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Okmulgee in the News

By Wesley Coburn - ONN

With the 2017-18 school year quickly approaching, Beggs High School will have an orientation for students August 14-15.

The sophomores will have their orientation Monday night at 6 p.m., with the freshmen to follow at 7 p.m.

On Tuesday night, the juniors will have their orientation at 6 p.m. while the seniors will have theirs at 7 p.m.

There will be a preview night Thursday, August 17, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The first day of classes is Monday, August 21.


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.


By Wesley Coburn - ONN

Attention game-show fans! Okmulgee Main Street is putting on their third annual Big Brain Trivia Night on Saturday, August 12, at the State Room at OSU-IT. There will be appetizers, a bar, and a silent auction as well, in addition to a 50-50 raffle.

Doors will open at 5 p.m. with the competition beginning at 7 p.m.  

Event rules will be the same as last year: Teams may consist of up to eight members, and the contest will feature six rounds of twelve questions each. The player designated the “scribe” will write down their team’s answer to be picked up. At the end of each round, standings will be updated to heighten the excitement. All electronic devices are prohibited. Two mulligans may be purchased at $25 each to ward off incorrect answers, but they must be purchased before the second round. The winning team will be presented with the traveling Big Brain Trivia trophy.

A team’s entry fee is $320, but the “Corporate Package” gets a team’s entry fee, two mulligans, eight drink tickets and forty 50-50 tickets for $420.

Creative team themes, complete with costumes and slogans, are highly encouraged. There will be a prize given to the team winning the table decorations vote. Sneakiness in getting votes is perfectly legal.

“This is going to put the FUN in fundraiser!” Main Street Director Heather Sumner stated.

For ticket information, go to www.okmulgeemainstreet.com.

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).

IMG 2830
Beth Rengel and Heather Sumner

IMG 2825

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

Steve Baldridge

By Wesley Coburn - ONN

At a press conference Thursday morning, July 13, Okmulgee Regional Airport, together with the City of Okmulgee and the Okmulgee Area Development Council (OADC), announced that it will be hosting their first-ever air show, called Okmulgee Airfest, on Saturday, September 30.

“This is great for families and for airplane enthusiasts,” Mayor Steve Baldridge said.

The gates will open at 10 a.m., while the air show begins at 12 p.m. and runs until 2 p.m. Admission is $5 per person or $10 per car/plane.

Attractions will include skydivers, stunt flying, and a drag race between a plane and a motorcycle, with possibly some vintage aircraft and military aircraft as well. There will also be inflatables, food trucks and a kids zone.

“I think that this show will be a great way to introduce the next generation to aviation,” said Bruce Force of the Okmulgee Airport Advisory Board. “I really think that we have something for everyone.”

Event partners include the City of Okmulgee, the OADC, Okmulgee Chamber of Commerce, Okmulgee Main Street, First National Bank & Trust, Tulsa International Airport, Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology (OSU-IT) and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Additional sponsorships are available.

“I encourage y’all to come,” said Nevyle Cable, president of First National Bank. “It’s gonna be fun and a great afternoon. We just gotta get the word out and hope for good weather.”

More information can be found at www.OkmulgeeAirfest.com.

Photos by Wesley Coburn

By Wesley Coburn - ONN

Okmulgee Public Schools recently released their list of upcoming school supplies needed for 2017-18 school year, just in time for the back-to-school shopping blitz.

Pre-K students will need three large boxes of Kleenex, four boxes of 24-count crayons, a 4-count package of dry erase markers, a 4-pack of Play-Doh, a full-size backpack, six glue sticks, two 3-ring binders with pockets, two boxes or packages of snack items per month, one package of watercolor paints, one box of markers, one pair of scissors, one package of Lysol or Clorox wipes, one package of Ziploc bags (gallon size for girls, quart size for boys), two packages of 8”x11” copy paper, one package of letter size sheet protectors and one package of multicolored construction paper. Additionally, parents are asked to bring two of the following: a bottle of hand sanitizer, one package of baby wipes, one package of paper plates, one package of paper lunch bags (white or brown), or one tube of glue.

Kindergartners will need five 24-count boxes of crayons, one pair of blunt-end scissors, two 12-count packages of yellow #2 pencils, one package of dry-erase markers, three large boxes of Kleenex, six glue sticks, one 4-pack of Play-Doh, one package of pearl erasers (girls only), one box of markers, one large package of Lysol wipes (girls only), one package gallon-sized Ziploc bags (boys only), one 16 oz. bottle of hand sanitizer (boys only), a 5’x8’ box for school supplies, a regular-sized backpack, and two packages of 8”x11” copy paper

First graders need a 5”x8” box for supplies, eight pink pearl erasers, four boxes of 24-count Ticonderoga #2 pencils, two glue sticks, four boxes of 24-count crayons, two packages of 8”x11” copy paper, two packages of black dry erase markers, one package of Ziploc bags (girls gallon size, boys quart size), two single-subject wide-ruled spiral notebooks, one pair pointed tip scissors, four large boxes of Kleenex, one Mead Primary Journal, two containers of Lysol or Clorox wipes and one package of multicolored highlighters.

Second graders require one package of Expo markers, one pair pointed tip scissors, two boxes of 24-count crayons, a plastic box for crayons, three pink pearl erasers, one package of plastic-sleeved sheet protectors (girls only), one package red pens (for grading), one 3-pack of disinfectant wipes, two plastic pocket folders with prongs, two glue sticks, three large boxes Kleenex, two wide-ruled spiral notebooks, two packages gallon-size Ziploc bags (boys only), and two packages of 8”x11” copy paper.

Third graders need three boxes Kleenex, three boxes of crayons, one box of colored pencils, three dozen yellow or plain #2 pencils, two big pink pearl erasers, four 3-pronged plastic pocket folders, one package of multicolored construction paper, two journal composition notebooks, one package plain yellow Post-It notes, one package 3”x5” index cards, one pair scissors, six glue sticks, one 12” ruler with inches and centimeters, one box multiplication flashcards, one package wide-ruled loose-leaf notebook paper, one small plastic organizer for crayons, one package of yellow highlighters, one package of black dry erase markers, a backpack and two packages 8”x11” copy paper.

Fourth graders require four dozen plain or yellow #2 pencils, one box colored pencils, two journal composition notebooks, two large pink pearl erasers, four glue sticks, a backpack, a handheld pencil sharpener, two packages of 8”x11” copy paper, five 3-pocket folders, scissors, five packages of wide-ruled notebook paper (cannot be college ruled), three large boxes Kleenex, a pencil pouch, two packages dry erase markers and two 3-ring binders.

For elementary grades, the student’s name should be placed on their crayon boxes and backpacks, glitter-coated pencils are highly discouraged. Additional supplies may be required after teachers have been assigned.

For fifth graders and up, additional supplies other than those listed may be required for some courses. They need 24 non-refillable mechanical pencils, two large packs of plain or yellow #2 pencils, one box of colored pencils, five boxes Kleenex, a flash drive (new students only), two highlighters, five tab dividers for their binder, two packages of 8”x11” copy paper, a zippered pencil pouch, two large pink pearl erasers, one 4 oz. tube of glue, four packages of wide-ruled notebook paper, scissors, backpack, 3-ring binder and small personal pencil sharpener. No Sharpies, markers or crayons are allowed.

Sixth through eighth graders need a 3-ring notebook, five spiral notebooks, two composition books, seen single folders, two packages each of loose-leaf notebook paper and 8”x11” copy paper, one package each of black pens, colored pencils and colored markers (no Sharpies), 24 #2 pencils and a math compass and protractor.

High school students will need three packages of 8”x11” copy paper, 400 sheets of loose-leaf notebook paper, seven spiral notebooks, a dozen #2 pencils, a composition book, a box of Kleenex, bottle of hand santizer, and if taking math courses, a compass, protractor, colored pencils, scientific calculator and graph paper.

The fall semester begins Thursday, August 10.

By Wesley Coburn - ONN

In June 1997, a young adult book titled Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (retitled in the U.S. as Sorcerer’s Stone) was published in England, by a debut author named J.K. Rowling. This book began the series following the adventures of Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley as they navigated the trials of adolescence in a boarding school for wizards. The series became an equally-famous series of films starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Alan Rickman.

The Okmulgee Public Library is celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the Harry Potter series with a celebration held from 5 p.m.to 7 p.m. the nights of Thursday, June 20 and Thursday, June 27. There will be a live reading of Sorcerer’s Stone, as well as arts and crafts, with other activities remaining a secret until the event. Costumes are not required, but they are greatly encouraged, as they would add to the fun.

“Every so often, a book comes along that captures everything you need to know about life,” says Jeana Robinson, OPL Director of Children’s Services. “In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, this was Harry Potter. I think this series is where real fandom started; the depth of the stories and characters engaged children and adults of all ages.”

The seven-book series, which totals over a million words and four thousand pages, have become required pop-cultural knowledge in college English courses, and made their author into a Stephen King-level celebrity, with 11.2 million Twitter followers. Through these books, as Robinson said, “We learned about Quidditch, butterbeer and potions, love, loss, loyalty and friendship.” Rowling has also written four non-HP novels for adults, in addition to six HP spinoff books, a screenplay for a prequel film and a stage play sequel.

Besides Sorcerer’s Stone, the other books in the series are The Chamber of Secrets, The Prisoner of Azkaban, The Goblet of Fire, The Order of the Phoenix, The Half-Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows.

Robinson isn’t sure which of the four houses she would be sorted into, but two of the library staff are confirmed Ravenclaws.


By Wesley Coburn - ONN

Crossroads Baptist Church, located at 6962 Happy Camp Road in Beggs, held a dessert auction Sunday, July 9, to raise money to “send the youth group off in style,” according to Karen Noland, on their way to Falls Creek.

The youth and other members of the congregation prepared over forty desserts, which were auctioned off by Tom Grimmett, raising over $1,800. This money will go towards chartering an air-conditioned motorcoach, providing a much more comfortable ride than the used non-air-conditioned school bus they would otherwise make the almost-three-hour trip in.

The leftover money will “provide additional scholarships for youth who may need assistance to attend,” Noland said. Falls Creek is located in the Arbuckle Mountains near Davis. Basically a small city, it is the oldest youth camp in the state and the largest in the nation. Though mainly Baptist, any denomination is welcome. It was founded in 1917, and is owned and operated by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, which is the overseering organization of the state’s various Baptist Collegiate Ministries serving university campuses.

For more information on Fall Creek, or if anyone knows youth hoping to attend, contact Gary Honeycutt at 918-267-4720.


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