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Okmulgee in the News

OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 12, 2017) – The number of students enrolled in Oklahoma public schools continued to rise in 2017, increasing by more than 1,000 from the previous year.

A total of 694,816 students were enrolled in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade at the start of the school year, an increase of 1,106 over the 2016 total of 693,710 and 21,626 more than in 2012.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister emphasized that the state should be prepared to continue serving a growing student population each year.

“Once again, Oklahoma schools are educating more students than ever before with few new resources,” Hofmeister said. “Funding has not kept pace with the steady rise in enrollment over the past decade, the growing diversity of Oklahoma’s student population or the decrease of trained educators entering the profession. We will continue to advocate for teacher pay raises and adequate funding levels to meet the needs of all Oklahoma schoolchildren.”

Districts record enrollment every year on Oct. 1 and report the figures to the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE). Currently, Oklahoma has 512 traditional public school districts, 1,795 total school sites, 28 charter school districts and 58 charter school sites.

The list of the 10 largest districts is identical to last year’s, although some changed position within the ranking. This year’s 10 largest districts are:

Oklahoma City Public Schools: 45,034 studentsTulsa Public Schools: 39,596Edmond Public Schools: 24,892Moore Public Schools: 24,687Putnam City Public Schools: 19,515Broken Arrow Public Schools: 19,081Norman Public Schools: 16,103Union Public Schools: 15,847Mid-Del Public Schools: 14,334Lawton Public Schools: 14,068

Among those districts, Edmond had the greatest year-to-year growth, increasing 2 percent over 2016, followed by Moore with an increase of 1.36 percent and Norman, which jumped 1.01 percent. Putnam City, Mid-Del and Broken Arrow grew less than 1 percent. Enrollment decreased 4.6 percent in Lawton, 2.13 percent in Tulsa, 1.58 percent in Oklahoma City and less than 1 percent in Union.

Statewide, student population percentages shifted slightly this year. Most significantly, the percentage of white students dipped below 50 percent for the second year in a row to 48.85 percent compared to 49.36 percent in 2016. The number of Native American students decreased again this year, while the percentage of Hispanic students and students of two or more ethnicities continued to increase. This school year, Oklahoma’s student population is*:

48.85 percent white17.23 percent Hispanic13.59 percent Native American or Alaskan Native9.33 percent two or more races8.61 percent black2.39 percent Asian, Hawaiian or Pacific Islander

*Numbers are rounded.

enrollment crop

By Wesley Coburn

While the final result wasn’t what the Beggs Demons hoped for, at the end of the 2017 season, they still made it to the Class 3A championship game.

In that game Friday night they fell to the Oklahoma City John Marshall Bears by a 14-7 score. But that doesn’t take away from the Demons’ 13-2 record, or 6-0 record in district play.

Played at Stillwater High School’s Pioneer Stadium, the battle featured the small-town well-oiled machine of the Demons against the Division I superstar talent of the big-city Bears, led by their University of Nevada-bound tailback Devonte Lee.

Beggs received the opening kickoff and were forced to punt, which set up a long Marshall drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown by Lee with 7:58 left in the first quarter. The extra point kick bounced off the goalpost. Roughly a minute later Beggs got the ball again after sophomore linebacker Easton Davis forced a fumble, which was recovered by junior LB Dexter Wolf. The Demons were able to drive deep into Bears territory, but the drive was stalled at the Marshall 6.

The Demons were able to outplay Marshall in the second quarter, though no points were scored by either side. A 25-yard pass from JR quarterback Dalton Spring to senior receiver E.J. Smoot was called back because of a pass interference penalty, and JR cornerback Jaidan Grayson had a pick six nullified by a referee’s decision.

The Demons tied the game on SR QB Kobe Haynes’ 19-yard touchdown run with 6:47 left in the third quarter, and took the lead on JR kicker Carson Siegenthaler’s extra point. Momentum continued as SR safety Brandon Williams intercepted a Marshall pass about four minutes later.

The teams traded possessions and turnovers in the fourth quarter; Grayson rescued the Demons from a tough spot by catching a Marshall throw at his own eight-yard line. Beggs drove the ball to midfield before having to punt, only for one play to seal the game as Lee galloped 51 yards for the game-winning touchdown. The two-point conversion pass was good, which meant that the final score was Marshall 14, Beggs 7.

Officials called 26 penalties throughout the game, and the Demons held Marshall’s passing to 33 yards while at least seven different Beggs players registered tackles. Beggs gained about 135 yards in the air and about 110 on the ground.

Next year the OSSAA has the Demons dropping back down into Class 2A, placing them in district 3, along with the local Morris Eagles, Kiefer Trojans and Haskell Haymakers, Other schools in the district are Caney Valley (Ramona), Dewey, Sperry and Victory Christian (Tulsa).

By Wesley Coburn

The Beggs Demons (13-1 overall, 6-0 in 3A-6) are back in the state championship game for the first time in forty years.

They defeated the Sulphur Bulldogs (12-2, 6-0 3A-4) 37-28 Friday night at Edmond Santa Fe High School’s Wolves Stadium.

After an exchange of punts, junior quarterback Dalton Spring threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver E.J. Smoot with 2:53 left in the opening quarter to put the Demons on the scoreboard first, but 57 seconds later Sulphur scored on a seven-yard TD run, and the Bulldogs went ahead 7-6 after the extra point kick.

The Bulldogs pounced on a loose ball in Demon territory and turned it into a 13-yard scoring run with 10:19 to go in the second quarter, but Beggs regained momentum by blocking the extra point. Thirty seconds later Spring scored on a one-yard sneak, and the Demons went ahead 18-13 after Smoot’s eight-yard run with 5:14 left until halftime. Sulphur answered with a 68-yard run and two-point conversion, and the halftime score was Sulphur 21-18.

The Demon defense forced Sulphur into a turnover on downs deep into the third quarter, and two plays later Spring found Smoot for an 83-yard TD pass, only for Sulphur to regain a 28-24 lead on a 17-yard run. But with five seconds left in the quarter, Spring found a receiver in the end zone to go ahead 30-28.

Beggs’ defense stopped the Sulphur offense on fourth down early in the fourth quarter, and with 6:26 to play Spring threw a 53-yard TD to JR WR Shaidan Jordan, and the extra point was good. The game was sealed on a fourth-down sack by JR linebacker T.J. Austin with four minutes to go, as Beggs won 37-28.

The Demons’ opponents next weekend in the Class 3A title game will be the Oklahoma City Marshall Bears, who defeated the Jones Longhorns 29-26 in the other semifinal. The 1975 Demons won the Class A title 21-0 over OKC Millwood.

The game will be played at Stillwater High School’s Pioneer Stadium on Friday, December 8, at 7 p.m. For those unable to attend, it will be broadcast on KOKL 1240 AM.


Friday, 01 December 2017 17:31

Demons in state semifinals Friday night

By Wesley Coburn

The Beggs Demons are one win away from playing for the Class 3A state championship.

Coach Lee Blankenship’s Demons (12-1 overall, 6-0 in 3A-6) will face the Sulphur Bulldogs 12-1, 6-0 3A-4) at 7 p.m. on Friday night at Edmond Santa Fe High School.

For those unable to attend in person, the game will be broadcast on KOKL 1240 AM, and livestreamed on YouTube by the Cookson Hills Sports Network.

To get here, the Demons breezed through their district opponents, finishing undefeated and winning almost every game by double digits. In their lone loss, on the road at Berryhill, the final score was 30-28. They are on an 11-game winning streak.

In the playoffs, Beggs began at Golden Demon Stadium with a 62-28 pounding of the Mannford Pirates, then they hosted Lincoln Christian of Tulsa in the second round, muzzling the Bulldogs 43-14. In the quarterfinals last Friday they traveled to Edmond to face Oklahoma Christian, holding off a late Saints rally to win 32-26.

The winner will play the winner of the Jones Longhorns-Oklahoma City Marshall Bears contest in the championship next weekend at a site to be determined.

The only state championship in football in BHS history came in 1975, when the Demons defeated the OKC Millwood Falcons 21-0 at Tulsa’s Booker T. Washington High School. In the segregated 1950s, black Beggs Wheatley High School won four state championships in football. Beggs last played in a football state title game in 1977, falling 20-0 to Watonga for Class A honors.

Beggs Football

Monday, 04 September 2017 20:25

Lions hear 15-Minutes of Fame talks

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Pictured left to right: Program Chairman Lion David Fetgatter, Lion Rev. Dale Fillmore, and Lion Anthony Nieto.

Things aren't always like Baby Bear's porridge--just right, but not to worry because we can usually come up with a contingency plan. Such was the case for Tuesday's Lions Club meeting when one of our planned program presenters notified our president that he was on his way out of town for a family emergency. Then the light bulb came on in our president's head because he had just sponsored our newest member of exactly one week, and our program was scheduled to include two new member's 15 minutes-of-fame speeches. The redeeming grace of the situation is that this new member of one week is Rev. Dale Fillmore, pastor of the First Church of the Nazarene, and everyone knows that pastors can fit in for every emergency, and can speak at the "drop of a hat". So, the show must go on, and it did, and without a hitch.

First up, though, was Anthony Nieto, General Manager of the Okmulgee Times, an Okmulgee County native and a Morris High School graduate, who had taken classes at Green Country Technology Center while in high school. One of his instructors, Julie Roberds, had sort of steered him in the area of Visual Communications, and he wanted to pursue this area with the goal of working for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. He enrolled at OSUIT, and then completed his degree. While in college, he had worked for and interned for an ad agency, but when he was ready for a full-time position, the agency closed. So, here he was, a college graduate without a job, so after about a year of this, he returned to the Morris area to move back in with his parents. Nieto expressed his humiliation of this situation.

One of his Morris High School teachers, the late Robbie McMurtry, had become a mentor to Nieto with his artistic ability, which proved to be an invaluable resource later. He explained that Lion Heather Sumner was working for Work Force at that time, where he had gone to apply for employment, and she just happened to know of a position available at the Okmulgee Times. Nieto interviewed for the job and went to work the next day.

During the past eight years, he has worked in nearly every facet of the newspaper industry before being appointed to his present position, succeeding the legendary late Herman Brown. Nieto is excited to be a part of Okmulgee Rising, a Chamber of Commerce Board Member, a supporter of Mainstreet, an Okmulgee resident, and now a Lions Club active member. He is a father to two daughters, ages nine and 13. We are excited to have Anthony Nieto as a new member of our club, but I just wish some of us older Lions had the excitement and energy to keep up with him.

Rev. Dale Fillmore is our newest Lion member of one week, born in California to his Oklahoma parents, a four month resident of Okmulgee, and pastor of the First Church of the Nazarene, who says he feels "at home" in Okmulgee and already feels like he is an "Okie", reversing the trend in John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath". But to explain how he got to Okmulgee from California, and many points in between, would take us on a circumventurous (made-up word not in the dictionary) journey. But the pastor related that an incident in the third grade almost precluded him being able to speak in front of groups, which is not consistent with being a pastor.

Pastor Fillmore graduated high school in Norwalk, California where he was on the swim team, played water polo, and played clarinet in the band. He described himself as adventurous, and says his wife believes if he had been born in the 1800's, he would have been a Mountain Man. But, instead, he felt God's call to the ministry, which he rebelled against for several years before giving in. So, off to Seminary in Indiana (Church of God, Anderson, Indiana), then back to California before accepting his first church in Montana. Other churches he pastored were in Washington, Alaska, Kansas, Indiana, Colorado, and finally, a call to the Mission Field in Brazil. The last eight years in Brazil, he was the Academic Director for a church school because he had more education than any of the other pastors.

Returning to the States, he decided that he wasn't ready to retire, so he and his wife began looking for churches needing a pastor. His parents had moved back to Sand Springs so he was familiar with Oklahoma because of the many trips to visit. Thus, their circle was completed about four months ago when they came to Okmulgee. So, now that we have two pastors numbered among our membership (Lion Rev. Chris Tiews, Trinity Lutheran Church, and now Lion Rev. Dale Fillmore, First Church of the Nazarene), some of us Lions are going to have to "shape up or ship out" (old Navy term). But living life and loving life is what it's all about, isn't it? And lending a helping hand along the way, because we might only pass that way once. That's why we are pleased and honored to welcome these two new members into the fold. And why don't you consider passing our way at least once, and help lighten the load? "WE SERVE".
(Photo and information provided by Dean Craig)

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Monday, 04 September 2017 19:49

Fatal boat collision on Okmulgee Lake

By Wesley Coburn - ONN

About 8 p.m. on Sunday, September 3, the Okmulgee Police Department responded to a two-boat collision on Okmulgee Lake. Once on the scene, officers provided aid for injured persons.

The smaller boat was moving very slowly or was stationary, and included young children as passengers. The larger boat, driven by Jared Trotter, 34, was piloted at a high rate of speed, and struck the small boat.

One occupant of the small boat, a 9-year-old boy, was pronounced dead at the scene, while another boy was LifeFlighted to a Tulsa hospital, where his condition is currently unknown. Because they are juveniles, their names will not be released by the OPD.

Witnesses saw another male in the large boat with Trotter, who left the scene and has not currently been identified.Trotter

Trotter was booked in the Okmulgee County Jail on complaints of Operating a Boat Under the Influence of Intoxicants and Manslaughter.  

Anyone who witnessed the collision, or who knows the identity of the passenger in Trotter’s boat, is asked the contact the OPD at 918-756-3511.


Right - Jared Trotter (Photo provided)

Monday, 04 September 2017 19:48

Okmulgee Police search for man

By Wesley Coburn - ONN

On Monday morning, Labor Day, September 4, the Okmulgee Police Department responded to the emergency room of Okmulgee Hospital to investigate a report of an assault. Hospital personnel determined that the victim, a 14-year-old female, had been shot once in the face.

According to the victim, a man she knows only as “Mizellaneouz” came to her residence, and assaulted her while there. The juvenile has non-life-threatening injuries and is expected to survive.

The OPD asks anyone with information on the identity or whereabouts of Mizellaneouz to call at 918-756-3511.

Jubilee Christian Center will be hosting the Women of Legacy Conference with the theme, "Passing the Power of Prayer to the Next Generation" on Friday, September 8th with services at 6:30 PM and Saturday, September 9th with services at 9:00 AM and 1:00 PM. The conference is free and includes a luncheon at noon on Saturday. Jubilee Christian is located 1/2 mile north of the Muscogee Nation Physical & Rehab Center on Hwy 75.

For more information call the church at 918-756-5338 or visit okmulgeechurch.com

Wednesday, 16 August 2017 19:50

Strong, Beautiful, and Confident

Written By: Tina Pierce LMFT

I often tell my daughter how beautiful I think she is. One day she returned the compliment in a unique way. She asked me if I thought one of her daddy’s friends was handsome. I said he was, but not as handsome as daddy. She beamed with pride saying yes daddy is very handsome. So I added that her little brothers are lucky to look like daddy. Then this vibrant little girl stopped me in my tracks by saying no, baby looks like mommy and mommy is beautiful.

I know it is hard to feel good about yourself in a culture that increasingly idealizes sex and perfectly shaped bodies. However, it is important to remember all of that is learned behavior. Think back to when you were a child around age five or six. If you are like most children, you thought your mother was the most beautiful woman in the world. And you were right, she is beautiful. She cared for you, encouraged you, loved you, and guided you as best she could. Then the world snuck in and tried to taint your view of beauty. But still she is beautiful continuing to care and nurture well into your later years.
Even most teens, would still say that the most beautiful woman they know is their mom. One teen told me the most beautiful part of her mom were the stretch marks on her stomach because every mark represented her and her sisters and her mom’s willingness to have them. Another teen told me that her mom is the most beautiful person she knows because she is so strong and has worked so hard to raise her and her siblings. So moms, next time you look at yourself in the mirror see the woman you truly are. Strong, beautiful, and confident.

Tina Pierce LMFT
You Place, LLC

The You Place offers Family, Marital, Pre-Marital, and Individual Counseling Services for people struggling with a variety of mental health problems including anxiety, depression, ADHD, PTSD, OCD, Autism Spectrum, and more. The You Place also offers consultation and training services and LPC supervision. For more information call today. 918-777-6045.

Monday, 07 August 2017 20:36

OPS to host Open House Tuesday night

By Wesley Coburn - ONN

With the 2017-18 school year beginning this week for some Okmulgee County schools, Okmulgee Public Schools will be hosting an Open House event on Tuesday, August 8, so that parents and students can meet and interact with their teachers before classes begin.

Okmulgee Primary will holding their Open House from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Dunbar Intermediate from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Okmulgee High from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Classes begin Thursday, August 10, and the school day will run from 7:55 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Instead of a 180-Day instructional schedule, OPS will operate on a 1080-Hour instructional schedule this school year.

For more information, call OPS at 918-756-2000.

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