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

Wednesday, April 4, 2018, 9:22 AM

Mike Wittmer

The town of Warner has apparently fired Mike Wittmer, the man who caught town employees on tape calling Martin Luther King Day ”(N-word) Day” back in January.

The employees resigned after public backlash, though one of them was mentioned as a name to replace a resigning town council member last night.

Town Manager Johnny Lewis, who kept the minutes from last night’s meeting, said he would release them when he “gets to it,” even though state law requires meeting minutes to be released immediately and pronounces stiff civil and criminal penalties for failure to do so.

Retaliation against whistleblowers is also a crime, though no one has been officially accused of that at this point.

He referred any questions to the town’s attorney, who said he could not say anything other than what is in the meeting’s minutes.

UPDATE 12:10 p.m.: Lewis sent the minutes from the meeting. We are printing the relevant part below:

Discussion/Action on driveways that were put in by Michael Wittmer using Town of Warner gravel, Town of Warner Equipment and wages paid by the Town of Warner. Please decided disciplinary action; up to and/or including termination. Please advise whether to report to applicable authorities. Please decide whether to seek reimbursement from Mr. Wittmer for the cost of each driveway. May go into Executive Session pursuant to Title 25, O.S. Section 307-b.

Council Action: Barbara Watson made the motion to go into Executive Session at 6:54 p.m. Jacquie Marshall seconded the motion. Voting to approve: Roger Thomason, Caryn Miller, Barbara Watson, Sarah Hubler and Jacquie Marshall. Motion carried.

Council Action: Barbara Watson made the motion to come out of Executive Session at 7:41 p.m. Sarah Hubler seconded the motion. Voting to approve: Roger Thomason, Caryn Miller, Barbara Watson, Sarah Hubler and Jacquie Marshall. Motion carried.

Council Action: Barbara Watson made the motion to terminate Michael Wittmer. Jacquie Marshall seconded the motion. Voting to approve: Roger Thomason, Caryn Miller, Barbara Watson, and Jacquie Marshall. Sarah Hubler, abstained. Motion carried.

Witnesses say Wittmer did the work on private driveways at the request of his superiors. Asked if that allegation was true, Lewis issued a one-word response: “No.”

UPDATE 2:38 p.m.: Wittmer’s attorney, John Harper, just called to say Wittmer was wrongfully terminated.

“We deny any and all allegations against him,” he said. “We consider them pretextual and retaliatory for him exposing the racist statements that were made in January. Not even three months later, his employment has been wrongfully terminated.”

Wittmer, he said, had nothing to gain by exposing the racism, and now he’s being repaid by losing his job.

“Edmund Burke said all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing,” he said. “My client did something.”

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family time rentals

Tuesday, April 3, 2018, 11:14 PM

Muskogee state senator Dewayne Pemberton did not suggest firing teachers for walking out over pay, he said today.

“The quote that is being passed around Facebook is out of context, reported by a lobbyist who has an agenda,” he said today. “What they’re quoting me as saying was part of a response when they asked what would happen if Muskogee Public Schools stopped supporting the walkout and started putting schools back in session.”

The hypothetical question, he said, was what would happen to teachers if the district restarted schools and the OEA members refused to teach.

“At that point, they’d be handing out pink slips,” he said. “But I never suggested that handing out pink slips was the solution to the walkout. I was simply answering a question about what might happen if the district stopped supporting the teachers.”

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herringshaw waste management

Tuesday, April 3, 2018, 9:04 AM

Cherokee Nation Foundation is now accepting applications for its fifth annual ACT prep camp June 4-9 at Northeastern State University.

The camp is offered to rising juniors and seniors and provides 16 hours of intensive ACT prep instruction as well as college workshops focusing on admissions, financial aid, scholarship opportunities and time management. At the end of the weeklong camp, students will take the official ACT test at NSU.

All lodging, meals and testing expenses are provided by Cherokee Nation Foundation, Cherokee Nation Businesses and Northeastern State University.

Applications will be accepted through April 21 and are available online at cherokeenation.academicworks.com.

For more information, email Jennifer Sandoval at or call the Cherokee Nation Foundation at (918) 207-0950.

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tj hamilton

Monday, April 2, 2018, 11:45 AM

Teachers hold up signs explaining why they're not in school.

Many of Muskogee Public Schools’ teachers are in Oklahoma City today, participating in a massive teacher protest at the Capitol. Some of those who couldn’t make the trip are demonstrating outside the Muskogee Civic Center.

The teachers officially walked out today across the district, where schools are closed for the day. They’re protesting low wages, low funding for schools, lack of adequate funding for support staff and numerous other issues. The state Legislature passed a bill last week giving teachers a raise, but the teachers’ union said raises were not the only thing they were seeking, and even so, the bill passed did not meet their needs.

The walkout will continue at least through tomorrow, possibly far longer.

UPDATE: The schools sent the following notice:

All classes and activities are cancelled for Tuesday, April 3rd due to the statewide teacher walk-out. Muskogee High School ICTC students and Connors concurrent classes are still in session. We urge our parents to take advantage of the free lunches being provided at the following school and community sites including Grant Foreman Elementary, Irving Elementary, Pershing Elementary, the Muskogee Public Library and now also at St. Marks Baptist Church between the hours of 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. Meals are for anyone 18 years and under and no I.D. is required.

Notifications of school closure will be posted daily by 5:00 p.m. on our Facebook page and on our website.

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madewell wireless

Monday, April 2, 2018, 9:03 AM

This week (April 2 through 8) 8th is the annual Walk-Run-Ride the Trails Week in Muskogee, with daily activities on one of the city’s many trails.

“With over thirteen and a half miles of paved trails in parks and other city property, Muskogee has a lot to offer folks looking to be active outside, while enjoying some fresh air,” said Brooke Hall, assistant director of Parks and Recreation.

During Walk-Run-Ride the Trails Week, twenty three different walks, runs and bicycle rides are scheduled, with at least a couple happening each day. There will even be a group roll on Tuesday evening, for those who’d rather skate or scoot their way down the trail.

These casual group meet-ups are free and open to everyone. Each of the different activities provides Muskogee area residents a chance to get out and see all the trails and paths in the parks and around town.

Every group activity is led by someone familiar with that particular trail, who will be handing out free pocket-size folding trail maps and other items promoting active living.

Vicki Herringshaw, who rides regularly on the Centennial Trail, will be leading bike rides during the week for beginners and those not in a big hurry. As an active member of Muskogee Area Cycling, she encourages people of all ages who want to start riding a bike again, to come out and remember how much fun it is.

Scheduled activities on the trails include:

  • Group bike rides each day of the week on the Centennial Trail, for novices as well as for intermediate and advanced bicyclists
  • A walk with the Mayor of Muskogee, Bob Coburn, from City Hall to Trail and back on Thursday at noon
  • A fun run for all ages and abilities on Tuesday and Thursday evenings
  • Casual walks on the Coody Creek Trail and the paved path at Robison Park
  • Nature walks in Elliott and Honor Heights Parks on Monday and Thursday

Go to www.muskogeeparks.com/trails for a complete list of all the activities with times and locations, plus a link to the online trail map.

For more info, contact: Doug Walton, 918-683-0321 or 918-360-2012

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3 rivers auto collision

Monday, April 2, 2018, 8:58 AM

On April 4, Muskogee’s Martin Luther King Jr. Center will honor the memory of King with a tree planting and commemoration ceremony 50 years after he was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee.

Our hope is that his life legacy will grow and live on forever in the hearts Muskogee and at the center,” Derrick Reed said. “Fifty years later.”

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estar builders

Monday, April 2, 2018, 8:54 AM

Phil Mackey of Wagoner shows one of the 40 quilts he has made since he took up the hobby a few years ago. He and his wife Janelle have taken the couch out of their travel trailer to make room for the sewing machines each of them uses in their crafting.

There’s a little of everything in this year’s Wagoner City Historical Museum Quilt show.

The show is now on display and runs through April 6. The museum is at 122 S. Main and is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuiesday through Saturday. There is no admission charge.

The second-annual show has high-quality quilts, including four by well-known quilter Myrtle Allen. There are counted cross stitch quilts, family history quilts, baby quilts and quilts made for everyday use. They date back to the Civil War era.

In addition, the museum is accepting quilt scraps throughout the month. Those will go to a Quilts for Veterans project.

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coopers furniture

Monday, April 2, 2018, 8:46 AM

The Muskogee Youth Football and Cheer league is hosting a sign-up event on April 7 at 2 p.m. at Indian Bowl.

All registrations must be completed online; computers will be available. Parents can register their children from home at muskogeeyouthfootball.org, under “MYFC News” and “Registration”.

Registration fees are $150 for football and $250 for cheer, with a $25 discount for fees paid in full by June 9.

For more information: 918-348-5909.

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charlies chicken

Friday, March 30, 2018, 11:35 AM

Nathan Harmon

Nathan Harmon walked away Thursday, March 29, from Jess Dunn Correctional Center in Taft - the second walkaway in less than a month.

Harmon is white, about 5-feet 10-inches tall, and weighs approximately 200 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes.

When he walked away, he was serving time for multiple felony convictions out of Oklahoma, Coal, Bryan and Cleveland counties for crimes including theft, pawning stolen goods, second-degree burglary and escape after lawful arrest.

Harmon is alleged to have stolen the personal pickup of a Muskogee police officer after walking away from JDCC.

The vehicle is a white 2004 Chevrolet Silverado Z71 with a tag number of 509MEI. The truck has a silver tool box in the bed, as well as a Yeti sticker on the back window. No weapons are reported taken in the theft.

Harmon is believed to be seriously injured, and may be bleeding from his right hand or arm, after climbing a razor wire fence at JDCC.

Callers with information on Harmon can call our escapee hotline at (866) 363-1119 or email warrants@doc.ok.gov. All calls and emails are confidential.

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secret desires

Friday, March 30, 2018, 9:01 AM

Muskogee teachers will still walk out on Monday, according to Carla Cooper at the district.

Oklahoma legislators passed a pay increase of $6,000 per year for some teachers, but the package they passed did not meet the minimum demands of the Oklahoma Educators Association, so teachers will still walk.

Whether the walkout continues after Monday will be a “day to day decision,” Cooper said. “We will notify our parents, staff, etc. each day by 4 p.m. by robocall, Facebook and our web site.”

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locke law office

Thursday, March 29, 2018, 9:14 AM

Todd Hicks

Jess Dunn inmate Todd Hicks, 52, who walked away from the prison on March 8, has been captured in Okmulgee County, according to DOC spokesman Matt Elliott.

“Acting on information from us, Okmulgee County deputies captured him outside Okmulgee around 8 a.m. today,” Elliott said.

Hicks was serving two 15-year sentences for burglary convictions. He now faces new charges in the escape.

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rachel gilstrap state farm

Wednesday, March 28, 2018, 9:54 AM

Alicia Michelle Williams, 27, of Muskogee is charged with child neglect, resisting an officer and public intoxication in an incident that happened March 24, according to documents filed at the Muskogee County Courthouse.

Around 1:20 that morning, Muskogee Police were dispatched to Austin Street because an intoxicated woman was hanging out in the area.

When police arrived, they say they found Williams standing on the sidewalk next to a parking lot in front of 2202 N. 36th St. Police said Williams was unsteady on her feet, had slurred speech and blood-shot eyes. When ordered to turn around and place her hands behind her back, she allegedly refused and sat down on the curb. She would not stand up, so two officers picked her up and had to force her feet into the patrol car. Williams then informed officers that her children, a six-year-old and a two-year-old, were inside the house at that address.

No adults were inside with the children.

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aarons furniture

Wednesday, March 28, 2018, 9:35 AM

The City of Muskogee was recognized by Oklahoma Forestry Services and the Oklahoma Urban and Community Forestry Council for achieving national certification from the Arbor Day Foundation. Communities, universities, military bases, and utility companies can earn this special recognition by accomplishing specific criteria related to planting and caring for trees, woodlands and community forests.

Muskogee was among 21 cities recently honored at the State Arbor Week Kickoff Celebration held at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City on March 13. Oklahoma celebrates Arbor Week the last full week of March.

Communities can earn Tree City USA status by meeting four core standards of sound community forestry management; maintaining a tree board; having a community tree ordinance; spending a minimum of two dollars per capita on community forestry activities; and celebrating Arbor Week.

The City of Muskogee, through the Parks and Recreation Department’s Forestry Division, has achieved Tree City USA certification for 30 years. The original certification was compiled and submitted by the (then) new Park Superintendent Mark Wilkerson in 1988. Muskogee is exceeded in the number of years of certification by only 4 other Oklahoma communities. (Paul’s Valley, Midwest City, Bartlesville, and Claremore)

The city’s Forestry Division will be hosting Muskogee’s Arbor Week celebration this Saturday, March 31, at 10 a.m. at the C. Clay Harrell Arboretum in Honor Heights Park.

Everyone is welcome at this year’s celebration.

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servpro

Tuesday, March 27, 2018, 2:44 PM

The Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office has released a 911 call made by a jailer in the death of Brandy Edwardsen.

The call was released in response to an Open Records request by MuskogeeNOW.com.

During the call, a jailer talks at length with a dispatcher from Muskogee County EMS while awaiting the arrival of an ambulance.

We are editing the audio now to remove the jailer’s personal cell phone number. When that is complete, we will upload and link to the audio here.

UPDATE: Here is a link to the file. Brandy Edwardsen 911 call from jail.

NOTE: We edited the audio to remove the cell phone number of the jailer who was making the call. Other than that, the call is exactly as we received it from the district attorney.

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bret smith for district judge

Tuesday, March 27, 2018, 8:47 AM

The biography of Crazy Horse, The Lakota Warrior’s Life and Legend, will be discussed by author William B. Matson and members of the family of Crazy Horse on Friday, March 30, at a book signing and presentation. The event will be held from 3 until 5:30 p.m. in the Grant Foreman Room of the library.

Author Bill Matson, Floyd Clown, and Doug War Eagle will be the panel for the book discussion. They will speak about how the book came into being. Matson speaks about the vision of his father talking to him after his death and preparing him to meet the family so he would be trusted.

Floyd speaks of how the family went into hiding after Crazy Horse was murdered in 1877 and about other family members being killed including Spotted Elk. He was killed with several other family members at Wounded Knee. Crazy Horse’s little brother Makah or Peter Wolf was killed in front of his wife and child in 1918.

Doug speaks of the maternal side of the family tree and their connection to the Cheyenne leader Morningstar or Dull Knife. They discuss their genealogy and have their probates, census, enrollments, ration records, allotments and church records proving their identity.

The panel members will also tell how the Crazy Horse Memorial carving was decided and what faces it was modeled after. They say they also know who killed Custer and what happened to his index finger. A question and answer session will follow.

There is no charge to attend the event, which is open to the public. Books will be available to purchase. The speakers will autograph them as well as books that have been previously purchased. The session will be streamed live on the author’s Facebook page.

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nuage salon plasma ad

Monday, March 26, 2018, 3:34 PM

Two people were killed in a three-car wreck north of Tahlequah this morning, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Cody Vernon Harvey, 27, of Peggs and Lana Leann Snyder, 46, of Tahlequah were killed on Oklahoma Highway 82 around 14 miles north of Tahlequah at 8:46 a.m.

Harvey was southbound on the highway in a 2003 Ford expedition. Snyder was northbound on the same highway in a 2015 Chevrolet Camaro, following the third vehicle, a 2000 Honda CR-V. Harvey crossed the center line, according to the patrol, struck the Honda, which departed the roadway to the right. Harvey’s vehicle continued southbound and struck Snyder’s vehicle head on.

Both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the third vehicle was not injured.

All involved were wearing seatbelts and the weather was clear and dry. The cause of the wreck is under investigation.

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jordan bonding

Saturday, March 24, 2018, 7:42 PM

Muskogee County Sheriff Rob Frazier said today there was no death at the jail, and Muskogee County EMS confirmed it had not been called to the jail.

Rumors have been floating around all day of a death, and numerous readers have contacted MuskogeeNOW about it.

“There was not a death at the jail,” Frazier said. “I called OSBI in to conduct an investigation. This is an ongoing investigation so I can’t comment. I will comment as soon as I am able.”

Brandy Marie Edwardsen

UPDATE 7:58 p.m.: Family members of the deceased say she was found unresponsive last night and was transported by deputies to Muskogee’s Saint Francis Hospital around midnight. She was pronounced dead today.

David Ballentine, the uncle of the deceased (Brandy Marie Edwardsen, 23 of Muskogee) said his niece was given a “hot shot” (a hit of methamphetamine combined with bath salts) by an employee of the jail, whose name we have, but are withholding until we can get official confirmation. Insiders at the jail said no jailer is suspected of giving drugs to an inmate.

By saying there was no death at the jail, the sheriff is splitting hairs, Ballentine said.

“They found her unresponsive and when she got to the hospital, they found no brain activity,” he said. “And deputies shouldn’t be transporting people to the hospital, an ambulance should.”

Jail standards and protocol state that deputies should not move inmates who are found unresponsive, according to a jail insider who asked to remain anonymous.

Family members said the Sheriff’s Office was saying she was arrested last night, but a search of MuskogeeMUGS.com records shows she was arrested on March 22 at 9:55 a.m. on charges of violation of drug court rules. The time matters, they said, because jail officials are attempting to make a case for her having the drugs before she was booked, rather than obtaining them at the jail.

UPDATE 9:48 p.m.: The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation confirmed that it had been called to investigate a death at the jail.

“OSBI special agents were called to the Muskogee Co Jail to assist with a female who had been transported to the hospital and not expected to survive,” an OSBI release states. “Jailers found Brandy Edwardsen ... unresponsive in her jail cell shortly after midnight. Edwardsen later died at the hospital. An autopsy has been requested.”

The title of the release, “OSBI Investigates Muskogee Co Jail Death”, indicates the OSBI believes the death, even though it officially occurred at the hospital, to have originated in the jail.

UPDATE Monday: Muskogee County EMS now says they did respond to a medical call and transport one patient, but they could neither confirm nor deny who that patient was.

UPDATE, Monday, March 27, 4:38 p.m.: Sheriff Rob Frazier sent the following release:

” Our thoughts and prayers are with the Edwardsen family at this time.

On 03/22/2018, at approximately 9:55 a.m., Brandy Marie Edwardsen was booked into the Muskogee County Jail on a Drug Court Hold.

On 03/24/2018, at approximately 12:17 a.m., EMS was called in reference to Ms. Edwardsen.

Ms. Edwardsen was transported to Saint Francis Hospital (Muskogee).

On 03/24/2018, at approximately 9:30 a.m., OSBI was contacted by the Muskogee County Jail Administrator, at the Sheriff’s request, to conduct an investigation. OSBI responded, as requested, to the Muskogee County Jail.

On 03/24/2018, at approximately 3:19 p.m., Ms. Edwardsen was pronounced dead at Saint Francis Hospital (Muskogee).

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fish hut

Friday, March 23, 2018, 9:40 AM

Meridian Brick — formerly known as Boral Brick — recently had an energy efficiency project completed by US Energy Recovery, and more than a thousand dollars of the revenue from that project were donated to the Eastern Oklahoma State Spelling Bee in Muskogee.

The donation was provided through U.S. Energy Recovery’s “First Fruits” program. Since its inception in 2011, the program has donated the initial revenue from each project to a local charity of the customer’s choice. Based on the outcomes achieved in the displacement of fuel and energy from each project, the goal is to support the local community where the energy efficiency project took place.

Meridian Brick is a five-year supporter of the spelling bee.

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victoria rackley law

Thursday, March 22, 2018, 11:23 AM

It’s time for pancakes and sausage as the Muskogee Noon Lions Club hosts its annual Pancake Day from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Wednesday, March 28, in the Muskogee Civic Center. Those attending can eat all they want for $5 each and tickets are available at the door.

The “Pride in Oklahoma” menu includes all Oklahoma products with the essential pancakes made by experienced Lions and celebrity cooks using Shawnee Mills products, served with Griffin’s Syrup from Muskogee’s own Griffin Food Company, Blue and Gold sausage, dairy products from Highland Dairy, and drinks from Love’s.

This event has been held for approximately 50 years and benefits many charities in Muskogee. Through its fund raising activities, the Muskogee Noon Lions Club was able to aid several groups in 2017. These included Oklahoma School for the Blind, Muskogee County 4-H, Kelly B. Todd; Ark of Faith, scholarships for seniors at three Muskogee high schools; Oklahoma Lions Club Boys Ranch; Oklahoma Eye Bank; Lions World Services for the Blind; and Leader Dog.

Muskogee Noon Lions Club marked its 101st anniversary last fall and is celebrating over 101 years of service to Muskogee. It is one of the oldest Lions Clubs in the world. Founded in 1916, it helped organize Lions Clubs International in 1917 making it one of the few Founders Clubs in the world.

Sponsorships are available for those wishing to help support the event and the organizations which benefit from it. This year’s event is predicted to be the biggest one yet for the organization.

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pinkys smoke shop

Thursday, March 22, 2018, 11:17 AM

The Mini-Max store at 2105 Okay Road is hosting a grand opening celebration April 1 through 10.

Attendees can register to win a $100 gift certificate (one of 15). Pony rides will be available on Friday and Saturday of that week, snow cones, popcorn, hot dogs and soft drinks will also be available.

On April 6, the store will host its ribbon cutting.

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gibson clean gibson landscape

Wednesday, March 21, 2018, 11:03 AM

Bobby Rhea Sanders

Bobby Rhea Sanders, 44, of Fort Gibson is charged in Muskogee County District Court with a felony count of first-degree burglary and another felony of knowingly concealing stolen property after he allegedly broke into his brother’s home to steal a daschund.

The charges stem from an incident on Feb. 24, where Sanders allegedly broke in through the front door of his brother’s house to grab a daschund named “Slink.” The dog, a piebald daschund, is a member of a breed known for their cuteness, with short, stubby legs and long bodies. Sanders’ brother and his family had owned the dog since it was a puppy four years ago.

Sanders is alleged to have sent his brother’s wife text messages saying “he was supposed to be mine anyways.”

Sanders has a long line of previous convictions, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in 1998; malicious injury to property in 1998; uttering a forged instrument in 2000; knowingly concealing stolen property in 2000 (two counts); delivery, possession or manufacture of drug paraphernalia in 2004 and possession of controlled drug with intent to distribute in 2015. In total, he has received more than 40 years in prison sentences, but has served very little of that time.

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twist and shout

Tuesday, March 20, 2018, 11:24 AM

Checotah's Kennedee Rittenhouse shows her golden ticket.

In 2005, a shy singer from Checotah with a huge voice auditioned for what was then the top television show in the nation, American Idol. Carrie Underwood ultimately won that competition and has been a huge country music star since then.

Last night, another Checotah girl auditioned on the new incarnation of American Idol, Kennedee Rittenhouse, whose mother volunteers at the Checotah animal shelter Underwood supports with some of the money she’s made since her turn on Idol.

Initially, the judges seemed skeptical about Rittenhouse’s chances in the competition, despite a voice that judge Lionel Ritchie said he really liked. Rittenhouse then sang Katy Perry’s song to her, and the judges passed her through to Hollywood.

Though the events in Hollywood have already happened, Rittenhouse isn’t permitted to talk about them.

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trucks for you

Tuesday, March 20, 2018, 9:31 AM

Randy Collins

WARNING: This story contains graphic content.

Randy Collins, 44, of Muskogee was charged in Muskogee County District Court yesterday with two felony counts stemming from an incident that occurred on March 11, according to documents filed with the case.

Collins allegedly beat a 14-year-old girl with a fly swatter, leaving marks on her buttocks, an affidavit filed with the case states. The beating caused “severe physical trauma” to the area. He is then alleged to have inserted the end of the fly swatter into her vagina.

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american pie

Monday, March 19, 2018, 3:00 PM

Muskogee Municipal Judge Bret Smith

Muskogee Municipal Judge Bret Smith, who is running for the District Judge seat being vacated by the retiring Tom Alford, said on Friday that, having seen both sides of the court system, fundamental problems are not being addressed.

“You don’t know how often I struggle with folks who owe thousands to the city and the county with only $700 in income every month,” he told supporters at a campaign rally at the Muskogee Golf Club. “We are locking up the indigent, and there’s something unconstitutional about that.”

The poor, he said, often find themselves in a cycle where they owe fines they can’t pay, so they’re arrested again and more fines are added on top.

“We need to take those folks, if they’re willing to get the help they need and work community service, we’ll hook them up with a provider right there in the courtroom,” he said. “Then we can get them out of jail and make our jails available for the people who deserve to be in them.”

As a juvenile judge for ten years, Smith said he also saw a cycle problem dealing with kids who were getting kicked out of school.

“When they had a troubled child, they’d expel him and send him home,” he said. “We would send them back and they’d get kicked out again.”

Working with Superintendent Mike Garde, he said the group created a boot school, where troubled students could get rigorous instruction, discipline and the help they needed to break the cycle of being troubled.

His ultimate goal, he said, is to make the communities he serves safer for families, by focusing not on just locking everyone up, but making sure the people who need to be in jail are.

So far no other candidates have declared they are running for the seat.

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Monday, March 19, 2018, 10:36 AM

Walter and June Points

Walter Points, 65, of Muskogee is charged with three counts of child sexual abuse and three counts of child abuse by injury in Muskogee County District Court. His wife, June Points, 62, is charged with three counts of enabling child abuse.

The charges stem from March 14, when police received a 911 call in reference to a disturbance and possible assault at 1701 S. 6th St around 5 p.m.

While on the scene police say they learned Walter Points had hit, choked and stomped a 12-year-old, leaving visible injuries. Officers continued investigating and say they learned that the assault stemmed from the boy disclosing physical and sexual abuse at the hands of Walter Points. Two additional juvenile victims, a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old, said they were sexually abused by Walter Points, and the abuse had been going on for around five years.

During forensic interviews with six children living in the home, the three children disclosed physical, emotional, and mental abuse by both Walter and June Points and sexual abuse by Walter Points.

Both were arrested on March 16.

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Monday, March 19, 2018, 9:15 AM

Dustin Wright, 33, of Eufaula was critically injured and his passenger, Tara Park, 26, of Eufaula was also hurt when the 2003 Suzuki Vinson 500 ATV Wright was driving rolled multiple times after he lost control.

The wreck, which occurred late Saturday night, happened four miles north and eight miles west of Eufaula in McIntosh County, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Wright was flown by helicopter to Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa, where he was admitted in critical condition with head injuries. Park drove herself to the same hospital to be checked for her injuries.

The patrol cited drinking-impaired ability as a possible cause of the wreck.

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Sunday, March 18, 2018, 9:21 AM

Traffic to MuskogeeNOW has steadily and rapidly increased since we started this site in 2009 with no viewers. Today, our viewership averages 48,000 daily, with spikes during the week and valleys during the weekends.

We count as a “viewer” a single IP address in a 24-hour period. An IP address is a number assigned by your Internet provider to your specific device. The first time our server logs see that number, the server records that IP address as one “viewer.” Then, for the next 24 hours, no matter how many times our server sees that same number, it still only counts as one viewer. What all that means is our actual “hit” count is WAY higher, going past 200,000 on some days, and on rare occasions (such as a big story breaking), into the millions.

That kind of traffic is hard for any server to handle, harder still if the site is running complicated programs to ensure Facebook, Twitter and Google get all the information they want to index the site. One of those items all three want is a text description of the main picture that accompanies each article, and our site was providing that information, but it was doing it each time a story was accessed, for each story on every page that was served to someone. What all that means is when the site was getting millions of “hits” in a single day (not viewers, but hits), it was analyzing each picture that appeared on each story millions of times a day, and the server just couldn’t handle it, so it would crash.

We’ve solved that problem, with the added bonus that the site should load a lot faster for everyone as well.

Thanks for being part of a good problem to have.

(If you’re interested, there’s a more technical explanation here.)

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Friday, March 16, 2018, 9:42 PM

Firefighters work to extinguish a blaze in a school bus at 32nd and Okmulgee.

A school bus caught fire in a Taco Bell parking lot at 32nd and Okmulgee, according to the Muskogee Fire Department.

“I heard something huge, and it shook my house,” a close neighbor said. “And then there was fire and ambulances and firefighters everywhere.”

No one was hurt in the blaze, according to a fire official who answered the phone at the department.

The bus is green and white, which are Muskogee High School colors, but there is no name, so right now, there is no identification for what school the bus is from.

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Friday, March 16, 2018, 9:32 PM

Four people are on their way to the hospital right now — two in critical condition — according to Mechele Cruz with Muskogee County EMS.

The two have life-threatening injuries, and two others are in stable condition, she said. Three EMS units responded, one is still at the scene.

Muskogee Police have not yet responded as to what caused the wreck. We will update when they do.

UPDATE: One of the victims is being flown by helicopter to a Tulsa hospital, Cruz said. That victim’s injuries are life-threatening.

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Friday, March 16, 2018, 2:20 PM

Jeffrey Lampkin

WARNING: This story contains graphic content.

Jeffrey Dean Lampkin, 34, of Muskogee is charged with sexual abuse of a child under 12 in Muskogee County District Court in a case that allegedly occurred around March 13.

The girl, who is 9, said Lampkin touched her in the vagina, using two fingers and moving them in a circular motion. The girl also said two other men in California and Oklahoma touch her sexually. She said it usually happens in the mornings, when her mother is asleep. The girl said it has happened “lots of times,” according to an affidavit filed with the case.

Lampkin has not been arrested yet and has retained an attorney to fight the charges.

CrimeLocal
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