DEATHS

Sidney W. "Sidro" Emmons Sr., 78

Born November 19, 1939

Died April 19, 2018

Claudine Radanovich, 90

Born February 7, 1928

Died April 17, 2018

Loyd T. Young, 86

Born June 28, 1931

Died April 16, 2018

Michael O. Foster, 65

Born July 24, 1952

Died April 16, 2018

CLICK TO SEE MORE >>

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

THINGS TO DO

Monday, April 23

Art Under the Oaks Competitive Art Show

Tuesday, April 24

Art Under the Oaks Competitive Art Show
Art Show and Sale

Wednesday, April 25

Art Under the Oaks Competitive Art Show
Art Show and Sale

Thursday, April 19, 2018, 4:38 PM

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol and other local law enforcement agencies will team up to conduct ENDUI checkpoints and saturation patrols across the state during a 42-hour enhanced enforcement campaign to end drug-impaired driving.

The campaign, titled END420DUI, is focused on drug-impaired drivers who may be getting high during the 4/20 marijuana day. Historically, the number 420 has been associated with marijuana use. This has become mainstream with musicians, celebrities, professional athletes, and the general public.

In 2014, 63 people died in drug-related crashes in the state of Oklahoma. In 2016, the number of people killed in drug-related crashes in Oklahoma rose to 134. These numbers reflect an almost 115 percent increase in the number of people killed by drivers who may be under the influence of drugs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes after 4:20 pm on April 20 is higher compared to the same times on days one week earlier and one week later.

“The stakes are too high to drive under the influence of anything,” said Lt. Joe Williams with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. “We will be out in force looking for people who may be driving while impaired. This includes alcohol, marijuana, other narcotics, or prescription medication,” said Lt. Williams.

The ENDUI enforcement team coordinates multi-jurisdictional events on a regular basis, including sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols. These efforts are needed to impact Oklahoma’s impaired driving problem across the state. The locations of these activities are driven by data from the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office and by local request.

For more information about this campaign, visit ohso.ok.gov/end420dui-oklahoma-information.

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Thursday, April 19, 2018, 8:56 AM

The American Conservative Union Foundation has just released its 47th Edition of its Annual Ratings of Congress. The guide ranks members of Congress based upon their commitment to conservative principles as demonstrated by their voting records in the first session of the 115th Congress. This session marks the first time in over a decade that Republicans control both chambers of the legislature and the presidency.

“In the 2017 session, we saw Republicans come together to pass the most important corporate tax reform in decades, confirm a true conservative in Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and repeal the Obamacare individual mandate,” said ACU Chairman Matt Schlapp. “But conservatives must not rest on their laurels. This is not the time for four corners defense. Congress must pass a rescissions bill to eliminate wasteful spending in the omnibus and finally confirm highly qualified presidential nominees to critical positions.” This year four members of the Oklahoma congressional delegation received awards from ACUF for earning scores of 80% or higher:

  • Sen. Lankford – 88%
  • Rep. Mullin – 85%
  • Sen. Inhofe – 80%

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    Thursday, April 19, 2018, 8:53 AM

    Artist Jim Hall had just endured three painful weeks of the shingles virus. Because he was a recovering alcoholic, Jim had refused pain medication and tried to tough it out. So when he awoke on a morning in 2000 and didn’t feel the debilitating pain, he let out a sigh and a smile - until he opened his eyes. The pain was gone but the bout with shingles had suddenly marred his vision, causing him to see the world in all vertical lines.

    “It was like the skinny lines you used to see on an old television set,” Jim said. “I was afraid I was going blind.”

    Doctors weren’t sure if the lines would go away or if they would be a permanent part of Jim’s vision. Instead of panicking, Jim started painting, inspired by the lines.

    “I started to be intrigued about the lines as an artist,” Jim said. “I thought I’d try to paint the way I was seeing the world.” The pivot in his painting created a new art form he called “Lineillism.” As he started painting the lines, they faded from his vision. While his sight was restored, he continued to paint in that style, creating more than 100 Lineillism works.

    Jim told his story to filmmakers Steve Oldfield and Jim Hampton, who have spent the past three years working on a documentary and traveling exhibition about Jim and his painting.

    “Jim’s creation of Lineillism is an inspiring story,” Oldfield said. “And when you hear the rest of Jim’s personal struggles, you can’t believe one man was able to accomplish so much after being faced with so many challenges.”

    Hall was born to tenant farmers in Kentucky during the great depression. After an accident ended his Naval career during basic training, he found himself homeless on the beach in Santa Monica, California. Jim also battled addiction and alcoholism but was able to launch a successful art career and become an executive at Procter & Gamble, while raising three children with his soulmate, Joan.

    “Lines of Sight,” the award-winning hour-long version of their documentary, will be featured in a special screening at the Muskogee Art Guild, Tuesday April 24th, as part of the opening festivities of this year’s Bare Bones International Music and Film Festival.

    For more information on the documentaries and traveling exhibit, check out www.LinesofSightDocumentary.com and www.LineillismRevealed.org

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    Wednesday, April 18, 2018, 9:08 PM

    Liz McMahan

    Liz McMahan, longtime Muskogee and Wagoner reporter, has passed away.

    McMahan worked at the Muskogee Phoenix for many years and was a sometime contributor to MuskogeeNOW.com as well. She had a passion for Wagoner history and was a flawlessly accurate and fastidious reporter and writer.

    She was the author of numerous books about Wagoner and its history.

    She had been hospitalized with double pneumonia before her passing. According to family members, she had been on a ventilator for several days, and her family decided to discontinue it today.

    Liz was a personal friend, and a longtime friend of former Muskogee reporter Betty Ridge (formerly Smith). She leaves behind her husband, Larry and daughter Susan and son James.

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    Wednesday, April 18, 2018, 4:34 PM

    Muskogee was ranked as the 27th best small city in the United States to start a small business, according to a recent nationwide study of more than 1200 municipalities.

    “Muskogee is a great community and we’ve had a lot of really successful homegrown businesses start here. The entrepreneurial spirt is strong and I think part of what makes Muskogee attractive to business startups, is redeveloping downtown, the amazing park and trail system and the business-friendly culture,” said Gary Garvin, Economic Development Director for the City of Muskogee.

    The survey, conducted by WalletHub, a personal finance website, says size matters when choosing a city in which to launch a startup. As many veteran entrepreneurs — and failed startups — understand well, bigger is not always better. A city with a smaller population can offer a greater chance of success, depending on an entrepreneur’s type of business and personal preferences.

    “Muskogee has an economy that is well-rounded, with a large number of jobs in health care, manufacturing and federal employment sectors. We are seeing startups that work with our existing employers do well,” Garvin said.

    To determine the best small cities to start a business, WalletHub compared the business-friendliness of more than 1,200 small-sized cities. Their data set of 18 key metrics ranges from average growth in number of small businesses to investor access to labor costs.

    ”During the last several years we have worked diligently to streamline the building permitting process and do everything we can to be a business-friendly community,” said Garvin. “We’ve combined the planning and economic development functions so that when you are going through any of the permitting processes for starting a new business, you are also dealing with the City of Muskogee’s economic development staff. That means the people who you are working with are highly interested in helping your business get off the ground and be successful long term.”

    WalletHub indicated some benefits to starting up a small business in a small town might include lower overhead costs, stronger relationships with customers and the potential to become a big fish in a little pond.

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    Wednesday, April 18, 2018, 9:58 AM

    Sen. Frank Simpson and Rep. Pat Ownbey thanked their colleagues and Gov. Fallin for their support of legislation to help diabetics get reimbursed for life-saving training and education.

    Senate Bill 972 will direct the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to examine the feasibility of submitting a state plan amendment to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to enable the Oklahoma Medicaid Program to reimburse providers for diabetes self-management training.

    “Diabetes is a dangerous disease that can lead to amputation and even death when not monitored regularly and controlled through healthy eating and exercise. One in eight Oklahomans have diabetes but most are unaware and many of those who do have it don’t know how to control it,” said Simpson, R-Springer. “Diabetes is one of the largest drivers of cost increases in the healthcare system. By allowing OHCA to reimburse DSMT, our state can dramatically improve health outcomes while decreasing long-term costs, which will save the state money. We greatly appreciate everyone’s support of this important health bill.”

    Simpson’s granddaughter passed away from complications relating to diabetes and glucose monitoring.

    DSMT has been proven to be an effective tool to educate diabetics on diet, exercise and self-monitoring glucose. DSMT is reimbursable under Medicare, because CMS has recognized the health benefits and cost-savings of the program. In a three-year study of four million covered lives published in Clinical Therapeutics, beneficiaries enrolled in a diabetes self-management education program saved Medicare an average of $135 per month.

    “Oklahoma has the highest rate of diabetes among neighboring states except Arkansas. We must do all we can to educate the public and ensure they have access to proper training and education to control their diabetes,” said Ownbey, R-Ardmore. “Everyone deserves to be healthy and have a good quality of life. This bill will ensure that low income Oklahoma families learn how to properly manage their diabetes. I want to thank those who supported our bill and Gov. Fallin for signing it into law.”

    SB 972 will go into effect November 1, 2018.

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    Tuesday, April 17, 2018, 2:22 PM

    With spring struggling to get a good start, the fires in western Oklahoma have particularly devastated ranchers who are still using hay to feed their livestock.

    Bart Wiedel of BK and Son’s Wiedel Ranch decided to do something about it — sending two semi loads of round bales to help out.

    “It’s nice to be able to help out in such a time of need,” he said. “These people have lost so much. It’s the American thing to do.”

    Nichols-Watson Ranch, Bret Smith and Randy Eller donated hay for the loads, and the Wiedels donated the fuel, hauling and the use of their equipment.

    https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1523992756.JPG https://muskogeenow.com/muskogee-ranchers-deliver-two-semi-loads-of-hay-to-burned-out-ranches

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    Tuesday, April 17, 2018, 8:09 AM

    An 18-year-old Coweta woman has died in a single-car wreck in Wagoner County, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

    Jarely Mendoza of Coweta was a passenger in a 2003 Honda Accord driven by an unnamed juvenile, 17, of Coweta less than a mile north of Coweta around 8:30 p.m. last night.

    The patrol has not reported a cause for the wreck. Both occupants were wearing seatbelts. The cause of the wreck and the condition of the driver are both under investigation.

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    Monday, April 16, 2018, 6:01 PM

    The Roxy Theater, home to The Oklahoma Movie Hall of Fame, is celebrating its 70th anniversary and will be commemorating this occasion in conjunction with OMHF’s second-annual induction on Friday, April 20th at 6 pm.


    
The Oklahoma Movie Hall of Fame was formed in 2016 with initial inductees Zachary Mabry, Clu Gulager, Cassandra Gaines, and Oscar and ShIron Ray of the Bare Bones Film Society.

    

This year the group honors Rudy Ramos, actor, Gray Frederickson, producer of the film, Te Ata, Hillary Jordan, writer of Mudbound, and Jack Oakie.

    Ramos’ films include “Beverly Hills Cop II”, Quicksilver and “Colors”. His career spans more than six decades, including the part of “Wind”, the Indian boy in the legendary television western, The “High Chaparral”.

    Ramos will be performing on April 19th at the Roxy in the play, Geronimo: Life on the Reservation.

    Frederickson is known for winning an Oscar as one of the co-producers of “The Godfather Part II”, Oscar nominee for “Apocolypse Now” and Emmy winner for “Dream No Little Dream: The Life and Legacy of Robert S. Kerr”. Frederickson is the only known Oklahoman to win an Oscar for his work.

“Te Ata” the film, based on the life of Mary Frances Thompson, an actress and citizen of the Chickasaw Nation known for telling Native American stories and her performances as a representative of Native Americans.at state dinners before President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s.

    Jordan, from Muskogee, is the writer of the novel Mudbound later made into the period drama film, is a 2017 American period drama film directed by Dee Rees and written by Rees and Virgil Williams, based on the novel of the same name by Hillary Jordan. The film depicts two World War II veterans – one white, one black – who return to rural Mississippi each to address racism and PTSD in his own way.  At the 75th Golden Globe Awards it received nominations for Best Supporting Actress (Blige) and Best Original Song (“Mighty River”). At the 90th Academy Awards, the film earned four nominations: Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Song for Blige, as well as Best Adapted Screenplay. It also earned a nod for Best Cinematography, making Rachel Morrison the first woman ever nominated in the category and Blige became the first person to ever be nominated for an acting and song award during the same year.

    Oakie (November 12, 1903 – January 23, 1978) was an American actor, starring mostly in films, but also working on stage, radio and television. He is best remembered for portraying Napaloni in Chaplin’s The Great Dictator (1940), receiving a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. The rumor is he was the original “Okie from Muskogee”.

    The induction ceremony will be held inside the theater at 7:00 pm along with live musical entertainment to follow. 

Contact the Roxy at 918-684-6366 to reserve tickets.  Space is limited.


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    Friday, April 13, 2018, 2:43 PM

    Tonight is opening night at Thunderbird Speedway, introducing the Nascar Whelen Home series to the speedway.

    A mods, B mods, super stock and factory stock will be featured on the historic half mile. The new Next Gen class will debut on the all new quarter mile in the infield.

    The track is expecting more than 100 cars. Area racers include Dalton Clay, Mike Anderson, Tate Cole and Kyle Slader.

    Adult price in grandstands is $10 with children 10 and under free. Pit passes are $30.

    Hot laps are at 7 p.m. with racing starting at 7:30.

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    Friday, April 13, 2018, 11:43 AM

    Alex Huffman, a delivery driver for Mazzio’s Pizza, was robbed last night at 1313 S. 37th St., while making a delivery.

    The house appeared to be vacant and Huffman was approached by two black males who came up behind him. One had a black semiautomatic pistol with a silver slide.

    The men took the pizza, money that belonged to Mazzio’s and Huffman’s personal money. They got away with $110 in cash in food, according to Muskogee police.

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    Friday, April 13, 2018, 10:02 AM

    Bacone College, facing deep financial troubles and rumors of impending closure, scrambled on Wednesday to host an emergency town hall for faculty and staff to discuss the problems.

    The meeting was in response to a story MuskogeeNOW published on Monday quoting college President Frank Willis as saying the school is “in the midst of a tough deal right now. There are things that have to happen in order for us to continue forward.”

    In that story, we reported that several faculty members had recounted being told the school would be forced to close if it couldn’t meet its financial obligations to faculty members, which it couldn’t do unless the American Baptist Association gave the college a line of credit similar to the one it gave the school last year.

    Willis didn’t deny Bacone was struggling to meet its obligations or that layoffs would come if the ABA windfall doesn’t materialize. He was upset that people were saying 75 percent of the staff would be laid off, but didn’t deny that number, saying only that it could lead to panic and “doomsday talk,” which was not “useful”.

    During the meeting Wednesday, the administration distributed a flyer containing talking points “in response to student/parent inquiries”.

    That memo stated:

  • We have had expressions of concern from students and parents about rumors circulating about Bacone’s imminent closure.
  • Bacone has been financially stressed in recent years, but has been supported by the ABHMS (whose missionaries funded the school in 1880), many Baptist churches, several foundations, and many individuals, who support its historic mission to further higher education opportunities for Native Americans and others in a Christian setting.
  • Bacone is the oldest school of higher education in the State of Oklahoma —138 years — and we intend to do everything possible to keep it operating for the next 138 years.
  • The challenges facing small Christian liberal arts colleges are severe throughout the United States, especially those with small endowments and nascent alumni support. Bacone shares with these schools in the burden of operating with this century’s demands on higher education.
  • We are pursuing support from a number of entities, including the ABHMS, which lent its hand in a major way in our last fiscal year, and whose renewal of assistance we seek. With timely support we intend to move forward in our stated mission.
  • Our President-elect, newly named, is specializing in recruitment of financial support for the college from a variety of sources.
  • Our challenges are significant, but current doomsday scenarios are simply feeding on themselves. We will do all we can to ensure success and to treat students, faculty, and staff with fairness. Working together will help us with that.
  • We urge current students to re-enroll, even if they are looking at other options. Re- enrollment costs nothing and saves $350 on fees if done by May 1, and forecloses no options.
  • We will be as forthcoming as possible as events develop in the coming weeks, and we will strive to be fair to all connected to the Bacone family.
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    Thursday, April 12, 2018, 1:52 PM

    Nathan Harmon, who walked away March 29 from Jess Dunn Correctional Center in Taft, was arrested Wednesday night by Oklahoma City police.

    The arrest took place during a traffic stop at the intersection of SE 89th Street and South Shields Boulevard. Oklahoma Department of Corrections Fugitive Apprehension and Investigations agents had tracked Harmon to the Oklahoma City area.

    After the stop, Harmon, 32, was booked in to Oklahoma County jail on a hold for ODOC, as well as complaints of concealing stolen property, false impersonation, and unauthorized use of a vehicle.

    “This just goes to show that if you walk or run away from one of our facilities, we will find and arrest you, ultimately,” ODOC Director Joe M. Allbaugh said.

    Harmon walked away from Jess Dunn Correctional Center by climbing over a razor wire fence.

    He then is alleged to have stolen a pickup truck belonging to a Muskogee police officer.

    Harmon was still driving the truck when police arrested him Wednesday.

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    Thursday, April 12, 2018, 8:56 AM

    Judy Moore

    Judy Ross Moore, high school counselor at Hilldale High School, has announced she is running for the Oklahoma House District 15 seat. The incumbent, Ed Cannaday, cannot run again because of term limits. The district covers southern Muskogee County, parts of McIntosh, Pittsburg, Sequoyah and LeFlore Counties and all of Haskell County.

    Moore has been politically active her entire life, she said, because she believes in the positive effects politics can make. She has served as Muskogee County Democratic party secretary and is currently vice-chairman.

    A release states, “She will persevere at the state capitol and demand accountability from legislators, just as she has for her students and family for her entire life. Moore will support what is right for her constituents, no matter which side of the aisle presents effective positive actions.”

    Moore is a graduate of Tulsa Will Rogers High School, Ray’s School of Hairstyling, Connors State College, Northeastern State University and John Casablanca School of TV and Print. She received her Master’s of Educational Counseling at NSU.

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    Thursday, April 12, 2018, 8:46 AM

    Relay For Life of Muskogee County is hosting a cancer survivor meet and greet reception today at 6:00pm at the Martin Luther King Center.

    The event commemorates the lives of hundreds of Muskogee County residents who have survived cancer, while offering the hope of finding a cure. Survivors in attendance will enjoy food provided by Harmony House, Gino’s, Pizza Inn and Harp’s of Fort Gibson.

    “The Cancer Survivors’ Reception is a great opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate life and hope while honoring the personal journeys of cancer survivors,” said Anna Stewart, Survivor Chair. “Every survivor is invited whether they were diagnosed today, yesterday, or 10 years ago.”

    Space is limited to cancer survivors and their guests.

    Relay For Life is a community block-party event bringing together teams of families, friends, churches, neighborhoods, and businesses – all with the same goal of curing cancer. This year’s HopeFest event will be held Saturday, May 12th at Honor Heights Park. For more information about the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Muskogee County or cancer, contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 or email melissa@okrelay.org.

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    Wednesday, April 11, 2018, 2:18 PM

    Muskogee Education Association President Mike Walcutt has decided to end the Muskogee teacher’s walkout, starting Monday, according to a post he made on Facebook just now.

    “We have accomplished so much in a relatively short time,” he writes. “We’ve secured legislation and funding for a substantial teacher pay raise, for a dedicated support pay raise, for increased funding in the formula. Have we received everything we wanted? No. Have we made a great start? Yes.”

    Saying the end of the walkout is “not a defeat, not a retreat,” Walcutt cited state legislation that passed and the fact that legislators have made it clear they’re done working on education funding issues this year.

    “Muskogee led the way in this movement,” he said. “We were the first local to start picketing after school. Our efforts were recognized on social and regular media. Pickets popped up all over the state because we started it. OEA has told our representatives at the Capitol that Muskogee is the most radical local in the state. Your voice is definitely heard at the OEA.”

    Diminishing returns against the backdrop of the consequences of continuing the walkout led to his decision, he said.

    “I believe that any further gains we will accomplish will come at the ballot box, and I’m calling for an end to the walkout.”

    That end came with several conditions, including that the schools remain closed for the rest of this week, that parents and teachers go to either the Capitol or the Civic Center tomorrow and Friday to continue the protest, that the schools supply a bus for 25 teachers to the capital, and for the Oklahoma Education Association to focus on legislative seats to ensure each one has a pro-education candidate.

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    Wednesday, April 11, 2018, 9:41 AM

    Logan Littrell is being sued for $215,525.94.

    Logan Littrell, former manager of Prime Pallets in Muskogee, is being sued, along with his wife Cindy, for $215,525.94 the company alleges he stole while he was manager and part owner of the company.

    “The majority owner noticed that, while the company was doing well, there was no cash,” James R. Hicks, one of the company’s attorneys, said this morning. “They did an audit and the audit revealed a lot of missing money.”

    Littrell, Hicks said, used company checkbooks and credit cards to remodel his house on Harris Avenue at a cost of around $110,7113. In addition, Hicks said, he spent another $104,715 to “maintain his lifestyle.” Though Cynthia Littrell is not accused of actively stealing the money, she did benefit from it, he said.

    The suit includes extraordinary detail about the purchases allegedly made with company money, including details as small as arts and crafts supplies bought at Hobby Lobby. The suit also alleges Littrell used company funds to get his wife’s oil changed, paid the couple’s cable bill, dental bills, vision insurance, purchasing funds and ammunition, buying internet routers, prescriptions, cell phone bills, pike pass, a dog, soccer club dues for their children, car insurance, groceries, petty cash and checks written to himself. In December, the suit alleges, “Logan had employees cash (paychecks) and bring him the cash. He gave them any money he had shorted them and then was supposed to make a cash deposit of the remaining cash ... Logan said the $13,434.55 was stolen out of his truck, but he did not make a police report.”

    The suit seeks repayment of the entire amount, plus interest, costs and attorneys fees. In addition, it seeks a lien against Littrell’s house to recoup the money he allegedly spent remodeling it.

    The Littrells’ 3500-square-foot house, currently listed for $315,000, has a sale pending, according to Zillow. They bought the house in 2012 for $210,000.

    When asked about the suit this morning, Littrell said, “no comment.”

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    Tuesday, April 10, 2018, 2:37 PM

    The teachers demonstration at the Civic Center, which has been holding steady at a couple dozen people for the past eight days, got significantly larger today as teachers from all of Muskogee’s schools marched across town and joined.

    Throughout the lunch hour, a steady stream of teachers came from the east and the west to join the demonstration, which shows no signs of slowing down.

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    Tuesday, April 10, 2018, 8:11 AM

    Several faculty members at Bacone College have contacted MuskogeeNOW.com, claiming they were told last week the college might close, and that if the school didn’t get extra funding from the American Baptist Association, it would be forced to lay off around 75 percent of its staff within two weeks.

    The extra funding, they say they were told by a Vice President, would fund faculty contracts through July 31, then close the campus down.

    “That’s absolutely not true,” Erin Feller, spokeswoman for the college, said this morning. “It’s no secret that Bacone has been financially unstable for years, but we are working to fix that. We always get money from the ABA, but we’re not seeking any specifically to fund faculty contracts.”

    Two professors reached by phone gave, word-for-word, the exact same answer to the question of whether they’d been notified of possible closing and struggles to fund faculty contracts: “I don’t want to talk about that.”

    Lower-level staffers expressed surprise at the question and universally said they hadn’t been told anything.

    One of the faculty members, who asked to remain nameless in this story, said outgoing college President Franklin Willis was “livid” that faculty members were told of the struggles. “He did not want this announced.”

    We are pursuing this story.

    UPDATE 5:21 PM: Bacone President Frank Willis said that while the school’s upcoming financial “hurdles” are “major,” it has plans in place that could avert the “doomsday talk” of laying off staff and closing.

    “We are in the midst of a very tough deal right now,” he said. “There are things that have to happen in order for us to continue forward. Hopefully, everything will fall in place.”

    The school has been financially struggling for years, he said, but recently the current administration has found ways to slow down the losses, saving half a million dollars this year over last year, he said. But doing that has required some difficult financial moves.

    “We got a line of credit from the American Baptist Association,” he said, which helped last year. “We are asking them to open it again,” which is one of the things that must happen for the school to clear the financial hurdles it has coming.

    “I was upset that the subject was brought up the way it was, because when they’re talking about laying 75 percent of the staff off, whoever said that, that’s doomsday talk,” he said, laughing when asked whether that was a “post-Armageddon” situation. “That’s a good analogy, but I don’t want to make light about the challenges in front of us. We have major challenges coming over the next five or six weeks, financial hurdles.”

    That said, the layoffs being quoted are “what ifs”, and not “useful” for clearing the hurdles ahead, he said.

    “People just start feeding on that stuff and it goes round and round,” he said. “Regardless of what happens, we will do the right thing by our students, our faculty and our staff.”

    https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1523365891.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/faculty-members-say-bacone-set-to-close-spokeswoman-says-no

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    Tuesday, April 10, 2018, 6:00 AM

    Muskogee police are investigating the death of a baby at a local daycare.

    At this point, no other details are available, but we are actively pursuing this story.

    UPDATE: Police have confirmed a baby died at a daycare center, but are not releasing any information at this time.

    One source is telling MuskogeeNOW.com that the daycare was a home-based daycare, but we have not been able to confirm that.

    https://muskogeenow.com/muskogeenow.png https://muskogeenow.com/police-investigate-baby-death-at-day-care

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    Monday, April 9, 2018, 8:39 AM

    Two 18-year-old women from Braggs were hurt in a single-car wreck late last night, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

    Ashlyn Rebecca Hutchinson was driving a 2005 Subaru Legacy eastbound on County Road East 63rd St South when she departed the roadway to the right, struck a fence, overcorrected to come back onto the roadway and overturned two times, the patrol reported. The vehicle came to rest on its wheels.

    Hutchinson was transported by EMS to St Francis Hospital in Muskogee and then taken by helicopter to St Francis in Tulsa, where she was admitted in stable condition with trunk internal injuries.

    Her passenger, Miranda Irene Bias, was transported by EMS to St Francis Hospital in Muskogee and then to St Francis Hospital in Tulsa, where she was admitted in stable condition with trunk internal and arm injuries.

    Both women were wearing their seatbelts. The patrol reported the cause of the wreck as unsafe speed.

    https://muskogeenow.com/muskogeenow.png https://muskogeenow.com/two-braggs-women-hurt-in-wreck

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    Friday, April 6, 2018, 5:53 PM

    Blakely Smith

    Nicholas Blake Smith is asking for the community’s help to find his daughter, who was allegedly taken by her mother, Ashley Darlene Cox-Smith, yesterday morning around 10:30 a.m.

    “Could be in Muskogee County, Fort Gibson, Wagoner or Cherokee County,” he stated in a frantic Facebook post. “DADDY LOVE YOU BLAKELY AN I WON’T STOP TILL I FIND YOU!!”

    Blake Smith filed a protective order yesterday against Ashley Smith after she allegedly showed up for visitation with the daughter, then ran out the door with her and got into a car with the girl on her lap and sped off. According to the couple’s divorce decree, signed by Judge Tom Alford, Blake Smith has custody of the girl.

    He also filed an emergency writ of habeas corpus demanding the return of the girl and filed a report with the Muskogee Police Department.

    Ashley Darlene Cox-Smith

    If you see Ashley Smith or Blakely Smith or know of their whereabouts, contact the Muskogee Police at 918-683-COPS or dial 911.

    UPDATE April 10, 7:38 a.m.: The baby has been found, according to Blake Smith.

    https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1523054580.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/father-asks-for-help-finding-his-baby-apparently-abducted-by-her-mother

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    Friday, April 6, 2018, 3:24 PM

    For those planning their weeks, Muskogee Public Schools will be closed again on Monday.

    Here is the release sent by the schools:

    Thank you for your continued patience as we all work with the ongoing Teacher Walkout. Our teachers are working hard to restore education funding that has been cut over the last ten years. Due to the number of our teachers that will be at the Capitol on Monday, Muskogee Schools will be closed Monday April 9th.

    Juniors will be taking the SAT on Tuesday, April 10th whether or not we are in school. Buses will pick them at regular times and stops. Breakfast and snacks will be provided. A robocall will go out Monday to juniors telling them the site they are to report to for testing.

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    Friday, April 6, 2018, 11:01 AM

    Muskogee High School students assisted victim service coordinators with the Muskogee County District Attorney’s Office by placing blue pinwheels at the courthouse for child abuse prevention.

    April is child abuse prevention month and the blue pinwheel is the national symbol for child abuse prevention.

    The Muskogee County District Attorney’s Office will also hold a balloon release for child abuse prevention on April 18th at 11:00 am. on the west side of the Muskogee County Courthouse.

    https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1523030431.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/students-plant-pinwheels-to-prevent-child-abuse

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    Friday, April 6, 2018, 9:17 AM

    TV and film actor Rudy Ramos is coming to Muskogee on Thursday, April 19 to portray the Apache warrior Geronimo in Geronimo, Life on the Reservation at the Roxy Theater.

    “The white men will never tell the whole story. They control everything that is said about us in newspapers and books. Even the maps favor the whites. Look and you will see they are dotted with each place we fought the white soldiers. Look closely. You will see that if the soldiers won, it was a victory. If we won, it was a massacre.”

    A story of Geronimo’s life as a POW on the Fort Sill Indian reservation. It focuses on the resiliency, humor, and genius of the great Apache warrior.

    In this presentation, Geronimo cleverly evolves from a surrendered Indian leader into a celebrity and entrepreneur. Keenly aware of how to work the political system, he joins the same church that Teddy Roosevelt belongs to and rides in his Inaugural Parade. Although he isn’t successful in getting everything he wants, he certainly succeeds in making the best of his situation.

    Tickets are $20. Call 918-684-6366 to reserve your tickets. Credit cards accepted. Concessions available.

    https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1523024244.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/see-geronimo-life-on-the-reservation-live-on-april-19

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    Thursday, April 5, 2018, 2:53 PM

    Timothy Warren

    Warning: this story contains graphic descriptions.

    Timothy Warren, 45, of Webbers Falls has been charged in Muskogee County District Court with two counts of lewd or indecent acts to a child under 16.

    On March 12, according to an affidavit filed with the case, Warren tried to pull down the pants of a nine-year-old girl. He then allegedly made her sit in his lap, and she heard him unzip his pants. While she was on his lap, “he moved her around fast.” The girl said she stood up and he tried to pull her pants down again, but she was able to get away from him.

    On another day, a sixth-grade girl said she woke up and Warren was lying behind her on a couch, dry humping her. A second time, in Wagoner county, she alleged he did it again. She advised he touched her in the vagina, sliding her underwear and pants to the side, then putting his “private area” into her “private area” and humping. The girl said the act made her bleed for “a while.”

    https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1522957724.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/webbers-falls-man-charged-with-two-counts-of-lewd-or-indecent-acts-to-a-child-under-16

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    Thursday, April 5, 2018, 11:48 AM

    Richard Eugene Morris

    Richard Eugene Morris of Muskogee, a guard at Jess Dunn Correctional Facility in Taft, has been arrested on complaints that he was providing drugs to an inmate, family members have said. State corrections officials have confirmed he was arrested, but have not yet provided details.

    We will provide more details when they become available. Morris is from the Oktaha area.

    UPDATE 2:36 p.m.: According to an affidavit filed with the case, an acquaintance of an inmate requested she meet with Morris at the Braums store at 701 S. 32nd Street in Muskogee and delivered to him methamphetamine, marijuana, alcohol and cellular telephones to give to the inmate, Steven Butler.

    She reported she gave Morris cash and more meth as payment for getting the contraband to Butler. The woman reported she was communicating with Morris on his personal cell phone, which was confirmed by the prison’s human resources department as his contact number.

    Butler admitted to police that he was cooperating with Morris to get contraband into the facility. Morris’s cell phone records indicated he did communicate with the inmate’s friends on the dates indicated. He denied he took contraband into the institution, but he was fired anyway.

    The Department of Corrections confirmed Morris was terminated Feb. 5 for the allegations.

    Morris faces two charges of conspiracy, three charges of bringing contraband into a jail or penal institution, a charge of possession of a cell phone in a penal institution and a charge of giving a false statement during an investigation. All are felonies except the final charge.

    https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1522947477.JPG https://muskogeenow.com/breaking-area-prison-guard-arrested-for-allegedly-providing-drugs-to-inmates

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    Thursday, April 5, 2018, 8:47 AM

    Eric Synar, 35, of Muskogee is charged in Muskogee County District Court with multiple crimes stemming from a disagreement with his wife, according to records filed with the case.

    On March 19, the victim was taken to the police station by Synar’s mother, where she accused him of being abusive, both physically and verbally, and of going on alcoholic rages where he was “jealous and unstable,” according to an affidavit filed with the case.

    “About a week ago, he was drunk and was accusing her of having an affair and was calling her co-workers in the middle of the night,” the affidavit states. ”(H)e pushed her down to the ground in the hallway ... she said she got up and he pushed her against the wall and to the ground again.” The victim produced photos to corroborate her claims of injury.

    On another date, Synar is accused of again calling her co-workers and threatening them to stay away from her. When police arrived at the house, she requested that they sleep in separate rooms, but when she went to her room, she discovered Synar had urinated all over her side of the bed, she reported. After police left, she said, he came into the room, turned the light on, ripped the covers off the bed, shoving his phone in her face, laughing and saying “the cops could not do anything to him. He was jumping up and down on the bed and threatening to call more of her co-workers. He began pushing (her) and told her he was going to ‘uppercut her to the ceiling.'” The victim apparently recorded the incident.

    On yet another date, he allegedly got upset at the victim for speaking to his mother about the second incident and made threats to kill himself, his mother, the victim, the police and anyone he suspected her of cheating with. She left the house and took her children to a hotel, where he allegedly spent the entire night threatening her via phone calls and text messages, going through her bank and phone records online and using the “Find my Phone” iPhone app to track her.

    On another date, she went to check on him, fearing that he may have harmed himself, the affidavit states, and he refused to let her leave until they talked. She said they could talk when he was sober, the affidavit states, but he chased her to the car and spent an hour and a half trying to get in and blocking the car in by standing behind it and jumping on the bumper.

    On another date, Synar allegedly threatened to erase the victim’s phone, prompting her to save recordings and messages to Dropbox. After that, he successfully erased her phone, she said.

    Synar is charged with kidnapping, domestic assault and battery in the presence of a minor, threatening to perform an act of violence, domestic abuse - assault and battery, stalking and placing obscene or threatening phone calls. He has not yet been arrested.

    https://muskogeenow.com/muskogeenow.png https://muskogeenow.com/muskogee-man-charged-with-kidnapping-domestic-abuse-threats-stalking-obscene-phone-calls

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    Thursday, April 5, 2018, 7:56 AM

    Kevin Flock's Quality1 Lube and Repair car will be at the track tonight.

    Muskogee’s Thunderbird Speedway will host a test and tune tonight, starting at 6 p.m. for all the NASCAR Whelen Series cars, factory stock and next generation cars.

    Flat track motorcycles are also welcome.

    Grandstands are free, and with lit passes $20.

    Now is your chance to see the cars get the kinks worked out and get ready for the season.

    https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1522932861.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/thunderbird-speedway-to-host-test-and-tune-tonight

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    Wednesday, April 4, 2018, 2:44 PM

    Muskogee Public Schools sent the following notice this afternoon:

    All classes are cancelled for Thursday and Friday, April 5th & 6th due to the statewide teacher walk-out. ICTC students and Connors concurrent classes will still be in session.

    https://muskogeenow.com/muskogeenow.png https://muskogeenow.com/muskogee-schools-out-tomorrow-friday

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