bosslady

DEATHS

Anthony "Pee Wee" Roberts, 33

Born September 13, 1987

Died May 5, 2021

Mary J. Risor, 77

Born September 2, 1943

Died May 5, 2021

Bob Hutson, 70

Born August 14, 1950

Died May 5, 2021

Billy Monroe Sampson, 71

Born July 9, 1949

Died May 5, 2021

Shirley Wainman, 85

Born January 28, 1936

Died May 5, 2021

CLICK TO SEE MORE >>

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

THINGS TO DO

Saturday, May 8

Live Music

Sunday, May 9

The Break Mother's Day Specials

Friday, May 7, 2021, 8:22 AM

The governor has given final approval to Senate Bill 8, which will officially designate the route that largely follows State Highway 69 as the “Historic Jefferson Highway Route,” named after former President Thomas Jefferson. The measure was authored by Sen. Micheal Bergstrom, R-Adair.

The Jefferson Highway is the oldest highway to pass through Oklahoma, spanning from the Kansas to Texas borders. It passes directly through Muskogee, designated by “JH” signs. Nationally, the Jefferson Highway was one of the earliest in the country, completed nearly a decade before Route 66. Originally established in 1915, the route cut through the heart of the Louisiana Purchase Territory and covered 2,300 miles from Winnipeg, Canada to New Orleans.

The entire historic route, including the portion cutting through the state, has recently been reidentified by the reformed Jefferson Highway Association organization.

Under the bill, any costs associated with official signage may be provided by private sources, and permanent markers will be designed in consultation with the Jefferson Highway Association.

Rep. Avery Frix, R-Muskogee, carried the measure in the House.

“I’m excited to see Senate Bill 8 signed into law,” Frix said. “This highway has been a big tourist attraction recently, and we’re hoping with the designation of this artery as the Historic Jefferson Highway this will be something similar to what has been done with Historic Route 66.”

The measure will go into effect on Nov. 1 of this year.

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Thursday, May 6, 2021, 7:42 AM

Leroy Jemol Smith

Leroy Jemol Smith is legally a free man after a McAlester judge ruled that trying him for a string of four rapes in Muskogee in the 1990s is akin to double jeopardy, and thus unconstitutional.

Smith, 51, was allegedly matched to five rapes in Muskogee last year by DNA evidence that had previously been unaccessible technologically. Though Oklahoma’s statute of limitations had already expired, an exemption for newly-accessible DNA evidence allowed prosecution to go forward. Smith, however, had become a member of an Indian tribe in 2003 with 1/168th quantum, and filed a McGirt motion to dismiss for lack of state jurisdiction. That motion was granted by Judge Robin Adair. The case then went to federal court, which has jurisdiction over crimes involving Natives.

Judge Ron White dismissed the case because the federal government has no exemption on its statute of limitations for DNA evidence.

Muskogee County DA Orvil Loge filed a new state case against Smith, alleging that since Smith was not a member of a tribe until long after the rapes, he did not qualify for McGirt.

Pittsburg County Judge Tim Mills ruled yesterday that Smith cannot be prosecuted by the state for the rapes because it amounted to res judicata - double jeopardy.

The state could still prosecute Smith if a new victim with accompanying DNA evidence turns up, but short of that, Smith, who also walked away from a Tulsa murder charge on a technicality, is a free man.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1620304137.JPG https://muskogeenow.com/alleged-serial-rapist-to-go-free--again

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Wednesday, May 5, 2021, 4:50 PM

Cory Rone is taken into custody.

Cory Rone, who is accused of escaping custody at the Muskogee County Courthouse last week, seriously injuring a deputy as he fled, is back in custody just now.

Attorney Steve Money turned Rone in just now to Sheriff Andy Simmons.

Rone allegedly caused the deputy to lose part of an ear. He purportedly told confidantes that he missed a court date because of miscommunication with his former attorney.

Officers searching for him over the weekend declared a house where he had formerly lived a crime scene, and officers also launched a raid at an area motel that turned up to be a dead end.

“Mr. Rone is innocent until he is proven guilty,” Money said just now. “It was nice to work with the sheriff to get this done in a safe manner. I appreciate them facilitating this, given the alleged circumstances last week.”

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Wednesday, May 5, 2021, 9:43 AM

The Papilion in Honor Heights Park, a seasonal teaching garden and open-air butterfly house, opens the 2021 butterfly garden season on Saturday, May 8th, according to Katherine Coburn, manager.

“In its ninth season, the Papilion is open daily and allows visitors an up-close and personal experience with these winged wonders,” she said. Displaying up to 26 varieties of butterflies native to the southeast United States, the Papilion is currently the only captive butterfly house in Oklahoma. A chrysalis house provides the opportunity to see butterflies hatching daily.

The teaching garden’s 10 raised beds are themed displays that change annually. Border beds are full of both butterfly nectar and host plants and attract countless native butterflies in the area. A children’s garden area offers a sensory garden atmosphere with musical instruments, vegetables, herbs and colorful flowers.

With an adjacent splash pad, children’s playground, paved sidewalks and trails throughout the park, a trip to Honor Heights Park offers the perfect family outing, Coburn said.

Admission is free to all mothers on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 9. A minimal admission fee to the Papilion helps offset butterfly costs: adults-$3; children/seniors over 65/military-$2.

The Papilion is open on Sundays from 1-4 p. m. and Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

For additional information: www.cityofmuskogee.com, MuskogeeParks.org, The Papilion office-918.684.6303 and Facebook: Butterfly Papilion at Honor Heights. .

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Tuesday, May 4, 2021, 10:12 PM

Saint Francis hospitals have decided to move away from Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

As of July 29, the Muskogee and Tulsa hospital systems will no longer be in-network for the insurance provider.

Hundreds, possibly thousands, of Muskogeeans use Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

https://muskogeenow.com/muskogeenow.png https://muskogeenow.com/saint-francis-no-longer-in-network-for-blue-cross

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Tuesday, May 4, 2021, 9:01 AM

If there are backroom deals going on in city board meetings, the city council certainly can’t be bothered to find out.

That’s the impression it gave last night when a motion to allow council members to attend executive sessions of city board meetings by Ward 4 Councilor Traci McGee died without a second from any other board member.

The motion would have made council members ex officio of all city boards, which would allow them to attend executive sessions. Though state legislators have that ability, city councilors are currently barred from attending city board executive sessions.

“That’s where the real decisions are being made for the city,” McGee said. “Unelected people making decisions while the people elected to run this city can’t go in to see how those decisions are being made.”

Asked why any councilor wouldn’t want to allow councilors more access to information about how decisions affecting Muskogee are made, Councilman Ivory Vann said he failed to second the motion because he knew the vote would fail and “I didn’t want to see them shoot Traci down.”

Vann said if the motion is brought up again, he will second it, which would force councilors who vote nay to go on record as opposing transparency in government.

Evelyn Hibbs, the only other councilor who responded to messages for comment, said she would explain today why she didn’t second the motion.

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Monday, May 3, 2021, 8:55 AM

“Backroom politics” is alive and well in Muskogee, according to at least one city councilor. Council members are currently forbidden from attending executive sessions of city boards - whose members are not elected by the people, but whose decisions affect the city and its residents.

State law allows legislators to attend executive sessions, but there is currently no provision allowing city councilors to attend.

Councilor Traci McGee introduced an ordinance that will be voted on at tonight’s council meeting which would allow councilors to attend the executive sessions of boards affecting the city.

“Those boards are the real power in Muskogee,” she said, and the unelected board members decide serious and pressing issues without input from the council.

The proposal would make councilors ex officio members of all city boards, a fancy way of saying they can’t be barred from executive sessions, as they currently are.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1620050046.jpeg https://muskogeenow.com/city-council-to-vote-tonight-to-allow-council-members-to-attend-boards-executive-sessions

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Monday, May 3, 2021, 7:46 AM

Jeania K. Capps, 43, of Wagoner died early this morning in a single-vehicle wreck northeast of Okay, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported.

Capps was driving a 2008 Honda Element at the intersection of N. 55th East and East 95th Street North around midnight when her vehicle departed the road to the left and struck a tree. She was pinned in the vehicle for 51 minutes before being extricated by Wagoner Fire. She was pronounced dead at the scene from massive injuries.

Capps’ condition at the time of the wreck is unknown. She was not wearing a seatbelt. Airbags did deploy.

https://muskogeenow.com/muskogeenow.png https://muskogeenow.com/okay-woman-dies-in-single-vehicle-crash

steve money

Sunday, May 2, 2021, 7:50 PM

President Joe Biden offered the following statement on the remembrance of Tom Coburn a year after his death:

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1620002996.jpeg https://muskogeenow.com/president-biden-honors-muskogees-tom-coburn

3 rivers auto collision

Friday, April 30, 2021, 2:45 PM

Cory Rone

District Attorney Orvil Loge just issued the following statement:

A warrant for Cory Alan Rone has been issued for Escape from lawful Detention and Assault and Battery on a Police Officer. Mr. Rone appeared for Court hearing on Friday afternoon. The Court ordered him into Custody and he fled the Courthouse. He assaulted a Police Officer when exiting the Courthouse causing serious injury to the Officer. Rone is suspected of driving a Gray Ford Escort. Please contact Law Enforcement if anybody comes into contact with Mr. Rone.

Rone entered this gray car upon leaving the courthouse.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1619811859.jpeg https://muskogeenow.com/law-enforcement-searches-for-escaped-inmate-who-allegedly-assaulted-cop

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Friday, April 30, 2021, 10:26 AM

The driver of a 1999 Ford Explorer traveling west in the eastbound lane was killed when the vehicle struck an eastbound Subaru head-on yesterday just before noon on the Muskogee Turnpike, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

The driver of the Subaru was trapped in a flaming vehicle for 21 minutes, but sustained only minor injuries, the patrol reported. It was struck from behind by a 2018 Ram pickup and a Volvo semi, the patrol stated. Neither of those drivers nor a juvenile passenger in the pickup were hurt.

All of the eastbound vehicle occupants were wearing seatbelts. It is unknown if the Explorer driver was.

https://muskogeenow.com/muskogeenow.png https://muskogeenow.com/man-dies-in-four-vehicle-turnpike-wreck

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Wednesday, April 28, 2021, 9:34 AM

The 2021 Azalea Banner Auction is online and is live now. There will not be an in-person Azalea Banner Auction this year because of safety concerns.

There are 100 of the 24” by 36” banners painted by 100 different local artists. Pictures of the banners are online with the artists’ names. They will hang until the end of April on Honor Heights Drive, in Honor Heights Park, on Okmulgee from Main to Honor Heights Drive, and on Broadway from 5th Street to 12th Street.

The Azalea Banner Auction is online here. It will be open for bidding 24/7 through Friday, May 7. The Auction will end at 7 p.m. To bid, you’ll need to create an account or log in if you’ve already got an account from the Azalea Banner Auction last fall. Credit and debit cards are accepted.

Proceeds from the auction go to Muskogee Parks and Recreation ‘Park Development Fund’ and the Muskogee Art Guild. The theme this year was ‘People and Places of Muskogee’; or artists could use a spring or Azalea Festival theme.

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charlies chicken

Tuesday, April 27, 2021, 7:34 AM

LexisNexis Risk Solutions and the Muskogee Police Department today announced that the agency has deployed the LexisNexis® Desk Officer Reporting System (DORS). The community incident reporting solution provides a fast and efficient way for community members to report a variety of incidents such as vandalism, harassing phone calls, identity theft, theft, vehicle burglary, lost property and vehicle tampering to the police department via the Internet. The new capability will increase efficiencies within the police department while enhancing services to community members of Muskogee.

“As a department, we believe in working with the people we serve to build a community of the highest quality for present and future generations. We think that investing in technology, which gives our community members/citizens a better experience, is an important way to demonstrate our commitment,” said Chief Johnny Teehee.

The LexisNexis Desk Officer Reporting System enables fast and efficient online reporting, providing these additional benefits:

• Reduces officer response time by approximately 10 to 30 percent

• Generates more accurate reports

• Provides online access to citizens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

• Offers a web-based solution accessible on any Internet-enabled PC or mobile device

The online reporting system can be found on the City of Muskogee website. Select the police department and click on the online reporting tab.

http://www.cityofmuskogee.com/departments/police/report_a_crime.php

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firstar bank

Monday, April 26, 2021, 9:18 AM

Tim Allison

Tim Allison, a Muskogee pilot in a 1985 Piper PA-46-310P Malibu, a single engine aircraft that has a pressurized cabin and has the capacity for one pilot and five passengers, crashed in Arkansas on Friday. No one survived the crash, and officials are not releasing information on whether the craft was carrying passengers.

The plane left Muskogee’s Davis Field at 4:22 p.m. and according to the planes flight plan, was en route to Williston, Florida. The plane was scheduled to land at the Williston Municipal Airport at 9:19 p.m. Friday night, but it had not made its landing as scheduled and was overdue.

Radar showed the plane had ascended to 22,000 feet, then rapidly descended, circling before it disappeared off radar.

At approximately 11 a.m., the wreckage was found in the area of Dutch Creek Township and it was determined that their were no survivors. No cause has been determined for the crash.

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treasure chest

Saturday, April 24, 2021, 12:36 PM

One man is dead near the Webbers Falls lock and dam after police interacted with two men fishing, according to law enforcement personnel.

Police were dispatched to the dam, where two men were fishing, the source, who asked for anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media, said. During an unknown interaction, one of the fishermen was shot. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

More details coming.

This is a developing story. Some details may change.

UPDATE: Law enforcement sources say two officers approached the men to serve a warrant. One man allegedly pulled a gun and fired at officers, who returned fire, the source said.

The investigation is ongoing.

UPDATE: Benjamin Ray Ridley, 30, is the decedent.

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Friday, April 23, 2021, 10:45 AM

The Muskogee County Jail will relax its COVID-based felony-only admission restriction on May 3, Undersheriff Greg Martin said just now.

The sheriff met with police chiefs from Muskogee and surrounding towns today to discuss tensions that were developing around the jail rejecting misdemeanor inmates due to COVID precautions.

“We have a capacity of 284,” Martin said. “We are at 269 right now. We have agreements in place to send inmates to other counties before we reach capacity here, and we check that every day.”

Tensions arose late last month when Fort Gibson officers had brought a misdemeanor trespassing suspect, who was rejected by the jail.

“We want to work with our municipalities to accommodate them as best we can,” Martin said. “We shouldn’t have those situations anymore.”

COVID protocols are still in place at the jail, which is currently COVID-free. COVID-positive inmates will still be rejected, or if someone tests positive inside the jail, lockdown procedures will be triggered.

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speedway grille

Friday, April 23, 2021, 8:29 AM

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health will offer a first and second dose Moderna vaccination event to the general public age 18 and older.

What: Drive-through, first & second dose COVID-19 vaccination event

Who: Anyone 18 years and older

When: April 23 & 24, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Where: Tulsa’s Expo Square (River Spirit Expo Center) - 4145 E. 21st Street, Tulsa Okla.

How: Registrations to secure a vaccine are available through Friday. Drive-ups are welcome as long as vaccine supplies last. Individuals interested in registering for an appointment can visit www.creekhealth.org/covidvaccine or those wanting more information may call the Vaccine Information Line at (918) 758-3601.

More information about the Tribe’s COVID-19 response is available at www.creekhealth.org/covid

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Thursday, April 22, 2021, 7:50 AM

Anthony Mahee

Anthony Lee Mahee, 31, of Muskogee is charged with two felonies after he allegedly kidnapped and beat a Muskogee woman for two days, according to documents filed with the case.

Police say Mahee held the victim, beating her and strangling her, inside the house on Locust Street. Police were called when the woman almost escaped, being pulled back in through the front door, an affidavit states.

Mahee was previously convicted of domestic assault and battery in the presence of a minor in 2016, for which he received a one-year suspended sentence.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1619095439.jpeg https://muskogeenow.com/man-charged-with-kidnapping-beating-woman-for-two-days

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Wednesday, April 21, 2021, 8:04 AM

Jeffrey Dellinger

Jeffrey Dillinger, 54, of Springdale, Arkansas is charged with second-degree murder, DUI resulting in great bodily injury, and two counts of causing an accident without a license in a single-car wreck that killed one person and injured three, according to documents filed with the case.

Dellinger was the driver of a 2003 BMW that left the road on I40 and killed a woman named Valerie Blake. The wreck also injured Dellinger and two other passengers.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol filed an affidavit stating that Dellinger was intoxicated on prescription drugs and too impaired to drive. He also does not have a valid driver’s license, the patrol alleges.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1619009826.jpeg https://muskogeenow.com/man-charged-with-murder-in-car-wreck

locke law office

Tuesday, April 20, 2021, 8:13 AM

Oklahoma SB 2 passed the House and Senate in Oklahoma and now goes to the governor for final approval after the state House passed it yesterday with a vote of 73-19.

State Reps. Chris Sneed, R-Muskogee and Avery Frix, R-Muskogee, voted for the bill. Frix did not vote on the emergency clause of the bill due to prior obligations elsewhere.

The bill, which is listed as an emergency (mandating that it will go into effect as soon as the governor signs it), prohibits biological males from competing in female sports in any school in Oklahoma, from public schools to colleges and universities. Oklahoma is one of several states considering such laws. With no indication as to why it is an emergency, legislators appeared mostly split across party lines on the vote.

The bill could lead to the NCAA pulling some events from Oklahoma.

In a statement last week, the NCAA Board of Governors said it “firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports” and suggested the possibility of events being moved.

“When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected,” the statement said.

Oklahoma’s bill does not provide any mechanisms by which schools would be able to verify a student’s biological gender. Unlike some other states’ bills, Oklahoma’s does not provide for genital inspection of students. The bill also does not address intersex students, who are born with complete sets of both genders’ genitals.

The bill further does not provide penalties for failure to comply.

UPDATE: Frix sent the following statement;

An amendment was added to the bill requiring athletes or their parents to sign an affidavit to be filed with their school stating their biological sex identified on their original birth certificate. If a doctor listed a child as a hermaphrodite on their original birth certificate, that could be presented.

This bill is not about banning transgender athletes from participating in sports. It’s about having biological female athletes in Oklahoma preK-12 schools and colleges and universities participate only against biological females. Science shows that no matter how much testosterone suppression takes place, biological male bones are denser and muscles are larger.  Male hearts and lungs are also larger giving biological males an unfair advantage over biological female atheltes.

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Monday, April 19, 2021, 7:38 AM

The Cherokee Nation will unveil today the tribe’s first rural electric transit buses – among the first in the country – and first electric school bus, which is the first in the state, as part of its efforts to reduce the tribe’s carbon footprint.

The Cherokee Nation celebrates Earth Day by announcing several key initiatives with events planned each day next week.

Today at 12:30 p.m. at the Cherokee Casino Tahlequah electric bus charging station in the northeast parking lot, the announcement of the electric buses will be held.

“Reducing our carbon footprint and dependency on fossil fuels is a global problem but one that Cherokee Nation can help to solve,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “We are deeply committed to clean energy and sustainable community projects such as these that not only benefit our citizens and neighbors years into the future, but also make good economic sense and help our environment. Our goal is to reduce our carbon emissions 25 percent by 2027 and we will get there making more of these clean energy investments.”

The rural transit buses will take employees from Tahlequah to the Catoosa area and Stilwell to West Siloam Springs. The electric school bus is for student transportation at Sequoyah High School.

The week’s activities surrounding Earth Day include:

Tuesday, April 20 – The Bee Conservancy has awarded Cherokee Nation a grant for two pollinator houses to be erected at the tribe’s heirloom garden at 4 p.m. in Tahlequah, in addition to the 16 bee pollinator homes as part of the initiative of First Lady January Hoskin to boost the population of bee pollinators while improving the environment.

Wednesday, April 21 – An e-waste and battery recycling event will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. behind the Cherokee Nation W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex at 22361 S. Bald Hill Road in Tahlequah.

Thursday, April 22 on Earth Day —A solar panel roof installation will kick off at 1 p.m. at the Mid-County Community Building in the Peavine Community of Stilwell. Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. will also read an Earth Day proclamation that celebrates the tribe’s clean energy initiatives such as investing millions of dollars into sustainable communities by providing solar panel roofs at Cherokee community buildings to lower utility costs and provide renewable energy upgrades.

Friday, April 23 – A free, drive-through tree giveaway to hand out 500 trees on a first come, first serve basis will be held at the Cherokee Nation heirloom garden next to the Cherokee Nation Election Commission at 17763 S. Muskogee Ave. in Tahlequah from noon to 2 p.m.

https://muskogeenow.com/muskogeenow.png https://muskogeenow.com/tribe-celebrates-earth-day-week-with-electric-transit-bus-other-announcements-1618835913

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Monday, April 19, 2021, 7:38 AM

The Cherokee Nation will unveil today the tribe’s first rural electric transit buses – among the first in the country – and first electric school bus, which is the first in the state, as part of its efforts to reduce the tribe’s carbon footprint.

The Cherokee Nation celebrates Earth Day by announcing several key initiatives with events planned each day next week.

Today at 12:30 p.m. at the Cherokee Casino Tahlequah electric bus charging station in the northeast parking lot, the announcement of the electric buses will be held.

“Reducing our carbon footprint and dependency on fossil fuels is a global problem but one that Cherokee Nation can help to solve,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “We are deeply committed to clean energy and sustainable community projects such as these that not only benefit our citizens and neighbors years into the future, but also make good economic sense and help our environment. Our goal is to reduce our carbon emissions 25 percent by 2027 and we will get there making more of these clean energy investments.”

The rural transit buses will take employees from Tahlequah to the Catoosa area and Stilwell to West Siloam Springs. The electric school bus is for student transportation at Sequoyah High School.

The week’s activities surrounding Earth Day include:

Tuesday, April 20 – The Bee Conservancy has awarded Cherokee Nation a grant for two pollinator houses to be erected at the tribe’s heirloom garden at 4 p.m. in Tahlequah, in addition to the 16 bee pollinator homes as part of the initiative of First Lady January Hoskin to boost the population of bee pollinators while improving the environment.

Wednesday, April 21 – An e-waste and battery recycling event will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. behind the Cherokee Nation W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex at 22361 S. Bald Hill Road in Tahlequah.

Thursday, April 22 on Earth Day —A solar panel roof installation will kick off at 1 p.m. at the Mid-County Community Building in the Peavine Community of Stilwell. Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. will also read an Earth Day proclamation that celebrates the tribe’s clean energy initiatives such as investing millions of dollars into sustainable communities by providing solar panel roofs at Cherokee community buildings to lower utility costs and provide renewable energy upgrades.

Friday, April 23 – A free, drive-through tree giveaway to hand out 500 trees on a first come, first serve basis will be held at the Cherokee Nation heirloom garden next to the Cherokee Nation Election Commission at 17763 S. Muskogee Ave. in Tahlequah from noon to 2 p.m.

https://muskogeenow.com/muskogeenow.png https://muskogeenow.com/tribe-celebrates-earth-day-week-with-electric-transit-bus-other-announcements

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Friday, April 16, 2021, 8:05 AM

Attorney General Mike Hunter today released a statement after the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals granted a 45-day stay of the state’s case against death row inmate Shaun Bosse, while the attorney general’s office prepares to file a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court.

The ruling means Bosse will stay in state custody on Oklahoma death row, rather than be transferred to federal custody, which was previously mandated by the Court of Criminal Appeals.

The attorney general is arguing the state should have jurisdiction over Bosse, a non-Indian who murdered a Chickasaw family, and other non-Native Americans even if their crimes were committed on tribal reservation lands.

“I want to commend Solicitor General Mithun Mansinghani and Assistant Attorney General Caroline Hunt for their exceptional arguments in front of the court today,” Hunter said. “They illustrated precisely why a convicted murderer like Shaun Bosse should remain on Oklahoma death row, and why he doesn’t deserve the chance of a retrial. The 45-day stay will allow us time to file for a further stay from the U.S. Supreme Court so they have time to consider whether to grant us the opportunity to argue our case. The McGirt decision has created confusion across governments, and many unanswered questions that can only be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Attorneys with the Attorney General’s Office have already drafted the request for a further stay from the U.S. Supreme Court and plan to file it in the coming days.

It was unlikely Bosse would have been released even without the stay, since federal prosecutors have already filed murder charges against him.

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Friday, April 16, 2021, 8:05 AM

Attorney General Mike Hunter today released a statement after the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals granted a 45-day stay of the state’s case against death row inmate Shaun Bosse, while the attorney general’s office prepares to file a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court.

The ruling means Bosse will stay in state custody on Oklahoma death row, rather than be transferred to federal custody, which was previously mandated by the Court of Criminal Appeals.

The attorney general is arguing the state should have jurisdiction over Bosse, a non-Indian who murdered a Chickasaw family, and other non-Native Americans even if their crimes were committed on tribal reservation lands.

“I want to commend Solicitor General Mithun Mansinghani and Assistant Attorney General Caroline Hunt for their exceptional arguments in front of the court today,” Hunter said. “They illustrated precisely why a convicted murderer like Shaun Bosse should remain on Oklahoma death row, and why he doesn’t deserve the chance of a retrial. The 45-day stay will allow us time to file for a further stay from the U.S. Supreme Court so they have time to consider whether to grant us the opportunity to argue our case. The McGirt decision has created confusion across governments, and many unanswered questions that can only be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Attorneys with the Attorney General’s Office have already drafted the request for a further stay from the U.S. Supreme Court and plan to file it in the coming days.

It was unlikely Bosse would have been released even without the stay, since federal prosecutors have already filed murder charges against him.

https://muskogeenow.com/muskogeenow.png https://muskogeenow.com/state-court-stays-mcgirt-case-while-attorney-general-tries-to-get-supreme-court-to-change-its-mind

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Thursday, April 15, 2021, 8:35 AM

Cherokee Nation leaders gathered with community members in Bell on Wednesday to celebrate the official signing of the Wilma P. Mankiller and Charlie Soap Water Act, new legislation proposed by Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and unanimously approved by the Council of the Cherokee Nation earlier this week.

The act will inject at least $2 million in additional funding each year into the Cherokee Nation’s efforts at eliminating barriers to clean water access in the reservation. The act will also develop expert recommendations and help find solutions to remedy any deficiencies that negatively impact the health, safety and overall quality of life of Cherokee citizens.

“The Wilma P. Mankiller and Charlie Soap Water Act is a move in the right direction to ensure that everyone on the Cherokee Nation Reservation will be free of any barriers to accessing clean, safe water,” Chief Hoskin said. “Addressing individual and community infrastructure needs is critical. Although the Cherokee Nation invests substantial funding every year into improving water systems in Cherokee communities, we must expand our efforts and continue studying, identifying, and addressing the issues of our water systems. The Wilma P. Mankiller and Charlie Soap Water Act allows us to do that not only by identifying Cherokee citizens who continue to struggle with access to clean water, but by also providing the additional funding we need to ensure access to quality water systems for our Cherokee communities.”

The act is named in honor of former Principal Chief Wilma P. Mankiller and former Executive Director of Community Service Charlie Soap, who worked to create and improve water access in communities now serviced by the Cherry Tree Rural Water District, including the historic Bell water line in Adair County. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the historic Bell water line project, which Mankiller and Soap began planning as community organizers under the administration of former Principal Chief Ross Swimmer in 1981.

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Thursday, April 15, 2021, 8:35 AM

Cherokee Nation leaders gathered with community members in Bell on Wednesday to celebrate the official signing of the Wilma P. Mankiller and Charlie Soap Water Act, new legislation proposed by Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and unanimously approved by the Council of the Cherokee Nation earlier this week.

The act will inject at least $2 million in additional funding each year into the Cherokee Nation’s efforts at eliminating barriers to clean water access in the reservation. The act will also develop expert recommendations and help find solutions to remedy any deficiencies that negatively impact the health, safety and overall quality of life of Cherokee citizens.

“The Wilma P. Mankiller and Charlie Soap Water Act is a move in the right direction to ensure that everyone on the Cherokee Nation Reservation will be free of any barriers to accessing clean, safe water,” Chief Hoskin said. “Addressing individual and community infrastructure needs is critical. Although the Cherokee Nation invests substantial funding every year into improving water systems in Cherokee communities, we must expand our efforts and continue studying, identifying, and addressing the issues of our water systems. The Wilma P. Mankiller and Charlie Soap Water Act allows us to do that not only by identifying Cherokee citizens who continue to struggle with access to clean water, but by also providing the additional funding we need to ensure access to quality water systems for our Cherokee communities.”

The act is named in honor of former Principal Chief Wilma P. Mankiller and former Executive Director of Community Service Charlie Soap, who worked to create and improve water access in communities now serviced by the Cherry Tree Rural Water District, including the historic Bell water line in Adair County. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the historic Bell water line project, which Mankiller and Soap began planning as community organizers under the administration of former Principal Chief Ross Swimmer in 1981.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2021, 7:42 AM

Legislation filed in the Oklahoma Senate would help manage the financial burden facing ratepayers due to extreme price spikes in utility and energy bills in the wake of the February winter storm.

Through the process of securitization, Senate Bill 1049 and Senate Bill 1050 both would allow ratepayers to lower their monthly costs associated with the weather event and lengthen the period of time the increased costs could be paid out, said Sen. James Leewright, R-Bristow, chair of the Senate’s Business, Labor and Commerce Committee, and chair of the Senate Select Committee created to study this issue.

Leewright said it’s estimated that Oklahoma utility ratepayers are obligated for approximately $4.5 billion in increased energy costs associated with the February winter storm. Without action, ratepayers would face dramatic increases in their energy bills, and those bills would be due immediately in large sums.

“Doing nothing to help ratepayers manage that debt load is not an option. If we do nothing, families and seniors on fixed incomes could be faced with choosing between paying their February energy bill or paying for food and medicine,” Leewright said. “If we do nothing, small businesses could be forced to make layoffs or cutbacks to pay their energy bills. Securitization is the best path forward to help families manage the extreme costs related to the storm, and help small businesses manage the impact as they continue to recover from the pandemic.”

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Tuesday, April 13, 2021, 10:36 AM

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma announced that Kenneth Gene Morgan a.k.a Kenny Morgan of Muskogee, Oklahoma was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment and 3 years’ supervised release for Mail Fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341 and Tax Fraud, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7206(1). Morgan was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $442,883.66 to Direct Traffic Control, Inc. and restitution in the amount of $119,467.87 to the Internal Revenue Service. The charges arose from an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The Information to which Morgan entered a guilty plea alleged in Count One that from August 15, 2016 through on or about March 22, 2017, in the Eastern District of Oklahoma and elsewhere, Morgan devised a scheme to defraud Direct Traffic Control, Inc. by diverting insurance claim funds received by Direct Traffic Control, Inc. through the U.S. Mail into his personal bank account. Specifically, on February 15, 2017, Morgan knowingly took and received from an authorized depository for mail an envelope, containing a check in the amount of $303,619.55, addressed to Direct Traffic Control, Inc. and Kenny Morgan.

The Information further alleged that on or about April 15, 2018, in the Eastern District of Oklahoma and elsewhere, the defendant, willfully made and subscribed a false 2017 Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, which contained and was verified by a written declaration that it was made under the penalties of perjury, and which he did not believe to be true and correct as to every material matter, in that he knowingly reported Adjusted Gross Income of $176,564.00, whereas, he then and there knew that the Adjusted Gross Income failed to report approximately $208,563.35 of income.

Morgan was ordered to surrender to the United States Bureau of Prisons by noon on May 1, 2021 to begin serving his sentence of imprisonment at a facility to be designated by BOP.

The Honorable David C. Joseph, U.S. District Judge from the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, who is temporarily assigned to the Eastern District of Oklahoma, presided over the sentencing hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Douglas Horn represented the United States.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2021, 7:45 AM

The Senate gave final approval Monday to legislation that will help speed up the process of issuing and renewing commercial driver licenses (CDLs) in Oklahoma. Sen. Jessica Garvin, R-Duncan, is the principal Senate author of House Bill 1059 that she says addresses numerous problems that are bogging down tag agents and will bring the state in line with federal law.

“House Bill 1059 introduces several changes to help make the process of getting or renewing REAL ID compliant and non-compliant licenses, especially CDLs, more efficient by allowing tag agencies to process them rather than just the Department of Public Safety (DPS). This will help companies and industries get more drivers on the road while also reducing the number of people standing in lines at DPS,” Garvin said. “The pandemic and introducing REAL IDs have created a perfect storm that has overwhelmed DPS and tag agencies. These changes will help address some of the issues and help get licenses processed faster.”

HB 1059 removes provisions that currently allow commercial learner permit holders to take a CDL knowledge and skills test without training. This change reconciles state statute with federal law set to go into effect in 2022. The measure also authorizes local tag agencies to issue renewals, replacements, change of addresses, and downgrades of REAL ID compliant and non-compliant Class A, B or C licenses, making the process more efficient for customers. It authorizes agents to review identification documents for REAL ID compliant and non-compliant CDL’s. The bill further allows agents to issue a REAL ID compliant and non-compliant ID card to a customer even if their license is expired or suspended as long as they have an existing DPS driver license file. Currently, the requesting person must have a valid unexpired license to get an ID from an agent. Third Party Examiners (non-DPS CDL examiners) will be allowed to test anyone with a CDL permit whereas currently they can only administer drive tests to their own students. Finally, the bill removes the cap on fees designated examiners may charge to administer a Class D skills test.

The measure, by Rep. Brad Boles, R-Marlow, has the support of DPS and the State Chamber. It now goes to the governor’s desk for his final approval.

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Monday, April 12, 2021, 8:24 PM

Judge Robin Adair sustained Leroy Jemol Smith’s motion to dismiss four felony rape counts against him from the 1990s, conceding that legal issues surrounding his case were fodder for a higher court.

He overruled the district attorney’s argument that he could be tried for four rapes in Muskogee in the 1990s because he was not a member of an Indian tribe when the rapes were committed.

According to the DA, new DNA evidence identified Smith as the rapist, which allowed him to be tried for them, even after two decades. Smith, however, is registered 1/128th Indian, and registered with a tribe in 2003.

He was earlier released on a McGirt motion, then a federal judge ruled he could not be tried federally because the statute of limitations had expired. The chief of the Creek Nation vowed that the tribe would try him, but it never did.

Though Smith’s motion to dismiss the charges was sustained, today’s ruling will now be appealed by the state to a higher court.

He will not be released from jail.

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