Norma Lee Harris, 87

Born June 12, 1933

Died December 1, 2020

Rita G. Oakley, 69

Born December 12, 1950

Died December 1, 2020

David Lee Beebe, 73

Born August 20, 1947

Died December 1, 2020

Jody Whitaker, 56

Born March 3, 1964

Died November 29, 2020

Joe Roosevelt Wallace Sr., 80

Born September 15, 1940

Died November 27, 2020

Joann Bishop, 78

Born May 16, 1942

Died November 27, 2020

Calvin Gene Taylor, 94

Born August 18, 1926

Died November 27, 2020

Sharon Kay Smythe, 78

Born May 5, 1942

Died November 27, 2020


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


Thursday, December 3

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Friday, November 6, 2020, 8:52 AM

Almost 900 of the inmates at Jess Dunn Correctional Center in Taft are being “quarantined” together in open dorm-style housing after they were found to be in close contact with at least one of the facility’s current 21 inmates who tested positive for Covid-19.

The facility houses 1,115 inmates, leaving 201 not quarantined, according to the Department of Corrections spokesman Justin Wolfe.

A worker at the prison said the Muskogee County Health Department is going there today to test more than 200 inmates in one “quarantined” housing unit that has experienced a surge in positive tests, but the health department, citing HIPAA laws against identifying potential clients.

Asked how grouping exposed inmates into open-dorm housing together counted as quarantining, Wolfe replied that he didn’t know.

“We have a lot of facilities, some have pods with 40 inmates, some have open-dorm,” he said. “We answer these questions every day, so forgive me if I sound tired of repeating it.”

Asked whether it might not be safer to test all the 1,115 inmates and head the virus off at the pass, he replied, “We work with the health departments to determine who gets tested.”

Meanwhile, 893 inmates wait together in undivided dorms until they become symptomatic before they can get testing to see if they have contracted the virus.

Another Taft prison, Eddie Warrior, more than doubled Muskogee County’s virus totals after around 700 inmates contracted the virus before DOC decided to implement mass testing at that facility.

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Thursday, November 5, 2020, 4:01 PM

Tahlequah A Cherokee County school employee Hansen Martin Leroy Johnson, 26, has been arrested on multiple child pornography charges, according to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

The case originated in October when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children forwarded to the OSBI a cyber tip they received from a social media platform. The tip included an image and short video showing an adult sexually abusing an infant. The OSBI ICAC Unit opened a case and began investigating Johnson, who is an employee of Tahlequah Public Schools.

Today, a search warrant was executed at a residence on South 458 Road in Tahlequah where Johnson lives. Based on the execution of that warrant, Johnson was taken into custody without incident.

Johnson is charged with aggravated possession of child pornography, distribution of child pornography and violation of the oklahoma computer crimes act. He is currently in the Cherokee County Detention Center and is being held without bond. The investigation remains open to determine if there are additional victims in Oklahoma.

The investigation and subsequent arrest of Johnson was a joint effort between the OSBI ICAC Task Force, which includes OSBI agents, the Tulsa Police Department Cyber Crimes Unit, and the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, along with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Green Country Child Exploitation Task Force.

If you suspect a child is being sexually exploited, contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children immediately at 1-800-THE-LOST or You can also contact the OSBI Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit at (800) 522-8017 or

EDIT: An earlier version of this story reported the school was in Tahlequah. The OSBI made the mistake, and later corrected it to Cherokee County.

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Thursday, November 5, 2020, 8:24 AM

The 2020 Muskogee Veterans Parade will not be held this year because of the risks associated with putting together groups for the parade and concerns for parade spectators.

Instead, the city is hosting a Muskogee Veterans Day ceremony. The event will be similar to the annual pre-parade ceremony except it will be held on Veterans Day, at 11 a.m. at the Depot Green between Third and Fourth streets on Elgin St in the Depot District.

The program will last roughly 45 minutes.

The ceremony will have spaced seating and masks are required.

The program will last about 45 minutes. All Muskogee County veterans present will be eligible to receive a special medal honoring their service to the country.

Depot Green is handicap accessible, equipped with restrooms, and there will be seating available.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2020, 6:07 PM

Oktaha Schools are shut down beginning tomorrow until Nov. 30, according to a letter sent out by Superintendent Jerry Needham.

“We are at 30% of our student body quarantining as well as ten staff members,” Needham said.

All students will participate in distance learning during that period. Elementary and junior high basketball games and all band activities are canceled. Students can checkout Chromebooks for distance learning tomorrow and Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., he said.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2020, 9:33 PM

State Senator Dewayne Pemberton retained his seat with a healthy 60 percent of the vote, while Muskogee County overwhelmingly chose Donald Trump by 66 percent to 32 percent over Joe Biden for president.

Polly Irving defeated Dianna Cope for County Clerk by 54 to 46 percent. Keith Hyslop unseated incumbent County Commissioner Stephen Wright by 54 to 45 percent.

Meanwhile, in the county, state proposition 805 lost by 68 percent to 32 percent.

State question 814 also lost by 60 to 40 percent.


Tuesday, November 3, 2020, 8:10 AM

The Cherokee Nation Foundation is accepting scholarship applications for the 2021-22 academic year. The deadline to apply is Jan. 31, 2021.

This year’s lineup includes two new scholarship opportunities.

The Phillips Engineering Scholarship is designated for Cherokee Nation citizens interested in pursuing a degree in engineering from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. The scholarship offers $15,000 per semester for up to five years.

The second opportunity is for Cherokee Nation citizens seeking to become the first in their family to attain an undergraduate degree.

The Gary, Ryan and Agalisiga Helping Hand Scholarship is open to graduating high school seniors that have been accepted to an accredited postsecondary institution. Applicants to this four-year scholarship must have a minimum 2.0 GPA and reside within the Cherokee Nation reservation. Preference is given to students from Washington or Mayes county.

Cherokee Nation Foundation offers three types of scholarships: private, tribal and institutionally based. Last year, the foundation awarded nearly $254,000 to 33 graduating high school students and 71 university students. CNF scholarships can be combined with funds from the tribe

Once students create an online profile, they have instant access to a one-stop shop for all CNF scholarships. The system also provides students with notifications about upcoming scholarship opportunities and deadlines. All applications are evaluated based on academic performance as well as community and cultural involvement and can be found here.

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Monday, November 2, 2020, 8:17 AM

Monica Lyday

Monica Monnette Lyday, 24, of Muskogee is charged in Muskogee County District Court with a felony count of exploitation of an elderly person by deception after an incident on Sept. 8, according to documents filed with the case.

Lyday was allegedly caught on camera at the Kum N Go store on E. Hancock Street using a Mastercard from the victim. Lyday was an employee at an assisted living center as a hospitality aide, giving her access to the woman’s belongings. In total, $1,200 in unauthorized charges were made with the card.

A warrant has been issued for her arrest.

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Friday, October 30, 2020, 10:57 AM

Crystal Arnwine

Crystal Maxine Arnwine, 38, of Muskogee is charged in Muskogee County District Court with driving under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs after she was stopped allegedly driving into oncoming traffic at Cherokee and Peak on Tuesday, according to documents filed with the case.

Arnwine almost struck another vehicle driving the other way, according to an affidavit.

She has been convicted seven times previously of either DUI or actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence, according to the documents. She has been arrested 15 times since 2011 on those offenses or offenses related to them.

Arnwine was previously convicted of the following crimes:

  • Driving under the influence of drugs, January 2011, sentenced to one year suspended.
  • Actual physical control of a vehicle under the influence, April 2012, sentenced to five years in prison, stayed pending a six-month in-patient treatment. REVOKED in April 2016.
  • Driving under the influence of drugs in 2015, April 2016, sentenced to five years in prison.
  • Driving under the influence of drugs, April 2016, sentenced to five years in prison.
  • Driving under the influence of drugs in 2018, October 2019, sentenced to 10 years in prison, with all but the first two suspended.
  • Driving under the influence in 2018, October 2019, sentenced 10 years in prison with all but the first two suspended.
  • Driving under the influence of drugs in 2018, October 2019, sentenced to 10 years in prison with all but the first two suspended.

Her preliminary hearing for this eighth case is Nov. 9.

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Thursday, October 29, 2020, 7:31 AM

The City of Muskogee will be upgrading and replacing water meters in the next few weeks as a step toward a more modernized water metering system to better manage water resources. The first phase of the replacements begins this week, with approximately 8,000 of the city’s 14,000 meters set for replacement in the coming weeks.

The city’s contractor, Professional Meters Inc., started installing water meters yesterday. Citizens do not have to be present when their meter is replaced, but will experience an interruption of service for approximately 30 minutes. If a citizen has a meter behind a locked gate or your meter is otherwise inaccessible, call PMI at 1-866-623-0784 to schedule an appointment to replace the meter.

All installers will be carrying a photo identification badge from PMI or City identification. In addition, PMI installers will have easily identifiable safety shirts with the PMI logo and their vehicles will have a painted PMI logo.

For additional information, call 1-918-682-6602

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Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 10:55 AM

Around 11:30 last night, a Muskogee police officer was en route to a disturbance call at the Country Club Apartments when he heard several gun shots, according to police.

The officer then saw a maroon van speed into the intersection of Shawnee and Country Club, lose control and come to a stop in the intersection. The driver, Jackie Green, 44, told police he accidentally turned in front of a silver car and the occupants shot him, wounding him in the shoulder.

He could not identify the car other than it was silver.

He was taken to a Tulsa hospital by Muskogee County EMS, where he was admitted in stable condition.

Police are investigating.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 8:57 AM

Leonard Lang

Leonard Thomas Lang, 71, of Boynton was convicted on Monday of lewd molestation in a case stemming from 2016, according to documents filed with the case. Lang was acquitted on two additional charges of sexual battery, where he was accused of putting his mouth on the breasts of a 16-year-old girl.

Lang was convicted of touching the girl’s private parts, watching her while she was naked or changing clothes, and talking to her about being raped over a period from October 2016 to September 2018. After Muskogee County Assistant District Attorney Morgan Muzljakovich presented the state’s evidence, Lang’s attorney, Kevin Adams of Tulsa, called no witnesses and offered no evidence in his defense.

Muskogee County District Judge Bret Smith ordered a pre-sentencing investigation, and scheduled sentencing for Dec. 7 at 1:30 p.m. Lang was taken into custody and is in the Muskogee County Jail until he is sentenced.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 7:54 AM

Early voting for Muskogee County in the upcoming election will take place tomorrow, Friday and Saturday at the Muskogee Civic Center, 425 Boston Street, in the arena.

The location was chosen instead of the election board due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Voting is from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow and Friday and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 7:44 AM

Cherokee Nation received 6,000 rapid test kits from the Indian Health Service to enhance how the tribe tests for COVID-19 within its school system and among its most vulnerable citizens.

With the new testing system, positive and negative test results can be obtained in as little as 15 minutes.

“With positive COVID-19 cases still on the rise here in the Cherokee Nation, this rapid testing capability will make a big difference in our efforts to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities,” said Cherokee Nation Chief of Staff Todd Enlow. “The tests can quickly and easily identify if someone has the virus, which will help prevent outbreaks, especially among our elderly and disabled citizens as well as in our school system.”

Indian Health Service received 300,000 Abbott BinaxNOW diagnostic tests from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to support COVID-19 testing in rural and tribal communities.

Cherokee Nation plans to strategically distribute the tests throughout the tribe’s 14 county reservation, including within the tribe’s health centers and for Sequoyah Schools testing.

The rapid tests were implemented in Sequoyah Schools as part of the tribe’s plan to safely allow students to participate in limited, in-person classroom instruction.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 7:43 AM

Wesley Godwin, 39, of Fort Gibson died yesterday around 6:30 a.m. after the pickup he was driving was involved in a collision with a semi, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Godwin was driving a 2006 Ram 1500 eastbound on I40 five miles east of Warner when he ran into the back of a 2012 Freightliner that was also headed eastbound, the patrol reported.

The patrol stated the cause of the collision was speed. Godwin was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2020, 10:02 AM

Kevin Jackson

Kevin Jackson, 18, of Muskogee is charged with murder in the Eastern District federal court, according to documents filed with the case. Jackson is accused of killing Bradley Dillon, 19, on Oct. 19.

Because Dillon was an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, the case is in federal court instead of state court.

Dillon and a witness only identified as DB arrived at 400 West Augusta around midnight on Oct. 19, then left to go to a casino, according to documents filed with the case. They returned around 2 a.m., the affidavit states. The tenant at the residence, identified only as VG, told investigators she observed a black male wearing a black hoodie and ski mask, walking behind Dillon and DB, carrying a black and gray firearm. Jackson had been at the residence when they first arrived and left for the casino.

The man, according to VG, removed his mask and she identified him as Jackson. According to the witness, Jackson pointed the firearm at Dillon and DB and told them to empty their pockets and give him all their cash. Neither DB nor Dillon had any cash on them, so he told them to take him to an automatic teller machine, VB stated. Instead, DB entered the vehicle and drove off, she said. After he left, Jackson shot Dillon “three or four times” outside the home. Another witness, identified only as NM, also told FBI agents that Jackson shot Dillon. DB also told agents that Jackson was the man in the mask.

The FBI were shown Facebook messages between NM and Jackson afterward between 9:08 a.m. and 9:35 a.m.:

  • Believed to be NM: U lucky I fw you. Cops had me up there all fucking morning n shit dude. Showed me pics n everything and you on there. I pointed at somebody else w dreads. N I need my phone.
  • Believed to be Jackson: Okay I got you
  • NM B careful cause I alr got mfs on my line saying I say him up. When can I get my phone
  • NMI need my phone mf. (VG) told them that we all got robbed n u took my phone (emoji) idk if (VG) snitched or not but I didn’t whole 3 hrs I was n there lucky ass mf cause Brad was my friend not the other one

Jackson was apprehended in the Western District of Oklahoma and is being transported back to Muskogee.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2020, 8:37 AM

A large power outage has hit the west side of Muskogee, according to OG&E.

At least 2,100 electricity customers are affected from Arline all the way north to Shawnee, including Walmart.

The company has given no indication what caused the outage or how long it will last.

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Monday, October 26, 2020, 11:17 AM

Cherrod Culberson

Cherrod Culberson, 25, of Muskogee was convicted on Friday of lewd molestation, child sexual abuse and another count of lewd molestation. The jury recommended 30 years on the first count, 10 years on the second count and 40 years on the third count.

After he was convicted, sheriff’s deputies took him into custody to be transported to the Muskogee County Jail. En route to the elevator, officials say Culberson tried to escape and fell down a flight of stairs in the attempt, cutting his face and covering part of the stairwell in blood.

Culberson was convicted of molesting an eight-year-old girl on Augusta Street in 2018, and of masturbating in front of her. The victim told the police that the molestation happened in multiple jurisdictions. During trial, Culberson was also accused by a younger child, who told investigators he “hurt my pee pee,” and accused him of fondling her.

He will be arraigned today for attempted escape, according to District Attorney Orvil Loge, and he will be sentenced at a later date for the existing convictions.

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Monday, October 26, 2020, 8:21 AM

Muskogee police are investigating an incident last Tuesday in the Hilldale football locker room where one varsity player was allegedly held down by several other players and fingers were inserted into his anus, according to multiple sources, who asked to not be named for fear of reprisals.

Erik Puckett, the superintendent at Hilldale, acknowledged that there was an incident, that police are investigating, but would not provide or confirm any other details, citing student privacy.

The victim is a varsity football player. His mother did not respond to phone calls for comment.

Several football players have been kicked off the team and out of school, one faculty source said, but Puckett would neither confirm nor deny that.

Police Spokeswoman Lynn Hamlin has not yet returned messages for comment.

UPDATE 12:13 P.M.: Muskogee Police just released the following information:

On 10/21/2020, a school resource officer at Hilldale High School was contacted in reference to an incident that took place in the boy’s locker room on 10/20/2020. Due to the parties involved being juveniles no names will be released.

A report was taken and this incident is being investigated at this time.

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Friday, October 23, 2020, 8:37 AM

Gage Ford

Gage Ford, 21, of Muskogee is charged in Cleveland County District Court of two felony counts in a case where he is accused of beating his 19-year-old pregnant girlfriend and threatening to kill himself, according to documents filed with the case.

Ally Stephens

The victim, Ally Stephens of Norman, who is in her second trimester of pregnancy, filed a protective order against Ford on Oct. 1, telling police that Ford had repeatedly kicked her in the stomach, telling her to “get rid of it”. Police arrested Ford and the Cleveland County district attorney charged him with misdemeanor domestic assault and battery against a pregnant victim, even though Stephens also said he choked her, a felony.

Though the DA requested a $30,000 bond, Judge Scott Brockman set his bond at $1,500, which Ford made the same day without doing even a day in the county jail.

Oct. 17, Stephens was admitted to a Norman hospital with severe injuries after Ford allegedly attacked her again.

District Attorney Greg Mashburn blamed the low bond amount for Stephens’ second alleged run-in with Ford. A lethality report from the Norman police stated that Ford threatened to kill the victim and tried to commit suicide, which should have resulted in his bond being much higher, the DA said.

“We have a victim who is beaten unrecognizable, and this didn’t have to happen. We get in front of these judges, we ask them to listen to our victims and listen to us, and our judgement,” Mashburn told Oklahoma City TV station News on 9. “I have to do something for the victims, and I have to be able to tell them that I tried...I just can’t say oh well the judge just decided not to do that when I see a pattern that puts people at risk.”

Brockman has stated on the record that he does not believe in holding suspects on bond before trial, Mashburn said.

Ford is now charged with two felonies: Domestic abuse with a prior pattern of domestic abuse, and domestic assault and battery by strangulation. His misdemeanor charges have been dropped and incorporated into the new felonies. A warrant has been issued for his arrest, and Stephens has filed a second protective order against him.

Ford himself was the subject of a 2004 protective order where his mother alleged her estranged husband told her he was going to kill her and was choking her until Gage Ford, 8 at the time, woke up and begged him to let his mother go. She also alleged the husband told her if she called police he would kill her before they could arrive.

Ford has not been re-arrested yet. He did not respond to a call for comment.

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Thursday, October 22, 2020, 3:53 PM

Mark Logan, 29, of Muskogee is a free man today after a Muskogee County jury found him not guilty of first-degree murder in the 2015 slaying of Robert Guenther, around 24th and 40th streets.

Two other men, Tristen Hunter and Benrick Carter, were also charged with murder in the case, which was filed in 2017.

Carter and Hunter have both pleaded guilty to kidnapping Guenther, and are currently serving time in state prisons.

Both men entered plea agreements with the state to testify against Logan in exchange for lighter sentences.

Logan’s attorney, Steve Money, pointed out to both men that they had entered the plea agreements, but hadn’t actually pleaded in the cases, meaning their agreements rested on how they testified in the case.

The jury found Logan not guilty.

“The jury did its job,” Money said. “We are extremely grateful to them.”

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Thursday, October 22, 2020, 7:43 AM

Cherokee Nation Health Services has been selected as a host site for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Public Health Association Program to assist with the COVID-19 response. The Public Health Associate Program is a competitive, two-year, paid training program that allows associates to gain hands-on experience to serve as their foundation for a successful public health career.

This Cherokee Nation Health Service partnership with the CDC also benefits the health system by funding well-rounded assignees who bring valuable skills and insight to the organization.

Cherokee Nation Health Services welcomed Alfred Koroma as the CDC’s associate on Oct. 13.

“Early into the pandemic, we engaged with the CDC to help develop our response. Cherokee Nation Public Health has a history of working with the CDC and our senior director of Public Health, Lisa Pivec, serves on the CDC’s Tribal Advisory Committee, as an alternate to Deputy Chief Bryan Warner,” said Brian Hail, CNHS deputy executive director of external operations. “When we learned of the Public Health Associate Program via the National Indian Health Board’s Tribal Resource newsletter, we submitted an application to serve as a host site. Having Mr. Koroma join our team brings an additional public health resource to Cherokee Nation while helping to develop professional ties between the CDC and our tribe.”

Prior to his assignment with Cherokee Nation, Koroma served as lead support professional at the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes in Maryland. He also interned with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services while completing his Master of Public Health degree. Throughout his career, Koroma has gained experience in emergency management, health care service and public health.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2020, 11:21 AM

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter today sent a letter to federal, state and Native American tribal leaders suggesting a move to give the state jurisdiction over Natives on Native land, which would require federal legislation.

If legislation is passed, the compacts would allow the tribes the option to consent to shared state jurisdiction on criminal matters.

Attorney General Hunter said allowing this type of compacting authority can only come from federal legislation.

“Federal prosecutors are doing all they can to keep up with the cases that are being handed to them, but their resources are being stretched,” Hunter wrote. “All the while, the state’s courts, prosecutors and corrections system are ready and willing to help. However, Congress must act to give the state and the tribes the authority to enter into these agreements. We already have the authority to compact on other important issues, such as child welfare, water rights and gaming, all of which were authorized by federal legislation. We now need that same type of legislation for an equally important issue: ensuring the safety and security of Oklahomans.

“That is why I am recommending to the members of Congress to consider such legislation as soon as possible to give us this option.”

The tribes have vehemently resisted suggestions that they share criminal jurisdiction with the state after the landmark McGirt Supreme Court decision that recognized the fact that state governments have no authority over Natives on Native reservations.

You can read Hunter’s letter here.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2020, 10:12 AM

The Neighbors Building Neighborhoods Prevention Program, in conjunction with the Muskogee Police Department, recently conducted tobacco compliance checks in the city on the night of Saturday, September 19.

The checks were to assess that Oklahoma retail outlets such as convenience and grocery stores are monitored to ensure they follow all laws prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to minors. States must maintain a non-compliance rate below 20 percent regarding sale of tobacco products to minors or risk losing federal funding for substance abuse prevention and treatment efforts.

Of the 17 outlets visited, three stores sold tobacco products to a minor without checking ID. This resulted in an overall tobacco compliance rate of 82 percent.

The youths who are selected to participate in tobacco compliance checks have undergone training, and sign an agreement to follow the protocol set by law enforcement agencies. They are honest about their age, and carry their own valid IDs into the establishments.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2020, 7:46 AM

Bacone College has announced the appointment of Mary Jo Pratt to the position of vice president of finance and chief financial officer of the 140-year-old institution of higher learning.

Pratt’s appointment means the executive team at Bacone College is now 85 percent Native American as she hails from Osage, Blackfeet, Shawnee, Delaware, Peoria, Chippewa-Cree and Cherokee bloodlines.

She has ample experience working in highly regulated industries, public and tribal interests, and tribally owned small businesses who have collectively created an economic impact of over $2 billion in Oklahoma. Pratt has served as a number-slayer in corporate accounting, finance, and development, and said she has dedicated time to creating revenue streams while creating a positive footprint in the community.

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Monday, October 19, 2020, 9:20 AM

Bradley Dillon of Muskogee was shot and killed at 2:20 a.m. today, according to Muskogee Police reports.

The shooting occurred in the 400 block of Augusta.

No further information has been released.

UPDATE 9:35 a.m.: The police just sent the following information:

On 10/19/2020 at approximately 2:25AM, officers were called to shots fired in the 400 block of West Augusta. When officers arrived on scene there was a subject laying in the front yard with an apparent gunshot wound. That subject was later identified as 19 year old Bradley Dillon.

EMS arrived on scene and transported the victim to St Francis Muskogee where he later died from his injuries.

After learning that the victim is a member of one the national recognized tribes the FBI was contacted and took over the investigation.

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Monday, October 19, 2020, 8:47 AM

DT Kyser

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Navy Seaman 2nd Class D.T. Kyser, 18, of Muskogee, Oklahoma, killed during World War II, was accounted for on Aug. 9, 2019.

On Dec. 7, 1941, Kyser was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Kyser.

From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries.

In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks. The laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identifications of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at that time. The AGRS subsequently buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Kyser.

Between June and November 2015, DPAA personnel exhumed the USS Oklahoma Unknowns from the Punchbowl for analysis.

To identify Kyser’s remains, scientists from DPAA dental and anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome DNA analysis.

Kyser’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

The date and location for Kyser’s burial have yet to be decided by the family.

For family and funeral information, contact the Navy Service Casualty office at (800) 443-9298.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at, or call (703) 699-1420/1193.

Kyser’s personnel profile can be viewed at

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Monday, October 19, 2020, 8:25 AM

Jeffrey Wayne Wilson, 35, of Hulbert is charged in Muskogee County District Court with three felonies in an Oct. 15 incident in Muskogee.

Wilson is charged with first-degree burglary, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and domestic assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

On Oct. 15, Wilson is alleged to have kicked in the front door of an apartment on North 6th street containing his ex-girlfriend, Amanda Barnett, and Noel Ferguson. He is accused of pointing a gun at both occupants and then stabbing Ferguson.

There is currently a warrant for his arrest.

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Friday, October 16, 2020, 8:52 AM

Drag racers of all stripes will gather at Hatbox Field in Muskogee on Saturday to find out who’s got the mettle and who can put the pedal to the metal.

Some professional racers from the TV show “Street Outlaws” are expected to be there, along with other very fast and expensive cars for the anticpated 100 percent cash payout. The event is the first legal drag race to occur at Hatbox.

The 1/8 mile course will pay $10,000 to the winner of the Big Tire class and $8,000 to the winner of the Small Tire class, contingent on a minimum of 28 cars per class.

The gates open at 9 a.m., racing starts at noon. Spectator entrance is at 40th and Denver; spectator tickets cost $10, pit pass is $20.

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Thursday, October 15, 2020, 8:37 AM

The Cherokee National History Museum is celebrating the life and photography of Cherokee Nation citizen Jennie Ross Cobb in a new exhibit open now. Cobb was the great-granddaughter of Principal Chief John Ross and took up photography while she was a student at the Cherokee National Female Seminary in Tahlequah.

The exhibit showcases Cobb’s work from 1896-1906 and reveals a glimpse of life in Indian Territory in the decade before Oklahoma statehood.

“At a time when photography as a hobby was just being introduced, Jennie Ross Cobb captured unique moments that are refreshingly relatable for their time,” said Krystan Moser, manager of cultural collections and exhibits for Cherokee Nation. “Her candid photos showcase what life was like for affluent Cherokees in the late 19th century, including young people eating watermelon on a hot summer day, female seminary students laughing at a joke we will never hear, and a young boy beaming with pride as he carries a dead turkey, presumably to be served for his family’s dinner.”

Among Cobb’s photographs are those of the historic Hunter’s Home, the only surviving antebellum plantation in Oklahoma, from the years her family lived there. She later served as the first curator of Hunter’s Home after it was purchased by the state for preservation, and her photos played a vital role in the home’s restoration and eventual use as a living history museum.

The Cherokee National History Museum is located in one of the tribe’s most iconic structures, the Cherokee National Capitol building. It housed Cherokee Nation’s executive, legislative and judicial offices until 1906 and was most recently home to the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court until fall 2018.

The Cherokee National History Museum opened in 2019 and shares the history and culture of the Cherokee Nation within 4,000 square feet of permanent exhibit space that features Cherokee lifestyle from pre-European contact through the Trail of Tears and the revitalization of the tribe after the American Civil War. It is located at 101 S. Muskogee, Ave. in Tahlequah.


Wednesday, October 14, 2020, 9:16 AM

State Sen. Kay Floyd sent this letter to Gov. Kevin Stitt.

The Honorable J. Kevin Stitt Governor of Oklahoma Oklahoma State Capitol 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. Oklahoma City, OK 73105 Dear Governor Stitt,

I write to you on behalf of the Oklahoma Senate Democrats to once again urge you to take stronger action to combat COVID-19 in Oklahoma.

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, 1,119 Oklahomans have died from COVID-19 and a record high 760 Oklahomans are currently hospitalized for treatment. Today the Emergency Medical Services Authority informed the Oklahoma City Council there are currently no additional staffed ICU beds available in Oklahoma City.

The October 4th White House Coronavirus Task Force report has ranked Oklahoma as the tenth highest positive test rate of any state in the country and concludes “Community transmission has remained high across the state for the past month, with many preventable deaths.” Oklahoma faces a serious public health emergency in the fight to contain COVID-19. The Oklahoma Senate Democrats urge you to implement the White House Coronavirus Task Force’s recommendations.

Senate Democrats also urge you to provide school districts with resources to prevent COVID-19 transmission in our schools. Many school districts lack the funding needed to fully implement COVID-19 safety protocols, including air filtration systems, plexiglass dividers, and thorough sanitation.

COVID-19 is also having a disproportionate impact on minority and underserved communities. Senate Democrats believe Oklahoma’s COVID-19 response should incorporate health equity to ensure all Oklahomans have access to affordable health care during the pandemic and going forward.

Finally, Senate Democrats urge you and the State Department of Health to fully engage with the medical community and rely on their expertise and input. Responding to the increase in hospitalizations, Dr. George Monks, president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, stated “As hospitalizations increase, it is imperative our state leaders give our hospitals the resources, including staffing, needed to meet this increase.”

The State Department of Health Advisory Board, which includes medical experts, has not met since January. A comprehensive public health based approach is imperative if we are to turn the tide against COVID-19 in Oklahoma.


Kay Floyd, Democratic Leader Senate District, 46

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