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Okmulgee in the News

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Pictured left to right: Dusty Delso and Program Chairman and President Lion R.C. Morrow.
(Photo by Dean Craig)

By Okmulgee Lion Dean Craig

Tuesday's Lions Club meeting was another south-of-Okmulgee towns program featuring Dusty Delso of the Schulter-Dewar area. Dusty began by stating how fortunate he was to be raised in Okmulgee County and what a great place to grow up. He began his "raising" in Schulter and both sets of grandparents were nearby and were hard-working coal miners. Three things you could count on from Grandmother Thornhill were: (1) plenty to eat (2) plenty of soap (3) and lots of love. She was a cook for Shipley's Café in Morris, and that goes back a number of years ago. He began playing Little League Baseball in Henryetta and he mentioned that the Henryetta Lions Club always sponsored a team, and he praised the Lions Clubs for all the community services they still provide, as they did years ago.

Because Schulter did not have enough players to field a baseball team, the family moved to Dewar. This would prove to be the right move because playing under Coach Wylie Ryal, Dusty was good enough to earn a baseball scholarship to Oral Roberts University, another good move because he met his wife of 30 years, Darcy, who was best friends with the daughter of former Major League pitcher, Jim Brewer, who had moved back to Broken Arrow and was the pitching coach for ORU. They have three children, the oldest daughter is a World Champion clogger, his son is a professional baseball player with Tampa Bay, and the youngest daughter is in college at OBU.

After college, Dusty began his teaching career at Twin Hills under the legendary Bob Pinkston, and one of his fourth grade basketball players was Brian Costanza, now with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. He moved on to Preston and then to Beggs, all the time continuing his education. He was a Principal at Kellyville, Muskogee, Jenks, and then went to work for the Cherokee Nation. All this time he was continuing his education toward a Doctorate Degree. He has taught night classes for Langston University for the past 15 years. He has also taught at Wright College, it closed; ITT, it closed; and another trade college, which also closed.

Dusty and my son, Jon, are long-time friends and my son was visiting me in the hospital when I broke my hip in August, and Dusty again related the story he had shared with me, my wife Anita, and Jon. Dusty's son, Dillon, the professional baseball player, had fallen down a flight of stairs in Florida, and suffered a near-fatal brain injury in the fall. Of course, Dusty immediately made the trip to his son's bedside in Florida. Doctors had had to remove part of his skull to relieve pressure and due to swelling in the brain. Dillon's diagnosis was not favorable, but he was on a lot of prayer lists. Dusty was in Dillon's room standing by the door but did not see anyone come in. When he turned around, there was a man in white. whom he assumed was the respiration therapist, and the man told Dusty that his son was going to be fine. Upon hearing this, Dusty turned away from him, but when he turned back around, the man was gone. You can draw your own conclusion, but I'm reminded of the song "Angels Among Us" by Alabama, which says: "Oh, I believe there are Angels among us, sent down to us from somewhere up above. They come to you and me in our darkest hours, to show us how to live, to show us how to give, to guide us with the light of love". Dillon is preparing for Spring Training to resume his career with Tampa Bay. Remember, Dusty played baseball for ORU and one of Oral Roberts' motto was "Expect a Miracle".

Dusty is back in Tulsa operating Main Street Lunch Box (BBQ, Burgers, and Burritos), 317 S. Main, Downtown Tulsa, 918 585-1111. His grandmother always fixed a good lunch box, thus the name of his restaurant. If you're in the area, stop in and say hi, order a meal, and ask for the "family discount" (just kidding!). What another outstanding and different program. Remember, you are always welcome to attend any of our programs and you can join us and attend them all. "WE SERVE".

(Photos by Dean Craig)

OKMULGEE COUNTY, Oklahoma - Two teenagers have pled guilty to one count of arson for burning a Twin Hills school bus in August, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma.

Garrett Lee Raynor, 19, of Bixby, and Joshua Scott Coppedge, 19, of Glenpool, were arrested following the August 23, 2016, incident when the pair, along with Devin Lee Riggins, 18, of Bixby, and a juvenile, stole two buses from the Twin Hills School District, drove them to a wooded area and set them on fire, police said.

Raynor and Coppedge face five to 20 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine, or both, the U.S. Attorney wrote in a news release.

Raynor and Coppedge "maliciously damaged, destroyed and attempted to damage and destroy, by means of fire, a 2010 Bluebird school bus," according to the indictment.

The arson charge was filed after a joint investigation by the Okmulgee County Sheriff's Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Both Raynor and Coppedge will remain in custody pending their sentencing hearing, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

Riggins was due in court for a preliminary hearing December 15 in Okmulgee County, where he faces larceny of an automobile and arson charges, according to online court records. He was charged in September.


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Pictured left to right: Program Chairman Lion Craig Brydges, Dutch VanDenBorn, and President Lion R.C. Morrow.

By Okmulgee Lion Dean Craig

Tuesday's Lions Club program was another one borrowed from our neighboring town of Henryetta, in the form of educator, coach, and athletic director, Dutch VanDenBorn, one of 21 football clock timekeepers for the Big 12 Conference. At first glance, one wouldn't think this would be a big deal, just operating the time clock, but after just a short time listening to the former coach, you realize that it really is a very big deal. So, how does one become a Big 12 Conference timekeeper since there is no printed criteria to become one?

Dutch explained that he retired five years ago after 40 plus years in education so really wasn't looking for another job. He was playing golf with a group of guys, including Henryetta resident Dr. David Warden, a former NFL official and present head of the Big 12 officiating crews, when Dr. Warden asked Dutch if he would like to become a Big 12 timekeeper. His reply was "let me think about that", which he did for about a year. He obtained permission to attend an Oklahoma State football game to observe a clock operator to learn what all the job entailed, and decided he would give it a try. The first year he "clocked" three games (the first game was at OSU), the second year four games, the third year seven games, and this year eight games. One of this year's games was the OU-Texas Red River Rivalry, which was the first time the former coach was in the Cotton Bowl.

There are about 12-13 people in the officiating entourage and they arrive at least three hours before game time. He meets with the line judge to go over signals, when to start the clock, when to stop the clock, and any other situations that might arise. Then they go up to the press box to check out everything to ensure that all the equipment is working properly. Then he and the 40-second clock operator make a visit to the "control truck", and then they go eat, well, he says. Post-game is a meeting with the officials, discussing the game or any problems, and filling out forms about the game.

The Big 12 Conference is one of the few conferences that have independent clock operators rather than "home" clock operators. This was changed when Walt Anderson, of Texas, took over these responsibilities, and he believed that having independent clock operators could reduce or eliminate possible problems. Of the 21 clock operators, there is one female clock operator from Kansas, and she does a good job.

A special guest was Dan Rhodes, a former coach and teacher of 40 plus years and, according to Dutch, a long time friend and mentor to him. Also in attendance, of course, was Immediate Past President Lion Beth Flud, another long-term teacher and former Okmulgee Lady Bulldogs basketball coach. And I certainly cannot fail to mention that Program Chairman Lion Craig Brydges is another 40 plus year educator. We appreciate people like these who give a life-time of service to our youth and, like the ministry, it certainly isn't for the money, but it is a calling. I'm once again reminded of the ten lepers whom Jesus healed, but only ONE returned to say "thanks". But when that one returns to say "thanks", it makes it all seem worthwhile, doesn't it? We are still waiting for that one to come to our meetings and say they want to join us and make it all seem worthwhile. "WE SERVE".

(Photos and information provided by Dean Craig)

Thursday, 15 December 2016 19:36

Upcoming School Board Filing Period

Candidates for Henryetta Public School District Board Member may file Declarations of Candidacy beginning Monday, December 19th through Wednesday, December 21st, in the Okmulgee County Election Board Office, 8:00am to 5:00pm each day.

The Board of Education position at stake will be filled at the non-partisan Special School Election scheduled Tuesday, February 14, 2017.

If no candidate receives more than 50% of the total votes cast in this election, the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes will meet in a run-off election on Tuesday, April 4, 2017.

Offices for which Declarations of Candidacy forms will be accepted are the following:

Henryetta Public School District---Office No. 4 (unexpired 2 year term)

Candidates may pick up Declaration of Candidacy forms from the Okmulgee County Election Board Office or may download them from the State Election Board’s website.

Please call the office at 918-756-2365 if you have any questions.

Drive Raises More than 2.6 Million Meals for Hungry Oklahomans

OKLAHOMA CITY - Governor Mary Fallin today announced her seventh annual Feeding Oklahoma Drive, which ran Oct.1 through 31, exceeded its goal of raising 2 million meals. In total, the drive raised $303,991 in donations and 1,327,766 pounds of food, which will provide 2,626,428 meals for Oklahomans struggling with hunger.

“I want to thank the many generous Oklahomans who stepped up and donated to this year’s Feeding Oklahoma Drive,” Fallin said. “Because of your incredible generosity, we will provide meals to our hungry neighbors across the state. Just because the drive has ended, though, and we have met our goal, please do not forget the continued importance of giving this holiday season.”

The Feeding Oklahoma Drive benefited the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and their partner agencies. Over the last seven years, 6,294,414 pounds of food and $2,533,692 have been raised through the Feeding Oklahoma Drive, which has provided the equivalent of 18,499,775 meals for hungry Oklahomans.

“Hunger exists all year long, but winter is especially difficult as the cost of heat often cuts into the food budget,” said Katie Fitzgerald, chief executive officer of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. “Families struggling with hunger shouldn’t have to decide between heating and eating. Thank you for joining us in fighting hunger this holiday season.”

The drive was chaired by businesswoman Laure Majors. Participating Feeding Oklahoma Drive businesses included: Advance Pierre Foods, AT&T, BancFirst BP America, Bob Moore OKC, Cleveland County Abstract Co., ConocoPhillips, Devon Energy, Dobson Technologies, Dolese Brothers, Frates Insurance & Risk Management, First Mortgage Company, Frankfurt Short Bruza Associates, P.C., INTEGRIS Health, JP Morgan Chase, Lamar Advertising Company, Lopez Foods, Love's Travel Shops & Country Stores, Mustang Fuel Corporation, Mustang High School POM Squad, Northrup Grumman, Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Oklahoma National Guard, Oklahoma Pork Council, Oklahoma State University - Leadership and Campus Life, Riverwind Casino, The Boeing Company, The Boldt Company, The Chickasaw Nation, University of Oklahoma, Verizon and Walmart.

Last fiscal year, the Regional Food Bank and Community Food Bank distributed more than 73.1 million pounds of food and products through a network of more than 1,700 charitable feeding programs and schools across Oklahoma.

“Once again, we are so grateful for the governor's leadership and the state's response to the issue of hunger in Oklahoma,” said Eileen Bradshaw, executive director for the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. “It is a significant problem, but one that we can alleviate by working together. No Oklahoman should go to bed hungry.”

There still is time to make a difference in the fight against hunger this holiday season. Thanks to a generous matching challenge from APMEX.com, the Cresap Family Foundation and Chesapeake Energy Corporation, every gift donated to the Regional Food Bank through Jan. 15 will be matched, dollar for dollar - up to $600,000 - for a total impact of $1.2 million. To make a donation, call (405) 600-3136 or visit regionalfoodbank.org.

During the month of December, the George Kaiser Family Foundation will match new, increased and lapsed donations up to $150,000 for the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. For more information about the Community Food Bank, or to make a donation, visit okfoodbank.org or call (918) 585-2800.

About the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma

The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is the state’s largest private, domestic hunger-relief organization and a member of Feeding America’s network of Food Banks. The nonprofit provides enough food to feed more than 126,000 hungry Oklahomans each week through a network of more than 1,300 schools and charitable feeding programs in 53 central and western Oklahoma counties. Since its inception in 1980, the Regional Food Bank has distributed more than 644 million pounds of food to feed Oklahoma’s hungry. For more information, visit http://www.regionalfoodbank.org; find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/regionalfoodbank or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/rfbo.

About the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma

Founded in 1981, the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma is one of the largest, private hunger-relief organizations in Oklahoma. It distributes donated items to 450 Partner Programs in 24 counties of eastern Oklahoma. These programs include emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, after-school programs, shelters and veteran and senior citizen centers. In addition, the Food Bank helps raise public awareness about hunger and the role of food banking in alleviating hunger. For more information, visit okfoodbank.org; find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/okfoodbank or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/okfoodbank.

By Betty Anderson

An award for Environmental Excellence was presented to Rick Miller, Public Works Director for the City of Okmulgee, for the outstanding job of creating the Recycling Center in Okmulgee.2016 12 15 Rick Miller Picture

Prior to December 2011 Okmulgee did not have a Recycling Center and thanks to Miller, it was established with no initial investment and has been operating efficiently with minimal labor expense to the City.   It is a self-sustaining, unattended 24/7 facility which has been greatly supported by the citizens of Okmulgee, according to Miller.

The Sanitation Workers have a strict work schedule to get it ready once a week for the service provider to come and get the recyclables.

Miller, humbly, credits the City, the Sanitation Department workers and the Citizens of Okmulgee for the success of this venture. The award was based on the data that the City sent on the recycling done over the past 4 years to Keep Oklahoma Beautiful.

To keep this wonderful venture successful, you may take your recyclables to 301 E. 3rd St. which is at the intersection of 3rd and N. Muskogee.




James Hodge Chevrolet held a toy run along with a car and bike show on Saturday Dec. 3.   The purpose of the toy drive to provide Christmas gifts for families in need this Christmas season.  This is the second year for the event.

"Mr. Hodge, the Okmulgee Chevy store and management organized the first one last year to carry on each year, " said James Hodge Director Joe Johnson. Each year we expect this to grow and become a great blessing to the people in the community.”

The Okmulgee County Sheriff’s Office assisted as their escort for the run.  Participants drove around the parameter of Okmulgee and entry was one toy.  Toys were unloaded and put under the tree when they arrived back to the Chevy dealership.

The toys are being  donated to the Salvation Army and Jubilee Christian Church where they will find families to distribute them to.  




Photos by Allen Gardner - ONN - See more photos of the even on our Facebook Page.

The Okmulgee Chamber of Commerce is conducting its annual Christmas Lights Contest again this year.

Two awards of $50 will be awarded to residential displays and two awards of $50 will be awarded to commercial displays.

In order to simplify the process, no entry form will be used this year. Simply call the Chamber office at 918-756-6172 with your nomination. If no one answers, just leave your nomination on the voice-mail. Deadline for entries is Dec.19.

Judging will take place on Dec. 20 with winners being announced before Christmas.




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 December 5, 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 #5 for road materials for six-month period

G. Discussion and possible approval of Contracts for CodeRED Alert Information System

H. Possible approval of holidays to be observed by Okmulgee County for the 2017 calendar


I. Possible approval of Invitation to Bid #6 for legal publications for twelve-month period

J. Possible approval of Invitation to Bid #7 for weekly/monthly rental of smooth drum roller

and/or track-hoe for six-month period

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


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Pictured left to right: President Lion R.C. Morrow, Gene Leiterman, and Program Chairman Lion Raymond Kennedy.

Tuesday's Lions Club meeting was an introduction to the community of OSUIT's new Dean of the School of Culinary Arts, Gene Leiterman, who has been on the job for the past three months. We only learned of this new hire because of Lion Raymond Kennedy seeking donation items for the silent auction to benefit the joint Tulsa Downtown Lions-Okmulgee Lions banquet celebrating 100 years of Lions service, both clubs being recognized as one of the seven "founders clubs" in Oklahoma. We really didn't realize how popular the Thursday smorgasbord at OSUIT was, outside of Okmulgee, until one of the Tulsa committee members suggested that the Okmulgee committee members seek a donation from the Culinary Arts Department, which they so wonderfully provided. We were told that many people from Tulsa enjoy coming to Okmulgee just for the meal put on by the students. What a great testimony and proud moment for the Okmulgee Lions committee members to learn of the popularity of this meal by so many, other than Okmulgeeans.

Chef Gene told the club that he was interested in baking as a small child watching his grandmother and his mother in the kitchen. But he did not choose this path upon graduating high school. Instead, he followed a course that a lot of parents hoped for their child, i.e. lawyer, doctor, etc. So, he enrolled as a pre-med student at Oklahoma University, graduating with a degree but decided that was not what he wanted to do, so obtained a certificate to teach secondary school classes, which he did for a number of years in Norman. He returned to college, obtaining a master's degree in statistics, and moved to Dallas, working in medical sales and marketing. But his passion for cooking never stopped.

While attending a medical conference 15 years ago, next door was a wedding conference slanted toward baking and chocolate "fountains". He sneaked away from his medical conference and was an uninvited guest to the wedding conference. Long story short, he got married, returned to his home of Oklahoma City, and he and his wife opened up a retail bakery and chocolate factory for five years. While in this business, he was asked to serve on the Board of Directors for Platt College, later taking a job as a teacher. He saw an ad in the paper for a Dean of Culinary Arts at OSUIT, applied for the job, and got it.

Chef Gene spoke highly of OSUIT and the passion that the staff has for the Culinary Arts program. Their mission is to educate students to become nationally competitive chefs and food service managers. The vision of the Culinary Arts program will: be student-centered and performance based; develop industry partnerships to address current and emerging industry needs at the local, regional, and national levels; design and deliver customized educational offerings and services; teach basic fine dining and gourmet cooking skills.

There are presently 122 students in the program, 20 students will be graduating with over 90% receiving job placements, maximum of 50 students enrolled with each class. They are planning to open up a class on the OSU campus in Tulsa and are looking at offering short-term classes, also. I believe the Culinary Arts program was one of a few courses offered when OSUIT began in the 1940s. What a wonderful legacy OSUIT has created for Okmulgee, OSU, Oklahoma, and the whole education system. And don't forget to call for reservations, 918 293-5010, for that Thursday student-run buffet. And also don't forget that you are welcome to attend any of our

Tuesday Lions Club meetings as we have some more outstanding programs on our agenda. We're still looking for a few more good men, and women. "WE SERVE".

(Photo and information provided by Dean Craig with excerpts from notes of Gene Leiterman)

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