Reverend David Burks, Jr., 82

Born August 14, 1935

Died May 16, 2018

Rev. David Burks, Jr., 82

Born August 14, 1935

Died May 16, 2018

Eddie Adkins Sr., 75

Born September 28, 1942

Died May 16, 2018


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


Sunday, May 20

Muskogee High School Baccalaureate
Christ's Kingdom Builders Spring Concert
Painting with Gwyn, plus wine
Rose Rock girls of leather

Saturday, May 19, 2018, 9:19 PM

David R. Roach, 24, of Muskogee was critically injured south of Muskogee, near Keefeton, around 1:30 p.m. today, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Roach was driving southbound on US 64, the patrol reported, while passing a vehicle in the outside lane, he lost control, departed the roadway tot he right, struck a stop sign, a fence and rolled an unknown number of times, ejecting him.

He was flown by helicopter to Saint Francis hospital in Tulsa, where he was admitted in extremely critical condition with multiple injuries, the patrol reported.

The patrol cited unsafe speed on a curve as the cause of the wreck. Roach was not wearing his seat belt, according to the patrol.

UPDATE 1:05 a.m.: Roach has passed away, according to the highway patrol.

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Thursday, May 17, 2018, 10:43 AM

An eight-year-old Porter boy was injured in a wreck with a Muskogee man late last night, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

The boy, whose name was not released, was a passenger in the vehicle driven by Dennis Moreland, 41, of Porter eastbound on Oklahoma Highway 51 east of Tullahassee.

Herschel Taylor, 23, of Muskogee was westbound on the highway when he departed the roadway to the right, according to the highway patrol, overcorrected and re-entered the roadway sideways, crossing the center line, where his vehicle collided with Moreland’s vehicle.

Neither Taylor Nor Moreland were injured. The boy was taken to Saint Francis Children’s Hospital in Tulsa for observation of head, trunk and leg injuries.

The patrol reported Taylor was under the influence of an illegal drug. It is unclear whether seatbelts were in use in Moreland’s vehicle.

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Thursday, May 17, 2018, 8:54 AM

Muskogee Little Theatre’s production of the Addams Family is hosting auditions this Saturday for six to 10 males, two of whom are teens, and three to six females, one of whom is a teen. The show, which will perform during August, requires singing and dancing as well as acting.

THE ADDAMS FAMILY features an original story, and it’s every father’s nightmare. Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart, young man from a respectable family — a man her parents have never met. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s “normal” boyfriend and his parents.

Auditions begin Saturday at 2 p.m. Director is Doobie Potter, musical director is Kerry Huffer and choreographer is Angelina Cummings. For more information, got to

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Thursday, May 17, 2018, 8:51 AM

To kick off the 2018 “Click It or Ticket” seat belt campaign, the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office is partnering with St. John Health System, law enforcement partners, AAA Oklahoma, and other local groups to highlight the dangers of not wearing a seat belt.

This highly visible seat belt enforcement period begins on May 21 and runs through June 3, covering the busy Memorial Day holiday weekend. In 2016, 47.5 percent of all vehicle fatality victims in Oklahoma were not using safety belts or child restraint devices. Among the almost 34,000 people injured in crashes in Oklahoma during 2016, 2,500 were not restrained.

“In 2016, we lost 224 Oklahomans because they weren’t buckled up,” said Cody McDonell, communications manager for the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. “To us, that’s 224 too many. Something as simple as clicking your seat belt can save your life.”

During the 2017 “Click It or Ticket” campaign in Oklahoma, nearly 300 agencies participated, resulting in 8,057 seat belt violations and 244 child passenger restraint violations.

“Past ‘Click It or Ticket’ campaigns have shown how helpful it can be to our overall goal of spreading the message about the importance of buckling up,” said Director Paul Harris of the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office.

“Wearing a seat belt is the number one thing anyone can do to help prevent death or injury during a vehicle crash,” said Harris.

“Our goal isn’t to write citations, but we do know tickets talk,” said Lieutenant Joe Williams with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. “The ‘Click It or Ticket’ program gives us a chance to get out there on the roads and really focus on drivers and passengers who aren’t buckled up.”

“If you know a friend or a family member who does not buckle up when they drive, please ask them to consider changing their habits,” said Lt. Williams. “Help us spread this life-saving message before one more friend or family member is killed as a result of this senseless inaction. Seat belts save lives, and everyone—front seat and back, child and adult—needs to remember to buckle up — every trip, every time.”

For more information on the “Click It or Ticket” campaign, please visit

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Thursday, May 17, 2018, 8:48 AM

The Cherokee Nation recently made a contribution of $58,400 to law enforcement agencies in District 5 and District 6, which encompass all of Sequoyah County and part of Muskogee County.

Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Tribal Councilors Bryan Warner and E.O. Smith presented the checks to law enforcement officials at a special luncheon Tuesday at Cherokee Casino Sallisaw.

“One of the most rewarding parts of my role as Tribal Councilor is providing assistance to organizations that are vital to our communities,” Warner said. “With the state’s financial situation, law enforcement agencies have experienced recent budget cuts much like other sectors, and I am glad the tribe can step up and help alleviate some of that financial strain.”

Of the $58,400 total donated, the Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Department received $12,000, and the Braggs, Gore, Marble City, Muldrow, Roland, Sallisaw, Vian and Webbers Falls police departments each received $5,800. The annual donations help ensure the safety of both Cherokee and non-Cherokee citizens.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018, 3:09 PM

State Rep. George Faught

State Rep. George Faught today announced his support of a legislative petition authored by State Sen. Nathan Dahm calling for a special session devoted to overriding vetoes issued by Gov. Mary Fallin.

Article V, Section 27A of the Oklahoma Constitution allows for the Legislature to call itself into special session and set the guidelines without the governor’s input. Dahm’s petition would allow for the special session to take up overrides of Gov. Fallin’s vetoes from the 2017-2018 legislative term and allow for the members of the House and Senate to re-author and pass any measure Fallin has vetoed during her term, going back all the way to the 2011 legislative session.

“This would give lawmakers the opportunity to fix all the mistakes Mary Fallin has made and decisions she messed us up over the last eight years,” said Dahm, R-Broken Arrow.

One measure important to the Muskogee area that would be eligible to be heard during the special session would be Senate Bill 86. The legislation required the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to perform an economic impact study before any planned bypass around a community is placed on ODOT’s eight-year plan and required the department to present the study to the municipality, which would need to approve the bypass before beginning construction. SB 86 passed the House by a vote of 62-27 and the Senate by a vote of 32-11.

“A veto override special session would give Muskogee another chance at stopping the U.S. 69 Bypass, and give input and protections to communities in the U.S. 69 corridor and across the state from future bypass projects,” said Faught, R-Muskogee, who served as the House author of SB 86.

Another potential measure eligible for a veto override is House Bill 1552, an important government transparency and accountability measure authored by Faught. HB 1552 would have brought much-needed reforms to the state’s regulatory process. It would have reformed the administrative rules process by restoring legislative control over government regulations, thus strengthening transparency and accountability and reining in unelected bureaucrats. HB 1552 passed the House by a vote of 71- 23 and the Senate unanimously.

“Gov. Fallin has failed Oklahoma citizens by vetoing legislation that is important to the Muskogee area and the state as a whole,” said Faught. “This veto-override special session would give us a chance to correct those problems, advance Oklahoma in a positive direction, and protect citizens from government overreach.”

Lawmakers are also considering overriding vetoes on pro-life, pro-gun, and government reform measures.

“Citizens can go to to find out who their legislators are and how to contact them. I urge Muskogee area residents to call their legislators and ask them to sign Sen. Dahm’s veto-override special session petition. Give lawmakers another chance at stopping the U.S. 69 bypass, as well as overturning other vetoes of policy measures that would benefit Oklahoma citizens and businesses,” said Faught.


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Wednesday, May 16, 2018, 9:24 AM

A Watts woman is dead after a wreck just west of Westville, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Julia Anderson, 27, of Watts was a passenger in a 2014 Chevrolet Spark driven by Blake Martin, 26, of Colcord on East 690 Road in Adair County. Martin failed to stop at a stop sign, according to the patrol, and his vehicle was struck by a 1980 Ford pickup driven by Matthew Camp of Kansas, Oklahoma, who was southbound on 4730 Road.

Martin was admitted to Washington Regional Hospital in Fayetteville with head, arm, leg, trunk and internal injuries. Camp was treated and released at the scene. Anderson was pronounced dead at the scene.

The patrol cited the odor of alcoholic beverage in Martin’s vehicle, but has yet to determine the cause of the wreck. None of the parties were wearing seat belts.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 8:46 AM

Michael Hollen Paul Horton, 37, of Muskogee has been charged with six felony counts in Muskogee County District Court, including causing sexual injury or abuse to a child, soliciting sexual conduct with a minor by use of technology and failure to register as a sex offender.

Horton, who is accused of living in Muskogee without registering as a sex offender, is also accused of raping a 17-year-old boy, forcing the child to touch his penis, performing oral sex on the victim, and performing anal sex on the victim.

An affidavit filed with the case alleges Horton used fear to force the victim into the sexual acts, which happened on Arline.

Horton was convicted in 1999 of lewed molestation, indecent proposal to a child, eight counts of forcible oral sodomy and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Now that he is out of prison, he is required to register as a sex offender, which the state alleges he did not.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 8:26 AM

Aaron Lee Greene, 26, of Barling Arkansas is charged in Muskogee County District Court with two counts of first-degree rape of a victim under age 14.

Green is accused of traveling from Arkansas to Webbers Falls, picking the girl up at a stop sign by her house, taking her to the Overlook in Webbers Falls and having sexual intercourse with her there.

The girl told police that one of the two times he raped her was anal and the other was vaginal.

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Monday, May 14, 2018, 3:46 PM

An email sent to a great majority of Bacone staffers, employees and faculty gave them notice that they shouldn’t show up to work today.

The email is as follows:

All employees, staff, and faculty:

Unless you have been notified that you should report to work today, Monday, May 14, you are being placed on lay off(sic) status.

If you have questions as to whether or not you should be at work, please feel free to email me.

The email was signed by Jeanetta Rainwater, director of Human Resources.

Bacone President Frank Willis, who referred questions to Rainwater, did provide a list of people he knew to be still employed at Bacone: “Danny and Ursula in business, Joe in grounds, Dupree, Cristin and a student worker, Virginia and her assistant in academics, all TRIO personnel and Jeanatta.”

Rainwater has not returned calls for comment.

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Monday, May 14, 2018, 11:14 AM

Jarod Mendenhall

Muskogee Public Schools’ new superintendent, Jarod Mendenhall, left Broken Arrow Public Schools in December of 2016 after receiving a payment of $103,100 to quit before his contract was up, according to the school board there. The board then agreed to pay his replacement $83,500 for the first six months of the year, making the tally for superintendents there $186,600 for six months.

BA School Board President Cheryl Kelly said that amount was spent in order to avoid spending “double that amount” trying to force him out.

“Looking at the ways in which we could execute the agreement, the board took the prudent measures to execute the mutual separation agreement, which saved the district money, over all other options,” Kelly said. “So that is the route that we took.”

Mendenhall’s contract stipulated that he could leave the superintendent’s job one of three ways: He could quit, be fired “without cause” or explanation and receive a year’s salary, or be discharged “for good cause,” which would have led to him having a hearing before the board and possible further lawsuits and legal fees.

The district was forced to restructure the district’s leadership positions, eliminating three jobs to save enough money to pay Mendenhall’s $103,000. The board was restricted by personnel policies from discussing why they took the extraordinary steps to get rid of Mendenhall. The board said they did what they believed best for students.

Muskogee’s school board was told by Mendenhall that there was “nothing immoral, unethical or illegal” about his departure from Broken Arrow, and that the board, which cannot comment or dispute his claims, has no grounds for terminating him.

UPDATE: The current Vice President of the BA board wholeheartedly recommended Mendenhall as a superintendent:

Muskogee School Board member Bobby Jefferson said he is convinced Mendenhall is the right guy for the Muskogee job.

“There was absolutely nothing suspicious” about his departure from Broken Arrow, Jefferson said. “He is the best hire we have made in the last 25 years.”

Jefferson said the school board did ask about Mendenhall’s departure from Broken Arrow and was satisfied that there was nothing that would affect Muskogee negatively.

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Monday, May 14, 2018, 10:34 AM

Mazzio’s Pizza at 3030 W. Okmulgee was robbed around 10:15 p.m. last night, according to Muskogee Police.

A black male with a black handgun came through the back door and demanded money, according to Officer Lincoln Anderson.

The store’s employees gave the man the money, and he ran out the back door.

No one was hurt during the robbery.

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Monday, May 14, 2018, 9:46 AM

Enjoy a day of traditional Cherokee art, music and more, honoring legendary statesman and inventor of the Cherokee syllabary, Sequoyah. The event will be held in conjunction with Cherokee Nation’s Traditional Native Games.

Sequoyah Day begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 19, at Sequoyah’s Cabin Museum in Sallisaw.

“We are proud to bring to life an event like Sequoyah Day. It’s a unique daylong celebration of Cherokee history and culture at the home of the man who pioneered the Cherokee syllabary,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “Now that Cherokee Nation owns and operates the Sequoyah Cabin Park, we can organize these types of family-driven events that are both educational and fun for all.”

The family-friendly event runs until 4 p.m. and features live performances, activities for children and cultural demonstrations such as pottery, flint-knapping, bow-making, stone carving, graphics and more.

The event includes multiple performances from the Cherokee National Youth Choir and a special language presentation at 1:30 p.m.

The cabin was constructed by Sequoyah in 1829 and welcomes more than 12,000 visitors each year. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1966 and a National Literary Landmark in 2006. The homestead includes a one-room cabin and nearly 200 acres.

Prior to reopening under Cherokee Nation management in 2017, Sequoyah’s Cabin Museum received much-needed repairs and renovations.

The museum now features large displays that share the story of Sequoyah, his development of the Cherokee syllabary and the Cherokee language today. Additional displays showcase the history of the Cherokee Old Settlers, Cherokee Nation post-removal and the Cherokee Nation today. The museum also features a new retail space offering Cherokee Nation apparel, gifts and souvenirs.

The museum is located at Highway 101, 7 miles east of Highway 59 in Sallisaw. For more information about Sequoyah’s Cabin Museum, please visit

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Friday, May 11, 2018, 1:21 PM

Rex Eskridge

After nearly half a century at the Muskogee Police Department, Chief Rex Eskridge will retire on July 13, Officer Lincoln Anderson announced today.

Eskridge began his career at the Muskogee Police Department in January of 1969, rising through the ranks from Sergeant in 1972 to lieutenant in 74, major in 84 and chief of police in 1992. Eskridge is a United States Marine, honorably discharged in 1970.

No announcement has been made on when the search for a replacement might begin.

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Friday, May 11, 2018, 7:56 AM

Jarod Mendenhall

Muskogee Public Schools has hired Muskogee-born Jarod Mendenhall as its new superintendent, replacing Mike Garde, who is retiring after the school year.

School Board President Keith Biglow said Mendenhall was the unanimous choice of the board.

“He is the best fit at the right time to take us to the next level,” Biglow said. “He researched our schools and has innovative ideas. Under his leadership, we’re confident our district will grow and be one of the best in the state.”

Mendenhall is currently serving as chief of governmental affairs for Mesquite Independent School District in Mesquite, Texas.

“There is no question – this is home for me and my family,” Mendenhall said. “Muskogee has great kids, incredible teachers and a fantastic community, which are all perfect ingredients for huge success.”

Mendenhall is an Enid high school graduate who holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. He obtained his doctorate from the Oral Roberts University in 2011.

Mendenhall began his career in education as a history teacher in Sapulpa and then at Union Public Schools. He went on to serve in building administration in Bartlesville before returning to Union. He served as the executive director of curriculum for Broken Arrow Public Schools before being named assistant superintendent in Union. Mendenhall served as Broken Arrow’s superintendent from 2010 to 2016.

In 2014, Mendenhall was named Oklahoma District 5 Superintendent of the Year. In 2016, he received National Superintendent Certification from the American Association of School Administrators.

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Friday, May 11, 2018, 7:52 AM

Cherokee Nation Emergency Management Services program trainer Mark Bighorse, left, shows first responders in Muskogee County how to administer Narcan during a training held on May 1.

The Cherokee Nation is helping save lives by supplying hundreds of first responders in northeastern Oklahoma with free boxes of Narcan, a spray that reverses Opioid drug overdoses.

Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health recently received a $1 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as part of the First Responder Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.

The four-year grant is also training emergency responders in the tribe’s rural 14-county jurisdiction on how to administer Narcan if they respond to suspected overdose calls.

“Cherokee Nation is eager to provide this product and the lifesaving training to first responders within our jurisdiction. Through our federal partnerships, we can better equip those on the frontline at the county and municipal level, who battle the deadly and devastating effects of opioid abuse daily,” said Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. “Our tribal government is a good partner that is enhancing local emergency responses so they are better, faster and more effective. That means potentially saving lives in northeast Oklahoma.”

The tribe has held Narcan trainings in Muskogee and Vinita and plan to have its third training at the Nowata County Fair building on May 21.

“Right after having our training, we used it and have administered Narcan at least three times,” said Kevin Wofford, fire chief at Vinita Fire Department. “It’s great because we are going to be able to keep at least two doses in each truck . There are times we respond to calls of this nature and arrive before an ambulance. In these cases, hopefully we can make a difference.”

The tribe’s behavioral health substance abuse department has three grants currently related to opioid abuse prevention. They educate on storing and disposing of medication properly and the dangers of addiction.

“We wanted our traditional first responders educated on how to administer Narcan and get it in their vehicles, because in rural areas they may get to the scene before EMS arrives,” said Sam Bradshaw, with the tribe’s Behavioral Health Substance Abuse Prevention department. “Opioid overdoses happen all over America; it’s not unique to the Cherokee Nation. But typically Narcan is something law enforcement and first responders have access to in metropolitan areas and not always in rural areas.”

In the past fiscal year, Cherokee Nation Emergency Management Services alone administered about four doses of Narcan per month on emergency calls. Cherokee Nation EMS helps lead the Narcan trainings.

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Thursday, May 10, 2018, 11:57 AM

Marcus Allen Stopp

A stolen vehicle led to Grand River Dam Authority officers firing a shot at the suspect, according to a report from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

About half a mile east of Oklahoma Highway 62 on Park Hill Road, the GRDA officer pursued a stolen vehicle and came to stop when the vehicle crashed.

The GRDA officer fired a shot at the driver of the vehicle, Marcus Allen Stopp, 25, who was wounded in the neck, the OSBI reports.

Stopp was treated and released to the Cherokee County Jail.

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Thursday, May 10, 2018, 10:12 AM

The Internet was abuzz last night and this morning over a video bystanders took of a drag race at Chandler and Country Club a couple of nights ago.

In the video, a police officer pulls up just as the dragsters are starting, but the officer does not turn on the cruiser’s lights or pursue the drag racers. Instead, the car turns west, away from the east-bound racers.

Bystanders are incredulous.

It turns out, the officer had a very good reason for not responding to the race. Here’s what Officer Lincoln Anderson said:

We have been made aware of a video that was taken at the intersection of Country Club and Chandler, in which two vehicles were street racing, and a Muskogee Police Department car also at the intersection.

At the time that this was taking place, our Officer had just arrested an intoxicated driver and she was being transported to the jail. It is a safety concern to attempt a traffic stop while a person is in the car and in custody. However, The Officer did radio the street racing in to other officers, along with the vehicle descriptions and direction of travel.

Police have not yet identified the cars that were racing, Anderson said.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018, 10:36 PM

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin today vetoed a bill that would have forced the state to get Muskogee’s permission and to do an economic impact study before rerouting US 69, which runs through Muskogee.

The bill, which passed the state House and Senate with large majorities and bipartisan support, will not become law because of the veto.

Fallin said she vetoed the bill “because this bill transfers the decision making on state transportation projects from the state Department of Transportation to local municipalities.”

She said the state’s policy is to “make project decisions based on sound data and not by political interference.”

Citing the ROADS program’s reduction of structurally deficient bridges from 1,168 to 185, and reconstruction of about 5,000 miles of pavement, the governor said the state’s transportation department must be allowed to make decisions without cities’ approval.

“It is important to hear and consider the concerns expressed by the community of Muskogee,” she said. “And to that end, I am asking ODOT to consider all options in improving the US 69 corridor that has raised the concern of area citizens.”

Two-thirds of the House and Senate must vote to override her veto. No one has yet announced efforts to try an override.

You can read Fallin’s veto here.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018, 10:16 AM

Wagoner Mayor Albert Jones, right, speaks with Gov. Mary Fallin about the benefits of signing Senate Bill 86, which would restrict the rerouting of highways.

In a chance meeting at the Oklahoma Main Street awards banquet Tuesday, Wagoner Mayor Albert Jones got an opportunity to stand up for Hwy. 69 cities and personally discuss the benefits of signing Senate Bill 86 with Gov. Mary Fallin.

“Several mayors, legislators and concerned citizens have banded together to support this bill to subvert the transportation department’s bypass plan,” Jones said. “After we rallied to ensure it passed through the Senate, we tried to get some face time with the governor, but weren’t able to. We were only able to meet with her staff.

“I didn’t know she was making an appearance at the Main Street awards banquet, but I saw an opportunity to speak with her off stage, so I took it,” he added. Secretary of Commerce and Tourism Deby Snodgrass flanked Fallin during the conversation.

Jones, Muskogee Mayor Bob Coburn, Pryor Mayor Jimmy Tramel and the Oklahoma Municipal League have had a series of meetings over the past few weeks to develop a plan of support for the bill.

That plan included several trips to the Capitol, phone calls and letters from elected city officials all over the state, urging Fallin’s signature on the bill after it passed the Senate 33-11 on May 1.

“While speaking with the governor, I urged her to consider the letters and emails we’d all sent before making her decision,” Jones said.

Fallin has until May 19 to sign the bill into law. If she chooses not to sign it (considered a ‘pocket veto’), the bill will be heard again next session.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018, 8:53 AM

The T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League tournament season will continue Saturday, May 19, for Okie Division anglers with a tournament on Eufaula Lake. Up to 400 boaters and co-anglers will be competing for top awards of up to $8,000 and $3,000 respectively in the one-day tournament.

Anglers can expect to find bass in all three phases of the spawn at Eufaula Lake in this mid-May event. Competitors will find bass transitioning in and out of staging areas on points and humps as well as on the beds. The bass on Eufaula prefer to spawn in weedy, wooded and rocky areas in the backs of coves. Areas that will be protected from the wind and other elements are favorable. Jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, jigs, crankbaits and soft-plastic creature baits will all be popular baits for tournament anglers. A five-bass limit nearing 18 pounds should be enough to win this Okie Division BFL tournament.

The 2018 BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season, five qualifying events in each division. The top 45 boaters and co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six regional tournaments where they are competing to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the BFL All-American. The 2018 BFL All-American will be held May 31-June 2 at Cross Lake in Shreveport, Louisiana, and is hosted by the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission. Top performers in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the FLW Tour.

For complete details and updated information visit For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League on FLW’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018, 8:50 AM

The City of Muskogee is celebrating Economic Development Week this week.

The week was created two years ago by the International Economic Development Council in celebration its 90th anniversary.

The week is designed to showcase efforts of economic developers nationally and to increase awareness of what they do to create jobs and improve the quality of life for residents.

Marie Synar, director of the Port of Muskogee’s Industrial Development Office said activities planned for the week are intended “to engage supporters to talk about what we do, and enhance relationships with community stakeholders”.

A variety of activities involving the City of Muskogee, the Port of Muskogee, the Greater Muskogee Area Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Muskogee and various other economic development partners are planned for the week.

“Economic development is about creating and maintaining high-quality jobs, increasing and diversifying our local tax base, creating retail and recreational opportunities, providing access to healthcare and housing, and ensuring a vibrant downtown for our citizens,” said Synar. “The community is fortunate to have the City, Port, Chamber, and Main Street, all working together to enhance the well-being of Muskogee.”

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Tuesday, May 8, 2018, 9:43 AM

This email was sent to students from Kindle Holderby at Bacone

A rash of students not paying their bills has led to Bacone College being in dire financial straits, outgoing Bacone President Frank Willis said this morning. Two million dollars in outstanding student debt has left the school in a position where it has laid off most of its staff, including all its coaches, and will start laying off teachers next week, he said.

Students have been told they must vacate the dorms by noon on Friday, though seniors are being allowed to stay until after graduation on Saturday, Willis, who loaned the school $125,000 last year, but didn’t loan it this year because he is leaving, said.

“Bacone is going to go into hibernation mode,” he said of the next several weeks. “The new president has been hired specifically in hopes and expectations that he will be able to arrange some financial help from Native American tribes, since Bacone College is historically a Native American college.”

The American Baptist Association loaned the school a million dollars last year, provided the school could find another million elsewhere to match it. Last year, the school was able to do it, but this year, without the loan from Willis and other missed opportunities, the school hasn’t been able to find the second million, he said. The hopes are that the new president will be able to get Native tribes interested in pitching in.

“If he is successful — and he’s been going all over the country to do that — the school will be fine,” Willis said. “If the funding doesn’t come in, I regret to say this institution cannot go forward as it is presently.”

Some options are to consider merging with other schools, and Willis has already reached out to Oklahoma Baptist University and Northeastern State University to get a feel for the possibilities, but his hope is that Bacone continues as a self-sustaining private institution. The school is still hosting online classes over the summer, with about 40 students currently enrolled, and it plans to have classes in the fall as usual.

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Monday, May 7, 2018, 8:34 AM

Rea Lynn Lake

Rea Lynn Lake has been charged with a felony of fraudulently receiving child welfare payments to the tune of $18,738.90 by failing to report her live-in boyfriend’s income when applying for and renewing child care benefits, according to documents filed in Muskogee County District Court.

The investigation into her status came when two of her supervisors at DHS, where she was employed as a child welfare worker, overheard her saying she “didn’t have to lie anymore” to receive child care subsidies. Her boyfriend reported her address as his own, opened utility accounts in his name and signed the lease during the period where she reported to DHS that she was living alone with her four children in order to receive the benefits, the case states.

Benefit recipients are required by law to report the incomes of other adults living in the household when applying for benefits.

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Monday, May 7, 2018, 7:57 AM

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin last week vetoed House Bill 2661, a bill calling for the recognition of a statewide Oklahoma Native American Day on the second Monday in October. Representative Chuck Hoskin and Senator John Sparks, both citizens of the Cherokee Nation, authored the bill, which passed the House with a 71-10 vote and the Senate with a 35-5 vote.

“This is a slap in the face to the 38 federally recognized tribal governments in Oklahoma,” Hoskin said. “As Indian people, we have an undeniable impact here in Oklahoma. Tribes make significant contributions, both financially and culturally, to our home state.”

HB 2661 did not call for the repeal of Columbus Day; rather, it added the celebration of Oklahoma Native Americans on the same day. Oklahoma currently has a Native American Day in November during national Native American Heritage Month. HB 2661 would have moved that day to October.

Hoskin said moving the day to October is important from an educational perspective to recognize the inaccurate portrayal of history that Columbus and Europeans were the first to “discover” the Americas. This fallacy has been and continues to be taught in Oklahoma schools.

“By acknowledging that Native Americans have lived here for thousands of years before the arrival of the Europeans, we recognize the true history of our country and state. This is a missed opportunity to honor tribal people and tribal governments of Oklahoma,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “Even more troubling is that the bill received overwhelming support from legislators on both sides of the aisle and the veto was not for constitutional concerns. The Cherokee Nation endorsed this effort, along with many other tribes and community leaders. It would have been a very simple and popular way to honor the heritage, culture and values of Indian people.”

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Monday, May 7, 2018, 7:54 AM

Cody Canada will play in Wagoner in July.

Wagoner’s Main Street Association has just released the name of their headlining act for this year’s third-annual Switch Monkey Music Festival, July 14 in downtown Wagoner.

Cross Canadian Ragweed fans will certainly know the name Cody Canada, and his newest band, Cody Canada and the Departed, will be the premier performer at this year’s Main Street Association music festival.

“I just want to say, ‘thank you,’ to the Wagoner Main Street Association for their hard work in making this year’s music festival the best Wagoner has ever seen,” Wagoner Mayor Albert Jones said. “Their tireless efforts have landed a headlining act that is of national fame — truly pioneers in the Red Dirt music movement.”

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Friday, May 4, 2018, 4:57 PM

Colby Leonard

On April 26, Fort Gibson schools administered a drug test to Colby Leonard, a soccer star on the team, and told him he failed the test. Leonard was selected to play on the prestigious FCV Football Academy in Stanford, England, one of only 19 students to do so internationally. Colleges and universities around the state are recruiting him, and he also played on Team USA.

The schools suspended him from playing soccer, even though Leonard’s family submitted him to a seven-panel drug test the same day at a private clinic and all seven tests came back negative. His parents demanded a second test be given on May 2 in accordance with the Fort Gibson extra-curricular handbook, but the schools did not administer a second test using the same urine sample.

Today, after attorney Steve Money rushed into action on the case, judge Mike Norman issued a temporary injunction forbidding the schools from keeping Leonard from playing and from retaliating against him.

The case will later get a hearing, but until then, Leonard can play soccer for the team.

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Friday, May 4, 2018, 9:16 AM

Audrea Anderson

Audrea Anderson, 36, of Muskogee is charged in Muskogee County District Court with a felony charge of driving under the influence resulting in great bodily injury after an April 28 wreck at South 7th Street and Fremont Avenue, according to court documents.

Anderson also goes by the names Andre and Dre, according to the documents.

Police allege Anderson was drunk when the wreck occurred, which resulted in “serious bodily injury” to Justin and Lillie Muskrat.

Anderson has previously been convicted of assault and battery on a police officer (sentenced to five years with four suspended), intimidation of state’s witness (five years, four suspended), escape from arrest or detention (five years, four suspended), shooting with intent to kill (five years), possession of a firearm during probation (five years), assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (five years), possession of a firearm while under supervision (four years), actual physical control of a vehicle while intoxicated (one year), possession of firearms after conviction of a felony (two years) and driving under the influence (one year).

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Thursday, May 3, 2018, 11:40 AM

Senate Bill 86, which mirrors a bill passed in the house last month that would require the state to first do economic impact studies and get cities’ permissions before rerouting highways such as US 69, has passed the Senate and now goes to the governor for her signature.

The bill passed 32 to 11, with all Senate Democrats voting yes and only 11 Republicans voting no. Four senators were absent and one Senate seat is vacant. The bill was co-authored by George Faught, Avery Frix and Dwayne Pemberton.

You can read the bill here.

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