Paul Edward Turley Sr, 80

Born April 24, 1938

Died September 19, 2018

Clentis Daniel Jarrard, 79

Born August 13, 1939

Died September 19, 2018

David P. Peters, 86

Born January 28, 1932

Died September 18, 2018


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


Monday, August 27, 2018, 1:00 PM

A man and a juvenile have been arrested in connection with a threat involving students at Porter Consolidated Schools, according to Wagoner County sheriff’s deputies.

Deputies responded Friday after a concerned student said two people were planning to commit an act of violence at the school in response to a social media post.

The suspects allegedly posted a photo on Instagram, holding what appeared to be a shotgun, and wrote “don’t think this is a threat, it’s a warning.”

Deputies arrested Dillan Lamb, along with a juvenile.

Deputies said the suspect was upset with the victim because the suspect had been caught smoking cigarettes by school staff.

Lamb is being held on a $100,000 bail.


Monday, August 27, 2018, 9:19 AM

Robert D. Golden, 29, of Tulsa has drowned on Lake Fort Gibson, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Golden was swimming at Cherokee Landing in Sequoyah State Park on Sunday around 4 p.m., according to the patrol. While attempting to swim across the cove, he went under water around halfway and never resurfaced.

Bystanders brought him to shore and began CPR until emergency workers could arrive. Golden was transported by Cherokee Nation EMS to Wagoner Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 5:10 p.m.

He was not using a personal flotation device.

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Friday, August 24, 2018, 8:19 AM

The family of a little girl who was horrifically injured at the Champions Daycare in Muskogee was shocked and upset to learn that the two workers who were suspended after the incident last week have returned to work, according to sources inside the investigation.

The family is also concerned about the extent of the girl’s damage.

“We are very concerned about permanent nerve damage,” the family’s attorney, Muskogee’s Steve Money, said today. “I do not buy the ‘kids bumped heads’ story, but our plan right now is to let DHS and the police complete their investigation and we will look at our options at that time.”

The girl’s lip was split completely open and her eye socket was broken at an incident at the daycare last week. The daycare’s operator would not comment on the incident and Muskogee police said DHS is investigating.

“On behalf of the family, I want to thank everyone for their great concern and support,” Money said. “Clearly this little girl suffered devastating injuries.”

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Thursday, August 23, 2018, 8:59 AM

Participants compete in the cornstalk shoot competition during the Traditional Native Games Championship qualifier.

Cherokee Nation’s 13th Annual Traditional Native Games Championship will be held Saturday at the Cherokee Nation One Fire Field, west of the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex in Tahlequah.

Native Games Championship

WHAT: 13th Annual Traditional Native Games Championship
WHEN: Saturday, Aug. 25 at 11 a.m.
WHERE: Cherokee Nation ONE FIRE Field
17675 S. Muskogee Ave.
Tahlequah, Oklahoma
WHO: Traditional Native Games Championship qualifiers

The championship games are part of the 66th Cherokee National Holiday and include cornstalk shoot, Cherokee marbles, chunkey, horseshoes, blow gun and hatchet throwing. Admission is free to the public to watch qualifiers compete in their respective games.

“All of our games are open to the public, and we encourage everyone to come and watch the action. Spectators and players will have a great time fellowshipping and observing the competitions,” said competition director Bayly Wright.

Start times for the games:

  • Cornstalk shoot – 8 a.m.
  • Cherokee marbles – 9 a.m.
  • Horseshoes – 9 a.m.
  • Hatchet-throwing – follows cornstalk shoot competition
  • Blow gun – 12:30 p.m.
  • Chunkey – 5:30 p.m.

The top three finishers in each division receive a cash award.

For more information, visit For questions, contact Wright at 918-822-2427 or

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018, 9:52 AM

Family and friends hosted a vigil for Kristyn Richerson on Aug. 18. Another is scheduled for the 25th.

A woman who has been missing since May isn’t forgotten, at least as far as her family and friends are concerned.

Kristyn Richerson’s fate has been the subject of a lot of police action, even briefly arresting two people of interest in what police considered to possibly be her murder.

Carl Bryce and Cody Ray Campbell were initially jailed in the case after police heard witnesses saying one of them had stabbed Richerson to death and buried the body. The pair were also alleged to have been selling and giving away Richerson’s property, and Bryce may have been the last person to have seen her alive en route to Rocklahoma in the spring. Richerson’s cell phone, however, never left Muskogee.

Police dug up a place in Richerson’s back yard and did discover bones, but they belonged to an animal.

On this Saturday, family and friends are hosting a vigil and fundraiser to gather reward money for information leading to Richerson’s whereabouts. The group will also print flyers, signs and car magnets, with the hopes that she is still alive and can be found.

The event happens at Yorktown Alley, 1227 N. York, at 8 p.m. The public is welcome.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018, 10:18 AM

The injuries to this girl's face will require plastic surgery to repair, according to those close to her.

A little girl was severely injured at a Muskogee daycare yesterday last week, with facial injuries that will require plastic surgery to repair, according to those close to the family. The girl’s eye socket is broken and her lip was split through.

The daycare, Champions Daycare inside the former building of The Cross Church of God at 306 S. B Street, is still open today and watching children.

The little girl was injured at this daycare.

According to sources inside the investigation, who asked to not be named publicly, the daycare’s representatives told investigators the girl “ran into another child,” which investigators think is an unlikely explanation for injuries of the severity she suffered.

Another source inside the investigation says two workers have been suspended. DHS, which is in charge of the investigation, is also in charge of the decision on whether to let the daycare remain open or not.

Opal Jimerson, who runs the daycare, called the girl’s parents saying she had a “busted lip” and was on her way to urgent care, according to an inside source who asked to not be named. The urgent care turned the girl away, telling daycare workers to take her to the hospital, because the injuries were too severe to be treated at an outpatient facility.

Asked this morning about the incident, Jimerson said she would need to contact her attorney. After speaking with her attorney, she said “we are going to do a no-comment.”

UPDATE: Muskogee Police Officer Lincoln Anderson confirmed two workers have been suspended.

“DHS is involved. Other than that, all I can release at this time is that it’s still under investigation.”

UPDATE: The injury occurred last week, not yesterday.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018, 9:29 AM

Jerome Deon Vann

Jerome Deon Vann, 33, of Muskogee is charged in Muskogee County District Court with a felony of lewd molestation and misdemeanor of threatening to perform an act of violence after an incident that allegedly occurred on July 15, according to documents filed with the case.

Vann was being booked into the Muskogee County Jail around noon when he allegedly reached into his jumpsuit and “fondled himself,” according to an affidavit filed with the case. A nurse was present at the time. Vann allegedly then stood up, bent over, got “very close” to the nurse and fondled himself while he “looked at the back end of” the nurse

That incident was captured on video, the affidavit states.

While being escorted to a jail pod, Jailer Steven Gilley said Vann told him, “I’m going to kill you,” and then told him to “step into the cell, you punk-ass bitch.”

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Monday, August 20, 2018, 10:42 AM

The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority has established a call center to answer questions about patient and business application processing and requirements for obtaining medical marijuana licenses.

A new phone number, (405) 522-6662, has been established to get information about the program. The OMMA call center is now available to answer questions from prospective patients, caregivers and businesses. Hours will be Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Staff will be trained to provide information on application instructions and licensure processes and timeframes.

“We have had a number of questions about requirements since the emergency rules were updated earlier this month and we now have staff in place to help interested parties understand the application process,” said OMMA project manager Buffy Heater. “This is another benchmark for establishing a new program and OMMA is pleased to begin providing this service to Oklahomans who are interested in obtaining a medical marijuana license.”

The online application system for licenses will be available on August 25 at 10 a.m. and applications can be submitted at that time for patient, caregiver, and business licenses.

Questions about the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority or the application process can also be directed to

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Monday, August 20, 2018, 9:11 AM

Less than a week remains for registered voters in Muskogee County to apply for absentee ballots to be mailed to them for the August 28 Federal and State Primary Run-Off Election, County Election Board Secretary Kelly Beach said.

Applications for absentee ballots must be in the hands of the County Election Board no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, August 22nd, to be processed.

Any registered voter eligible to vote in the election may vote by absentee ballot without stating a reason, Beach said. Absentee voters may apply in person at the County Election Board office or may send their applications by mail, fax, e-mail or online at Voters also may apply for absentee ballots for the following reasons:

  • Registered voters who are physically incapacitated and voters who care for physically incapacitated persons who cannot be left unattended may apply for absentee ballots only by mail, fax, e-mail, or via an agent who is at least 16 years of age and who is not employed by or related within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity to any person whose name appears on the ballot.
  • Registered voters who are confined to nursing homes in the county may apply by mail, by fax, by e-mail, or via an agent who is at least 16 years of age and who is not employed by or related within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity to any person whose name appears on the ballot.
  • Military personnel, residents of Muskogee County living overseas, and the spouses and dependents of each group may apply only by mail, by fax, or by e-mail. For more information and instructions, military and overseas voters may visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program website:

Early In-person Voting will begin Thursday August 23 at 8 am until 6 pm. Early voting will continue on Friday August 24 from 8 am to 6 pm and on Saturday August 25 from 9 am to 2 pm. For more information on absentee voting, contact the County Election Board at 400 W. Broadway St., Rm. 120. The telephone number is (918) 687-8151. The County Election Board’s fax number is (918) 687-0382 and the email address is

For additional election-related information, visit:

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Monday, August 20, 2018, 9:02 AM

Cherokee Nation and Fort Gibson leaders gathered last week for a ribbon cutting on the city’s new water treatment plant, which has up to twice the capacity of the previous facility and will provide service to nearly 5,000 residents, including 500 Native American homes.

Cherokee Nation partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Muskogee County officials and Fort Gibson municipal entities to develop the project, which had a price tag of more than $8 million. The tribe contributed $928,800 in Indian Health Service funds along with $50,000 from Cherokee Nation funds for engineering.

“This project is a great example of how a Cherokee Nation partnership can benefit an entire community for decades to come,” Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “I commend Cherokee Nation’s staff for working so closely with Fort Gibson leaders to ensure this project came to fruition.”

Fort Gibson’s water treatment plant serves Cherokee Nation citizens who live within the districts of Tribal Councilor Dr. Mike Dobbins, of Fort Gibson, and Tribal Councilor Rex Jordan, of Hulbert. Businesses, schools and several rural water districts are also served by the facility.

“I’m proud to see this project will help provide safe, clean water to thousands of people in and around Fort Gibson, including hundreds of Cherokee homes,” Dobbins said. “The investment in vital infrastructure also has the potential to usher in new development on the east side of Fort Gibson’s historic community. That growth would be wonderful for the community.”

Dobbins and Jordan attended Tuesday’s ceremony along with Hoskin and toured the facility to get a first-hand look at how water is treated and how modern technology improves the process.

“This new water treatment plant features state-of-the-art treatment technology and will clearly be vital to this community for years to come,” Councilor Jordan said. “It was an honor to get a first-hand look at the finished facility.”

The project included construction of five new buildings and a complete rehabilitation of the older, existing treatment facility.

“I believe Fort Gibson’s new water plant is so very important to the citizens of our town, as well as the neighboring water districts, because it ensures a better quality of water for all of us,” said Fort Gibson Mayor Myra Cookson. “I am extremely thankful for the patnership of the Cherokee Nation in this endeavor. I know a large portion of our town and surrounding areas are of Cherokee descent, my home included. It sure is nice that we all can work together for the betterment of our future – neighbors helping neighbors. Makes my heart happy.”

The new treatment plant in Fort Gibson has a maximum capacity of around 8 million gallons per day, about twice the capacity of the town’s older facility, though it is expected to average around 6 million gallons per day.

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Monday, August 20, 2018, 8:57 AM

Billie Joanne Payne-Boysel

Billie Payne, 39, of Muskogee is charged with three felony counts of child neglect in Muskogee County District Court after police say they found her children in a state of lack of medical care and hygiene. The children, 7, 5 and 4, were found on Aug. 17 around 3:15 p.m. at the Travel Inn motel on 32nd Street, with Boysel.

“The two female juveniles had their head(s) shaved because they had been treated for lice,” the responding police officer noted in an affidavit filed with the case. “The four-year-old’s head had bloody scabs all over it and she had red bumps all over her body caused by cellulitis. The five-year-old’s head also had bloody scabs on it and she also had red bumps.”

The third child had bumps and “MRSA,” according to the affidavit.

“The above defendant said she could not get the kids to the ER, and that she was going to try to get them seen ... the next day. The hospital is located directly behind the Travel Inn.”

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Monday, August 20, 2018, 8:32 AM

Two area men were hurt in a single-vehicle wreck on I40 just outside Checotah yesterday, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Walter Dill, 31, of Jay, was driving a 2004 Nissan Maxima eastbound on the interstate around 8 p.m., when the car veered off the roadway for unknown reasons, according to the patrol. The car slammed into an embankment, and a passenger, Sanders Mouse, 25, of Tahlequah, was pinned inside the vehicle for around 45 minutes, until he was freed.

Mouse was critically injured in the head and neck, and he and Dill were both transported to Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa by helicopter. Dill was also injured in the head. A second passenger was not injured in the wreck.

The condition of Dill and the cause of the wreck are still under investigation.

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Thursday, August 16, 2018, 2:15 PM

Muskogee-area musicians are getting together tonight at the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame to recognize the hard-working bands and solo acts that are working weekly to entertain Muskogee’s ears.

The Musicians Invitational Ceremony will be an open jam featuring many AMMP performers that were showcased this year.

The group will also recognize the passing of Gene Longcrier, a Muskogee bass guitarist who passed away this week after a long health battle.

The show is from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, 401 S 3rd St.

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Thursday, August 16, 2018, 8:50 AM

Dustin Daniels, 31, of Muskogee is charged in Muskogee County District Court with a felony of knowingly transmitting Human Immunodeficiency Virus, commonly known as HIV, the virus that causes AIDS - Acquired ImmunoDeficiency Syndrome.

On July 11, he is accused of intentionally having sexual intercourse with a female victim, whose name is being withheld, after knowing he was infected with the virus, but failing to disclose that information to her.

Oklahoma law states that an infected person knowingly transferring “the person’s own blood, bodily fluids ... (where) the other person has not been informed by the person that the person transferring such blood or fluids ... was a carrier of HIV” is a felony, punishable by five years imprisonment in state prison.

The encounter allegedly happened on Gibson Street, according to an affidavit filed with the case.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018, 10:15 AM

Ashley Nicole Beavers

Ashley Nicole Beavers, 26, of Muskogee is charged in Muskogee County District Court with a felony of third-degree arson for allegedly setting a man’s vehicle on fire, then with assault with a deadly weapon and and indecent exposure for events that allegedly happened the next day.

On Sunday of this week, Beavers is accused of setting fire to a 1998 Dodge Durango owned by Randolph Graves on Jackson street around 8:30 a.m. According to an affidavit filed with the case, Graves is Beavers’ brother.

Then, on Monday, she is alleged to have pulled a knife on Taloa Rodriguez around 1:15 a.m. on Columbus street during an altercation. According to the accusation, Beavers tried to stab Rodriguez and then swung the knife at her legs.

After that, she is alleged to have exposed her genitals during the same altercation.

Beavers has a long arrest history, from petit larceny to vandalism, domestic abuse and assault with a dangerous weapon, obstruction of police, threats to perform violent acts, public intoxication, possession of a controlled dangerous substance, obstruction of police, and assault and battery on an emergency medical technician.

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Friday, August 10, 2018, 9:44 AM

Muskogee’s Three Rivers Museum and Roxy Theater are set to host August’s Classic Movie Night at the Roxy Theater on Aug. 14. This month’s movie will be the 50th anniversary showing of 1968’s “Bullitt”, starring Steve McQueen. The action/crime movie is well known for its iconic car chase scene which was filmed with two classic muscle cars (a 1968 Ford Mustang and Charger) in real time on the streets of San Francisco.

Classic Movie Nights at the Roxy are hosted by Muskogee’s Three Rivers Museum and sponsored by Club Lunch, Station One and The Rail Taproom.

In addition to the showing of the movie, there will be other events and activities including a fundraising table with information and donation opportunities to help in the restoration of “Muskogee Unit 1” , a 1961 Plymouth Fury Police car that is currently under restoration for the community. Muscle Car enthusiasts are also being invited to bring their cars for a special designated parking area before the show starts as early as 5:30 p.m. Those that bring classic cars will be given priority, special seating for the movie and a special souvenir. A Muskogee Police Car will also be on hand for viewing and there will be other attractions including a trivia contest and drawing for a collector model of a 1968 Bullitt Mustang. A short video including the story of the finding of the original “Bullitt Mustang” will also be shown before the movie starts. Tickets are $5 per person and concessions will be available including a new popcorn recipe by the theater. Bullitt is rated “PG” and Parental Guidance is recommended for this movie showing.

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Thursday, August 9, 2018, 8:52 AM

“Okiepella Salutes America!” will be presented this Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in the sanctuary of Oasis Community Church, 800 W. Peak Boulevard. There is no admission price, but donations given will benefit The Barracks, a facility for homeless and transient veterans who will receive instructions on how to improve their lives, obtain veteran benefits and increase their employment skills.

Okiepella is an a cappella singing group from the Muskogee area, featuring the vocal talents of Peggy Harris, Stephanie Payne, Laurie Havron, Lisa Riley, Meaghan McCawley, Erin McCawley, Marsha Reynolds, Bert Luton, Loryn Tolbert, Jeremy Jones, Mike Dunn, Eddie Yadon, Ken Herringshaw, Steve Thomson, Tim Matthews, John David Luton and Doug Dubry. The group has been in existence for more than three years, and has performed benefit concerts for several Muskogee charities and organizations.

“Okiepella Salutes America!” is a celebration of our nation’s patriotic and folk music, woven together with narration presented by Muskogee dignitaries.  The two-act concert will have a 15-minute intermission with refreshments.

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Thursday, August 9, 2018, 8:47 AM

The Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System and Muskogee VA Regional Office will hold a Veteran Resource Fair on Wednesday, August 29.

The event will be held at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center in the auditorium from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The auditorium is on the second floor in the south end of the medical center.

Veterans and family members will have the opportunity to learn about VA benefits and services, and ask questions to Veterans Health Administration and Veterans Benefits Administration staff.

The resource fair is also open to the public, Congressional stakeholders, Veterans Service Organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations, and community partners.

No registration is required and the event is free to attend. The Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center is at 1011 Honor Heights Dr. in Muskogee.

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Thursday, August 9, 2018, 8:44 AM

Dozens of signs have been defaced in the area of County Line and Two Mile Road in Fort Gibson.

At the request of Commissioner Ken Doke, Sheriff Rob Frazier has agreed to offer a $500 reward for info leading to an arrest.

Please call the Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office with any information at 918-687-0202.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2018, 8:24 AM

Scotty Ellis's motorcycle lays in the road.

Scotty Ellis, 34, of Muskogee died Monday night after a motorcycle wreck on Harris Road, according to witnesses at the scene and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Ellis was driving a 2013 Yamaha FZ6 motorcycle westbound on Harris Road, at a “hight rate of speed,” around 9 p.m., the patrol reports. He lost control and laid the motorcycle over on the roadway, which threw him into oncoming traffic, the patrol reports. He was then struck by a 2015 Chevrolet Equinox driven by Mildred Hatley, 79, of Muskogee, which was traveling eastbound.

Ellis was pronounced dead at the scene. Hatley was not injured.

The patrol reported unsafe speed and inexperienced driver as causes of the wreck.

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Monday, August 6, 2018, 8:36 AM

Today Muskogee Police officers Spears and Standridge will be driving through different neighborhoods in town handing out food vouchers for back to school that were given to them by the Salvation Army.

The vouchers will be given out at random by the two officers.

They begin at 9 this morning and will continue until they have distributed all of the vouchers.

The vouchers are for families to buy groceries, according to Officer Lincoln Anderson.

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Monday, August 6, 2018, 7:42 AM

Cherokee Nation’s award-winning cultural tourism team is accepting grant applications for its education tours during the fall semester. The sponsored tours provide students an exclusive look at Cherokee Nation’s rich history and culture.

Grants are designated for grades third through sixth at elementary public schools within the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction. They are awarded in the fall and spring, on a first-come, first-served basis.

Three tour options are available:

Cherokee History Tour— Visit Tahlequah’s historic Capitol Square and Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum, Cherokee National Prison Museum, Murrell Home, Cherokee Heritage Center and ancient Cherokee village, Diligwa.

Will Rogers Tour— Visit the Will Rogers Memorial Museum and Dog Iron Ranch.

Civil War Tour— Visit Tahlequah’s historic Capitol Square, Murrell Home and Fort Gibson Historic Site.

Complimentary curriculum is provided to classrooms that receive the grant and is available to teachers upon registration. Curriculum includes a teacher’s guide to prepare students for the education tour as well as a student activity.

Minimum requirements for eligibility for schools include being located within the Cherokee Nation’s 14-county jurisdiction, a majority of the school’s students must hold a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood card, the school’s class size may not exceed tour capacity, and the majority of the school’s students must be eligible for free and/or reduced school lunches.

Schools that do not meet the requirements or miss the deadline may experience the program for a small fee. Special rates are available for seventh through 12th grade and college students.

Applications are accepted through Sept. 23 and are available at

For more information or to book an education tour, please call (918) 384-5930.

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Monday, August 6, 2018, 7:36 AM

The Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System is seeking volunteers to serve on its Veteran and Family Advisory Council from October 2018 to September 2019.

The council is a working taskforce that strives to improve the patient experience for all Veterans by providing feedback to hospital leadership.

Advisory Council Membership Requirements:

  • Not employed by VA
  • Become enrolled as a VA Volunteer
  • You or family member receive care through EOVAHCS
  • Have time to attend monthly meetings and activities
  • Have a desire to bring about meaningful change
  • Ability to use own experience constructively

Interested Veterans must fill out an Advisory Council application, which is located at Please email application to by September 1, 2018.

For more information, please contact Maureen Herd at 918-577-3559 or

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Friday, August 3, 2018, 6:41 AM

Cheyenne Campbell, 21, of Muskogee was hurt in a two-vehicle wreck five miles east of Checotah around 5 p.m. yesterday, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Campbell’s 1997 Ram pickup was westbound on US 266, behind a 2012 Toyota Yaris driven by Michael Bula, 25, of Brooklyn, New York. The Highway Patrol states that Bula attempted an unsafe U-turn in front of Campbell, whose truck struck his SUV on the passenger side. Bula was flown by helicopter to Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa with internal injuries.

Campbell was driven to Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa with internal injuries.

Both drivers were wearing seatbelts. Airbags deployed in Campbell’s truck, but not in Bula’s SUV.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2018, 11:22 PM

A 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe killed the driver of a horse-drawn carriage about a mile and a half southwest of Warner this evening, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Billy Rogers, 72, was pronounced dead at the scene from head, internal trunk, external trunk, arm and leg injuries, the patrol reported. The Tahoe, driven by Corey Collins, 28, of Henryetta, was westbound on US 266 around 3 p.m., as was the carriage.

For an unknown reason, the Tahoe collided with the carriage, killing Rogers. The OHP is still investigating the cause of the wreck.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2018, 9:06 AM

Nanette Robertson

Nanette Robertson was the director of Eastern Workforce Development in Muskogee for 11 1/2 years — and worked there for 20. In July of 2016, she resigned under what she says was unjust pressure from the board and threats of prosecution. Now she is suing the board, alleging they coerced her into resigning and sullied her name to prevent her from getting comparable work.

Robertson’s lawsuit states that she was put on administrative leave while the board investigated allegations of missing funds — allegations that later turned out to be untrue. While she was on leave, Robertson says board members approached her in the Arrowhead Mall food court and told her “she did not have the support of the Board, but if she resigned, no criminal charges would be filed against her.”

Robertson, who at the time was unaware that the audit had turned up no evidence of any criminal activity, says she was given only a few minutes to take the resignation offer and be given a severance package. She says he hastily wrote out a resignation letter on a piece of scrap paper, signing it only because she believed she would be terminated otherwise. She was later cleared of any wrongdoing.

Robertson also alleges that the board chairman, Anthony James, was excluded from discussions regarding her because “they thought because both are black, he would protect her.”

The lawsuit names the board, Crystal Brown, Nanette Spencer, Ken Doke and Earnie Gilder and asks for damages in excess of $10,000. Calls for comment to the board have not yet been returned.

UPDATE: Jerri Schoats-Stoutermire, executive director of Eastern Workforce Board, sent the following response to this story:

The Eastern Oklahoma Workforce Board is confident that all decisions made with regard to Ms. Nanette Robertson were appropriate and in compliance with all laws and regulations. We cannot comment on specific claims made in this matter as they relate to personnel issues and are part of ongoing litigation.

We are also being told we will receive paperwork that disproves the allegations Robertson makes in her lawsuit. When we receive it, we will post it here.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2018, 8:09 AM

Cody James Allison

WARNING: This story contains graphic details of a sexual crime against children.

Cody James Allison, 28, of Warner was arrested last week and is now charged in Muskogee County District Court with two felony counts of sexual abuse of a minor, according to court and police records.

Allison is accused of forcing a four-year-old to touch his penis, calling it his “hoo ha.” He is also accused of masturbating in front of a six-year-old, forcing the child to watch him until he ejaculated.

Both children told forensic examiners at Kids’ Space the details of the allegations against Allison.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2018, 8:07 AM

Jess Dunn inmates work in their new, high-visibility uniforms.

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections has undertaken a number of efforts to improve security at a facility in Taft, just west of Muskogee, that has had four inmates walk away from it since January.

ODOC has moved all Jess Dunn Correctional Center’s 1,122 male inmates to bright orange instead of gray uniforms, part of a move system-wide to phase out the less visible, darker clothing.

The orange is immediately visible, and uniforms have the word “INMATE” brightly emblazoned on their backs (as did the gray uniforms).

Other steps the agency has taken at the minimum-security prison for men include the following:

1. Jess Dunn has a siren that sounds when an inmate walks away from the facility. The prison has added another one that will make the alert louder and more audible to Taft residents. This came about after the facility’s warden, Jim Farris, and ODOC’s Region I Director, Millicent Newton-Embry, spoke with area residents who complained they couldn’t hear the siren. When JDCC has a walkaway, the nearby female minimum-security prison, Eddie Warrior Correctional Center, sounds its siren as well.

2. ODOC continues to beef up facility security in its fenced areas of JDCC, while also improving the visual security of its perimeter. The public should note, however, that minimum-security (which is what Jess Dunn is) is very different from medium-security.

For example, medium security prisons contain some of the state’s most violent and dangerous inmates – individuals who have assaulted other inmates, hurt staff, or are serving time for violent crimes.

Those prisons have double rows of tall fencing topped with razor wire (Dick Conner Correctional Center in Hominy features an electrified fence). They also have sensors on their perimeters that can detect when someone is attempting to climb over the fence or touch it.

Minimum security inmates earn more visitation and freedom of movement. This can be a motivation for inmates to improve their behavior within the facility and participate in programming that prepares them for reentry.

3. Jess Dunn and Eddie Warrior wardens conducted a citizens’ advisory meeting recently and discussed ODOC policy on inmates assigned to Jess Dunn and answered questions about the walkaways. Those topics include the importance of minimum-security facilities in transitioning inmates to life on the outside. Inmates nearing the end of their sentences are sometimes eligible for minimum-security. While in such facilities, they may participate in public works projects, such as picking up trash or grounds keeping for public areas and buildings.

4. Warden Farris has added Taft residents as requested to the resident notification list. These residents receive a phone call in the event of a walkaway, with priority being residents in the facility’s immediate area.

Jess Dunn staff continue their close cooperation with area law enforcement beyond simply coordinating responses to walkaways.

Challenges at the facility include overcrowding, an aging facility (which was not originally built to be a prison) and a persistent staffing shortage, with 31 correctional officer positions vacant this month.

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Monday, July 30, 2018, 10:13 AM

The Oklahoma State Department of Health is promoting World Breastfeeding Week Aug. 1-7 with the theme “Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life.”

The theme focuses on the foundation of lifelong good health that breastfeeding provides for babies and mothers in a world filled with inequity, crisis and poverty.

Breastfeeding is the natural way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. Virtually all mothers can breastfeed, provided they have accurate information and the support of their family, the health care system and society at large.

According to Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System data from 2016, 83.9 percent of Oklahoma mothers began breastfeeding their babies after birth. While most new mothers start out breastfeeding, many do not exclusively breastfeed for six months, or continue for up to one year of age or beyond as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“Breastfeeding establishes an important foundation for the health of the breastfed infant as well as the mother,” said Amanda Morgan, Breastfeeding Education Coordinator for the Women, Infants and Children Service. “WIC views breastfeeding as a priority and strives to set an example for community support of breastfeeding mothers.”

Data provided in The Oklahoma Toddler Survey from 2014 to 2016 indicate that although the numbers are gradually improving, only 41.5 percent of mothers were breastfeeding at six months and 23.5 percent of mothers were breastfeeding at 12 months or more. The aim of the national Healthy People 2020 breastfeeding objectives is to increase the proportion of infants who are breastfed at six months to nearly 61 percent and at one year to 34 percent.

For more information about breastfeeding, how to find a lactation consultant in your area, or how to become a Recognized Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite, visit the OSDH breastfeeding website, or call the Oklahoma Breastfeeding Hotline toll free at 1-877-271-MILK (6455).

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