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Okmulgee in the News

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Okmulgee Lions President R.C. Morrow was presented the District 3-0 Lion of the Year Award Saturday , May 20, at the Lions State Convention in Midwest City. Making the presentation is Lions International Director N. Alan Lundgren, Scottsdale, Arizona (left), Lion Morrow, and Incoming District 3-0 Governor Gene Redford. Lion Morrow is the fourth Okmulgee Lion to receive this prestigious award since this award began in 1974.
(Photo and information provided)

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Rotary President Elect Darryl Raley presents a check and certificate to Okmulgee High School’s Best All-Around Boy, Ian McAnally.

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On behalf of the Okmulgee Rotary Club, President Elect Darryl Raley presented the club’s annual Rotary scholarships to OSUIT to Kiara Jones and Michael Cook.

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Pictured left to right: Program Chairman Lion Rusty Milroy and Dan Bewley. Photo by Dean Craig

By Dean Craig Okmulgee Lion

Tuesday's Lions Club meeting was another trip to nostalgia-land with Okmulgee ties brought to us by Dan Bewley, former long-time news/sports reporter on both Channel 6 and Channel 8 in Tulsa. Additionally, he worked TV stations in Virginia, Michigan, and Texas, covering an approximate 25 year period. So, about three years ago he felt he needed a change of pace, and began a company called Your Story Media to produce videos geared toward advertising. But I'm getting ahead of my story.

Bewley graduated from high school in Edmond and graduated college from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in Chickasha. He is a self-proclaimed baseball "nut", history "nut", and more specifically, an Oklahoma history baseball "nut", which is how he came to establish his present T-shirt business, Three Sands Clothing.

Three Sands is now a ghost town, but it existed right on the Noble County and Kay County line south of Ponca City. It was an oil boom town--there was just a massive oil field there. It was named because they found oil in three layers of sand, so Three Sands. But it's where his dad was born and his grandfather worked in the oil fields. The name of the company, Three Sands Clothing, is a tip of the hat to his grandfather, who was just like thousands of other Oklahomans who toiled every day to provide for his family and to make this state a better place, and they are kind of lost to history. So, Three Sands, to Bewley, is a shout-out to his grandfather, but also all of the men and women who worked hard and did the things that were necessary to do to survive.

Baseball was played in Oklahoma and Indian Territory as soon as there were enough players to field teams, Many towns and cities formed their own professional organizations. They hired players from around town and even brought in ringers from out of state. These players had dreams of making it to the Major Leagues and a surprising number of them actually made it. Bewley's research indicated that about 300 or 400 of these "town teams" played ball between 1882 and the 1950s, and they were a sense of pride for their communities. Bewley said the first recorded organized baseball game in Indian Territory was played July 4, 1882. Coal miners from Krebs and coal miners from Savanna got together and played a baseball game. They used cans and sacks of hay for bases. There was like 300 or 400 people there, so it was a big deal.

One of the "retro-vintage" T-shirts Bewley brought to the Lions to display/sell was this first game of Krebs vs. Savanna. The other one was the 1912 Champion Okmulgee Glassblowers. His research could not identify the sponsor of the team but it is believed that there were three glass plants in Okmulgee at that time, so probably were sponsored by one of the glass plants. Frank Gardner was player/manager, and other members of the team (mostly only last names known) were: Maddicks, Upton, Pierce, Clayton, Clark, Ash, Baxter, Jeffries (catcher), 6"3" first baseman Earl Roberts, Everdon, Burnett, Taylor, and Harris. Bewley was amused to recount a May 1928 baseball game that his research uncovered between an Okmulgee team and a Tulsa team played at the "Okmulgee Field" (has not been able to be identified) that ended in a "seat cushion battle". Fans began throwing seat cushions at each other after the game, but no injuries were recorded. Neither was the score, so apparently it wasn't important to either side.

Other early baseball teams mentioned were the Oklahoma City Pirates (1891, two years after the "land run"), the Tulsa Railroaders, the Bartlesville Boosters, the Broken Arrow Nine, and Ty Cobb and the Detroit Tigers playing against the Muskogee Mets and the Tulsa Producers in 1916. Also, according to research, the 1922 Okmulgee Drillers was one of the top 100 baseball teams ever. Shoppers can see the full inventory at threesandsclothing.com or GreenHouse Clothing, 3310 S. Yale Ave. Three Sands Clothing items also are available at Dwelling Spaces in the Boxyard, Beard and Blade in Jenks, and Studio 405 Clothing Company in Oklahoma City. Bewley is looking at the possibility of a retail outlet in Okmulgee for his T-shirts. One of his T-shirts has the first rules of early-days baseball and one of the rules says you are not allowed to kill the umpire.

On a related note, the newest member, Lion Charles Otto, won the 100-year celebration glass on the first name drawn, unlike the previous weeks. We still have a few more glasses to award and a few more spots for a few more good men and women. Come join in the revelry, relaxation, refreshing, and rewarding fun of our club. Hope to see you soon! "WE SERVE".

(Photo and information provided by Dean Craig, with excerpts from threesandsclothing.com and Jimmie Tramel, Tulsa World).

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(Broken Arrow, Oklahoma) -- Northeastern State University-Broken Arrow will be the host site for free professional development opportunities for Oklahoma third through 12th grade math teachers this summer June 12-15 and July 24-26.
 
The workshops are part of the Oklahoma Mathematics Advancement Project, a three-year Mathematics Science Partnership Grant funded by the National Department of Education through the Oklahoma State Department of Education at $550,000 per year.
 
The grant was awarded to Dr. Martha Parrott, Professor of Mathematics and Assistant Dean of the NSU Greg Wadley College of Science and Health Professions, Martha Wissler and Linda Hall, project managers and mathematics education consultants. NSU is the higher education partner.
 
Since there is only one three-year MSP award given in Oklahoma for mathematics, Parrott said it is a great honor for the team to have been selected as the recipients. Their project is focused on delivering OKMAP professional development across Oklahoma.
 
“The ultimate goal is to provide purposeful professional development for classroom teachers that will ultimately impact third grade through algebra II students in Oklahoma. We want our students know and understand mathematics more deeply so that their learning will be made more relevant and sustainable,” Parrott said.
 
According to Parrott, all MSP awards must have a local school district as the lead fiscal agent. The lead school district for this award is the Western Heights School District in the Oklahoma City area.
 
School district partners were selected in accordance with grant requirements and include Tahlequah, Glenpool and Muskogee public schools on the east side of the state and Western Heights, Millwood and Crooked Oak public schools from the west side of the state. Parrott said teachers from other districts are invited to participate as well.
 
This is the beginning of year two and Parrott said teachers who have been participating in the project say they feel better equipped to provide more relevant, sustainable learning experiences—this means more student engagement and less worksheets. Teachers say they can already see the positive impact that their new content and pedagogical knowledge is having on their students.
 
“As we move forward into year two of the grant, teachers will continue to share what they have learned with other teachers in their districts thus impacting even more students in Oklahoma,” Parrott said.
 
During the upcoming workshops, teachers will learn not only from Parrott, Hall and Wissler but also from national presenters including Cheryl Rose Tobey and Emily R. Fagan, known for their work with mathematics assessment probes, David Foster, author and director of the Silicon Valley Mathematics Initiative, and Chris Shore, contributing author to the Mathematics Project Journal “Ultimate Math Lessons.” 
 
For more information, contact Parrott at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 918-449-6474.

State vs Cory Fish

DA Rob Barris announced that on May 26, 2017, Cory Fish entered a plea of guilty to the crime of murder first degree in the murder of Joshua Pascal that occurred in November 2015.

Fish entered his plea of guilty and was sentenced to serve a term of life imprisonment. Under Oklahoma law, a conviction and sentence for murder first degree requires a defendant to serve at least 85% of the sentence before they are eligible for parole. The state considers life to be equivalent to 45 years so Mr. Fish will be required to serve 38.25 years before he would become eligible for consideration for parole.

Mr. Fish also was revoked from probation on a prior drug possession charge and pled guilty to a charge of possessing drugs in jail. He was sentenced to serve ten (10) years on those charges to run consecutively to the life sentence.

“This case began as missing persons case in November 2015. As a direct result of the dedicated efforts of Okmulgee police and all members of the district 25 violent crime task force, we were able to finds parts of Mr. Pasquale’s body in 2 separate locations both connected to the defendant. Mr. Fish ultimately confessed to this murder”, said Barris.

“It is my hope that the hard work put in by the district 25 VCTF and this office will bring some closure and comfort to the Pascal family.”

OSU Prevention Programs
Margaret Black

In Okmulgee County, almost 39 percent of high school seniors have reported drinking alcohol in the past 30 days, and 21 percent of those seniors who are drinking are binge drinking according to the 2016 Oklahoma Prevention Needs Assessment (OPNA). When reviewing data for substance abuse issues, in Okmulgee County, underage drinking is one of the most pressing issues.

Underage drinking has many detrimental effects. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “underage drinking contributes to a wide range of costly health and social problems, including injury and death from motor vehicle crashes, interpersonal violence (such as homicides, assaults, and rapes), unintentional injuries (such as burns, falls, and drowning), brain impairment, alcohol dependence, risky sexual activity, academic problems, and alcohol and drug poisoning.” Allowing youth to drink alcohol is setting them up to have many long lasting consequences such as permanent danger to their still developing brains, alcoholism, unintended pregnancies, and even death.alcoholadsunderage

For the most part, Okmulgee County Seniors are not purchasing or stealing the alcohol they are consuming. Adults are providing the alcohol to them. The OPNA shows that seniors in the county are drinking at a friend’s house 70% of the time, and 53% of the time the alcohol is provided by someone they know who is 21 or older.

Parents and other adults in the community need to realize the dangers of providing alcohol to youth as well as the legal consequences. In November 2011, Cody’s Law, also known as the Social Host Law, went into effect. This law makes it illegal for someone to provide the place for youth to drink. This includes not only in your home, but also anywhere on your property.

The first offense of the Social Host Law is punishable by a $500 fine. The fine increases with the second offence and with the third offence it becomes a felony charge. If someone is injured or killed as a result of the underage drinking party, the host may also be charged with a felony.

Please do your part to prevent underage drinking, by not allowing youth a place to have drinking parties. If you are aware of an underage drinking party, please contact your local law enforcement. If you would like more information about the Social Host Law visit www.oklahomasocialhost.com, or call the Regional Prevention Coordinator (RPC), who is funded by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) at 918-756-1248.

High school seniors across the country are studying for their final exams in preparation for graduation. Graduation is a big accomplishment, and will likely be followed by parties honoring the students. Oklahoma State University’s department of Prevention Programs wants to remind everyone to celebrate safely and follow the law by not providing alcohol to minors.

The 2016 Oklahoma Prevention Needs Assessment (OPNA) reports 47% of Oklahoma seniors, who drank, were provided the alcoholic beverage from someone they knew over the age of 21. The current culture regarding alcohol use by minors suggests that many parents feel that this behavior is okay, as long as they can supervise it. However, underage drinking is not only dangerous for youth physically, it is also illegal.

Oklahoma’s social host law is intended to crack down on adults who allow underage drinking at their residence. This includes family members like parents and older siblings who provide alcohol to minors. Under the law, individuals as young as 17 can be charged and held accountable if a minor is found to be in possession of alcohol.  UnderageDrinking

The law, known as Cody’s Law, states that “no person shall knowingly and willfully permit any individual under twenty-one (21) years of age who is at the residence of the person or any building, structure or room owned, occupied, leased or otherwise procured by the person or on any land owned, occupied, leased or otherwise procured by the person, to possess or consume any alcoholic beverage.”

Those found in violation of Cody’s Law can be charged with a misdemeanor, be required to pay a $500 fine, or even be sentenced to five years in prison. Repeated convictions result in felony charges.

Under the law, prosecutors are not required to show that the host actually provided the alcohol; they simply need to demonstrate that the host provided a space that allowed minors to consume alcohol.
Local graduation ceremonies are fast approaching. Help keep graduation happy and safe; don’t provide alcohol to minors. For more information about the Social Host Law contact the Regional Prevention Coordinator (RPC), funded by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS), (918)765-1248.

If you suspect underage drinking is taking place at a party, please contact the local police department or Sheriff’s Office.

First Family Federal Credit Union (FFFCU) is proud to announce membership expansion has been approved for six additional counties. Those who live, work, worship or attend school in Atoka, Coal, Haskell, Hughes, Latimer and Pushmataha counties are now eligible to open an account with FFFCU, in addition to the current membership of McIntosh, Okfuskee, Okmulgee and Pittsburg counties.

David Dykes President/CEO stated, “One of the advantages of credit unions is that we are a financial cooperative. Each and every member is not only a member; they are an owner of the credit union. All residents of the 10 counties will be able to take advantage of our full array of financial products and services. We pay our owners back by providing lower interest rates on loans, higher rates of return on deposits and lower fees and charges on services.”

Like banks, credit unions accept deposits, make loans, and provide a wide array of other financial services. But as member-owned institutions, credit unions focus on providing a safe place to save and borrow at reasonable rates.

To better serve their members, a new position has been added to the employee roster. Ashley Morris of Okmulgee has been hired as FFFCU Member Development Representative. Her role is to visit the expanded membership region and educate the public on the credit union difference. Ashley said, "I'm very excited to be working with FFFCU! I've had family ties with them for many years! They are the most welcoming group of people I've ever come across. We are people helping people, and I'm very happy to be a part of this movement!"

With current locations in Checotah, Henryetta, McAlester and Okmulgee, FFFCU offers financial products such as competitive savings and CD rates, free checking, free debit cards, free online BillPay, free mobile app and so much more. FFFCU is a not-for-profit organization, which means that they give back what they earn.

FFFCU’s main goal is to serve their members rather than to maximize corporate profits. Their vision statement is Exceeding Expectations to Make a Positive Difference.

The term “member” may sound exclusive but their membership range is broad. Even if your immediate family is a current member, you can open a savings account with a minimum of $5.00 at FFFCU.

Your investments are secure at FFFCU. Savings are federally insured to at least $250,000 by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), a U.S. Government Agency. FFFCU Board of Directors are elected from membership and serve in a volunteer capacity. Election is held annually at the FFFCU Annual Meeting and each member is invited to attend and have a vote. As a member, YOU are the owner of FFFCU.

For more information about membership or if you just have financial questions, please visit online at www.firstfamilyfcu.com. FFFCU is also invested in the community! Find them on Facebook at facebook.com/firstfamilyfcu.

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Okmulgee Lake Swimming Area

With the Memorial Day holiday approaching, the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) encourages Oklahomans to visit the state’s lakes, rivers, or streams. While recreating at these natural water bodies, DEQ reminds you to follow some simple tips to help keep you and your family safe while swimming, boating, canoeing, or enjoying other water activities.

Natural bodies of water, especially warm and stagnant water, can contain organisms that may cause illness. Bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms can cause skin, eye, and ear infections, respiratory infections, or gastrointestinal upset. Illness can range from mild to severe. While some microorganisms occur naturally, others are carried into surface waters from a variety of sources.

Please consider the following precautions to protect against water-borne sickness when recreating in natural waters:

Choose swimming areas carefully

• Pay attention to signage about water conditions
• Stay away from any area that has stagnant water, floating debris, scum, an oil
sheen, or dead fish
• Avoid swimming near storm drains

Take simple precautions

• Hold nose or wear nose plugs when jumping into the water
• Avoid swallowing water when swimming
• Wear ear plugs to prevent ear infections
• Wear swim goggles or masks to prevent eye infections
• Wash skin with soap and water after swimming

Prevent spread of illness to others

• Take children to the restroom frequently
• Use swim diapers on infants
• Rinse off prior to entering the water
• Avoid swimming if you are ill

 

Chamber Planning Three Days of Fun Activities, Music and Great Barbecue

The Pecan Festival returns to downtown Okmulgee June 8 through June 10, and lots of fun activities are being planned.

Pecan Festival Committee Co-chairmen Shannon Prescott and Clint Wilson say plans call for favorites from last year to return, along with new features this year.

“Of course, the carnival will be here, along with food trucks, arts and crafts vendors, musical entertainment, and the Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned barbecue competition,” says Prescott. “But we’re bringing some new things to this year’s event.”

“The festival opens Thursday evening with popular KOTV Meteorologist Travis Meyer,” says Wilson. “He will be broadcasting from the Festival. Thursday evening is also Wristband Night at the carnival where those who purchased wristbands can ride until the carnival closes at 11 p.m. And hometown favorite Brent Giddens will be entertaining at a street dance, so we’re inviting everyone to bring their lawn chairs and dancing shoes and come and join the fun.”

Prescott and Wilson go on to say renown stunt rider Cody Elkins is returning and will be performing Friday and Saturday. He will be available for autographs and photos, and fans can buy his T-shirts as well.
Saturday will be an entire day of fun activities. The morning begins with the return of the turtle races, and youngsters will also want to bring their pets downtown for the Pet Parade, which is new this year.

“The Lions Club will be operating the turtle races and the Rotary Club is sponsoring the Pet Parade,” explains Prescott. “We are delighted these organizations are partnering with us this year!”
The Lions Club is also bringing the Oklahoma Lions Service Foundation’s mobile health unit. In addition to offering a variety of medical screenings, the unit offers vision screenings for kids. It will be available all three days of the festival.

A 5K fun run is in the works also. It will begin Saturday morning at the YMCA and end on 7th Street near the Orpheum. Wilson says once the details are finalized, registration forms will be available at the Chamber office and on the Chamber’s website - www.okmulgeechamber.org.

A new feature to this year’s Pecan Festival is the pecan cooking contest. Sponsored by Bill and Danna Martin, owners of Tree Top Pecans, the competition is open to anyone. There are two divisions for competing: the Junior division which is open to students up to the 12th grade; and the Adult division which is open to anyone 18 years old and out of high school. The winner in each category will receive $100. Second and third place winners will receive a ribbon and gift certificate. Competition rules and regulations are also available at the Chamber office and on the website.

Another new feature is the 6x6 Art Show sponsored by Okmulgee Main Street’s Design Committee. “The theme this year is simply ‘pecans,’” says Design Committee Chairperson Julie Roberds. “We are encouraging artists to use their imaginations and design anything pecan-related.” The canvasses can be purchased for $6 each at the Main Street office at 100 E. 6th. The completed entries must be returned to the Main Street office no later than end of business Friday, June 2.

Also returning this year is the Ribs & Roll Barbecue Competition, but this year’s event is a two-day competition. Sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, participants will compete for prize money and points. First day of the competition is Saturday, June 9, and the second day is Sunday, June 10. Although the competitors’ entries are strictly for judging, several of the competitors have agreed to cook for Tasters’ Kits that will be for sale Saturday.

A new feature to the competition is Barbecue 101. Some of the award-winning cooks will be holding short, informal sessions where they will share their expertise in barbecuing and grilling. “These sessions are designed for the backyard barbecue chef who simply wants to improve his or her skills,” explains Wilson. There is no cost for the Barbecue 101 sessions.

Okmulgee’s Fraternal Order of Police are sponsoring a “Kids Safety Zone” where they will have a Police cruiser and fire truck on hand for kids to see. Police officers and fire fighters will be on hand to visit with the kids too.
What is sure to be a popular event in the safety zone is a dunk tank sponsored by the FOP. Police officer Tim Harkrider says local celebrities and community leaders have agreed to sit in the tank while festival goers pay to try to dunk them.

Friday and Saturday evenings offer two bands each night who will entertain festival goers. Prescott and Wilson say people can sit and listen, or dance the evening away. They point out there is no cost for the concerts, which will take place in the parking lot at 7th and Morton, just east of the Orpheum.
Wilson and Prescott point out that due to the Council House renovation project, the arts and crafts vendors, and the Chamber’s booth are all being moved out onto the streets. Arts and crafts vendors will be on Grand Ave. between 6th and 7th Streets, while the food trucks, the beer garden and tent will be on Morton Ave. between 6th and 7th Streets. Chamber Executive Director Kay Rabbitt-Brower says the Chamber is still accepting applications for arts and crafts vendors and entries for the barbecue competition.
“The fee to have a booth in the arts and crafts area is $100,” says Rabbitt-Brower. “We have a special rate of $75 for Chamber members, also.”

The Chamber booth will be located in front of the Arlington Building on 6th Street between Morton and Grand Avenues.

“The Chamber will be selling the official Pecan Festival T-shirts, Koozies, and bottled water, along with serving as the source of information about the festival,” explains Prescott. “We will also be serving barbecue sandwiches complete with chips and a soft drink in the Chamber’s food truck.”

“We are still working to finalize some details, but we want the community to know we’ve been working hard to make sure this is a fun event,” says Wilson. “We are proud of Okmulgee and want both residents and visitors to feel the sense of ‘community’ Okmulgee offers.”

Wilson and Prescott want to remind everyone there is still time to sign up to volunteer during the Pecan Festival. “This is certainly a volunteer-driven event, and we have a lot of fun opportunities for anyone wanting to volunteer,” says Prescott.

Anyone with questions about the Pecan Festival is encouraged to contact the Chamber of Commerce at 918-756-6172 or drop by the office at 112 N. Morton. Information, vendor applications, and barbecue entry forms can be found on the Chamber’s website at www.okmulgeechamber.org.

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