DEATHS

Barbara Ann Sommers, 79

Born June 23, 1939

Died March 25, 2019

Dorothy June Dunlap, 92

Born July 4, 1926

Died March 22, 2019

Carl Lee Cruce, 76

Born June 22, 1942

Died March 21, 2019

Mary Ann Kinion , 54

Born February 27, 1965

Died March 21, 2019

CLICK TO SEE MORE >>

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

THINGS TO DO

Monday, March 25

Microsoft Excel 2 - An Intermediate Course
MIN 4523: American Indian Ministry Internship 2019

Tuesday, March 26

Amnesty Day (Muskogee)
Tahlequah Outreach - Knowing Your Role in the Closing Process
LiveLoveCycle Indoor Training
Muskogee City & County Warrant Amnesty Days
Serger University

Wednesday, March 27

Amnesty Day (Muskogee)
Dinner Church
Serger University
Muskogee City & County Warrant Amnesty Days
Microsoft Excel 2 - An Intermediate Course
Doers of the Word Children's Program
Bacone American Indian Studies emphasis in Tribal Leadership
Sign Language classes

Monday, March 25, 2019, 9:57 AM

It’s time for pancakes and sausage as the Muskogee Noon Lions Club hosts its annual Pancake Day from 6 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27, in the Muskogee Civic Center. Those attending can eat all they want for $5 each and tickets are available at the door.

The “Pride in Oklahoma” menu includes all-Oklahoma products with the essential pancakes made by experienced Lions and celebrity cooks using Shawnee Mills products, served with Griffin’s Syrup from Muskogee’s own Griffin Food Company, dairy products from Highland Dairy, drinks from Love’s, coffee from Henderson Coffee. A new addition is the popular Greer’s Ranch House Country Style Sausage.

This event has been held for more than 50 years and benefits many charities in Muskogee. Through its fundraising activities, the Muskogee Noon Lions Club was able to aid several groups in 2018, including Oklahoma School for the Blind, Muskogee County 4-H, Kelly B. Todd; Ark of Faith, scholarships for seniors at three Muskogee high schools; Oklahoma Lions Club Boys Ranch; Oklahoma Eye Bank; Lions World Services for the Blind; and Leader Dog.

Muskogee Noon Lions Club marked its 101st anniversary last fall and is celebrating more than 102 years of service to Muskogee. It is one of the oldest Lions Clubs in the world. Founded in 1916, it helped organize Lions Clubs International in 1917 making it one of the few Founders Clubs in the world.

This year’s event is predicted to be the biggest one yet for the organization.

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Monday, March 25, 2019, 8:28 AM

The China King Chinese buffet restaurant on Shawnee Bypass has burned down overnight.

There is no official word on the cause of the fire at this time, and no word on whether any other buildings were harmed in the blaze. No injuries have been reported so far.

The fire marshal has not yet returned calls for comment.

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Friday, March 22, 2019, 12:54 PM

Koby Leblanc

Muskogee County deputies received word this morning that a suspect in a first-degree murder and a first-degree burglary in Oklahoma City may possibly be in Muskogee county.

Deputies found the suspect at 4009 Eufaula in Muskogee and took him into custody.

The suspect, Koby William Leblanc, 17, is wanted in connection with a burglary and homicide that happened in February in Oklahoma City.

A homeowner confronted burglars and was subsequently shot and killed. The same group of suspects are also tied to another Oklahoma City burglary in which 27 handguns and semi-automatic rifles were stolen.

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Thursday, March 21, 2019, 9:54 AM

Beat Bugs, a new musical adaptation based on the Netflix animated series, inspired by music made famous by The Beatles, centers around five pals who explore the world and learn life lessons.

The Muskogee Little Theatre Spring Break Theatre Camp is performing a show based on the popular series. Show dates are March 22, 23 and 24, with curtain times of 7:30 p.m. each day except Sunday, which is at 2 p.m.

Follow Walter, Buzz, Jay, Crick, and Kumi as they go on a mission to save Strawberry Fields. The show incorporates numerous songs from the iconic catalog including “All You Need Is Love”, “Come Together”, “We Can Work It Out”, “Yellow Submarine”, “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, “In My Life”, “Strawberry Fields Forever”, and “Magical Mystery Tour”.

Tickets: muskogeelittletheatre.com or purchase tickets at MLT Box Office.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019, 9:51 AM

For the sixth consecutive year, Cherokee Days is returning to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

The three-day festival runs April 12-14 and showcases the shared history and cultural lifeways of the three Cherokee tribes: Cherokee Nation, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians.

“It’s an honor to return to NMAI with our brothers and sisters from the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. This annual cultural celebration is a special collaboration for all of us,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “The spirit of Cherokee Days affords us a unique opportunity to showcase our talented artisans and respected historians. Preserving our culture means sharing it with the next generation, and that’s what we will again be doing in the nation’s capital.” Guests will enjoy various cultural demonstrations such as storytelling, traditional flute music, weaponry, woodcarving, beadwork, traditional games, basket weaving, pottery demonstrations and dance performances. Hands-on activities in the imagiNations Activity Center will include making silhouette drawings and miniature gourd necklaces.

“You will see culture and heritage that existed prior to removal and hear how the need for more land and the discovery of gold led to the division of the historic Cherokee Nation into three parts,” United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians Principal Chief Joe Bunch said. “Each one has separate and distinct tribal governments with their own rich traditions and histories.”

As part of the Cherokee Days event, the museum will be celebrating a new installation in the special exhibition “Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations.”

The Treaty of New Echota (1835) was an agreement made by a small group of Cherokee citizens with the U.S. government ceding all Cherokee lands in the East in exchange for lands west of the Mississippi River, though they had no legal right to represent the tribe. On loan from the National Archives, the treaty will be on display through the fall of 2019.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019, 9:00 AM

Robert Kramer, 56, of Weleetka, died on March 12 after the 2013 Ford F-150 he was driving struck a tree just west of Oklahoma 52 in Hannah, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Kramer was westbound on Oklahoma 9 when, for undetermined reasons, the truck departed the roadway to the right, striking a tree and bursting into flames, the patrol reported.

Kramer was pronounced dead at the scene. The condition of the driver and the cause of the wreck are under investigation. Police don’t know whether he was wearing a seatbelt at the time.

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Monday, March 18, 2019, 9:02 AM

The Muskogee Police Department is hosting a citizens’ academy on April 2 at the Martin Luther King Community Center, but the deadline to apply for the academy is next week, according to Officer Lincoln Anderson.

The 10-week academy will teach about K9 operations, investigations, traffic stops and patrol. The course is designed to give a deeper insight into the operations of the department, and it opens opportunities to get more involved with the police.

The academy starts at 6:30 p.m. and runs to 9 p.m..

For more information, email mpd@muskogeepd.org or visit http://cityofmuskogee.com.

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Friday, March 15, 2019, 8:53 AM

Storm sirens will be going off all over Muskogee around noon today, according to the director of Emergency Management in Muskogee.

The sirens will sound for three minutes, twice.

The city recently upgraded the entire storm siren system, with a total of 20 sirens. The test will ensure all the sirens are working as they should.

The first test will be using the main power to the system, then the second test will cut the main power and test the backup batteries on the system.

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Friday, March 15, 2019, 8:46 AM

With an armed suspect charging them, shouting “I’m ready to die, kill me,” and “I want to die today,” eight Muskogee police officers fired their weapons at Danny Brogdon on March 5, killing him with 28 bullet wounds.

According to District Attorney Orvil Loge, all eight of the officers tried to de-escalate the situation, where Brogdon had already stabbed one woman and choked her to unconsciousness with his belt and did not back down when officers tased him, deployed a bean bag round and a flash bang round. Thirty one bullets were fired, 28 struck Brogdon.

According to Loge, Brogdon had that day committed the crimes of assault and battery with a deadly weapon on Debra Smith, Kimberly Robbins and Jennifer Dodd, and eight counts of assault on a police officer.

Their actions were legally justified, Loge said.

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Thursday, March 14, 2019, 11:34 AM

A Muskogee UPS driver, whose name we are withholding pending action from UPS, who was delivering a package to a food service business in Muskogee is under investigation from the package delivery service after photos surfaced of him placing his testicles on the package.

“Obviously, that is horrifying,” the owner of the business said when contacted about the incident this week. “Why would someone do that?”

Meanwhile, UPS is echoing similar sentiments.

“UPS does not tolerate the mishandling of packages,” Matthew O’Connor, senior manager of public relations, said. “We will investigate the situation and take appropriate action.”

The driver who took the photo texted it to a friend after first texting, “U wanna see something funny?”

The food service business has not said whether it will pursue any legal action in the case.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019, 10:15 AM

For people across the nation, this week is a chance to learn more about the incredible animals native to North America, their habitats, and how to help them thrive.

“There’s not a better state in the nation to live and work than Oklahoma - and a big part of that is our outdoor traditions and fantastic natural resources,” said Sen. Casey Murdock, R-Felt. “From the wide-open prairies that I call home, to the pine-covered mountains in the southeast, we have it all in Oklahoma and should take a moment this week to count our blessings for our great wildlife populations and their habitats.”

Oklahoma boasts 13 ecoregions which support over 800 species of fish and wildlife. These thriving wildlife populations provide Oklahomans with substantial recreation opportunities, including hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing.

“The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife and the game wardens they employ are doing an outstanding job working to make Oklahoma a top wildlife state,” said Rep. Kevin McDugle, R-Broken Arrow. “Because of their work hunters and anglers of Oklahoma are able to find more opportunities to enjoy hunting and fishing. I am proud of the work they are doing and personally appreciate the opportunities I have to hunt and fish.”

The Oklahoma Dept. of Wildlife Conservation is responsible for managing wildlife and their habitats, and they operate without any state tax dollars. In Oklahoma, hunters and anglers support the bulk of wildlife conservation efforts through their license and equipment purchases.

“We in Oklahoma are blessed to have a rich hunting and fishing heritage, coupled with more ecodiversity per acre than any other state,” said J.D. Strong, Director of the Oklahoma Dept. of Wildlife. “This gives us unprecedented opportunity to be a leader in growing hunting and fishing, not to mention the more than $2 billion in economic benefit it brings to the state. It’s great to have legislative leaders that recognize the positive economic impact generated by hunting and fishing, along with the vast wildlife conservation effort that is sustained as a result.”

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Tuesday, March 12, 2019, 9:39 AM

The Oklahoma Mission of Mercy recently announced the final numbers from its tenth annual event in Oklahoma City, where Oklahoma Dental Association members and Muskogee residents Drs. Moiz Horani and Dennis Weibel were among the dental professionals who donated services.

The two-day free dental clinic for individuals of all ages provided $1,512,266 in donated dental care. These donated treatments included cleanings, fillings extractions, root canals on front teeth and additional ways to improve the smile line at no cost to patients.

Volunteers performed dental procedures for 1,684 patients, averaging $898 of donated dental care per patient.

The Oklahoma Mission of Mercy is the only option for some to receive dental care. About half of Oklahomans do not have dental insurance and many have tremendous barriers to care, said Delta Dental of Oklahoma President and CEO John Gladden.

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Monday, March 11, 2019, 9:03 AM

Camp Cherokee participant Ella Mounce baits the hook of a turtle trap as fish and wildlife camp instructor Dr. Paul Shipman observes during the 2018 residential camp.

The Cherokee Nation will begin taking applications for the 2019 Camp Cherokee on Friday, March 15. Camp Cherokee offers day camps for elementary students and a week-long residential camp for middle and high school students.

Camp Cherokee is free to Cherokee Nation citizens and exposes youth to arts, culture, traditional games, storytelling and activities that focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Day camps are for Cherokee Nation students entering grades 1-6 during the 2019-20 school year. They will be offered in six locations throughout the Cherokee Nation in May, June and July.

Residential camp is held at Camp Heart O’Hills in Welling July 21-26. This overnight camp is for Cherokee Nation citizens entering grades 7-12 during the 2019-20 school year. Students will attend morning and afternoon classes based on their areas of interest. Cherokee Nation youth who live outside the tribe’s 14-county service area are also welcome at the residential camp.

Applications for day camps and residential camp are available online at www.camp.cherokee.org beginning March 15.

For more information, call 918-453-5224 or email camp@cherokee.org. Space is limited for the residential camp and early applications receive preference.

Campsite locations, dates and deadlines to apply for Camp Cherokee camps:

  • Nowata: May 28-31, application closes May 3
  • Rogers State University in Claremore: May 28-31, application closes May 3
  • Dwight Mission: May 28-31, application closes May 3
  • Kansas: June 11-14, application closes May 17
  • Stilwell: June 11-14, application closes May 17
  • Heart O’Hills in Welling (day camp): July 22-25, application closes June 28
  • Heart O’Hills in Welling (residential camp): July 21-26, application closes June 28

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Friday, March 8, 2019, 9:30 AM

Larry Honeycutt

Larry Honeycutt, 27, of Webbers Falls, is charged in Muskogee County District Court with a felony count of lewd molestation after he was accused of entering into a relationship with a 15-year-old Warner girl.

Honeycutt is accused of giving the girl a smartphone so their conversations would not be viewed by the girl’s mother and step-father. He then allegedly repeatedly accused the step-father of molesting the girl, which turned out to be unfounded. The goal, according to an affidavit filed with the case, was to get the girl removed from the home so they could be together without being watched by the girl’s parents.

Honeycutt was allegedly friends with the girl’s mother, and would visit the home frequently, finding ways to be alone with the girl, during which time he is accused of fondling her breasts and vagina.

He is in the Muskogee County Jail with a bond set at $25,000. He faces a sounding docket March 27.

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Friday, March 8, 2019, 8:39 AM

The City of Muskogee will sponsor the Azalea Spring Clean-up to prepare for the annual Azalea Festival from March 27 to March 30. Muskogee citizens, families, school children, churches and civic groups are encouraged to participate.

The city will provide trash bags, grabbers, gloves and vests to help volunteers. If you would like to participate, email litterfree@muskogeeonline.org or call the Stormwater Department at 918-684- 6340.

The Public Works Solid Waste Division-Street Division will allow trash dumping at the City Material Yard, 1503 South Cherokee Street. Trash dumping will be located inside the yard’s fence. At this site only, tires will be accepted. Only passenger car, pickup and large truck tires will be accepted. Tractor tires, tire dealers or tires on metal rims will not be accepted. There will be a limit of 25 tires per household.

“Free Dump Days” will be from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., March 27 through 30 at the Muskogee Community Landfill, 2801 South 54th Street West.

This clean-up effort prepares A More Beautiful Muskogee for the 2019 Azalea Festival, which begins April 13. The contributions from sponsors, waste haulers and waste management have contributed to past successes.

For more information, call the City’s Environmental Control Office at 918-684-6326 or email litterfree@muskogeeonline.org.

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Thursday, March 7, 2019, 10:37 AM

Today the Muskogee Police Department K-9 division along with Muskogee Police Department School Resource Officers were requested to do random searches of the exterior of vehicles in the parking lot of the school using police department K-9 officers.

During the course of those searches a K-9 indicated on a vehicle for the possibility of narcotics inside. The officers then notified the school staff and the student responsible for that vehicle was located. School staff then conducted a search of the vehicle and a green leafy substance was found inside, along with a firearm. At that time school resource officers took the student into custody without any further incident.

The student arrested was identified as 18 year old Bryce Barrett. Barrett was booked into the Muskogee County Jail on the charges of possession of a firearm on school grounds, and possession of marijuana.

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Thursday, March 7, 2019, 8:10 AM

No student injuries were reported in a wreck involving a Muskogee school bus headed to Grant Foreman Elementary, according to Eric Wells, chief information officer at the district.

Three students were on the bus when a turning car hit the bus on the front left wheel, he said.

None of the students were injured, and all three students’ parents have been contacted. The wreck occurred in the 1600 block of Okmulgee.

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Thursday, March 7, 2019, 7:35 AM

The Muskogee County Sheriff’s office received a check for $10,000 from the Cherokee Nation this week, according to the sheriff.

The money will be used to purchase 26 new bulletproof vests for deputies, he said.

“This will give our deputies the latest equipment to protect them as they perform their daily tasks of protecting the citizens of Muskogee County,” Sheriff Rob Frazier said. “We are extremely thankful to Tribal Councilor Mike Dobbins for presenting this generous donation from the Cherokee Nation.”

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Wednesday, March 6, 2019, 8:49 AM

A Muskogee County drug trafficking case against Marc Cox ended in a hung jury this week after the jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision.

Cox was charged with trafficking in illegal drugs after a traffic stop a year ago of a car he was riding in with two other people, Joel Yandell and Kaitlyn Pickel.

According to prosecutors, a box containing a one-gallon ziplock bag full of methamphetamine was found underneath Pickel’s seat in the back of the car. Body camera footage revealed Pickel telling the officer he needed a “warrant to look inside my box.”

According to Cox’s attorney, Steve Money, Pickel claimed ownership of the box at least five times in that footage.

Though the other two defendants apparently accepted plea deals, Cox contended he knew nothing about the contents of the box and took his case to trial. Money argued that there was no evidence Cox knew what was in the box, that he didn’t have control of the box and merely being close to the box was not enough to convict him of possession of it.

“There were a lot of moving parts on this,” Money said, “which I think is reflected in the jury unable to reach a unanimous verdict.”

Cox will face a new trial after a disposition docket on April 26.

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Wednesday, March 6, 2019, 8:33 AM

Danny Lee Brogdon

Yesterday, Muskogee Police officers responded to a call of a man stabbing women at 1539 North 18th. When they arrived on scene, they confronted the suspect, Danny Brogdon, 56, of Muskogee, inside of the residence. He was armed with a knife, police said. Brogdon subsequently exited the residence and advanced on officers. Officers were forced to fire on Brogdon, who died at the scene.

Brogdon has prior convictions for two counts of assault and battery with intent to kill, and a misdemeanor count of threat to perform an act of violence and domestic assault and battery. Police later discovered that yesterday one of the victims, Debra Smith, had filed a protective order against Brogdon.

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Wednesday, March 6, 2019, 8:29 AM

The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame will present the Red Dirt Rangers CD release party and concert Saturday, March 9th at the Hall. Doors open at 7 pm and the show starts at 8pm. Tickets are $10. There will be concessions and a cash bar available.

The Red Dirt Rangers have been carrying the banner for Red Dirt music since before the band’s founding in 1988 at a two-story, five- bedroom, funky old place called the Farm.

Ben Han, John Cooper, and Brad Piccolo became an integral part of the Farm’s musical brotherhood, trading songs and licks with the likes of Jimmy LaFave, Tom Skinner, Bob Childers and Randy Crouch. The Red Dirt Rangers were inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in June 2017.

As Rangers mandolinist-vocalist Cooper has noted, “The Farm was as much an attitude as a physical structure. It allowed a setting where freedom rang and all things were possible. Out of this setting came the music.”

In the fall of 2018, the band released its 10th recording, Blue Door Nights, recorded live at the Blue Door in Oklahoma City over two beautiful nights. The double-album recording celebrates those days at the Farm while remembering those who have gone before and with the help of younger singer-songwriters like John Fullbright.

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Tuesday, March 5, 2019, 4:26 PM

Muskogee police say they have shot and killed a suspect in the1500 Block of N. 18th Street just now.

Police say they were investigating a disturbance when they observed a man actively stabbing two victims.

Police shot and killed the man.

The stabbing victims were transported to the Muskogee hospital.

More information is coming.

UPDATE: Police shot the man with a taser, beanbag gun and a flash-bang as he charged at them with a knife, they say. None of that slowed him down.

Police say they aren’t sure if both victims were stabbed, but one definitely was.

UPDATE: Two victims were stabbed and a third was punched in the face and threatened, police report. The suspect was a white man, who has been identified, but whose name will not be released pending next-of-kin notification.

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Tuesday, March 5, 2019, 10:13 AM

A fire has consumed Monroe’s Club in Checotah. The bar was attached to the America’s Best Value Inn off US 69 just off Oklahoma 266.

No word yet on what might have caused the blaze, and no injuries have yet been reported.

The smoke from the fire can be seen from Eufaula, one reader reported.

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Tuesday, March 5, 2019, 7:55 AM

The Warner Public Schools football program has recently invested in Riddell’s InSite smart helmet technology, which now includes InSite Training Tool. ITT is Riddell’s latest innovation in head impact monitoring technology and will now offer the Eagles the unique opportunity to use a sabermetric approach to athlete protection.

Riddell’s ITT technology is a web-based data center that builds player impact profiles, rich with information, that a coach may use to identify opportunities. These then can be used to proactively influence player behavior and reduce exposure to impacts through improved training techniques and practice plans.

“Now, more than ever, it’s our responsibility as football coaches, trainers and administrators to embrace new technological advances that enable us to proactively protect our athletes and ensure that they can continue to enjoy the game of football,” said Warner Public School Athletic Director, Sam Fairchild. “With the purchase of Riddell’s InSite Training Tool, we are following through on our commitment, offering our staff and players real and useful data that we believe will continue to make the game smarter.”

ITT is backed by millions of on-field impacts dating back to 2003. It uses InSite-equipped smart helmets to not only monitor and alert the sideline to significant impacts, but also to collect, consolidate and analyze nearly every head impact to learn and track specific behaviors by player, unit or team.

The Warner Junior and Senior High football programs, grades 6 – 12, will be using the new ITT impact management program during their upcoming Fall 2019 season.

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Monday, March 4, 2019, 9:20 AM

Cherokee Nation citizen Elizabeth Toombs and Nissan USA Electric Vehicle Business Development Manager Brian Zelis view a 2019 Nissan LEAF

The Cherokee Nation and Nissan USA representatives announced a limited time rebate for Cherokee Nation citizens and employees purchasing a Nissan LEAF.

The limited time rebate of $3,500 for Cherokee Nation citizens and employees plus the up to $7,500 in federal tax incentives could equal up to $11,000 in total savings for tribal citizens and employees purchasing a Nissan LEAF before the special rebate offer expires April 1.

To receive the Nissan LEAF rebate offer, individuals must present a participating Nissan dealer proof of current employment at Cherokee Nation or a copy of the person’s Cherokee Nation citizenship card, and also a copy of the special rebate flyer, available in the quick links section at www.cherokee.org.

The rebate offer is only available to Cherokee Nation citizens and employees living in the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The partnership between the Cherokee Nation and Nissan USA is another example of the tribe’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. In 2017, the tribe celebrated the completion of the first tribal solar canopy car charging station built by a tribe in Oklahoma. The canopy, located at the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex in Tahlequah, is capable of charging up to eight electric vehicles and provides about 58,000 kilowatt hours of electricity to the tribal complex each year. The Cherokee Nation now has three electric vehicles in the tribe’s fleet.

Cherokee Nation’s business arm, Cherokee Nation Businesses, brought the first super charging stations to northeast Oklahoma through a deal with Tesla Motors. The electric fueling stations located at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa can charge a vehicle in about 15 minutes.

For more information on the Nissan LEAF rebate offer, contact Pat Gwin at 918-453-5000, ext. 5704.

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Friday, March 1, 2019, 8:58 AM

The Cherokee Nation continues its effort to enroll Cherokee children for SoonerCare during an event March 6 at Three Rivers Health Center in Muskogee.

As part of the enrollment effort, health officials are giving away one tablet per family who is new to enrolling in SoonerCare or within 30 days of their expiration to re-enroll. Families must also be Cherokee Nation citizens or Cherokee Nation Health Services patients.

SoonerCare is an added security for qualifying families who might need certain specialized care or face an emergency and need medical attention while away from the Cherokee Nation health system.

“The Cherokee Nation has increased its focus on educating our patients on the importance of enrolling in insurance programs, such as SoonerCare and Medicaid, because it benefits families and helps our entire tribe,” said Rick Kelly, Cherokee Nation’s senior director of health finance and SoonerCare Campaign committee member. “Through a grant, we were able to establish a call center, hire more patient benefit coordinators and do outreach in the communities.”

The enrollment event will be on the first floor under the rotunda at Three Rivers from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 6. Enrollment takes about 20 minutes per family. Bring a photo ID or tribal citizenship card.

Families of four must not exceed $52,716 per the Oklahoma Health Care Authority guidelines, and children 19 and under are eligible for SoonerCare (See www.okha.org/programs.)

Tablet devices will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis, one per household for qualifying families who successfully enroll.

Other enrollment tablet giveaway events will be held throughout the tribe’s 14-county health centers through May.

Since 2016, the Cherokee Nation has enrolled more than 6,000 uninsured Cherokee and Native children in SoonerCare after receiving a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The goal of the “Get in the Game, Get Covered” SoonerCare campaign is to lower the uninsured rate of Cherokee children to that of the national average of 6 percent.

For more information, call 1-844-749-GAME or visit www.cherokeecare.com.

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highers bonding

Thursday, February 28, 2019, 8:41 AM

The trial of Cody Thompson, right, ended in a mistrial.

The murder trial of Cody Thompson, who is accused of murdering 15-year-old Brennan Davis in January of 2017, ended in a mistrial yesterday, according to courthouse sources. A felony sounding docket is set for May of this year.

The jurors allegedly discussed the case before beginning deliberations, according to the courthouse source.

Attorneys involved in the case are under a gag order, so they cannot discuss anything regarding the case.

Thompson is alleged to have directed the torture and murder of Davis near lake Fort Gibson, in concert with Joshua Harrington, who pleaded guilty to the charges earlier and testified against Thompson.

In a preliminary hearing, Thompson’s attorney, Muskogee’s Andy Hayes, asked Elliott if Thompson had been seeing invisible people or talking to himself in the interview room, to which Elliott answered he had. Thompson also told investigators that time was very important to him, that he had “lots of clocks” all over his house, and when asked about whether he remembered the time something happened, he responded with a quote from Albert Einstein: “Time is manmade, it is an illusion.”

Thompson, who witnesses indicated was the leader of the pair, had posted a number of “demented” and “evil” things on his Facebook page, several witnesses testified, including things that could be interpreted as satanic. In one notebook, he allegedly wrote “Eliminate Josh,” allegedly referring to Harrington.

Harrington allegedly told a cellmate, Chad Lewman, that he was “in” for first-degree murder of a 15-year-old kid, and that he had made certain he bought popular shoes and made sure other people had seen him firing Thompson’s firearms so any fingerprints on them could be explained away. He also allegedly explained to Lewman how to burn a body and how, “when you burn a body, people tend to scream loud” enough that they “had to be dispatched. They know what’s coming. They cry and scream so loud that you have to dispatch them, because once they’re lit up, it gets even louder.”

Harrington allegedly told Lewman that “you never forget” the smell of a burning body. Lewman, a multiple felon, said he was not offered any deal in exchange for his testimony.

“I done a lot of wrong in my life,” he testified. “This is the right thing to do, and I figured maybe I can do some good.”

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secret desires

Wednesday, February 27, 2019, 10:40 AM

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation Tuesday to help parents better understand judges’ rulings on child custody and visitation. Sen. Dewayne Pemberton, R-Muskogee, authored Senate 65 after hearing from numerous constituents who are frustrated with their custody or visitation arrangements and have gotten no clear explanation about the court’s findings.

“To judges, these individuals may just be another number on their docket but these are families and relationships that are impacted by their decisions. Parents deserve to know exactly why a judge rules a certain way on custody and visitation,” Pemberton said. “This will help parents know if they need to address an issue or fix a problem in order to spend more time with their children.”

SB 65 authorizes either parent in a determination over child custody or visitation to request the judge to submit clear and concise written findings specifying the factors considered in making a determination on custody or visitation to be included in the final order. The order is appealable to the court of competent jurisdiction.

“Divorces can be ugly and, often times, parents can’t depend on their ex-spouses to do the right thing when it comes to custody and visitation. Children are often wrongly used as pawns to hurt the other parent,” said Pemberton. “Lack of proper and fair visitation or custody can be detrimental to the child-parent relationship. This is an effort to make sure that parents have a clear understanding of the reasoning behind a judge’s ruling and gives them the opportunity to properly defend themselves or, if needs be, request another judge if there is apparent bias.”

SB 65 now moves before the full Senate.

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tj hamilton

Tuesday, February 26, 2019, 10:05 AM

Andre Kearns, a genealogy hobbyist, will present a program at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Muskogee Public Library showing how blacks in America can trace their history using DNA.

Kearns’s research comes from the perspective of an African American genealogy hobbyist. Advances in DNA testing offer African Americans the possibility of leapfrogging brick walls created by slavery to connect to ancestral roots by analyzing family history documented within DNA.

Kearns will share strategies he’s used to advance his research as a hobbyist and highlight how he’s leveraged DNA testing to reveal white slave-owning ancestors, uncover free people of color ancestors and re-connect family branches.

Kearns is a genealogy hobbyist. By day he works in the business and technology world, and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in Business Administration from Morehouse College. His website is where he regularly shares his research findings. He also regularly blogs on race, culture, history and genealogy.

A short “How-To” session after the main program includes steps to take to upload your DNA data to GEDMATCH.

Genealogy Society meetings are free and open to the public. For more information: https://www.muskogeecountygenealogicalsociety.org/ or email mucogeso@yahoo.com

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cooper

Monday, February 25, 2019, 8:50 AM

Muskogee County District Judge Mike Norman

Muskogee County District Judge Mike Norman has passed away, according to friends of the family and Muskogee county authorities.

Norman suffered health issues starting in October of last year and was in Florida recovering from those issues when he passed, according to official sources who asked to not be named.

Norman ran unopposed for his seat in 2018 and was automatically re-elected without appearing on the ballot. His term started Jan 20.

At this time, it appears a special election will be held to determine who will fill the rest of his term, which is scheduled to end in 2022. If he had served half his term, the governor would be called to appoint a replacement. It’s also possible a replacement could be appointed. We have received two conflicting pieces of information about that.

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sooner surplus 1541949930

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