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Okmulgee in the News

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President Felecia Wittman and Rotarian of the Day Kim Stokely present a pen to speaker Aric White. Aric is the owner of Superior Vault Company. After graduating college with an Economics degree, he used the knowledge he had obtained growing up on a farm and maintaining farm equipment to start a burial vault company. Sitting in an office all day wasn’t for Aric, who prefers to work with his hands. He built the molds, mixes his own concrete and designed the hoists for moving the vaults. He also recently purchased Crown Hill Cemetery, a historic black cemetery in north Tulsa near Turley. He had to buy the delinquent mortgage from the lender and foreclose it, which posed some interesting legal questions. Ultimately he was successful. He admitted managing a cemetery has it challenges as his behind the scenes vault company didn’t prepare him for the interpersonal relationships, and sometimes emotional situations that occur with funerals and final resting plots.


OKLAHOMA CITY - Governor Mary Fallin today released the following statement regarding Martin Luther King Jr. Day:

“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached a message of tolerance, mutual respect and human dignity that is just as relevant today as it was when he lived. He was a patriot who believed in the great potential of our country and its message of freedom and equality of opportunity. I encourage all Oklahomans to join me in celebrating the spirit of brotherhood and love that Dr. King embraced.”

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Monday, January 16. The governor’s office will be closed in observance of the holiday.

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 17, 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. Discussion and possible approval of Shale Agreement with Billy and Charles Clarkson

G. Discussion and possible approval of Shale Agreement with Patrick Crowell

H. Possible approval of Invitation to Bid #10 to lease purchase 10-wheel dump truck

I. 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

Name/Title of Person Posting This Notice: Becky Thomas/County Clerk

Date: January 12, 2017 Signature: __________________________________

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Pictured left to right: Lion Gary Volz, Lion R.C. Morrow (standing in for sponsor Lion Dan Anderson), Lion Duaine Janzen, sponsor for Lion Dr. Tom Alexander, and PDG Tom Cummings.

By Dean Craig Okmulgee Lion

Tuesday's Lions Club program was one of those necessary meetings to formally induct new members into the club. This is always a good sign because it means that we are growing. Past District Governor/Past Council Chairman Tom Cummings, Cushing, did the honors for us. Two of the new members were previous members and we are glad to have them back--Dr. Tom Alexander and David Fetgatter. Both are sponsored by Lion Duaine Janzen. The other new member is Gary Volz, sponsored by Lion Dan Anderson, and we are also glad to have him as a new member.

Lions International is the world's largest civic organization with 1.5 million members in 210 countries/geographical locations. During the 1925 International Convention, Helen Keller challenged the Lions to be "knights of the blind", thus Sight Conservation became our major project. A brand new sight-related project is the spot vision camera, with the target age group of six months to six years. Between the age of six months and six years old a child's brain learns how to use his or her eyes. If a child has a correctible eye problem that goes unnoticed, the child may never develop good vision for a lifetime. But as you know, a child that young does not know letters or numbers. A child that young often does not have the attention span nor understanding to do a regular eye exam. Our program only requires the child to look at the camera for a few seconds to capture and evaluate the child's eyes, which is then wirelessly transferred to the printer and printed out to be sent home to the parents.

With this equipment, we can ensure that the young children in our community can develop good eyesight during these development years. Doctors say that by the time a child enters kindergarten, it may be too late for this important brain development to take place. Severe nearsightedness, farsightedness, lazy eye, astigmatism, and other eye problems can prevent good eyesight development. And the best thing, our spot vision assessments are FREE. PDG Cummings presented this program to our club on January 12, 2016 and we have about 10 Lions certified to operate the spot vision camera, all of whom have had FBI background checks (a requirement for schools and day-care centers). We are planning to start this service with day care centers and, hopefully, eventually work with the schools.

We still have a place for a few good men and women--think about giving us a visit! "WE SERVE".

(Photos and information provided by Dean Craig).

OKMULGEE, OK. - The Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1189 in Okmulgee are announcing the kick-off of the national VFW Auxiliary annual Young American Creative Patriotic Art Contest. Any local student in grades 9 through 12 are eligible and encouraged to enter and entrants will be competing for a combined total of $21,000 in scholarships, awarding First Place through Eighth Place scholarships. Also, students who have their patriotic artwork awarded will have an all-expenses paid trip to the 2017 VFW Auxiliary National Convention for their art and themselves to be recognized, awarded, and thanked for their participation.

Eligibility requirements are:
- Any student in grades 9-12 who is enrolled in a public, private or parochial high school or home study program in the United States.
- Maximum student age of 18 at time of local entry.
- Student must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. national.
- Applicant does not have to be related to a VFW or VFW Auxiliary member to participate, but the student must attend school in the same state as the sponsoring VFW Auxiliary
- Art must be on paper or canvas. Water color, pencil, pastel, charcoal, tempera, crayon, acrylic, pen-and-ink or oil may be used.
- Digital art and photography is NOT ACCEPTED.
- Submit canvas entries on stretcher frames or canvas board; other entries must be matted on white.
- Do not frame.
- Art should be no smaller than 8” x 10” but no larger than 18” x 24,” not including the mat.
More information can be viewed at the VFW Auxiliary web-site:

Nationally the Auxiliaries of VFW Posts throughout the U.S. have nearly 465,000 members in more than 4,000 Auxiliaries who volunteer millions of hours and fundraise millions of dollars for charitable projects that benefit veterans, military service personnel and their families. Anyone 16 years or older that have a relative who is a member of the VFW or eligible to be a member of the VFW is eligible to join the Auxiliary and take part in assisting America’s Veterans and Troops. If interested in becoming a member of VFW Post 1189 Auxiliary in Okmulgee, contact Auxiliary President Carol Smith, 918-232-5621.

Monday, 02 January 2017 19:19

Jeremy Brian Hamilton obit

Jeremy Brian Hamilton, a lifelong resident of Henryetta, passed from this life on Thursday, December 29, 2016 in Tulsa at the age of 43. Jeremy was born on September 15, 1973 in Okmulgee, Oklahoma to Ronald Hamilton and Deborah Parker. Jeremy grew up in Henryetta, attending Henryetta Public Schools, and graduated from Henryetta High School with the Class of 1992. He also enjoyed his high school years playing football for the Henryetta Knights. Following high school, Jeremy attended college briefly at Okmulgee Tech. Shortly thereafter, Jeremy went to work in the pipeline business.

Jeremy was employed by Janx Integrity Group as a pipeline radiographer inspector. He loved the work he did and the many friendships he made with colleagues and the people he came into contact with through his job travels. Jeremy was a longtime member of the IUOE Local 112 union and a longtime member of the Immanuel Baptist Church of Henryetta. He loved to target shoot with his collection of firearms, loved watching football, and eating out with friends and family. Jeremy loved to help people, and some might say he was generous to a fault. The only thing bigger than his heart was the smile he would greet you with anytime you saw him. He was a loving son, brother, and uncle and hundreds of people are proud to have called him "friend".

He is preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Jenkins "Jenks" and Betty Hamilton; an uncle, Mike Hamilton; a maternal aunt, Shari Carley; and grandfathers, Bill Parker and Bobby Powell; as well as step-father, Mike Kidwell.

Jeremy is survived by his father, Ronald Hamilton and wife Teresa of Henryetta; his mother, Debbie (Parker) Whatley-Kidwell; a sister, Haley Fanning and husband Zach of Checotah; a brother, Kevin Green and wife Cathy of Henryetta; grandmother, Lena Powell of Henryetta; sister, Cassie Whatley-Weaver and husband Anthony of Nixo, MO; brother, Nick Whatley of San Antonio, TX; brother, Stephen Whatley of Springfield, MO; sister, Bonnie Hackler and husband Jeff of Tulsa; 4 nieces, Phoenix Weaver, Cate Hackler, Lilly Hackler, and Courtney Green; 4 nephews, Spencer Hamilton, Gavin Weaver, Nixon Whatley, and Colton Green; a grandmother, Dorothy Robnett of Henryetta; uncle, Terry Parker and wife Elaine of Henryetta; and aunt, Connie Lane and husband Joe of Henryetta; a very special friend, Shanna Kinslow and her sons, Seth Kinslow and Tylor Kinslow; by numerous cousins, other extended family and many good friends.

Viewing for Jeremy will be held on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 from 2:00pm until 8:00pm at Integrity Funeral Service.

A funeral service for Jeremy will be held on Wednesday, January 4, 2017 at 2:00pm at The First Baptist Church of Dewar with Brett Wheeler and Darin Smith officiating. Interment will follow immediately at Westlawn Cemetery, under the direction of Integrity Funeral Service.

Pallbearers will be Erick Sisson, Dustin Osmund, Brad Spurlock, Cory Pitts, Heath Carley, Josh Delso, Brian Martin, Kevin Williamson, and Greg Powell. Honorary bearers will be Aaron Carley, Brian Henderson, Mackey Lambert, Richard Willouby, Mark Dover, Johnny Brown, Damian Lund, Dave Klutz, Jerrod Brown, Nicholas Whitley, Stephen Whitley, Tom Harkins, and members of IUOE Local 112 union.

The family has designated the American Cancer Society, PO Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123-1718 or the Prayers for Nathan George Fund in Henryetta, OK as appropriate for memorial contributions.

Monday, 02 January 2017 19:07

This January, Consider Mentoring a Child

(SPM Wire) If you have surplus of time, patience and dedication, consider mentoring a child. January, which is National Mentoring Month, is an ideal time of year to look into mentoring opportunities.

While many young people have positive role models at home, school or in their communities, others are not so fortunate and need basic adult guidance and encouragement. Others may have great role models, but lack a mentor who shares their specific skills or interests.

Remember, there are many programs out there with different levels of commitment. So even if you only have limited time to offer, there is likely an opportunity that would work for your schedule. To learn more, visit Mentoring.org.

This January, consider how you can best use your talents and time to encourage a child to succeed.


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New Year’s baby and her family and delivery team at MRHC

Jerod and Lauren Rose are pictured with their infant, Blakely, the first baby born at McAlester Regional Health Center in 2017. Blakely was born at 7:49 a.m. on Jan. 1, weighing 7 pounds, 10 ounces, and 20 inches long, and received a large gift package from the hospital (pictured to left). Also pictured are MRHC Obstetrics Nurse Manager Megan Monks, RN D’Andra Austin, Obstetrician Dr. Edwin Henslee and grandmother Glenda Rose. Congratulations!

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Pictured left to right: Program Chairman Lion Rusty Milroy, Margaret Hess, and President Lion R.C. Morrow. (Photo and information provided by Dean Craig)

Tuesday's Lions Club program was a re-scheduled program with Margaret Hess, who had voluntarily given up her original program in deference to Strawberry Olive, who was in town that day in a consulting capacity for Okmulgee. Margaret is such a ball of fire with boundless energy and never-ending enthusiasm for promoting Okmulgee, her home town. She and her husband, Rob, moved back to Okmulgee in 1991, and both have been a vital part of "Okmulgee Rising" by investing time, energy, and money in re-vitalizing downtown Okmulgee. She is anxiously looking forward to next year when 72 OSUIT students will be occupying the downtown loft apartments presently under construction by OSUIT. And Margaret and Rob's building, the McBrayer Building formerly housing the C.R. Anthony store and then an antique store, already has a number of their loft apartments leased. Tenants include an attorney, a paralegal, a newspaper editor, a business office manager, a marketing director for a home health service, and an OSUIT student from Duncan whose father has an electrical contracting business in Hawaii but presently is doing contract work in Tulsa and might possibly locate an office in Okmulgee. See how infectious every contact she makes further advances "Okmulgee Rising"? She and Ron Drake, a former consultant to Okmulgee Main Street, will attend a forum in Pittsburgh in May to "toot our own horn" of what's happening in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. And you know what they say, "he who tooteth not his own horn, the same shall not be tooteth".

Now, as the late Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story. Margaret stated that she had been contacted about 18 months ago by Julie Roberds, Green Country Technology Center staff member, to start an "incubator-like" program as a Business Development Specialist, with the main thrust to assist people with ideas to begin small businesses. So, in August (2016) she decided to give it a try. She says she is not a teacher but can take ideas for small businesses and connect them with the proper resource people to get started, basically providing the tools and resources through classes and/or workshops. She provided a list of workshops planned, most of which are free and are on the website, www.gctcok.edu. And Margaret said she realizes that entrepreneurship is not for everybody but this program can provide one-on-one support. She has an advisory council involving Main Street, Chamber of Commerce, an attorney, an accountant, bankers, and entrepreneurs. She is in her office Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and can be reached at (918) 295-4697 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. She is enjoying being a part of one of the 29 Technical Centers in Oklahoma. And what a spark of new and fresh energy she brings to the table.

The Okmulgee Lions Club has some very interesting and informative programs coming up, so check our program calendar and know that everyone is welcome to attend any of our meetings. And we're still looking for a few good men and women. "WE SERVE".

(Photos by Dean Craig)

Thursday, 29 December 2016 13:15

Okmulgee Community Meeting to be held January 2

Due to recent violent crimes and actions in the Okmulgee Area, the public is invited to come to a special Okmulgee Community Meeting on Monday January 2, at the Eastside Baptist Church.

Topics will include neighborhood watch, community and law-enforcement, how to get involved and stay safe and any other community concerns about the Okmulgee County area.

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