DEATHS

Ronna Rae Milligan (Hales), 56

Born September 3, 1962

Died June 21, 2019

Deborah "Debbie" Hix, 67

Born November 27, 1951

Died June 18, 2019

Rodger Lynn Futhey, 73

Born June 9, 1946

Died June 18, 2019

CLICK TO SEE MORE >>

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

THINGS TO DO

Monday, June 24

Ground Breaking - Muskogee Animal Shelter
At The Movies Build Week
MONAA Meeting
MONAA Meeting

Tuesday, June 25

At The Movies Build Week
Music Trivia Night
OK Intimidators 10u Fundraiser
History Explorer's Invites You!
Fourth of July Savings Event
Free FHWA Work Zone Operations Class
Teen Wearable Art

Monday, June 24, 2019, 12:04 PM

Michael Hammonds

Michael Ray Hammonds, 64, of Braggs is charged in Muskogee County District court with a felony count of distribution of obscene material to a minor. He was charged in March, but allegedly failed to appear in court, so he was arrested over the weekend.

Hammonds is accused of sending three pornographic videos to a child via Facebook Messenger starting in 2018 and ending Feb. 20, 2019.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1561395736.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/muskogee-man-charged-with-sending-porn-to-minor

dragonfly dojo

Monday, June 24, 2019, 7:27 AM

The city of Muskogee is warning people that many may experience low water pressure for several hours today. Here is the statement the city published:

As part of flood recovery efforts, OG&E will be bringing in a temporary substation near the Port of Muskogee.

As OG&E puts that substation on line, they have told us that power to the city water plant will be temporarily interrupted for approximately 4 hours, beginning at 8 a.m. Monday, 06/24.

The city will continue pumping water using our generator & diesel-powered pumps. During this time, water is still available but you may experience low water pressure.

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Monday, June 24, 2019, 6:50 AM

Johnathon Brewer

Johnathon Lemont Brewer, 24, of Muskogee is charged in Muskogee County District Court with two counts of felony first-degree rape, one count of producing and procuring child pornography, a count of lewd or indecent acts to a child under 15 and a count of soliciting sexual conduct with a minor by use of technology after an incident involving a 12-year-old girl, according to documents filed with the case.

Brewer allegedly showed up to the girl’s house and her guardians, noticing that he had facial hair, asked how old he was. The adults seized the girl’s phone, which allegedly contains nude photos exchanged between the girl and Brewer, and messages between the two expressing concern that the girl might be pregnant by Brewer. During a forensic interview, the girl is alleged to have confessed she and Brewer were in a romantic relationship and had engaged in sex.

A warrant has been issued for Brewer’s arrest. The mug above is from five years ago.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1561376697.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/man-charged-with-rape-porn-involving-12-year-old-girl

als

Saturday, June 22, 2019, 8:54 AM

A motorcycle’s rider was killed and his female passenger was seriously injured in a late-night wreck with a car last night, according to Muskogee police.

The rider, whose name has not yet been released, was pronounced dead at the scene on North York Street. His passenger was taken by helicopter to Saint John’s Hospital in Tulsa.

The driver of the car was arrested for driving under the influence “and several other charges,” according to police.

The names of the victims and suspect will be released when next of kin is notified, police say.

UPDATE 9:37 a.m.: The motorcycle, a 2004 Harley-Davidson ridden by Josh Jackson, 32, was southbound on York Street. A white 2007 Dodge Nitro, driven by Addison Clark, 29, was northbound and turned west in front of the motorcycle, according to police.

Jackson’s wife, Emily, 27, was his passenger.

Clark has been charged with driving under the influence, driving under suspension, no insurance and manslaughter, personal injury accident while under the influence and transporting an open container. She had seven previous arrests dating back to 2012 for public intoxication, and as recent as April of this year for failure to appear in court.

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Friday, June 21, 2019, 7:54 AM

Remember the Removal Bike Ride cyclist Manuel Hernandez, of the Big Y community in North Carolina, is greeted with high-fives after arriving in Tahlequah on Thursday.

Twenty-one cyclists from the 2019 Remember the Removal Bike Ride arrived in Tahlequah Thursday, finishing their three-week journey that retraced the northern route of the Trail of Tears.

The ride began June 2 in New Echota, Georgia, the former capital of the Cherokee Nation before forced removal to present-day Oklahoma. Cyclists from the Cherokee Nation and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians rode nearly 950 miles through portions of seven states.

The Cherokee Nation held a return ceremony at the tribe’s Cherokee National Peace Pavilion in historic downtown Tahlequah on Thursday, where tribal leaders, friends and family gathered to welcome the returning cyclists.

“These Cherokee men and women have honored our ancestors by riding hundreds and hundreds of miles, from New Echota, Georgia, to the Cherokee Nation capital in Tahlequah, Oklahoma,” said Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “Along the way they have formed new bonds with fellow Cherokees, gained a deeper understanding of what their ancestors endured, and faced their own personal adversities – only to defeat them, because that’s what Cherokees do. I am so proud of the 2019 Remember the Removal cyclists and what they have accomplished.

This year marked the 35th anniversary of the inaugural Remember the Removal Bike Ride, which was held in 1984. In honor of that anniversary and to commemorate the 180th anniversary of the end of the Trail of Tears, governors in Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma issued proclamations declaring it “Trail of Tears Remembrance Week” as cyclists made the trek through their respective states. Oklahoma Secretary of Native American Affairs Lisa Billy presented Oklahoma’s proclamation during the return ceremony on behalf of Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt.

After the original ride in 1984, the leadership program resumed in 2009. Each year, cyclists learn about Cherokee history, language and culture while gaining a deeper understanding of the hardships faced by their ancestors who walked the Trail of Tears.

“Coming home was probably one of the most monumental moments of the ride,” said Ashley Hunnicutt, a Cherokee Nation citizen from Tahlequah. “I appreciate home more than I ever have. I was just overwhelmed with gratitude and love and peace to be here. The ride was life-changing. I am a whole new person, and I’m ready to be here to share what I’ve learned with my family and my friends and the people of my community. Hopefully that will empower them to share that with others, and our ancestors’ legacy will continue to live on.”

During the journey from Georgia to Oklahoma, Remember the Removal Bike Ride participants visited historical landmarks that were important to Cherokee people, including Blythe Ferry in Tennessee, which was the last part of the Cherokee homeland walked by Cherokee ancestors before they began their journey into Indian Territory. Cyclists also visited Mantle Rock in Kentucky, which provided shelter to many Cherokees as they waited for safe passage across the frozen Ohio River.

Of the estimated 16,000 Cherokees forced to make the Trail of Tears journey to Indian Territory 180 years ago, around 4,000 died due to exposure to the elements, starvation, and disease.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1561121551.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/cherokee-bike-riders-return-after-retracing-trail-of-tears

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Friday, June 21, 2019, 7:51 AM

Katisha White

Katisha White, 34, of Muskogee is charged with a felony count of child neglect after she is alleged to have driven drunk with two young children and an adult passenger in her car.

According to the officer who pulled her over at 3500 E. Shawnee, White was driving erratically through a parking lot and had “slurred speech, strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on her person and was unsteady on her feet.”

Two children, ages 4 and 8, were in the vehicle, as well as an adult female passenger.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1561121312.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/woman-charged-with-endangering-children-by-driving-drunk

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Thursday, June 20, 2019, 9:41 AM

Wednesday morning, Saint Francis Hospital in Muskogee gave a $100,000 check to the Red Cross. But back in February, the hospital took $400,000 away from Muskogee schools by not paying the $600,000 in ad valorem taxes it is contractually obligated to pay yearly.

The payment was initially to be $1 million yearly when the city leased the hospital to Capella. About five years ago, Capella negotiated that down to $600,000. That tax payment is supposed to go directly to the county, and 65 percent is supposed to go to Muskogee’s schools. Saint Francis has indicated that it is the hospital’s position that, as a nonprofit, they should not have to pay the tax they agreed to pay when they signed the contract, which has a provision for claims of not owing the tax:

“The Muskogee Medical Center Authority expected the in-kind payment to continue until 2047,” said authority President and CEO Jim Paul Blair. “We strongly feel any nonpayment is a breach of the lease.”

Meanwhile, already-tight school budgets have gotten tighter, which could lead to deeper cuts and reduction in programs, according to school Finance Director John Little.

“They’ve taken a total of a million dollars off the tax rolls,” Little said, referring to the initial payment the hospital was supposed to make. “The district just loses its part of that money.”

The loss in expected revenue means cuts and more tightening of the budget.

“If you’re on the cusp of needing a teacher or not needing them, the only option is to not fill the position,” he said. “We have to trim office budgets and instructional budgets. When you’re already extremely tight because you’ve been cutting for so long, it’s a significant amount of money.”

The worst part, he said, is the schools have no input into the cuts.

“The argument is between the hospital and the county,” he said. “We are not at the table. We have no say.”

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Thursday, June 20, 2019, 8:04 AM

Joe Todd

Muskogee Public Library will host speaker Joe Todd for an all day workshop on Saturday, June 22. Presentations begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Grant Foreman Room, second floor. There is no fee to attend.

Topics will include “D-Day,” “Women of World War II,” and “USS Oklahoma” as part of the library’s ongoing observance of World War II. In recognition of Muskogee’s role in recruiting Rough Riders, he will also speak on “Robert Huston, serving with Teddy Roosevelt in the Rough Riders.” Participants may bring a sack lunch, go out, or food will be available. Donations are accepted.

The speaker is a Bartlesville native and has been a volunteer for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library since 2001, interviewing World War II veterans and to date has interviewed more than 1,500 and still going. He will be interviewing four veterans on Friday as part of his library visit.

Todd worked at the 4th Division Museum (1976-1982), at the Oklahoma Historical Society (1971-1976) and was Oral Historian at the Oklahoma Historical Society from 1982 until retirement in 2001. He attended OSU (1964-1966), received a BA in Anthropology from the University of Oklahoma in 1974, and did graduate work at the University of Texas (1980-1982).

He served in Vietnam with the First Air Cavalry Division as a helicopter mechanic and crew chief (1967-1969); in Kuwait and Iraq during Desert Storm with the First Infantry division (1991-1992), and for four months in Haiti with the 486th Civil Affairs Battalion in 1994. He was awarded the Bronze Star, Air Medal with 4 oak leaf clusters, Purple Heart, Kuwaiti Liberation Medal, Humanitarian Service Award, Vietnam Service and Presidential Unit Citation with the 1st Cavalry Division. Todd is also an author. Publications include “USS Oklahoma, Remembrance of a Great Lady,” “Robert Huston, Oklahoma Rough Rider,” “In Honor of Heroes,” and weekly columns in the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise. He received the Oklahoma Heritage Association Award in 2007 for the WWII stories in the newspaper and was named Washington County Historian of the Year in 2002. Other honors include an Honorary Choctaw Citizen Award and being received by the King of Belgium in the Royal Palace in Brussels.

This program is also part of the library’s Adult Summer Reading Program. Enrollment in the program continues until the end of June.

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speedway grille

Wednesday, June 19, 2019, 8:27 AM

James Edward Vaughn Jr.

James Edward Vaughn Jr., 32, of Muskogee is charged in Muskogee County District Court with a felony count of child abuse after an April incident that left a 12-year-old boy with marks and bruises, according to documents filed with the case.

Vaughn is accused of hitting and trying to strangle the boy around 5 p.m. on April 22 at a home on North 37th St., according to an affidavit filed with the case.

The affidavit alleges that Vaughn “assaulted ... (the boy) by hitting him repeatedly with his hands, grabbing him by the shirt, slapping him in the face and using his hands to grab him around his throat.”

Vaughn allegedly failed to show up for an interview with law enforcement.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1560950613.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/muskogee-man-charged-with-attacking-12-year-old

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Tuesday, June 18, 2019, 10:37 AM

The Muskogee Oklahoma Native American Association is raising funds today by selling Indian tacos at the Muskogee Indian Community Center, 335 N. 4th St., and offering delivery for five or more tacos.

The group is also hosting a silent auction.

The association is a nonprofit whose goal is providing support and resources for natives, and to bring awareness and representation to Native Americans in the area. The money raised will go to festival events for all of Muskogee to watch.

Taco dinners are $8, and delivery available for five or more. Call or text 918-351-1716 to order.

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Monday, June 17, 2019, 10:20 AM

Michael and Lisa Womack

Michael Trent Womack, 49, of Muskogee is charged in Muskogee County District Court with two felony counts of child abuse and three felony counts of child sexual abuse. His wife, Lisa Ann Womack, 47, is charged with two felony counts of enabling child abuse and three felony counts of enabling child sexual abuse.

According to court documents, Michael Womack is charged with grabbing a 10-year-old girl by the hair, choking her and throwing her up against a wall, and beating a second girl, 17. He’s also charged with grabbing the breasts of the younger girl — and his wife is charged with enabling and participating — and touching the buttocks and thigh area of the older girl.

The pair were arrested on June 13.

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Monday, June 17, 2019, 7:22 AM

Yamile Perez

Yamile Rojas Perez, 19, of Muskogee is charged with a felony count of identity theft in Muskogee County District court after she is alleged to have fraudulently obtained credit card information of McDonald’s customers.

Using one victim’s information, Perez is accused of ordering pizza to her house.

After the pizza incident, she also was allegedly observed working the drive-through at McDonald’s on 140 W. Shawnee and was seen on surveillance footage taking photos of multiple customers’ cards, according to an affidavit filed with the case.

She was arraigned late last week and has been ordered to hire an attorney.

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Monday, June 17, 2019, 7:15 AM

David Frazier and Tiffany Keen

David Lee Frazier, Jr., 32, and Tiffany Keen, 19, are each charged with a felony count of child neglect in Muskogee County District Court over allegations that they refuse to obtain medical treatment for a 2-year-old child.

The child has been seen by several doctors, each of whom indicated the child needed surgery for a broken arm, according to an affidavit filed with the cases. DHS has attempted to contact the family several times, but they refuse to answer the phone or the door, the affidavit states.

A DHS worker told officials she has spoken to both doctors and nurses about the child’s arm and confirmed that the child needs surgery. The parents, she said, continue to miss appointments and have now been removed from the referral list for surgery.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1560773553.png https://muskogeenow.com/parents-charged-with-felony-after-allegedly-forcing-2-year-old-to-live-with-untreated-broken-arm

herbal city

Monday, June 17, 2019, 6:54 AM

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced an extension of a grant providing $2.19 million in funding for the Oklahoma State Department of Health to target people at higher risk for diabetes, heart disease and stroke. The funds provided will be available through June 29, 2020.

The grant will be used to continue the focus on areas of the state disproportionately affected by high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, or prediabetes due to socioeconomic factors such as inadequate access to care, poor quality of care, or low income. Caddo, Delaware, Hughes, Lincoln, McIntosh, Muskogee, Pittsburg, and Seminole counties have been identified as areas of concentration.

Partnerships with other organizations are a key component of the OSDH outreach efforts. Working with the Choctaw Nation Health Services has allowed tribal and non-tribal community members to participate in high blood pressure self-management education coupled with pharmacist-provided medication therapy management. Continued support allows CNHS to expand these initiatives into additional sites within Choctaw Nation’s boundaries.

The extension also allows continued collaboration with federally qualified health centers and community health centers, and hospitals located in the prioritized counties. Other partnerships include those with Oklahoma State University – Oklahoma County Extension Services to offer diabetes prevention and self-management programs in county extension offices across the state, and work with Southwestern Oklahoma State University College of Pharmacy Rural Health Center and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center’s College of Pharmacy.

“In order to improve Oklahoma’s health outcomes, it is going to require a coordinated effort by government and community organizations,” said Gov. Kevin Stitt. “The work of the OSDH to leverage these partnerships and resources is a step toward the goal of significantly raising the state’s health ranking.”

“Many Oklahomans suffer from diseases that are largely due to personal behaviors including sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition, and smoking,” Interim OSDH Commissioner Tom Bates said. “By using these funds to provide not only care management but also programs that encourage lifestyle changes, we can continue to tackle the challenge of reducing the rates of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.”

Projects funded through the grant include tracking and monitoring clinical measures shown to improve healthcare quality and identify patients with hypertension; implementing team-based care for patients with high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol; and linking community resources and clinical services to support referrals, self-management and lifestyle change for patients with high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.

https://muskogeenow.com/muskogeenow.png https://muskogeenow.com/219-million-grant-focuses-on-diabetes-heart-disease-in-muskogee-area-counties

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Friday, June 14, 2019, 8:29 AM

Ricky Spencer

Ricky Spencer, 23, of Muskogee has been found guilty in Muskogee County District Court of two counts of shooting with intent to kill after a 2016 incident at a crowded nightclub.

Spencer shot Laylani Allen and Mikayla Cooper, a jury found yesterday. The club, also known at the time as Club Z, was packed with Bacone College students celebrating homecoming. Students had heard rumors that there was supposed to be a fight, but the shooting was unexpected. Other than Allen and Cooper, a third victim, Velma Anderson, was stabbed, but Spencer was not tried for that.

Spencer will be sentenced at a later date.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1560518692.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/nightclub-shooter-found-guilty

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Thursday, June 13, 2019, 8:36 AM

Kyle Ford, 35, of Muskogee is facing seven charges after an incident in which he is alleged to have punched someone, hit them with a weapon, drove his pickup into a motel, fled the scene, led police on a chase, ran roadblocks, kicked open a door and kidnapped a woman.

Kyle Ford

The charges:

  • assault and battery with a dangerous weapon
  • first-degree burglary
  • endangering others while attempting to elude a police officer
  • running a roadblock
  • malicious injury to property over $1,000
  • kidnapping
  • resisting an officer

On Tuesday, witnesses allege Ford kicked in a door at the Catalina Motel, hit Bhagirath Jinwala with a drill and his fist, then forced his wife to get into his truck with him after ramming her room at the motel with the truck. He then allegedly led police on a high-speed chase and ran multiple roadblocks at Denison Street, Harris Road, W. 20th Street and Old Taft Road. When police finally captured him, he allegedly resisted them, too.

Ford has previously been convicted in 2015 and 2017 of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (second charge) and eluding police.

A preliminary hearing on the case is scheduled June 26.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2019, 3:54 PM

A shooting on Junction today ended with one victim, but no suspects.

The victim did not want to press charges, according to police.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2019, 8:33 AM

Roki Alan Bowles, 34, is charged in Muskogee County District Court with a felony count of indecent exposure after allegedly exposing his penis and masturbating, according to records filed with the case.

On May 30, while being treated at the VA Medical Center, Bowles is alleged to have exposed his penis to a female nursing assistant while making sexually suggestive comments to her.

When he was told to stop, Bowles allegedly paced back and forth in the room, staring at the assistant and grabbing his penis through his hospital gown making sexual comments.

When the nursing assistant left, Bowles is accused of yelling obscenities and cursing at staff members to the point that the VA police had to restrain him.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2019, 10:47 AM

Muskogee police will be dishing up cheese rolls and lobsters for several hours on Thursday at the Muskogee Red Lobster, with proceeds from tips going to the Special Olympics.

The event is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2019, 9:50 AM

Kelsey Len Girty

Kelsey Len Girty, 30, of Muskogee has been charged with a felony count of child endangerment by driving under the influence after an incident on June 1 on Oklahoma Highway 10A, according to documents filed with the case.

Girty is alleged to have been driving southbound on the highway when she lost control of her 1999 SUV struck a tree and flipped onto its top. When highway patrol officers arrived at the scene, the vehicle was empty and Girty was not there. A fireman told the trooper that the driver had been delivered by private vehicle to her residence just up the road. The driver had found her and a child standing beside the vehicle, covered in blood.

When the officer approached Girty at her house, he said she hysterically told him she was drunk and her “kid needed food,” so she had driven to the store. As the officer continued to question her, he reported that she became angry, gritting her teeth and yelling “take me to jail.” She reported to the officer that she had consumed a fifth of whiskey before driving.

The child was taken via ambulance to Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa for a deep gash on his arm.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1560262826.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/area-woman-charged-with-child-endangerment-after-flipping-car-while-allegedly-drunk

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Monday, June 10, 2019, 9:27 AM

The Oklahoma State Department of Health is reporting the first three human cases of West Nile Virus for the season. The cases have been confirmed in residents of Canadian, Grant and Tulsa counties.

Summertime typically marks the beginning of the West Nile Virus season in Oklahoma, with outdoor activities providing opportunities for encountering infected mosquitoes. Health officials are reminding the public to take precautions to prevent getting bitten by an infected mosquito.

West Nile Virus is spread through the bite of the Culex mosquito, which feeds on infected birds and transmits the virus when biting humans, horses and some other mammals. This type of mosquito increases in numbers during mid to late summer when the temperatures climb and the weather pattern is dry. Health officials expect the number of cases to increase as the temperatures rise throughout the summer.

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Monday, June 10, 2019, 9:21 AM

Cindy Lee Spradlin, 36, of Porum, was hurt her the weekend in a single-car wreck 3 miles east of Texanna, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Spradlin was westbound on County Road Texanna around 2 in the morning on Saturday when she departed the roadway to the left, traveling almost 100 feet off the roadway, overcorrected to the right, overcorrected back to the left, departed the roadway to the left and struck a tree, the patrol reported.

She was taken by helicopter to Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa with head and leg injuries. She was cited for driving under the influence of alcohol.

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Friday, June 7, 2019, 7:41 AM

Jonathan Nichols

Former state Sen. Jonathan Nichols, who grew up in Muskogee and graduated from Muskogee High School, has been found dead in his Norman home at the age of 53, according to police reports.

Nichols, who served in the Oklahoma Senate for 12 years from 2000 to 2012, was an attorney who spent the rest of his life working in politics. He was called “the most brilliant political legal mind in the Oklahoma State Legislature” by his Senate successor, Rob Standridge.

Nichols was also an attorney and assistant district attorney for Cleveland County. He was found dead in his home from an apparent gunshot wound on Wednesday. Police are still investigating and working with the medical examiner’s office to determine the time and cause of death.

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Thursday, June 6, 2019, 9:07 AM

Brian Fortney

Brian R. Fortney, 64, of Muskogee has been accused by multiple witnesses of threatening to kill any police officers who come to arrest him, and of saying he would blow up the house of a 13-year-old girl who accused him of sexually assaulting her.

Fortney has taught at Hilldale, and at Muskogee High School and most recently taught geography to young teens at Alice Robertson. He abruptly left that position in February after the girl accused him.

The girl said she was at a friend’s house when Fortney appeared. She said he approached her and said, “I know it’s not’s Christmas, but we are standing under a mistletoe.”

Fortney then, the girl said, grabbed her face and tried to kiss her. She moved her face down and the kiss landed on her forehead. She said he then showed her his house and told her he was looking for “a nice girl to settle down with.”

In a second incident, at a parent-teacher conference, the girl’s mother said Fortney came directly up to the girl, didn’t introduce himself to the mother, and said “I know they’re not providing snacks down here, but you can come to my room.”

Both incidents were reported to the school. The school is currently working on a statement about the situation. When they release it, we will publish it here.

This week, a co-worker of Fortney at his new job at Lowe’s reported that he was loudly threatening to blow up the girl’s house and kill her family. The witness said he also claimed to have a lump in his groin that “may be cancer,” and if it was, he “has a list of people he is taking out before he dies.” The witness also said Fortney claimed to have killed a child in the Army and strangled someone with his bare hands. He then allegedly told the witness he could also shoot the girl “from a distance” and “make the bodies disappear.”

Later, more than one witness reported hearing Fortney threaten the police if they came to arrest him. Specifically, he is alleged to have shouted, “they better send twelve, because I’ll kill six with my bare hands! I used to teach combatives, and I can do it!”

Efforts to reach Fortney for comment have been unsuccessful. The girl’s family have filed a protective order against him.

UPDATE: Fortney says he is the victim of a woman who is mad because he jilted her romantic advances. He told MuskogeeNOW.com that the initial accusation with the teenager wasn’t true, and said the woman who reported him for allegedly saying he would burn down the house was just mad at him because he would not accept her romantically.

Meanwhile, the Muskogee Public Schools also responded. Here is the text of their response:

When the District received a report regarding this matter, it immediately notified the proper authorities. It then immediately conducted a thorough investigation of the matter and took appropriate action based on the results of the investigation. Mr. Fortney submitted his resignation in February and was accepted by the board. Because this is a confidential personnel matter the District cannot comment further.

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Wednesday, June 5, 2019, 8:38 AM

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing food safety recommendations for those who impacted by ongoing flooding in the Central and Southern United States.

Flooding can compromise the safety of stored food. Residents impacted by floods should pay close attention to the forecast. FSIS recommends that consumers take the following steps to reduce food waste and the risk of foodborne illness during this and other emergency events.

To ensure food safety:

  • Use bottled drinking water that has not come in contact with flood water.
  • Do not eat any food that may have come in contact with flood water.
  • Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance it may have come in contact with flood water. Food containers that are not waterproof include those with screw-caps, snap lids, pull tops, and crimped caps.
  • Also discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home canned foods if they have come in contact with flood waters. They cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
  • Inspect canned foods; discard any food in damaged cans. Can damage is shown by swelling, leakage, punctures, holes, fractures, extensive deep rusting, or crushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel-type can opener.
  • Discard wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples, and pacifiers that may have come in contact with flood waters. There is no way to safely clean them.
  • Thoroughly wash metal pans, ceramic dishes, utensils (including can openers) with soap and water (hot water if available). Rinse and sanitize them by boiling in clean water or immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water.
  • Thoroughly wash countertops with soap and water (hot water if available). Rinse and then sanitize them by applying a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water. Allow to air-dry.
  • Note: If your refrigerator or freezer was submerged by floodwaters — even partially — it is unsafe to use and must be discarded.

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Tuesday, June 4, 2019, 8:17 PM

Keith Birdsong, 59, born and raised in Muskogee, died today from injuries sustained in a car wreck. He had spent the last year recovering from a massive brain bleed.

Birdsong was an in-demand artist whose work graced TV shows, book covers and even US Postal stamps. He is most famous for his work with TV and movie property Star Trek, for which he created photo-realistic renditions of space ships and cast members ranging from William Shatner to Chris Pine. He used a technique that blended colored pencils and a concoction he called “acrylic wash” to create his works of art.

Using local models, Birdsong also created ethereal works of art depicting complex themes.

Services are scheduled at 2 p.m. June 14 — a month before what would have been his 60th birthday — at Christian Chapel in Muskogee, 4043, Chandler Road.

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Tuesday, June 4, 2019, 8:40 AM

The Cherokee Nation extended the application deadline for the 2019 Clothing Assistance Program to Friday, June 14 for Cherokee Nation citizens affected by recent flooding. The tribe’s clothing voucher program helps Cherokee families purchase new clothes for school-aged children for the upcoming school year.

Last year the tribe helped more than 4,500 students, grades K-12, from across the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction prepare for the first day of school with gift cards totaling more than $450,000.

To be eligible for the program, students must be age 5 before September 1, 2019, a Cherokee Nation citizen, live within the 14-county jurisdiction and meet additional income guidelines.

Once parents have provided the necessary paperwork and have been verified by the tribe, the parents receive a $100 gift card for every school-aged child in the home.

Applications can be printed from www.cherokee.org, or picked up at any Cherokee Nation Human Services field office and the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex in Tahlequah from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

All applications must be submitted by 5 p.m., at a Cherokee Nation office location or by mail, on June 14.

For more information on income guidelines or other eligibility requirements, call Cherokee Nation Human Services Family Assistance at 800-256-0671 or visit www.cherokee.org.

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Monday, June 3, 2019, 6:43 AM

After being closed for numerous days due to flooding, US 62 between Muskogee and Tahlequah is reopened, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

As floodwaters recede, residents of Fort Gibson and surrounding areas are just getting back to assess the damage water has done to their property.

In other flooding news, Coody Creek Bridge is apparently caving in, and residents are warning other residents against driving over it on the east side of the water plant.

If you are aware of other verifiable flood damage, please text or email us. Text is 918-685-1396 and email is news@muskogeenow.com

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Friday, May 31, 2019, 4:32 PM

Former Boynton City Clerk Candace Lang, former Boynton city water operator Willie Hopkins and current Boynton mayor Clara Kay Lang have all been charged with felony counts of embezzlement from the city. Candace Lang is also facing charges of uttering a forged instrument in excess of $15,000.

Candace Lang is alleged to have received “questionable compensation” in the amount of $76,656.98 from June 2014 to July 2016. She is also alleged to have forged multiple checks with Clara Lang’s signature. An affidavit filed with the case states she did not deny receiving the extra money, nor did she deny writing checks to herself. She told investigators the extra money was allegedly approved by the mayor and the city council and she was authorized to sign on Clara Lang’s behalf, though no minutes or records could be produced to support those claims.

Clara Lang is alleged to have received $1,078.82 in “questionable compensation,” though she stated the extra pay was for acting in the capacity of town clerk, training the new clerk and purchasing stamps for city use with personal money.

Hopkins is alleged to have received in $37,537.68 in “questionable compensation. He did not deny receiving the extra pay, but said it was for conducting repairs, purchasing materials, and hiring subcontractors through his personal business, which was working for the city. He alleges the arrangement was approved by the mayor and city council, though no records could be produced to prove that.

In total, the three are accused of stealing $115,273.48 from the city.

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Friday, May 31, 2019, 8:09 AM

Christopher Cody Eugene Space, Also known as Larry Christopher Holeman, 45, of Muskogee is charged in Muskogee County District Court with a felony count of child sexual abuse, according to documents filed with the case.

Over the course of a year, Space is alleged to have molested a 12-year-old by having the child touch his private parts and by touching the private parts of the child.

He is also accused of making lewd or indecent proposals to the child.

Space was arrested yesterday. Court dates have not yet been set.

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