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Tahlequah man works for Senate Indian Affairs in Washington

TAHLEQUAH - Cherokee Nation citizen Chase Goodnight, a Tahlequah native, is spending the summer interning with the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C.

Throughout his internship, Goodnight is gaining experience working on pervasive issues in tribal communities and legislative affairs.

“The work this committee is doing has a huge impact on Indian Country,” he said. “My internship is helping me to develop a better understanding of how the committee supports the Senate and how constituent concerns are used to impact policy.”

In 2014 he was awarded the Cherokee Nation Businesses scholarship through the Cherokee Nation Foundation and is currently in his third year at the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

Friday, July 22, 2016, 8:07 AM

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Pilot, air force airman killed in plane crash near Enid

A 55-year-old man and his 25-year-old pilot are dead after the private airplane they were flying in crashed to the ground yesterday, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Randall Lee Harris, of Owasso was the pilot and Lt. Dale Bryan Shillington of Vance Air Force Base in Enid was the passenger.

Harris was flying a 1993 Runyan Skybolt 300 fixed wing plane and attempted an aerobatic maneuver, the patrol reported. He apparently lost control of the plane and never regained it, crashing into the ground in an open, private field.

Both men were pronounced dead at the scene from massive injuries. Both men were pinned in the airplane for an hour before they were extracted.

Friday, July 22, 2016, 8:03 AM

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Check out local art, artists on Saturday

Spray paint artist Brandon Phillips will be creating art live during the Art Crawl on Saturday.

Dozens of food vendors, artists, artisans and others will gather in downtown Muskogee on Saturday for the Art Crawl.

The event will happen on the east side of Main Street between the Columbus Street overpass and Okmulgee Street, with parking available to the east.

In addition to art vendors and food, there will be music and an art competition.

The free event starts at 6:30 p.m. and ends at 9:30 p.m.

More information.

Thursday, July 21, 2016, 5:28 AM

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Breastfeeding week aims to inform, support

Sisters April Wright and Annie Stevenson breast-feed their babies.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health is promoting World Breastfeeding Week August 1 through 7. Studies have shown that breastfeeding provides children with the nutrients they need to help with development and to build a strong immune system. Breastfeeding not only provides ideal nutrition for babies but also has long-lasting positive effects for mothers.

Based on the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System data from 2013, 82.7 percent of Oklahoma mothers began breastfeeding their babies after birth. While most new mothers start out breastfeeding, many Oklahoma mothers do not exclusively breastfeed for six months or continue for up to two years of age as recommended by the World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund.

Data provided in The Oklahoma Toddler Survey from 2014 indicates that although the numbers are improving, only 34 percent of mothers were breastfeeding at six months and 17 percent of mothers were breastfeeding at 12 months or more. This does not meet the Healthy People 2020 Breastfeeding Objectives aimed to increase the proportion of infants who are breastfed at six months to 60.6 percent and at one year to 34.1 percent.

“Breastfeeding not only provides nutrition for the baby but has long-lasting positive effects for the mother as well,” says Rosanne Smith, breastfeeding coordinator, Women, Infants and Children Service. “By supporting mothers throughout their breastfeeding journey, each of us has the opportunity to build a brighter future leading to healthier kids and healthier families.”

The recently published Lancet Breastfeeding Series review shows evidence of the health and economic benefits of breastfeeding. Children who are breastfed have decreased infections, lower dental malocclusions and higher intelligence when compared to children who are not breastfed. Mothers who breastfeed have a decreased chance of breast cancer, improved birth spacing and also have less risk of developing diabetes and ovarian cancer.

Local health department clinics will be providing various activities to recognize and encourage breastfeeding mothers and also to teach expectant women, family members and the community the importance of breastfeeding, and how the practice can lead to a healthier tomorrow.

For breastfeeding support and information, call the Oklahoma Breastfeeding Hotline toll free at 1-877-271-MILK (6455) or visit the Oklahoma breastfeeding website at http://bis.health.ok.gov.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016, 8:06 AM

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Deaths page is now updated and available

Our deaths and obits pages have had problems for awhile, stuck in the old design of the site, which made them hard for everyone to view.

We have finally updated the feature, combining death notices and obituaries into one page, called "Deaths". You can find them in a link at the bottom left of this page.

More importantly, our new program automatically updates the death notices/obituaries as the funeral homes do, so you're sure to get the latest information about your friends and loved ones. The records will be as complete and comprehensive as possible.

Death notices are a big deal for most news sources, so we're proud to be able to provide them for you in the easiest-to-view fashion.

Right now, you'll see the 15 most recent notices. In the coming days, we'll add the ability to search and to go farther back in the records.

Oh, and as always, our death notices and obituaries are published free of charge - we don't believe in adding to grieving families' financial burdens by charging them to publish their loved ones' life stories.

You can access the death notices/obituaries page here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016, 9:36 PM

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National Review calls for Coburn to replace Trump

As the Republican National Convention continues, a name from Muskogee is popping up in national publications and at the convention to serve as a lightning rod for those in the party who don't want Trump: Dr. Tom Coburn, former congressman and senator from Oklahoma.

After the convention shut down a possible anti-Trump revolt yesterday, the national conservative magazine National Review reiterated its stance that Coburn could pass convention muster, would solve the "Trump problem" and could still be done legally - and that Coburn had apparently indicated he would be willing to serve, even after rejecting the idea of running for president initially.

The magazine outlined how that could still happen, even after the anti-Trump revolt was put down yesterday:

Two steps: 1) Delegate petitions to put his name in nomination. 2) Delegate abstentions on the first ballot. . . . Moreover, even the GOP’s own rules on the binding of delegates does not disallow abstentions. Here is the standing rule: “If any delegate bound by these rules, state party rule or state law to vote for a presidential candidate at the national convention demonstrates support under Rule 40 for any person other than the candidate to whom he or she is bound, such support shall not be recognized.” In other words, if your state’s primary would require than any vote cast by a delegate be cast for Trump, that delegate may not (on the first ballot) vote for Cruz, or Rubio, or anybody else. But note that while it precludes a vote “for any person other than the candidate to whom he or she is bound,” it does not preclude a decision not to vote at all. This is both common sense and a basic tenet of representative government. There is no known theory of small-‘r’ republican government that allows an organization to count a vote as cast when it hasn’t been cast at all.

You can read more here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016, 7:51 AM

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Don't freak; the person you're seeing may be an assessor

Appraisers from the Muskogee County Assessor's office are currently doing visual inspections of property throughout the county, according to County Assessor Dan Ashwood.

Assessors will look at around 12,000 pieces of property this year, he said.

The workers are covering the eastern part of Muskogee and outlying rural areas.

"Don't be alarmed if you see a vehicle driving slowly through your neighborhood and taking pictures," he said. "The appraisers' vehicles will be marked, and they will be wearing identification badges."

Some may need to measure outbuildings, carports, porches, additions or pools for the appraisals, he said.

If you have more questions, call the Assessor's office at 918-682-8781.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016, 7:34 AM

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Pursuit ends in wreck, officer injured

Police inspect the scene of the pursuit end

Bronson Butcher, 32, of Muskogee was arrested last night on charges stemming from a traffic stop that turned into a high-speed chase through Muskogee streets, according to police reports.

Bronson Butcher

Police attempted to stop Butcher for a routine traffic violation when he took off through the streets, police said. During the chase, officers said, he forced several people off the road and struck a police car, injuring an officer inside.

The officer suffered shoulder injuries.

An Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper joined the pursuit and took over as the lead vehicle. Bronson's pickup eventually left the roadway and traveled through a field, where pursuit officers followed. His pickup then struck a ditch and came to a stop. Officers approached the pickup with weapons drawn and commanded the suspect to leave the vehicle. He was arrested without further incident.

Bacon College Campus Police and the Muskogee County Sheriff's Office helped in the pursuit.

Butcher was arrested on complaints of failure to yield from a private drive, failure to wear a seatbelt, driving under suspension, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, eluding a police officer while causing an accident, eluding a police officer while endangering others, running a roadblock, failure to appear on a 2015 felony charge of endangering others while attempting to elude a police officer and assault and battery, failure to appear on another 2015 felony charge of bail jumping.

Butcher has been arrested numerous times since 2011 on charges such as eluding a police officer, failure to appear, failure to pay and probation violations.

Monday, July 18, 2016, 8:03 AM

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Civic center serving as a shelter for those without power

The Muskogee Civic Center is now serving as a shelter for those in the community with no power after yesterday's storm.

The center has partnered with the American Red Cross to provide an air conditioned building, water, snacks, cots and restroom and showering facilities.

Everyone without power or other necessary services is invited to attend.

Friday, July 15, 2016, 6:34 PM

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Deputies, four inmates involved in wreck en route to prison

Sheriff's Captain Tim Everett and deputy Brandon Phillips were transporting four inmates from the Muskogee County Jail to a prison in Lawton when a semi truck pulled in front of them. The vehicles collided, and three of the four inmates were transported to an area hospital, where they were treated and released for minor injuries, Everett said.

The inmates had been in Muskogee on a writ to appear in court, and were being transported back to the prison where they were serving their sentences.

The driver of the semi was not injured.

Friday, July 15, 2016, 2:22 PM

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Weather page fixed

Weather is now readable again.

We redesigned MuskogeeNOW.com some time ago, but several artifacts were left over from the old design.

One of those was the weather page. Yesterday's storms, and the promise of more today, reminded us that it needed to be brought into the new design, so this morning, we fixed our weather page.

Friday, July 15, 2016, 7:03 AM

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High winds wreak havoc in Muskogee

The roof on a store at Curts Center lays in the parking lot

Multiple reports of damage all over the city are pouring in after a storm brought 70-mile-per-hour winds to Muskogee.

Part of the roof on Hobby Lobby at Curt's Center is on the ground, trees are down and large, heavy debris is flying around.

An air conditioning unit lays in front of a store on York Street.

Power is out to numerous houses across the area as the storm has settled in.

No reports of injuries yet, but Muskogee County EMS has been dispatched to several locations.

Police are reporting that power is down all over town. Electric lines and poles are down, there is an overturned semi on the river bridge, roofs torn off, extensive damage at Curt's Mall.

Others are reporting the roof is off at the Bacone Inn. Damage has been reported at Grissom's tractors east of the turnpike.

Email pictures and reports of damage to MuskogeeNOW.

Power poles are in the road at Goosebeck Bend.

A power line is down at Bob Loftis Furniture on Shawnee.

Andy's Convenience Store south of town lost part of its roof.

A semi is turned over on the Arkansas River bridge to Fort Gibson.

A tree is uprooted in Okay.

A power pole in Okay is shattered

UPDATE: The city is reporting a small tornado touched down amid 115 mph winds.

Some injuries have been reported according to Muskogee County EMS: One adult male transported to Eastar with non-life threatening head injury,

One male child transported to Eastar with a non-life threatening laceration,

One adult female transported to a Tahlequah hospital with non-life threatening injuries from a vehicle crash,

Three people (age and sex unknown at this time) who refused treatment / transport from an motor vehicle accident in Haskell.

A tree took out part of a house's roof on North K Street by Irving School.

UPDATE: More thunderstorms are expected later tonight, but are not expected to be as severe, according to the National Weather Service.

Debris covers the courtyard of the Bacone Inn.

Bacone College suffered significant damage, according to spokeswoman Wendy Burton. The Bacone Inn, which houses students and the campus cafeteria, lost most of its roof, but the damage will not postpone the beginning of the school year, she said.

Bacone suffered no injuries.

Thursday, July 14, 2016, 12:16 PM

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Tahlequah man arrested, accused of stealing cattle

A Tahlequah man was arrested Tuesday and charged with embezzlement of 18 head of cattle that were placed in his care by a local rancher.

Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) Special Ranger John Cummings led the investigation along with TSCRA Special Ranger Bart Perrier.

According to Cummings, the suspect Walter F. “Andy” Andrews, 44, Tahlequah was caring for the victim’s cattle from February 2015 to May 2015. The suspect was grazing the cattle on land he was leasing in Cherokee County. Andrews allegedly removed the cattle from the pasture and sold them at local sale barns without the owner’s permission.

During the time the cattle were cared for by Andrews, attempts to view and count the cattle were delayed or impeded. The investigation revealed Andrews sold the cattle in his name and kept proceeds in excess of $25,000 for his personal use. Andrews was arrested by Cummings and booked into the Cherokee County Jail. Andrew’s bond on the felony warrant was set at $10,000.

“This case serves as a reminder for ranchers to remain diligent in seeing and accurately counting their cattle on a regular basis, especially if they are being cared for and grazed on someone else’s property," said Cummings.

Thursday, July 14, 2016, 10:43 AM

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Officials look for man's body on Tenkiller

Dive teams with the Cherokee Nation Marshal's Service are heading back to Tenkiller Lake today to look for the body of Matthew Fagan, whose three friends were arrested yesterday on first-degree murder complaints.

Fagan had been hiking last month with the three men, Michael Snelling, Blake Shamblin and Tyler Leverett. Court documents state Snelling got into a fight with Fagan and according to Leverett, hit Fagan on the head with a ball peen hammer, knocking him out.

Leverett also led officials to an area of the lake where cadaver dogs had already indicated the near presence of a corpse.

Cherokee Nation divers will search that area of the lake for the body, also using an underwater camera robot to continue the search when divers must stop due to exhaustion.

Thursday, July 14, 2016, 6:35 AM

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K9 dogs get ballistic vests

Officers Lynch and Jangus show off Jangus's new ballistic vest

Muskogee Police Department’s K9 officers have received new patrol vests. The vests are ballistic vest that provide the same ballistic protection to canine officers as their human co-workers.

The vests were purchased by the City of Muskogee for the three K9 officers at a total cost of around $2,200. The vests are cut fairly small so the dog can wear the vest during daily patrol duties without excess weight and heat.

This year 62 K9 officers have been killed in the line of duty nationwide, 28 of those deaths were by gunfire.

Sgt. Bill Peters and Indie

Sgt. Chris Dean and Barry

Wednesday, July 13, 2016, 2:20 PM

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Wesley Michael Hayes to play here tomorrow

The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame will host Wesley Michael Hayes Thursday, July 14 at 8 pm at the Frisco Depot, 401 S. 3rd in Muskogee.

As a true holder of the title "Okie from Muskogee," Wesley Michael Hayes grew up a country boy with a passion for sports and music. Working to promote his first single, “Love In Pictures,” to Texas Radio and planning the release of the EP, BENT, Hayes is a self-described “underdog who loves going against the grain and doing things that others are afraid to do.” Having lived a “broken and patched life” that includes all the trappings of a true country song, Hayes is counting on his traditional sound and style to resonate with those looking for realism and raw honesty.

“My mom’s people were bootleggers and outlaws who would play music on the porch and such after some shine running’," he said . "That’s where the music comes from. I was given a ’71 Alvarez guitar by my Uncle Harley at one point and my love for playing grew from there.”

At the age of 10, Hayes began playing drums, debuting just two years later with a solo of "Wipe Out" at Coweta High School. With influences that range from rock to traditional country, Hayes’ father took him to a Jethro Tull concert as a child and they often cruised around listening to Stevie Wonder, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Earth, Wind & Fire; at home with his mother and grandparents he watched “Hee Haw.”

Music became front and center when Hayes' life changed dramatically in 1998 as he and his wife, Brandy, lost their infant son, Jacob, just 16 days after his birth. Needing an outlet once again for the pain that ensued, Hayes looked to songwriting for healing. Influenced by Merle Haggard, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and David Allan Coe, Hayes' difficult upbringing, the loss of his son, and other trying life experiences served as the backdrop to his traditional storytelling.

Doors open at 7:30, show starts at 8 pm. Admission is $5 and all ages are welcome.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016, 8:08 AM

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Nominate a business for Port of Muskogee awards

The Muskogee City-County Port Authority - Industrial Development Office’s Established Industries Committee is now accepting nominations for the 2016 Business & Industry Awards.

The Business & Industry Awards have recognized the diversity and excellence of Muskogee’s business community throughout the last decade. These prestigious awards honor organizations and individuals for their contributions to the economic vitality of Muskogee.

Categories for consideration include, but are not limited to: Business of the Year, Business Startup, Local Expansion, Sales Growth, New Product Development, Safety, Community Service, Customer Service, and New Website/Social Media Campaign.

Also being honored is a select group: Muskogee’s Century Club. Muskogee’s Century Club consists of businesses that have been established in Muskogee for 100 years or longer. If you know of a company that has been in Muskogee for 100 years or longer, nominate them to be inducted into this elite group of businesses.

Companies and individuals are strongly encouraged to nominate themselves or others that have achieved outstanding success or recognition within the last year for consideration. Nomination forms are due to the Muskogee City-County Port Authority - Industrial Development Office postmarked no later than Friday, August 26, 2016.

For more information or to receive nomination forms, contact Marie Synar at (918) 682-7887.

Award winners will be notified during the month of September. Winners will be announced at the Business & Industry Banquet and Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at Indian Capital Technology Center.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016, 7:06 AM

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Exhibit to showcase Cherokee agriculture starts this weekend

Throughout history, Cherokees have always placed a high priority on their relationship with the Earth and emphasized the importance of being good stewards of the land.

A new exhibit at the Cherokee National Prison Museum showcases that relationship while featuring Cherokee agricultural practices from pre-removal to present day. “Of the Earth” runs July 15 through Nov. 1. Free admission will be offered on opening day.

The special exhibit features information on a variety of crops, including corn, squash and beans. These crops are also known as the Three Sisters, which are historically the most important throughout Cherokee history. Other crops include pumpkins, apples, grapes, peaches and wild onions.

The Cherokee National Prison Museum was selected to host the exhibit, as it once featured a large garden where prisoners tended to its care. This was an important aspect of the prison, as it was used for prisoner reform and teaching life skills, as opposed to punishment.

The Cherokee National Prison was the only penitentiary building in Indian Territory from 1875 to 1901. It housed sentenced and accused prisoners from throughout the territory. The interpretive site and museum give visitors an idea about how law and order operated in Indian Territory. The site features a working blacksmith area and reconstructed gallows, exhibits about famous prisoners and daring escapes, local outlaws and Cherokee patriots, jail cells and more. The Cherokee National Prison Museum is located at 124 E. Choctaw St. in Tahlequah.

Cherokee Nation museums are open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016, 6:37 AM

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Feds seek Native input on memorial for Native veterans

The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) has been authorized by Congress to construct the National Native American Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, a tribute to the proud service of Native American veterans. Native Americans serve the United States military in larger numbers than any other ethnic group, and have, since the American Revolution.

The group will consult with Native veterans on July 21 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Honorable Ben Nighthorse Campbell (Northern Cheyenne) and Chickasaw Nation Lieutenant Governor Jefferson Keel are leading an advisory committee for the project. The group is composed of Native veterans and leaders representing the diversity of Indian Country and the several branches of the military. Through this committee, the museum will consult with Native veterans and leaders throughout the country to gather their input on the project and seek support for the memorial. For more information or RSVP on the Facebook event.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016, 6:35 AM

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Parents camp out to get kids in Hilldale

Kids and parents dance to pass the time outside Hilldale.

Dozens of parents and students are camping all night outside Hilldale's administration office tonight in hopes of getting their kids into the school.

"Open enrollment is gone," one of the parents outside said. "We can apply for emergency enrollment, but it's first-come-first-serve."

None of the parents wanted to be identified for fear of backlash from other parents.

The school system allows "emergency" enrollment for students who live outside the district, but those students must re-apply every year.

"We don't know how many spots are open," one of the parents said. "But teachers get to enroll their students first, and then for us it's first-come-first-serve."

Parents brought movies, music, soft drinks, and one husband even brought dinner.

The parents don't plan to sleep tonight, and they are keeping a strict order of who was there first.

"I've got a list," one of the parents on the deck outside the administration building said, then pointed to another parent. "She's first."

Some of the parents said Hilldale is closer than Muskogee schools, even though they live outside the district boundaries. Other parents said they prefer Hilldale.

"We live much closer to Muskogee schools," one parent said. "But I'd rather my kids go here."

Sunday, July 10, 2016, 10:24 PM

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