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Pictured left to right: 1st V.P. Lion James Thompson, President Lion Duaine Janzen, Coach Clay Patterson, and Program Chairperson Lion Beth Flud.

By Dean Craig - Okmulgee Lion

Tuesday's Lions Club meeting was a homecoming of sorts with the program provided by Clay Patterson, Head Football Coach at NEO (Miami, Ok.), and a graduate of Morris High School. His father, Rick Patterson, is a former coach (and Head Coach) of Morris High School, along with Larry Bookout (a legendary coach at Morris and a 2013 Football Coach's Hall of Fame inductee), and my son, Jeff Craig, (Head Football Coach and Athletic Director at Blanchard), former quarterback for Morris, all were in attendance to hear Coach Patterson speak. I filmed the football games for Morris for seven years and was close to the coaching staff, but this was the first time all four of us have been together in 30+ years.

After graduating from Morris, Coach Patterson attended NEO A & M for two years, where his uncle, Okmulgee High School graduate Dale Patterson, was the Head Football Coach. Moving on to Southeastern State, Durant, he played for two years and served as a graduate assistant for two years, before being hired as a position coach there for two years. Then on to Tarleton State (Texas) for a short time before his former coach at Southeastern State, Keith Baxter (a Holdenville native), called offering the offensive coordinator position at Texas A & M at Kingsville. He later applied for the offensive coordinator job at Trinity Valley (Texas) and was granted that position, staying for three years. Then when the Head Coach job became available at NEO, he received a call from Dr. Jeff Hale, President of NEO, who had been President of Southeastern State when Patterson played and coached there, and was offered his first Head Coach assignment. Of course, it didn't hurt that his uncle, Dale Patterson, is the Athletic Director at NEO, but when you look at Patterson's previous successes and resume, he has paid his dues and earned the recognition. Coach Patterson laughingly stated that his grandmother (Norma Jean Patterson, who worked for the late Dr. Bob Hasselman in Okmulgee for many, many years), had a lot to do with his hiring.

So, this becomes another "feel good" story and one of "small-town local boy does well". And it really doesn't matter how big nor small of a school you attended, it boils down to absorbing your information and training, perseverance, doing the best job you can, and taking advantage of every opportunity given. Bob Lilly, former Dallas Cowboy player, probably said it best when he said, "it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog". And Coach Patterson preaches, and lives by, his "eat" formula--effort, attitude, and tempo. And this also applies to personal, spiritual, academics, and life. It seems to have worked so far.

What an inspirational program, particularly from one so young, but his goal is to restore NEO back to its "glory years". We predict that this will happen. And our Lions Club is in the process of restoring our club back to its "glory years", and you can help because we still have a few more slots available for a few more good men and women. "WE SERVE"

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Lion R.C. Morrow, Clay's Little League baseball coach; Jeff Craig, Rick Patterson, Clay Patterson, Larry Bookout, and Lion Dean Craig.  (Photo Dean Craig)

Okmulgee County Farm Bureau is taking part in Oklahoma Farm Bureau’s 75th-anniversary celebration this year by hosting upcoming events for members and the local community.

Okmulgee County Farm Bureau will have a live remote broadcast with “1240 The Brew,” on August 4, 2017, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Both local residents and members are encouraged to stop by for free food and drinks, and to learn more about what Farm Bureau has to offer.

The next event will be Okmulgee County Farm Bureau’s Annual Meeting, scheduled for Sept. 25, 2017. All Okmulgee County Farm Bureau members are encouraged to attend. The event will begin with dinner at 6:30 p.m., followed by the business meeting at 7 p.m. Guest speaker Jerry Flowers, chief agent with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Investigative Services, will speak to members about farm safety and cattle thefts. A vote will be taken at the meeting to increase membership dues from $30 to $35, effective Oct. 31, 2018. Attendees will also have a chance to win door prizes.

As one of the first counties to join the state organization in 1942, Okmulgee County Farm Bureau joins other county Farm Bureaus across Oklahoma and the statewide organization to commemorate 75 years of improving the lives of rural Oklahomans.

Founded in 1942, OKFB has grown to include more than 95,000 members across all 77 of the state’s counties, representing an agricultural industry with a $39.6 billion economic impact on the state.

“It’s thanks to our members that we enter our 75th year with great optimism, backed by a thriving insurance business and bold ideas for moving our multifaceted organization toward a bright future,” said Tom Buchanan, OKFB president.

When Oklahoma became the 42nd state to join the American Farm Bureau, the organization’s main objectives were to preserve the rights and promote the successes of Oklahoma’s farms and ranches, ninety-eight percent of which are still family owned and operated today. They achieved these goals through early initiatives to support agriculturalists during World War II, to develop an insurance agency, to provide farmer education and more. Although the individual issues have changed over time, OKFB stands true to the organization’s original mission of advocating for farmers and ranchers.

“Celebrating our 75th year is a great milestone for enlivening OKFB’s energy, enthusiasm, and a look toward what’s in store for our next 75 years,” said Monica Wilke, OKFB executive director. “The issues near to the hearts and minds of our members – farmers, ranchers and families – are what are important to us every day.”

In celebration of this year’s milestone, OKFB is offering a 75th-anniversary history book to present the organization’s history through photos and stories gleaned from the archives. This hardcover volume by Dr. Bob L. Blackburn spans 140 pages and includes more than 170 photos chronicling Oklahoma agriculture and Oklahoma Farm Bureau through the years.

To reserve your copy of the book, contact your main county Farm Bureau office through August 15. Once the order period has passed, the books will be distributed to the county Farm Bureau offices, where you can pick up your copy. The cost of the book is $18.45 + $1.55 tax, for a total cost of $20 per book. Because copies will be distributed through county Farm Bureau offices, there will be no charge for shipping.

About Oklahoma Farm Bureau
Founded in 1942, Oklahoma Farm Bureau is a grassroots organization of farm and ranch families united for the purpose of analyzing issues and formulating action to achieve educational improvement, economic opportunity and social advancement in each of Oklahoma’s 77 counties. As the state's largest general farm organization, OKFB is committed to improving the lives of rural Oklahomans through advocacy, education and member benefits. OKFB protects members' rights and interests through legal and lobbying efforts at the state and national levels, while also telling agriculture’s story to statewide media and providing members with a variety of discounts, opportunities and services that save money and enhance their lives.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved the state's request for disaster assistance for 16 counties related to severe weather that occurred May 16-20.

The approval means federal funding is available to assist municipalities, counties, rural electric cooperatives and the state with infrastructure repairs and costs associated with responding to the storm.

Disaster assistance is approved for Alfalfa, Beckham, Cherokee, Coal, Cotton, Delaware, Johnston, Le Flore, Murray, Muskogee, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Pittsburg, Pontotoc, Roger Mills and Washita counties.

The storms caused extensive flooding, power outages and dangerous travel conditions in the impacted counties. Thirty-eight tornadoes were reported May 16-20, including three EF2 tornadoes near Elk City, Hanna and Muskogee. One death and multiple injuries were attributed to the storm.

Damage assessments indicate the storm resulted in more than $6.5 million in infrastructure damage, debris and response costs.

Additional counties may be added to the public assistance declaration request at a later date should conditions warrant.

By Wesley Coburn - ONN

The Oklahoma Department of Labor (ODOL) is hosting a meeting in Oklahoma City on July 27 at 2 p.m. to discuss how ODOL can better partner with Public Sector employees to improve workplace health and safety, in addition to explaining how newly-enacted workplace safety laws work for businesses. The meeting will be held at 3017 N. Stiles Ave.

Governor Mary Fallin recently signed into law new rules for the Oklahoma Occupational Health and Safety Standards Act, which will affect all Public Sector employees across the State of Oklahoma beginning September 15, 2017. Violations will result in fines and potential citations.

An RSVP is requested if planning on attending the event; this can be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., requests for a similar meeting in Tulsa may also be sent to the same address.


Volunteers from Okmulgee Lions, First National Bank, community development and Morris Lions worked on this project Saturday morning

Morning came early for seven dedicated civic-minded Okmulgeeans who began trimming the mimosa trees planted in the center median on the new Morris Highway and Wood Drive.  They began at 6 a.m. and, luckily, finished before the rain came on Wednesday.  Three Lions: Beth Flud, R.C. Morrow, and Raymond Kennedy; First National Bank employee Kathy Kennedy; Rob Robertson; Bob Seebeck; and Morris Lion Sandy Patterson did a wonderful job "sprucing up" the trees.  Drive by and take a look, and if you have a green thumb and want to help on later projects, let us know.
(Photo provided by Beth Flud).


StormShelterThe Muscogee (Creek) Nation Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources Storm Shelter Program was created through MCN National Council legislation TR-17019 in February, with $100,000 being appropriated for the program.

The program allows for the purchase and installation of storm shelters for Muscogee (Creek) citizens.

Eligible citizens need to be homeowners living within the MCN boundaries. Mobile homeowners must own the home and the land where the home sits.

Preference will be given to elders ages 65 and older, the handicapped or disabled, veterans and those living in rural areas. Limit one per homeowner/household.

DANR will begin accepting applications Aug. 1.

Applications will be available on tribal campus, the Southern Regional Office, and online Aug. 1.

Approved applicants will receive an approval letter and the contractor will contact the applicant to schedule installation. The Nation will make the payments directly to the contractor.

For more information, please contact Rachael Locust at: (918) 549-2555.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017 20:39

Alcohol and Boating Don’t Mix

By Margaret Black
OSU Prevention Programs

There are still a couple of months of warm weather left in Oklahoma. This means boating, swimming, and other water sports. We are lucky to have some great locations in our area for these activities, but it can turn deadly quickly when alcohol is mixed with boating.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about one third of recreational boating accidents are caused by alcohol use. Drinking alcohol while boating or other water activities can not only be deadly to you but others out enjoying their summer. The CDC reports “it’s not just boat operators at risk from drinking while boating. Passengers are a greater risk of injury as well. In fact, 46% of all boating fatalities occurred when vessels were docked, anchored, or drifting.” Alcohol effects a person’s coordination, balance, vision, and judgment. A study in the Injury Prevention Journal states “persons with a blood alcohol level of 0.10 g/100 ml have about 10 times the risk of death associated with recreational boating compared with persons who have not been drinking, but that even small amounts of alcohol can increase this risk.”
The Handbook of Oklahoma Boating Laws and Responsibilities states “it is illegal to operate or be in actual physical control of any vessel while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicating substances. Oklahoma law states that a person is considered to be ‘under the influence’ if he or she [meets any of the following circumstances}:

• has an alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher as measured in the person’s breath or blood
• is under the influence of any other intoxicating substance to a degree which makes him or her incapable of safely operating the vessel
• is under the influence of alcohol and any other intoxicating substance to a degree which makes him or her incapable of safely operating the vessel.”
According to the handbook the first violation of this law is a fine up to $1,000. After that the fine goes up to $2,500.

Help keep everyone safe this summer and avoid drinking and driving a boat. If you suspect someone to be intoxicated while driving a boat please contact the Oklahoma Highway Patrol by dialing *55 on your cell phone.

The Regional Prevention Coordinator (RPC), funded by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, is partnering with the Okmulgee County Consortium (OCC) to help reduce alcohol related injuries. To learn more about how you can become involved in this Okmulgee County coalition contact us at (918)756-1248.

IMG 2832 Picture left to right: Lion Dean Craig; Valerie Russell, booking agent for Beth Rengel; Lion Heather Sumner, program chairperson; Beth Rengel; and President Duaine Janzen.

By Dean Craig - Okmulgee Lion

Tuesday's joint Lions-Rotary Club meeting with Beth Rengel, former news anchor for Channel 8 (and later Channel 2, KJRH, and Channel 6, KOTV) could almost be titled "a blast from the past" or even "the success of failure". However, it certainly was not a failure because she commanded our rapt attention from her opening remarks. In fact, I was so intent from listening that, at times, I would forget to jot down notes for this article. But not to worry because most of what she told us is included in her book, "Anchored in Illusion", which most of us purchased.

I had never thought of life or events of being an illusion but Rengel says it best in her book's introduction, and I quote: "My life hasn't turned out the way I planned it, maybe no one's life does. We buy into the illusion we face every day--illusions of the happy family, the flawless body, the picture-perfect marriage, the thriving career. But then we hit that inevitable brick wall of reality, and those illusions shatter. And then what? When that curveball comes straight at you, the question is: do you duck, swerve to the side, or stand firmly and try to catch it?...but I've come to believe that failure itself is an illusion, one that covers up the next success--just a correction in course that can redirect us to what really matters in life. We have to take risks to live by what's truly important.

Mae Beth Comany and her sister, Elaine, grew up poor in South Texas, where her father was a used car salesman and her mother was a housewife, only working outside the home during the Christmas busy-time at the Green Stamp Store so she could buy Christmas presents. The mother was an accomplished seamstress and made all the girls' clothes until Beth began entering beauty pageants. Of course, she suffered through the taunts of female classmates regarding her "home-made" clothes. And her senior year, her dad told her she had three choices--get a job, get married, or get a scholarship. She said she wasn't ready for any one of the three choices. Her sister had set the bar high by getting a four-year scholarship to North Texas State in Denton on her beautiful vocal talents, and later, by singing at the Metropolitan Opera and in Europe as a lyric soprano opera singer.

A flyer was left in their door in Wichita Falls,Texas announcing the Miss Astros contest, an annual promotion for the Major League Baseball team. Even though she was a cheerleader for Rider High School, Rengel was not into beauty pageants. There was no talent involved. The contestants--from Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and New Mexico--were judged strictly on looks and the interview, which purported to reveal their charm, intelligence, and personality. The flyer revealed that the prizes were enormous: a four-year college scholarship, a brand new Toyota, a Rolex watch, a wardrobe, a trip for two to Puerto Vallarta, and pink Samsonite luggage. She took one look at it and went to the kitchen and put it in the trash. Her mother retrieved it from the trash and began her trio of clichés, "You know what I always say, Mae Beth, you'll never know until you try. Your grandmother always said, 'You don't regret the things you do but the things you don't do'. And as far as your dad, 'Well, hell, if you fail, it's better than a kick in the a--'. Do you want to live the rest of your life wondering what might have been?" Rengel won--Miss Astros, Houston Baseball Team 1969-1970. And this was only the beginning.

Losing her first Miss Texas pageant to Phyllis George (who won Miss America), Rengel won Miss Texas (1972), and finished third in the Miss America Pageant (1973). By placing in the top five, she was selected for the USO tour. And because Terry Meeuwsen had won Miss America (1973) and was the lead singer with the New Christy Minstrels and had to resign, Rengel replaced her as the lead singer for the musical group.

During her reign as Miss Texas, Rengel had met and became good friends with Dallas Cowboys defensive end Larry Cole at a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and asked Cole to get her a date with Dallas Cowboy quarterback Craig Morton. He refused but said he had another friend for her, Mike Rengel, New Orleans Saints football player, whom she later married. This marriage failed after four years but was a major event in her eventual move to Tulsa. When she came to Tulsa, she became a part of KTUL Channel 8's "Dream Team"--with the legendary, handsome Bob Hower; beloved weatherman Don Woods; and charismatic, brilliant Chris Lincoln. An on-air mistake caused her to be replaced on Channel 8, and she moved to Atlanta. Her marriage to Milton Berry, a Tulsa oilman, resulted in her move back to Tulsa, where her daughter, Ana, was born. But to say the rest is history would not be true. History is for those who quit, and quit is not in her vocabulary. One of the quotes in her book says, "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up"--Thomas A. Edison. I don't know whether Rengel was the inspiration for the song "I've Got A Tiger By The Tail" but I'm certain she could fit in there somewhere. She still seems to have that fire in her spirit and we were blessed to have her come and "light our fire". She is available for speakings by contacting Valerie Russell, 918 519-6795

On a related note, centennial certificates of membership and centennial pins were awarded to three new members and their sponsor by Immediate Past President R.C. Morrow: David Fetgatter, sponsor of James Gray; Charles Otto, sponsored by Pat Higgins; Anthony Nieto, sponsored by Gary Volz. We still have room for a few more good men and women. Think about it! "WE SERVE".  See photo below.

(Photo and information provided by Dean Craig, with excerpts from the book, "Anchored in Illusion", by Beth Rengel).

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Beth Rengel and Heather Sumner

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IMG 2823On Centennial certificates of membership and centennial pins were awarded to three new members and their sponsor by Immediate Past President R.C. Morrow: David Fetgatter, sponsor of James Gray; Charles Otto, sponsored by Pat Higgins; Anthony Nieto, sponsored by Gary Volz.


1    David Dunlap       Coach--Okmulgee's Baseball Academic Champions
                                   R.C. Morrow, Program Chair
8    James Gray          15 minutes-of-fame
      Anthony Nieto         "      "         "    "
                                    David Fetgatter, Program Chair
14   Board Meeting     Noon
15   To Be Determined
22   Clay Ballenger      Oklahoma Boys State
                                     Anthony Nieto, Program Chair
29   Jana Martin           OSUIT Nursing Program
                                     Dr. Tom Alexander

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