DEATHS

Willard Dale Judkins, 85

Born Sunday, October 9, 1932

Died Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Roy Eldon "Don" Harp, 74

Born Tuesday, November 23, 1943

Died Monday, December 11, 2017

Dennis Wayne Goad Sr., 59

Born Wednesday, July 23, 1958

Died Monday, December 11, 2017

Roy Eldon "Don" Harp, 74

Born Tuesday, November 23, 1943

Died Monday, December 11, 2017

Willie Lee Griffin, 85

Born Saturday, December 12, 1931

Died Monday, December 11, 2017

CLICK TO SEE MORE >>

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


EVENTS

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Castle Christmas

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Castle Christmas

Friday, December 15, 2017

Castle Christmas

Tuesday, December 12, 2017, 9:47 AM

John Wesley Williams Jr.

John Wesley Williams Jr., 55, of Wagoner is charged with breaking into a Muskogee house, then setting a box on fire on the front porch.

December 5 around midnight, the resident of the house on Market Street where noticed Williams allegedly coming in through a doggy door, unlocking the door and letting his alleged accomplice, Nicholas Hobbs, into the house. When the pair allegedly realized they were caught, Williams also allegedly set a box on the front porch on fire.

Williams is a former roommate of the resident of the house, according to sources in the DA’s office.

BizarreCrimeLocal
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ck restoration

Tuesday, December 12, 2017, 9:21 AM

Paced by the lowest smoking rate ever recorded, Oklahoma moved up three spots to 43rd in America’s Health Rankings, issued by the United Health Foundation. The improvement was the second highest among all states, trailing only Florida and Utah, which improved their ranking by four spots. America’s Health Rankings are based on four components or aspects of health - behaviors, community and environment, policy and clinical care. Health outcomes are also used to rank states.

In smoking rates, Oklahoma improved to 36th nationally — an improvement of nine spots. Oklahoma’s smoking rate has declined 25 percent in the past five years. That is the largest improvement for any state since 2012 but is still 2.5 percent higher than the national average of 17.1 percent.

An area in which Oklahoma is better than the national average, low birthweight, saw the state improve to 7.9 percent. Oklahoma has improved 11 spots to 22nd in the past five years, one of the best advances in the nation.

The best ratings for the state were in the low occurrence of excessive drinking (2nd), pertussis rates (2nd) and the number of mental health providers (5th). Oklahoma also had improvements in obesity rates, the number of people who are physically active, and drug deaths, but still ranks well below the national average. Areas of concern include lack of health insurance, diabetes rates, and children’s immunization rates.

While Oklahoma’s uninsured rate has decreased the past three years to 13.9 percent, the national ranking dropped another two spots to 48th and the rate lags far behind the national rate of nine percent.

Following a national trend that saw an all-time high in diabetes rates of 10.5 percent nationally, Oklahoma is ranked 41st with a rate of 12 percent. The rate of immunization among children 19 to 35 months dropped significantly (75.4 percent to 67 percent) moving the state ranking to 42nd while overall adolescent immunization rates improved by six places (40th to 34th).

LocalNationalOklahoma
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aarons furniture

Monday, December 11, 2017, 2:49 PM

District Attorney Orvil Loge talks about rounding up suspects with outstanding warrants.

The Muskogee County district attorney, sheriff’s office, police department, drug task force and US marshals joined efforts over three days this month to round up 32 suspects with outstanding warrants on domestic violence and sexual assault cases, DA Orvil Loge said just now.

“There were 46 warrants issued,” he said. “In addition to the fifteen domestic violence arrests, we arrested three sexual assault suspects and fourteen additional felony offenders.”

The roundup operation was called Operation Purple Rain 2.0, after last year’s successful roundup.

“We get upwards of 50,000 calls a year,” Police Chief Rex Eskridge said. “Of those, about half are domestic violence and sexual assault. This is making the community safer. This kind of cooperation allows us to hunt these people down, no matter where they are.”

The timing of the roundup, around the holidays, was no accident, Acting US Marshal Ryan Hilton said.

“We wanted it to be around the holidays to give some relief,” he said, to victims who may be living with them. “We also wanted to get some unregistered and fail to appear suspects who aren’t complying.”

The warrants were all for existing cases, Loge said.

17 of the 32 suspects arrested.

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concorde loan

Monday, December 11, 2017, 10:17 AM

The Taco Bell store at Shawnee and York streets was robbed this morning, according to Muskogee Police Officer Lincoln Anderson.

The store was last robbed just over a month ago, Oct. 30, by a black male wearing black jeans, a gray hoodie and a rag covering his face.

Police are not yet releasing any details on today’s robbery.

Muskogee High School was briefly locked down after the robbery, according to officials at the school.

The school was locked down less than 20 minutes, according to Dan Hall.

“We just wanted to make sure nobody was on our campus, walking around,” he said.

UPDATE 10:24 a.m.: The store was robbed by a black male wearing black and gray, Anderson said. The man brought a handgun into the store, forced employees to give him a bank bag and then left on foot, heading northbound.

CrimeLocal
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american pie

Monday, December 11, 2017, 9:49 AM

A trailer theft ring in Glenpool that netted more than $100,000 in less than a week may have also hit Muskogee around the same time, according to video released from a Muskogee storage facility where a trailer was stolen.

The Muskogee trailer was full of $6,000 worth of tools, plus the value of the trailer itself, according to Janice Woods, who reported the theft late last week.

Brett Myers
“The storage guy sent us the video, and it was the same black truck we had seen in a report on Channel 6 about people in Glenpool getting their trailers stolen from storage facilities,” Woods said this morning. “First, a red car came up and keyed in the access code—that was the accomplice—and then the black truck came in and got our trailer.”

The video is being turned over to Muskogee police this morning by the storage facility, she said. The Glenpool suspect is Shannon Coffey, who allegedly rented a storage unit, then came back with more people to retrieve other people’s trailers. Tulsa police arrested Brett Myers on Friday in connection with the Glenpool thefts.

We will publish the Muskogee theft video when it arrives.

BizarreCrimeLocal
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tj hamilton

Monday, December 11, 2017, 9:29 AM

Rosa Lea, 58, lost her job earlier this year to Huntington’s Disease. The inherited disease causes loss of motor control, mental abilities and eventually movement and speech. The disease often descends into dementia. Lea was diagnosed in April of this year, her daughter, Melissa Frazier said.

“Her house burned down because of an electrical fire the day after Thanksgiving,” she said. “She’s been living with me since then, but she lost everything.”

Social Security and DHS have both told Lea they can’t help her, and though a local church, the Webbers Falls Assembly of God, donated $250 and other friends have donated, a GoFundMe campaign is falling thousands of dollars short of its modest $5,000 goal to buy Rosa clothes, toiletries and other necessities she lost in the fire to help start rebuilding her life—a life that is now without income because of the disease.

“We are running out of places to turn,” Frazier, who also has to care for her five daughters, said. “We are scared.”

To help the family, visit the GoFundMe page.

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groom insurance agency

Saturday, December 9, 2017, 5:58 PM

Police investigate a shooting on 8th Street.

One person was injured this afternoon in a shooting on 8th Street, according to Muskogee Police.

The victim is unidentified, but drove themselves to the hospital, police reported.

Residents report they are being told to stay inside and no traffic is coming or going near the scene. Police, however, say that’s news to them.

The victim had non-life-threatening injuries.

One witness says a man was shooting out the window of a candy apple red Tahoe, but police have not confirmed that detail.

“We have no descriptions at this point that are concrete,” said officer Lincoln Anderson. “It’s speculation.”

No more details are yet available. We will update when they are.

CrimeLocal
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harmony house 1511887056

Friday, December 8, 2017, 3:28 PM

Pretty much the only books you'll ever need.

Many readers of MuskogeeNOW may not know I’m also a published author. I will be at the Muskogee Public Library tomorrow signing copies of my books, along with 15 other authors.

The Muskogee Public Library is hosting its third-annual Good Reads for Christmas: A Local Author Signing Event from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. December 9, on the first floor of the library.

The selection features various types of reading for different age groups. The offering includes history, children, historical fiction, young adult, Christian, biography, fantasy, mystery, science fiction, poetry, and thrillers.

Attendees are invited to have cookies and punch.

EntertainmentLocal
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herringshaw waste management

Thursday, December 7, 2017, 8:47 PM

A Farmington, Arkansas man was injured in a wreck on Interstate 40 this morning, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Jacob McRorey, 33, was driving a 2016 Nissan Altima eastbound around midnight when his vehicle departed the right side of the roadway, striking a culvert with the passenger side. The vehicle went airborne, rolling a half time and coming to rest on its top in the roadway.

McRorey was ejected about 25 feet from the roadway and was admitted in critical condition at Saint John’s Hospital in Tulsa with a head injury.

He was not wearing a seat belt, and the patrol cited inattention as the cause of the wreck.

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charlies chicken

Thursday, December 7, 2017, 8:38 PM

“Nanyehi” is the story of Nancy Ward, a legendary woman who was first honored in the 18th century as a Cherokee war woman but then as a peacemaker during the American Revolution.

The casting call supports the musical’s May 4 through 5 production at The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tulsa.

Auditions will be held Jan. 13 and 14 at the Fly Loft in Tulsa. Times are listed below:

Saturday, Jan. 13, 1 to 4 p.m., with auditions for dancers beginning at 3 p.m.

Sunday, Jan. 14, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Principal cast members will be compensated. Available principal roles include Nanyehi, the title role and female lead, as well as Tenia, Kingfisher, Fivekiller, Attakullakulla, Oconastota and young Nanyehi. More than 20 additional supporting roles are also available.

If you are auditioning for a singing role, please bring an accompaniment CD or an accompanist. You may also sing a cappella or accompany yourself. A keyboard and a CD player will be provided. Non-singing hopefuls will read from the script. Dancers will be taught a short routine and are asked to bring dancing shoes.

The 2018 showing will mark the ninth production of Nanyehi. It has been presented four times in Oklahoma, twice in Tennessee and single productions in Georgia and Texas. The musical is written by Nashville-based, award-winning songwriter and recording artist Becky Hobbs and playwright Nick Sweet.

Hobbs is a Cherokee Nation citizen and Bartlesville native who is a direct descendant of Nancy Ward. As a recording/performing artist, she has performed in more than 40 countries and has had over 20 chart records. Her songs have been recorded by Alabama, Conway Twitty, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Emmylou Harris, Glen Campbell, Wanda Jackson, John Anderson, Helen Reddy, Shirley Bassey and more. Hobbs was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in October 2015.

“Nanyehi” is presented by Cherokee Nation Businesses and Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tulsa.

For more information about the production or auditions, please visit www.nanyehi.com.

LocalEntertainment
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aceco rentals

Thursday, December 7, 2017, 10:33 AM

You’ll probably notice MuskogeeNOW.com looks different.

That’s because we’ve redesigned the entire site. We are still working on it behind the scenes, so the page may look weird. If so, wait a bit and reload.

Also, if a feature doesn’t work, hang on, we’re getting to it.

Thanks for your patience.

Good NewsLocal
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trucks for you

Thursday, December 7, 2017, 9:04 AM

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is currently recruiting applicants for Special Agent vacancies throughout Oklahoma. If you are at least 21 years of age, possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, a minimum of 2 years of full-time law enforcement experience with a governmental law enforcement agency, and are a certified CLEET peace officer, you qualify.

The OSBI has served the State of Oklahoma for the past 92 years. Known as the “Pioneers in Oklahoma Law Enforcement since 1925,” the OSBI has a reputation for conducting thorough, complex, and comprehensive criminal investigations that often require highly specialized criminal investigative skills.

If you’re a peace officer seeking a challenging career as a Special Agent with the OSBI, apply online at https://jobaps.com/ok/default.asp

Good NewsLocalOklahoma
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3 rivers auto collision

Wednesday, December 6, 2017, 4:13 PM

The Dick’s Sporting Goods store in Muskogee is set to close Jan. 6, according to Mayor Bob Coburn.

The store, which opened Oct. 30, 2015, has been open two years and started handing out notices to employees today.

“The store ... was part of the first phase of the Urban Renewal Project,” Coburn said. “While this is certainly disappointing, the city will be actively engaged with the developer of Three Rivers Plaza to ensure the ongoing growth and development of the Urban Renewal Area.”

“Too bad we didn’t use our resources to bring in career jobs,” Wayne Divelbiss, who is running against Coburn, said. “It’s sad that it’s leaving. They brought all those stores in under a TIF tax, and those things just don’t work.”

A TIF tax is a public financing method used as a subsidy for redevelopment, diverting future property tax revenue increases toward an economic development area.

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sooner surplus

Wednesday, December 6, 2017, 1:44 PM

Billy Fleck, 37, of Locust Grove is dead after the Dodge Durango he was driving struck a tree, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Fleck was driving northbound on Oklahoma Highway 82 eleven miles north of Tahlequah when his vehicle left the left side of the roadway and struck a tree. Fleck was pinned in the vehicle and was extracted with the Jaws of Life by Peggs Fire Department.

He was pronounced dead at the scene with head, trunk (internal and external), arm and leg injuries. His passenger was treated and released for less serious injuries at a Tahlequah hospital. Both men were wearing seatbelts, and the cause of the accident has not been determined.

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speedway grille

Wednesday, December 6, 2017, 8:34 AM

The Rotary Little Nationals Speech, Drama, and Debate Tournament will begin on Friday at 3:15 p.m. and continue through 6:00 on Saturday.

The group is still in need of adult volunteers to judge events for the tournament. You can get information about the tournament and judging at http://mhs.mpsi20.org/159624_3, call Penny McGill at 918-684-3750 ext. 1776, or penny.mcgill@roughers.net.

EducationLocal
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nuage medical spa

Tuesday, December 5, 2017, 11:49 AM

The southbound lanes of Oklahoma Highway 82 north of Tahlequah are closed due to a single-vehicle fatality wreck.

The closing will continue until the medical examiner arrives from Bartlesville, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

No further details are yet available.

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runts barbecue

Tuesday, December 5, 2017, 9:48 AM

Building robots isn’t the only thing on the minds of the robotics team at Muskogee High School. According to Janet Lopez, the team’s coach, they also want to help out homeless veterans.

“We have partnered with PC Landing Zone to collect warm clothing — hats, gloves, jackets, scarves and blankets for homeless veterans in the Muskogee area,” she said.

To donate, bring items to Muskogee High School or take them to the PC Landing Zone to be distributed to the veterans.

EducationLocal
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madewell wireless

Tuesday, December 5, 2017, 9:29 AM

Billy Ray Mason

Billy Ray Mason, 35, of Muskogee has been charged in Muskogee County District Court with assaulting a detention officer in the Muskogee jail and throwing a punch at another.

On Feb. 11, Mason allegedly threw hot coffee on Derick Scott, then punched him in the mouth with his fist. He also allegedly threw a punch at Tyrone Allen, according to an affidavit filed with the case.

There is no reason given for the altercation.

He is charged with felony assault and battery on a police officer (two counts) and misdemeanor assault on a police officer. He was convicted in 2005 of assault and battery on a police officer and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was again charged with assault and battery on a police officer in 2010.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2007 for child neglect for exposing a two-year-old to a filthy home with exposed wires, mold on the walls, rotten food, feces and urine on toys, knives, medication and toxic chemicals within reach of the child and locking children in their bedroom with a rope, failing to change their soiled diapers for days.

CrimeLocal
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steve money

Tuesday, December 5, 2017, 9:12 AM

The Muskogee Infant Supply Closet at 1220 W. Broadway is seeking donations of diapers, winter clothes and formula to provide to needy children.

The group provides diapers, clothes and formula for infants to 5T. The charity reports a great need of winter clothes for boys and girls sizes 3T to 5T. Both new and used clothes are accepted.

The group is open 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

ExclusiveLocal
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ace television and appliance

Tuesday, December 5, 2017, 8:52 AM

Thirty-two students from three schools earned places in Oklahoma All State and American Choral Directors Association Regional Honor Choirs, according to Muskogee High School choral director Teresa Pointer.

Students began practicing in May for auditions in the fall semester for prestigious honor choirs. For the all state choir positions, students competed against other students from across the state. For the ACDA Regional choirs, students competed against other students from Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado and Missouri.

Oklahoma Music Educators Association Children’s All-State Choir: McKenzie Brown, Sadler; Kate Fullerton, Sadler; Maddy Kate Jackson, ARJH; Annalea Miller, ARJH; Meredith Stevenson, ARJH

These students will rehearse in Tulsa, Jan. 17 to 19 and will present a concert at the Tulsa Convention Center on Friday, Jan. 19 at 11 a.m. Tickets are required.

Oklahoma Choral Directors Association Junior High Treble and Mixed All-State Choirs: Gracie Dunn, MHS (not pictured); Maida Escobar, MHS; Haley Hitt, MHS; Rylee Lane, MHS; Rosie McClure, MHS; Abby Mix, MHS; Davin Wilson, MHS.

These students will rehearse in OKC at the Cox Convention Center, Jan. 11 to 13, and will present a concert on Saturday, Jan. 13 at Southern Nazarene University in Bethany at 1:30 p.m. No tickets are required.

Oklahoma Music Educators Association High School All-State Treble and Mixed Choirs: Phillip Bruch, MHS; Gage Clark, MHS; Madison Eckerson, MHS; Brady Gallaway, MHS; Meredith Gilmartin, MHS; Megan Jacobs, MHS; Kayleigh Langley, MHS; Anna Mix, MHS; Alexandria Munzenrider, MHS; Ethan Turner, MHS; Michael Yadon, MHS

These students will rehearse in Tulsa, Jan. 17 to 19 and will present a concert on Saturday, Jan. 19 at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center at noon. Tickets are required for this concert.

Southwest American Choral Directors Association Phillip Bruch, MHS; Gage Clark, MHS; Brady Gallaway, MHS; Meredith Gilmartin, MHS; Noah Holden, MHS; Alexandria Munzenrider, MHS; Jasmine Speer,MHS; Ethan Turner, MHS; Michael Yadon, MHS

The Southwest American Choral Directors Association will be hosting their convention in Oklahoma City at the Cox Convention Center on March 7 to 11, 2018. Students in the honor choirs will be rehearsing with other selected students from across Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, Colorado, and Missouri. They will be working with internationally recognized clinicians and will present concerts on Saturday, March 11.

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victoria rackley law

Monday, December 4, 2017, 2:58 PM

This is what is left of Chris Young's right leg.

Chris Young, now 28, of Muskogee was arrested in July of 2015 with a pre-existing wound to his right leg. He was jailed for seven months, during which he says he was denied medical treatment for the wound. Late last month, the leg was amputated below the knee, and Young says doctors tell him he could have kept the leg if he’d received medical treatment.

Chris Young
Young was arrested in that month in 2015 after a reserve deputy, John Sandersfield, allegedly entered Young’s apartment without a warrant, found a substance he claimed was methamphetamine and took Young to jail. The substance later tested negative for methamphetamine. Young was dating Sandersfield’s daughter at the time.

John Sandersfield
“I have messages from him saying, ‘I will make sure you stay away from my daughter,'” Young said. “We’re still not sure how he got the key to the apartment.”

After seven months in the county jail, the charges against Young came before Judge Robin Adair.

“My attorney, Steve Money, went into a conference with the judge,” Young said. “When they came out of that meeting, the next day, I got a picture from Steve Money saying the charges were dismissed ‘in the interest of justice.'”

The leg injury, which was a self-inflicted gunshot wound, got progressively worse in jail, with pleas to jailers in person and over an electronic messaging system went unheeded, he said.

Sheriff Rob Frazier, who was not yet sheriff when Young was in jail, said he cannot comment on cases with ongoing litigation. Young has sued the sheriff’s office and Sandersfield personally for compensatory and punitive damages in federal court last month.

The lawsuit alleges unreasonable search, unlawful imprisonment and permanent physical injury cause by denial of his rights for medical attention.

CrimeExclusiveLocal
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fish hut

Monday, December 4, 2017, 1:53 PM

The Muskogee Police Department is holding its annual Campout for Kids December 9 at 2 p.m. to December 10 at 5 p.m. Muskogee Police Officers will be on location the entire time of the event and throughout the night.

This is an event that started several years ago to help the Muskogee Salvation Army and their Angel tree project. Every year police park the Special Operations Team truck on location, along with several police cars and a trailer. The goal is to have as many toys as possible donated that will then be given to the Salvation Army for their angel tree.

The campout will take place in front of Walmart this year on the north side of the road in front of Walmart between Murphy’s USA and Chik-fil-a.

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grace

Monday, December 4, 2017, 9:24 AM

WARNING: The video above and this story contain graphic content and language.

A 25-second video of Muskogee High School agriculture students trying to load a pig onto a trailer and then abusing the pig on campus has been making the rounds among students via snapchat.

The video, which is captioned “When it’s the last day of school and your mom still makes you go,” followed by a laughing emoji, shows a student struggling to load a pig onto a trailer. The pig, which screams as it’s being loaded (as pigs normally do), is then kicked and smacked with a whip as the students close the door on its leg, one of them proclaiming, “I don’t give a fuck.”

The school district has not returned our call for comment on whether the students were being supervised at the time and whether any of them will face disciplinary action.

This follows an incident a few weeks ago where a baseball player was brutally beaten by classmates while someone filmed the assault.

UPDATE: A state agriculture expert we talked to said that, while the pig in this case isn’t being abused, the agriculture educators should be teaching the students better methods to deal with pigs, which are notoriously stubborn.

“That pig really doesn’t want to load,” the official, who asked to not be named in the story because they didn’t want to cast aspersions on the students, said. “I don’t think those kicks amount to abuse, but it seems the school might help them discover alternative ways to deal with it.”

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twist and shout

Monday, December 4, 2017, 8:56 AM

Shop for the readers on your gift list or for yourself and meet the authors at the same time when Muskogee Public Library hosts its third annual Good Reads for Christmas: A Local Author Signing Event. The event will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, December 9, on the first floor of the library. At least 16 authors are scheduled to attend.

The selection features various types of reading for different age groups. The offering includes history, children, historical fiction, young adult, Christian, biography, fantasy, mystery, science fiction, poetry, and thrillers.

Betty Smith Ridge, whose book, Deadlines, details stories from her years as a journalist in Muskogee and Tahlequah will appear alongside fellow former Muskogee journalist Liz McMahan, who will introduce her newest book on the history of Yonkers. Dan Reynolds, retired McAlester Prison warden, has a selection of nonfiction derived from his years in correctional work. Leif M. Wright, publisher of MuskogeeNOW.com, is also a traditionally published nonfiction and fiction author of Deadly Vows, Minister of Justice and Robby the R-Word.

Award-winning artist and author Merv Jacob and Brenda Duvall will join Jonita Mullins, local author of historical Indian Territory fiction and creator of a calendar with photographs of area sites.

Gary Babb is known for his science fiction creations, Earth is Ours and Dark Angels of Zeus. He is also the author of a biography on Chief A.D. Ellis, People’s Warrior.

The historically-minded will welcome Tyrone Wilson and his book, Oklahoma Black Cherokees. He combined efforts with Karen Coody Cooper to present compelling stories of Black Cherokee people.

Poetry will be among the selections this year with Rae Neal presenting her first book, Midnight Melodies: From the Rivers and Seas of Life.

Others include Bob Mueller, thriller/suspense; Sarah Ashwood, family-friendly fantasy for PT-13 and older; Christian worship leader Dennis Jernigan, fiction and non-fiction; Ranee’ La Viness, nonfiction, fiction and children’s; Stephanie Handley, Christian fiction.

Attendees are invited to have cookies and punch. Additional authors may also be in attendance.

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pinkys smoke shop

Monday, December 4, 2017, 8:42 AM

The Third Annual Jingle Wheels Drive is now under way in Muskogee. Started three years ago by the Muskogee Area Cycling Club, the annual drive works to bridge the annual gap between requests and actual donations of bicycles to the Salvation Army’s annual Angel Tree Drive in Muskogee. In the two previous years, the campaign has been successful in generating donations and funding for near to 250 bicycles with bicycle helmets for the Muskogee Angel Tree campaign. In both of these years, every child that requested a bicycle from the Angel Tree received one, which was a first for the Muskogee Angel Tree efforts.

“Bicycles are always one of the top requests for children in the annual Angel Tree campaign”, said Muskogee Area Cycling spokesman Roger Bell. “It has been determined in previous Angel Tree campaigns that less than 40 percent of the children that request bicycles for Christmas from the Salvation Army Angel Tree actually are able to receive them due to a shortage in donations of Bicycles.”

In addition to providing the additional bicycles, the Muskogee Area Cycling club works together to make sure the bicycles donated and purchased are all properly assembled and in good working order. Volunteers go down to the Salvation Army staging areas on specific nights and make sure of the bicycles are well put together and in operating condition.

The club has also scheduled a special bicycle donation ride for Saturday, December 8, which will leave from the parking lot of the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. The group will take up donations from riders prior to the ride and they will the ride to the Armstrong Bank Main Branch in Muskogee located at 11th and Okmulgee to deposit donations received into a special account. The public is invited to participate in this special ride.

The community can be part of this effort by donating funds at any Armstrong Bank branch in Muskogee or by dropping new bicycles off at the bank locations. You can also donate to the cause online through PayPal (Paypal.com) by sending donations to Jinglewheelschristmas@aol.com. Funds go directly to the Salvation Army and are tax deductible. The campaign is scheduled to last through December 12th.

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Monday, December 4, 2017, 8:38 AM

The Oklahoma State Department of Health announced that Muskogee Water Treatment Plant has been awarded a Water Fluoridation Quality Award from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Fluoridation is the adjustment of fluoride in drinking water to a level that is effective for preventing tooth decay. The award recognizes those communities which achieved excellence in community water fluoridation by maintaining a consistent level of fluoride in drinking water throughout 2016. A total of 1,360 public water systems in 29 states received these awards, including 12 in Oklahoma.

“The Oklahoma State Department of Health supports community water fluoridation and recognizes the practice as beneficial to all who drink and use the water,” said Dr. Jana Winfree, Director of Dental Health Service. “Preventive dental care programs such as community water fluoridation make a real difference in improving the health status of Oklahomans. We acknowledge Muskogee’s contribution to public health.”

Community water fluoridation has been recognized by CDC as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th Century. CDC recommends water fluoridation as one of the most practical, cost-effective, equitable, and safe measures a community can take to prevent tooth decay and improve oral health. “Water fluoridation is one of the best investments that a community can make in maintaining the oral health of its citizens. It is equally as effective in preventing cavities in children and adults,” said Casey Hannan, Acting Director, CDC Division of Oral Health. “Fluoridation is also highly cost effective. Studies continue to show that for every $1 a community invests in water fluoridation, $20 are saved in dental treatment costs.”

For more information about the benefits of community fluoridation, visit fluoride.health.ok.gov.

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Friday, December 1, 2017, 1:14 PM

There’s a lot going on around Muskogee, and MuskogeeNOW.com has re-introduced its events calendar.

To access the calendar, simply click “Events” at the top of this page, and a calendar will come on-screen, showing you everything going on around you.

To submit an event for inclusion on the calendar, email news@muskogeenow.com. Inclusion of events is free.

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Friday, December 1, 2017, 8:46 AM

Muskogee’s Drew Edmondson, the former Oklahoma attorney general who is running for governor, issued a call yesterday for the creation of a special office to ensure compliance with open government laws.

“Government belongs to the people,” Edmondson said. “The meetings we hold, the records we create — all of that belongs to the people. We should be working to guarantee that access. Instead, over the last seven years, we’ve seen an effort from the current administration to skirt the law and, in some cases, to outright stonewall the public. That has to stop.”

Edmondson has long been an advocate of open government, pioneering Oklahoma’s open records law. Governor Mary Fallin has long been criticized for dragging her feet on open records requests — sometimes up to two years.

“Good government dies in the dark,” Edmondson said. “Under the current administration, we have agencies with no real oversight, and no real opportunity for the general public to impact policy as it is being decided. Government leaders are employed by the taxpayers. We have a right to know what they’re doing.”

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Friday, December 1, 2017, 8:39 AM

Candidates for the Board of Education in 14 Muskogee County school districts will file their Declarations of Candidacy beginning at 8 a.m. on Monday, December 4th, and continuing Tuesday and Wednesday, Muskogee County Election Board Secretary Kelly G. Beach said today.

Beach said the official filing period ends at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, December 6th. All candidate filings will occur at the Muskogee County Election Board office, 400 W. Broadway, Room 120, in Muskogee, Beach said.

The Board of Education positions at stake will be filled at the Annual School Election scheduled Tuesday, February 13, 2018. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the total votes cast in the election, the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes will meet in a runoff election on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.

Candidates may file for the following offices: Braggs Office 3, Checotah Office 3, Ft. Gibson Office 3, Gore Office 3 and Office 5 (Unexpired 2 year term), Haskell Office 3, Hilldale Office 3 and Office 2 (Unexpired 4 year term), Indian Capital Technology Center Office 3, Midway Office 3, Muskogee Office 3 and Office 2 (Unexpired 4 year term), Oktaha Office 3, Porum Office 3, Wainwright Office 2, Warner Office 3 and Office 1 (Unexpired 5 year term) and, Webbers Falls Office 3.

For more information, contact the Muskogee County Election Board at (918) 687-8151.

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Thursday, November 30, 2017, 2:45 PM

At least 12 apartments were destroyed in the blaze.

At least 12 apartments were destroyed in a fire at the independent-living Fairhaven Apartments on the 500 block of Dayton just now, according to Fire Chief Mike O’Dell. There is no cause just yet, but firefighters have the blaze contained, he said.

“There will be more damaged by smoke,” he said.

Helen Dillard and Tina Simmonsen look on helplessly as their apartments are destroyed.

Tina Simmonsen, 56, whose apartment was destroyed, said the fire is just the latest in a long line of problems at the complex.

“A couple of weeks ago, the elevator was out, and I’m on a walker,” she said. “I had to stay somewhere else.”

When she realized her apartment was completely burned, she wasn’t shocked.

“Great,” she said sadly. “Well, at least I won’t have to pack to move to Greenleaf,” where she can get an apartment on the ground floor.

No one was hurt in the fire, but EMS is assisting several residents who need oxygen and had to leave it behind.

“A guy on the ground floor over there set a bunch of paper towels on fire a few days ago,” resident Helen Dillard said. “He’s trying to kill himself. I bet this one was the same thing.”

Clarification: The apartments are independent living, not assisted living as reported earlier, several residents contacted us to say.

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