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Okmulgee in the News

The Okmulgee County Rural Water District #2 located in Preston is currently in the process of rebuilding a new office after the recent fire that happened in August 2016.

The office has just been relocated to a temporary location in the old “Home Economics” school building located on Pringey Ave. (Please see the map provided.)  The office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The after hours payment drop slot will remain located on the south door of the District Shop.  You can pay your bill by cash, check or money order. Credit cards are not being accepted at this time.  Automatic Drafts are offered.   

Work will soon begin over the next few weeks to tear down the old burned water office building and a new office will then be constructed. Projected completion should happen the first of next year as weather allows for the construction.

The District #2 Water Board would like to thank the Preston School Board and Superintendent Mark Hudson for making the school building available to use during the transition.


Thursday, 10 November 2016 19:34

Lions who answered the call to serve

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Pictured left to right: Program Chairman Lion Gary Volz, Dakota Nelson, David Nelson, and WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam veteran Lion Jim Vaughn.

By Dean Craig

Tuesday's Lions Club program was geared toward honoring those Lions who answered the call to serve in the military for the Greatest Nation on Earth. And who better to highlight that program than one of our own "local sons", Chief Warrant Officer 3 (Retired) David Nelson, an Army Ranger and Blackhawk helicopter pilot. He was born in Oklahoma City but is a 1994 graduate of Morris High School. And there is no better way to explain his career than to re-print his biography in his own words.

CW3 Nelson entered Army service in January 1995 as a fire support specialist. In 1997 he volunteered to join the Army's elite 75th Ranger Regiment and, after completing airborne school and the ranger indoctrination program, he spent the next six years as a U.S. Army Airborne Ranger. While serving in the 75th Ranger regiment, CW3 Nelson earned the coveted Ranger tab, jump master wings, completed 40 jumps from high performance aircraft and helicopters, and deployed four times to combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2003 he was accepted to the U.S. Army flight training program, and in 2004, he attended the Army warrant officer candidate school, followed by flight training. In April 2005, Chief Nelson graduated from flight school as a fully qualified UH60 Blackhawk helicopter pilot. He spent the next six years in the 101st Airborne division, during which time he completed three more 12 month combat tours to Iraq and Afghanistan.

After seven combat tours, Chief Nelson spent his last three years in the Army at Fort Rucker, Alabama, where he deployed one more time to Honduras with joint task force bravo, who provides Central America with humanitarian aid, disaster relief, and assists for counter drug operations. CW3 Nelson retired from the Army in January 2015 and brought his family back home to Morris, where he and his wife met, and where his children, Dakota and Natalie, will finish school. In fact, Dakota has already graduated and has joined the U.S. Air Force and will leave for active duty next month.

CW 3 Nelson's awards and decorations include: The Army Service Ribbon; National Defense Ribbon; Six Army Achievement Medals; Five Army Commendation Medals; The Joint Service Commendation Medals; The NATO Ribbon; The Army Good Conduct Medal; The Ranger Tab; Senior Jump Wings; Senior Aviator Wings; British, Canadian, and French Airborne Wings; Three Overseas Ribbons; The Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Ribbon; The Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Three Air Medals; The Meritorious Service Medal; and The Bronze Star. Quite an accomplishment I'd say for someone who still looks like a college student, not even taking in account all he's been through these past twenty years. A BIG salute and heartfelt thanks from a Grateful Nation for all the veterans who have served this country to keep our Nation free, realizing that Freedom is not free, and it came with a horrendous price tag. We are still looking for a few more good men, and women. Won't you join us? "WE SERVE".

(Photos and information provided by Dean Craig and from David Nelson's biography).

by Tina Pierce LMFT

To the Veterans, Active Duty, Reserve, National Guard, and their Families

Thank you. These two small words hardly begin to scratch the surface for the gratitude we as Americans have for any former or current military personnel and their families. The sacrifice you have made is beyond words. I dedicate this article to each of you. So often civilians overlook the real sacrifices our veterans have made beyond the time spent away from home. Military personnel often return home with not only physical battle scars but emotional ones too. According to the VA somewhere between 10-20% of military personnel have been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD.

PTSD is a disorder characterized by severe anxiety that occurs after exposure to a traumatic event. When a traumatic event occurs a person’s natural instincts push them into fight or flight mode including increased heart rate, hypervigilence, and increased response rate. When PTSD occurs these symptoms seem to persist even though the immediate danger has subsided, this can last for months. People dealing with PTSD tend to constantly be looking over their shoulder, watching out for danger, are easily startled and jumpy. PTSD is treatable through therapy and if necessary medication. If you or someone you know is suffering with PTSD seek help today, symptom relief is possible.

If you need help today please call the veteran crisis line 1-800-273-8255 press 1. This number is for Veterans, Active Duty/Reserve and Guard. For civilians in need of help please call my office at 918-777-6045.

Tina Pierce LMFT

You Place, LLC




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Pictured is Program Chairman Lion Kyle Brooks and David Garrett.

Tuesday's Lions Club program was a re-scheduled program from an earlier time, and it really would have been a "bummer" if the club would have had to miss out on this one. David Garrett's 40-year radio career began while he was a Henryetta High School student. He was born in Okemah and moved to Henryetta in 1966. As a young boy, David would ride his bike to the radio station (KHEN), since it was only about a mile from his house, to watch the DJs work their broadcasting magic. He later got his first opportunity to be a DJ while a student doing a short radio show for a high school club. Kent Taylor ran the club and encouraged him to join. He can still recall the excitement of that first on-air gig and was instantly hooked on broadcasting. He was now on a path that would one day lead him to the pinnacle of the sports world. That summer he would become gainfully employed at KHEN, making minimum wage and working 36 hours a week.

Garrett worked at KHEN every day after school (from 4p.m. to 10p.m.) during his junior and senior years. He also held down a 6-hour shift each weekend. This was a lot of work but the rookie DJ just became engrossed in broadcasting. He calls his transition from DJ to sports broadcasting a fluke, becoming the "Voice of the Fighting Hens" when Dave Martin, who was doing the Hens football games, quit to return to college. So, David became the play-by-play announcer in the Fall of 1976 through the Spring of 1978.

David enrolled in Radio TV Film classes at OSU and was a spotter for Bob Barry, Sr. in the 1979 Bedlam football game when Barry, Sr. was the voice of the OSU Cowboys. Bob Barry taught him mostly everything he knows about mechanics of play-by-play, all in spare time and for no personal gain. "I was not his employee. I wouldn't have gotten to my heights without Bob Barry". Garrett would later be a candidate for the play-by-play job of the Oklahoma State Cowboys. However, he would lose out to the popular and late Bill Teegins. What first looked like a horrible break would actually open up a much bigger broadcasting door for the Henryettan. The former Voice of the Fighting Hens would now be the Voice of the New Orleans Saints in the NFL. Garrett had a 2-year stint with the Saints before becoming the Voice of the Dallas Cowboys, doing play-by-play from 1995-98.

These days, Garrett is back in the Oklahoma City area doing double-duty with the University Of Central Oklahoma in Edmond and the Franchise FM 107.7 radio station in Oklahoma City. He has been at UCO since 2007 and does all their play-by-play as well as video events and features. The UCO Women's Softball team won the 2013 Division II National Championship. He hosts a nightly show solo (7p-9p) and produces Oklahoma City Thunder video reports and hosts a pre-game show prior to each game even though they don't carry the games on the radio. He has come a long way in his profession since riding his bike out to KHEN all those years ago.

What a delightful entertaining program from an "almost-local" young man rising to the pinnacle of the sports world. See what you're missing out on by not attending some of these outstanding programs? The world will just pass you on by. We are kind of like the Marine Corps--we need a few more good men, and women. Think about it! "WE SERVE".

Photo by Lion R.C. Morrow, information provided by Dean Craig from notes by Lion Beth Flud, and excerpts from an article in the Okmulgee Times by Herman Brown)

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Scott Pruitt on Monday announced two counts of false personation against a Glenpool woman.

Araceli Montoya, 35, is believed to have falsely used someone else’s name, date of birth and social security number to create a social security card, permanent resident card and complete other employment paperwork in order to apply for two different jobs. As a result of Montoya’s actions, the victim who had her identity stolen faced difficulties obtaining insurance coverage for her children and also received medical bills addressed to her for treatment for an injury she had never received.

An investigation by the Attorney General’s Office found that Montoya had filed for a workers’ compensation claim under the false identity receiving a $16,000 settlement.

Montoya is charged with two counts of false personation. If convicted, Montoya could face up to 20 years in prison.

The Workers’ Compensation, Social Security and Insurance Fraud Unit investigates and prosecutes fraud on the part of claimants, doctors, attorneys and insurance companies. The unit also provides education and training about workers’ compensation fraud. To report workers’ compensation, social security or insurance fraud contact the Attorney General’s Office at (405) 521-3921 or visit the AG’s website at www.ok.gov/oag.

Saturday, 29 October 2016 12:55

Clowns. Everyone is talking about them

By Tina Pierce LMFT You Place, LLC

Clowns. Everyone is talking about them. Everyone is worried about them. Is it hype, is it not? I do have no clue. But I do know that Halloween seems to bring out the best and worst in most people. Some people enjoy Halloween. My neighbors have ghosts in their tree and hand out yummy candy. Churches have festivals and kids seem to have so much fun. I also know that some people take Halloween to the extreme in a bad way. Some people use Halloween as an excuse to be harmful to other people or animals. Then we have clowns running around making things worse.The lack of wannabe Bozos is declining amid waning interest, old age and higher standards among employers. Here, Larry Harmon portrays Bozo the Clown. (AP)

The most important thing to remember is that having a safety plan is never a bad idea. If you intend to trick or treat take a flashlight and go with an adult. If you can, go to houses of neighbors that you know. The larger your trick or treating group the better. Always check your candy before you eat it, if the wrapper is open throw it away. Stay alert and mindful of your surroundings while you are out. Take a deep breath and have fun. Clowns or no clowns, some people are dangerous so listen to that little gut feeling and know how to get away if needed.

Hoping all of you have a genuinely happy and safe Halloween!

[PHOTO: Larry Harmon portrays Bozo the Clown.] (AP)

The You Place provides individual, family, marriage and play therapy for children and adults. LPC supervision and group trainings are also available. The You Place is a warm, inviting environment to explore and express ideas and feelings. The mission at The You Place is Encourage, Empower, Embrace YOU!
Call or Email The You Place for a free phone consultation now. Contact: 918-777-6045


By Valerie Rice - ONN

Okmulgee Main Street was proud to present a very special award to a very special young family that live in the downtown Council House District of Okmulgee at the Harvest Spoon Chili Festival.  

The Larabee’s were recognized as “Residents of the Year”.  Richard Larabee, his wife Crystal and son Parker were the first tenants to take up loft living in downtown Okmulgee in the Park on the Square.  Since that time the family has become an integral part of Okmulgee and a valued asset to the community. They have become involved in many volunteer hours to improve Okmulgee. Richard Larabee became a Main Street Board member and is now chairing the Roger Brooks Task Force committee.  Where he goes, you will find his wife volunteering as well on most Okmulgee projects and they take pride in having their son Parker learn and grow with them in volunteerism.

Most notably however, is how the Larabee’s have cared for the downtown Council House Square area, basically their own front yard.

Back in May, Okmulgee Main Street Volunteers participating in a beautification project for the downtown area called Transformation Tuesday to place new planters, tables, chairs and park benches around the Square and filled the planters with flowers and plants to spruce up downtown.  The project was a joint effort between Okmulgee Main Street, Okmulgee Chamber Tourism Council, the Roger Brooks Task Force and the City of Okmulgee.

When the project was done, there was the question of “who would maintain these beautiful plants?”

That is when the Larabee’s raised their hands and truly stepped up to the dedicated responsibility of watering and caring for the plants.  It was not an easy job.  The summer season did not bring much rain, however the Larabee’s worked almost daily, taking around watering cans to see that the plants got enough to drink month after month.

So if you have been able to enjoy this beauty in downtown Okmulgee, you know who is responsible and you can thank a Larabee for keeping it beautiful for all to enjoy!

Photos by Allen Gardner - ONN

Wednesday, 26 October 2016 18:14

Okmulgee Lions learn about Pilot Dog Program

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Pictured left to right: President Lion R.C. Morrow, Jill Porter, and Program Chairperson Heather Sumner.

by Dean Craig Okmulgee Lion Program Chairman

Tuesday's Lions Club program was a re-scheduled program from a previous time that had to be cancelled due to illness, and during the interim, changes can occur. In this case, the Pilot Dog that had been assigned to Jill Porter didn't work out and the dog had to be sent back. Miss Porter is the daughter of former Okmulgee Fire Chief, Tom Porter, and is a valedictorian graduate of Morris, class of 1999, furthering her education at OSUIT and East Central University in Ada, with plans of becoming a teacher. She has accomplished all this despite being born with very limited vision and cerebral palsy.

The Pilot Dog Program is based in Columbus, Ohio, a large urban city with a lot of people and a lot of traffic, where her dog was trained. The goal is to match a person and their personality with the dog's personality and training. The dogs sleep in a cage at night and are on a leash most of the working day. Her class started out with seven member but had dwindled down to three when she completed her training. When the dogs are in their harness "working", people would ask her if they could pet the dog (which is a no-no), and sometimes say to the dog, "I know I'm not supposed to pet you but your owner won't see me".

Jill explained that her dog experienced "culture shock" in coming to rural Henryetta and was scared of chickens and cows, and the neighbor living behind her has chickens. Of course, not being able to drive leaves her dependent on relatives, friends, or public transportation, but not all people want a dog riding in their car, and public transportation only is available 8:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. She presently is a volunteer teacher's aide at Henryetta Elementary for kindergarten, first and second grades. Her goal is to make more people aware of the vision-impaired and the problems they face. Jill had also been told that she would be in a wheelchair by age 25 due to her cerebral palsy but that hasn't happened because she has received good physical therapy in Okmulgee. She is trying to learn to play the piano, citing good exercise for her, on a piano that had been given to her by Lion member Jim McClendon. Her plan is to wait before seeking to be paired with a smaller dog rather than Labs, German Shepherds, or Boxers that are currently being offered, and maybe another dog will work out. What a delightful young lady, who deals daily with the situations that life has dealt her, but epitomizes that old adage "when life gives you a lemon, make lemonade". By the way, Jill is a member of the Henryetta Lions Club. "WE SERVE".

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Tuesday's Lions Club program was sort of like one of the late Yankee's catcher Yogi Berra's s misquotes, "it's almost like deja vu all over again", because we had another cancellation from the regularly scheduled program. In this case, a death in the family of a close friend. David Garrett, a former Henryetta native and former radio voice of the Dallas Cowboys for several years (and also for the New Orleans Saints for one year) was the scheduled program, and he was going to try to make both events (the Lions program and the funeral), which would prove to be an impossibility, so I encouraged him to be with his friend's family, which I believed to be the right thing to do. Craig Way, the 15-year radio voice of the Texas Longhorns, missed his only broadcast of the Red River Rivalry Saturday to be with his wife, Laurie, who was in the hospital suffering from cancer. She passed away Saturday evening. We have re-scheduled David for November 1.

But not to worry, because we have another new member waiting in the wings to give his 15-minutes-of-fame speech--David Fetgatter, a former Okmulgee resident who has moved back, and also is a former Lion. David was born in Centralia, Illinois to a long lineage of German immigrants dating back to the 1800's, with the name Fettkotter, who were mostly coal miners. However, his father got a job with an oil company, which just happened to have an office in Pauls Valley, and his father was transferred there. Thus, David moved to Oklahoma at age 15, graduating from Pauls Valley High School and then East Central University in Ada.

He began working in grocery stores at age 16, later was a manager for Humpty-Dumpty Grocery in Shawnee, and came to Okmulgee in 1972 to work for Cox Brothers IGA, where the present Arby's is located. When the Cox Brothers sold their store, David re-located the IGA Store to the 2000 Center. He left Okmulgee in 1990 and lived in Tulsa for 17 years, eventually working for Walmart Neighborhood Markets for 15 years before moving back to Okmulgee last August.

David was very active in the Okmulgee Community when he first came here, helping form the Okmulgee Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, was a board member for the Okmulgee Memorial Hospital, as well as a board member for the Country Club. He was also a good member of the Lions Club. David stated that he is glad to be back in Okmulgee with his son, Scott, one of his five children. We are also glad that David is back in Okmulgee and has chosen to re-join the Lions Club because we can put him to good use, particularly next week with our semi-annual Pancake Day coming up next Tuesday. Y'all come, ya' hear? "WE SERVE"
Pictured left is Lion David Fetgatter receiving a commemorative coffee cup from President Lion R.C. Morrow.
(Photo and information provided by Dean Craig)

The Henryetta Chamber of Commerce invites those that have classic cars, hotrods, or anyone that wants to “Cruise Main Street” to attend the October 22nd “Cruise Knight.” Activities begin at 6:00 PM and conclude at 10:00 PM. Spectators are invited to visit downtown and take a step back in time when one of the big enjoyments was cleaning up your favorite ride and Cruising Main Street. Cruising Main Street (aka Dragging Main) was a tradition for years in small towns across the nation and many times it would result in impromptu car shows as cruisers stopped and admired each other’s cars and eventually it would in a burnout challenge or an outlaw quarter mile drag race. Though we want have “outlaw drags,” we will have cars and bikes on display and a burnout contest. For more information regarding the event and vending please contact Staci Alsover at 918-652-4407 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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