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DEATHS

Michelle Chambers, 66

Born December 30, 1955

Died May 22, 2022

James Patrick Crossno, 98

Born May 20, 1924

Died May 21, 2022

Joann Mangum, 82

Born December 6, 1939

Died May 19, 2022

Brandon Jordan, 37

Born September 7, 1984

Died May 18, 2022

John Taylor 'Porky' Gragg, Jr., 78

Born March 1, 1944

Died May 17, 2022

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

Tuesday, April 26, 2022, 8:41 AM

Resigning educator Rhonda Barron of Bacone College has alleged a toxic work environment, neglect and indifference on the part of administration to a crumbling Bacone.

The allegations, made in a resignation letter sent yesterday, echo earlier reports of financial woes and unlivable conditions in the college’s buildings.

The letter says the college can’t get credit at local stores “because they know you don’t pay your bills.”

In addition, faculty and staff, she alleges, are forced to choose sides in ongoing power struggles.

Bacone has not returned calls and texts for comment.

The letter is reproduced below.

Without regret, I am submitting my letter of resignation. In the 22 years I have been an Educator, I have never experienced the lack of transparency I have experienced at Bacone College.

Since the day I walked into Bacone, I felt the protective need to safeguard all that Bacone stood for. The history behind Bacone and the Native Indian students that have come here since 1880. Since the day I walked into Bacone, I have also been immersed in a political power struggle that has affected students and staff alike. This fight was not mine. I was constantly being approached to side against the administration at that time (Ferlin Clark’s). From the very first day, it felt like an explosive place to work. Since the removal of Dr. Clark, it has only grown worse. (More details of current administration abuse will be sent to appropriate agencies.)

I can no longer stand by and see the injustice I have witnessed here. From the lack of resources to the mismanagement of students, finances, and staff. The deceit is deep. I am ashamed for not stepping up earlier and saying something sooner.

To the Board: You are responsible for making Bacone something to be proud of. I am embarrassed to tell people I work at Bacone. The buildings are rotting in front of our eyes, yet we still charge students to live in substandard buildings with mold. The library can’t get library software to actually check out books and half the collection has been left to decay in the basement of Samuel Richard’s Hall. Bacone can’t get credit at local stores because they know you don’t pay your bills.

You have the power to step up and see what is happening, yet I have never met any of you. You fail as a board of Directors. You have not invested in making Bacone a better place to work and attend as students. I frankly don’t understand what purpose you do serve. You hear what you want to hear, but you do not come and see what you would see.

As a Chickasaw Citizen and a proud Native American, I choose to stand up now and say something when I see something.

A detailed letter of the abuse going on at Bacone will be submitted to the Chickasaw Times and to the Chickasaw Nation immediately following the submission of this resignation letter.

Sincerely,

Rhonda Barron

UPDATE 9:31 a.m.: Bacone Interim President Nicky Michael said she is aware of the letter, but can’t comment on personnel matters. She did, however comment on some of the non-personnel allegations that were made in the letter.

“We’ve managed through all this in the short time I’ve been in office,” she said. “It’s not easy, and it’s been hard work, and we have a long way to go, but we’re doing it. We got the gym roof fixed, that was a big problem with the gym floor, because it had leaks. Once they rebuilt that floor a few years ago, the leaks still made it buckle. But we’re getting that fixed.”

Mold did turn out to be a problem, she said, but that is also being addressed.

“We tested all the buildings to see how they rated on the mold scale, one dorm, we had to close that so students wouldn’t be in that environment,” she said. “We are working on a campaign to build the Posey Dorms again. We’ve got pledges and incoming money from tribes, federal grants and private donations that have carried us through this semester.”

Facing the college’s problems head-on is a tough job, but she is confident the school is headed in the right direction.

“What I want to say is we’re really grateful to the donors and communities, and we’re turning this around and looking forward to a positive summer.”

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Monday, April 25, 2022, 5:28 PM

The Oklahoma Election Board today denied an effort by candidate Matt Price to challenge the eligibility of District Attorney Larry Edwards.

Price’s challenge alleged that Edwards wasn’t eligible to run for the office he now holds, saying he wasn’t registered to vote in the district in time.

The election board, however, ruled that Edwards was in fact registered in time and his candidacy is therefore legitimate.

“As your current Muskogee County district attorney, my number one priority is the protection of the citizens of Muskogee County,” Edwards said just now. “Rather than focusing my attention on the first day of a three-week jury docket and preparing to try cases, I was forced to appear in Oklahoma City on a frivolous attempt to get me stricken from the ballot. As expected, the State Election Board listened to the facts of the case and ruled that I was within the law to appear as a candidate. It was unfortunate that the board’s time was wasted on a meritless issue at taxpayer expense.”

The board ruled this afternoon in Edwards’ favor.

“Election integrity is of the utmost importance to me,” Price said after the ruling “As your next District Attorney, I will always seek to make sure the rules are followed like I have done today. I will move forward to victory on Election Day by continuing to serve my hometown.”

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Monday, April 25, 2022, 1:25 PM

Kyle Lee Owens

Kyle Lee Owens, 26, of Oktaha has been arrested for two shooting deaths over the weekend in Oktaha.

The shootings killed Benjy and Stephen Hill, father and son, who friends and neighbors indicated might have had an ongoing feud with Owens.

Owens is Native American, so the case has been taken over by the FBI. No charges have yet been filed in federal court against Owens, and the FBI has not returned calls for comment.

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Monday, April 25, 2022, 7:21 AM

Avery Michael Rogers, 40, of Wagoner was killed on Saturday around midnight about five miles north of Wagoner, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Rogers was walking around E 690 Road and S 297 Road when he was struck by a 2008 Chevrolet Silverado driven by Richard Blackburn, 53, of Wagoner, according to the patrol. Blackburn was not injured.

Rogers was taken to the Wagoner Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The cause of the collision is under investigation, but the patrol did report Blackburn’s condition as normal.

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Friday, April 22, 2022, 9:26 PM

At least two people are injured dead in a shooting north of Oktaha, Muskogee County EMS has confirmed just now.

There are very few details about the shooting, but we are acquiring information as we can. So far, no names or patient details have been released. Helicopters are standing by for patients.

We will update when more information becomes available.

UPDATE, 9:45 p.m.: The two victims are dead, according to law enforcement services. Because either a victim or the suspect are Native, the case has been turned over to the FBI. We will contact them for information in the morning.

No names are available yet.

UPDATE 9:55 p.m.: A suspect is in custody, according to law enforcement.

UPDATE 10:16 p.m.: Neighbors are reporting that Benjy and Stephen Hill, father and son, were the victims. No law enforcement agency has confirmed that yet, but multiple civilian sources have said those are the victims.

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Friday, April 22, 2022, 8:01 AM

The first tribe to charter Bacone College, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians have continued their pace-setting role in education by creating the UKB Fellowship at Bacone College.

This fellowship program makes the UKB the first among tribal nations to support their students in this creative way.

UKB Chief Joe Bunch, UKB Assistant Chief Jeff Wacoche and UKB Education Director Dr. Hannah personally delivered a $50,000 check to be used for five $10,000 scholarships for future Bacone students.

“This show of support to Bacone and to UKB students shows the depth that small tribal nations are willing to make to benefit their citizens’ education,” said Interim President Dr. Nicky Michael. “We pledge to work with and keep tribal nations at the heart of everything we do and we are extremely grateful to the leadership of UKB.”

The goal of the Tribal Fellowship Program is to raise up the next generation of leaders for the tribe.

“It’s a wonderful time to be a Bacone Warrior. I am honored to be working with a team that has nothing but the best interests for Bacone College,” said UKB Chief Joe Bunch.

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Friday, April 22, 2022, 7:59 AM

The Cherokee Nation is contributing funds to the Griffin Promise Autism Clinic and recently announced a partnership with the Pervasive Parenting Center in an effort to lauch the Cherokee Nation Autism Initiative. The announcement was made by Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. as he officially proclaimed April 2022 as Autism Awareness Month in the Cherokee Nation.

The Pervasive Parenting Center is a not-for-profit organization that provides assistance to families in eastern Oklahoma affected by autism and other developmental disabilities. The center partners with Cherokee Nation’s HERO project through the tribe’s behavioral health department, and the HERO project provides counseling and support services for families with children from newborn to 21 years of age who are citizens of a federally recognized tribe.

As part of the tribe’s partnership with the Pervasive Parenting Center, the center will provide training for the Cherokee Nation Early Childhood Unit, Child Development Center, the Cherokee Immersion School staff, as well as in the primary and secondary education settings. It also provides resources to professional staff and parents for children with autism and will act as a continued resource for Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health on a consulting basis. The partnership will also provide autism screenings for children and support groups for parents and caregivers.

The Griffin Promise Autism Clinic, whose mission is to provide hope and resources to individuals with autism, as well as their caregivers, also received a $2,000 contribution from the Cherokee Nation as part of the tribe’s recognition of Austism Awareness Month.

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Thursday, April 21, 2022, 7:33 AM

Rep. Anthony Moore, R-Clinton, today received passage of Senate Bill 1697 through the House. The bill, authored by Sen. Darcy Jech, R-Kingfisher, in the Senate, would require all applicants for a medical marijuana commercial grower license and commercial grower licensees to file with the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority a bond in an amount of no less than $25,000 for each license sought or held that covers the land where the licensee will conduct grow operations.

The bill raises the bar of entry for people in the business or wanting to get into the business, requiring them to pay the state $10,000 more than the combined yearly salary of a minimum-wage worker.

The bill also allows for OMMA to require a higher amount for the bond if it decides to.

“As we strengthen our medical marijuana laws to ensure only legitimate businesses are in operation, we need to make sure these business owners have some skin in the game,” Jech said. “I’m thankful my colleagues saw the necessity of this measure, and I’m excited to see it go to the governor’s desk for his consideration.”

SB1697 will now be sent to the governor’s desk for review and approval.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 8:58 PM

No one will officially confirm this, but officials in a position to know have confirmed that an inmate has died at the Cherokee County Jail today.

The inmate, reported by fellow inmates to be in his 20s, died today, after complaints about health were allegedly ignored. Again, no official would confirm the reason at this late hour, but an official in a position to know confirmed that the death did occur.

We are pursuing this, but may not be able to get solid information until the morning.

According to a fellow inmate, the man was 22 years old. Housed in “H” Pod. The man had apparently been urinating on himself, the inmate said, which led him to be put in lockdown. He wouldn’t eat on Sunday, the man said, and the man asked for medical help and was denied.

Asked about that on Wednesday morning, a jail administrator said, “You shouldn’t believe everything inmates tell you.”

UPDATE 8:20 a.m.: The Cherokee County Jail has confirmed that a man did die, and has notified his family, though it is not releasing the man’s name.

The administrator MuskogeeNOW spoke to said there were no obvious signs of impending death, and the inmate had no medical history that indicated death was imminent.

Jail officers found the man’s body during spot checks.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is investigating.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 7:28 AM

Muskogee attorney Chad Locke has filed his candidacy to fill the associate district judge seat being vacated by the retirement of Norman Thygeson.

Locke has been practicing law in Muskogee since 2006, at first with his father until the elder Locke’s retirement.

Locke is on the board of the Five Civilized Tribes Museum, and is also licensed to practice law with the Cherokee Nation, the Creek Nation and federal court. He has also served on the boards of Kids’ Space, the Muskogee Little Theater, Downtown Muskogee and Monarch.

So far, the only other person to file for the seat is Special District Judge and former District Attorney Orvil Loge. The election is in November.

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Monday, April 18, 2022, 6:35 AM

Bricktown Brewery, a full-service restaurant featuring made from scratch food and a variety of craft beers, will open in Muskogee today.

Guests at Bricktown Brewery in Muskogee can expect to enjoy “Local Beer, Great Food and Truly Friendly Service” which are hallmarks of the Oklahoma City based company.

The new Bricktown Brewery in Muskogee will be serving comfort food classics prepared from scratch, shareable plates, crafted burgers, hand-built sandwiches, artisanal pizzas, salads, and desserts. The restaurant will be pouring craft beers from Muskogee and surrounding areas, as well as its award-winning beers from Bricktown Brewery, along with a full bar.

Hours of operation will be Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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Friday, April 15, 2022, 8:59 AM

Natasha West, 42, of Hulbert is dead after her motorcycle crashed with an oncoming car just north of Hulbert yesterday, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

West was driving her 2022 Kawasaki Ninja westbound on 710 Road around 8 p.m. yesterday when for an unknown reason, the motorcycle crossed the center line and struck an oncoming Chrysler Pacifica, driven by Della Capps, also of Hulbert, the patrol reported. Capps was treated and released from Northeastern Health Systems in Tahlequah for arm and head injuries.

West was pronounced dead at the scene by Northeastern Health Systems EMS, according to the patrol. She was wearing a helmet.

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Thursday, April 14, 2022, 8:08 AM

On Monday, April 18, Marlon J. Coleman will be sworn in for a second term as Muskogee’s 50th Mayor at a special ceremony that he is dedicating to local veterans.

The ceremony will be held at the Muskogee Civic Center gazebo at 4:30 p.m. City Council members Shirley Hilton-Flanary, and re-elected members Jaime Stout, Tracy Hoos and Ivory Vann will be sworn in at a ceremony at 5 p.m. in the Council Chambers, located on the third floor of City Hall, on the same day.

“We’re excited to continue the important work of municipal governance with our newly elected and re-elected Council members,” said Roy Tucker, Acting City Manager. “The enthusiasm, ideas and insight that they bring, matched with our sitting councilors, will continue to move our city toward greater growth and prosperity.”

The community is invited to attend. Refreshments will be served.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2022, 9:46 AM

Oklahoma School for the Blind awarded top prizes to two students from the Muskogee area in the 20th Braille Challenge regional competition held at the school campus in Muskogee.

Fifth-grader Avery Dollar won a silver medal in the freshman category.

Kesslee Travis, also a fifth-grader, earned a silver medal in the transition 1 category.

Both winners are students at OSB.

Thirty-six students competed for medals and prizes.

Braille Challenge is a national program sponsored by the Braille Institute, a nonprofit organization that eliminates barriers caused by blindness and severe sight loss.

This year testing occurred over a month, which permitted smaller testing groups, fewer volunteers and flexibility for student absences due to illness or weather.

Contestants in the apprentice, freshman, and transition categories completed braille tests in spelling, reading comprehension and proofreading.

Sophomore, junior varsity and varsity contestants answered questions about charts and graphs, reading comprehension and proofreading, and listened and transcribed passages into braille.

The Braille Institute will invite 50 finalists from the U.S. and Canada to compete in the National Braille Challenge in Los Angeles on June 24 to June 26. Oklahoma competitors have advanced to the national finals 26 times since 2003.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2022, 10:09 AM

The McIntosh County Sheriff’s Office is searching for 4-year-old Zaiven Wyatt Houke.

The boy went missing from his home near Emerald Bay, west of Checotah.

Zaiven is 3’6”, weighs about 50 pounds, has hazel eyes and blonde hair.

Zaiven was last seen wearing a blue and white diaper.

Zaiven is non-verbal.

If you have any information, contact law enforcement.

UPDATE: According to law enforcement sources, Oklahoma State Troopers have found Zaiven’s body in Lake Eufaula.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2022, 7:27 AM

Lace up your bowling shoes, dust off your golf clubs, and grab your rackets. The Muskogee Senior Games are here. The four weekend event hosted by Muskogee Parks and Recreation will feature nine different sports that those over the age of 50 can compete in.

“It’s time for competitors to register and enter the games,” said Kevin Anthis, event organizer with the Muskogee Swim and Fitness Center. “We have more sports and more sponsors than last year and are expecting a big turnout. This is a great way for seniors to engage in friendly competition and have a good time doing it.”

Events include bowling, swimming, track and field, tennis, pickleball, cornhole, golf, water walking, and table tennis. The bowling competition will be held June 4 and 5 at Green Country Lanes at 9 a.m. Swimming, track and field and tennis will be held June 11 at the Muskogee Swim & Fitness Center, Indian Bowl and Spaulding Park. Pickeleball will be June 17 and 18 at the Muskogee Civic Center and First Baptist Church at 9 a.m. Cornhole competition will be on June 18 at the Depot Green at 9 a.m. The events will conclude on June 25 with competition in golf, water walking and table tennis, utilizing the facilities at the Muskogee Golf Club, River Country Family Water Park and the Hatbox Event Center. Registration for most events is $25. Bowling and golf have additional fees. Bowling is $9 extra per event and golf is $40 extra. Medals will be awarded for the top three finishers in each event. Age groups for competition will be 50-59, 60-69 and those over 70.

The event will conclude with a gala for all participants at the Muskogee Golf Club on June 25 at 6 p.m.

To register for the event go to www.okseniorgames.com and click on Muskogee Local Games. For questions about the event, contact the Swim & Fitness Center at (918) 684-6304 or visit the Muskogee Parks and Recreation website at www.muskogeeparks.com.

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Monday, April 11, 2022, 7:07 AM

Touch-a-Truck is 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 30, at Hatbox Field. The entry fee is $2 per person, and this fundraiser supports Muskogee Public Library’s Youth Services Department.

Touch-a-Truck is a fun day for anyone who loves big machines. The event has a variety of vehicles, such as fire, police, and ambulance, trash truck, Channel 6 storm trackers, race cars, construction equipment, a helicopter, and classic cars. The event begins with a quiet hour from 9 to 10 a.m. before children can start honking the horns of trucks from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Four State Natural History Museum will have its dinosaur exhibit, and Muskogee High School’s Robotics Team will be doing demonstrations. Zomac School of Music will have its spring recital at the event, and Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance donated kite kits for the children who attend. There will also be games for kids to play, and the library will be distributing books.

This is the 10th year that the Muskogee Public Library, a branch of the Eastern Oklahoma Library System, and the City of Muskogee have partnered to present Touch-a-Truck. The event had to be canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

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Friday, April 8, 2022, 4:37 PM

The Cherokee Nation has distributed more than $628 million in the form of $2,000 individual COVID assistance payments since last summer to help Cherokee citizens recover from the pandemic.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner announced in May 2021 that the tribe was dedicating 43 percent of the $1.8 Billion funds received from the American Rescue Act toward individual COVID assistance payments for Cherokees.

So far more than 313,900 Cherokee citizens have applied and received the payments.

Those who have their Cherokee Nation citizenship application submitted to Registration by June 1, 2022 or currently have pending applications with Registration will also be eligible to still receive the $2,000 COVID assistance payment through June 1, 2024.

The Cherokee Nation has received the largest volume of citizenship applications ever over the past year. To meet the higher demand in applications, Registration has added more than 50 department staff and expanded shifts to Saturdays and until 7 p.m. during the weekdays.

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Friday, April 8, 2022, 8:36 AM

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner announced a proposed plan to use the tribe’s initial opioid settlement funds to start constructing drug treatment centers for tribal citizens, as well as increase overall funding for wellness programs.

The proposal would amend and strengthen the Public Health and Wellness Fund Act of 2021.

The proposed law would earmark $15 million in initial opioid settlement money over the next three years to help construct drug treatment facilities in the Cherokee Nation Reservation.

The Cherokee Nation finalized a $75 million settlement with opioid distributors McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen to be paid over six years.

In a separate settlement, a tentative agreement with Johnson & Johnson was reached with all federally-recognized tribes for $150 million. The Cherokee Nation estimates receiving $18 million over two years.

The tribe is evaluating uses for the remaining opioid settlement funds, which will likely be used for additional behavioral health capital projects.

In addition to setting aside initial opioid funds for treatment facilities, the amended Public Health and Wellness Fund Act would also generate more funding for wellness programs by broadening the type of third party revenue that Health Services sets aside.

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Thursday, April 7, 2022, 10:19 AM

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission is scheduled to begin hearings on OG&E’s request for a rate increase at 1:30 p.m., May 26, 2022, in Courtroom 301 on the Third Floor of the Jim Thorpe Building, 2101 North Lincoln Boulevard, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105.

OG&E is seeking an annual increase of approximately $163.5 million, or 8.4 percent, to recover “increased business costs and electric infrastructure investments the company has made since 2012.” The increase, as proposed by OG&E, would raise a residential customer’s bill by 9 percent when compared to current rates. This equals approximately $9.98 per month on the average residential customer bill. As proposed by OG&E, general service customers would receive an average 9.9 percent rate increase.

The hearings will be conducted by the administrative law judge and begin at 1:30 p.m., and all interested persons may appear and provide comment at that time. After public comment has concluded, the hearing will be recessed and will resume at 8:30 a.m. June 14 and each subsequent business day as necessary for testimony and examination of parties’ witnesses. After the hearing concludes, the administrative law judge will file a recommendation and report for the commission to consider. The commission will ultimately issue a final order deciding all issues in the case.

For further information regarding the application, contact Kimber L. Shoop, P.O. Box 321, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73102, phone 405-553-3286, attorney for Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company or Kyle Vazquez, 405-522-2100, attorney for Public Utility Division, Oklahoma Corporation Commission, 2101 N. Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 73105.

UPDATE: The company currently has a 55 percent profit margin, yet is still hoping to raise rates amid massive inflation. To break that down, every $100 you pay costs OG&E $45 and they rake in $55 of profit.

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Thursday, April 7, 2022, 8:06 AM

Carvin Jones “The King of Strings” was voted one of the 50 Greatest Blues Guitarists of all time by Guitarist Magazine. He will play at Muskogee’s Roxy Theater on April 12.

Carvin has received accolades from the likes of BB King and Buddy Guy. He has opened shows for Carlos Santana, Jeff Beck, Gary Moore, John Mayell, Albert Collins, Johnny Winter, Jimmy Vaughn, and many other blues legends throughout the world who have come to admire his immense talents.

Get your tickets here. At check out use promo code GENPREFSEAT between now and showtime for free upgrade from general admission seating to preferred seating and an autographed photo.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2022, 9:46 AM

Muskogee’s Historic Roxy Theater will continue a tradition started more than six decades ago, the annual spring showing of The Wizard of Oz.

That tradition began on the newly developed television sets and was broadcast into homes. Muskogee’s Historic Roxy Theater has migrated this tradition to the big screen and that traditional date this year happens to fall on the same day as Muskogee’s Azalea Parade, which started 62 years ago.

The $2 per person ticket price will make it an affordable outing and children six and under get to see the movie for free.

The movie starts at 4 p.m. Full concessions are available. The address is 220 West Okmulgee, doors will open at 3:30 p.m.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2022, 7:48 AM

Jeremiah Clay Ford

Jeremiah Clay Ford, 25, of Haskell is charged in Muskogee County District Court with raping a little girl under 14 years of age, according to records filed with the court.

According to an affidavit filed with the case, the girl told her mother that Ford “touched her”. When her mother asked what that meant, specifically, the girl said he put his “dinky doo” inside her vagina, the affidavit states, going on to say the family uses the phrase “dinky doo” instead of penis.

The girl further alleged that Ford told her if she told anyone what had happened, they wouldn’t believe her and the entire family would hate her, and that he would get in trouble.

Ford was convicted in 2021 of domestic assault and battery by strangulation and received a three-year suspended sentence. At the same time, he was convicted of attempted first-degree burglary and received a five-year suspended sentence.

A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2022, 7:34 AM

Today, the Cherokee Nation – alongside the Chickasaw Nation, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Muscogee Nation and Seminole Nation of Oklahoma – filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court ahead of oral arguments in Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta. The brief outlines the inaccuracies in the state’s claims around legal jurisdiction and tribal sovereignty, which would override congressional authority and are inconsistent with both settled law and decades of precedent.

“While Governor Stitt’s attempt to overturn McGirt was rejected, it did not mean an end to our work to protect our rights and sovereignty. The Cherokee Nation’s brief today addresses the flawed arguments in the state of Oklahoma’s suit, which seeks to create chaos in our justice system by upending successful and long-settled law governing Indian Country across the United States,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “The best way to truly protect Oklahomans and to support public safety is to work together, as tribes have already been doing with our federal, state and local partners. We once again call on Governor Stitt to give up his politically motivated attacks on our sovereignty and work with us to promote what is best for public safety.”

The brief explains: “The Federal government and [Tribal] Nations are committing unprecedented resources to protect the public and secure criminal justice under the rule of law set forth in McGirt,” but the state of Oklahoma seeks to “ignore this effort’s success and attack it using recycled anecdotes.” The brief also outlines why the Court should “reject the State’s broad and novel proposition” to override congressional authority on allocating criminal jurisdiction in Indian Country.

The full brief can be read here.

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diamond finance

Tuesday, April 5, 2022, 7:28 AM

Voting begins at 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. today. The elections consist of the City of Muskogee Ward 4 City Council Run-off and the School Board General Elections for Gore, Haskell, Midway and, Porum School Districts in Muskogee County. For voters in the City of Muskogee who regularly vote at the American Legion at 40th and Broadway streets, the American Legion will be open for voting on Tuesday after a lengthy closure for damage caused by the winter storm in February of 2021.

Political materials such as t-shirts, hats, buttons and, signs among other political items are prohibited inside of the polling places and within 300 feet of the ballot box. Violations of electioneering laws may carry a penalty of up to one year in jail and / or a $10,000.00 fine. Voters spotting political material with the prohibited boundaries should report the violations to the Precinct Officials or call the County Election Board at (918) 687-8151. Reporting violations to persons outside of the Election Board or law enforcement could delay the removal of the prohibited political material.

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steve money

Monday, April 4, 2022, 10:05 AM

An as-yet unidentified black male apparently in his mid-30s was struck and killed by a vehicle either late last night or early this morning, according to Muskogee County Commissioner Kenny Payne.

“My road foreman was coming to work at around 5 til 6 this morning, when he saw something on the side of the road and thought ‘that could be a body,’” Payne said just now. “He did a U-turn and came back, and it was a body.”

The man had been struck by at least one vehicle, Payne said, half a mile west of 74th Street on Oklahoma Highway 16 before daylight. He was in the eastbound lane, wearing a backpack.

More information as it becomes available.

UPDATE: The victim is Keith Tucker, 38. According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, he was struck by a Ram pickup truck driven by Steven Lickliter, 45, of Fort Gibson. The patrol is investigating the cause of the incident.

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3rivers

Monday, April 4, 2022, 8:21 AM

Stephen Hill, 25, of Oktaha and Gail Estep, 67, also of Oktaha were both hurt in a rear-ending wreck on northbound US 69 this weekend, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Hill was driving a 2014 Toyota Highlander northbound on the highway when he struck a 2008 Chevrolet Suburban from behind, according to the patrol. The Suburban fled the scene.

Hill was treated and released from Saint Francis Hospital in Muskogee for head injuries. Estep was admitted to Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa in poor condition with head, leg, arm and trunk external injuries. She was pinned in the vehicle for an hour, the patrol reported, and freed by the Lotawatah Fire Department.

The patrol is still investigating the cause of the collision, but noted the odor of alcoholic beverage. Neither injured party was wearing a seatbelt, and airbags did not deploy, the report states.

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janet bickel hutson

Friday, April 1, 2022, 8:09 AM

Muskogee’s Honor Heights Park is preparing for an explosion of blooms in the coming weeks.

“As we transition into April the eastern, white, and Oklahoma redbuds will soon be making a show along with their counterparts the viburnums and flowering cherries, peaches and plums,” said Rick Ewing, assistant director of Muskogee Parks and Recreation.

These will be followed by a wide variety of blooming plants, such as butterfly bush, pieris, various spireas and, of course, the famed azaleas of honor Heights Park.

The bloom period for azaleas is weather-dependent and is hard to predict, but is typically around the second or third week of April.

The Papilion at Honor Heights Park has a stunning display of tulips and spring flowering plants ready for display in the garden, and is preparing for the opening of The Georgia Pacific Butterfly House on Mother’s Day weekend.

The entire month of April is busy in Muskogee. The Azalea festival will kick off with the 55th Azalea Parade in downtown Muskogee on April 9. Festivities will continue downtown with live mural painting, and a Cajun cook-off with parade trophy presentation at 1:00 pm. The annual Muskogee Run in Honor Heights Park is also on April 9, and bicycle riders can participate in the annual Flower Power Bike Ride at Three Forks Harbor on April 30.

For more information on all of the Azalea Festival events go to www.visitmuskogee.com. To hear weekly updates on the status of blooms at Honor Heights Park call the Honor Heights Hotline at (918) 913-9559.

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dragonfly dojo

Thursday, March 31, 2022, 8:24 AM

In-person absentee voting begins today at 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. and again Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Election day is April 5 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The election consists of the City of Muskogee Ward 4 City Council Run-off and the School Board General Elections for Gore, Haskell, Midway and, Porum School Districts in Muskogee County. For voters in the City of Muskogee who regularly vote at the American Legion at 40th and Broadway Streets, the American Legion will be open for voting on Tuesday after a lengthy closure for damage caused by the winter storm in February of 2021.

Political materials such as t-shirts, hats, buttons and, signs among other political items are prohibited inside of the polling places and within 300 feet of the ballot box, including the Muskogee County Services building during early voting. Violations of electioneering laws may carry a penalty of up to one year in jail and / or a $10,000.00 fine. Voters spotting political material with the prohibited boundaries should report the violations to the Precinct Officials or call the County Election Board at (918) 687-8151. Reporting violations persons outside of the Election Board or law enforcement could delay the removal of the prohibited political material.

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locke law office

Wednesday, March 30, 2022, 9:12 AM

Muskogee Public Schools just put out this statement:

Out of an abundance of caution and due to an incident within the area the 8th & 9th Grade Academy at Alice Robertson, Irving Elementary, Rougher Alternative Academy, and Sadler Arts Academy have been put on Safety In Place at this time.

Safety In Place means no one is to come in or out of buildings during this time but students can move within the building.

The actions were taken in response to a shooting reported on Fondulac. The incident was far enough away from the school that the district isn’t worried it will endanger anyone from the schools, but were acting out of caution just to make sure.

No word yet on the shooting on Fondulac and whether anyone was hurt. We are waiting for a response from the police.

UPDATE 9:16 a.m.: Police just responded.

We do have a shooting victim that showed up at EMS central they are being transported to a Tulsa hospital. No suspect info and no idea yet where the possible crime scene is located. (The victim) is being uncooperative at this time. We are trying to determine if he is tribal.

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servpro

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