DEATHS

Virgil Lee Woodworth, 71

Born June 1, 1948

Died April 8, 2020

Dr. William "Jack" Guinan, 87

Born September 2, 1932

Died April 7, 2020

James Wiley Drew, Sr., 85

Born October 30, 1934

Died April 7, 2020

Ira Lee Boss, 100

Born December 28, 1919

Died April 6, 2020

Mary Kathryn Kirby, 66

Born December 9, 1953

Died April 6, 2020

Anthony Earl Patrick, 90

Born January 8, 1930

Died April 6, 2020

Frederick Swanson, 70

Born January 1, 1950

Died April 5, 2020

Gail Doris Neale-Thompson, 64

Born March 18, 1956

Died April 4, 2020

James Robert "Jim" McPherson, 82

Born August 20, 1937

Died April 3, 2020

Herbert Smith Jr., 74

Born April 26, 1945

Died April 3, 2020

CLICK TO SEE MORE >>

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

Thursday, April 9, 2020, 12:10 PM

Charles Pearson

Former Muskogee County Sheriff Charles Pearson filed today for the upcoming election to his old position.

Pearson, who served as sheriff from 2001 to 2017, took over an agency “in complete bankruptcy,” he said, and worked to modernize and overhaul the office.

“With the sudden and unexpected death of my wife in 2012, I went into a deep depression and I lost enthusiasm for everything,” Pearson said just now. “But having some time to reflect since the last election, I realize the only passion I have ever had is helping people through law enforcement.”

Pearson was defeated in the 2016 election by former police officer Rob Frazier, who resigned last year to become Fort Gibson’s police chief. Pearson’s undersheriff, who continued under Frazier, Terry Freeman, was appointed sheriff until the election.

“Running that office takes multitasking and a clear head,” Pearson said. “I didn’t have that in my last term, but I do now; everything has changed.”

Pearson, a Democrat, will face the winner of the Republican primary if no other Democrats file. Currently, Police Lieutenant Andy Simmons and Undersheriff Michael Mahan are running in that primary.

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Thursday, April 9, 2020, 9:13 AM

Melody Orman, 59, of Gore was killed at 4:32 p.m. yesterday just south of Braggs in a head-on collision, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Orman was driving a 2012 Ford Fusion southbound on State Highway 10 when she went left of center and collided head-on with a 2015 GMS Sierra driven by Darrell Krivanek, 49, of Blanchard, who was northbound on the highway. Krivanek was transported by helicopter to Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa, where he was admitted in stable condition for leg injuries. His passenger was not injured.

Orman’s vehicle departed the roadway and ended up partially submerged in Greenleave Lake.

Orman was pronounced dead at the scene.

Her condition at the time of the wreck is under investigation. She was wearing a seatbelt, but Krivanek and his passenger were not, the patrol reported.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 12:33 PM

Muskogee county and city governments are demanding that local businesses submit a plan to them detailing how they are fighting the coronavirus. And those businesses have until tomorrow Friday to do it or face the suspension of their business licenses, imposition of fines and “other available remedy to the fullest extent permitted by law.”

A joint resolution by the two governments demanding that compliance will be in effect until modified by them, the order states.

The businesses must fill out a questionnaire and email it to the city, the resolution states, although numerous businesses around Muskogee say they’ve never heard about this resolution.

Some business owners are furious.

“With everything going on now they want to require me to fill out paperwork with the threat of a fine or license suspension?” Lauren Bowden of Bowden Termite and Pest Control said. “It’s so petty and a waste of time. This is one of the dumbest things I have ever seen.”

One Muskogee resident, however, said the move protects people against those who don’t care to comply with best practices.

“Some people aren’t that bright or just flat don’t care. I think the paperwork is a way to hold them responsible.”

The text of the resolution is here.

The city’s questionnaire is here.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Earlier versions of this story said the forms were due tomorrow. They’re actually due Friday. I lost track of what day it was after 21 days of self-isolation.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 7:12 AM

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections confirms an inmate at Jackie Brannon Correctional Center in McAlester has tested positive for COVID-19. Four facility staff members and one probation and parole officer have also tested positive for the virus.

ODOC is working with the Oklahoma State Department of Health to continue implementing its response to the pandemic and preventing community spread.

Saturday, the state health department provided masks for all inmates and staff.

Sunday, ODOC ordered all prisons to secure inmates in their cells while allowing access to necessary services, a move to protect the health of inmates and staff - not intended as a disciplinary measure.

Facility staff will deliver food, medicine, and any other necessities to inmates to limit group gatherings and enhance social distancing. Staff will devise schedules for activities including making phone calls and showering.

ODOC’s Pandemic Plan as well as resources and links to reliable information are available at doc.ok.gov. The public can call the DOC COVID-19 Update telephone line - 405-425-2556 - for updated pandemic-related information. They can also contact the Community Outreach Unit for more information at community.outreach@doc.ok.gov or 405-425-2607.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2020, 9:06 AM

Muskogee City Councilor Ivory Vann contacted police yesterday after he received suspicious envelopes.

Vann received three anonymous empty envelopes and contacted police.

“No arrests have been made yet,” said Lynn Hamlin, police spokeswoman. “It’s an ongoing investigation.”

Vann has been on the city council since 2014.

“It’s just a bad deal,” Vann said. “But I’m not supposed to talk about it while it’s under investigation.”

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Tuesday, April 7, 2020, 6:49 AM

The Oklahoma State Department of Health announced today more than 11,000 negative COVID-19 tests were processed by private labs dating back to early February. Due to this newly reported data, OSDH has identified 13,148 COVID-19 tests have been administered in Oklahoma to date. The new COVID-19 testing numbers were published today in the Governor’s daily COVID-19 report on page five.

“New numbers provided by private labs demonstrate that COVID-19 testing in Oklahoma has been tenfold than what the state could previously report,” said Commissioner of Health Gary Cox. “Private labs have been diligent in reporting positive COVID-19 tests throughout this pandemic in Oklahoma, but it was critical to also receive their negative numbers to understand the full scope of testing. We appreciate the strong partnership of Oklahoma’s private labs that are processing significant volumes of COVID-19 tests on a daily basis.”

Last week, Commissioner Cox issued a letter to remind private labs that the state had designated COVID-19 in early March a disease that is immediately reportable to OSDH. In his letter, Commissioner Cox urged private labs to comply with state statute by reporting both positive COVID-19 test results and negative COVID-19 test results to ensure the agency has the full picture of the virus’ impact in Oklahoma.

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Monday, April 6, 2020, 1:43 PM

Muskogee Police were called to 821 N. York Street on last Wednesday around 8 a.m. in response to a threatening cough, according to reports and police spokeswoman Lynn Hamlin.

The victim reported being “coughed on in a threatening manner,” the report states.

No one has been arrested, Hamlin said, but the case is being investigated.

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Monday, April 6, 2020, 12:41 PM

The Oklahoma State Department of Health received more than 6,000 additional negative coronavirus test results from private labs over the weekend, bringing the total negative number of negative tests to more than 7,100.

Today, there are 1,327 positive tests in the state and 51 deaths. Muskogee County remains at 20 positive tests, with two deaths.

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Monday, April 6, 2020, 8:41 AM

In an effort to prepare for medical surge and prolonged response to COVID-19 in the state, the Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps s recruiting volunteers to serve in medical and non-medical positions.

Lezlie Carter, OKMRC state coordinator, said volunteers are needed to serve in multiple capacities, but there is an increased need for those with medical training. Licensed medical professionals may be needed to assist with triage, supplementing hospital personnel, monitoring critical patients, assisting with transporting patients and providing critical care in the field.

“We are preparing for a surge to our state’s medical system,” said Carter. “It is important for us to begin processing new volunteers now so they are properly registered and trained for their role within the OKMRC.”

Other functions include specialty services such as the Stress Response Team where licensed mental health professionals provide behavioral and emotional support at hospitals, shelters, phone banks, community outreach teams, first responders and more.

Volunteers without medical training are needed for warehouse support, record keeping and administrative duties. All volunteers must be at least 18 years of age, live or work in Oklahoma, agree to a comprehensive background check and complete the OKMRC training.

Coordinated through the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), the OKMRC is the state’s only medical and public health volunteer program comprised of specialty teams and county units operating under the authority of local county health departments. The program has an established system to identify, train and organize medical and public health professionals, as well as volunteers from the public to supplement and support ongoing response operations and personnel.

The concept of the Medical Reserve Corps was created in 2002 after many Americans wanted to know how to help with the recovery efforts from Sept. 11, 2001. It has since evolved into a nationwide program.

To volunteer or to learn more about OKMRC functions, visit okmrc.org.

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Saturday, April 4, 2020, 11:55 AM

IMPORTANT NOTE: The numbers in this story have been revised according to new numbers provided by the department of health. Over the April 4 weekend, private labs returned more than 6,000 negative test results. See the story here.

Oklahoma has given 2,521 tests for coronavirus to date, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. Of those, 1,159 have been positive, and only 1,362 have been negative, meaning almost half of all tests have been positive for the disease.

In the state, 42 people have died from the virus, in Muskogee County, two have died, though 17 have tested positive. In the state, nearly 4 percent of everyone who has tested positive has died. By comparison, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the flu kills 1/10 of one percent of its victims, meaning of 100 people infected, less than one person will die. It would take 1,000 infections for one person to die. According to the World Health Organization, Coronavirus kills 3 percent of its victims, meaning 3 out of every 100 infections will die, or 30 out of every thousand.

In Muskogee County, nearly 11 percent of everyone who has tested positive for the disease has died — although the sample size is too small to produce a statistically significant result, with only two deaths.

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Friday, April 3, 2020, 3:10 PM

The Cherokee Nation has distributed more than 1,500 food packages to help more than 4,000 elderly and disabled Cherokees have plenty of food as they stay indoors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cherokee Nation used emergency funds of more than $350,000 approved last year by Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.’s administration and the Council of the Cherokee Nation to purchase the food items, and also cleared the shelves of casino pantries to help solve food insecurities.

“As the COVID-19 virus makes its way to the Cherokee Nation, it is our top priority to ensure our citizens are taken care of, especially the more vulnerable population such as our elders and the disabled. With this emergency food for elders project that we established with our emergency funds, we can ensure food is not a worry for them,” said Chief Hoskin. “We have already taken several steps to keep our community safe and we will continue to work on additional ways to make a difference. As a community, we will get through this challenging time together.”

The Cherokee Nation developed the emergency food for elders program to offset food insecurity issues for the elderly and disabled who are not already be on the tribe’s Food Distribution Program list. The initiative included partnering with more than 30 Cherokee Nation affiliated community organizations and non-profits across the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction. Each organization is charged with identifying its vulnerable population, with the elderly and disabled first on the list to receive the food packages.

Before food is distributed by community groups, the food packages are assembled, loaded and delivered by a team of Cherokee Nation and Cherokee Nation Businesses employee volunteers who were trained on food handling safety. Efforts have included the packaging and distribution of more than 20,000 pounds of flour, 37,000 pounds of green beans and 47,000 apples.

“One of the best things we can do right now to help people is to address food security. We are trying to take all the action we can within our financial resources and trying to mitigate the circumstance that some may be faced with, like where they will be getting their next meal,” said Deputy Principal Chief Bryan Warner. “As Cherokees, we are always coming together to help one another, and I can’t say enough to the volunteers and the people who have been on the frontlines and behind the scenes, our community organizations, and our food distribution sites that continue to help people during tough times like this.”

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Friday, April 3, 2020, 10:32 AM

Barry Love, owner of Love Bottling in Muskogee, has passed away, according to family and friends.

Love’s body was found at his home by a friend.

He was a major philanthropist for northeastern Oklahoma, but mainly for Muskogee, supporting numerous charities and needy families.

The cause of his death has not yet been determined.

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Friday, April 3, 2020, 10:17 AM

Attorney General Mike Hunter today issued a warning about potential fraud to Oklahomans awaiting their economic impact payments from the federal government.

The economic impact payments are part of the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Signed by Pres. Donald Trump in March, the act included funding for emergency assistance to Americans and businesses financially struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Attorney General Hunter said the economic impact payments provide much-needed relief for those struggling, but create another opportunity for scammers attempting to cash in or steal identities.

“The majority of individuals who qualify for the one-time payment don’t have to do anything except wait for the money to be deposited in their bank accounts or checks will come in the mail,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Although some details are still being finalized, I encourage Oklahomans to stay patient. Only get information from trusted sources, ignore text messages or emails claiming to expedite the process and contact my office about any suspicious offers. Regrettably, these scams, and more, are already beginning to surface. Oklahomans who are anxiously awaiting this money must, nevertheless, be on high alert.”

On Monday, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service announced the distribution of payments will begin in the next three weeks. The payments will be automatically delivered, with no action required for most individuals. However, some taxpayers who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive a payment.

To learn about eligibility and review more resources on Coronavirus tax relief, visit: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus.

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Friday, April 3, 2020, 7:59 AM

A man and woman were hurt in a wreck on the Muskogee Turnpike yesterday afternoon, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Lindsey Winn, 24, of Tulsa was driving a 2007 Honda Ridgeline northbound on the turnpike about six miles north of Webbers Falls at 3:14 p.m. “at a high rate of speed” when her vehicle ran into the back of a 2011 Chevrolet Silverado driven by a 19-year-old from Haskell, the patrol reported. After striking the pickup, the SUV left the roadway to the left, struck a cable barrier and returned to the roadway, striking a Ford Explorer, then rolling and coming to rest on its top.

Winn was transported by helicopter to Saint John’s Hospital in Tulsa with internal injuries. She was admitted in stable condition. Her passenger, Kevin Worden, 42, of Fort Smith was transported to Muskogee’s Saint Francis Hospital by Muskogee County EMS. He was admitted in stable condition with internal injuries.

Neither Winn nor Worden were wearing seatbelts.

None of the other people involved were injured.

Unsafe speed was cited as the cause of the wreck.

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Thursday, April 2, 2020, 2:38 PM

The Muskogee County Health Department will provide COVID-19 testing in the city of Muskogee at Honor Heights Park on Monday, April 6 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., by appointment only.

To schedule an appointment, call 918.912.2160, before 4:30 pm Friday April 3rd. In order to be tested you must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age or older AND
  • Have a fever of 100.4 or greater OR a cough OR shortness of breath OR
  • Be a direct contact of a confirmed positive COVID-19 case.

One person per household will be tested.

Only those with appointments should attend.

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Thursday, April 2, 2020, 11:46 AM

Two people in Muskogee County have now died from the coronavirus, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. Fifteen have had positive tests for the virus.

Statewide, 879 people have tested positive for the virus and 34 have perished.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. While roughly 80 percent of cases report mild symptoms, some progress into severe pneumonia and multi-organ failure and can led to death, the department stated. Current data indicate the risk of death for those contracting COVID-19 notably increases for individuals above the age of 60 or for individuals with autoimmune conditions.

The state is still struggling with a critical lack of available tests for the virus, meaning there are likely many more cases here.

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Thursday, April 2, 2020, 7:28 AM

Jeffrey Berryman

NOTE: This story contains adult language.

Jeffrey Lynn Berryman, 55, of Muskogee is charged in Muskogee County District Court with placing a threatening phone call after he allegedly texted his estranged wife about his suspicions she might be seeing another man.

“Let me catch you with another man and I’m going to walk up to him and blow his fucking nuts off,” one text read, according to prosecutors.

“Fuck you I’m coming after your fucking ass bitch I’m going to get you mf,” another allegedly read.

“You ain’t seen fear yet bitch I’m going to hunt you down like a fucking dog bitch and get your mf ass done,” a third read, documents filed with the case state.

The couple are separated and living in separate residences.

A warrant has been issued for Berryman’s arrest.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 10:37 AM

Muskogee County now has 13 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and one death.

The state’s total is now 665 719 total cases. There have been 30 deaths.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 8:24 AM

Paper Transport Inc., a trucking company that specializes in trucking paper products such as toilet paper, has a hub in Muskogee, where it services the Georgia-Pacific mill here.

Its president, Jeff Shefchik announced that the company is donating half of its proceeds — $100,000 minimum — to victims of the coronavirus in the communities it serves.

“We know what our role is as a trucking company: Keep America Moving,” Shefchik said. “Every day we pick this country up and we deliver it back to itself. We’ve got to make sure we keep doing our job because we’ve got America’s back and sometimes their backside too.”

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Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 7:41 PM

The Castle of Muskogee announced just now that it is canceling the 2020 Renaissance Festival in order to “flatten the curve” for the coronavirus.

“Our first concern is the safety of guests, merchants, entertainers and team members,” a release states. “We want to allow those who would make the journey the opportunity to stay home and mitigate additional risk.”

The Castle is planning to be open when fireworks season starts.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 10:33 AM

Muskogee County has registered its first death due to coronavirus, though the health department is not releasing any further details than that.

So far, 23 people have died in the state from the virus’s effects, with 565 confirmed cases today.

If we hear more about the death, we will report it here.

Doctors recommend not touching anyone, but if you have to, wash your hands with soap and water - or use sanitizer - and don’t touch your face. Transmission through the air or from surfaces is possible but unlikely. Stay at least six feet away from other people, and wash and sanitize your hands after touching any surfaces before you touch your face.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 6:47 AM

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections continues working to keep COVID-19 out of facilities. This includes finding innovative ways to protect staff, inmates and Oklahomans.

Basic guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and Oklahoma State Department of Health stress the importance of frequent hand-washing. To help inmates follow that critical advice, ODOC is providing free bars of antibacterial soap.

This development is thanks to Keefe Group, a state vendor which has agreed to donate 25,000 bars of soap.

“I appreciate the cooperative and generous spirit of this donation by the Keefe Group,” ODOC Director Scott Crow said. “This national emergency is a time when we see the best in people. Keefe has risen to the occasion, boosting our efforts to protect the men and women in our custody.”

Each bar should last two weeks, on average. After those two weeks, ODOC will buy more bars as needed at a lower price set by Keefe.

Previously, free soap was only available to inmates deemed “indigent” under the agency’s Offender Banking policy, OP-120230.

The new bars will arrive in state facilities on Monday. Staff will them distribute them to all state inmates, who can keep them in their cells or among their personal property.

For additional information on how ODOC is keeping COVID-19 out of prisons, go to doc.ok.gov or follow agency social media on Twitter and Facebook. Also, the 24-hour ODOC COVID-19 Update Line – 405-425-2556 – has daily updated information on the pandemic and the agency’s response.

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Monday, March 30, 2020, 9:22 AM

An area mother, who asked to remain unnamed, has two children exhibiting all the signs of coronavirus disease according to the CDC website:

  • dry cough
  • fever
  • shortness of breath

She took the children to Saint Francis Hospital in Muskogee and asked if they could be tested for the virus. Instead, she was told, the children couldn’t be tested because they were not in one of the most at-risk groups: the elderly or those with serious underlying health issues.

The mother says she was told to take the children home and quarantine with them instead. A nurse at the hospital, she said, told her the children likely do have the virus, but “because she is young, they aren’t worried about her. Those were her exact words.”

She says she called the Wagoner hospital and was told something similar: that symptoms had to be much more severe to warrant a test.

“I don’t want to wait until she can’t breathe at all,” the mother said. “She is coughing so hard that she can’t breathe.”

Saint Francis Hospital has not yet returned calls for comment.

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Monday, March 30, 2020, 7:53 AM

Michael Mahan

Muskogee County Undersheriff Michael Mahan announced yesterday that he is running for the office of Sheriff.

Mahan has served in law enforcement since 1991 as a Muskogee Police reserve officer, then police officer — during which he served as the public information officer, community relations officer and sergeant in the patrol division — and from 2018 to the present as chief deputy and undersheriff of the Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office.

He will face Muskogee Police Lieutenant Andy Simmons in the Republican primary, and possibly face former Sheriff Charles Pearson, who has said he is running but has not officially declared his candidacy, in the general election. More candidates are likely to file in the race to replace former Sheriff Rob Frazier, who quit to become Fort Gibson’s police chief. Current Sheriff Terry Freeman has said he will not run for the office.

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Monday, March 30, 2020, 7:48 AM

A head-on collision yesterday afternoon on US 266 near Hitchita killed two people and critically injured three others, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Courtney Stanton, 28 of Morris was driving on the highway closely behind another vehicle when her 2016 Chevrolet Equinox went left of center for some unknown reason and collided with a 2006 Volkswagen Jetta driven by Erwin Christensen, 62, of Bristow, who was coming the other way with his wife, Janet, also 62, as a passenger. Both were pronounced dead at the scene from massive injuries.

Stanton and two female passengers, 4 and 3 years old, were flown to Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa with critical trunk, internal and head injuries.

The condition of Stanton is under investigation and officers do not yet know why she veered left of center. All parties were wearing seatbelts except for Stanton.

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Saturday, March 28, 2020, 10:15 AM

Dr. Tom Coburn, 72, of Muskogee, who served as a US Congressman and then a Senator for 15 years, died last night, his family announced, after a long fight with prostate cancer.

Coburn had battled cancer before numerous times.

The Muskogee native earned a national reputation and a symbol of determination to block bills in the Senate that he felt went against his constituents’ best interests, earning the nickname “Dr. No” as he blocked bill after bill, more than any other senator, according to the New York Times.

A fiscal and moral conservative, Coburn had no problems lashing out at both sides of the aisle when he felt they were frivolously spending the taxpayers’ money.

Coburn married his wife, the former Carolyn Denton, a graduate of Oklahoma State University and a one-time Miss Oklahoma, in 1968. They had three daughters, Callie, Katie and Sarah, who is an accomplished opera singer.

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Friday, March 27, 2020, 4:35 PM

An undetermined number of inmates are being released at the Muskogee County jail to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Sheriff Terry Freeman and District Attorney Orvil Loge said just now.

The exact number is not yet available, but there are criteria by which the pair are deciding who to release.

“We are trying to release as many non-violent suspects as we can,” Loge said. “And we are looking at people who are close to doing their time in the jail, we are trying to give them credit and release them.”

Freeman said the safety and health of inmates and jailers is of paramount importance, which is part of the reason for the mass release.

“We are also looking at people who have been sentenced to serve time in the jail,” Loge said. “If they just started their sentences, we are releasing them until May 1 or June 1, when they will come back to finish their sentences.”

When a list of inmates released is available, we will publish it here.

UPDATE: Freeman said 81 inmates have been released from last Friday until yesterday; none were released today.

“Any more releases will come a lot slower from here on.”

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Friday, March 27, 2020, 12:27 PM

Three hundred and twenty-two people in Oklahoma are now positive for the coronavirus, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. Eight have died.

Muskogee County’s case count rose one overnight to five.

Oklahoma and Tulsa counties still lead the case count, with 94 and 49 respectively, and those older than 65 still lead with 115 cases.

Cases have been confirmed in 38 of Oklahoma’s 77 counties.

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Friday, March 27, 2020, 12:23 PM

James Kelton, 64, of Muskogee was killed early this morning in a collision with a deer, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

At 4:52 a.m., Kelton was eastbound on Fern Mountain Road, 100 feet west of 45th Street, when a deer hit him, throwing him from the 1987 Honda Goldwing he was riding.

Kelton was pronounced deceased at the scene by Muskogee County EMS. He was not wearing a helmet.

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Friday, March 27, 2020, 12:09 PM

The Muskogee Police Department released the following information about a police officer who has tested positive for COVID-19:

On 03-26-20 we received notice from the Muskogee County Health Department that one of our officers tested positive for COVID-19. The officer became ill with flu like symptoms last weekend and immediately self-quarantined at home where they have remained since that time. The officer is doing better and seems to be on the recovery side of the illness.

Our department had already planned for this exact scenario and that plan was implemented immediately. An investigation was conducted into the contacts the infected officer had with other officers and citizens, as recommended by the state health department. This is a confidential health matter so we are not giving any names of the officers involved. We can assure you that all officers and citizens that needed to be notified have already been contacted by our department and/or health department officials.

As a result of this plan there were four officers that were in close proximity for an extended period of time and are now isolated at home for 14 days from the time of that contact. Those four officers do not have any symptoms and they are considered a low risk according to the health department. They are monitoring their own health and will notify the department should they start to feel any symptoms so that further precautions can be followed.

Based on the anticipated spread of COVID-19, new procedures were already in place. We want to assure our community and our employees that we have taken and are taking every precaution we can in accordance with the guidelines of the state health department and the CDC. We continually monitor new guidelines and are adjusting procedures as necessary.

The affected officer will be back to work after they have been symptom free for 72 hours without any medication. The four quarantined officers, if they remain unaffected and symptom free, will return to duty following their 14 day isolation.

Our officers are on the front line every day dealing with this pandemic and we want to keep them as safe as possible so they can continue to serve the citizens they swore to protect. This is a reminder of our response procedures that we sent out to the public on March 17th:

If you call the Muskogee Police Department for service, and a current member of your household has been traveling, quarantined, or is displaying signs of respiratory illness to include fever, cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing, PLEASE NOTIFY THE DISPATCHER so our officers can utilize the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) when responding to the call.

If you call us for service, our officers will request to speak with you outside the residence to gather the proper information. Officers have been instructed to keep a minimum of 6 feet while interviewing everyone when possible. This is in accordance with the Center for Disease Control (CDC). We ask that the public utilize this universal precaution as well.

Please DO NOT come to the Muskogee Police Department if you are sick. If you need to make a report, it will be done over the phone.

Please rest assured that in an emergency situation, you will receive immediate response from the Muskogee Police Department.

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