Friday, May 29, 2015, 2:27 pm
Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed a compact Friday to expand hunting and fishing rights for Cherokee Nation citizens to all 77 Oklahoma counties. The new agreement takes effect Jan. 1.
"By creating and signing this compact, we have reaffirmed our tribal sovereignty and once again led the way for other tribal governments in Oklahoma and across the country," Principal Chief Baker said. "Today, I am proud the Cherokee Nation is the first tribe to compact with the state in proper recognition of our long-held treaty rights to hunt and fish the lands within not only our jurisdictional boundaries, but all 77 counties in Oklahoma. No Cherokee will ever be fearful of arrest or prosecution for exercising their inherent rights to hunt and fish."
Overlapping state and tribal jurisdiction often made for confusion when it came to Cherokee Nation citizens' rights to fish and hunt the land without facing unnecessary and unlawful prosecution from state wildlife enforcement officers. Under the new compact, Cherokee Nation citizens will now be able to freely exercise their treaty rights across the state and without fear of arrest or prosecution off tribal land. The compact is the result of several months of careful negotiation to ensure Cherokee Nation citizens' rights were not only preserved, but strengthened.
Every Cherokee Nation citizen over the age of 16 will receive a hunting and fishing license annually and free of charge, along with one deer tag and one turkey tag. The Cherokee Nation will pay $2 to the state of Oklahoma for every license issued, which allows the state to obtain federal grants to help preserve the state's wildlife and natural habitats. The agreement also unlocks as much as $4 million in federal money for the state wildlife department, monies which tribes are not eligible to apply for.
Compacts become necessary when state and tribal laws conflict. The Cherokee Nation and Oklahoma have compacts dating back to 1992 in the areas of gaming, motor fuels, vehicle license plates, tobacco sales, environmental protection and child care.
The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council approved the tribe entering into an agreement with the state during a special called meeting Thursday.
"While this compact benefits every Cherokee Nation citizen, all Oklahomans will benefit through the conservation and protection of wildlife habitat in Oklahoma," said Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor Joe Byrd, who chairs the Rules Committee. "The Cherokee Nation is committed to protecting our wildlife resources for future generations, and this new compact with the state of Oklahoma will help ensure our natural resource assets are properly preserved."
Cherokee Nation citizen and Adair County resident Travis Sawney said the compact offers tribal citizens the ability to hunt and fish just as his ancestors once did.
"I've heard stories about the old days from elders my whole life. The days when they could hunt and fish freely," said Sawney, who spends about $130 every year on hunting and fishing licenses and tags. "I'm very happy and proud that we're getting back our right to provide for our families without paying fees and providing the peace of mind of knowing if you want or need to hunt or fish you can just go, the way it should be."
The hunting and fishing compact is effective Jan. 1, 2016. Tribal officials are still determining the most efficient method of distributing the hunting and fishing licenses to Cherokee Nation citizens.
Friday, May 29, 2015, 11:32 am
Muskogee Sheriff's deputy Melissa Jackson has arrested a suspect in the slayings of Abby Seals and Nicholas Rutherford.
The pair were found shot to death in an apartment beside Coco Bongos on April 26.
The suspect, Eleno Maldonado Jr., 25, of Moody, was arrested late last night. The FBI's fugitive task force assisted.
"The crime scene read like a book to the investigators," Sheriff Charles Pearson said. "The last location the victims were at was the Creek Nation Casino, and we saw the vehicle they were in on the video. We had pulled over the vehicle in March. Investigators then determined the suspect had moved to Moody the day of the shootings."
"We believe the motive was drugs."
Rutherford had "a large amount" of drugs removed from his pocket after he died.
Friday, May 29, 2015, 9:27 am
You can spend your money at chain stores that really don't notice your $20 one way or another, and you'll have perfectly fine groceries to eat.
Or you can go to the Farmer's Market tomorrow at the Civic Center, and that same $20 can make a huge difference in the life of a local farmer - and get you a lot more groceries.
The Muskogee Farmer's Market is the passion of area farmer Doug Walton, and it has been going strong for years now, but it could always get stronger. There is plenty of local produce at the Farmer's Market, but there's a lot more than that, too.
You can get freshly grilled gourmet hot dogs from my mother-in-law, Janice Woods, or you can get home-cooked Mexican food from one of the vendors. Hand-made pies are there, too, as are local wines from local wineries - at prices even liquor stores can't match.
There's even entertainment, in the form of a local troubadour who plays guitar and sings while you browse the local offerings.
Or, if you like to garden yourself, you can get plants that are already growing and healthy and transplant them to your garden, as I did with a tomato plant I bought there earlier this year.
If honey is your thing, local vendors also have that at the Farmer's Market.
And if you needed even more incentive, this Saturday, I'll be there signing copies of my new novel, Minister of Justice. Even if you don't get the novel, come out and meet me.
Rain or shine, the Farmer's Market will be there under the awnings in the Civic Center parking lot, so you can stay dry while you get the best produce you'll find in this area.
Thursday, May 28, 2015, 3:23 pm
A mail carrier delivering to 2509 Elmyra Street was attacked and mauled by dogs today, according to Muskogee Police.
The carrier was attempting to deliver the mail when the dogs somehow made it to the outside of the house and started biting her, according to Officer Lincoln Anderson of the Muskogee Police Department.
"They were English Bulldogs," he said. "We're not really sure how they got out."
The dogs, which were not up to date on their vaccinations, were euthanized and will be sent off to test for rabies, he said. The carrier was taken to Eastar Hospital in Muskogee for stitches and possibly surgery.
UPDATE 3:51 p.m.: The mail carrier's name is Rachael Longpine, according to witnesses. She was bitten in the arms, either the forearm or bicep, maybe both.
Thursday, May 28, 2015, 12:03 pm
After the infamous hacking event a couple of months ago, I have been steadily and tirelessly working behind the scenes to restore the wrecked engine behind this site - and to set up a doable backup plan that will prevent us from losing everything again.
Part of that restoration work has been trying to get the search function working. Search is a LOT harder than you might think it is, since we use a proprietary database system with this site, which means a lot of technical whatsis to get search to work properly.
Searching on stories now works properly. Searching on police report, sheriff's report, court report, death notices and obituaries will be restored sometime later today.
To get started, just put your cursor in the "Search" field at the top of the page and knock yourself out.
UPDATE 4:22 p.m.: Search now works on court report, police report, sheriff's report, deaths and obituaries. To search one of those items, go to the item's page (Under "Local" above, then click the page you want, like "deaths") and enter your search term in the search box. The results will appear after you hit the "return" or "enter" key on your keyboard - or "Go" on a smartphone.
Thursday, May 28, 2015, 8:17 am
The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame will host Kevin and Dustin Welch Thursday, May 28th at 8 pm at The Frisco Depot, 401 S. 3rd in Muskogee. This show will be taped for an episode of the Oklahoma Music Shop, a statewide television show taped before a live audience at The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in Muskogee, OK. The show provides singer/songwriters and bands a chance to showcase their talents while featuring Muskogee as a music destination location to all of Oklahoma on television and social media. The television distribution will reach over 1.2 million broadcast homes every week in Oklahoma - and performances are also posted on the internet for audiences to view and like their favorite artist through social media. OMS will begin airing on June 6, 2015 on Tulsa's CW - on Saturdays at 3:30 pm and on KSBI - Saturdays at 11 am.
Kevin welch grew up in Oklahoma. He had already toured as a teenager with several bands before he moved to Nashville in 1978 to work as a songwriter. Singers like Solomon Burke, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood and Linda Ronstadt were using his material. At the same time, he was very active in local clubs performing with John Scott Merrill and the Wolves in Cheap Clothing, The Roosters and finally his own band - The Overtones. His popularity grew and in 1988, he signed a record contract with Warner Brothers. In 1990, the self-titled album, "Kevin Welch," was recorded and two years later - "Western Beat." Both albums received rave reviews. In 2004, Welch teamed up with fellow Dead Reckoning artists, Keiran Kane and Fats Kaplan, to produce "You Can't Save Everybody." The trio followed this up with "Lost John Dean" in 2006, which reached number one on the Americana charts and received several nominations. In the spring of 2008, Welch left Nashville for the hills outside of Austin, TX. In Early 2010, he then joined with Jimmy LaFave, Sam Baker and Slaid Cleaves with the start-up label, Music Road Records. He also self-produced his first solo record in 8 years, "A Patch of Blue Sky."
Welch is currently touring, though while off the road, he teaches songwriting workshops at his home in Wimberley, TX.
Doors open at 7, the show/taping will start promptly at 8 pm. Admission will be $10 at the door.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015, 2:26 pm
Friday, May 29th will be the first of four events of the outdoor summer concert series, "Dancing in The District." Due to the forecast of inclement weather, Friday's event will be moved to the old Beechcraft airplane Hangar at Hatbox Field in Muskogee.
The doors will be open on the East and West sides of the hangar to create a festival-like atmosphere. Food and beverage vendors and event merchandise will be available.
This location will also be the site of June 2016's music festival in Muskogee!
The event will still begin at 5pm, ending at approximately 10pm, with the official after-party being held at Max's Garage.
Tickets are $10 and are on sale now at The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, Max's Garage, the Greater Muskogee Area Chamber of Commerce and online at: www.eventbrite.com. Additional information regarding ticketing can be found at www.omhof.com or on the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame Facebook page.
The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday 10-5 pm. "Live at The Frisco Depot" is presented every Thursday night at 8 pm and features local, regional and national musical acts. For OMHOF's event listings, visit The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame's Facebook page or log on to: www.omhof.com.
To contact OMHOF: (918) 687-0800 or by email: email@example.com.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015, 12:21 pm
So far this month, Muskogee has had 11.59 inches of rainfall, compared to the May average of 6.08 inches.
It's still below the 1943 record of 16.36 inches, but not really by that far. Especially when you realize May has had 17 rainy days, which is far above the average of 10. That means of the 27 days in March so far, only 10 have been without rain, most of them at the beginning of the month.
Muskogee's ground is completely soaked, and every time it rains now, water immediately starts standing around, soaking the ground even more.
That translates to a horrible spring for the numerous Muskogee-area lawn care businesses, which make their livings doing things the wet ground will no longer let them do.
"We can't mow right now for several reasons," said Vern Faucett of Precision Lawn Care. "Our mowers weigh anywhere between 800 and 1,000 pounds, and if we put them on that wet ground, they're going to leave ruts in the lawn."
Wet grass also plays havoc with mowers, he said, clogging them up.
So while the lawn care businesses look forward to sunnier days, Muskogee's grass continues to grow - in some cases risking being at odds with Muskogee's lawn ordinances, which can penalize residents for having grass that's too long.
There is no immediate solution to that problem, Faucett said.
"It's sooo slow right now," he said. "We just have to wait for the ground to dry out a bit."
The city has not yet returned a call asking for comment on whether it would be enforcing the long grass ordinance in the face of residents' inability to mow during the wet spring.
And it looks to get wetter: the forecast calls for almost two more inches of rain before the month ends on Sunday.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015, 7:43 am
As part of its ongoing efforts to protect area water and enhance home safety, the City of Muskogee will provide a special waste collection day Saturday, June 6 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Muskogee City-County Fairgrounds where residents will have access to free disposal of household chemical pollutants and waste tires.
This event is free to Muskogee residents who present a current city water bill. The collection day is sponsored by the City of Muskogee Public Works Department Stormwater Management Program.
Acceptable materials include pesticides, oil based paints, used motor oils, solvents, cleaners, acids, poisons, aerosols, fluorescent bulbs, and all types of batteries. Products should be kept in their original containers, if possible. Up to three computers or TV sets per household will be accepted for recycling and a latex paint exchange will be provided. Residents may also dispose of latex paint after solidifying it via air-drying and discarding it in their local curbside trash container. Passenger car, pickup, and large truck tires will be accepted with a 25-tire limit per household.
For safety reasons, select types of waste are excluded from this event. Such types include: pressurized gas cylinders, ammunition, explosives, any containers of unknown substances, tractor tires, large implement tires, tires on metal rims, or tires from commercial shops and dealers. Due to state and federal regulations, no wastes from commercial businesses or agricultural sources will be accepted. Rineco, a third party transport source will be onsite to dispose of fluorescent bulbs from commercial businesses with an applied fee to be directly paid to Rineco Environmental Services.
The Muskogee Police Department will accept pharmaceuticals and prescription drugs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with the exception of liquids and sharp objects.
In the event of a lightning storm, gates will be temporarily closed for the safety of attendees until the storm has passed.
For more information, contact Stormwater Quality Technician, Francie Martin at 918-684-6340 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015, 9:38 pm
Chelcie Moore of Muskogee has been missing since Friday, according to her family, and she has not been back to see her three children since then.
Moore, 24, told her grandmother on Friday that she was having a horrible fight with her boyfriend, Dugan Darnell, also of Muskogee, according to her brother, Josh Jackson.
Moore's mother, Debra Moore-Adney, filed a police report this morning.
Chelcie Moore is 5 feet tall, 130 pounds, and she was last seen wearing black workout pants and a t-shirt, according to her mother.
On Saturday, Darnell posted the following to his Facebook page:
Ever played a game called MIA? Bye Muskogee my mission is completed here and I have no business left here.
Then, Sunday, he posted this:
Even though we're not together, I still love u and know ur out there hurting as bad as I am. Tomorrow I'm heading out and I'm gonna be gone a really long time and maybe one day where I'm where I want to be we can fall in love one more time with no worries. I love u chalice Lucille Moore.
Friends later commented that he could accompany them to Nashville if he wanted.
Meanwhile, Moore, who posted to her Facebook page fairly regularly, hasn't posted anything since she's been missing, and her phone goes directly to voicemail.
Police have yet to return messages left for them.
If you have any information or have seen Moore, please call the Muskogee Police at 918-683-8000.
UPDATE: The woman has contacted her mother.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015, 7:19 am
Muskogee High School's Head Wrestling Coach Mikel Delk has announced he will resign his position to pursue a private venture.
Delk, who led wrestlers to a dual state appearance which garnered a silver medal, began at MHS at the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year.
"We appreciated his leadership with our wrestlers, and thank him for a good season." said Athletic Director Garrett Davis.
The district will be posting the job position on its website in the near future at www.mpsi20.org.
Information: (918) 684-3700, ext. 1764 or ext. 1613.
Monday, May 25, 2015, 9:23 am
There's a long-held misconception about Memorial Day - that it's a celebration of everyone who served in the armed forces. It's not.
Memorial Day is a celebration of those who died while serving in the armed forces.
Unlike Veterans' Day, which is a celebration of all who served, today is a celebration of all who died while serving. It is a reminder of the old saying that freedom isn't free. Their sacrifices mean you can disagree with the wars they're fighting while still honoring them for fighting them. It means you can talk in no uncertain terms about how unpatriotic it is for crusty old men to send vibrant young men to fight in battles over goals and causes they don't even understand - and will never have a chance to appreciate.
Many times, the deaths are senseless, unwarranted, unnecessary - but every once in awhile, there is a clear reason: resistance against tyranny. America's wars haven't always been justified or necessary, but that seems a lot less important when you start to realize the reasons behind the war don't matter when you're honoring the men and women who have died fighting it.
Today, as we enjoy our break from rainy weather, as we contemplate the beginning of summer, we should remember that there are thousands and thousands of Oklahomans who aren't enjoying today - or any other day - simply because they answered the call to fight through the fear, to take a bullet, not for the big, faceless idea of patriotism, but for you.
Personally, I disagree with most wars. I think they're senseless losses of life for goals that the people fighting them rarely understand or support.
But even though I usually disagree with the wars, I hold in reverence those who have taken bullets, shrapnel, IEDs, bomb blasts and every other form of death dealt out by wars. I honor them every time I look at my sons and pray they never have to face the horrors of war, that by the time they grow up, we've miraculously found some other way to handle disagreements between nations. I thank those who have died giving me the opportunity to watch my sons grow up into that hopeful future where such deaths are a thing of the past, a terrifying memory of the depths to which humanity can sink.
Today, if you're alive and enjoying the first long weekend of summer, you owe honor to those who can no longer enjoy anything because they were fighting, hoping to provide a peaceful future for you.
Friday, May 22, 2015, 8:18 am
Connors State College is pleased to announce the names of students on the President's and Vice President's Honor Rolls.
To qualify for the President's Honor Roll, students must complete at least 12 semester credit hours and maintain a 4.0 grade point average. Recipients of this honor are:
Amanda Christine Handley Amanda L Durant Amanda Scott Bobbi Jean Ashford Brandie J Center Brian Lowe Chase Allen Staner Crystal Sweeden David Scott Mcguire Destiny Daniel Towe Devin M Redford Erika L Oneal George Besseris Glenda Mccoy Heather D Chappell Heather Mckenzie Bell Jaci Lorryn Upton Jacob Allen Flournoy Jennifer Faye Coppin John Aaron Adams Johnny Lee Bernal Jordan A Cochran Jr Robert Lee Durham Jr. Kassandra M Hicks Keli L Miles Kelsey Lynn Green Kirk Gregory Kuykendall Kristie Ann Gines Kyla Renee Martin Lacee Nicole Welch Lauren Elizabeth Hatcher Leyla Renea Mccarter Lindsay Marie Dunlap Loren Athens Mary Elizabeth Breen Mary Hicks Mayra Sandoval Myechia Raydawn Gray Nathan Gaddy Parker Wayne Borovetz Petra M Tapia Rachel E Bell Robert Logan Wood Robyn Elaine Roberts Sarah Denise Patterson Selena Diane Williams Stacey Ann Thompson Stephanie E Simpson Steven Michael Odell Talia Lashon Mackey Timothy C Smithson
Friday, May 22, 2015, 8:18 am
Oklahoma's reserve law enforcement officers would be required to complete additional CLEET certified training each year under a new bill passed in the Senate on Thursday morning, according to the bill's author, Sen. Ralph Shortey.
The measure would apply to Oklahoma's more than 3,500 reserve officers who work part time and are not paid for their service. The bill would mandate an increase in basic reserve academy hours to a minimum of 300 hours, up from the current requirement of 240. It would also require reserve officers to complete an additional 15 hours of continuous education training annually, including two hours of mental health education.
Although the law now stipulates all law enforcement officers complete a minimum of 240 hours of CLEET training, there is no requirement for ongoing continuing education annually for reserve officers.
Thursday, May 21, 2015, 3:03 pm
Tony Goetz Elementary School is locked down while police search the premises, according to school district spokeswoman Wendy Burton.
"Police are outside and nearby searching for something," she said. "We were told there is not a crisis inside the school, but we decided to have everyone in class with doors locked until police resolve whatever they're doing."
Unverified reports stated that a parent had brought a gun to the sixth-grade graduation and the gun had fallen out of its holster, but Burton had no knowledge of that.
"Everyone's too busy to talk to me right now," she said.
The gun sighting is not confirmed at this point and should be treated only as a rumor.
UPDATE, 3:09 P.M.: The gun is confirmed, according to Burton. A parent brought a gun, dropped it, picked it up and left the campus, but police were called as a precaution.
UPDATE: the schools sent the following information:
The incident at Tony Goetz today has been resolved, and the lockdown that was in place was lifted at 3:30 p.m. During the sixth-grade graduation assembly, a teacher and two parents witnessed a man drop an item on the floor they believe to have been a gun. Principal David Shouse called for law enforcement assistance and a lockdown was put in place, with students and teachers locked in their classrooms. Witnesses told police they saw the man leave the building, enter a church across the street, and go back to a car outside the school. Upon arrival, Campus Police Chief Dan Hall found the man in question sitting in a car with another man. The men were searched, as was the car, the school and the church. No gun was found, however the man did have a cell phone in his pocket, which the man claimed is what he dropped during the assembly. Muskogee Public Schools can never be too cautious with the safety of our students, and the district and school is grateful to the parents and teachers who keep a watchful eye on our students to keep them safe, as well as our Campus Police Department and the Muskogee Police Department for their quick and efficient response to the call.
Thursday, May 21, 2015, 8:09 am
My new novel, Minister of Justice, was published today. Here is the description from the back cover:
Everybody loved attorney Mike Samuelson.
The novel is already getting rave reviews from advance reviewers, and it has an additional bonus for Muskogee-area readers: it's set in a Muskogee-like town called Tsalagi (speakers of Cherokee will know that means the town is called "Cherokee" in the Cherokee language). The novel's fast-paced action is colored by a coming-of-age story, a midlife crisis and several amateurs working to solve a mystery they believe the police aren't solving.
The novel also focuses on a main character suffering from an Asperger's-type syndrome, who uses his disability to his advantage to help solve the crime.
You can order Minister of Justice in the Kindle format now at Amazon.com for $4.99, or you can order the paperback version for $13.95.
If you order the paperback version from me (PayPal link below), let me know and I'll be glad to sign it before it ships to you.
The paperback version will also be available on Amazon.com later today and is available on BarnesAndNoble.com right now. Local bookstores such as Hastings make their own decisions on which books to stock as they're sent out by publishers, but we'll try to make sure they order it, too.
($13.95 from PayPal, free shipping)
And, if you're interested, you can also get my true crime book, Deadly Vows, about a polygamy murder committed by a man from Wagoner, at Amazon.com, too. I think Hastings is sold out of this book, however.
This story has been revised 5 times
Wednesday, May 20, 2015, 9:10 am
Rumors circulating in Muskogee about school buses falling apart around the children they're hauling are false, according to the school district.
Reports of a driver sitting on an upside-down bucket were spawned by one bus that had a bucket behind the driver's seat, said Wendy Burton, spokeswoman for the schools.
"There was a bucket behind the seat," she said, "but it had nothing to do with holding up the seat."
An older bus had to be sent to pick up students after a sensor went out on a newer bus, but the older bus was sound, she said.
"Even though half our fleet are pre-2004 buses, they are safe and mechanically sound," she said. "We have had two or three major repairs done to buses this year, but that's to be expected with older buses."
Maintenance and safety checks are done on the buses daily, she said.
A former bus driver, who spoke on condition of anonymity, disagrees.
"It's so bad," the former driver said. "It's terrible. It's dangerous for the students."
The buses are in a horrible state of disrepair, the former driver said, and the district would rather cover up the problems than address them.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015, 10:50 pm
A man's body has been found near 44th Street north of Harris Road, according to Sheriff Charles Pearson.
"We're waiting on the medical examiner," he said. "But it looks suspicious."
The body is male and appears to be middle-aged, he said.
No more details are available yet.
10:58 A.M. TUESDAY UPDATE: The body is that of a white male, and the death has definitely been ruled a homicide, according to Sheriff Charles Pearson.
Monday, May 18, 2015, 9:42 am
Law enforcement agencies across the state will be taking part in the annual "Click It or Ticket" mobilization May 18 - 31, cracking down on drivers and passengers who are not buckled up according to state law.
"Those who choose not to wear a seat belt will feel the heat during this campaign," said OHP Lt. Troy German, statewide occupant protection coordinator. "Motorists should buckle up every time they go out, both day and night - no warnings and no excuses."
Oklahoma law requires drivers and front seat passengers age 13 and over to have a safety belt properly fastened at all times the vehicle is being operated. Children age 12 and younger are required to be properly restrained in the appropriate car seat, booster seat or seat belt, according to the child's age and weight.
"We can't make the decision to buckle up for you, and we hope it won't take getting a ticket to help you remember to fasten that seat belt or buckle your child correctly," German said. "Unless you want to risk a ticket - or, even worse, your life - you must buckle up."
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, seat belts save about 13,000 lives each year.
The nationwide campaign runs through the Memorial Day holiday weekend, when many motorists will be traveling on U.S. highways.
Monday, May 18, 2015, 7:44 am
Muskogee High School is pleased to announce its spring sports athletes who have earned an Academic All-Conference award from the Frontier Valley Conference.
Muskogee High School Academic All-Conference athletes, who earned a GPA of 3.5 to 4.0 last semester are:
Honorable mention awards for earning a GPA of 3.0 to 3.49 went to:
Information: Athletic Director Garrett Davis, (918) 684-3700.
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