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DEATHS

George Lewis Ivy, 86

Born September 15, 1935

Died May 26, 2022

Genell "Jan" Bailey, 91

Born February 9, 1931

Died May 24, 2022

Gary Don Massey, 67

Born January 30, 1955

Died May 23, 2022

George Blake Whitmire, 26

Born July 10, 1995

Died May 22, 2022

Michelle Chambers, 66

Born December 30, 1955

Died May 22, 2022

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

Friday, May 27, 2022, 2:59 PM

The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) will stop processing applications for new grower, dispensary and processor licenses for up to two years after Gov. Kevin Stitt signed House Bill 3208 on Thursday.

The moratorium begins Aug. 1. Current grower, dispensary and processor licenses are not included.

OMMA will accept new grower, dispensary and processor applications through 11:59 p.m. Aug. 1.

The moratorium ends Aug. 1, 2024, or earlier if the executive director determines all pending license reviews, inspections or investigations are complete.

HB 3208 itself takes effect July 1. OMMA will incorporate the legislation into new emergency rules that will take effect before the moratorium begins.

Most applicants for new and renewed grower, dispensary and processor licenses may still resubmit a corrected license application once if the initial application is rejected after Aug. 1. Some circumstances may require a denial, and other circumstances could allow an additional chance to resubmit a corrected application.

After Aug. 1, any applicant for a grower, dispensary or processor application whose application is denied may not apply for a new license until the moratorium is over. Licensees who surrender a license after Aug. 1 also may not apply for a new one during the moratorium.

Any grower, dispensary or processor licensee who allows the license to expire after Aug. 1 without submitting a renewal application will not be able to apply for a renewed or new license during the moratorium.

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Friday, May 27, 2022, 8:06 AM

Muskogee High School students are prepared to enter the workforce thanks to the completion of numerous certifications.

Jesus Guerrero, Juan Barbosa-Calvillo, Jon Lane, Tanner Lust, and Devan Clark completed the State Welding Test earlier this month. These five students have not only earned high school diplomas but are OSHA certified and hold Oklahoma state welding certifications.

Other students enrolled in CareerTech courses at MHS earned career ready certifications preparing them for the workforce through YouScience.com.

Students earning certification in Computer Programming I are Alan Sargent, Albino Arguijo, Alexander Acosta, Eamon Hensley, Eric Hall, Eric Walker, Lyndsey Eckerson, Nevin Stevens, and Tyler Cummings. The students display the fundamentals of computer programming. Understanding coding concepts and problem-solving skills through a programming language such as C++, C#, Java, Python, or JavaScript.

Six students are certified in computer repair with Computer Systems I certification for Bryce Lakey, Owen Hawkins, Sean Morgan, Thomas Nodine, Trenten Martin, and Trey Wainman. Students learn necessary competencies for an entry-level IT professional including installing, building, upgrading, repairing, configuring, troubleshooting, optimizing, diagnosing, and performing preventive maintenance of basic personal computer hardware leading to testing for Computer Systems I certification.

Lakey and Nodine also earned certification in Computer Systems II are able to demonstrate necessary competencies for an entry level IT professional including troubleshooting, optimizing, diagnosing, and performing preventive maintenance of basic personal computer hardware and operating systems.

Jose Rodriguez, Lanee Salmon, and Owen Hawkins earned Computer Technology I certification. These students are able to demonstrate a sound understanding of computer technology, what component parts work with specific technologies, and how to navigate networks.

Trey Wainman earned certification in Business Law and Video Production I. Business Law Certified students understand basic legal vocabulary, the court system at the multiple levels, contract law, and understanding of the regulations governing different types of business organizations. Students with Video Production I Certification show understanding of camera operation, audio systems, lighting systems, pre-production, studio operations, control room operations, graphics, and copyright laws.

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Thursday, May 26, 2022, 9:02 AM

The five 2022 Cherokee Nation Remember the Removal Bike Ride participants left for Cherokee, North Carolina Wednesday morning following a send-off ceremony at the Cherokee Nation W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex in Tahlequah.

Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., Deputy Chief Bryan Warner and other Cherokee Nation leaders joined members of the Council of the Cherokee Nation and family, friends and co-workers of the five cyclists to share well-wishes ahead of their weeks-long journey. Cyclists will join seven from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina later this week to train before their ride officially begins May 30.

The Remember the Removal Bike Ride spans approximately 950 miles along the northern route of the Trail of Tears, beginning in New Echota, Georgia, former capital of the Cherokee Nation, and ending on June 17 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the modern-day capital of the Cherokee Nation. The northern route of the Trail of Tears spans through Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Cherokee Nation cyclists include Emily Christie, 24, of Stilwell; Kayce O’Field, 24, of Tahlequah; Jeanetta Leach, 23, of Rocky Mountain; Madison Whitekiller, 23, of Verdigris; and Desiree Matthews, 18, of Watts.

This year marks the first for the Cherokee Nation Remember the Removal bike ride team to be comprised entirely of Cherokee women.

For more information on the Remember the Removal Bike Ride or to follow along during the journey, visit Facebook.com/removal.ride.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2022, 8:40 AM

Cynthia Sloan, 34, of Wagoner is charged in Muskogee County District Court with a felony count of child abuse in a case that stems from Porum, according to documents filed with the case.

The child, 9, allegedly told law enforcement that Sloan snuck up behind her and choked her to the point that she couldn’t breathe or make a sound.

An affidavit filed with the case alleges that Sloan admitted to choking the child to “teach her a lesson.” The child alleged that she was kicking to try to get away and that Sloan then said “now you know how it feels.”

A warrant has been issued for Sloan’s arrest.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2022, 7:53 AM

As part of its ongoing efforts to protect area water, enhance Muskogee’s cleanliness, and improve home safety, the City of Muskogee will offer a free dump day, household pollutant collection event and brush and limb debris drop off on June 11.

“This event offers free disposal of household chemical pollutants, electronics, and waste tires to city residents,” said Samantha Henderson, Storm Water Quality Technician with the City of Muskogee.

Muskogee residents may bring their household chemicals from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, June 11 to the City Material Yard at 1503 S. Cherokee Street for free disposal. Acceptable materials include pesticides, leftover oil-based paints, used motor oil, 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. A latex paint exchange will also be provided, but residents may dispose of latex paint after allowing them to air dry and then discard the cans in their curbside trash container. Tradebe Environmental Services will accept the items and provide hazardous and universal waste transportation and disposal for the City of Muskogee.

Select types of waste are excluded from this event, for safety reasons. They are pressurized gas cylinders, ammunition, explosives, school lab chemicals, or containers of unknown substances. Due to state and federal regulations, no wastes from commercial businesses or agricultural sources are allowed.

Residents may also deliver passenger car, pickup and large truck tires to the site for free disposal, with a 25 tire limit per household. Tractor tires, large implement tires, tires on metal rims, or tires from commercial shops or dealers will not be accepted.

The Muskogee Police Department will team up with the Non-Profit Resource Center to accept pharmaceuticals, vape pens, sharps in containers, and prescription drugs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Liquids will not be accepted.

The Waste Management landfill, located at 2801 S. 54th Street West, will be open to the public from 7:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. In addition, the brush and limb site will be open to the public from 7:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Only brush and limbs will be accepted, no stumps. The brush and limb drop off site is located at 40th and Denver.

Muskogee residents must present a current city water bill and valid identification to participate in any of these services.

For more information contact Henderson at (918) 684-6340 or by email at shenderson@muskogeeonline.org.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2022, 9:54 AM

Rep. Mickey Dollens, D-OKC, joined MSNBC’s Katie Phang Show on Sunday morning to talk about abortion legislation in Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma City lawmaker spoke on a recent proposal he made during a debate against House Bill 4327. In the debate, Dollens suggested that men should receive a mandatory reversible vasectomy to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

“If you really want to end abortion, if that’s your objective, then I would invite you to coauthor a bill that I am considering next year that would mandate each male, when they reach puberty, get a mandatory vasectomy that is only reversible when they reach the point of financial and emotional stability,” Dollens said during his debate against HB4327. “If you think that’s crazy, maybe you understand how fifty percent of Oklahomans feel.”

Dollens joined Katie Phang to talk more about the intent of the suggested legislation and the potential for even more restrictive abortion bills to make their way to the Oklahoma Legislature.

“If there is one thing I have learned from my six years in the Legislature, it is if one Republican-controlled state does something, Oklahoma will follow suit,” Dollens said during the Sunday interview. “That’s why it is so important to create attention toward what is happening…other states are considering banning IUDs… Plan B… I guarantee Oklahoma will be the next to file that piece of legislation.”

You can watch the interview here.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2022, 7:26 AM

The Cherokee Nation is contributing nearly half a million dollars to 136 northeast Oklahoma fire departments. The tribe’s annual contribution helps support volunteer fire departments, which otherwise rely on fundraisers, membership dues and the help of their communities’ residents to maintain their vital operations.

Hundreds of northeast Oklahoma firefighters gathered in Tahlequah on May 19 for the tribe’s annual Volunteer Firefighter Appreciation Banquet. Each of the 136 fire departments received $3,500 to help with equipment, fuel or other items needed to protect lives and property of families throughout the Cherokee Nation Reservation. The funding is set aside in the Cherokee Nation’s annual budget.

Keys Fire Department in Cherokee County and Disney Fire Department in Mayes County were recognized as this year’s 2022 Volunteer Fire Departments of the Year.

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Monday, May 23, 2022, 8:36 AM

Muskogee Public Schools will once again be participating in the summer food service program.

Meals will be provided at nine locations throughout the district to children 18 years of age and younger for free. Meals are the same for all children, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability, and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service.

Meals will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis at the sites and times listed below:

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Friday, May 20, 2022, 9:41 AM

Due to increasing chances of pop-up thunderstorms later in the evening, Muskogee Public Schools will begin High School graduation Friday, May 20 at 7 p.m.

Umbrellas will be permitted and depending on the amount of precipitation the ceremony will continue.

However, if there is a lightning strike within six miles, the district will move graduates inside and resume the ceremony as soon as we can. Typically that will be 20 minutes after the last lightning strike.

If there is additional lightning in the area that would cause delays, the district will move the remainder of the ceremony to Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.

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Friday, May 20, 2022, 8:10 AM

Theodore Whitfield III

Theodore Roosevelt Whitfield III, 38, of Muskogee is charged in Muskogee County District Court with a felony count of sexual abuse of a child under 12, according to documents filed with the case.

Whitfield is accused of penetrating the girl, 10, from the time she was five by inserting his penis into her vagina multiple times.

A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

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Friday, May 20, 2022, 7:53 AM

Today, the Oklahoma House of Representatives approved House Bill 4327 as amended by the Oklahoma Senate.

HB4327 provides civil liability for anyone performing or aiding an abortion in Oklahoma.

HB4327 became the most strongly pro-life bill of its kind by imposing civil liability upon the mother or any medical personnel helping prevent that conception from being birthed from the moment of conception.

The bill sits on top of a new law that prevents abortion after a heartbeat can be detected in the fetal cells. Under it, any private person can sue the mother and medical professionals when they suspect a pregnancy has been ended. The intent is that exposure to civil liability will be a powerful, additional penalty to punish anyone receiving, helping or performing abortive procedures.

Having passed the House, passed the Senate with amendments, and those amendments being accepted by the House, HB4327 now proceeds to the governor, who has sworn to sign any anti-abortion bills in front of him, for his signature. If signed, it will take immediate effect.

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Thursday, May 19, 2022, 7:10 AM

The Oklahoma State Senate approved Senate Bill 1075 to reinstate the full sales tax exemption on motor vehicles and tractor trailers. The Legislature removed 1.25 percent of the exemption in 2017, but Sen. Kim David, R-Porter, said with revenues at record highs, it’s time to restore tax relief for Oklahomans.

SB 1075 now moves to the House for further consideration. If approved, it will go to the governor’s desk.

If signed into law, the tax exemption would go into effect on July 1, 2022.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2022, 11:43 AM

On June 6, a limited number of the 2022 Wilma Mankiller Quarters will be released to the public in Tahlequah, the capital of the Cherokee Nation.

The Cherokee Nation, BancFirst, U.S. Mint and Wilma Mankiller Trust are partnering to host the “Wilma Mankiller Quarter Release and Celebration” event.

The event honoring the life and work of the first female Chief of the Cherokee Nation starts at 10 a.m. at the Cherokee National Capital Museum lawn and allows the public to purchase Wilma Mankiller Quarters following the event inside the museum.

“Traditionally women have had an important leadership role in our Indian Nations, so we are deeply honored for Wilma to be recognized along with the other great women selected to be represented on the quarter,” said Charlie Soap, Wilma’s widower, executive of her trust and a former Director of Community Programs during her term as Chief of the Cherokee Nation.

The Wilma Mankiller Quarter is the third quarter released in the Mint’s American Women Quarters™ Program.

The quarter features a portrait of the late former Chief in a resolute gaze to the future. The wind is at her back, and she is wrapped in a traditional shawl. To her left is the seven-pointed star of the Cherokee Nation and includes “Cherokee Nation” in the Cherokee Syllabary.

The ceremony will include many special guests including senior officials from the U.S. Mint and noted friends of Mankiller, including writer and feminist leader Gloria Steinem.

“In a just world, Wilma Mankiller would have been president, but now, she will be on a coin that is part of our daily lives. I hope more people will be inspired to read about Wilma, her leadership, and the democracy we inherited from Native Americans,” Steinem said.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2022, 7:31 AM

Twenty-three House Republican representatives today called on Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt and state Attorney General John O’Connor to work on securing the immediate release of baby formula being held at the nation’s southern border and to stop further shipments, despite federal law requiring the formula to be sent there to feed infants in the custody of the United States.

Below is the full text of letters sent to the governor and the attorney general:

We in the Oklahoma Legislature are calling upon you to act in the best interest of Oklahomans and to ensure the Federal Government is doing all they can to help Oklahomans receive the supplies they need by stopping the shipments of baby formula to the Southern Border and immediately release the stockpile of formula already being held there.

After a product recall and a major plant shut down, the Biden Administration should have immediately worked to increase production and the FDA should have sped up inspections to prepare for the upcoming shortage. Instead, they waited to act until 43% of the product is already off of the shelves and to make matters worse the Federal Government sent a large quantity of baby formula to the Southern Border increasing the effects of the shortage on the American people.

Now we are hearing reports of Oklahomans who can’t find baby formula in their city and are having to drive two hours away, sometimes out of State, just to properly feed their children. That is unacceptable in our eyes and something must be done to fix this issue.

We owe it to our citizens to ensure they have the supplies they need to properly care for their families. We ask you as one of our State’s leader to do everything in your power to free up the federal stockpile of baby formula at the Southern Border so Oklahomans and Americans can find the products they need to feed their children.

Despite reports, Muskogee stores have largely kept up with demand on baby formula supplies.

Because of federal law, even a demand from the governor or the attorney general of a state would not allow the president or the federal government to stop feeding the babies who are in US custody at the border, nor would it allow the government to ship that formula to individual states.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2022, 8:33 AM

He has been called “the magicians, magician”, “Mr. Magic” and “The Comedian of Magic”, and while he has traveled around the world several times entertaining crowds of all sizes, Pat Davison is only now making his first appearance before crowds in Oklahoma.

Davison has appeared with the Harlem Globetrotters, Ringling Brothers Circus, on National and international television, and has been one Branson Theaters favorite performers. With his wife and daughter as part of his act, his magic and comedy are truly a family affair.

His comedy-magic routine will be on display at Oklahoma’s Historic Roxy Theater in downtown Muskogee on Saturday, May 21 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets for this performance are $20.00 and can be purchased online through Eventbrite or at the Roxy Theater Box Office, 220 West Okmulgee Ave. Muskogee Oklahoma from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Or call 918-684-6366.

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Monday, May 16, 2022, 7:07 AM

Two people were killed in a single-vehicle wreck just north of Tahlequah yesterday, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Thomas Baty, 22, was driving a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee on E. Steely Hollow Road around 10:30 a.m. and wrecked in an unknown fashion. He was pronounced dead at the scene, the patrol reported. Lara Sarett, 26 was transported by Northeastern Health System EMS to the hospital in Tahlequah, where she was pronounced dead.

Alessay Gilbert, 21, was treated and released at Northeastern Health System in Tahlequah, the patrol reported.

Everyone involved were wearing seatbelts, and the cause of the collision is under investigation.

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Saturday, May 14, 2022, 7:59 AM

Human remains were discovered late Thursday just north of the port of Muskogee, east of the Muskogee turnpike, according to the Muskogee Police Department.

There are no details available on the identity of the decedent or manner of death.

The remains were discovered when the owner of the property was tending a field and found them.

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Friday, May 13, 2022, 7:34 AM

House Bill 3530, which will create a grant program for county sheriffs to combat illegal marijuana activities in Oklahoma, has become law after Gov. Kevin Stitt signed it this week. The bill was authored in the Senate by Sen. Darrell Weaver, R-Moore, and passed by wide margins in both chambers.

The law allows for one full time deputy to be totally dedicated to assisting OMMA compliance inspectors, who the government says are being met with resistance at medical marijuana facilities.

HB 3530 creates an annual grant program funded by $5 million from the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority budget. The program will provide county sheriffs close to $65,000 for one year and will require one deputy to be assigned to assist OMMA compliance inspectors.

The bill comes after OMMA compliance inspectors were denied access to properties 181 times between April 2021 and Feb. 2022, according to the state. That accounts for 9.6 percent of all inspections during that year and two months period.

The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics has agreed to conduct drug training for deputies to ensure that they know what they should expect and need to do during compliance inspections.

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Thursday, May 12, 2022, 7:57 PM

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was delayed because the victim, Billy Arnett, was a friend of mine. We used to play music together, and he was a good friend. I apologize for the delay.

Fort Gibson musician and singer Billy Arnett, 48, died yesterday in Taft after a single-vehicle wreck in which his pickup overturned two-and-a-half times, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Arnett was driving his 1997 Ford F-150 pickup eastbound on Old Taft Road toward Muskogee when it departed the roadway to the right at Martin Luther King Boulevard in Taft, over-corrected, then departed the roadway to the left, overturning 2.5 times, the patrol reported.

Arnett was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:57 a.m. by Muskogee County EMS.

The pickup was equipped with seatbelts, which were not in use. The patrol is still trying to determine the cause of the wreck.

Arnett was a locally-known singer, songwriter and guitar player who entertained thousands at various venues throughout the area with his country and red dirt songs. The Billy Arnett Band was popular in local and area casinos and clubs, and his albums were beloved by numerous fans throughout the area.

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Thursday, May 12, 2022, 7:33 AM

The governor today signed into law the Stephen Bernius Memorial Act, which expands domestic abuse language in state law determining who can obtain a protective order.

House Bill 4374 by Rep. Ross Ford, R-Broken Arrow, was inspired by a tragedy in Ford’s House district last year that resulted in the death of Stephen Bernius. He was killed by a man he’d rented a room to but to whom he was not related.

“This young man lost his life because the statute specified a person must be directly related to obtain a protective order,” Ford said. “We need to be able to protect people from anyone who might be threatening harm. Broadening this definition could stop someone else from being killed.”

The bill modifies the definition of “family or household member” as used in the Protection from Domestic Abuse Act and the Domestic Abuse Reporting Act to include persons not related by blood or marriage living in the same household. It provides a definition of “living in the same household” to mean persons who regularly reside in the same, single-dwelling unit; persons who resided in the dwelling within the past year; or persons who have individual lease agreements where each person has their own private bedroom and shares the common areas.

Ford said Bernius’ mother asked him to run the legislation after her son was killed.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, Bernius lost his job and was in fear of losing his house, so he rented out two of his bedrooms to gain some income. One of the tenants started threatening Bernius and others in the home. Bernius tried to get a protective order against the individual but was told he couldn’t because he was not related to him by blood or in a relationship with him.

Several days later, the disgruntled resident met Bernius at the door of his home, shot him multiple times and killed him.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2022, 7:26 AM

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner are creating a $500 monthly transition stipend for Cherokee youth who are “aging out” of the foster system. Cherokee Nation is also providing a one-time COVID-19 impact payment of $1,000 to the tribe’s more than 80 current foster families.

The announcement of the two new programs was made as Cherokee Nation leaders gathered to sign a proclamation declaring May as Foster Care Awareness Month.

The Fostering HOPE pilot program will provide a $500 monthly stipend to eligible Cherokee Nation citizens who are aging out of the Cherokee Nation or State of Oklahoma foster care systems upon turning 18 years old. Eligible citizens in the state’s foster care system must reside within the Cherokee Nation Reservation. There are no residency requirements for citizens who are in the Cherokee Nation foster care system.

Participants must be employed, actively seeking employment, or working toward career training or a degree program within the first two months of participation in order to continue in the program. Monthly stipends can begin the month a participant turns 18 years old and end at age 21. Those who are actively working toward a career training or degree program at age 21 may remain in the program until age 23 or until their training or degree is complete.

As part of their participation, Cherokee Nation citizens enrolled in the Fostering HOPE program will meet with a program counselor every two months, complete financial wellness curriculum four times per year, and must meet other eligibility requirements as outlined by the tribe. The pilot program will begin June 1 with enrollment ceasing Dec. 31, 2024.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2022, 8:18 AM

Gage Ford

Gage Ford, 23, of Muskogee, who was convicted late last month in Norman of viciously beating his then-pregnant girlfriend to the point that doctors didn’t know if she would survive, was charged yesterday in Muskogee County District Court with beating another girlfriend here — who also was pregnant at the time — while on bond in the case in which he was convicted.

In the case filed yesterday, Ford is alleged to have bashed a Muskogee woman’s head against a car window, then tackled her to the ground in October of last year. The victim was pregnant at the time.

Ford is currently awaiting placement in an Oklahoma prison, so any trial stemming from the new charges would have to take place in coordination with whatever prison Ford ends up in from his Norman conviction.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2022, 8:04 AM

The Five Civilized Tribes’ inter-tribal council has released a rare joint statement on a US Senate candidate running to replace retiring Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma:

“It is disheartening to see a candidate who seeks to represent Oklahoma echoing shameful anti-tribal rhetoric that is altogether based on fearmongering and half-truths. Senate candidate Alex Gray needs to know that Oklahoma is strongest when our tribal nations are treated with respect and when elected leaders commit to working with us, rather than wasting resources and working to divide our state over issues that have been settled time and time again. That means tribal nations should always be at the table, and our sovereignty should always be respected. Candidates who seek to restrict our rights and disestablish our reservations, after the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed twice that they have always existed, do not deserve to represent our state. Mr. Gray and those who continue to seek to undermine tribal sovereignty are actually undermining all Oklahomans.

The facts are clear. Since the McGirt decision, tribal nations have focused on expanding our criminal justice systems to prosecute crimes, support victims and protect everyone on our reservations. Federal courts are also doing their part to ensure justice is served. As tribal nations, we are proud of our record of success in working closely with federal, state and local partners to meet our critical public safety priorities. Mr. Gray’s claims to the contrary are misleading at best.

Unfortunately, some politicians and candidates for office continue to create division and undermine cooperation by refusing to work with tribes as partners or by promising to attack established tribal sovereignty. Our hope is that those people, including Senate candidate Gray and Oklahoma Gov. Stitt, take time to better understand tribal history, which in Oklahoma pre-dates statehood. Then, they should focus on how we can work together moving forward. That would be the courageous and bold action to take as a candidate and as a political leader.”

  • Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.
  • Muscogee Nation Principal Chief David Hill
  • Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Chief Gary Batton
  • Seminole Nation of Oklahoma Chief Lewis L. Johnson
  • Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill

It is rare for the tribes to get involved in non-tribal politics, but with attacks on the McGirt opinion recognizing the continued existence of the Native reservations that consume most of eastern Oklahoma, their solidarity in opposing those attacks has produced unified opposition to those who seek to break those treaties and undo the progress the tribes have made.

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Monday, May 9, 2022, 7:35 AM

The Cherokee Nation is opening applications for emergency utility assistance starting Friday, May 6.

The Emergency Utility Assistance Program aims to assist eligible Cherokee Nation citizen households affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with utility payments.

Assistance may be used to cover a portion of past-due utility payments, current and future utility payments, and utility deposits. The tribe can assist with natural gas, propane, water or electricity. The payment will be made directly to the utility company and the applicant must upload the utility bill they wish to receive assistance on with the online application.

Applications to apply will be available starting May 6 only on the Gadugi Portal. Deadline is Friday, June 3.

The Cherokee Nation will utilize funds from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program from the U.S. Department of Treasury.

To be eligible for the program at least one household member must be a Cherokee Nation citizen.

Those eligible must live within the Cherokee Nation Reservation and household income may not exceed 80 percent of the area median income.

For questions regarding eligibility or assistance with applications, email human_services@cherokee.org or call 918-453-5464.

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sarah ladd

Sunday, May 8, 2022, 6:34 PM

The City of Muskogee just released the following:

As residents start the clean-up and assessment process around town, the City of Muskogee would like to offer our bulk waste pick up service for free during this time. We will pick up and haul off large items that you need to dispose of such as carpeting, drywall, furniture, etc. To schedule a pick up, please call (918) 684-6333. Thank you.

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locke law office

Friday, May 6, 2022, 8:13 AM

Attorney General John O’Connor is joining a coalition of state attorneys general submitting a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas opposing the Biden Administration’s attack on the First Amendment. The creation of a “Disinformation Governance Board” violates the constitutional freedoms that state attorneys general are responsible for defending, O’Connor alleges.

The board, however, according to its official charter, is an advisory board for the Department of Homeland Security. “Its function is to protect national security by disseminating guidance to DHS agencies on combating foreign misinformation and disinformation. Specific problem areas mentioned include false information propagated by human smugglers encouraging migrants to surge to the Mexico–United States border, as well as Russian-state disinformation on election interference and the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

The board does not have any jurisdiction and doesn’t monitor America-based disinformation, only foreign-based, and then it will form a list of best practices to suggest to DHS.

“President Biden is deliberately suppressing Americans’ First Amendment rights,” O’Connor incorrectly stated. “Every Oklahoman and American has the right to express their opinion and beliefs without fear of censorship. The Disinformation Governance Board is entirely un-American, and I will vigorously oppose every attempt by Biden to silence those who oppose his political views.”

The board, which got its start under former President Donald Trump, not Biden, has no enforcement authority and is not in place to police political speech of Americans.

The attorneys general argue that this government watchdog agency would abridge a citizen’s right to express their opinions and disagree with the government, furthering self-censorship rather than protecting freedom of speech.

The letter states that “the Disinformation Governance Board, by its very existence, and almost certainly by design, threatens to ‘enforce silence’ when Americans wish to express views disfavored by the administration. Contrary to the letter’s statement, the board has no enforcement ability or authority.

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charlies chicken

Thursday, May 5, 2022, 4:07 PM

Bradley Wayne Morris

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma announced today that Bradley Wayne Morris, age 36, of Muskogee was found guilty by a federal jury of two counts of aggravated sexual abuse in Indian Country and two counts of abusive sexual contact of a child in Indian Country. Based on the verdicts, Morris is facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years up to life imprisonment.

During the trial, the United States presented evidence that between January 2018 and February 2020, Morris touched and penetrated the child victim’s genitalia with his fingers on multiple occasions, touched her breasts, and had her to touch his penis. The victim, who was under twelve years of age at the time of the abuse, further testified the defendant would show her adult pornography and ask her to suck on his finger.

The guilty verdicts were the result of an investigation by the Muskogee Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma prosecuted the case because the victim in this case is a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe and the crimes occurred in Muskogee County, within the boundaries of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Reservation, and within the Eastern District of Oklahoma.

The Honorable John F. Heil, III, U.S. District Judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma in Muskogee, presided over the trial and ordered the completion of a presentence report. Sentencing will be scheduled following completion of the report. Morris was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshal pending the imposition of sentencing.

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3rivers

Thursday, May 5, 2022, 8:11 AM

After several flash flood warnings during the night, the National Weather Service just issued a new flash flood warning for the area lasting until 10:30 a.m.

Many roads across the area are flooded, and the weather service warns everyone to not drive into standing water under any circumstances.

Muskogee County Commissioner Ken Doke made this statement earlier:

We have had an unreal amount of rainfall. Radar shows that we still have hours of heavy rainfall left before it’s over. At this time, there is no access in or out of Gooseneck Bend. All routes are currently flooded; including Country Club, York Street, Smith Ferry, 53rd, Sallie Brown, etc. In fact, the number of roads across the county that are flooded and impassable are too many to count. Earlier today, the river levels were of little concern. Now, it has our attention. I’m getting messages from friends in Muskogee saying that their homes are flooding (from flash flooding). I’m sure that’s the case for many people across the county right now. Power is out in some areas in FTG. In lieu of the circumstances, the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) has been activated.

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highers bonding

Wednesday, May 4, 2022, 4:09 PM

Clayton Eugene Spencer

Clayton Eugene Spencer, 24, of Muskogee was sentenced to a total of 50 years in prison this week after he was convicted of two counts of shooting with intent to kill and possession of a firearm after former conviction of a felony.

On June 22, 2021, Spencer fired at several people at 2401 W. Okmulgee, with one victim referenced as a witness in a case involving a relative of Spencer’s.

According to testimony at the trial, someone told Spencer there were children in the car, and he said “fuck them kids” back and continued shooting.

No one was killed, but one person was injured.

“This defendant was on probation for assaulting a detention officer when he decided to pull out a semi-automatic rifle and open fire on the two female victims in this case,” District Attorney Larry Edwards said. “There were multiple children at the scene. The defendant obviously has no regard for human life. I am thankful that he is off the streets.”

Spencer’s sentences will run concurrently, the longest of which is 15 years.

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diamond finance

Wednesday, May 4, 2022, 7:46 AM

WARNING: This story contains depictions and descriptions of violent assaults.

Gage Ford

Ally Stephens

Gage Ford, 23, of Muskogee has been convicted of two felony counts of assault and battery by force or means likely to cause death and one misdemeanor count of assault and battery against a pregnant woman stemming from two events in Norman in October 2020 where he kicked the victim, Ally Stephens, repeatedly in the stomach, telling her to “get rid of it,” referring to the baby with which she was at the time pregnant.

Ford’s bail was set at $1,500 instead of the $30,000 the DA requested, and he was out of jail the same day. Sixteen days later, Stephens was in the hospital with severe injuries.

On Friday, he was convicted of the felonies and jurors recommended 76 years in prison, cumulatively, for Ford.

Police said the beating left Stephens’ eyes so swollen that she could not see properly to write her own statement and had to request a friend write the statement, which she also had trouble signing because she couldn’t see. According to nurses, Ford had grabbed Stephens by the hair, pulled her to the ground and beaten her there, including again kicking her in the stomach.

Another alleged victim of Ford testified he had also exhibited the same violent behavior with her. Ford has a child with the second victim, as well.

The baby was later born healthy, although doctors feared the beating could have killed it.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 27.

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