Okmulgee in the News
By Dean Craig Okmulgee Lion
Pictured left to right: Program Chairman Lion Kyle Brooks, Travis Thompson, and President Lion R.C. Morrow. (Photo by Dean Craig)
Tuesday's Lions Club meeting featured another outstanding program from the Muscogee (Creek) Nation by Travis Thompson, Director of Compliance, to ensure that all the laws and regulations regarding the nine casinos are complied with. These nine properties are: Duck Creek Casino; Holdenville; Muskogee; Eufaula; Bristow; Okemah; Checotah; One Fire Casino, Okmulgee; and, of course, the crown jewel of them all is River Spirit Casino Resort, Tulsa.
Travis was born and raised in Henryetta, where he continues to reside with his wife and two daughters. In his spare time, he and his grandfather continue to "run" a few cattle. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2005 and began his employment with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Gaming Commission 11 years ago, opening the new casino in Bristow. When the Checotah casino opened, he was assigned those duties, also, and commuted between those two facilities.
In 2011, he assumed management for the One Fire Casino and Restaurant in Okmulgee, and during this time was his first guest appearance to the Okmulgee Lions Club. In February 2015, he was assigned to River Spirit Casino in Tulsa. In between all this, he managed to squeeze in enough time and energy to obtain a Master of Science degree in Accountancy from the University of Phoenix. Therefore, it is no wonder that he was nominated for, and received, the "Native American 40 Under 40" award from the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED). This prestigious award is bestowed upon individuals under the age of 40, nominated by members of their communities who have demonstrated leadership, initiative, and dedication and made significant contributions in business and their community. Travis was one of seven winners from Northeast Oklahoma, who were honored at the 41st Annual Indian Progress in Business Awards Gala at the Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino in Santa Fe, New Mexico on November 16, 2016.
Of course, one could not mention the Tribe nor Casinos without mentioning the $365 million crown jewel, the recently-opened 4-star River Spirit Casino Resort, the 27-story all-glass tower with 483 rooms and suites, spa, fitness center, and retail stores. Travis stated that the major component is the floor-to-ceiling glass, which provides a spectacular view of the Arkansas River and downtown Tulsa. Construction of this facility created 2,500 jobs, reclaimed 40 acres of sand and silt, required piers driven 30 feet down in the ground, and will put $135 million back into the economy annually. It has 30,000 square feet of space for conventions, which can be divided into 12 break-out rooms. Since it's opening, there has only been about three days without a convention of some kind.
This was a very informative and interesting program, which gave us a lot of positive information that we sometimes never hear about. This kind of knowledge is what you can get by attending any of our meetings, which are open to the public. And we continue to seek a few good men and women to share the blessings of support for our community. "WE SERVE".
First Family Federal Credit Union is now accepting applications for a $500 scholarship. They will award ten scholarships in the amount of $500 each to High School Seniors within their field of membership. Field of membership includes Okmulgee, Okfuskee, McIntosh and Pittsburg Counties. In order to qualify for the scholarship, the applicant (or the applicant’s parent/guardian) must be a member of First Family FCU. As long as you live, work, worship or attend school in a county they serve, you can join First Family FCU. Seniors and parents can pick up the application up at any of the four First Family FCU locations or online at www.firstfamilyfcu.com.
Completed applications can be dropped off at your nearest location or mail them to P.O. Box 170 Henryetta OK 74437. The deadline to submit applications is April 14, 2017. High School Seniors who complete applications will receive a First Family FCU selfie stick (while supplies last).
It is my privilege to serve the citizens, parents and students of the 2nd school district. We have so many great things going on in our school system. The current School Board Members are united in our efforts to insure the education of all of our students with excellence. This is our priority. In short, it’s working, and changing horses in the middle of the stream can come with risk to continuity, influence, and vision.
As School Board Member for the 2nd district I have worked effectively and successfully with my colleagues on the Board and others across the school system and the Okmulgee community to provide effective leadership. Some of the success during this past term on the Board that I am most proud of include the following:
• ACE – Advanced Contemporary Education
• Native Vision – Summer camp for Native Kids
• Youth Baseball – Summer program for Boys & Girls
• After-School Basketball – sponsored evening time fundamentals training for youth
Preserving our Legacy
• Harmon Stadium – many repairs and upgrades to our historic site
• Dunbar School - Instrumental in the recreation of Dunbar School
• Armory – supporting the repair of the structural integrity of this timeless classic
• Led and developed a series of community meetings on Race-relations Improvement with several city leaders
• New Band Building underway currently
• Girls Softball Building
• Rebuilding rooftop greenhouse to OHS
• Roadways and parking lots at Harmon
• Middle School Library
• Campus-wide WiFi at all buildings
• Chromebooks and laptops for kids
• Classroom projectors repaired and upgraded
• Online textbooks and curriculum
Safety / Security
• Significantly increased the number and quality of cameras at each site
• New security key system and electronic keyless entry at school sites
• Construction of Secure Vestibule at Dunbar School
• Led community action & response meeting over recent community tragedies
Upgrading our Facilities
• Football locker room brought up to standards
• Bus Barn Restrooms brought up to standards
• New Roof on the Middle School Facility
• Upgraded lightings systems for our classrooms and campuses
Accomplishing this kind of success takes everyone working together as a team with respect, experience and a passion for students and a shared commitment to providing them with the best education we can give them. This has been the hallmark of the current Board and I am thankful to have been an integral part of building and maintaining that working environment and shared commitment. There is much more to do and I want to ask the voters of the 2nd District for the privilege of continuing to work on their behalf to insure the best education possible for our children. I look forward to working and discussing with everyone who wants to be involved in addressing the challenges and finding solutions for our improving system.
Marcus has also provided exemplary leadership in the broader community playing a key role in helping to facilitate the following:
• Community & Law Enforcement Unity Forum (Coordinator)
• Annual MLK Youth Program—Over 100 Youth Participating (Youth Coordinator)
• Steering Committee to End Violence in the Community (Co-Coordinator)
• School Board support for resources for the Okmulgee Junior Football Association
(Supported Board vote to provide use of practice fields, locker rooms, buses and the stadium)
• Historic Eastside Baptist Church (Senior Pastor) One of the fastest growing Churches in the City
“EDUCATING our children with EXCELLENCE is my PRIORITY”
Candidates for municipal office in 4 Okmulgee County municipalities may file Declarations of Candidacy beginning at 8 a.m. Monday, February 6th.
Ashley Carnes, Secretary of the County Election Board, said the filing period ends at 5 p.m. Wednesday, February 8th.
Declarations of Candidacy will be accepted at the County Election Board office for the indicated offices for each of the following municipalities:
City of Beggs --- Councilmember Ward 1 (4 year term)
City of Beggs --- Councilmember Ward 3 (4 year term)
City of Beggs --- Mayor (4 year term)
City of Henryetta --- Councilmember Ward 3 (4 year term)
City of Henryetta --- Councilmember Ward 4 (4 year term)
City of Henryetta --- Councilmember at Large (4 year term)
City of Morris --- Councilmember Ward 1 Seat A (unexpired 3 year term)
City of Morris --- Councilmember Ward 1 Seat B (4 year term)
City of Morris --- Councilmember Ward 2 Seat B (4 year term)
City of Morris --- Councilmember Ward 3 Seat B (4 year term)
City of Morris --- Councilmember Ward 4 Seat B (4 year term)
City of Morris --- City Clerk/Treasurer (4 year term)
Town of Dewar --- Board of Trustee Ward 2 (4year term)
Town of Dewar --- Board of Trustee Ward 4 (4 year term)
Town of Dewar --- Board of Trustee Ward 5 (4 year term)
Town of Dewar --- Town Clerk/Treasurer (4 year term)
The municipal offices at stake in Beggs, Dewar, Henryetta and Morris will be filled in the nonpartisan election scheduled April 4, 2017.
Candidates may pick up Declaration of Candidacy forms from the Okmulgee County Election Board Office.
Please call the office at 918-756-2365 if you have any questions.
by Tina Pierce LMFT
A new year is like the new chapter of a book. It is the opportunity to take your life in a new direction. Many people set out to do this by setting goals or making resolutions. Unfortunately, many people are not successful in completing these goals. One study suggests about 47% of people who make a new year’s resolution never complete it. So to the well-intended goal makers that struggle with the follow through, this one is for you. How to make a goal you can complete.
First, simplify! You are more likely to complete one goal than twenty. Choose one specific goal to work on at a time. Second, make your goal measurable and attainable. Saying I want to start working out one day a week or my goal is to loose five pounds is easier to conquer than I want to lose weight. Plus when you realize that you are making progress toward completing your goal you are more likely to keep going. Finally, write your goal down and share it with someone. Writing your goal down makes you more likely to succeed in completing your goal. Writing your goal down somewhere you see it regularly makes you even more likely to succeed. And sharing that goal with a friend that will keep you accountable to following through on your goal will make you even more likely to complete that goal. To all of the goal makers reading this I applaud your resolve and encourage you to never give up. Even if you feel like you are currently failing at your goal. I encourage you to take a look at your goal and simplify, evaluate the attainability and measurability, write it, and share it. Then celebrate the success even if it is only a partial success that is progress. Good luck, from the therapeutic cheerleader!
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, and more. The You Place also offers consultation and training services and LPC supervision. For more information call today. 918-777-6045
Okmulgee, Okla. -- All Ham Operators are Welcome and Invited to a Ham Radio Meet and Greet at the Okmulgee County Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
We have some new amateur radio operators in Okmulgee County and we would like to have everyone (both seasoned & new hams) come by for morning of coffee and conversation.
And before you know it storm season will be here in Oklahoma. So, we thought it would also be great opportunity for members of the Okmulgee County SkyWarn Association WX5OKM also join in the conversations.
Following a short presentation there will be a tour of the communications room in the EOC -- which of course is equipped with amateur radio gear.
Who: Okmulgee County Amateur Radio Operators
What: Ham Radio Meet and Greet
When: Saturday 11 Feb 2017 at 9:00 AM
Where: Okmulgee County EOC, 110 N. Alabama Ave, Okmulgee.
Talk in: we will monitor 147.225 pl88.5 repeater
So please, come join us... we look forward to seeing everyone there.
What does Okmulgee County Emergency Management do? OCEM protects communities by coordinating resources and integrating activities necessary to build, sustain and improve the capability to mitigate against, prepare for, respond to and recover from natural disasters, act of terrorism or other man-made disasters.
Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/okmcoem
Robert Frost, Chief Investigator for the DA, and Mike Stacy, Investigator, were the guests of Rotarian of the Day Felecia Wittman. A couple of years ago, Robert approached the local police chief, the Okmulgee County Sheriff, the Henryetta police chief, as well as law enforcement in McIntosh County, to offer his 20-person team in exchange for manpower between agencies. Almost all agencies agreed and Robert gave case by case examples over the last 2 years of how this cooperation has worked well to solve many violent crimes within short time periods. He was pleased to announce the Creek Nation tribal police had recently joined the coordinated team effort.
Mike spoke to the group about the parole program, listing the many duties their office covers for the current nearly 900 parolees in our DA’s area. One of the things their office does is try to help parolees find employment. Potential employers can set the parameters for the type of crime the parolee was convicted of that they are willing to employ. It was brought to his attention that businesses hiring parolees are eligible for a tax credit. Please contact the DA’s office if your business has employment opportunities.
AGENDA FOR REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
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 January 30, 2017 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.
NOTE: The Board may discuss, vote to approve, vote to disapprove, vote to table or decide not to discuss any item on the agenda.
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 #10 for lease purchase of 2006 or newer 10-wheeled
G. Open Request for Qualifications for CDBG Administrator and possible award of contract
H. Discussion and possible approval of Resolution to apply for CDBG
I. Discussion and possible approval to Adopt Written Citizen Participation Plan
J. Discussion and possible approval of Fair Housing Documentation
K. Possible approval of Authorization for Chairman to sign all CDBG Grant Documents
L. Discussion and possible approval of Agreement with Arbuckle Materials
M. Discussion and possible approval of Resolutions to dispose of equipment
N. Discussion and possible approval of Memorandum of Understanding with OSU
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
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
East Central Oklahoma Family Health Center, Inc. (ECOFHC) was proud to welcome everyone to a groundbreaking ceremony Friday at the Shurden-Leist Industrial Park. Donna Dyer, CEO of the family health center said the groundbreaking marks an important milestone in meeting and expanding the medical, dental, behavioral health and 340B prescription coverage to the citizens of Okmulgee County and the surrounding areas. The building will be 7600 square feet that includes 12 exam rooms and a precedure room, 3 dental units with digital X-ray and will be a full service facility.
"We provide health, dental, behavioral health and prescription drug services. Our services help people with Medicare, Medicaid and even people who do not have insurance on a sliding scale based on income. We are here to try to meet the needs of our community," said Dyer.
ECOFHC contracted with Henryetta Drug, Okemah Pharmacy and Norman Drug in we Wewoka to provide 340B prescription drug coverage for the patients of ECOHFC. At the inception of the idea to expand coverage to Henryetta in 2011, the ECOHFC Board of Directors had the foresight to see what a difference affordable healthcare could be to the community. When the research began for expansion in Okmulgee County, Henryetta welcomed ECOHFC with open arms and open hearts. The City of Henryetta not only recognize the benefit of affordable healthcare, they also recognized the economic impact for the community. The ECOHFC's New Access Point and Henryetta was funded in June 2012 with one building for medical services in a separate building for dental services. It was the intent of ECOHFC to combine all services in one location when funding became available.
In 2015, the Health infrastructure Investment Program grant application process was released. ECOHFC applied for the highly competitive grant and received the $1 million dollar reward in May 2016 and within the next month, the construction documents will be complete and construction will begin. Along with the Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, and the City of Henryetta are working together to ensure the success of this project. The total approximate cost for this project is 1.4 million.
Henryetta Mayor Jennifer Clason was on hand with other officials from the Henryetta Economic Development Authority who pitched the first shovels in the ground. The construction should be finished within 18-months.
Photos by Allen Gardner - ONN
Photo by Allen Gardner - ONN
The people of Henryetta shared in a celebration of remembering our Veteran’s on Saturday when they were visited by the Walking Veteran Thomas Hudson. Hudson, got his name "The Walking Veteran" by completing his mission last year to walk across America for the purpose of bringing awareness to the American people, to learn from Veterans and to honor and deliver the message of hurting Veterans to Congress. Hudson started his walk in Las Vegas Nevada on May 2, 2016 and concluded his journey in the Nations capital of Washington DC in November 2016.
Thomas spent some time in Henryetta visiting schools and talking with Veterans over the past few weeks and brought with him the wagon he pulled on his journey known as the Walking Veteran Wagon. The wagon was inducted into the Henryetta Historical Society Territorial Museum in Henryetta. During Hudsons walk across America, many people donated special items for Thomas to carry in honor of love ones. All of these items and gifts will also be donated and now have a home as well at the museum for historic preservation.
A parade was held on Saturday that preceded down Broadway Street to 10th to the Henryetta Civic center. Henryetta youth Daniel Cox pulled the wagon as he had been recognized previously by the Walking Veteran for Daniel’s kindness of bringing him water on a hot July day when Hudson traveled through Henryetta. Everyone gathered at the Civic center for a meal and ceremony that included special guest speakers, music and Thomas reviewed his walk across America. Daniel Cox who was coined the youngest walking Veteran also led the parade. Cox for his kindness on a hot July day when Hudson came to town. Cox was honored with a proclamation in both Henryetta and Arkansas each designating a “Daniel Cox Day.”
Hudson was surprised by a special guest “Cookie” his private duty nurse from Houston, who traveled to Oklahoma for a reunion visit.
See more photos on Facebook. Photos by Allen Garnder - ONN