are equal to the rights of born persons. It would establish that “creation”, according to Bullard, not “life”, begins at conception and that unborn persons and their parents have certain protectable interests.

Under the resolution, nothing in the Oklahoma Constitution would secure or protect the right to perform or receive an abortion, and nor would the state constitution preclude, invalidate or limit any state law prohibiting or regulating abortion.

If approved, abortion would be prohibited in Oklahoma, except one necessary to prevent the death or substantial or irreversible physical impairment substantially increasing the risk of death of the mother. It would make performing an abortion a felony punishable by one to three years in prison. Procedures performed outside of Oklahoma would not be covered by the resolution.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2021, 1:47 PM

Matthew Hayes

Matthew Hayes, 40, of Muskogee pleaded no contest to a felony charge of causing sex abuse of a child for fondling an 11-year old girl in 2018, according to documents filed in the case.

Though he had initially allegedly considered an insanity defense, according to a discovery request filed on Jan 15 of this year, today, Hayes pleaded no contest in exchange for a 10-year sentence, with all but the first two years suspended. He must register as a sex offender and submit to Department of Corrections probation.

Hayes was formerly a guard at Jess Dunn Correctional Facility.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1611689993.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/former-jess-dunn-guard-convicted-of-causing-sex-abuse-of-a-child

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Tuesday, January 26, 2021, 7:47 AM

MENU

  • MONDAY: Cuban Sandwich, Meat Loaf
  • TUESDAY: Roast Turkey/Ham, Street Tacos
  • WEDNESDAY: Chicken Fried Steak, Mimi’s Chicken Casserole
  • THURSDAY: Italian Lasagna, Gut Buster Burrito
  • FRIDAY: Premium Burger, Mexican Lasagna
Club Lunch, long a staple of downtown Muskogee, has re-opened after closing during the pandemic. Before that, it had been open since 1913. Rebranded as Club Lunch International, the buffet-style eatery has now added authentic Cuban sandwiches and sweet potato fries to its fare.

And another new twist: Delivery through DoorDash.

The restaurant, which is under the new management of a private economic group led by John Cruz, is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., also serving homemade pies and cakes.

To call in an order ahead, call 918-683-6162. Also look at http://theclublunch.com or look on the DoorDash app.

The economic group is also planning to re-open The Rail Taproom downtown and La Cabanita on East Side Boulevard.

“We are planning on opening six places by summer,” Cruz said. “The idea is to keep Muskogee open in the aftermath of the pandemic.”

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1611668398.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/historic-muskogee-restaurant-re-opens

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Monday, January 25, 2021, 10:08 AM

Sheriff Andy Simmons, left, Jail Administrator Karolina Boulet, Ellen Arnold and State Rep. Chris Sneed pose.

Muskogee County Jail Administrator Karolina Boulet and nurse Ellen Arnold were honored late last week by the state of Oklahoma for their tireless efforts during the pandemic, according to State Rep. Chris Sneed, R-Muskogee.

“They have really been working hard at the jail during COVID-19,” he said. “It is really an honor to be able to present them with citations.”

The confined space of the jail provides significant and unique challenges, Sneed said, and the women met the challenge and continue to fight to ensure the safety of inmates, staff and the public while the pandemic rages.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1611590583.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/muskogee-sheriff-workers-honored-by-state-for-pandemic-response

firstar bank

Monday, January 25, 2021, 7:55 AM

The Cherokee Nation reopens its COVID-19 Emergency Assistance program on Monday, January 25 to help qualified Cherokee citizens economically affected by COVID-19.

The tribe has served more than 4,000 Cherokee citizens with COVID-19 emergency financial assistance since September 1, and is adding an additional $7 million in COVID-19 relief funds to bolster the program and reach even more Cherokee households.

The application must be completed online and can be found at www.cherokee.org beginning Jan. 25.

Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. first announced late last summer that the Cherokee Nation was injecting $5 million of federal relief funds into the tribe’s Human Services department to help Cherokee citizens economically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The additional $7 million will help qualifying Cherokees impacted by COVID-19 who are unable to meet financial needs due to the pandemic with up to $500 per household based on individual needs. There is no income limit. Applications will be taken until Dec. 1, 2021 or until funds for the program have been expended.

Preference will be given to qualifying Cherokee citizens who were age 18 and older as of Jan. 1, 2021, living in the Cherokee Nation reservation who can demonstrate an emergency need due to COVID-19. Applicants cannot have received funds through the same COVID-19 Emergency Assistance program through the tribe’s Human Services department within the last six months.

The online application can be found by clicking the red COVID-19 Emergency Assistance graphic at www.cherokee.org. Cherokees needing assistance with the online application or who have questions about eligibility can call 918-453-5464 during normal business hours Monday-Friday.

Funding to those who qualify will be processed electronically or by paper check after application information has been verified. Incomplete or incorrect information on an application can lead to delayed processing.

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Friday, January 22, 2021, 6:22 PM

Andrew Ericson allegedly posted this photo during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.

Andrew Ericson of Muskogee is in jail tonight after the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested him and raided his grandmother’s home in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, which chased Congress from the hall and ended up with five people dead.

Ericson, the son of Tulsa attorney and former Oklahoma State representative from Muskogee Stuart Ericson, allegedly posted photos and videos of himself during the insurrection, including the one above.

Last week, Ericson’s mother commented on his presence at the event:

“Andrew along with 4.5 million Americans went to support our freedom as we are being censored and losing liberties daily. Freedom of speech specifically is daily under attack,” she said, referring to a story that the Muskogee Phoenix ran, then removed without explanation. “Nobody contacted me, his mother and front line healthcare worker or if they did I did not receive a message. Nobody contacted his grandmother who was featured as the Okie from Muskogee at Christmas in their unread rag. This is small town Muskogee BS.”

Official counts ranged from 10,000 people to 50,000, but nowhere near 4.5 million.

Ericson was arrested after a filing in federal court accusing him of unlawful entry on restricted building or grounds and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

According to an affidavit filed with the filing, Ericson was identified by snapchat photographs from the account “andrewericson77”.

Ericson was also identified by a tip from “Witness 1,” who is not further identified in the document. Ericson is alleged to have entered House Speaker Nanci Pelosi’s office and take a beer out of the refrigerator in the office. Investigators then compared the pictures and videos with Ericson’s driver’s license photo and decided he was in fact the person in the videos and photos, the affidavit states.

The affidavit alleges that Ericson entered the building “with intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions.”

Ericson’s mother has not returned requests for comments on his arrest.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1611360662.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/muskogee-man-arrested-by-fbi-in-connection-with-jan-6-us-capitol-insurrection

servpro

Friday, January 22, 2021, 1:11 PM

Muskogee Public Schools have reported 15 staff members and 41 students with positive tests for COVID-19, with 30 staffers and 386 students in quarantine for having close contact with COVID-positive patients.

In-person instruction is continuing, despite the total of 472 people being out due to the virus.

“There is not a percentage or a specific number required to move to virtual instruction or to return to brick-and-mortar,” Jarod Mendenhall, school superintendent said. “The data will continue to guide our decision making.”

Parents and other concerned parties can track the latest data at this page on the schools’ website.

https://muskogeenow.com/muskogeenow.png https://muskogeenow.com/fifteen-staffers-41-students-covid-positive-in-muskogee-schools

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Friday, January 22, 2021, 9:09 AM

Muskogee landlord Nicholas Moore, 38, who has been accused in court of stalking in violation of a valid protective order, was arrested last night at Coco Bongos, a gentleman’s club just south of town on US 69, according to law enforcement officials.

Moore has had numerous protective orders and misdemeanor cases filed on him for allegedly violating protective orders in the past. In this most recent case, he is accused of calling the victim, who has a valid protective order on him, beating on her door, ripping down a security camera and throwing it through her bedroom window, breaking glass on the window, and throwing a planter through a pickup truck’s window.

After MuskogeeNOW.com ran a story on the charges and warrant on Jan. 12, Moore called and offered $1,000 for MuskogeeNOW to remove the story, which we obviously did not accept.

https://muskogeenow.com/muskogeenow.png https://muskogeenow.com/muskogee-landlord-charged-with-stalking-is-arrested-at-strip-club

speedway grille

Thursday, January 21, 2021, 2:04 PM

Leroy Jemol Smith

Leroy Jemol Smith, who is charged with raping five women in Muskogee in the 1990s, has been arrested by federal marshals and the Denton, Texas police, according to District Attorney Orvil Loge.

Smith is alleged to have raped the women, then moved away. He was tracked down last year using new DNA technology. His case was dismissed after the Supreme Court ruled the state had no jurisdiction over Native Americans. Smith had become a member of a federally recognized tribe after the rape spree ended.

The federal government dropped its case against Smith after it was determined a federal statute of limitations had expired, and he was released. The Creek Nation vowed to bring him to justice, but never filed a case.

Loge filed his case again earlier in the month. According to victims, the new filing is based on the fact that when the crimes were committed, Smith was not a member of any federally recognized tribe and therefore not covered by the McGirt Supreme Court ruling.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1611259238.JPG https://muskogeenow.com/federal-marshals-arrest-alleged-muskogee-serial-rapist

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Thursday, January 21, 2021, 12:12 PM

Muskogee County officers are working a major dog hoard west of town, according to the Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office.

Though witnesses have said the hoard is upward of 90 dogs, the sheriff’s office said it did not have a number yet.

“It’s significant,” a deputy said, “but I’m not sure how many yet.”

The office worked with the Creek Nation Lighthorse Patrol, local veterinarians and others.

More info when it becomes available.

UPDATE: The Sheriff’s Office estimates between 65 and 70 dogs were taken today, with another 15 or so to be taken tomorrow.

The dogs were housed in three yards, partitioned off, but numerous dogs required veterinary attention due to fights. Several of the dogs were pregnant females.

UPDATE: Deputy Bryan Jones said the hoard could not have been dealt with without the help of the following groups: Oklahoma Alliance for Animals, Tulsa SPCA, Tulsa Human Society, Fur Babies, and Honor Heights Veterinary Clinic (Dr Rivers)

UPDATE: According to Sheriff Andy Simmons, all of the dogs recovered were some sort of terrier mixes and all likely related. After receiving more information, it appears the hoard was caused by several dogs breeding over several years.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1611261353.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/major-dog-hoard-found-west-of-town

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Thursday, January 21, 2021, 8:39 AM

Deb Haaland

Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes leaders met and discussed their response and recovery efforts amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and provided updates on other tribal activities. Leaders also passed a series of resolutions, including one supporting the confirmation of U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) as Secretary of the Interior.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris selected Haaland as their nominee for the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. If confirmed by the Senate, Haaland, an enrolled citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna, would be the first Native American to serve in the Presidential cabinet and the first to serve as the Secretary of the Interior.

“Deb Haaland is uniquely qualified to serve as Secretary of the Interior,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “As a graduate of the University of New Mexico Law School and a former tribal administrator, Congresswoman Haaland has firsthand knowledge of tribal governance. She is a trailblazer.”

If confirmed as secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Haaland would be charged with leading divisions of the federal government that are critical to Indian Country and the government-to-government relationship, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education, and the Bureau of Trust Funds Administration.

“Rep. Haaland is well-qualified to serve as the first Native American Secretary of the Interior,” said Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby. “I believe her nomination illustrates a unique understanding of the importance of Native involvement in vital policy decisions affecting the citizens of tribal nations.”

During her time in Congress, Haaland has served as vice chair of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, as the chair of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, and as a member of the subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States.

“Native voices should always be involved in discussions that impact Native communities,” said Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief David Hill. “We not only support the confirmation of Congresswoman Haaland as Secretary of the Interior, but we also ask that her selection to a cabinet-level position be only the beginning of more Native representation in the federal government, at all levels.”

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1611239688.jpeg https://muskogeenow.com/five-tribes-leaders-cheer-appointment-of-native-as-us-interior-secretary

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Wednesday, January 20, 2021, 9:33 AM

The Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps is seeking medical and non-medical volunteers to support COVID-19 vaccination efforts at more than 50 points of vaccine dispensing locations statewide.

“This is a huge, unprecedented effort to vaccinate the majority of our population of nearly 4 million Oklahomans. We need as much help as we can get from our community to make it possible,” said Lezlie Carter, state coordinator for the Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps. “When you become a volunteer with the OKMRC, you join hundreds of other citizens involved in the safety, security, health, and well-being in their communities who are ready to make a difference when help is needed most.”

Major emergencies and disasters involving injury or disease to large numbers of people can overwhelm full-time emergency response personnel. Volunteers can provide an important “surge” capacity and supplement medical and health personnel shortages. The OKMRC helps fill these gaps with volunteers who’ve been organized, trained, and assigned to assist where their expertise is best applied.

Any Oklahoma resident or individual employed in Oklahoma can apply to be part of the OKMRC. Many members have medical training, but others have no special training prior to joining.

Possible roles for volunteers include vaccinator, form review, registration, traffic control, runners, assisting the elderly, sanitizing, and other duties as needed. Background checks are conducted on all volunteer applications.

For additional information, or to apply, please visit OKMRC.org.

https://muskogeenow.com/muskogeenow.png https://muskogeenow.com/state-seeks-volunteers-for-covid-19-vaccination-effort

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Wednesday, January 20, 2021, 8:20 AM

Charles Jason Reynolds

Charles Jason Reynolds, 37, of Fort Gibson has been charged in Muskogee County District Court with two felony charges of child sexual abuse, according to documents filed with the case.

Reynolds forced a seven-year-old and an eight-year-old child to “perform sexual acts on each other” between June 1, 2019 and May 31, 2020, the case alleges.

The eight-year-old told police that Reynolds also forced the child to perform sexual acts on him during the same time period, an affidavit filed with the case alleges.

The affidavit also states that Reynolds’ attorney contacted investigators and declined to be interviewed.

A warrant has been issued for Reynolds’ arrest.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1611152058.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/fort-gibson-man-accused-of-forcing-children-to-have-sex-with-each-other-him

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Tuesday, January 19, 2021, 8:15 AM

Tyler Patterson, 18, of Warner was killed while he was a pedestrian on US 64 on Sunday, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Patterson was with a juvenile male, 17, who was also hit but treated and released for leg injuries at a Tulsa hospital.

The two vehicles involved were a 2018 Jeep Renegade driven by Phyllis Harp, 32, of Warner, who was treated and released at Saint Francis Hospital in Muskogee for leg and foot injuries, and a 2014 Nissan Altima, driven by Kimberly Patterson, 46, of Warner, who was treated and released at Saint Francis for leg, trunk external and arm injuries.

The Patrol did not report whether Kimberly Patterson was related to Tyler Patterson, nor did it specify what happened during the wreck.

More information when it is received.

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Friday, January 15, 2021, 9:22 AM

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol plans to spend the last two weeks of January focusing on distracted driving violations. This special emphasis is in honor of Trooper Nicholas Dees who was killed by a distracted driver on January 31, 2015. Trooper Dees and Trooper Keith Burch had been dispatched to investigate a collision involving a tractor-trailer on Interstate 40 in Seminole County near the Pottawatomie County line. While the troopers were standing outside their patrol units investigating the collision, a distracted driver traveled into the collision scene and struck both troopers. Trooper Dees died instantly and Trooper Burch received serious injuries. The driver of the vehicle was convicted of manslaughter.

The “Trooper Nick Dees Law” went into effect November 1, 2015. This law, Title 47-11-901d, states in part, “It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle on any street or highway within this state while using a handheld electronic communication device to manually compose, send or read an electronic text message while the motor vehicle is in motion.” This includes surfing social media sites.

There were more than 8,600 crashes in Oklahoma that involved at least one distracted driver in 2019. Those crashes killed 41 people and seriously injured 240 more.

Troopers will spend the last two weeks of January focused on distracted driving violations and issuing tickets and warnings for those violations. A primary goal will be educating the public. The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and Oklahoma Department of Transportation will use their message boards to remind motorists of the dangers of distracted driving. There will be flyers in welcome centers and rest areas as well.

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Friday, January 15, 2021, 8:19 AM

Brianna Douillard

Brianna Rashall Douillard, 30, of Muskogee is charged in Muskogee County District Court with felony embezzlement after she allegedly stole $1,600 belonging to her then-employer, McAlister’s Deli, according to documents filed with the case.

On Jan. 7, Douillard is accused of taking money from the restaurant, where she was employed as a night manager, from the safe and cash registers and then leaving.

According to police, “Brianna left a note stating she had done so.”

The court has issued a warrant for her arrest.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1610720024.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/woman-charged-with-stealing-1600-from-deli-leaving-note-admitting-it

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Thursday, January 14, 2021, 7:59 AM

Despite Gov. Kevin Stitt’s declaration this week that schools could forego the two-week quarantine for students exposed to the coronavirus if the schools were following safety protocols, Muskogee Public Schools will continue to use a quarantine.

“We believe that following the guidance of our local Muskogee County Health Department is the correct path for our district. Beginning January 1, Muskogee Public Schools moved to the CDC’s option of 10 day quarantine if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring with continued monitoring through day 14,” Dr. Jarod Mendenhall, the schools’ superintendent, said. “We continue to implore our community to wear their masks, watch their distance, and wash their hands to help slow the spread of COVID-19 allowing our students to continue to learn within our school buildings.”

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021, 7:57 AM

Members of the Oklahoma House Democratic Education Group released the following statements in response to Governor Kevin Stitt’s comments today that seem to ignore CDC guidelines for returning to in-person learning.

“The state data shows kids under 15 were ten percent of all cases in the weeks before the holidays,” said Rep. Andy Fugate, D-Del City. “After the holidays, when kids were out of school, the number dropped by 50 percent. Last week, kids under 15 just accounted for five percent of all cases. The state’s own data doesn’t support the governor’s reckless plan. It’s time for him to stop blaming the unions for his failure to provide informed leadership.”

If bars are restricted, so should schools, another representative said.

“The governor, who recently enacted COVID precautions to close bars after 11 p.m., is now advocating for a large-scale return to in-person school across the state,” said Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa. “The only change instituted was suggesting that if mask mandates were in place, exposed children do not have to quarantine out of school. This didn’t work in Mustang Public Schools - why should we believe it would statewide? Oklahomans should understand that in the governor’s demand for schools to return to in-person learning, he offered no additional guidance or resources for Oklahoma public schools to do so safely.”

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Tuesday, January 12, 2021, 1:05 PM

Nicholas Moore

Nicholas Moore, 38, of Muskogee, a local landlord, has been charged with felony stalking in violation of a court order in Muskogee County District Court.

Moore has had numerous protective orders and misdemeanor cases filed on him for allegedly violating protective orders in the past. In this most recent case, he is accused of calling the victim, who has a valid protective order on him, beating on her door, ripping down a security camera and throwing it through her bedroom window, breaking glass on the window, and throwing a planter through a pickup truck’s window.

The victim provided police with surveillance footage of Moore allegedly taking down the security camera.

In the past, the victim alleges, he planted a tracking device on her vehicle, and her children discovered his notes detailing her movements. Moore, who owns several rental properties in Muskogee, already had a warrant out before this most recent incident.

The victim alleges that Moore is living with his mother and using her car to enable his stalking of her.

“He has also slashed my sister’s tires, stolen my work ID so I couldn’t work, smashed my work laptop, took off the locks off every door in my house so I couldn’t lock my house with my kids in it,” she said. “He has vandalized one of our other properties and harassed the realtor. He threw bricks through the window of our renter’s car.”

Muskogee County issued another warrant for Moore on Jan. 11.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1610476986.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/muskogee-landlord-charged-with-stalking

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Tuesday, January 12, 2021, 9:07 AM

Travler Ray Ward, 19, of Council Hill is facing a felony and misdemeanor charge in Muskogee County District Court after allegedly spotlighting deer, then leading a game warden on a high-speed chase and later running a driver off the road.

According to an affidavit filed by Game Warden Cannon Harrison, he witnessed a black diesel Ram pickup with a stock trailer driving eastbound slowly around 133rd and S. 154th W, on Nov. 26. Harrison said he saw a bright light shining out the driver’s side of the window, which is consistent with spotlighting deer.

“This type of behavior is ... illegal and potentially dangerous,” Harrison said. “Individuals shooting at night create a risk factor due to the fact that they are unable to identify what is behind the target, potentially leading to an individual or livestock being shot — up to miles behind the target.”

The pickup, he said, continued for about 150 yards until Harrison lit up his lights and sirens. The pickup, however, started accelerating to the point that the trailer began bouncing back and forth from ditch to ditch, he said.

The pursuit reached speeds of almost 100 miles per hour, blowing yield signs and stop signs, Harrison reported. The pickup apparently ran two vehicles off the road in the process. Around 3/4 mile south of E. 1010 Road and N. 4080 Rd, Harrison found the vehicle parked with lights off and no occupant, pouring smoke from the radiator. He ran the tags and came up with Ward’s name.

Ward was later pulled over on Dec. 23 in Eufaula driving a Chevy pickup. The officer asked if he was the one who ran from police, and according to the affidavit, Ward admitted he was.

https://muskogeenow.com/muskogeenow.png https://muskogeenow.com/area-teen-charged-with-felony-after-allegedly-spotlighting-deer-evading-police-running-a-driver-off-the-road

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Monday, January 11, 2021, 7:36 AM

Ramone Jackson, 21, of Checotah was killed in a single-vehicle wreck east of Eufaula yesterday, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Jackson was driving his 2013 Chrysler 300 westbound on County Road East West 4240 “at a high rate of speed” around 2 a.m., the patrol reported, when he failed to negotiate a curve and lost control, running off the left side of the road, striking a pipe fence.

The patrol is unsure if Jackson was wearing a seatbelt, or whether the car’s airbags deployed. It is still investigating the condition of Jackson at the time of the wreck and the specific cause of the wreck.

https://muskogeenow.com/muskogeenow.png https://muskogeenow.com/checotah-man-dies-in-single-vehicle-crash

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Friday, January 8, 2021, 1:11 PM

Shelby R. Deluce, 29, of Checotah was killed in a two-car crash around 6 this morning on US 64 just east of Haskell, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. Her unborn fetus was also killed.

Deluce was a passenger in a 2013 Chevrolet Sonic driven By Corey Murphy, 29, of Coweta. Murphy was not injured. Murphy’s car was traveling northbound on the highway, when a 2020 Kia Rio driven By Curtisiana Brown, 19, of Fort Gibson did not stop at a stop sign from Old Taft Road, the patrol alleged. Brown’s car collided with Murphy’s car.

The cause of the collision is under investigation, as well as the condition of Brown at the time. Airbags deployed in both vehicles, but the patrol is uncertain at this time whether seat belts were in use.

https://muskogeenow.com/muskogeenow.png https://muskogeenow.com/checotah-woman-and-fetus-killed-in-wreck

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Friday, January 8, 2021, 9:04 AM

A temporary absentee ballot verification option which was put in place by state legislators last year has expired, according to County Election Board Secretary Kelly Beach.

The temporary verification option was part of Senate Bill 210, which was passed in the spring of 2020 in response to the pandemic. The bill gave Oklahoma voters the option to include a copy of their valid ID in lieu of a notarized or witnessed signature on their absentee ballot affidavit. Certain provisions of the bill were valid for the 2020 election year only and expired in December.

Beach said voters who request absentee ballots in 2021 will receive updated absentee ballot instructions with their balloting material and should read them thoroughly before placing their ballot in the mail.

According to Beach, “standard” absentee ballot affidavits are required to be notarized. “Physically incapacitated” absentee ballot affidavits must have the voter’s signature witnessed by two people.

“In other words, voters will submit their absentee ballots the same way they did prior to Senate Bill 210. As always, we recommend voters allow themselves plenty of time to receive, vote, and return their ballots.” said Beach.

Voters can request absentee ballots online using the OK Voter Portal on the State Election Board website at https://oklahoma.gov/elections/ovp.html or pick up an application from the County Election Board. A list of notaries can be found on the State Election Board website.

For more information, voters can contact the Muskogee Election Board at (918) 687-8151 or muskogeecounty@elections.ok.gov. The Election Board is located at 400 W. Broadway St., Muskogee, Oklahoma 74401. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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Thursday, January 7, 2021, 7:49 AM

Dennis Sixkiller, a fluent Cherokee speaker and Cherokee National Treasure, was among the first tribal citizens to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as part of the Cherokee Nation's phased distribution plan.

The Cherokee Nation is now scheduling COVID-19 vaccinations for elders ages 65 and older who are eligible to receive care within Cherokee Nation Health Services.

CNHS began calling patients in this priority phase the week of Jan. 4 to notify elders to schedule their vaccine appointment. Those who do not receive an automated call in the next few days, or who need to establish a new chart with Cherokee Nation Health Services, can call 1-833-528-0063 and select Option 1. Elders should note that the vaccines are given according to the supply on hand.

“With limited supplies of the vaccine, we are administering vaccinations according to the phased distribution plan and making sure our most vulnerable populations, including our health workers, speakers and elders, receive the vaccine first,” said CNHS Executive Director Dr. R. Stephen Jones. “As we receive more vaccines, we will continue vaccinating more groups in the months ahead according to the phases in the distribution plan.”

Since receiving the first distribution of vaccines on December 14, the Cherokee Nation has vaccinated a couple thousand tribal citizens, including more than 600 fluent Cherokee speakers.

Vaccinations are being administered by appointment only for established Cherokee Nation Health Services patients with a medical chart who fall within Phase 1A or 1B of the tribe’s phased distribution plan.

“It’s important to understand that we are unable to take walk-ins at this time. Scheduling of vaccinations is guided by our vaccine supply and allows us to prepare the right number of vaccines, which must be removed from cold storage at specific times ahead of distribution,” said CNHS Deputy Director of External Operations Brian Hail. “If our supply of the vaccines changes, we will adjust our scheduling and distribution plan appropriately to ensure we make the most of our vaccines and reach as many Cherokees as possible, as quickly as possible.

Qualifying appointments are being scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, excluding holidays.

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, including answers to frequently asked questions, or to find Cherokee Nation Health Service registration forms and the latest updates to the Cherokee Nation COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, visit health.cherokee.org.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1610027171.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/cherokees-start-vaccinating-elders

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Wednesday, January 6, 2021, 1:19 PM

Leroy Jemol Smith

Muskogee County District Attorney Orvil Loge has refiled four charges of first-degree rape against former Muskogee man Leroy Jemol Smith just now.

Smith is believed to be in the Tulsa area, and a warrant has been issued for his arrest. If you know of his whereabouts, Loge asks that you contact law enforcement immediately.

Smith previously avoided state prosecution by claiming McGirt status as a member of the Creek Nation. A federal judge ruled that the statute of limitations on the five women he is alleged to have raped during the 1990s had expired and let him out of jail.

State statutes of limitations have not expired.

Smith may have to face state courts despite his claims of being a member of a federally recognized tribe, victims and family have said, but did not give details.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1609960448.JPG https://muskogeenow.com/muskogee-district-attorney-orvil-loge-goes-after-alleged-serial-rapist-again

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