Leonard Harris, 91

Born December 23, 1926

Died June 13, 2018

Herbert "Lockie" Wayne Talton, 76

Born September 30, 1941

Died June 13, 2018

James Allen Arnett, 74

Born October 1, 1943

Died June 12, 2018

Joanne Marie Reynolds, 78

Born October 21, 1939

Died June 12, 2018

Loyal Ruben Harrold, Jr., 97

Born October 22, 1920

Died June 12, 2018

Sammie Willene Pierce, 87

Born March 18, 1931

Died June 12, 2018


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


Sunday, June 17

Summer Art Camp
Handgun carry course
Rosé event

Monday, June 18

Summer Art Camp

Tuesday, June 19

Summer Art Camp

Tuesday, May 29, 2018, 9:25 AM

A wreck yesterday around 3:30 p.m. north of Tahlequah hurt two motorcycle riders, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Frank E. Blowers, 47, of Siloam Springs was riding a 2000 Harley-Davidson northbound on Oklahoma Highway 10 around 16 miles north of Tahlequah when a dog entered the roadway, causing him to depart the roadway to the right in an apparent effort to avoid the dog, the patrol reported.

Blowers was transported to Washington Regional Hospital, where he was released upon arrival. His passenger, Angela L. Blowers, 48, was admitted with head, arm, leg and internal and external injuries. The patrol cited no improper action or condition by Blowers.

On Sunday around 7:30 p.m., two watercraft collided, injuring one man. A 2009 WaveRunner operated by Jeffry Crocker, 56, of Muskogee, was riding behind another WaveRunner operated by Jeffrey Hudson, 52, of Okay, when Hudson attempted a left turn in front of Crocker, the patrol reported. Crocker’s WaveRunner collided with Hudson’s, injuring him in the leg. He was transported by helicopter to Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa in stable condition.

Also on Sunday, around 8 a.m., a 2017 Harley-Davidson motorcycle driven by Olivia Qiyyam, 41, of Tulsa, was southbound on Dam Road, and for an unknown reason ran off the right side of the roadway, striking a tree, the patrol reported. She was transported to Saint Francis Hospital in Muskogee, where she was admitted in stable condition with head, trunk, arms and leg injuries. The cause of the wreck is still under investigation, as is the condition of the driver.

chris sneed

Friday, May 25, 2018, 10:28 AM

Watch A mods, B mods, Super Stocks, Factory Stocks and Next Gen racers at Thunderbird Speedway tonight for the K and N Filters night.

The historic half-mile on Cherokee Street is NASCAR certified and the races are a thrilling way to spend the first night of the weekend.

Tickets are $10 for grandstands, and kids 10 and under are free. Gates open at 6 p.m., hot laps start at 7 and races start at 8 p.m.

The first 100 fans get a free gift bag.

tj hamilton

Friday, May 25, 2018, 10:24 AM

Muskogee Art Guild’s Summer Art Camp for Kids runs June 4 through June 29 at the Art Guild, 211 W. Broadway.

Classes run from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. or 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. New classes each week. Most are just $50. Grades 1 and up welcome.

Scholarships are available. Go to for information or to enroll. Or call camp director Gwyn LaCrone at 918-616-5947.

Creative fun with rocks, clay, drawing, painting, paper crafts, banners, mixed media, poured acrylics, pastels and much more. Taught by experienced artists.

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Thursday, May 24, 2018, 2:57 PM

The Don Price band will bring its classic rock chops to the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame tonight, according to Alicia Tanksely of the museum.

Don has been a staple player for The Bopcats for many years and will bring his own brand of classic rock to town for this show.

The show starts at 7 p.m., and admission is $5 per person at the door.

The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame is at 401 S. Third St.

that mechanic guy

Thursday, May 24, 2018, 11:09 AM

Jolean Alexander

Jolean Alexander, 29, of Muskogee is charged in Muskogee County District Court with a felony charge of embezzlement and a felony charge of conspiracy after she was accused of stealing $29,000 from Sticks 66 and conspiring with Francisco Escalante, also 29, to take money and property from the business.

The pair are alleged to have taken merchandise from the store at 1910 N. Main St. According to an affidavit filed with the case, Alexander is accused of also taking lottery scratch-off tickets from behind the counter while Escalante watched.

The store’s owner, Robbie Walkingstick, told police he has video footage and will turn it over to them as soon as he is done ascertaining how much was stolen.

als fun run

Thursday, May 24, 2018, 10:28 AM

This weekend is the Renaissance Festival’s three-day celebration over Memorial Day Weekend, including a celebration of the Holy Roman Empire.

During the weekend, the Castle of Muskogee will celebrate the foundation of Western civilization, the Holy Roman Empire, which emerged after the fall of Rome, with the coronation of Otto I in 962 AD. The germanic empire ruled much of Central Europe until almost 200 years ago under the rule of Napoleon.

Monday is the Memorial Day Parade. In honor of those who have fallen, the festival staple provides a day of reverence in honor of American soldiers, beautiful photo opportunities and an emotional occasion unlike any other of the festival.

Quench your thirst and tantalize your taste buds with the wonderful varieties of food and drink found throughout Castleton. Stroll through the World Trade Market with more than 140 artisans displaying unique wares and beautiful creations. Take the wee ones to the Children’s Realm for games and hands-on demonstrations and then pick a side, English or Scottish, in our Royal Quest. Show your best garb in the costume contest at 2pm inside the Castle Keepe.

Attend the Queen’s Tea, the Royal Luncheon, or the King’s Smoker. The festival continues every weekend through June 3rd. For more information,

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018, 9:55 AM

Did you know there are billions of germs floating in the water of community pools, splash pads, and other water venues? Pool chemicals kill most germs within minutes, but some live for days, especially in untreated water sources. The average swimmer introduces a number of dirty items into recreational water including hair, saliva, feces, urine, sweat, and many skin products such as lotions, cosmetics and soaps. The germs in the water can lead to illness in both adults and children.

For these reasons, the Oklahoma State Department of Health encourages everyone to practice healthy swimming behaviors to prevent spreading germs and prevent your family from becoming sick as Oklahomans gear up for a summer of fun in the water.

This week is designated nationally as National Healthy and Safe Swimming Week.

Healthy swimming behaviors can prevent recreational water illnesses such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Shigella, norovirus, and E. coli. RWIs are caused by swallowing or having contact with germs in contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks, water play areas, fountains, lakes, or rivers.These illnesses can also be caused by inhaling mists or aerosols from contaminated water. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, skin rash, and wound infections. RWIs can be prevented by taking simple precautions. Healthy swimming behaviors include the following:

  1. Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea. Germs spread in the water and make other people sick.
  2. Shower before you get in the water.
  3. Don’t urinate or defecate in the water.
  4. Don’t swallow the water. Avoid getting water in your mouth to prevent swallowing germs.
  5. Every hour – everyone out. Take kids on bathroom breaks. Wash hands with soap and water after changing diapers and using the toilet.
  6. Diapered children: Children who are not yet toilet-trained should wear swim diapers in the pool and lake. Swim diapers & swim pants are not a substitute for frequent diaper changing and bathroom breaks. Check swim diapers and swim pants frequently, and change them away from the poolside. Wash your child thoroughly with soap and water before swimming, especially the diapered area.
  7. Pool operators: Check the free chlorine level and pH before getting into the water.

Pools: Proper free chlorine levels of 1-3 mg/L or parts per million [ppm] and pH (7.2-7.8) levels maximize germ-killing power.

Hot tubs/spas: Proper disinfectant level of chlorine (2-4 parts per million) or bromine (4-6 ppm) and pH (7.2-7.8) maximize germ-killing power.

Swimming in a well-maintained swimming pool will reduce your likelihood of developing an RWI as many of the germs are killed by chlorine. Avoid swimming in a pool that has cloudy or off-colored water. If you cannot see the main bottom drain, stay out of the pool.

Harmful algal blooms are often present in Oklahoma lakes. These blooms can produce toxins resulting in illness in humans and animals. Direct contact with water containing the blooms can result in a skin rash; eye, ear and throat irritation; asthma-like symptoms; and diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal cramps. Do not swim or participate in other recreational water activities where murkiness or mats due to blue, bright green, red, or brown algae appear in or on the water, or if the water has an unpleasant odor.

For more information regarding waterborne diseases and prevention, please visit:

jim and ems

Tuesday, May 22, 2018, 9:06 AM

Mark Johnson of Weleetka

Boater Mark Johnson of Weleetka, Oklahoma, brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 18 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the 2018 T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Okie Division event at Lake Eufaula. For his victory, Johnson earned $5,349.

“I spent my tournament fishing on the lower end of the lake, near the dam,” said Johnson, a former FLW College Fishing angler who earned his first career win in BFL competition. “At my first spot, I fished for an hour and a half but only caught one 2-pounder. I moved to my second area and within 30 minutes I had my tournament weight.”

Johnson said that he fished rock piles where the post-spawn fish were setting up, in 15- to 20-feet of water. He credited an unnamed green-pumpkin-colored Football jig with a Zoom Brush Hog and a Carolina-rigged green-pumpkin Brush Hog as his key baits.

“I caught around 20 keepers, but the fish were post-spawn and not looking so good,” Johnson said. “I felt that if I kept them in my livewell much longer I would lose them. So, I decided to end my tournament around 11:30 and weigh what I had in order to keep my fish alive and avoid any penalties.

“That decision to weigh-in early ended up winning me the tournament,” Johnson continued. “If I would have waited, one or two may have been deceased and I would have gotten a dead-fish penalty, which would have cost me the win. My BassCat and Mercury were crucial to making the long run back to weigh-in and keeping my fish alive.”

The top 10 boaters:

  1. Mark Johnson, Weleetka, Okla., five bass, 18-6, $5,349

  2. Justin Phillips, Checotah, Okla., five bass, 17-15, $2,675

  3. David Ryan, Levasy, Mo., five bass, 17-12, $1,982

  4. Chris Jones, Pocola, Okla., five bass, 17-5, $1,348

  5. Joe Erwin, Cleora, Okla., five bass, 17-0, $1,070

  6. Nick Kincaid, Coweta, Okla., five bass, 16-3, $981

  7. Thomas Canady, Collinsville, Okla., five bass, 15-14, $892

  8. George Simonof, Jacksonville, Ark., five bass, 15-13, $802

  9. Sawyer Grace, Russellville, Ark., five bass, 15-10, $668

  10. Cade Alsbury, Gentry, Ark., five bass, 15-10, $668

The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point standings, along with the five winners in each qualifying event, will be entered in the Oct. 25-27 BFL Regional Championship on Lake of the Ozarks in Osage Beach, Missouri. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard.

secret desires

Tuesday, May 22, 2018, 9:03 AM

John Reese, 87, of Roland was killed around 10 p.m. yesterday when the tractor he was driving rolled around a mile east of Muldrow, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Reese was driving through a field while attempting a right turn around the side of a slight hill. The tractor overturned one and a quarter times, ejecting Reese.

The cause of the wreck is still under investigation.

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Monday, May 21, 2018, 1:23 PM

Troy Dustin Clark

Wagoner County Sheriff Chris Elliott is asking area residents to talk with teenage girls about social media predators, after the arrest of a man they say was grooming a staggering number of victims to meet for sex.

“This Dusty Clark character is one prolific predator,” said Sheriff Chris Elliott after the arrest of Troy Dustin Clark, 38, of Muskogee. “He convinced several victims to send photos that are now evidence in a criminal case. We’re concerned there are a whole lot more victims out there that we don’t know about.”

One of his “young girls” he is accused of talking to was actually a team of Wagoner County investigators who had taken over the account of a 15-year-old girl. Elliott said the courageous Wagoner County girl may have spared other victims when she reported on May 8 that someone under the Facebook profile Easton Sloan was sending her lewd private messages.

“A child under the age of 16 being asked to send suggestive photos or meet for sexual acts is a victim. Under the eyes of the law, there is no such thing as a consenting sexual relationship at that age,” said Jack Thorp, district attorney for District 27, which includes Wagoner County. “We’re talking about a textbook sexual predator who gets a sense of his victims, then adapts his narrative to reel them in.”

Clark allegedly groomed victims with stories that he was dying and wanted to spend his remaining months pampering his special girl. He is accused of impressing more hardened victims by portraying himself as a drug dealer and hustler. To others, he purportedly was a successful businessman seeking to be a “super secret sugar daddy.”

“I’m afraid this type of behavior so prevalent, it’s hard for victims to know if they’re really being victimized on social media, and if so, where to report it,” said Elliott. “Once Dusty Clark made the grievous error of propositioning a Wagoner County fifteen-year-old girl, he sealed his own fate.”

Soon, conversations between “Easton Sloan” and investigators posing as his 15-year-old victim moved to a phone app that notifies participants if someone tries to screen capture messages, according to law enforcement. Like many disappearing-message apps, recipients have only seconds to read texts before they’re gone forever.

“New technology definitely helps predators, no doubt about it,” Elliott said. “That just means we have to work a little harder to capture evidence. But we got what we needed.”

By Thursday, the sheriff said, Clark had a date with the “girl” to meet at a fast food restaurant, then go to a motel for sex.

“We told Sloan we’d be wearing a blue flowered dress,” said Elliott. “And he was kind enough to send selfies from inside his vehicle while he was en route.”

A county employee wearing a blue flowered dress waited inside the restaurant with her back to the door. Deputies in unmarked vehicles parked strategically around the restaurant. The suspect never showed, but now they had that selfie – a photo of Clark inside what they now believe was his mother’s car, which they’d already located through public records searches. Investigators caught up with Clark at his mother’s home on Friday.

“When these big old guys told Clark they didn’t appreciate being stood up at the restaurant he realized, they were the ‘sweet young thing’ he’d been grooming,” Elliott said. “From that moment on, he confirmed everything we already knew, and, unfortunately, much more.”

Thorp and Elliott urge parents to talk with teenaged girls about whether they’ve had encounters with Easton Sloan or Easton Gooddieyoung. If you have any information about Easton Sloan, Easton Gooddieyoung or Dusty Clark, call the sheriff’s office at (918) 485-3124.

Clark is in the Wagoner County jail on hold for Okmulgee County. He’s also being held for Muskogee County for violating the terms of his 15-year probation. He faces multiple new charges in Wagoner County, including solicitation of lewd acts from a minor under the age of 16, and using a computer to solicit lewed acts and conversations with a minor. Clark is being held on a $250,000 bond in Wagoner for the above mentioned crimes.

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Monday, May 21, 2018, 10:50 AM

Bacone President Ferlin Clark.

A 172-page investigative report for Diné College, a Navajo Nation-controlled four-year institution in Tsaile, Arizona, concluded that then-president Ferlin Clark used intimidation, bullying, harassment and in some cases even physical intimidation and contact to control his employees and favor students he liked. He was also accused of inappropriate conduct toward female employees.

Some employees said he withheld job-critical information from them to prevent them from succeeding. Others said he physically intimidated them. Still others said he screamed at them inappropriately. Others said he ridiculed them publicly and “treated them with discontent and disrespect in public.” Two employees reported that, except for intervention from other employees, Clark would have initiated physical fights with them.

In total, 35 employees were interviewed for the report, and the conclusion was that not only had Clark violated the school’s policies, he had violated the federal Civil Rights Act.

One employee said Clark had instructed her to reopen closed classes to admit students that were later shown to be his relatives, eluding his brother.

“Jim added that the President told them that he was the President and he doesn’t need to abide by the policies and procedures,” the report states. Clark is also accused of ordering the registrar’s office to release transcripts despite the students in question not paying their debts to the college — an issue that is currently a problem for Bacone, casting doubt on its financial future. The transcripts in question were for friends of Clark, the report states.

Clark was accused by employees of stopping eviction proceedings against relatives and friends. Students and employees who advocated for keeping Clark as president also received money that employees viewed as kickbacks in exchange for their support.

Numerous employees told investigators they were afraid to talk because they feared retaliation from Clark and his cronies. The report concluded that Clark had a management style that “is direct, abrupt and abusive .. insensitive, abrasive and at times domineering ... causing complainants to be fearful each day.”

The report went on to say “there are egregious behaviors by the President that cannot be ignored or dismissed.”

Clark was further accused of “hiring certain females who are not qualified” and of having “suspicious and inappropriate conduct” toward a female employee, including interrupting her for matters unrelated to her duties, closely monitoring her and frequently asking her to private lunch and giving her expensive gifts and asking her to take trips away from school with him.

The president acted “without personal and professional integrity”, the report goes on, saying “a large majority of the problems at Diné College appear to arise from a lack of or poor people management skills by the President.”

Ken Adams, a Bacone board member who was also part of the presidential selection committee that recommended Clark be hired, said “those issues were revealed to the committee. We went through all those articles that had negative comments about Dr. Clark and we did background checks and after much discussion concerning those, we decided that most of those, if not all of those, were not substantiated by actions.”

Asked whether the entire 172-page report prepared at the behest of Clark’s former college was false, Adams said “The search committee concluded that we should hire him. We certainly didn’t ignore those situations.”

Adams also denied that Clark was hired largely because it was believed that his Native heritage would help him establish rapport with Native tribes from whom Bacone is seeking financial lifelines.

“Relationships with the tribes was certainly a part of the discussion,” he said. “There was no ulterior motive. Whoever the person became at the helm was certainly one we felt would need to be able to communicate with the tribes, but it wasn’t a desperate imperative. Frank Willis left the college in dire straits, and we chose the right candidate to succeed him in my opinion.”

You can read the entire report here.

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Monday, May 21, 2018, 9:39 AM

Kenneth Brandt

WARNING: Graphic content.

Kenneth James Brandt, 54, of Webbers Falls is accused in Muskogee County District Court with molesting a nine-year-old girl and an eight-year-old girl, according to court records.

On April 17 in Webbers Falls, Brant was caring for the two girls when he raped them and took nude pictures of them after showing with them, the case alleges.

After Brandt allegedly put his penis in the two girls’ vaginas and put his mouth on their nipples, he is accused of putting his penis in the eight-year-old’s mouth and ejaculating there.

Brandt was previously convicted in 1998 of two counts of criminal sexual conduct with a person under 13 and sentenced to 20 years in prison in Michigan.

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Saturday, May 19, 2018, 9:19 PM

David R. Roach, 24, of Muskogee was critically injured south of Muskogee, near Keefeton, around 1:30 p.m. today, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Roach was driving southbound on US 64, the patrol reported, while passing a vehicle in the outside lane, he lost control, departed the roadway tot he right, struck a stop sign, a fence and rolled an unknown number of times, ejecting him.

He was flown by helicopter to Saint Francis hospital in Tulsa, where he was admitted in extremely critical condition with multiple injuries, the patrol reported.

The patrol cited unsafe speed on a curve as the cause of the wreck. Roach was not wearing his seat belt, according to the patrol.

UPDATE 1:05 a.m.: Roach has passed away, according to the highway patrol.

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Thursday, May 17, 2018, 10:43 AM

An eight-year-old Porter boy was injured in a wreck with a Muskogee man late last night, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

The boy, whose name was not released, was a passenger in the vehicle driven by Dennis Moreland, 41, of Porter eastbound on Oklahoma Highway 51 east of Tullahassee.

Herschel Taylor, 23, of Muskogee was westbound on the highway when he departed the roadway to the right, according to the highway patrol, overcorrected and re-entered the roadway sideways, crossing the center line, where his vehicle collided with Moreland’s vehicle.

Neither Taylor Nor Moreland were injured. The boy was taken to Saint Francis Children’s Hospital in Tulsa for observation of head, trunk and leg injuries.

The patrol reported Taylor was under the influence of an illegal drug. It is unclear whether seatbelts were in use in Moreland’s vehicle.

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Thursday, May 17, 2018, 8:54 AM

Muskogee Little Theatre’s production of the Addams Family is hosting auditions this Saturday for six to 10 males, two of whom are teens, and three to six females, one of whom is a teen. The show, which will perform during August, requires singing and dancing as well as acting.

THE ADDAMS FAMILY features an original story, and it’s every father’s nightmare. Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart, young man from a respectable family — a man her parents have never met. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s “normal” boyfriend and his parents.

Auditions begin Saturday at 2 p.m. Director is Doobie Potter, musical director is Kerry Huffer and choreographer is Angelina Cummings. For more information, got to

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Thursday, May 17, 2018, 8:51 AM

To kick off the 2018 “Click It or Ticket” seat belt campaign, the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office is partnering with St. John Health System, law enforcement partners, AAA Oklahoma, and other local groups to highlight the dangers of not wearing a seat belt.

This highly visible seat belt enforcement period begins on May 21 and runs through June 3, covering the busy Memorial Day holiday weekend. In 2016, 47.5 percent of all vehicle fatality victims in Oklahoma were not using safety belts or child restraint devices. Among the almost 34,000 people injured in crashes in Oklahoma during 2016, 2,500 were not restrained.

“In 2016, we lost 224 Oklahomans because they weren’t buckled up,” said Cody McDonell, communications manager for the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. “To us, that’s 224 too many. Something as simple as clicking your seat belt can save your life.”

During the 2017 “Click It or Ticket” campaign in Oklahoma, nearly 300 agencies participated, resulting in 8,057 seat belt violations and 244 child passenger restraint violations.

“Past ‘Click It or Ticket’ campaigns have shown how helpful it can be to our overall goal of spreading the message about the importance of buckling up,” said Director Paul Harris of the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office.

“Wearing a seat belt is the number one thing anyone can do to help prevent death or injury during a vehicle crash,” said Harris.

“Our goal isn’t to write citations, but we do know tickets talk,” said Lieutenant Joe Williams with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. “The ‘Click It or Ticket’ program gives us a chance to get out there on the roads and really focus on drivers and passengers who aren’t buckled up.”

“If you know a friend or a family member who does not buckle up when they drive, please ask them to consider changing their habits,” said Lt. Williams. “Help us spread this life-saving message before one more friend or family member is killed as a result of this senseless inaction. Seat belts save lives, and everyone—front seat and back, child and adult—needs to remember to buckle up — every trip, every time.”

For more information on the “Click It or Ticket” campaign, please visit

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Thursday, May 17, 2018, 8:48 AM

The Cherokee Nation recently made a contribution of $58,400 to law enforcement agencies in District 5 and District 6, which encompass all of Sequoyah County and part of Muskogee County.

Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Tribal Councilors Bryan Warner and E.O. Smith presented the checks to law enforcement officials at a special luncheon Tuesday at Cherokee Casino Sallisaw.

“One of the most rewarding parts of my role as Tribal Councilor is providing assistance to organizations that are vital to our communities,” Warner said. “With the state’s financial situation, law enforcement agencies have experienced recent budget cuts much like other sectors, and I am glad the tribe can step up and help alleviate some of that financial strain.”

Of the $58,400 total donated, the Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Department received $12,000, and the Braggs, Gore, Marble City, Muldrow, Roland, Sallisaw, Vian and Webbers Falls police departments each received $5,800. The annual donations help ensure the safety of both Cherokee and non-Cherokee citizens.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018, 3:09 PM

State Rep. George Faught

State Rep. George Faught today announced his support of a legislative petition authored by State Sen. Nathan Dahm calling for a special session devoted to overriding vetoes issued by Gov. Mary Fallin.

Article V, Section 27A of the Oklahoma Constitution allows for the Legislature to call itself into special session and set the guidelines without the governor’s input. Dahm’s petition would allow for the special session to take up overrides of Gov. Fallin’s vetoes from the 2017-2018 legislative term and allow for the members of the House and Senate to re-author and pass any measure Fallin has vetoed during her term, going back all the way to the 2011 legislative session.

“This would give lawmakers the opportunity to fix all the mistakes Mary Fallin has made and decisions she messed us up over the last eight years,” said Dahm, R-Broken Arrow.

One measure important to the Muskogee area that would be eligible to be heard during the special session would be Senate Bill 86. The legislation required the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to perform an economic impact study before any planned bypass around a community is placed on ODOT’s eight-year plan and required the department to present the study to the municipality, which would need to approve the bypass before beginning construction. SB 86 passed the House by a vote of 62-27 and the Senate by a vote of 32-11.

“A veto override special session would give Muskogee another chance at stopping the U.S. 69 Bypass, and give input and protections to communities in the U.S. 69 corridor and across the state from future bypass projects,” said Faught, R-Muskogee, who served as the House author of SB 86.

Another potential measure eligible for a veto override is House Bill 1552, an important government transparency and accountability measure authored by Faught. HB 1552 would have brought much-needed reforms to the state’s regulatory process. It would have reformed the administrative rules process by restoring legislative control over government regulations, thus strengthening transparency and accountability and reining in unelected bureaucrats. HB 1552 passed the House by a vote of 71- 23 and the Senate unanimously.

“Gov. Fallin has failed Oklahoma citizens by vetoing legislation that is important to the Muskogee area and the state as a whole,” said Faught. “This veto-override special session would give us a chance to correct those problems, advance Oklahoma in a positive direction, and protect citizens from government overreach.”

Lawmakers are also considering overriding vetoes on pro-life, pro-gun, and government reform measures.

“Citizens can go to to find out who their legislators are and how to contact them. I urge Muskogee area residents to call their legislators and ask them to sign Sen. Dahm’s veto-override special session petition. Give lawmakers another chance at stopping the U.S. 69 bypass, as well as overturning other vetoes of policy measures that would benefit Oklahoma citizens and businesses,” said Faught.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018, 9:24 AM

A Watts woman is dead after a wreck just west of Westville, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Julia Anderson, 27, of Watts was a passenger in a 2014 Chevrolet Spark driven by Blake Martin, 26, of Colcord on East 690 Road in Adair County. Martin failed to stop at a stop sign, according to the patrol, and his vehicle was struck by a 1980 Ford pickup driven by Matthew Camp of Kansas, Oklahoma, who was southbound on 4730 Road.

Martin was admitted to Washington Regional Hospital in Fayetteville with head, arm, leg, trunk and internal injuries. Camp was treated and released at the scene. Anderson was pronounced dead at the scene.

The patrol cited the odor of alcoholic beverage in Martin’s vehicle, but has yet to determine the cause of the wreck. None of the parties were wearing seat belts.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 8:46 AM

Michael Hollen Paul Horton, 37, of Muskogee has been charged with six felony counts in Muskogee County District Court, including causing sexual injury or abuse to a child, soliciting sexual conduct with a minor by use of technology and failure to register as a sex offender.

Horton, who is accused of living in Muskogee without registering as a sex offender, is also accused of raping a 17-year-old boy, forcing the child to touch his penis, performing oral sex on the victim, and performing anal sex on the victim.

An affidavit filed with the case alleges Horton used fear to force the victim into the sexual acts, which happened on Arline.

Horton was convicted in 1999 of lewed molestation, indecent proposal to a child, eight counts of forcible oral sodomy and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Now that he is out of prison, he is required to register as a sex offender, which the state alleges he did not.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 8:26 AM

Aaron Lee Greene, 26, of Barling Arkansas is charged in Muskogee County District Court with two counts of first-degree rape of a victim under age 14.

Green is accused of traveling from Arkansas to Webbers Falls, picking the girl up at a stop sign by her house, taking her to the Overlook in Webbers Falls and having sexual intercourse with her there.

The girl told police that one of the two times he raped her was anal and the other was vaginal.

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Monday, May 14, 2018, 3:46 PM

An email sent to a great majority of Bacone staffers, employees and faculty gave them notice that they shouldn’t show up to work today.

The email is as follows:

All employees, staff, and faculty:

Unless you have been notified that you should report to work today, Monday, May 14, you are being placed on lay off(sic) status.

If you have questions as to whether or not you should be at work, please feel free to email me.

The email was signed by Jeanetta Rainwater, director of Human Resources.

Bacone President Frank Willis, who referred questions to Rainwater, did provide a list of people he knew to be still employed at Bacone: “Danny and Ursula in business, Joe in grounds, Dupree, Cristin and a student worker, Virginia and her assistant in academics, all TRIO personnel and Jeanatta.”

Rainwater has not returned calls for comment.

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Monday, May 14, 2018, 11:14 AM

Jarod Mendenhall

Muskogee Public Schools’ new superintendent, Jarod Mendenhall, left Broken Arrow Public Schools in December of 2016 after receiving a payment of $103,100 to quit before his contract was up, according to the school board there. The board then agreed to pay his replacement $83,500 for the first six months of the year, making the tally for superintendents there $186,600 for six months.

BA School Board President Cheryl Kelly said that amount was spent in order to avoid spending “double that amount” trying to force him out.

“Looking at the ways in which we could execute the agreement, the board took the prudent measures to execute the mutual separation agreement, which saved the district money, over all other options,” Kelly said. “So that is the route that we took.”

Mendenhall’s contract stipulated that he could leave the superintendent’s job one of three ways: He could quit, be fired “without cause” or explanation and receive a year’s salary, or be discharged “for good cause,” which would have led to him having a hearing before the board and possible further lawsuits and legal fees.

The district was forced to restructure the district’s leadership positions, eliminating three jobs to save enough money to pay Mendenhall’s $103,000. The board was restricted by personnel policies from discussing why they took the extraordinary steps to get rid of Mendenhall. The board said they did what they believed best for students.

Muskogee’s school board was told by Mendenhall that there was “nothing immoral, unethical or illegal” about his departure from Broken Arrow, and that the board, which cannot comment or dispute his claims, has no grounds for terminating him.

UPDATE: The current Vice President of the BA board wholeheartedly recommended Mendenhall as a superintendent:

Muskogee School Board member Bobby Jefferson said he is convinced Mendenhall is the right guy for the Muskogee job.

“There was absolutely nothing suspicious” about his departure from Broken Arrow, Jefferson said. “He is the best hire we have made in the last 25 years.”

Jefferson said the school board did ask about Mendenhall’s departure from Broken Arrow and was satisfied that there was nothing that would affect Muskogee negatively.

muskogee fence

Monday, May 14, 2018, 10:34 AM

Mazzio’s Pizza at 3030 W. Okmulgee was robbed around 10:15 p.m. last night, according to Muskogee Police.

A black male with a black handgun came through the back door and demanded money, according to Officer Lincoln Anderson.

The store’s employees gave the man the money, and he ran out the back door.

No one was hurt during the robbery.

pisanos pizza

Monday, May 14, 2018, 9:46 AM

Enjoy a day of traditional Cherokee art, music and more, honoring legendary statesman and inventor of the Cherokee syllabary, Sequoyah. The event will be held in conjunction with Cherokee Nation’s Traditional Native Games.

Sequoyah Day begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 19, at Sequoyah’s Cabin Museum in Sallisaw.

“We are proud to bring to life an event like Sequoyah Day. It’s a unique daylong celebration of Cherokee history and culture at the home of the man who pioneered the Cherokee syllabary,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “Now that Cherokee Nation owns and operates the Sequoyah Cabin Park, we can organize these types of family-driven events that are both educational and fun for all.”

The family-friendly event runs until 4 p.m. and features live performances, activities for children and cultural demonstrations such as pottery, flint-knapping, bow-making, stone carving, graphics and more.

The event includes multiple performances from the Cherokee National Youth Choir and a special language presentation at 1:30 p.m.

The cabin was constructed by Sequoyah in 1829 and welcomes more than 12,000 visitors each year. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1966 and a National Literary Landmark in 2006. The homestead includes a one-room cabin and nearly 200 acres.

Prior to reopening under Cherokee Nation management in 2017, Sequoyah’s Cabin Museum received much-needed repairs and renovations.

The museum now features large displays that share the story of Sequoyah, his development of the Cherokee syllabary and the Cherokee language today. Additional displays showcase the history of the Cherokee Old Settlers, Cherokee Nation post-removal and the Cherokee Nation today. The museum also features a new retail space offering Cherokee Nation apparel, gifts and souvenirs.

The museum is located at Highway 101, 7 miles east of Highway 59 in Sallisaw. For more information about Sequoyah’s Cabin Museum, please visit

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Friday, May 11, 2018, 1:21 PM

Rex Eskridge

After nearly half a century at the Muskogee Police Department, Chief Rex Eskridge will retire on July 13, Officer Lincoln Anderson announced today.

Eskridge began his career at the Muskogee Police Department in January of 1969, rising through the ranks from Sergeant in 1972 to lieutenant in 74, major in 84 and chief of police in 1992. Eskridge is a United States Marine, honorably discharged in 1970.

No announcement has been made on when the search for a replacement might begin.

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Friday, May 11, 2018, 7:56 AM

Jarod Mendenhall

Muskogee Public Schools has hired Muskogee-born Jarod Mendenhall as its new superintendent, replacing Mike Garde, who is retiring after the school year.

School Board President Keith Biglow said Mendenhall was the unanimous choice of the board.

“He is the best fit at the right time to take us to the next level,” Biglow said. “He researched our schools and has innovative ideas. Under his leadership, we’re confident our district will grow and be one of the best in the state.”

Mendenhall is currently serving as chief of governmental affairs for Mesquite Independent School District in Mesquite, Texas.

“There is no question – this is home for me and my family,” Mendenhall said. “Muskogee has great kids, incredible teachers and a fantastic community, which are all perfect ingredients for huge success.”

Mendenhall is an Enid high school graduate who holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. He obtained his doctorate from the Oral Roberts University in 2011.

Mendenhall began his career in education as a history teacher in Sapulpa and then at Union Public Schools. He went on to serve in building administration in Bartlesville before returning to Union. He served as the executive director of curriculum for Broken Arrow Public Schools before being named assistant superintendent in Union. Mendenhall served as Broken Arrow’s superintendent from 2010 to 2016.

In 2014, Mendenhall was named Oklahoma District 5 Superintendent of the Year. In 2016, he received National Superintendent Certification from the American Association of School Administrators.

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Friday, May 11, 2018, 7:52 AM

Cherokee Nation Emergency Management Services program trainer Mark Bighorse, left, shows first responders in Muskogee County how to administer Narcan during a training held on May 1.

The Cherokee Nation is helping save lives by supplying hundreds of first responders in northeastern Oklahoma with free boxes of Narcan, a spray that reverses Opioid drug overdoses.

Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health recently received a $1 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as part of the First Responder Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.

The four-year grant is also training emergency responders in the tribe’s rural 14-county jurisdiction on how to administer Narcan if they respond to suspected overdose calls.

“Cherokee Nation is eager to provide this product and the lifesaving training to first responders within our jurisdiction. Through our federal partnerships, we can better equip those on the frontline at the county and municipal level, who battle the deadly and devastating effects of opioid abuse daily,” said Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. “Our tribal government is a good partner that is enhancing local emergency responses so they are better, faster and more effective. That means potentially saving lives in northeast Oklahoma.”

The tribe has held Narcan trainings in Muskogee and Vinita and plan to have its third training at the Nowata County Fair building on May 21.

“Right after having our training, we used it and have administered Narcan at least three times,” said Kevin Wofford, fire chief at Vinita Fire Department. “It’s great because we are going to be able to keep at least two doses in each truck . There are times we respond to calls of this nature and arrive before an ambulance. In these cases, hopefully we can make a difference.”

The tribe’s behavioral health substance abuse department has three grants currently related to opioid abuse prevention. They educate on storing and disposing of medication properly and the dangers of addiction.

“We wanted our traditional first responders educated on how to administer Narcan and get it in their vehicles, because in rural areas they may get to the scene before EMS arrives,” said Sam Bradshaw, with the tribe’s Behavioral Health Substance Abuse Prevention department. “Opioid overdoses happen all over America; it’s not unique to the Cherokee Nation. But typically Narcan is something law enforcement and first responders have access to in metropolitan areas and not always in rural areas.”

In the past fiscal year, Cherokee Nation Emergency Management Services alone administered about four doses of Narcan per month on emergency calls. Cherokee Nation EMS helps lead the Narcan trainings.

rachel gilstrap state farm

Thursday, May 10, 2018, 11:57 AM

Marcus Allen Stopp

A stolen vehicle led to Grand River Dam Authority officers firing a shot at the suspect, according to a report from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

About half a mile east of Oklahoma Highway 62 on Park Hill Road, the GRDA officer pursued a stolen vehicle and came to stop when the vehicle crashed.

The GRDA officer fired a shot at the driver of the vehicle, Marcus Allen Stopp, 25, who was wounded in the neck, the OSBI reports.

Stopp was treated and released to the Cherokee County Jail.

twist and shout

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