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Ron DrakeOpen letter to Okmulgee

I never would have thought when I came to town for a three day consultation over two years ago that I would end up with a cool loft, living in downtown Okmulgee most every week! Okmulgee Rising may have originated from the Main Street organization, but it has spread into a mantra for the whole community to rally around. Remember, the importance doesn't lie on where the idea came from, but where it leads you. The leaders of Okmulgee are in one accord, which is the shared goal of striving daily towards making Okmulgee a better place. The schools, hospitals, Creek Nation Capital, the downtown, the University, and even cleanup on Highway 75 are all on the rise! Also remember, none of this happens by the community leadership alone; real change can only occur when the people of this great community stand together and demand progress for the better! Okmulgee Rising Together! Don't sit on the sidelines! Complaining gets you nowhere...Get involved!

My time here is over for now, but you will always be on my heart and in my prayers. There have been many who have thanked me for my efforts here, but again I thank you for this tremendous opportunity. I especially thank you for taking me in, feeding me meals, providing entertainment, and without a doubt filling me with lots of joy and laughter! I'm thankful to so many of those whom I served with in multiple community groups. There are many of you that selflessly give of your time to serve others! I'm so impressed with how many of you there are. Okmulgee is a very giving community.

I'm proud to say some of my favorite friends anywhere live right here in Okmulgee. I want to thank you all for teaching me what real acceptance looks like. I want to thank you for showing me the power that comes from believing in yourselves. You've consulted me, the consultant, on the power of never giving up, forgiving the past and pushing for a better future! To my core group of friends that have stuck by me from beginning to end, you'll be my cherished friends forever.

I'm especially thankful for Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology! Without the leadership of Dr. Path and his leadership team I would not have been here the past 22 months! The projects we have set in motion will make a tremendous impact on Okmulgee for many years to come. I feel as if I'm a part of the OSUIT family, and for that I'm very grateful. Thank you to the many friends I now have that took this outsider in. Thanks for rocking the institutional boat along side me!! I still bleed Razorback Red, but plenty of Orange sweat poured out of me the past years!!

As I leave Okmulgee, here's what I believe:

I believe over 200 people will live in the downtown core in the next 3 years.
I believe there will be multiple restaurants and nightlife activity in downtown Okmulgee, including activities for teenagers and youth.
I believe more than double the amount of current volunteers will be serving in the next 3 years. #okmulgeerisingtogether
I believe OSUIT will complete over $10 million in restoration projects downtown, including restoring the Bell Tower on the Square.
I believe Muscogee Creek Nation will restore the Historic Council House along with the museum across the street, adding tremendous culture to the community.
I believe multiple other building renovations will continue to happen, totaling another $10 million or more, bringing lives and tax dollars downtown!
I believe the downtown will be filled with cute shops and lots of people!
I believe Okmulgee will be a success story I will share all across the country for many years, using you as an example of restoration!
I believe in the great people of Okmulgee, for without you believing in yourselves none of this will happen!
I believe Okmulgee will continue to Rise on every front! #okmulgeerising

May God bless each and every one of you!

All my best,

Ron Drake

Dear editor,

I would like to recognize one of our State Senators for his great works.

Senator Mike Mazzei has proven himself, in his two terms in office, to be the epitome of a dedicated and idealistic Republican. In fact, Senator Mazzei has done more to diminish the standard of living for the poor and middle class in Oklahoma while simultaneously improving the opportunities and wealth for the rich than any other politician I can think of.


Kudos to he who lives the dream and profits by it.

His entire political career has been dedicated to generating and passing one wealth enhancing bill after another. When he’s not making his rich buddies richer, he’s doing his best to kill renewable energy in Oklahoma (thereby making his rich OIL buddies richer).

His latest brain child is SB977, a bill to respond to our request to eliminate the $450 plus million dollar tax credits to Oil and Gas. You want to reduce tax credits? Lets see how you like SB977. We’ll place a moratorium on the ability to claim tax credits on just about anything beneficial to growth or improvement or help for the poor and middle class.

They want to cut out things like tax credits for child care (unless you make over $100,000 per year), production and sale of electricity generated by zero-emission facilities (wind, hydro and solar), rehabilitation of certain historic hotel or newspaper buildings (up-town Tulsa), federal earned income tax credit, donations for independent biomedical research or cancer research institutes, energy efficient residential property construction and several other credits that benefit lower and middle income Oklahomans. And if you add them all up, they might total $30 or $40 million in added income to the state.

But nothing about the $450 million dollars we GIVE to oil and gas companies every year just so they can buy bigger yachts and houses.

of every Oklahoman that wants to do something REAL about the budget deficit that Republicans have put us in. It’s a lesson Republicans want us to learn. DON’T mess with THEIR MONEY!

SB977 has got to GO

Contact your State Senator TODAY - RIGHT THIS MINUTE and tell them to vote

NO on SB977!

Thank you for your time and attention

Tom Taton
OCDP Vice-Chair
(918) 260-0046

Hi, this Kelley and Bill Love of Yellow Stand Fireworks: we would like to take this opportunity to say a very heart felt "thank you " to all of our faithful customers, as well as all the new faces we saw this year. Your business is so very important to us: your life situations also matter to us. We do consider our family business, though it be seasonal, to be a lifeline for so many people. As you bless us by coming in, we are also able to bless YOU by giving a few extra minutes to let you know that you are MORE than a customer: you are important to God as well.

I have a few stories I would like to share: these are just a few examples of how we can ALL be used by God, if we just open ourselves up to do so, simply by "listening "....

There was a man who came in to the stand one day, really, really in a good mood... you would assume by his attitude, he had no worries; quite the contrary. As I asked him what he was looking for, he explained to me that his brother's birthday was the 1st of July and they ALWAYS celebrate with a LOT of BIG fireworks, and then I found out his brother passed away at an early age; this man was obviously hurting. Trying to move forward each year, and yet burdened down with the memories of what he no longer had, "his brother".

There is another man who comes in every year, and has since we opened up 7 years ago. He has the responsibility of 14 children to take care of. These all range from his grandchildren to his nieces and nephews. When he comes in, we know beyond the shadow of a doubt, he will need to make his money really count so that he can give these kids, 1 year old up to 17, a good 4th celebration. He doesn't complain by expressing how much he has to do, he simply embraces what God has given him to do in this life, and makes the best of it. We enjoy knowing we can be a blessing to him.

I could go on with more stories, but rather I would like to end with a true compliment to what we do at Yellow Stand, and why we do it. I think this last story will sum it up:

This year, we had a young man come to work for us we have both known for quite some time: we actually originally met him as a youngster in church, years ago and have stayed in contact. As he was working with us, he began to see things and hear things that apparently made him proud to say he was part of our bunch! I will paraphrase his words he said, "you guys really seem to have a good time here... you seem to have a repeat business of loyal people who genuinely love you" I have never seen a fireworks business with a local family who had a cookout, and brought some to the stand! This boy watched us, our every move: told Bill, Matt and I that our customer service to all was outstanding... he was impressed to say the least. He also let us know he would gladly come back and do it again next year.

We never know "who" is watching us, and how they perceive what we do. The bible says "we will be known by our fruits of the spirit". We can lead others simply by setting a good example to follow.

I didn't say any of this to brag, by no means. I myself was impressed that someone noticed "enough to tell us about it" We give the glory to God.

Thank you again, and God bless you in the remainder of the year, and in the year to come. We look forward to seeing you all in 2016!


Bill, Kelley and Matt Love
Yellow Stand Fireworks

Tuesday, 16 June 2015 09:55

My Friend Cody: A tribute

by Steven D. Diamond

My name is Steven. I worked with Cody Parrick at the Wal-Mart in Okmulgee. I am sorry to say that I did not know Ben Baber, but our thoughts and prayers are with both families and the loss and heartache you feel now, you do not endure alone. I ask only that you look around and realize that both young men are loved by so many people. The untimely departure of Ben and Cody will leave a space in our lives that we must fill with the memories of these two special boys.

After Cody and I first met it did not take long for he and I to realize we both had an affinity for cult films, similar taste in music, and a love for comic books… even though he was a DC guy and I myself am a Marvel man…we soon became fast friends.

Cody was amazing in many ways, the one attribute that kept me in awe of Cody was how open he was about his Cerebral Palsy and the physical distress he endured daily and yet at the same time he refused to let it define him as a person. He somehow managed to accept his condition without accepting any limitations. He insisted that CP would not and could not hide his keen intellect, fantastical imagination, and prodigious (if not eccentric) sense of humor.

I am happy to say that Cody is my friend. I say “is” because although he has “shuffled off this mortal coil”, he touched my life in a way that only Cody could and in a way that leaves a lasting impression on the hearts and minds of everyone he came into contact with. Any young man that could leave an indelible stamp on this world in only two short decades cannot be relegated to the past tense. I know that it is cliché to say that Cody and Ben will live on in the hearts and minds of all those who knew and loved them, but in this case it is well deserved.  

In John Chapter 14 Jesus Comforts His Disciples

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

My friend Cody had a mountain of faith and if anyone at all deserves to be in the presence of his maker, Cody is that soul whose physical limitations are no more and when we see him next, he will be the perfect spirit we all knew, loved, and appreciated.

To the Editor of the Okmulgee Times and the Citizens of Okmulgee

On March 3, 2015, we the voters of Okmulgee will be going to the polls to vote on a new school bond issue.

I have read the proposal very carefully and I have come to the conclusion that this proposal is not about casual wants, it is about absolute needs. It isn’t disguised as a freebie. It will take money from taxpayers, but it is an investment. It is an investment in our children and grandchildren and our city. Education after all, is a foundation for our children, their children, and generations to come. Additionally, education is viewed as a critical component to newcomers to our city. It could be said that a school system is a “make or break” criteria when deciding where to live, or, in fact whether to stay.

I had heard pros and cons about the proposal, so I did some research. After going over the proposal line by line, I have come to the conclusion that the passage of this bond will be a great start toward bringing the Okmulgee Public Schools up to date and it will provide students and teachers with modern day technology, to better educate them and prepare them for the world in their adult life.

The proposal includes upgrades for many programs at Okmulgee Public Schools including both Athletics and Band. Specifically and more important the proposal will provide each student from the 7th to 12th grade a Laptop or Tablet computer to assist curriculums within Okmulgee Public Schools. Many facets of our school system will benefit from the passage of this bond proposal. It is improvements like these in this proposal that set the Okmulgee school system apart and ahead of others. I want to be a part of and support this “Bulldog Rising”. This bond is a big step in the right direction.

It is up to us to take the initiative and vote for this proposal. Our students and teachers need access to tools and technology in order to be better prepared for college and the work force. Again this proposal is a big step toward our Bulldog Rising.

Let us do our part and vote “YES” for this proposal.

On March 3, 2015 my wife and I will be at the polls casting a “YES” vote for the Arts and Academics Bond Proposal. We hope to see you there.

May God bless you and the City of Okmulgee


Terry Watkins

Councilman Elect

Dear Editor,

I am writing regarding an incident that occurred at the Okmulgee special school board meeting on January 13, 2015. During a report on Special Education services, school board member, Marcus Jeffrey, asked Ms. Beamis if each site did similar testing to see if the kids "were retarded." He unfortunately was not corrected by Ms. Beamis. He did later say that he used the wrong word. I personally confronted him after the meeting and let him know that I have a child on an IEP and and that child is not retarded. I told him that his ignorance of use of the word was very offensive and that he owes every child with special needs in Okmulgee schools an apology. He stated that he misspoke and that no one else would know that he had said it unless I "let it slip." I made him aware that he "let it slip" not me. He let it slip in a recorded meeting that is open to the public. He then told me not to put it on Facebook and I told him I would put it there and in a letter to the editor.

My frustration here is that Marcus's ignorance is what we continually deal with. It is a fight to get your child tested, to get teachers to comply with accommodations, and a fight to have the child's individual needs addressed. Most parents just accept whatever the school tells them. However the ones who are knowledgeable advocate for what is right. Children who are on IEP's have different challenges. There are physical challenges like being in a wheelchair, visual impairment and even having diabetes. There are cognitive challenges like having a developmental delay or being on the autism spectrum. There are also behavioral challenges that range from ADHD to severe emotional trauma. All of these challenges can affect a persons ability to learn and requires individualized services. I define these challenges to show the vast array of needs for which a young person may have an IEP.

For me the "R" word is just like the "N" word. People who use the "N" word usually have a set of preconceived, negative ideas about the person they are referring to. Sometimes, they let the "N" word "slip." If that person were to say "I misspoke" would that make it okay with the person who was offended? I don't think so. I find the "N" word extremely offensive also. I think people who use it are ignorant also. I use this example since I know that Marcus is a strong advocate for equal rights of the African American or black community. He and I both know what an awful word the "N" word is. I hope that this example will help him and others to understand and be able to empathize with my feelings about the "R" word.

I came home from that meeting and shared what happened with my husband. He's really laid back and doesn't get upset about anything. He was angry. So, I knew that I wasn't over reacting. After that, I cried about the situation. It hurts me that Marcus was once someone who I loved. Someone I wanted my children to know because I loved his father, Pastor CJ Jeffrey Jr. However, now he is just another person who doesn't care how many children or families his ignorant beliefs and words have hurt. He's another person in the school system who I will have to "battle" to make sure that children with special needs are treated equally. He's someone I will never vote for again. He's someone I will pray for.

I encourage any readers who struggle with Okmulgee Public Schools regarding special education issues to contact the Oklahoma Parent Center at 405-379-2108. They can answer questions and provide advocates. Additionally, formal complaints can be made by contacting the State Department of Education at 405-521-4863.

Truly Disappointed,

Nancy Mason

Thursday, 21 August 2014 20:30

Open Letter to the Public

From the desk of Chad Bonds

Gary Clason

To whom it may concern:

I normally don't get involved with the local elections. However this past April I had the privilege to run for State Senate District #8. Unfortunately I did not make it past the primary.

During the campaign I had the opportunity to speak to many of the voters and hear your concerns. I also had the privilege to speak in depth to both of the remaining Democratic candidates. I have spent many hours in prayer and many phone calls later, and being a man of my word.

I feel that Gary Clason will be the candidate that will represent the citizens of District #8 as well as I would have. He definitely knows healthcare and will support the rural areas as well as the municipalities.

I believe he has the compassion to take each and every phone call and listen to every concern that comes his way. I believe that if he does not have the answer he will tell us that and then find the right answers.

On August 26, 2014 I will be voting for Gary Clason for State Senate District #8.

Former 2014 State Senate
District #8 Candidate

An Open Letter to:

J. W. Hill Candidate for Oklahoma Senate District # 8

One of your supporters approached me concerning information on the internet about you begin not being eligible to be a Candidate because you did not resign your position as County Commissioner.  I am writing you to assure you that I have not posted anything relating to you anywhere.

Should you search the internet you will find derogatory remarks about O. G. Corky Thompson, Ron Ballard, Jack Bell, etc.   Also, you will find remarks about a former city clerk credited to me stating she was the best city clerk Beggs ever had.  That statement is absolute false. I can supply you a letters questioning some of her practices as city clerk and the Beggs Public Works Authority clerk and secretary.

Letters have been mailed were constructed by cutting my signature and pasting on the letter. As I recall, a letter was written stating that Ron Ballard was resigning as City Council Member shortly after he was elected.

I wished the information relating to you had not been posted.  I assumed that you would run for a second term as county commissioner.    I have been looking for a candidate for District 8 and a candidate to run for the House of Representative Seat 24 for months.

Yours truly,

O. G. Thompson

Dear Editor,

It has been brought to the attention of the J.W. Hill Campaign for Senate Seat 8, that false information has been circulating around Okmulgee County concerning J.W. Hill, current County Commissioner Dist. 1 of Okmulgee County and his candidacy.

As with all campaigns it is common for oponent supporters to use these type tactics, however, we want to clear up this misinformation.  

On Friday May 9, individuals and county offices received a letter stating J.W. Hill is disqualified to run for State Senate.  Resources have reported this information has also been posted on the Internet.

We want to assure the public that J.W. Hill is not disqualified from the Senate race and, in fact, is very qualified to run for this Seat.

Thank you,

The J.W. Hill for Senate Seat 8 Campaign