Kathy Jo Vidacak, 60

Born January 19, 1959

Died September 17, 2019

Kathryn Louise Melton, 73

Born December 27, 1945

Died September 15, 2019

Womaluke Lonzoe Cox, 88

Born June 25, 1931

Died September 15, 2019

Lonnie Harold O'Dell, 87

Born March 28, 1932

Died September 15, 2019

R. Steve Walden, 61

Born October 12, 1957

Died September 15, 2019


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


Saturday, September 21

Muskogee MiniCon

Thursday, September 19, 2019, 8:01 AM

State Rep. Avery Frix (R-Muskogee) recently sent a letter to the Department of Human Services asking the agency to place cameras in each of its licensed daycare facilities.

“This is for the safety and welfare of the children placed in the care of these facilities,” Frix said. “This also will give parents the ability to check on their children throughout the day, giving them peace of mind and added comfort that their children are being cared for appropriately.”

Currently, child daycare operators can place cameras in their childcare rooms, but they are not required to do so by DHS, which licenses the facilities. Frix said he’s been approached by several constituents asking for this to be made a requirement. He said he would prefer this be handled through the administrative rule process at DHS, which – when approved by the Legislature – would have the effect of law.

Frix said daycare owners and staff also could benefit from the use of cameras should their care be called into question. DHS also could benefit, he said, as the camera footage could be used to help licensing staff who are required to regularly visit daycares to monitor care.

According to DHS, Oklahoma has 3,728 licensed child care programs, including day camps, drop-in programs, child care centers and before- and after-school programs.

“At the end of the day, the safety of the children in the state’s care is the most important factor,” Frix said.

3 rivers auto collision

Wednesday, September 18, 2019, 6:10 AM

Phillip Jones

The OSBI is looking for two 18-year-old suspects wanted on felony warrants out of Muskogee County in conjunction with a shooting that occurred in Haskell on July 30, 2019. Phillip Jones is facing charges of Burglary in the First Degree, Conspiracy and Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Felony – all felony charges. Jaysea Williams is wanted for Burglary in the First Degree and Conspiracy.

Jaysea Williams
The two, along with three others, were alleged to be involved in a shooting that occurred at a residence in the 300 block of West Hickory in Haskell. Jobe Terronez, 18, Jakeyvious Key, 18, Colton Edwards, 18, Jones and Williams are accused of attempting to kick in the door of the residence, which resulted in an exchange of gunfire with the homeowner. The five suspects were injured in the incident, but were treated and released from the hospital. The homeowner wasn’t injured.

Terronez was arrested on July 30 and is facing charges including first degree burglary, conspiracy, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Key was arrested on July 31 and is facing first degree burglary and conspiracy charges.

On August 5, Edwards turned himself in to the Muskogee County Jail. He is facing charges including first degree burglary, conspiracy, shooting with intent to kill, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

If you know the whereabouts of Jones and Williams, contact the OSBI at (800) 522-8017 or You can remain anonymous.

UPDATE: The two suspects are recovering from their injuries, said District Attorney Orvil Loge, and as soon as their medical conditions stabilize, they will be booked into the jail, he said.

“I have put those warrants on hold until then,” Loge said. “I have informed the OSBI of that.”

big papas

Wednesday, September 18, 2019, 6:05 AM

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol ENDUI team will partner with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, Cherokee Nation Marshals, Grand River Dam Authority, and the Tahlequah Police Department to conduct a sobriety checkpoint and high-visibility patrols in Cherokee County on Saturday, Sept. 21.

A large music festival is planned for this weekend along the Illinois River in Cherokee County.

“We want everyone to enjoy the music and the scenery, but the ultimate goal is to get everyone home safe,” said Cody McDonell, communications manager for the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. “If you’re headed to the music festival, please make sure you have a plan to get a sober ride home.”

The checkpoint will run from 10 p.m. to midnight on Saturday. The high-visibility DUI patrols will take place across Cherokee County and within the City of Tahlequah from 4 p.m. Saturday until at least 3 a.m. Sunday.

In 2018, seven people were killed in alcohol and/or drug-related crashes in Cherokee County. This area continues to see an increase in drug-related crashes year over year. Cherokee County is consistently among the top counties in Oklahoma for drug-related crashes.

locke law office

Tuesday, September 17, 2019, 7:37 AM

Fights broke out at six prison facilities over the weekend, sending dozens of inmates to hospitals and leaving one inmate dead, according to Oklahoma Department of Corrections Public Information Officer Matt Elliott.

The fights broke out Saturday evening at Northeast Oklahoma Correctional Center in Vinita. Seven inmates there were treated and released from an area hospital. One inmate was admitted to another area hospital. Sunday afternoon, a fight broke out in the yard in front of the dining area at William S. Key Correctional Center in Fort Supply. Five inmates were treated and released from area hospitals. One inmate was admitted to an area hospital.

Two inmates at Dick Conner Correctional Center in Hominy were admitted to an area hospital. One inmate there died on scene.

Similar incidents took place at North Fork Correctional Center in Sayre, Mack Alford Correctional Center in Stringtown, and Lawton Correctional Facility, a private prison operated by GEO Group.

Several correctional officers also received non-life threatening injures trying to stop the fights.

Agents with the department’s Office of the Inspector General, Office of Fugitive Apprehension and Investigations, and Security Threats Intelligence as well as correctional staff at the six facilities are working to identify the inmates involved. Agents will develop cases on those identified as part of the homicide and the other serious assaults to present to district attorneys for prosecution.

The state locked down all prisons across the state to prevent further outbreaks of violence.

pisanos pizza

Monday, September 16, 2019, 9:01 AM

A Stand Down for Homeless Veterans event will be held Saturday, September 21 at First United Methodist Church in Tulsa. The event will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the church campus, which is located at 1115 S. Boulder Ave.

The event is open to veterans only from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and the public from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Stand Down is free and will provide food, clothing, housing and employment resources, health screenings, VA Benefits information and more.

The Stand Down for Homeless Veterans is being sponsored by the Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System Homeless Program along with approximately 60 community partners in an effort to end Veteran homelessness. VA expects to serve more than 300 Veterans during the event.

sarah ladd

Friday, September 13, 2019, 9:07 AM

Despite questions of whether it is constitutional to stop drivers who are not suspected of a crime and a controversy about it last year, Muskogee police are again declaring that they will start conducting roadside checkpoints in Muskogee intersections to check for the following crimes:

  • Lack of valid driver’s license
  • Unsafe equipment
  • No insurance verification
  • Driving under the influence of an intoxicant

The department states that “the overall goal is to reduce criminal activity and enhance the safety of our motorists.”

While the US Supreme Court has found that DUI checkpoints are violating drivers’ Fourth Amendment rights against illegal search, the court left it up to the states to determine whether to use them anyway. Eleven states have made them illegal, including Texas, but not Oklahoma. In dissenting the US Supreme Court decision, Justice Clarence Thomas said “I rather doubt that the framers of the Fourth Amendment would have considered ‘reasonable’ a program of indiscriminate stops of individuals not suspected of wrongdoing.”

A roadblock whose primary purpose “is ultimately indistinguishable from the general interest in crime control … violate[s] the Fourth Amendment.” City of Indianapolis v. Edmond, 531 U.S. 32, 48, 121 S. Ct. 447, 148 L. Ed. 2d 333 (2000). In addition, the court ruled “[A] general roadblock ….established on the chance of finding someone who has committed a crime…” is “quite clearly” unconstitutional. The decision, which legally called traffic stops “seizures”, also noted that the “general interest in law enforcement simply does not outweigh the liberty interests of those seized, however brief the seizure may be”

Muskogee Police’s press release about the stops this month states “the objective of the roadside safety checks is to deter and/or identify persons operating motor vehicles” that are breaking the laws listed above, which falls under the purview of the Supreme Court’s decision affirming that such stops are illegal.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019, 9:34 AM

Muskogee Police Department Community Resource Officers Jeramie Garcia and Ronald Mayes along with local prevention specialists Lindsey Roberts and Julie Ledbetter from Neighbors Building Neighborhoods will be presenting local prevention efforts and outcomes at the National Prevention Network Annual Conference in Chicago, Il on August 27.

The purpose of the National Prevention Network Conference is to highlight the latest research in the substance abuse prevention field. It provides a forum for prevention professionals, coalition leaders, researchers, and federal partners to share research, best practices and promising evaluation results for the purpose of integrating research into prevention practice.

The workshop, titled Okie Prevention: Taking AIM at Prescription Drug Thefts in Rural Oklahoma, will address the issue of opioid drug theft and social availability and will highlight the efforts in Muskogee to reduce prescription drug thefts using comprehensive prevention strategies, nontraditional community partners and community-wide collaborations.

family time rentals

Wednesday, September 11, 2019, 9:27 AM

Miesha Mitchell

Miesha Mitchell, 28, of Muskogee is charged with three felony counts of desertion of her children, according to documents filed with the case in Muskogee County District Court.

She is alleged to have abandoned a 13-year-old, a 10-year-old and a seven-year-old on Sept. 6 at a rental house at 621 E. Okmulgee. When a neighbor asked about it, she allegedly told them to “leave the kids with DHS or drop them off at the police station.”

Each of the three felony charges carries a punishment of up to 10 years in prison.

secret desires

Tuesday, September 10, 2019, 5:42 PM

The nominating committee charged with finding a replacement for deceased Judge Mike Norman has picked its top three choices out of a total of 10 applicants.

Three Muskogee attorneys were chosen:

  • Attorney Andy Hayes
  • City Attorney Roy Tucker
  • Assistant District Attorney Tim King

The list now goes to Gov. Kevin Stitt, who will make the final decision and appoint the judge, who will begin working within 60 days.

jordan bonding

Tuesday, September 10, 2019, 11:46 AM


Ann Durossette

Note: After the last story I did about DHS, I have hesitated to do another one for fear they will try to retaliate and come after my children. But the sheer volume of stories I received from grieving families that have been unjustly torn apart by DHS demanded that I continue exposing their corruption. This notice is a declaration to hopefully prevent them from retaliating.

Ann Durossette worked for Muskogee County most of her adult life in the office of former County Commissioner Dexter Payne. For much of that same time, she was a certified therapeutic foster parent, and later adoptive parent to some of her grandchildren - until Muskogee County DHS took them, she says because she refused to lie and say her son-in-law molested another of her grandchildren.

Therapeutic foster parents must pass a rigorous background check, regular home inspections and lots of training. They must never have been in legal trouble, must have an acceptable home and enough income to care for the children. Durossette passed those standards regularly. About a year ago, one of the grandchildren she hadn’t adopted, a seven-year-old, wrote a note to a classmate that said “You’re a sexy bitch, you want to have sex?”

The child’s principal suspended her and called DHS. DHS went to the girl’s house to investigate and she then told them that her uncle had touched her years ago, Durossette said. The daughter who was married to that uncle called Durossette at home and told her DHS wanted her to come to her house so they could talk to her.

She says DHS worker Miranda Robbins asked her if she believed her son-in-law had touched the girl.

“I said, ‘well, I don’t know; the kid has made so many allegations.' Those were my exact words.”

The girl had in fact accused several people of molesting her and had also, after watching a crime drama on TV, accused another man of wrapping her in a shower curtain and throwing her in the tub - just like the action she had seen on the TV show.

After she spoke to Robbins and told her she couldn’t possibly know whether her son-in-law had done what he was accused of, Durossette went home. Robbins and another worker, Karen Spencer, showed up at her home and took the two younger children she had adopted, leaving two teenagers with Durossette.

“I asked them why they were taking the kids and they said, ‘It’s because of what you said’,” she said. “I said, ‘So you’re telling me if I don’t say a black man is guilty, I lose my grandkids?' They repeated ‘it’s because of what you said.'”

She asked why they were taking two children and leaving two children and they said it was because the little children couldn’t talk and were in danger in the house.

”(The four-year-old) could talk up a storm,” she said.

Later, at a mediation meeting set up at the DHS office, Robbins and Spencer told Durossette that they had checked the references she gave them and said “nobody likes y’all, they all said you do drugs.” Durossette asked which references they had called and was told they were not allowed to tell.

“They didn’t call any of my references,” she said. “We have never been in any trouble. I mean, I had a traffic ticket, and that’s all.”

Durossette said the children’s new foster home is riddled with bed bugs and filth, but Spencer repeatedly told her the children were okay because they’re now attending church.

“She asks me all the time if I go to church,” she said. “And she said they’re doing fine because they’re now going to church and they’re being homeschooled.”

One last time, at the Muskogee County Courthouse in a hallway, Durossette asked the DHS workers why she couldn’t get the babies back, and she says they were adamant that they believed she wouldn’t protect the children because she would not say her son-in-law had molested the granddaughter who was not in her custody.

“I have cried so much over this, and fighting them is impossible,” she said. “Very few lawyers will even attempt it. I would die and go to hell before I would lie to put someone in jail, but if I said ‘yes, I believe he molested them,' I could have them back.”

DHS referred all questions to its media relations department, which has not returned a call for comment.

UPDATE: DHS’s communications department called. In response to a question about why DHS would take children away from a witness who refused to lie against a presumably innocent man, they said they cannot comment on child welfare cases.

diamond finance

Tuesday, September 10, 2019, 9:04 AM

Muskogee High School is seeking input from alumni as part of its homecoming week theme, “Roughers from Coast to Coast.”

The Muskogee High School student leadership are hoping to highlight alumni from all over the world during homecoming week, which runs Sept. 16 through Sept. 20. Alumni are invited to email photos and a short blurb of where they are and what they are doing to or The MHS student leadership team also asks alumni to complete the alumni information form here.

The week’s festivities will wrap up on Friday, Sept. 20 as the Roughers host Putnam City West at the Indian Bowl for a 7 p.m. kickoff of the homecoming football game.

Each day will feature a theme during the week. Monday, Sept. 16 will be “Start at Home” with students wearing Oklahoma wear or country attire. Tuesday, Sept. 17 will be “Tourist Tuesday” with Florida Beach attire and Wednesday, Sept. 18 with Crazy California clothes for “Wacky Wednesday.” “Trendy Thursday” will take place on Thursday, Sept. 19 with best dress in New York. “Finish at Home Friday” will wrap up the week wearing Rougher green in Muskogee.

The MHS homecoming block party will take place Monday, Sept. 16 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., hosted in downtown Muskogee outside on the corner of Broadway and Second streets.

A homecoming parade will take place Tuesday, Sept. 17 following a service project starting at Second Street and Broadway and moving down Broadway Street to Court Street beginning at 6:30 p.m.

As a part of the festivities on Tuesday, MHS is asking the public to bring gently used Rougher gear to share with those who may be able to make good use of it.

For more information, contact Sheril Morgan, Associate High School Principal, at 918-684-3750.

cooper 1557169460

Monday, September 9, 2019, 10:16 AM

The Cherokee Nation’s Sixth Annual Cherokee Warrior Flight departs today for Washington, D.C., with 10 veterans who served during the Korean War or Vietnam wars.

Each year the Cherokee Nation funds the flight for Cherokee veterans to see the national war memorials erected in their honor at the nation’s capital.

On Sept. 9 through Sept. 11, veterans will tour the White House, Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian and the U.S. Capitol, and visit the Pentagon 9/11 memorial, among many other sites.

The Cherokee Nation has taken 50 Cherokee veterans on the Cherokee Warrior Flight over the past six years.

“I’m proud that we are part of a Nation that has the heart and the gratitude for the veterans and the sacrifices they’ve made through the years,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs S. Joe Crittenden, a U.S. Navy veteran of the Vietnam War. “We can say thank you and honor them by showing them the testimonies of their sacrifice.”

On Sunday, a dinner was held at Cherokee Hotel and Casino West Siloam Springs to present the warriors with flight vests and caps and wish them safe travels.

charlies chicken

Saturday, September 7, 2019, 2:27 PM

An eight-year-old boy was mauled by his family’s pit bull dog yesterday, according to Muskogee County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Michael Mahan.

The boy, who was just out of school, was bitten on the head by his family’s gray pit bull at 8908 S. 74th St. W. in Oktaha around 4 p.m. The family applied pressure to the wound and called 911.

Muskogee County EMS and the Sheriff’s Office responded. The juvenile was conscious and was transported in emergency status to Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa.

The owner of the dog put it down, according to Mahan.


Friday, September 6, 2019, 8:40 AM

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian is looking to change the narrative about American Indians in classrooms, transforming how teachers are teaching history to achieve a more inclusive, accurate and complete education. The Cherokee Nation was one of many Native nations to lose its lands to the United States. As part of its national education initiative, Native Knowledge 360 Degrees, the National Museum of the American Indian has launched a new online educational resource available for educators and students titled, “The Trail of Tears: A Story of Cherokee Nation Removal.”

The new online materials, which incorporate the written Cherokee language, tell the story of the removal of the Cherokee people from their original homelands in the Southeast — Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky. In particular, the digital lesson highlights the numerous strategic efforts of the Cherokee Nation to avoid removal and the Cherokee people’s persistence in rebuilding their nation after ultimately being forced to move to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma, during the 1830s.

“Native Knowledge 360° is aligned with the work of many Native nations, states and organizations that share a common goal of making American Indian education a priority,” said Kevin Gover, director of the National Museum of the American Indian. “Americans do not know enough about our shared history even to be properly offended at the lack of an inclusive narrative that illuminates the history of this continent in all of its complexity. By offering better materials to our educators about American Indians, we are looking to create a more empathetic and better educated citizenry.”

“It is an honor for Cherokee Nation to collaborate once again with a renowned institution like the National Museum of the American Indian,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “We applaud the efforts of the museum to educate a new generation of young people and provide them with a more comprehensive and accurate understanding of forced removal and the impact it has had on our country. Participating in NK360° is a wonderful opportunity to share the Cherokee story, our unique history and heritage and showcase who we are in the 21st century. They will learn about the resilience of the Cherokee people and see that we remain a vibrant and essential part of America’s tapestry. It is an inspiring story, a truly American story, and sadly, it is getting lost in our country’s classrooms. It is our responsibility to ensure the true accounts of the Cherokee people are accurately documented and available for the public.”

Produced by the National Museum of the American Indian in collaboration with leaders, historians, scholars and other community members from the Cherokee Nation, this interactive uses primary sources, quotes, images and short videos of contemporary Cherokee people to tell the story of how their nation resisted removal and how they survived to celebrate and sustain important cultural values and practices today. This resource was designed to help students and teachers better understand an important and difficult chapter in the history of both Native nations and the United States.

sooner surplus 1541949930

Thursday, September 5, 2019, 11:27 AM

A letter just obtained by from an attorney representing the Muskogee Medical Center Authority is warning Saint Francis Hospital that it is in breach of the lease it signed when it occupied the former Muskogee Regional Medical Center and failure to pay county taxes could result in legal action against the hospital.

Mack J. Morgan of the Oklahoma City firm Crowe and Dunlevy sent the letter to Jake Henry Jr., the president and CEO of Saint Francis Health Systems and specifically mentions the hospital’s failure to pay Muskogee County taxes:

Saint Francis has breached its Lease Agreement with MMCA by failing to pay the in kind payment as rent.

The hospital has steadfastly refused to pay the in-kind payment, and is currently in arrears to the tune of $1,372,807 — most of which is used to fund Muskogee schools. Sixty-two percent of the $1.3 million is earmarked for the schools — money they must currently live without.

The letter was copied to Capella, the hospital management group that formerly leased the hospital, because the medical authority did not release Capella from its obligation to pay the in-kind payments, meaning the authority could actually sue Capella, which would then have to make the payments and collect from Saint Francis to recoup the cost.

The hospital has 30 days to make the payment or face legal action from the medical authority.

The hospital’s physical building and location are owned by the citizens of Muskogee, represented by the Medical Center Authority. The authority leases the hospital to outside entities, first Capella, and now Saint Francis.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2019, 10:07 PM

There is a Muskogee Police officer-involved shooting on the east side, near East Side Boulevard, according to several law enforcement sources.

No more specific details are yet available, but we will update as soon as they are.

Darnell Cox

Darnell Cox, 32, is alleged to have been attempting to set his mother on fire, according to a law enforcement source. Officers responded, and Cox allegedly tried to throw a firebomb onto an officer and was shot in the attempt.

Neighbors report that he was “crazy” and “a danger to the entire neighborhood.”

UPDATE 11:59 P.M.: The police have released the following statement:

On Wednesday, September 04, 2019 at approximately 2056 hours Muskogee Police Officers were dispatched to the convenience store located at 1030 East Side Boulevard in Muskogee in reference to a suspect shoplifting a lighter and lighter fluid. Officers arrived on scene at approximately 2059 hours and found that the suspect had also allegedly tried to set a child’s bicycle on fire.

Officers determined that the suspect was possibly at 1205 East Side Boulevard. When the officers knocked on the front door of that residence the suspect threw a lighted substance at the glass front door from inside the house. Officers immediately surrounded the house and made contact with a female subject that was also inside. The suspect threw another lighted incendiary device into the face of the female inside the house as the officers were trying to make contact. At that moment one officer fired several rounds from his department issued handgun. At least two rounds struck the suspect. The suspect was transported to St. Francis Muskogee with what appeared to be non-life threatening injuries.

Three officers were on scene at the time of the incident and they all have been placed on routine administrative leave with pay pending the investigation. The names of the officers involved and the suspect will be released at a later date.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2019, 12:16 PM

Fletcher Kinsey, 20, of Muskogee will spend the next 10 years in prison after Judge Jeff Peyton sentenced him just now.

Kinsey pleaded guilty to the charges after an after-prom incident where a 16-year-old girl reported that he had put his fingers inside her while she slept. An OSBI investigation found no drugs or alcohol in the girl’s system.

Kinsey turned himself into police and confessed to fondling the girl’s vagina, then told his girlfriend that it was for the purpose of comparison to hers.

Rape is an 85 percent crime in Oklahoma, meaning Kinsey must serve at least eight years and six months before he can even be considered for release.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2019, 8:36 AM

Oklahoma State Sen Nathan Dahm, R, announced he has filed Senate Bill 1081 to pre-empt bills being considered federally to restrict firearms sales to or remove firearms from people with “red flags” in their backgrounds. The proposed laws would allow law enforcement or even family members to petition a judge to remove guns from people who pose a threat to themselves or others.

The proposed laws have gained support from both major parties to varying degrees. Last year, eight states signed red flag bills into law. Five other states already had red flag laws before that.

Dahm’s bill would declare any federal red flag law powerless in Oklahoma. The bill also would prohibit any state or local entities from accepting federal funds to entice agencies into forbidding gun ownership for any person.

The bill will be heard in the next legislative session, starting in February.

speedway grille

Tuesday, September 3, 2019, 7:59 AM

Up to five percent of Muskogee’s kindergartners are not vaccinated against common and potentially lethal childhood illnesses, according to a study released by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Schools are well-known as great places for the spread of diseases from one person to another, and most require children to be vaccinated against the worst diseases, including diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, hepatitis a, hepatitis b, measles, mumps, rubella, polio and varicella (chicken pox).

Most of Muskogee’s public schools did not answer the health service’s request for the information, but of those that did, the picture is bleak. Exemptions to vaccination requirements can be granted if the child is certified to be allergic, have specific contraindications and the exemption is signed by a physician. Some religious exemptions are also granted.

  • Hilldale Elementary reported 95.69 percent of its kindergartners were vaccinated, while 3.4 percent had an exemption on file.
  • Benjamin Franklin STEM Academy reported only 90 percent of its students were vaccinated, with 9.1 percent having an exemption on file.
  • Sadler Arts Academy reported 93.18 percent vaccinated, with 4.5 percent having exemptions on file.
  • Creek Elementary reported 95 percent vaccinated with 1.7 percent exempted.
  • Fort Gibson reported 98.29 percent vaccinated with 1.7 percent exempted.
  • Braggs reported only 84 percent vaccinated with 7.7 percent exempted
  • Midway and Oktaha reported 100 percent vaccinated and no exemptions.
  • Warner reported 88.71 percent vaccinated and no exemptions
  • Webbers Falls reported 90 percent vaccinated and no exemptions
  • Porum reported 94 percent vaccinated and no exemptions.
  • Pershing did not complete the survey.
  • Cherokee did not complete the survey.
  • Irving did not complete the survey.
  • Tony Goetz did not complete the survey.
  • Whitier did not complete the survey.
  • Grant Foreman did not complete the survey.
  • Oklahoma School for the Blind was exempted from the survey to protect student privacy because fewer than 10 kindergartners are enrolled.

Ninety-four percent of all schools in the state participated in the survey, while most of Muskogee’s elementary schools did not.

Overall, the study indicates the number of kindergarten students up to date on all vaccines increased by 1 percent from 2017-18. Up to date rates for MMR, Hep B, and Hep A all increased when compared to last year while DTaP and Varicella rates decreased. The number of students with record of exemption for any vaccination increased by 0.2 percent from 2.4 percent in 2017-18, to 2.6 percent in 2018-19. The majority of these exemptions were approved for non-medical reasons such as personal or religious reasons.

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Monday, September 2, 2019, 8:05 AM

Stoney Nicholson, 26, of Oktaha was killed in a motorcycle wreck just before midnight on Aug. 31, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Nicholson was driving a 2006 Suzuki motorcycle northbound on Texanna Road five miles east of Checotah when he failed to negotiate a left curve, departed the roadway to the right, laid the bike over and struck a tree, the patrol reported.

He was wearing a helmet at the time but was pronounced dead at the scene due to head injuries. The cause of the wreck is unknown, the patrol reported.

Services are being handled by Integrity Funeral Service in Henryetta. Viewing will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday at the funeral home and the funeral will be 2 p.m. on Wednesday at the funeral home.

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Friday, August 30, 2019, 10:08 AM

Police direct traffic around a school bus wreck at York and Chandler.

A school bus apparently en route to school crashed into the back of an SUV this morning, according to eyewitnesses and emergency officials.

It is not known if students were on the bus at the time.

No one was injured in the wreck.

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Friday, August 30, 2019, 9:52 AM

A Wagoner County ambulance that was stolen this morning from Saint Francis Hospital in Muskogee was pulled over on the Muskogee Turnpike at the junction with Creek Turnpike during rush hour.

The ambulance, stolen around 7:15 this morning, was spotted by an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper near the Coweta gate. The trooper began pursuit of the ambulance, which had its lights flashing and sirens sounding.

Stop sticks flattened three of the ambulance’s tires and the driver, Devion Smith, 29, of Tulsa was taken to the Wagoner County Jail.

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Friday, August 30, 2019, 9:03 AM

Starting soon, Oklahomans and out-of-state travelers will hit the roads for the Labor Day weekend. Some will head to the lakes and rivers, others to destinations in other states. One thing is for sure, people will be drinking this weekend.

That’s why almost 100 law enforcement agencies are teaming up across the state; to make sure nobody drives under the influence, and everyone gets home safe. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol and the ENDUI team will conduct two sobriety checkpoints this weekend.

The first checkpoint will be on Friday, Aug. 30 in Norman. The checkpoint will be conducted with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Norman Police Department, and the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office. The checkpoint will start at 11 p.m. and end at 2 a.m. Saturday. Law enforcement will be out on patrol before, during, and after the checkpoint all across Cleveland County looking for impaired drivers.

The second ENDUI checkpoint will take place on Saturday, Aug. 31 in Tulsa. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol will be joined by the Tulsa Police Department, Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, and the Oklahoma ABLE Commission. The checkpoint will start at 10 p.m. and will end at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 1.

The Creek County Sheriff’s Office and Sapulpa Police Department will also conduct high-visibility patrols throughout their areas to deter and catch impaired drivers.

Multiple agencies around Fort Gibson will also be conducting a saturation patrol, putting extra units on the roads to catch impaired drivers.

Law enforcement from across the state will also be participating in the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office’s national mobilization, ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’. Each year, the ‘Drive Sober’ campaign happens twice a year; once around Labor Day, and again during the holiday season.

The campaign is a national enforcement effort aimed at lowering the number and severity of impaired driving crashes across the United States.

As a part of the ‘Drive Sober’ campaign, the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office is offering a $10 off Uber coupon for anyone who will use it. By offering these discount codes, the OHSO hopes to increase the number of people using a sober driver to get home and decrease the number of people killed in crashes across the state. To sign up for the code, click here.

In 2018, 331 people were killed in alcohol and/or drug-related crashes in Oklahoma.

seasons of greens

Thursday, August 29, 2019, 11:37 AM

Former OPEA President,Connie Stockton, Oklahoma Speaker of the House Charles McCall, Rep. Avery Frix and OPEA President Rita Heath.

The Oklahoma Public Employees Association (OPEA) honored state Rep. Avery Frix (House District 13, Muskogee) as one of its 2019 legislators of the year. The association selected Frix because of his work on state employee and retiree issues and his support of state employees in his district. The presentation was made August 23 during OPEA’s annual convention at The Lodge at Sequoyah State Park.

“This past session, Rep. Frix authored the bill to grant state employees a much-needed cost of living raise in their pensions without taking money from the general fund. We appreciate his support of retirees and active employees alike,” said OPEA Executive Director Sterling Zearley. “He is also the rising expert on pensions and retirement systems and our members are fortunate he has accepted that challenge.Even when the legislature is not in session, he works with OPEA members in their districts to improve working conditions.”

“I was humbled to receive this honor. I’m thankful for my constituents for allowing me to fight for state employees and retirees”, Frix said.

OPEA is Oklahoma’s largest organization advocating for state employees and retirees and its members work to support state agency employment and state agency services. It was established in 1975 and has approximately 8,000 members across the state.


Wednesday, August 28, 2019, 2:18 PM

Donnie Yarbrough

Fort Gibson Police Chief Donnie Yarbrough has been suspended with pay after allegations of sexual misconduct with a subordinate, according to officials familiar with the investigation.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has been called in to investigate.

“I can’t comment at this time,” Fort Gibson Town Attorney Larry Moore said just now.

Yarbrough has been the police chief in Fort Gibson since 2016. He is alleged to have had sexual relations in the past with the wife of a tow truck driver and a previous subordinate.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2019, 9:08 AM

Rodney Millermon, 50, of Muskogee was injured yesterday east of Fort Gibson in a single-vehicle wreck, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Millermon was driving a 2003 Ford F-250 pickup eastbound on US 62 when the vehicle left the roadway and struck a concrete barrier, the patrol reported. He was flown by helicopter to Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa in critical condition with internal injuries.

He was wearing a seatbelt at the time. The cause of the wreck is still under investigation.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2019, 6:53 PM

The Oklahoma State School Boards Association recognized state Sen. Dewayne Pemberton, R-Muskogee, for his dedication to Oklahoma schools this session by naming him Legislator of the Year. The legislator was presented with the award at the annual OSSBA/CCOSA Conference last Friday at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be recognized by my peers and fellow education advocates,” said Pemberton. “We have all dedicated our lives to improving our local schools, helping our teachers and school staff while making classrooms good environments for learning and growing. Our work is far from done, though, and I will continue to fight for public education.”

Pemberton serves as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education and also as a member of the Senate Education Committee. He dedicated 36 years of his life to public education in the state as a teacher, coach, athletic director and principal.

During the 2018 legislative session he co-authored legislation to gradually restore class-size limits, modernize alternative education funding and improve accountability and transparency of charter schools. He was responsible for presenting all education appropriations bills both in committee and to the full Senate.

Award recipients are chosen by the OSSBA Board of Directors, which is comprised of 32 school board members from around the state, choose a senator and representative each year for their work to pass and support legislation supporting public education. The conference is attended by approximately 2,000 Oklahoma school board members and administrators.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2019, 6:49 PM

Okay mayor Bradly Aron Matthews is the subject of a bench warrant issued in Wagoner County District Court.

Matthews allegedly failed to appear or pay a fine on a ticket for failure to carry insurance verification in his vehicle.

His bond is set at $324.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2019, 10:16 AM

Kim Teehee

Northeastern State University’s College of Liberal Arts has announced Kim Teehee as its sixth Sequoyah Fellow.

Teehee is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and is the executive director of government relations for Cherokee Nation and vice president of government relations for Cherokee Nation Businesses. She was also recently nominated by Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. to be the tribe’s first-ever delegate to U.S. Congress.

“I am deeply honored about returning to the NSU campus in this capacity. It remains an important place for me personally, a university where I was inspired and challenged. And for the Cherokee Nation, NSU will forever be an iconic partner because of the shared history of the school and the tribe,” Teehee said. “I look forward to interacting with the current students and hope what I am able to impart is beneficial, especially to all the Native American students.”

Prior to joining Cherokee Nation, she served as partner for the Mapetsi Policy Group, a Washington, D.C. based federal advocacy group representing Indian tribes and tribal organizations. She served former President Barack Obama as the first-ever senior policy advisor for Native American Affairs in the White House Domestic Policy Council for four years.

Teehee said she is especially proud of her work toward the administration’s support of proposed legislation to hold all perpetrators of domestic violence accountable for their crimes against Native American women, closing a jurisdictional gap in Indian country. She also played a key role in three White House Tribal Nations Conferences and led a government-wide team to ensure that progress was being made on tribal policy and legislative priorities.

Prior to serving in the White House, Teehee was senior advisor to the U.S. House of Representatives Native American Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Dale Kildee. Serving the bi-partisan caucus for nearly 12 years, she established an impressive record of accomplishments on a wide array of Native American issues, including appropriations, education, economic development, energy, health care, housing, agriculture and transportation.

sarah ladd

Monday, August 26, 2019, 8:22 AM

James Abston, 61, of Muskogee was killed in a motorcycle wreck late last night, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Abston was riding a 2003 Harley-Davidson motorcycle on North 13th Street around 8 p.m. when he drove into a fence at the end of a dead-end street, the patrol reported.

He was flown to Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa with head injuries, but he was pronounced dead just before midnight.

Abston was not wearing a helmet.

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