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DEATHS

Fay Ann Richardson, 90

Born December 23, 1930

Died January 17, 2021

Jasper David "Chuck" Jordan, 92

Born May 28, 1928

Died January 17, 2021

Richard "Dick" P. Sheffield, 85

Born April 24, 1935

Died January 17, 2021

Anthony Ward, 78

Born December 6, 1942

Died January 16, 2021

Angelique R. McPherren, 48

Born May 5, 1972

Died January 16, 2021

CLICK TO SEE MORE >>

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

THINGS TO DO

Thursday, January 21

Annual Wine Dinner

Friday, January 22

EasternOKVA Nurse Hiring Fair

Tuesday, January 19, 2021, 8:15 AM

Tyler Patterson, 18, of Warner was killed while he was walking on US 64 on Sunday, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Patterson was walking with a juvenile male, 17, who was also hit but treated and released for leg injuries at a Tulsa hospital.

The two vehicles involved were a 2018 Jeep Renegade driven by Phyllis Harp, 32, of Warner, who was treated and released at Saint Francis Hospital in Muskogee for leg and foot injuries, and a 2014 Nissan Altima, driven by Kimberly Patterson, 46, of Warner, who was treated and released at Saint Francis for leg, trunk external and arm injuries.

The Patrol did not report whether Kimberly Patterson was related to Tyler Patterson, nor did it specify what happened during the wreck.

More information when it is received.

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Friday, January 15, 2021, 9:22 AM

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol plans to spend the last two weeks of January focusing on distracted driving violations. This special emphasis is in honor of Trooper Nicholas Dees who was killed by a distracted driver on January 31, 2015. Trooper Dees and Trooper Keith Burch had been dispatched to investigate a collision involving a tractor-trailer on Interstate 40 in Seminole County near the Pottawatomie County line. While the troopers were standing outside their patrol units investigating the collision, a distracted driver traveled into the collision scene and struck both troopers. Trooper Dees died instantly and Trooper Burch received serious injuries. The driver of the vehicle was convicted of manslaughter.

The “Trooper Nick Dees Law” went into effect November 1, 2015. This law, Title 47-11-901d, states in part, “It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle on any street or highway within this state while using a handheld electronic communication device to manually compose, send or read an electronic text message while the motor vehicle is in motion.” This includes surfing social media sites.

There were more than 8,600 crashes in Oklahoma that involved at least one distracted driver in 2019. Those crashes killed 41 people and seriously injured 240 more.

Troopers will spend the last two weeks of January focused on distracted driving violations and issuing tickets and warnings for those violations. A primary goal will be educating the public. The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and Oklahoma Department of Transportation will use their message boards to remind motorists of the dangers of distracted driving. There will be flyers in welcome centers and rest areas as well.

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Friday, January 15, 2021, 8:19 AM

Brianna Douillard

Brianna Rashall Douillard, 30, of Muskogee is charged in Muskogee County District Court with felony embezzlement after she allegedly stole $1,600 belonging to her then-employer, McAlister’s Deli, according to documents filed with the case.

On Jan. 7, Douillard is accused of taking money from the restaurant, where she was employed as a night manager, from the safe and cash registers and then leaving.

According to police, “Brianna left a note stating she had done so.”

The court has issued a warrant for her arrest.

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Thursday, January 14, 2021, 7:59 AM

Despite Gov. Kevin Stitt’s declaration this week that schools could forego the two-week quarantine for students exposed to the coronavirus if the schools were following safety protocols, Muskogee Public Schools will continue to use a quarantine.

“We believe that following the guidance of our local Muskogee County Health Department is the correct path for our district. Beginning January 1, Muskogee Public Schools moved to the CDC’s option of 10 day quarantine if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring with continued monitoring through day 14,” Dr. Jarod Mendenhall, the schools’ superintendent, said. “We continue to implore our community to wear their masks, watch their distance, and wash their hands to help slow the spread of COVID-19 allowing our students to continue to learn within our school buildings.”

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021, 7:57 AM

Members of the Oklahoma House Democratic Education Group released the following statements in response to Governor Kevin Stitt’s comments today that seem to ignore CDC guidelines for returning to in-person learning.

“The state data shows kids under 15 were ten percent of all cases in the weeks before the holidays,” said Rep. Andy Fugate, D-Del City. “After the holidays, when kids were out of school, the number dropped by 50 percent. Last week, kids under 15 just accounted for five percent of all cases. The state’s own data doesn’t support the governor’s reckless plan. It’s time for him to stop blaming the unions for his failure to provide informed leadership.”

If bars are restricted, so should schools, another representative said.

“The governor, who recently enacted COVID precautions to close bars after 11 p.m., is now advocating for a large-scale return to in-person school across the state,” said Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa. “The only change instituted was suggesting that if mask mandates were in place, exposed children do not have to quarantine out of school. This didn’t work in Mustang Public Schools - why should we believe it would statewide? Oklahomans should understand that in the governor’s demand for schools to return to in-person learning, he offered no additional guidance or resources for Oklahoma public schools to do so safely.”

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Tuesday, January 12, 2021, 1:05 PM

Nicholas Moore

Nicholas Moore, 38, of Muskogee, a local landlord, has been charged with felony stalking in violation of a court order in Muskogee County District Court.

Moore has had numerous protective orders and misdemeanor cases filed on him for allegedly violating protective orders in the past. In this most recent case, he is accused of calling the victim, who has a valid protective order on him, beating on her door, ripping down a security camera and throwing it through her bedroom window, breaking glass on the window, and throwing a planter through a pickup truck’s window.

The victim provided police with surveillance footage of Moore allegedly taking down the security camera.

In the past, the victim alleges, he planted a tracking device on her vehicle, and her children discovered his notes detailing her movements. Moore, who owns several rental properties in Muskogee, already had a warrant out before this most recent incident.

The victim alleges that Moore is living with his mother and using her car to enable his stalking of her.

“He has also slashed my sister’s tires, stolen my work ID so I couldn’t work, smashed my work laptop, took off the locks off every door in my house so I couldn’t lock my house with my kids in it,” she said. “He has vandalized one of our other properties and harassed the realtor. He threw bricks through the window of our renter’s car.”

Muskogee County issued another warrant for Moore on Jan. 11.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2021, 9:07 AM

Travler Ray Ward, 19, of Council Hill is facing a felony and misdemeanor charge in Muskogee County District Court after allegedly spotlighting deer, then leading a game warden on a high-speed chase and later running a driver off the road.

According to an affidavit filed by Game Warden Cannon Harrison, he witnessed a black diesel Ram pickup with a stock trailer driving eastbound slowly around 133rd and S. 154th W, on Nov. 26. Harrison said he saw a bright light shining out the driver’s side of the window, which is consistent with spotlighting deer.

“This type of behavior is ... illegal and potentially dangerous,” Harrison said. “Individuals shooting at night create a risk factor due to the fact that they are unable to identify what is behind the target, potentially leading to an individual or livestock being shot — up to miles behind the target.”

The pickup, he said, continued for about 150 yards until Harrison lit up his lights and sirens. The pickup, however, started accelerating to the point that the trailer began bouncing back and forth from ditch to ditch, he said.

The pursuit reached speeds of almost 100 miles per hour, blowing yield signs and stop signs, Harrison reported. The pickup apparently ran two vehicles off the road in the process. Around 3/4 mile south of E. 1010 Road and N. 4080 Rd, Harrison found the vehicle parked with lights off and no occupant, pouring smoke from the radiator. He ran the tags and came up with Ward’s name.

Ward was later pulled over on Dec. 23 in Eufaula driving a Chevy pickup. The officer asked if he was the one who ran from police, and according to the affidavit, Ward admitted he was.

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Monday, January 11, 2021, 7:36 AM

Ramone Jackson, 21, of Checotah was killed in a single-vehicle wreck east of Eufaula yesterday, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Jackson was driving his 2013 Chrysler 300 westbound on County Road East West 4240 “at a high rate of speed” around 2 a.m., the patrol reported, when he failed to negotiate a curve and lost control, running off the left side of the road, striking a pipe fence.

The patrol is unsure if Jackson was wearing a seatbelt, or whether the car’s airbags deployed. It is still investigating the condition of Jackson at the time of the wreck and the specific cause of the wreck.

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Friday, January 8, 2021, 1:11 PM

Shelby R. Deluce, 29, of Checotah was killed in a two-car crash around 6 this morning on US 64 just east of Haskell, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. Her unborn fetus was also killed.

Deluce was a passenger in a 2013 Chevrolet Sonic driven By Corey Murphy, 29, of Coweta. Murphy was not injured. Murphy’s car was traveling northbound on the highway, when a 2020 Kia Rio driven By Curtisiana Brown, 19, of Fort Gibson did not stop at a stop sign from Old Taft Road, the patrol alleged. Brown’s car collided with Murphy’s car.

The cause of the collision is under investigation, as well as the condition of Brown at the time. Airbags deployed in both vehicles, but the patrol is uncertain at this time whether seat belts were in use.

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Friday, January 8, 2021, 9:04 AM

A temporary absentee ballot verification option which was put in place by state legislators last year has expired, according to County Election Board Secretary Kelly Beach.

The temporary verification option was part of Senate Bill 210, which was passed in the spring of 2020 in response to the pandemic. The bill gave Oklahoma voters the option to include a copy of their valid ID in lieu of a notarized or witnessed signature on their absentee ballot affidavit. Certain provisions of the bill were valid for the 2020 election year only and expired in December.

Beach said voters who request absentee ballots in 2021 will receive updated absentee ballot instructions with their balloting material and should read them thoroughly before placing their ballot in the mail.

According to Beach, “standard” absentee ballot affidavits are required to be notarized. “Physically incapacitated” absentee ballot affidavits must have the voter’s signature witnessed by two people.

“In other words, voters will submit their absentee ballots the same way they did prior to Senate Bill 210. As always, we recommend voters allow themselves plenty of time to receive, vote, and return their ballots.” said Beach.

Voters can request absentee ballots online using the OK Voter Portal on the State Election Board website at https://oklahoma.gov/elections/ovp.html or pick up an application from the County Election Board. A list of notaries can be found on the State Election Board website.

For more information, voters can contact the Muskogee Election Board at (918) 687-8151 or muskogeecounty@elections.ok.gov. The Election Board is located at 400 W. Broadway St., Muskogee, Oklahoma 74401. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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Thursday, January 7, 2021, 7:49 AM

Dennis Sixkiller, a fluent Cherokee speaker and Cherokee National Treasure, was among the first tribal citizens to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as part of the Cherokee Nation's phased distribution plan.

The Cherokee Nation is now scheduling COVID-19 vaccinations for elders ages 65 and older who are eligible to receive care within Cherokee Nation Health Services.

CNHS began calling patients in this priority phase the week of Jan. 4 to notify elders to schedule their vaccine appointment. Those who do not receive an automated call in the next few days, or who need to establish a new chart with Cherokee Nation Health Services, can call 1-833-528-0063 and select Option 1. Elders should note that the vaccines are given according to the supply on hand.

“With limited supplies of the vaccine, we are administering vaccinations according to the phased distribution plan and making sure our most vulnerable populations, including our health workers, speakers and elders, receive the vaccine first,” said CNHS Executive Director Dr. R. Stephen Jones. “As we receive more vaccines, we will continue vaccinating more groups in the months ahead according to the phases in the distribution plan.”

Since receiving the first distribution of vaccines on December 14, the Cherokee Nation has vaccinated a couple thousand tribal citizens, including more than 600 fluent Cherokee speakers.

Vaccinations are being administered by appointment only for established Cherokee Nation Health Services patients with a medical chart who fall within Phase 1A or 1B of the tribe’s phased distribution plan.

“It’s important to understand that we are unable to take walk-ins at this time. Scheduling of vaccinations is guided by our vaccine supply and allows us to prepare the right number of vaccines, which must be removed from cold storage at specific times ahead of distribution,” said CNHS Deputy Director of External Operations Brian Hail. “If our supply of the vaccines changes, we will adjust our scheduling and distribution plan appropriately to ensure we make the most of our vaccines and reach as many Cherokees as possible, as quickly as possible.

Qualifying appointments are being scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, excluding holidays.

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, including answers to frequently asked questions, or to find Cherokee Nation Health Service registration forms and the latest updates to the Cherokee Nation COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, visit health.cherokee.org.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2021, 1:19 PM

Leroy Jemol Smith

Muskogee County District Attorney Orvil Loge has refiled four charges of first-degree rape against former Muskogee man Leroy Jemol Smith just now.

Smith is believed to be in the Tulsa area, and a warrant has been issued for his arrest. If you know of his whereabouts, Loge asks that you contact law enforcement immediately.

Smith previously avoided state prosecution by claiming McGirt status as a member of the Creek Nation. A federal judge ruled that the statute of limitations on the five women he is alleged to have raped during the 1990s had expired and let him out of jail.

State statutes of limitations have not expired.

Smith may have to face state courts despite his claims of being a member of a federally recognized tribe, victims and family have said, but did not give details.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2021, 7:50 AM

Keevin Michael Ray Walker

Keevin Michael Ray Walker, 33, of Muskogee is charged with three felonies after an incident that occurred on Jan. 2, according to documents filed with the case.

Around 4 p.m. on Jan. 2, in the 800 block of South 23rd Street, Walker is accused of tying a woman’s legs together at knife-point, refusing to let her leave his van. He allegedly told the woman she was “gonna die” in the van and that he would force anyone trying to rescue her to kill him.

Walker allegedly placed a zip-tie around the woman’s neck and tightened it until she lost consciousness, assaulting her the entire time. Police allege “this happened multiple times” over a three-to-four-hour period.

He is charged with felony kidnapping, planning to perform an act of violence and domestic assault and battery by strangulation.

Walker has been convicted of numerous felonies in the past, including second-degree burglary in 2007, for which he received five years suspended, which was later revoked, forcing him to serve the time in prison. He was convicted of two more second-degree burglaries in 2008 and a count of grand larceny, then in a separate case in 2008, knowingly concealing stolen property. Again in 2008 he was convicted of another count of second-degree burglary and possessing a firearm after conviction. Finally in 2008, he was convicted of possession of contraband by an inmate and sentenced to 20 years in jail.

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Tuesday, January 5, 2021, 4:22 PM

Rebekah Scott, a Cherokee citizen and employee of the Cherokee Nation Health System, has filed a lawsuit in tribal district court alleging a law on elections is unconstitutional.

Specifically, the law requires that any candidate for tribal seats on the Tribal Council or for Principal Chief must not be an employee of the Cherokee Nation.

“The Petitioner, as a citizen by blood, possesses an inalienable right to seek elective office within the Cherokee Nation tribal government,” the suit, filed by Muskogee attorneys John Tyler Hammons and Jeremy K. Hamby, states. “The (law) unconstitutionally forces the Petitioner to choose between her inalienable right to seek elective office and her inalienable right to continued employment.”

The suit goes on to allege that the law exceed’s the tribal council’s legislative powers by imposing requirements for elective office more stringent than the Constitution does.

You can read the lawsuit here.

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Tuesday, January 5, 2021, 8:34 AM

Cherokee Nation Human Services Executive Director Marsha Lamb is retiring after 31 years of service to the tribe.

Lamb began her career with the Cherokee Nation as a family advocate in the Human Services department in 1987. After 20 years of working to improve the lives of Cherokees, she retired to spend time with family, but later returned to the Human Services department to implement a social services comprehensive case management model for the Cherokee Nation’s rental assistance program. Once the program was designed and successfully implemented, Lamb again retired, but later returned to oversee the Human Services department at the request of former Principal Chief Bill John Baker.

Lamb will continue to serve the Cherokee Nation as a special advisor for Human Services.

“Working for the Cherokee Nation over the years and helping serve thousands and thousands of Cherokee citizens has been the greatest honor for me,” Lamb said. “I have worked alongside a great team of coworkers who are very dedicated to providing assistance to our citizens through the Human Services department. I am so thankful for the opportunity to have served the Cherokee Nation for 31 years.”

Jennifer Kirby, the Cherokee Nation Human Services Director of Youth Services and Special Projects and Interim Director of the tribe’s Family Assistance program, has been named interim Executive Director of Human Services. Kirby, a Cherokee Nation citizen, has worked for Cherokee Nation Human Services since 2008.

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Monday, January 4, 2021, 8:53 AM

Lee Pace, 41, has starred in numerous blockbuster movies over the years after being born in Chickasha and graduating Juilliard.

Possibly best-known for his role as King of the Mirkwood Elves, Thranduil, in the Hobbit series of movies, Pace has starred in two blockbuster Marvel movies as Ronan the Accuser, from Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel.

That movie will be showing in Muskogee at the Roxy Theater on Jan. 9 at 4 p.m. Tickets are $5, and full concessions will be available, plus adult beverages at the Roxy bar. Doors open at 3:30 p.m.

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Friday, January 1, 2021, 9:50 AM

Joseph Adam Martin, 42, of Wagoner is charged in Muskogee County District Court with a felony count of terrorism hoax and a misdemeanor count of threatening or harassing phone call, according to documents filed with the case.

An affidavit filed with the case by the Warner Police Department states that on Dec. 27 around 6:30 p.m., the nursing home called police and said Martin had been calling, making verbal threats toward employees and saying he was “going to come and kill everybody.”

Workers at the home said he had been harassing them daily for several months, and they have filed numerous reports and written statements with the police.

Martin was convicted in 2015 of first-degree burglary and prisoner placing bodily fluid on a government employee. He was sentenced to a total of eight years suspended.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2020, 8:44 AM

Muskogee Police have identified the second deceased victim n the double homicide that happened at 826 S. York Street on Dec. 22.

Benjamin Clyde Whaley, black male, 18 years old, was killed during the shooting.

Malski M Hill, black male 19 years old, was also killed in the shooting.

Quinton Pittman, black male 23 years old was shot in the arm, ear and foot. He was treated and released from a Tulsa hospital.

Devonte Johnson, black male 25 years old was shot in the abdomen and upper left leg. He was treated and released from a Tulsa hospital.

No further information has been released about the shooting.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2020, 8:14 AM

Bacone College announced Monday that Oglala Lakota Artist Gerald Cournoyer has been promoted to vice president of development. Cournoyer has directed the renowned Bacone College School of Indian Art program since 2018. Michael Elizondo Jr., Cheyenne, has been appointed as the new director of the Bacone College School of Indian Art.

“Gerald is a great ambassador for Bacone College. He can tell our true story, the challenging and difficult times we’ve been through, and our transformation,” President Dr. Ferlin Clark said. “As a Cheyenne artist from Oklahoma with his experience and education, we are confident that Mr. Elizondo will encourage and inspire Native American students to pursue their art degrees at our historic school of Indian art.”

Cournoyer holds a master of fine arts from the University of Oklahoma and a master in nonprofit arts management, which allows him to use his expertise in networking and developing relationships among those who support Bacone College. He is currently pursuing a master in philanthropy, as well.

“This is going to be a new and challenging experience with great rewards for Bacone College,” Cournoyer said. “I’m looking forward to working alongside the president and development team to move the college forward in a positive light as we prepare our students for the future.”

Elizondo also holds a master of fine arts from the University of Oklahoma. He has dedicated much of his career to teaching art and art history at various colleges and mentoring programs in Oklahoma. He maintains his studio practices and a passion for art. Elizondo was an adjunct instructor in 2012-2013 at Bacone College for former director Tony Tiger. His artist website is located at www.michaelelizondojr.com.

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Monday, December 28, 2020, 7:34 AM

Last week Cherokee Nation Health Services activated its COVID-19 surge plan for W.W. Hastings Hospital.

The surge plan for Health Services involved purchasing and allocating resources for the ability to provide care during the pandemic in the event that the health system exceeded the limits of their normal infrastructure. As the number of COVID-19 cases have increased over 8,200 since March the health system has experienced an overwhelming number of hospitalized patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

“Back in March, our team started working on a surge plan in the event that we started reaching our hospital bed capacity,” Executive Director Dr. R. Stephen Jones said. “Recently, we’ve had challenges when transferring patients to other facilities due to their own capacity limitations. When we are full and when our partner facilities are full, we have to act to continue caring for our patients.”

“W.W. Hastings Hospital began reaching its capacity of 49 beds in early November and with the increased number of cases has become overwhelmed,” Jones added.

The surge plan has allowed an increased capacity of approximately 50 percent to the ICU beds in the hospital. As the surge progresses, the health system may be required to engage staff from other Cherokee Nation outlying health centers to aid in caring for hospitalized patients with COVID-19.

“We are utilizing all of our resources to assist in this surge,” said Jones. “It is our mission to continue providing quality care to our patients while keeping them close to home. We understand that it puts pressure on families when their loved ones are not cared for locally. Our health leadership is constantly monitoring our current capacity and looking ahead to decide when to initiate the next phase.”

In the midst of the implementing the surge plan, Cherokee Nation Health Services began its first phase for vaccinating against COVID-19.

“The vaccine does bring us hope as we move forward but it’s important to understand that the vaccine alone will not end the pandemic, but it is another layer of defense on top of masks, social distancing and all the other safety measures we have in place,” Executive Medical Director Dr. Roger Montgomery said. “Because we currently have a limited number of doses, we are making sure that our most vulnerable populations such as healthcare workers, first responders, and those who are high risk are being identified and contacted to receive the vaccine first. We are planning to receive more vaccine so that we can vaccinate each tier group as it becomes available.”

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Monday, December 28, 2020, 7:31 AM

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the obstacles it has presented for current and potential students to complete enrollment, Bacone College will delay the start of its Spring 2021 semester until Wednesday, January 20.

Bacone College faculty, staff, and administration are striving to assist students to move through the required processes as quickly as possible despite school office closures causing delays in obtaining official transcripts and difficulties in scheduling COVID-19 testing prior to moving on campus for the spring as required.

Students who have or will have completed enrollment will be contacted prior to the start date to inform about move-in dates and procedures. An updated Spring 2021 academic calendar will be posted on the website at www.bacone.edu as soon as possible.

Current students should contact their advisors for more information. Applicants or new enrollees should contact the admissions department via email at admissions@bacone.edu with any questions or to check the status of their applications.

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Thursday, December 24, 2020, 9:29 AM

Adrian Foster

Adrian Lashean Foster, 20, of Muskogee has been charged in Muskogee County District Court with a felony count of assault and battery with a deadly weapon after an incident on Tuesday where shots were fired at a house in the 500 block of N. 17th St., according to documents filed with the case.

Around 6 p.m. Tuesday night, the victims at the house reported a gray SUV pulled up to the house and opened fire while several people were in the yard and the house.

Muskogee Police determined the suspect to be Foster.

Foster, who was 19 last year, was charged with numerous assault and gun-related felonies last year, including domestic assault and battery by strangulation, domestic assault and battery against a pregnant woman, threats to perform acts of violence, assault and battery with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm after delinquent adjudication and in 2017, when he was 17, shooting with intent to kill.

At least one of those cases was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction because Foster is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) tribe.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2020, 10:17 AM

Two unidentified black males were killed after showing up at an apartment at 826 S. York late last night, according to Lynn Hamlin of the Muskogee Police Department. Four people were shot in the incident.

The first died last night, but his age and identity are not known at this time. The second was flown by helicopter to a Tulsa hospital, where he later died from his injuries. He is in his 20s, police say. Two other victims were transported by Muskogee County EMS to a Tulsa hospital, but their conditions are unknown.

According to police, multiple people showed up at the apartment and “a disturbance took place.” The two dead were among those who showed up. Three people were already in the apartment, two were shot.

Police are searching for two men who left the scene in a vehicle and were wearing all black.

UPDATE 4:30 p.m.: One of the deceased victims has been identified as Malski M. Hill, 19, according to Hamlin.

Malski Hill

UPDATE: All but one of the victims have been identified in a release from the police:

The following information is an update to the double homicide from 12/23/2020. The individuals listed below are the individuals that were shot:

Malski M Hill, black male 19 years old. Deceased

Quinton Pittman, black male 23 years old was shot in the arm, ear and foot. He was treated and released from a Tulsa hospital.

Devonte Johnson, black male 25 years old was shot in the abdomen and upper left leg. He was treated and released from a Tulsa hospital.

The fourth subject is pending the Medical Examiner identification at this time.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2020, 8:17 AM

Tracy Wright, RN, gives the first Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center to Josh Cloud, an RN on the Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit.

The Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System began COVID-19 vaccination with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 22 following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization for this vaccine.

VA has worked with the CDC and other federal partners to develop a phased plan. The goal is to do the most good for the most people during this time. Under this plan, the center will first offer vaccines to VA health care personnel followed by high-risk veterans.

If you’re eligible to get a vaccine, a VA health care team will contact you. The staff can’t provide vaccines to anyone who isn’t eligible at this time.

“VA is eager to offer the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to health care personnel and our veterans,” said Mark E. Morgan, director of the Eastern Oklahoma VA health system. “Receiving the vaccine is like having hope delivered. As vaccine supplies increase, our ultimate goal is to offer COVID-19 vaccination to all veterans and employees who want to be vaccinated.”

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was 94 percent effective in clinical trials in preventing COVID-19 disease. The vaccine is administered in two doses, 28 days apart. The side effects appear similar to those of other vaccines and are short-lived.

Thirty-seven medical centers began offering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to health care personnel and Veterans Dec 14. Fifteen additional VA facilities will receive an allocation of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine the week of December 21.

Even after receiving COVID-19 vaccination, employees and veterans should continue wearing face coverings, practicing physical distancing and washing hands often.

Veterans can get up-to-date information on VA’s VA COVID-19 vaccine webpage, which launched on December 11, 2020, and sign up to receive regular updates on the vaccine on the VA’s Stay Informed page.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2020, 10:49 PM

At least one person was injured in a shooting at the Southpoint apartments at York and Georgia streets, according to witnesses.

Though Muskogee police can only confirm that there was a shooting, possibly more than one, witnesses say at least three shots were fired and one person was injured.

Two ambulances were dispatched to the scene, but Muskogee County EMS has not responded to requests for information, so there is no official word on whether anyone was injured.

We will update as soon as official information becomes available.

UPDATE: 11:57 p.m.: Police and EMS have confirmed that one person is dead.

Four people were shot. One was dead when emergency officials arrived. The other three were taken to a Tulsa hospital, one by helicopter, the other two by Muskogee County EMS.

Police have no names, and no motive for the shootings at this time. If they have a suspect, they have not released that information. Police have also not released ages or race information on the victims, citing an ongoing investigation as the reason.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2020, 7:56 AM

Sen. George Young, D-Oklahoma City, filed Senate Bill 161 on Thursday to increase Oklahoman’s minimum wage requirement.

Senate Bill 161 would require employers to pay their employees a minimum wage of $10.50 per hour, or match the federal minimum wage rate, whichever is greater. Oklahoma’s current minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, which is equal to the federal minimum wage.

“It’s been more than a decade since hard-working Oklahomans have seen an increase to the minimum wage schedule,” Young said. “During this time, the spending power of a minimum wage paycheck has drastically decreased.”

The last change to Oklahoma’s minimum wage schedule was in 2008 when the rate increased from $6.55 to $7.25 an hour.

Twenty-nine states have a minimum wage requirement higher than the federal minimum, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. While Texas and Kansas match Oklahoma’s $7.25 an hour minimum wage, Missouri’s minimum wage rate is $9.45 per hour and Arkansas’ minimum wage rate is $10 per hour. Both states have plans to further increase their rates in the coming years.

“Many of our essential workers during this pandemic have been paid a minimum wage. Raising the rate at this point in time would be a well-deserved ‘thank you’ for their dedication and service during an extremely challenging year,” Young said. “If we truly want to be a ‘Top 10 State,’ we must raise our minimum wage rate to be competitive with other states on a national level.”

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Monday, December 21, 2020, 3:21 PM

Well-known Muskogee doctor Yet Se Choa Png, M.D., (FACC) died this morning of COVID-19, according to his daughter, Jasmine Ong.

Ong, she said, had been working long hours during the COVID crisis, and collapsed late in November at the hospital while working. He suffered a brain injury during the collapse, she said, and was transferred to Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa, where he was recovering, when he contracted COVID-19 as a patient.

Ong had been practicing medicine in Muskogee for 41 years.

“The last several conversations I had with him before he got sick, he was desperate to convince (Muskogee residents) to stay home, stay at a distance from others and to wear masks in public at all times,” Jasmine Ong said. “He gave you his LIFE. The least you can do for him is to take this pandemic seriously and wear a mask.”

She saved strong words for the Gov. Kevin Stitt and others in state leadership who failed to issue mask mandates.

“You have blood on your hands,” she said. “Make no mistake, I blame you for what happened to my father. You have deprived an entire community of one of its greatest champions and hardest workers. Muskogee will never recover from the loss of Dr. Yee Se Ong. I would tell you that I hope you die face-down, drowning on dry land from fluid in your lungs delivered there by the virus while all your organs fail, but that’s what happened to my dad, so it’s definitely too good for you.”

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Monday, December 21, 2020, 8:52 AM

Muskogee Public Schools students will be able to build their home libraries soon as district librarians were announced as one of the recipients of the 2020 Jimmie Johnson Foundation Champions Grants.

The “Racing to Build Home Libraries” grant totaling $54,455.47 will allow district librarians to provide children with books to build their home libraries through book giveaways.

“I’m incredibly grateful to the Jimmie Johnson Foundation for supporting literacy,” said librarian Gina Batie of Cherokee Elementary. “MPS Librarians have a motto: ‘If you can’t bring the children to books, bring the books to the children.’”

The Jimmie Johnson Foundation selected five projects to receive funding totaling $219,830.41 in eligible districts in California, North Carolina, and Oklahoma.

Since 2009, more than $6.1 million has been awarded in support of 139 projects. In that time, Muskogee Public Schools have received over $1.3 million in Champions Grants from the Jimmie Johnson Foundation.

Jimmie Johnson Foundation Champions Grants are awarded annually to K-12 public and charter schools in and around Chandra and Jimmie’s hometowns in California and Oklahoma, as well as their current residence in North Carolina. Schools in eligible districts can apply for funds to help address their most critical needs in the following categories: Arts, Health & Wellness, Language and Literacy, School Improvements, and Science and Technology.

For more information regarding the Jimmie Johnson Foundation and to see a detailed list of the 2020 Champions Grant projects, please visit https://jimmiejohnsonfoundation.org/

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Friday, December 18, 2020, 7:04 PM

Emergency workers tend to the victim of a hit by a car.

A pedestrian 14-year-old boy was struck by a car in the 1600 block of West Okmulgee just now, according to witnesses.

Police have yet to respond to questions, and EMS has said they will get details shortly.

The apparently male victim appears to be alive and is being treated by emergency personnel. No details yet on the victim.

The victim was apparently literally knocked out of his shoes, witnesses at the scene report. It appears the driver of the car remained at the scene.

UPDATE 7:20 p.m.: The victim is a 14-year-old boy who was crossing the street in dark clothes, a witness said.

The boy’s father said he’s not allowed to go into the street, the witness said. The father was not present when the wreck happened. He showed up after the police did, the witness said.

The boy had severe arm injuries, the witness said. The boy was run emergency status by Muskogee County EMS to a Tulsa hospital.

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Friday, December 18, 2020, 4:51 PM

A man has been stabbed and is in critical condition at Deluxe Inn, just across from Sam’s Southern Eatery, according to Muskogee police.

The man was stabbed multiple times, according to police.

More details as they become available.

UPDATE: A 20-year-old man was taken under emergency status to a Tulsa hospital, according to EMS.

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