Charles D. "Chuck" Weaver, 82

Born January 8, 1936

Died February 20, 2018

Bob J. Reeder, 84

Born December 24, 1933

Died February 20, 2018

Paul Edward Tackett, 77

Born November 18, 1940

Died February 19, 2018

Randall Paul Wood, 60

Born October 29, 1957

Died February 19, 2018

Lavada J. Oliver , 76

Born May 27, 1941

Died February 19, 2018

Robert Walker Henson Jr., 77

Born February 3, 1941

Died February 19, 2018


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


Thursday, February 22

Girl Scout Cookie and Beer Night
Greg Jacobs with Kenny Cornell

Saturday, February 24

Bedouin Bingo Bash
Freedmen Research
Home, Garden and Outdoor Expo
Treasure Hunters Day
Batfish Living History Day
Barrel Racing Open

Wednesday, February 21, 2018, 2:41 PM

Muskogee Public Schools said a handgun was found on a student at Alice Robertson Junior High School.

The school posted the following statement:

“This morning, an Alice Robertson Junior High School student reported seeing a gun in another student’s backpack and reported it to school administration who pulled the student and found the weapon. MPS Campus Police was immediately contacted and took over the investigation. The student will be disciplined in accordance with the District Code of Student Conduct.

This incident did not interrupt our regular school day, and instruction continued as normal. The safety and well-being of all students and staff at MPS Schools is one of the administration’s top priorities. We work diligently to create an environment where students and staff feel comfortable enough to share their concerns. We ask our students to report anything suspicious to school administrators, and this is a great example of our students being very proactive.


3 rivers auto collision

Wednesday, February 21, 2018, 10:53 AM

Gabriel Rodriguez

WARNING: This story contains graphic content.

Gabriel Rodriguez, 41, of Muskogee is charged in Muskogee County District Court with two counts of child sexual abuse of a five-year-old girl, according to documents filed with the case.

Between April of last year and this month, Rodriguez is accused of assaulting the girl by inserting his finger into her vagina, and on other occasions, forcing her to touch his penis and inserting his penis into her mouth, the documents state.


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Wednesday, February 21, 2018, 9:26 AM

Betty Lyn Fonville

Betty Lyn Fonville, 19, of Muskogee is charged in Muskogee County District Court with doing morphine, opiates, and methamphetamine while she was pregnant with a child, who was born on Jan. 25.

The child’s cord blood tested positive for morphine, according to an affidavit filed with the case, and Fonville admitted to using meth while pregnant, according to court documents.

Fonville was convicted in 2016 of using marijuana and methamphetamine while she was pregnant with a different child.


trucks for you

Tuesday, February 20, 2018, 12:01 PM

An Amber alert was issued for missing Christopher Meyer, six months old, shortly followed by a message from the state Amber Alert Coordinator that an Amber Alert had not been issued.

The baby, a white male wearing a yellow onesie and gray Jordan shorts, was last seen at 2405 N. 32nd Street and is believed to be in the custody of Joseph Meyer, a 34-year-old white male. He is accused of assaulting the mother of the baby with a firearm and then fleeing the location. He has allegedly made threats to kill himself and the baby.

The notice that was sent out was followed by “An Amber Alert has not yet been issued. We are still gathering information,” sent by Gene Thaxton, Amber Alert Coordinator at the Oklahoma City Highway Patrol headquarters.


locke law office

Tuesday, February 20, 2018, 10:02 AM

Carlos Jessie James Smith

Carlos Jessie James Smith, 21, of Porum is charged in Muskogee County District Court with multiple counts of domestic assault and battery stemming from a January 20 incident, according to court records.

On that date, police were called to a Porum residence where a neighbor said he had witnessed a domestic assault. When police arrived, Heather Mikel told them her boyfriend, Smith, had strangled her, repeatedly punched her in her pregnant stomach, pushed one of her young children down and slammed another in a door, then tried to run Mikel over with his car while he was leaving.

Smith is in the Muskogee County Jail.


speedway grille

Tuesday, February 20, 2018, 9:16 AM

Rep. Steve Kouplen, on behalf of the Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus, has released the following statement on the $44 million worth of budget cuts passed on the House floor Monday:

“It is unconscionable that the Republican leadership in the House has led the state to the point where further cuts to the current year budget are inevitable. Today, the House sent $44 million worth of cuts to be approved by the Senate. We firmly believe that there are still options on the table to bring in a small portion of revenue for this year and put the state on a better path forward beginning the next fiscal year.”

The House Democratic Caucus noted that it is ready to commit all 28 of its votes to a bipartisan revenue package that includes the Republican Party’s cigarette and motor fuel taxes along with Democrats’ original request to increase the incentive gross production tax to 5 percent that has now garnered support from State Auditor Gary Jones and the Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs. This package, coupled with the Senate passing the itemized deduction cap from 2017, would allow the Legislature to close the upcoming budget hole and provide teachers and state employees with raises. With 100 percent of the Democratic caucus supporting, they would only need 48 Republicans, or 66 percent of the caucus, to pass this plan.


pisanos pizza

Monday, February 19, 2018, 9:27 PM

A semi was involved in a fatality wreck at US 62 and W. 23rd St. S., according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

As of this time, the roadway is blocked.

There is currently no word about the other vehicle or vehicles involved or the victim.

We will update when more information is available.

UPDATE 8:48 a.m., Feb. 20: The wreck was six miles north of Boynton. A 2007 International semi truck and tractor was attempting to back onto US 62 from 23rd Street and blocked the roadway around 8 p.m., when a 2010 Chevrolet Malibu driven by Elizabeth Farrimond, 73, of Checotah was northbound and struck the side of the trailer. She was admitted to Saint Francis Hospital in Muskogee with internal injuries. Her passenger, Oliver Farrimond, 79, of Checotah was pronounced dead at the scene.


victoria rackley law

Monday, February 19, 2018, 11:29 AM

Last week, high school students from Hilldale Public Schools toured two local manufacturing companies. At Georgia-Pacific, students heard from community leaders who discussed the importance of the Port of Muskogee to the area’s manufacturing industry and learned about the variety of career opportunities available at Muskogee’s largest manufacturing employers.

“With more than 3,600 workers, Muskogee is one of the largest manufacturing communities in the state”, said Marie Synar, director of the Port of Muskogee’s Industrial Development office. “According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average salary for manufacturing jobs in Muskogee is greater than $52,000 per year. We want these students to realize that no matter what their interested in, from engineering and production to human resources and accounting, there are opportunities for them to earn a good living right here in Muskogee.”

At Dal-Tile, students heard from a panel of young adults employed by Acme Engineering and Manufacturing, Advantage Controls, Dal-Tile and Georgia-Pacific. These young panelists visited with students about how they first got involved in manufacturing and the type of education and training needed for jobs within their companies.

“We are so appreciative for this manufacturing tour for our students,” said Dr. Kaylin Coody, Superintendent of Hilldale Public Schools. “There are so many opportunities for great jobs here in Muskogee. Our students can see that, to visit with employers, and hear about options for them. It helps them see what they can do to be marketable and take steps for their future. Thank you to our local manufacturers and the Port of Muskogee for making this possible.”

The Hilldale Public Schools tour marks the launch of the Port of Muskogee’s Dream It. Do It. Committee’s 2018 student plant tour series. The committee, comprised of education and industry partners, is tasked with combating the negative perceptions of the manufacturing industry and raising awareness of local manufacturing careers.

Georgia-Pacific and Dal-Tile are two of eight local manufacturers serving on the Port’s Dream It. Do It. committee, partnering with educational and workforce partners to develop strategies to create a future pipeline of workers. “We are pleased to host these students on a tour of our facility,” said Joseph Fuller, Human Resources Manager of Dal-Tile. “There are a variety of jobs in Muskogee, and we need to educate our teachers and students about the opportunities available in the manufacturing industry.”

For more information about the Dream It. Do It. Committee, contact Kerry Keane, Workforce Development Manager, Port of Muskogee, 918-682-7887 or email


twist and shout

Friday, February 16, 2018, 9:06 AM

The NAACP of Muskogee will present a Black History movie premier: Marshall at 7 p.m. on Feb. 27 at the Roxy Theater downtown.

In the movie, young Thurgood Marshall, before he is appointed to the US Supreme Court, faces one of his greatest challenges while working as a lawyer for the NAACP.

Marshall travels to conservative Connecticut when wealthy socialite Eleanor Strubing accuses black chauffeur Joseph Spell of sexual assault and attempted murder.

He soon teams up with Sam Friedman, a local Jewish lawyer who’s never handled a criminal case. Together, the two men build a defense while contending with racist and anti-Semitic views from those who deem Spell to be guilty.

Tickets are $5, concessions are available.


herringshaw waste management

Thursday, February 15, 2018, 9:24 AM

Muskogee Police will be conducting roadside safety checks starting today and ending March 15, according to Officer Lincoln Anderson. Despite the questionable constitutionality of the stops, the purpose stated is for general vehicle safety and driver adherence to the law.

The checkpoints will be at various locations throughout town, various times during the day and into the nighttime hours, he said.

During the stops, police will be checking drivers licenses, seatbelts, insurance and vehicle safety, “things such as that,” Anderson said. They will also be checking for impaired drivers. UPDATE: Anderson said officers “aren’t technically looking for drunk drivers.” The earlier statement was a mistake.

While the US Supreme Court has found that DUI checkpoints are violating drivers’ Fourth Amendment rights against illegal search, the court left it up to the states to determine whether to use them anyway. Eleven states have made them illegal, including Texas, but not Oklahoma. General purpose stops are less clear.

In dissenting the US Supreme Court decision, Justice Clarence Thomas said “I rather doubt that the framers of the Fourth Amendment would have considered ‘reasonable’ a program of indiscriminate stops of individuals not suspected of wrongdoing.”

The Supreme Court has held that there must be a specific law enforcement purpose apart from general law enforcement concerns, to conduct checkpoints. An example from Alabama where police held checkpoints to try to curb criminal activity at a nearby apartment complex was ruled unconstitutional.

A roadblock whose primary purpose “is ultimately indistinguishable from the general interest in crime control … violate[s] the Fourth Amendment.” City of Indianapolis v. Edmond, 531 U.S. 32, 48, 121 S. Ct. 447, 148 L. Ed. 2d 333 (2000). In addition, the court ruled “[A] general roadblock ….established on the chance of finding someone who has committed a crime…” is “quite clearly” unconstitutional. The decision, which legally called traffic stops “seizures”, also noted that the “general interest in law enforcement simply does not outweigh the liberty interests of those seized, however brief the seizure may be”

UPDATE 11:14 a.m.: Anderson issued the following release just now:

There has been some confusion and inaccurate information regarding the upcoming roadside safety checks. The following information is to help clear up the confusion and to help our community better understand the purpose of the upcoming checks.

The City of Muskogee ranks #1 per capita in motor vehicle accidents and #2 per capita in accidents involving injuries in the State of Oklahoma. We also see a large number of driver’s without a valid driver’s licenses and no insurance. Based on these facts, we believe these checks have the ability to deter, and or locate some of these violations in an effort to reduce some of these crimes, and to enhance the safety of our motorists and our officers.

These checks will be done to ensure motorists have a valid driver’s license, valid insurance, valid tags, identify any defective or unsafe equipment on the vehicle, and identify seatbelt violations. If a citizen is stopped at one of the checkpoints and they satisfy the requirements listed above, their time at the checkpoint will be minimal.


harris electric

Wednesday, February 14, 2018, 9:17 AM

Muskogee police are warning of a new phone scam that has affected at least three Muskogee families.

This time the scam involves a call from a person posing as a US Marshal.

The caller tells the person they have missed jury duty, and that warrants have been issued for their arrest, and unless they send a certain amount of money, they will be arrested. When the person being called says that they will come to the courthouse to pay the fines, they are told they instead need to get prepaid cards and send that information to the caller for the warrants to be dropped.

“Neither law enforcement or the court system will call you and tell you to send money on prepaid cards,” Officer Lincoln Anderson said. “Typically arrangements will have to be made in person to handle legal issues. If you can’t verify the information, or you believe that it could possibly be a scam, do not send the money. When in doubt we ask the public to contact a law enforcement agency before sending any money to anyone.”

So far, officers have taken one report where someone has sent the money, but Anderson says they were made aware that the federal court clerk received several calls from other people asking about this same scam or if it was a scam.


runts barbecue

Tuesday, February 13, 2018, 8:42 PM

In early results, Wayne Divelbiss appears to have a lead over incumbent Mayor Bob Coburn.

With 12 of 15 precincts reporting, Divelbiss is leading 51 percent to Coburn’s 49 percent. At this point, just over 50 votes separates the two, however.

For City Council Ward 2, Jaime Stout has defeated Stacy Alexander by 57 percent to 42 percent. 141 votes separated the two.

For City Council Ward 3, incumbent Ivory Vann holds a commanding lead over challengers D. Boots and Randy Howard with 5 of 6 precincts reporting. Van currently has 64 percent of the vote to Boots’ 19 percent and Howard’s 16 percent.

For School Board seat 2, former educator Tommy Anderson has the lead with 50.03 percent of the vote versus Hope Ashley’s 28 percent and Pamela L. Isaacs’ 22 percent.

More as more results come in.

UPDATE 9:10 p.m.: With 14 of 15 precincts reporting, Coburn has closed the percentage gap slightly (Divelbiss is still winning 51 to 49 percent), but the vote gap has widened to 106 difference in favor of Divelbiss.

Tommy Anderson has increased his lead to 52 percent and Ivory Vann has won with 56 percent of the vote.

UPDATE 9:54 p.m.: After the disputed ICTC votes came in, Coburn erased a 106-vote deficit to defeat Wayne Divelbiss by 71 votes in the mayoral race. The final tally was 1,531 for Coburn, 1,460 for Divelbiss, with Coburn leaping to a 51 percent to 49 percent win after trailing all day.

Coburn said the vote was “much closer than I expected. Time to get back to work. There is so much more to be accomplished and we have the perfect staff and council in place to get it done.”


family time rentals

Tuesday, February 13, 2018, 5:59 PM

We are receiving reports that the Oklahoma Election Board is being called to Muskogee tonight due to irregularities at several county polling places.

“There were massive screw-ups at two of the largest precincts,” one observer just reported.

Representatives from the board are due tonight.

NOTE: I just got out of anasthesia and can’t cover this story in person. I will do my best to keep working it over the phone.

UPDATE 6:25 pm: According to county election board supervisor Kelly Beach, the state board was called but is not coming to Muskogee.

There were two incidents today: one at the vo-tech, where a machine malfunctioned, as did its replacement, so the county board will re-enter all that precinct’s ballots through a machine at the board, as directed by the state. That re-run is open to the public.

A second incident happened at Chandler Road, which ran out of ballots, so the election board sent more, but they were for the wrong precinct, so the machines rejected the new ballots, as they are programmed to do.

Correct ballots were immediately sent.

UPDATE 7:46 p.m.: According to a highly placed source in a position to know who asked to remain anonymous because they are not authorized to speak for the state election board, “The first vote cast at ICTC was around 10 a.m., the precinct was supposed to be open at 7 a.m.. The machine malfunction is to blame, but they did not follow protocol to cast provisional ballots. The Chandler Road Church of Christ ran out of ballots for more than an hour.”

The state election board’s officials are “LIVID” about the errors, the source said.

UPDATE 8:10 p.m.: Chris and Angela Cummings of Muskogee reported that they were at ICTC at 7:15 a.m. and they were able to vote successfully.

Breaking NewsExclusiveLocalOklahomaPolitics

madewell wireless

Tuesday, February 13, 2018, 8:56 AM

The City of Muskogee Fire Hydrant Art Project is recruiting volunteer artists for another round of fire hydrant painting in the downtown district on March 17. The City of Muskogee and A More Beautiful Muskogee hope to get more people involved with the beautification by painting the fire hydrants in downtown. The first and second round of artists painted 23 fire hydrants around the Art/Depot District. The response was so overwhelming, a decision was made to schedule another weekend event.

The City of Muskogee will clean and prime the hydrants for painting. The City of Muskogee will furnish the safety vests and basic colors of paint for use: black, white, yellow, turquoise, brown, bright blue, and plum. The artists should provide any additional colors they wish to use, brushes, drop cloths, rags, and various containers to contain paint. Also, a gallon of water is useful to clean brushes.

Any theme or picture is allowed as long as the images are not obscene or controversial. The artists must submit their design or idea no later than March 10 to Karen Coker, or Brandon Garner, Once the design is approved a fire hydrant will be designated for the graphic to be placed on.

For more information on the fire hydrant painting, please contact Brandon Garner, 918-869-7870 or Karen Coker, 918-348-8159.


rachel gilstrap state farm

Tuesday, February 13, 2018, 8:54 AM

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and the Cleveland County Health Department are investigating a confirmed case of measles in Norman located in Cleveland County. This is the first confirmed case in Oklahoma since 2015.

Measles was identified in a person who had returned to Oklahoma after international travel. Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease and spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus may remain airborne up to 2 hours in a room after the person with measles has left an indoor area.

Based on collected information about the measles case during the time they were contagious, public health officials want to alert anyone who visited locations in Norman during the specified times about potential exposure to the measles virus.



Tuesday, February 13, 2018, 8:52 AM

Students at Alice Robertson Junior High School in Muskogee are set to “Heart Bomb” the historic home of Congresswoman Alice Robertson on Wednesday, February 14 at 3:30 p.m. The home, located at 1109 Elgin Avenue in Muskogee, was the final residence of Oklahoma’s first female member of Congress.

The students who are part of Project Create at ARJH will participate in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s heart bomb project by posting large valentines on the front of the Alice Robertson House. This is the second year for students to show this old house some love.

The activity is a part of the ongoing effort to bring awareness and raise funds for the restoration of this Queen Anne home located near the former campus of Henry Kendall College (today the University of Tulsa) which Robertson helped to establish.

Also at this event, representatives of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation will present a check for $5,000 to the Founders’ Place Historical District to assist with the restoration project.

Founders’ Place, a 501c3 organization in Muskogee, owns the Robertson House and is leading the effort to restore it to showcase important Oklahoma and Creek Nation history. Donations are still needed for the project. More information is available at the website

Alice Robertson was elected to Congress in 1920 and was the first woman to preside over the House of Representatives. She spent her entire life dedicated to education and to veterans services. She helped to start three schools in the Creek Nation and secured a Soldiers Hospital.

EducationGood NewsLocal

aarons furniture

Monday, February 12, 2018, 12:44 PM

Police were called to 810 N. K Street on Friday afternoon after a one-year-old child was found crawling in the street, according to Muskogee Police Officer Lincoln Anderson.

When officers made contact with the occupants of the house, one of the people there told them they were cleaning in the house while baby-sitting the child for the mother, who was at the laundromat washing clothes.

The subjects had apparently left the back door open after taking the trash out and the child crawled out of the house without them seeing.

DHS was called and made a joint response. Custody of the child remained with the mother.


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Monday, February 12, 2018, 8:56 AM

 Junior Miss Cherokee Danya Pigeon, World War II veteran James Grim, Miss Cherokee Madison Whitekiller and Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. visit while passing out valentine cards at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center in Muskogee.

The Cherokee Nation delivered hundreds of handmade valentine cards to veterans in Muskogee Friday, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Deputy Chief and U.S. Navy veteran S. Joe Crittenden, Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. as well as Miss Cherokee Madison Whitekiller and Junior Miss Cherokee Danya Pigeon gave the cards to dozens of veterans at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center in Muskogee as part of tribe’s Valentines for Vets program.

Now in its 10th year, Cherokee Nation’s Valentines for Vets program shares handmade valentines with Cherokee and non-Cherokee veterans across the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction.

“We always enjoy going out into our communities and shaking hands with the men and women that served this great country,” Crittenden said. “This program gives us a chance to spend time with veterans and remind them that we care and are so grateful for their service.”

This year, cards were donated by Cherokee Nation Businesses, Cherokee Nation Tribal Youth Council, Cherokee Immersion Charter School and several other area schools and churches. Veterans at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center in Muskogee, Claremore Veterans Center and veteran health clinics in Jay, Vinita and Tulsa will benefit from the handmade cards.

For U.S. Army veteran Nelson Brown, 72, the visit was a chance to make some new friends on his last day at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center in Muskogee.

“It was such an honor to have a visit with the folks from Cherokee Nation today,” Brown said. “It was fun talking to the Deputy Chief, a fellow veteran, and meeting all of the nice young people. You don’t see much except nurses and doctors in here, so it was a real treat.”

Cherokee Nation’s Valentines for Vets program was started in 2008 by the late Rogan Noble, a Marine Corps veteran and advocate for the tribe’s veterans’ affairs. The program is held in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Salute to Veteran Patients week.

For more information about the Cherokee Nation Valentines for Vets program, call the Cherokee Nation Veterans Center at 918-772-4166.

Good NewsLocalTribes

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Monday, February 12, 2018, 8:52 AM

Icy roads and cold conditions led to several weekend wrecks in the area, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Late Saturday night, a patch of ice on an I-40 overpass in Checotah led to a multiple car pileup that closed the eastbound lanes of the highway until early Sunday morning. There were no reports on injuries in that wreck.

Another wreck yesterday morning hurt Justin Durrett, 35, of Checotah, sending him to a Stigler hospital with head, trunk, arm and leg injuries after his 2006 Ford F-150 ran off the roadway in a yaw, rolling one time, ejecting him on southbound Oklahoma 71 near Enterprises.

Durrett was not wearing a seatbelt, according to the patrol.

Later yesterday afternoon, Bradley Davis, 20 of Tahlequah was hurt a mile east of Porter on the Muskogee Turnpike after the 2012 Toyota Tacoma he was driving hit a sheet of ice and left the roadway, striking the overhead bridge structure and coming to rest. He was admitted to Saint Francis Hospital in Muskogee with internal injuries. His passenger, Brenna Marsh, 19, of Hulbert, was treated and released at the hospital.


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Friday, February 9, 2018, 11:25 AM

David Alan Thompson

Muskogee Police were called to 107 Foltz Lane on Wednesday afternoon to assist Muskogee County EMS with a possible overdose patient, according to Officer Lincoln Anderson.

When the officer arrived, he heard someone say they needed help. The man, later identified as David Alan Thompson, 37, was “clearly intoxicated,” Anderson reported, opened the door, and when the officer approached, he allegedly kicked the glass door open and walked toward the officer in an aggressive manner.

“The officer continued to attempt verbal communication with Thompson,” Anderson said, “to no avail.”

At some point, Thompson allegedly began taking off his clothing and walked into the street, refusing all commands from officers to stop. When a second officer arrived, the two officers began taking Thompson into custody and he allegedly began to fight them.

“After a short altercation, he was placed into custody and transported to the emergency room,” Anderson said. “Once he was medically cleared, he was taken to the jail.”


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Thursday, February 8, 2018, 9:16 AM

The Cherokee Nation is preparing for potential spring flooding by filling 10,000 bags of sand for communities and individuals to use within the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction.

Cherokee Nation’s Emergency Management team spent the week filling bags, which were donated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. After flooding swept through the city of Tahlequah in 2017 and a historic flood damaged homes along the Illinois River in 2015, the tribe hopes to lessen the impact of flood damage in the Cherokee Nation’s jurisdiction.

Cherokee Nation Emergency Management sent 500 pre-filled bags to Northeastern State University to store, as well as hundreds to the Chewey Community of Cherokee County and Greasy Community in Stilwell.

The public can also request to pick up already filled sandbags at the tribe.

“When the river floods, water runs through Cherokee and non-Cherokee homes the same way. We want to make sure people are safe,” said Jeremie Fisher, manager of Cherokee Nation Emergency Management. “The idea is that we would be an asset to our 14 counties and have a resource that they may not otherwise have access to.”

During natural disasters such as floods, Cherokee Nation Emergency Management works with city, county and state agencies to manage response efforts. Crews also collect data and photographs related to the damage, or set up road barricades and assist residents who need to evacuate their homes. The Cherokee Nation’s emergency management is a Type III FEMA incident management team and has responded to tornadoes and flooding.

For more information or to arrange for pickup of sandbags, call 918-207-3830.


sooner surplus

Wednesday, February 7, 2018, 8:56 AM

State Sen. Frank Simpson announced today that he will ensure that teachers at the School for the Deaf and Muskogee’s School for the Blind are included in teacher pay raise legislation this session.

“Our teachers at the schools for our deaf and blind children perform a wonderful job. Being special education teachers, they face challenges that teachers in our public schools may not face,” said Simpson, R-Springer. “If any teacher deserves a pay raise, it is these devoted teachers. I will work to make sure they are not overlooked.”

The current proposed $5,000 pay raise for Oklahoma teachers and principals only pertains to those educators who are paid through the state Department of Education. Teachers at the Schools for the Blind and Deaf are paid through the state Department of Rehabilitative Services. Simpson is seeking to add the two specialty schools to the bill before it is presented to the legislature for consideration.


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Tuesday, February 6, 2018, 3:00 PM

Muskogee state Sen. Dewayne Pemberton submitted five bills this session:

SB 914 would modify the definitions of “manufacturing” and “manufacturing operation” under the Oklahoma Sales Tax Code to not include electric power generation by means of wind on or after the effective date of the bill. The bill would also stop the sales tax exemption on sales for use in electric power generation by means of wind.

SB 916 limits the time period during which credits for qualified railroad reconstruction or rehabilitation expenditures are transferrable to those generated prior to January 1, 2018.

SB 926 would extend the time employees have to vote to include not only election day but also on the day(s) in which in-person absentee voting is allowed by law.

Under SB 995, anyone who makes a false or fraudulent claim to be a recipient of awards, medals, ribbons, decorations and/or badges which were conferred for valor, heroism and/or combat service in order to obtain compensation, benefits or services of any value would be guilty of a misdemeanor and a $1,000 fine or imprisoned in the county jail for up to six months or both. Anyone who made such false claims to gain employment with any business entity or establishment which, under its hiring policies, grant favorable credit or qualifications to veterans would face the same punishment. The bill would also apply to those who made such false claims to obtain services, merchandise and/or any valuable item at a discount or reduced price or for free, would face the same punishment. Repeat offenders would be guilty of a felony and fined up to $5,000 or imprisoned in the county jail for up to one year.

SB 1298 relates to child custody and would require the court, upon the request of a party, to submit clear and concise written findings specifying the factors considered in making a determination on visitation to be included in the final visitation order.


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Tuesday, February 6, 2018, 9:55 AM

Richard Guse

In 1977, three girls were pulled from their tents near Locust Grove, bludgeoned, strangled and sexually assaulted, then left on a trail, two buried in their sleeping bags and the third left partially clothed nearby. The victims were Lori Lee Farmer, 8, Denise Miller, 10, and Michele Guse, 9. They were Girl Scouts, camping at Camp Scott.

This barn was used for Girl Scout activities until 1977.

The murders were never solved, but the father of Michele Guse, Richard Guse, spent the rest of his life making sure his daughter’s death didn’t end up being for nothing. In 1981, when the family was interviewed by former Muskogee Phoenix reporter Betty Smith, the impact became clear.

“They still kept Michele’s room exactly as it was the day she left for camp,” Smith, whose last name is now Ridge, said yesterday, “complete with her Girl Scout calendar marked ‘leave for camp today.'”

Dick Guse served as the first chairman of the Oklahoma Victims’ Compensation Committee afterward, and later, he was recognized for serving on that board for 22 years, from its inception in 1981 to 2003, tirelessly working to make sure no other family members had to go through what he did, from finding out via television that his daughter had been murdered, to struggling with getting her body back for a funeral.

Guse died last Saturday, Feb. 3, at age 83. Services for him will be held at the Fort Gibson National Cemetery on Thursday, Feb. 8, at 2 p.m.

You can read his obituary here.


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Monday, February 5, 2018, 11:45 AM

Eugene Brown Jr.

Wagoner County Sheriff Chris Elliott is asking for the public’s help to locate a person of interest in connection to a home invasion that occurred on January 11.

On that date, Wagoner County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a burglary call at a residence south of Wagoner Oklahoma. Deputies discovered that three black males had forced themselves into the residence and stole an array of valuables, including several firearms. Deputies also learned that a 13-year-old occupant was at the residence at the time of the burglary. The 13-year-old was bound and blindfolded by the suspects. The 13-year-old old was also threatened with acts of violence by the suspects. Deputies learned the home owner had a surveillance system that captured the entire burglary.

On Jan. 16, with the help of the public, and other means, 30-year-old, Aaron Johnson from Haskell, Oklahoma was arrested in connection with the burglary and kidnapping.

The Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office is once again asking for the public’s help in identifying the other parties involved. Currently, investigators are seeking information about the whereabouts of Eugene Barnard Brown Junior, who is a person of interest.

Brown is 55 years old and is from the Muskogee area. If you have any information about him or other information about this case, you are asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 918-485-3124 or the TIPLINE at 918-613-5961. As always, you may remain anonymous and a substantial cash reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in this case.


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Monday, February 5, 2018, 9:51 AM

A dog attack yesterday around noon sent a Muskogee woman to the hospital according to authorities.

Muskogee County EMS transported the woman to a Tulsa hospital with “possible life-threatening injuries” at 11:40 a.m.

The two dogs were reported by eyewitnesses to be mastiffs, though we have no official confirmation of that yet. Law enforcement shot one of the dogs, the witnesses said.

One eyewitness said it looked as if the woman’s leg was broken and a bone was sticking out, but there is again no official confirmation about that.

We will update when more information becomes available.


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Monday, February 5, 2018, 9:39 AM

Get your Ba-Ba-Booey voice ready: The Adams Pro Golf Tour will play a national tournament at the Muskogee Country Club from May 14 to May 19, according to the Muskogee Chamber of Commerce.

“We are looking forward to introducing some of the best professional golfers in the nation and many visitors to our community,” DJ Thompson, president and CEO of the chamber, said. “This event will bring national recognition to Muskogee, as well as generate substantial income for businesses and the city.”

The chamber expects that the week’s activities will bring more than $350,000 to the Muskogee economy.

About 130 PGA Tour hopefuls are expected to come from as far as Australia, England and South America.

The week-long event begins on Monday, May 14, with professional practice Rounds and a Pro-Am Pairing Party that evening. Tuesday’s events will include the Pro- Am golf event, where sponsors get to play side-by-side with the top players on the APT. The APT is known to have produced professional golfers such as Bubba Watson, Ryan Palmer, Andrew Landry, Austin Cook and Jhonattan Vegas. The professional portion of the tournament will begin Wednesday, May 16 and conclude Saturday, May 19. The cost to play in the Pro-Am is $1,500 per team – a team of three matched with one pro golfer. Spectators may purchase daily passes or a pass for the week to watch all rounds of play. Passes will be on sale beginning in late March.

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Monday, February 5, 2018, 9:08 AM

Three teenagers died in wrecks over the weekend in Wagoner County.

Wyatt Hankins, 19, of Wagoner was initially flown by helicopter to Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa in critical but stable condition with head and leg injuries on Saturday, but later died. He was driving a 1992 Jeep Wrangler eastbound on Oklahoma 51 when he went off the roadway to the left and overturned one and a quarter times. He was ejected from the vehicle.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported an odor of alcohol and reported unsafe speed as the cause of the wreck.

In a second wreck, two teenagers were killed in a wreck a mile and a half east of Okay on 55th Street, the patrol reported. The driver of a 2004 Nissan Titan and his passenger were killed when the vehicle departed the road, struck a tree and caught fire. No cause has been cited for that wreck.


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Sunday, February 4, 2018, 9:40 PM

K-9 officer Indie of the Muskogee Police Department passed away today at a Tulsa emergency vet clinic, according to officer Lincoln Anderson.

Indie started having problems last night at work. His handler got out to check on him and he could barely walk, so he was rushed to an emergency vet clinic.

He passed away at the clinic.

UPDATE: Anderson sent the following press release:

On February 3rd, Lt. William Peters and his K9 partner Indie reported to work as they have for the last 4 years. Neither of them knowing how the night would end.

While on duty, Lt. Peters noticed that Indie was having trouble breathing and breathing heavily, he took Indie out of his Tahoe to check on him, and Indie was barely able to stand. Lt. Peters and another K9 handler from the police department rushed Indie to an Emergency Veterinary in Tulsa. Just before they got to the clinic, the Tahoe they were driving had a mechanical issue a few blocks from the clinic. Lt. Peters took Indie out and ran, carrying Indie the last few blocks to the clinic. When they got Indie into the vet, they believed he had what is called twisted stomach/intestine. This is a condition that is common in larger breed dogs, and due to Indie’s age the Vet did not believe that surgery to correct the problem would be successful. Indie passed away just after midnight on February 4th.

Indie began his career with the Muskogee Police Department in 2014 after he served in the US Army as a Combat Tracker. Indie was responsible for countless apprehensions, arrests and drug seizures. Indie lived at home with Lt. Peters and his daughter and was part of their family. Indie was also a member of Muskogee Police Department’s Special Operation Team. His family at home and his family here will miss Indie and everything he did for all of us.


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Saturday, February 3, 2018, 8:48 AM

We have received numerous reports this morning confirming that the Muskogee post office is moving to the old Sears anchor spot in Arrowhead Mall.

There is little more information this morning other than the postmaster has made the long-rumored move official.

We will update when we know more.

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