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Okmulgee in the News


The City of Henryetta held a ribbon cutting today for McCutcheon Park in Henryetta to celebrate the new playground equipment that has been installed.

Most of the project has been financed by funds from the hotel/motel tax that the city has collected which was used to purchase the new playground equipment and constructing a Splash pad.  A swing especially equipped for handicapped children was included. Henryetta Mayor Jennifer Clason said the addition is to improve quality of life for children and that the City has plans to install another swing set.  She said the new handicap swing is located right along with the other swings so that children are not isolated during play.

The handicapped swing was partially funded by the America’s Guardians Biker’s Association that donated $2500.

We are looking forward to doing more,” said Clason. “But it takes money, remember, buy local. It increases our tax base. Buying local is what gets projects like this done.”

Photos by Allen Garnder - ONN


The Orpheum Theatre celebrated another year with the public on Saturday Sept. 24. The celebration was held a month after the official anniversary, due to scheduling conflicts.  Those who came out to celebrate enjoyed complimentary cake and punch along with watching some commercials and short movies filmed in Okmulgee produced by local colleges and people. A short performance by Ms. Jackson's Theatre Troop included the songs "Oklahoma" and "There's No Business Like Show Business". Owner John McConnel opened the event with cutting the first slice of cake as he thanked everyone in attendence.

For the second year special guest Bill Rowland organist, President of the American Theatre Organ Society Sooner State Chapter attended to accompany a silent cartoon and film for the audience in the traditional way it was done in the beginning of the movie industry. Bill is a Ragtime Piano Player, Theatre Organist, Composer, Arranger, and mainframe Computer Programmer. Bill also has been tuning and repairing pianos since 1974.

Special guest speakers were Okmulgee Main Street President Margarett Hess, Okmulgee School Superintendent Renee Dove, Julie Roberds Director of Adult and Career Development with GCTC and Chris Azbel Secretary to the Interior of the MCN.

Photo above: Orpheum Owner John McConnel gives the thumbs up on cutting the first slice of the Orpheum's birthday cake. (Photo by Allen Gardner - ONN)

Friday, 23 September 2016 15:28

Lions Hear 15-Minutes-of-Fame Speeches

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Win some, lose some, and some get rained out seemed to be the order of the day as our Tuesday regularly scheduled program had to be cancelled due to illness. But not to worry because of the recent addition of new members, two of whom were called on to offer their 15 minutes-of-fame speeches. This is standard fare for our club in which these new members are allowed to boast, brag, or advertise without fear of being fined by the Tail Twister, in other words, diplomatic immunity. First up was Dr. Tom Alexander, who had been a Lion member years ago, but had to drop out due to lack of available time but, now since he has retired, has re-joined. Some of you might remember when Dr. Tom gave us a program on December 15, 2015, on early-day Okmulgee. What a marvelous trip down memory-lane he took us on then, and he wowed us again

Dr. Tom was born and raised in Okmulgee, attending Wilson Elementary, graduated Okmulgee High School, and the University of Oklahoma in 1963, interned in Phoenix, and had a three-year residency in New Orleans. He was classified as an "obligated volunteer" in which he served in the U.S. Army at a Fort in Georgia. Upon returning to Okmulgee in 1969, Dr. Tom, his father, and his brother (Dr. Bob), built a clinic across the street from Okmulgee Memorial Hospital. His father passed away in 1972, and his brother, a surgeon, left for Germany in 1975 to serve in the military. When Dr. Tom quit his practice in 2012, that ended a period of 109 years that the Alexander family had tended the medical needs of Okmulgeeans, beginning in 1903 when his grandfather applied for a medical license through the Western District of Indian Territory. What a proud legacy for the Alexander family.

Next up was Gary Volz, the newest Lion member of one week, and a four-week resident of Okmulgee, employed by Schaudt's Funeral Home. Gary stated that he and his wife have never been in a town where everyone has so readily accepted them with open arms as Okmulgee has, including the Lions Club. Gary was born in Coffeyville, Kansas in 1945 and was a "bonus baby", explaining that his father was married with a child during the war years when he was selected for duty with the Marine Corps, but after Gary was born, his father had earned enough bonus points for early release from the military.

The family then moved to Muskogee, where he graduated from high school in 1963. Not certain what he wanted to do, he enrolled in Midwestern Christian College preparing for the ministry. He worked as a pharmaceutical salesman and, in fact, had called on Dr. Tom, so he was not exactly new to Okmulgee. He worked in the Hospice Industry for a while but still had "leanings" toward the ministry so returned to the pulpit as Pastor of the Glenpool Christian Church. For 18 years during this time, Gary was a Chaplain for the Tulsa Police Department and has also served as Chaplain for the Hospice Industry. During these years he had become acquainted with Dan Schaudt, owner of several funeral homes in the Tulsa and Glenpool area, and Dan contacted Gary and his wife about the opportunity to work and live in their funeral home in Okmulgee. After discussing this opportunity, they decided to accept the position as Schaudt Family Service. They have five children, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

We are pleased to welcome these two new members into our club and they are anxious to "hit the ground running" to assist in our projects and dedication to this community in keeping with our motto, "WE SERVE".
Pictured, left to right: Lion Dr. Tom Alexander, President Lion R.C. Morrow, and Lion Gary Volz.
(Photo and information provided by Dean Craig)

Saturday, 17 September 2016 22:55

Chamber of Commerce Welcomes Loves Travel Stop


Photo by Allen Gardner - ONN

The Chamber of Commerce welcomed the new Love’s Travel Stop in Okmulgee opened on Sept. 16. 

The store opens during Love’s annual companywide campaign to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Right now customers can purchase paper balloons for $1, $5 or $20 through Sept. 30. All the money raised locally goes to The Children’s Hospital at Saint Francis in Tulsa, the local CMN Hospital. Employees will also host a cookout on Saturday, Sept. 24 to raise funds.

Photos by Allen Gardner - ONN


President Felecia Wittman and Rotarian of the Day Terry Dillsaver present a pen to speaker Royce McMann, Engineer for East Central Electric. A solar farm has sprung up on the South lawn of ECE and Royce gave an overview of the project. Western Farmers Electric Cooperative out of Anadarko is actually the company in charge of the “farm”, which will serve 21 co-ops in Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas and Kansas. Green power has become more popular because it reduces carbon emissions and provides energy or “carbon” credits. Although solar energy is very low maintenance, some of the disadvantages are land space and an actual higher cost than fossil power. The solar farm required a lot of pre-planning. Besides dealing with local zoning and code compliance, extensive studies had to be done regarding the path of the sun, the lay of the land and even potential glare to drivers.

If you are interested in using solar energy, you can contact a ECE representative at 918 756 0833.


The Grand Opening of the Safe Harbor Child Advocacy and Victim Witness Center was held on Friday with a large welcome from the community. Several Law Enforcement heads and government officials stopped in to show support.

District Attorney Rob Barris commented, “We were fortunate enough to receive a Federal grant to finance this operation at this location. The purpose is to provide a better environment and experience for victims of crimes, especially child victims. Before, in our courtrooms and courthouses in this district, a person sat on a bench in a hallway outside the door of a courtroom. This was not a very good place to be, while interacting with everyone else that comes through the system including at times friends and family members who are not always happy with someone that has decided tell the truth and say they have been abused. This will be a better system overall and we hope to continue to put better systems in place."

Senator Roger Thompson District 8 shared in the celebration of safe families, “I am excited about this leadership that has put this in place. I appreciate District Attorney Rob Barris and the work he and others have done to provide this service. Our children are most vulnerable and this gives them and other witnesses a protected place to come, feel safe and prepare themselves to go through the process,” said Sen. Thompson. “It is a great facility and I am excited about the work being done here."

Safe Harbor is located at 220 S. Morton in Okmulgee and is the first ever building in Okmulgee and McIntosh counties dedicated to providing child victims of physical and sexual abuse a place that allows law enforcement, prosecutors, and social service providers to stand with these brave young people and provide them with respect and assistance as they strive to overcome what has happened to them and to help them journey forward in their lives as they seek justice and closure.

“This is a place for child and adult victims of abuse can come and wait for court when a crime has been committed against them. It will be a place for forensic interviews for children as well as we will provide  referrals to other services in the community to those in need,” said Jawanna Wheeler Safe Harbor Coordinator. "Safe Harbor will be a place where child victims will be provided respect and resources to help them as they deal with the effects of physical and/or sexual abuse crimes committed against them."

Photos by Allen Gardner - ONN

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(L-R: Program Chairman Lion Beth Flud, Craig Cress, and President Lion R.C. Morrow.)

By Dean Craig Okmulgee Lion

What a distinct honor and privilege to have Craig Cress, ASA Softball Executive Director, as Tuesday's Lions Club program. This man not only represents Oklahoma or just the U.S.A. but, in fact, the whole world of amateur softball. When I first contacted him about a possible program, he was preparing for a trip to Japan and we kind of had to juggle his schedule for a compatible date for him to come speak. His passion for the sport is only exceeded by his passion for his position/profession and being able to convey his message to the audience. But I'm a little bit ahead of myself.

Craig grew up in Indiana and played high school sports but, like a lot of us, wasn't as good as he thought he should be to play at a higher level but still wanted to be a part of the game. So, he became an umpire. He rose through the umpire ranks, umpiring national and international competitions, became umpire-in-chief for Indiana ASA and the Midwest Region and arrived in Oklahoma City in 2002 as director of membership services for ASA. He was inducted into the ASA Hall of Fame in 2005.

Craig became Executive Director in 2013 and it just blows one's mind to learn that the organization boasts 2.2 million members, and every state has an association (California has 7 and Texas has several), as Craig stated, from age 8-80, however, they now include six year-olds. And to think, Oklahoma City is headquarters for this world-inclusive organization, and it is difficult to realize the impact the softball sport has made. Of course, one only has to think as far as Norman, Oklahoma where the Oklahoma Sooner Women won the College World Series this past year. Also, Oklahoma City recently hosted the 11th World Cup of Softball, with 13 teams representing 12 countries. In fact, the ASA hosts 32 events per year for 32 week-ends per year. They have four playing fields and all of their games are streamed and people around the world can choose what game/field to watch. What a magnificent exposure Oklahoma City is having on softball, so much so that softball and baseball will be added to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Craig stated that it is difficult to compete with colleges, particularly ones with a strong donor base. And they do what they do with 26 full-time workers and 2 contract workers. The ASA also works with Oklahoma High School slo-pitch championships in May and fast-pitch championships in October. I know I, for one, had no idea what a major coup we have headquartered right here in our own backyard, and I dare say not many of you had the foggiest idea, either. And all of this without government funding.

As a side note, we had two staff members in attendance representing Congressman Markwayne Mullins' office--Jake Marlin (District Press Secretary), and Sgt. William Barnes, U.S. Army Ret.. (Field Representative). Also, Lion Beth Flud received a 100-year celebration pin for sponsoring a new member who completed a year of membership. See what you're missing out on by not attending our meetings? "WE SERVE".

(Photos and information provided by Dean Craig, with excerpts from The Oklahoman)

Saturday, 17 September 2016 10:12

Okmulgee County Commissioners Agenda for Sept. 19


As required by Section 311, Title 25 of the Oklahoma Statutes, notice is hereby given that the Board of County Commissioners of Okmulgee County will hold a regular meeting on September 19, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. The meeting will be held in the County Commissioners Conference Room in the County Courthouse, located at 314 W. 7th, Okmulgee.

1. Call to Order, Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance

2. Possible approval of minutes from regular meeting '

3. Input by the Public on any non-agenda items

4. Order of Business:

A. Discussion and possible approval of Officers’ Reports

B. Discussion and possible approval of Blanket Purchase Orders

C. Discussion and possible approval of Employee Acknowledgment Forms

D. Discussion and possible approval of submitted Utility Permits

E. Discussion and possible approval of Private Property Agreements

F. Open and possible award of Bid #3 for one or more, 2009 or newer backhoe

G. Discussion and possible approval to add Project Eagle Proposed TIF Term Sheet to
Statement of Intent

H. Discussion and possible acceptance of the CDBG Water/Wastewater award for Rural
Water District #5

I. Discussion and possible approval of Receiving/Requisitioning Officers

J. Discussion and possible approval of Resolutions for Disposing of Equipment

K. Possible approval of reimbursement claim for expenditures of the District Attorney’s

L. Possible approval of reimbursement claim for Election Board Secretary’s salary

M. Possible approval of monthly Appropriations

5. Report from Emergency Management Director

6. New Business

7. Discussion and possible approval of claims and/or signing of documents

8. Vote to go into Executive Session to discuss a confidential communication matter with the
Board of County Commissioners’ Attorney

Attorney communications:

25 O.S. §307(B) (4) Executive Sessions: Confidential communications between a public body and its attorney concerning a pending investigation, claim or action if the public body with the advice of its attorney, determines that disclosure will seriously impair the ability of the public body to process the claim or conduct a pending investigation, litigation, or proceeding in the public interest.

9. Vote to return from Executive Session

10. Discussion and possible vote on matters discussed in Executive Session

11. Adjourn

RotarylogoAs Rotary Club of Okmulgee celebrates the beginning of the second century of service in Okmulgee, we are seeking help from our fellow Okmulgee residents. As we are gathering information and preparing for our celebration dinner, we would like to hear from those who would like to share memories with us. Those who have played on baseball or other teams, those who have received scholarships, anyone having photos of events we’ve participated in, anyone who remembers exchange students sponsored by the local club and any other memorable event, please contact us and share your memories with us.

I know we’ve rang Salvation Army bells, fed football players, helped handicapped with accessibility ramps and done many more things in the past. Please let us know about your memories.

You can send e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or write letters to Rotary Memories PO BOX 571, Okmulgee, OK 74447.

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The city of Okmulgee is undergoing some recycling changes the public should be aware of. The city of Okmulgee provides an opportunity to recycle in order to reduce the amount of reusable material sent to the landfill and to provide those concerned about the environment, the opportunity to reuse valuable materials while at the same time reducing energy consumption associated with the manufacturing process.

Because Okmulgee is 30 or more miles from any large multi-commodity recycler, transportation expenses are significant recycling expense for the city and her options for finding a service provider or limited. The city does not "make money" by providing the service. Please help us keep cost down by following the guidelines.

Because of concerns about rising transportation expenses and poor vendor responsiveness and picking up field containers when notified to do so, the city about muggy will begin operating under a contract with the new service provider September 21. It is very important that we comply with our recyclers requirements if we are to keep cost at a level that allows the city to continue providing the service.

The most important requirement is to bring only excepted items to the recycling center for recycling.

Plastics: only plastics with a number one or number two printed on them in the triangular recycling symbol are acceptable. Other plastics may not be left at the recycling center. Container should be empty and rinsed out. Do not bring plastic toys to the recycling center. Do not bring plastic bags or plastic film to the center. Plastic bags and plastic film interfere with the operation of sorting machinery at the vendors recycling plant. Please – no plastic bags and no food soiled items!

Paper products: there will be no change. In the paper products that are acceptable: newspapers, office paper, junk mail, paper fiber products, paper drink cartons (no fool pouches), telephone books, magazines, paper egg cartons open parentheses no Styrofoam), brown and white paper bags, cardboard, cereal and other paperboard products paper towels, facial tissue and toilet tissue are not acceptable! Food sold items are not acceptable!

The Okmulgee Recycling Center is located at 301 E. 3rd Street.

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