Okmulgee in the News
By Wesley Coburn - ONN
Okmulgee Public Schools held a special meeting of the school board on Wednesday, July 26, to prepare for the upcoming 2017-18 school year.
Jennifer Beal was named principal for Okmulgee Primary, Stephanie Lee was named principal of Dunbar Intermediate, Brad Ferguson was named principal at Okmulgee High, and LuVonna Copeland was named principal for Okmulgee High School’s ACE Program.
The school will purchase three new Midwest school buses and a new Ford Expedition, while declaring one OPS-owned vehicle as surplus.
Adjunct teacher Mariah Price was hired for two hours of high school Chemistry I and Chemistry II, while adjunct Lucky Burney was hired for three hours Creative Writing.
Other new employees hired were Ed King as Dean of Students, custodians Lorin Hammer, Lori Reed-Allen and Mista Cosby; teaching assistants Josh McGovran and Malcolm Johnson; Teresa Norberg as cook, and certified staff LeAnne Boone, Karen Iverson, and Angie Sexton-Hook. The board accepted the resignation of Dawn Ezell.
Other items approved were technology fees, designation of surplus textbooks, the high school’s Student-Parent Handbook, an internet filtering system, and granting transcript credits to classes taken through Green Country Vo-Tech. Okmulgee Public Schools and Schulter Public Schools have entered into a cooperative agreement for baseball.
There were no changes to last year’s graduation requirements, and the schools will be operating on a 1080 Instructional Hour schedule instead of the more traditional 180 Day calendar. The school day will run from 7:55 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.
Classes begin on Thursday, August 10.
By Wesley Coburn - ONN
Dust will be kicked up during the 62nd annual Okmulgee-Roy Leblanc Invitational Rodeo, held in the Bob Arrington Rodeo Arena, at 8:30 p.m. August 11-12. The event is hosted by the Okmulgee County Round-Up Club, which has been in existence since 1953.
Admission will be $5 for kids twelve and younger, $10 for adults.
There will be the following events: Bull Riding, Steer Wrestling, Ladies Steer Undecorating, Calf Roping, Barrel Racing (Junior and Ladies divisions), Bronc Riding (Bareback and Ranch divisons), and the Pony Express relay race. A $6,000 payout awaits.
The rodeo is being sponsored by the City of Okmulgee and One Fire Casino, with other sponsorships to be announced.
There will be a parade downtown at 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 12, with a $100 prize to the winners in the following four categories: Farthest Distance Traveled by Round-Up Club, Most Riders by Round-Up Club, Best Dressed Round-Up Club and Best Dressed Queen.
The Bob Arrington Rodeo Arena is located at Highway 75 and Fairgrounds Road. For more information, see event director Kenneth Leblanc.
Okmulgee County Farm Bureau is taking part in Oklahoma Farm Bureau’s 75th-anniversary celebration this year by hosting upcoming events for members and the local community.
Okmulgee County Farm Bureau will have a live remote broadcast with “1240 The Brew,” on August 4, 2017, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Both local residents and members are encouraged to stop by for free food and drinks, and to learn more about what Farm Bureau has to offer.
The next event will be Okmulgee County Farm Bureau’s Annual Meeting, scheduled for Sept. 25, 2017. All Okmulgee County Farm Bureau members are encouraged to attend. The event will begin with dinner at 6:30 p.m., followed by the business meeting at 7 p.m. Guest speaker Jerry Flowers, chief agent with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Investigative Services, will speak to members about farm safety and cattle thefts. A vote will be taken at the meeting to increase membership dues from $30 to $35, effective Oct. 31, 2018. Attendees will also have a chance to win door prizes.
As one of the first counties to join the state organization in 1942, Okmulgee County Farm Bureau joins other county Farm Bureaus across Oklahoma and the statewide organization to commemorate 75 years of improving the lives of rural Oklahomans.
Founded in 1942, OKFB has grown to include more than 95,000 members across all 77 of the state’s counties, representing an agricultural industry with a $39.6 billion economic impact on the state.
“It’s thanks to our members that we enter our 75th year with great optimism, backed by a thriving insurance business and bold ideas for moving our multifaceted organization toward a bright future,” said Tom Buchanan, OKFB president.
When Oklahoma became the 42nd state to join the American Farm Bureau, the organization’s main objectives were to preserve the rights and promote the successes of Oklahoma’s farms and ranches, ninety-eight percent of which are still family owned and operated today. They achieved these goals through early initiatives to support agriculturalists during World War II, to develop an insurance agency, to provide farmer education and more. Although the individual issues have changed over time, OKFB stands true to the organization’s original mission of advocating for farmers and ranchers.
“Celebrating our 75th year is a great milestone for enlivening OKFB’s energy, enthusiasm, and a look toward what’s in store for our next 75 years,” said Monica Wilke, OKFB executive director. “The issues near to the hearts and minds of our members – farmers, ranchers and families – are what are important to us every day.”
In celebration of this year’s milestone, OKFB is offering a 75th-anniversary history book to present the organization’s history through photos and stories gleaned from the archives. This hardcover volume by Dr. Bob L. Blackburn spans 140 pages and includes more than 170 photos chronicling Oklahoma agriculture and Oklahoma Farm Bureau through the years.
To reserve your copy of the book, contact your main county Farm Bureau office through August 15. Once the order period has passed, the books will be distributed to the county Farm Bureau offices, where you can pick up your copy. The cost of the book is $18.45 + $1.55 tax, for a total cost of $20 per book. Because copies will be distributed through county Farm Bureau offices, there will be no charge for shipping.
About Oklahoma Farm Bureau
Founded in 1942, Oklahoma Farm Bureau is a grassroots organization of farm and ranch families united for the purpose of analyzing issues and formulating action to achieve educational improvement, economic opportunity and social advancement in each of Oklahoma’s 77 counties. As the state's largest general farm organization, OKFB is committed to improving the lives of rural Oklahomans through advocacy, education and member benefits. OKFB protects members' rights and interests through legal and lobbying efforts at the state and national levels, while also telling agriculture’s story to statewide media and providing members with a variety of discounts, opportunities and services that save money and enhance their lives.
By Wesley Coburn - ONN
The Beggs Demons, Morris Eagles and Okmulgee Bulldogs will all be neighbors in Class 3A football again this season, with the other teams in district 6 being the Bristow Purple Pirates, Checotah Wildcats, Cushing Tigers and Kellyville Ponies.
The Demons, led by Lee Blankenship, were 6-5 last season (4-2 in 3A-6) and fell by one point in the first round to Claremore Sequoyah, they will open the 2017 season at Golden Demon Stadium on August 25 against Tulsa’s Langston Hughes Academy Scholars.
September 1 takes Beggs on the road to face the Berryhill Chiefs, then home again September 8 to face in-county rival Henryetta, the Demons have won the last five games of that series. September 15 Beggs hosts the Muskogee Hilldale Hornets, then they have a bye week September 22. District play begins with a home clash against Morris on September 29.
October 6 the Demons travel to Kellyville, they host Cushing October 13 and host Okmulgee during Senior Night on Thursday, October 19 before going to Bristow on October 29.
The Bulldogs are coached by Carl Lee, and they were 6-6 last season, losing in the first round to Berryhill. Their 2017 opens in Tulsa against the NOAH (Northeast Oklahoma Association of Homeschoolers) Jaguars.
September 1 will be the home opener at Harmon Field against the Tulsa Rogers Ropers, while the Oklahoma City Marshall Bears will visit on September 8. Okmulgee travels to the state capitol to face the Northeast Vikings on September 15, while district play begins with a trip to Cushing on September 22. September 29 the Bulldogs go to Checotah.
October 6 is a home game against Morris, with a bye on October 13 before going to Beggs on Thursday, October 19. A home game against Kellyville is on tap for October 27.
Jerry Hanlin’s Eagles look to improve from their 1-9 record last season, and that quest begins August 25 at home against the Mannford Pirates.
September 1 is a home contest against arch rival Henryetta. The Eagles have won 14 of the 22 games played in that series since 1992. September 8 Morris goes on the road to face the Haskell Haymakers before returning home on September 15 when the Holdenville Wolverines stop by. District play begins September 22 at home against Checotah, while MHS goes to Beggs in another rivalry matchup on September 29.
October 6 will be another rivalry game in Okmulgee, October 13 is at home against Bristow, while on Thursday, October 19 MHS goes to Kellyville. The regular season concludes with Senior Night on October 27 against Cushing.
The final week of the regular season on November 3 has Beggs going to Checotah, Okmulgee holding Senior Night against Bristow, and Morris with a bye.
Last Thursday night the Okmulgee Public Library celebrated the twentieth anniversary of The Sorcerer’s Stone, the first book of J.K. Rowling’s immensely popular Harry Potter series. There were 43 attendees, about half in costume, mainly children from toddlers to high school, with some adults attending as well.
Library clerk Jennifer Colwill read aloud from the book, and there was a Sorting Hat, create-an-owl craft station, a house-bracelet-making station, spider races, a photo booth and prize giveaways. Some fans even got into reenacting the books’ spell-dueling scenes.
“We had a really good turnout,” Colwill said. “I think I ignited the interest in the Harry Potter fandom for a lot of the kids.”
Colwill is a Ravenclaw, though all four Hogwarts houses are represented in her household.
The free celebration continues this Thursday night, July 27, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. as the library celebrates Harry’s birthday with a miniature Quidditch match, potion creation, a make-your-own dragon’s egg craft station, Pin the Lightning Bolt Onto Harry’s Forehead and much more. Again, costumes are not required but are encouraged.
By Wesley Coburn - ONN
Over the weekend Team Green Country, composed of over sixteen members from the Okmulgee area, Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Texas, competed in the Oklahoma City 48-Hour Film Festival. They shot their film in Okmulgee, in and around 102 Cocktails and Bites, on 100 S. Morton, with an action scene filmed at Bella’s Ristorante, a new eatery located at the Best Western.
The genre was announced at 7 p.m. Friday night, and several required elements had to be included in the finished project, which was due at 7 p.m. Sunday night. The team drew Sci-Fi as their genre, which the other teams were all hoping for, according to team member Kalea Ellison. “We always do well with Action/Adventure, and we also hoping to draw Musical, because we had a lot of cool resources for that.”
The finished film has to be between four and seven minutes in length, or eight minutes with credits. Required elements were a character named Ben or Brenda, use of a marker, and a mandatory line of dialogue.
The team’s headquarters for Saturday’s filming and editing was the ONN studio. The team picked Okmulgee as their location because of the welcoming people and useful filming locations, and also because business owners are eager to help in any way they can.
There are 31 teams competing in the contest, and Team Green Country will be vying against eleven other teams in Group B. The winning films will be announced beginning at 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 30, at the Oklahoma City Farmers Market, with Group B’s results presented at 6 p.m.
By Wesley Coburn - ONN
The upcoming first-ever Okmulgee Airfest, to be held at Okmulgee Regional Airport on September 30, is represented by a cheerful smiling red plane mascot. There was a “Name the Plane” contest held on the event’s Facebook page this week, with the winner chosen by amount of comment likes. With 25 likes, the winning submission of “Leonard,” submitted by Lacie Spurgeon of Okmulgee, was chosen as the best.
The runner up, with 17 likes, was “Rudy the Little Red Plane.” There were over 70 submissions suggested, including Airfest One, Clifford the Little Red Plane, Pecan the Plane, Planey McPlaneface, the Red Skydog, Okmulgee Rising and Wingsy.
Event partners for the Airfest include the City of Okmulgee, Okmulgee Area Development Council, Okmulgee Chamber of Commerce, Okmulgee Main Street, First National Bank & Trust, Tulsa International Airport, Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
“We’re hoping that people will recognize the importance of the airport,” Kay Rabbitt, of the Okmulgee Chamber of Commerce, said. “It’s definitely a jewel in the Okmulgee crown, but I’m not sure that residents and the public realize how much it is used and realize the value of it. With the air show, it’s a good way to remind people what we have out there, and we hope they’ll have a good time.”
On the show day, the airport gates will open at 10 a.m., while the air show begins at 12 p.m. and runs until 2 p.m. Admission is $5 per person or $10 per car/plane.
Henryetta Church of the Nazarene will be hosting a night of worship music in Nichols Park in Henryetta on Friday, August 11 from 7-11 p.m.
Any musician or singer from any denomination is welcome to join the Henryetta Collective worship band, whose purpose is to collectively join together in order to reach others and spread the gospel.
The music will include everything from traditional hymns and classic gospel tunes to contemporary worship songs.
For more information, contact Billy Robertson at 918-752-9692.
Volunteers from Okmulgee Lions, First National Bank, community development and Morris Lions worked on this project Saturday morning
Morning came early for seven dedicated civic-minded Okmulgeeans who began trimming the mimosa trees planted in the center median on the new Morris Highway and Wood Drive. They began at 6 a.m. and, luckily, finished before the rain came on Wednesday. Three Lions: Beth Flud, R.C. Morrow, and Raymond Kennedy; First National Bank employee Kathy Kennedy; Rob Robertson; Bob Seebeck; and Morris Lion Sandy Patterson did a wonderful job "sprucing up" the trees. Drive by and take a look, and if you have a green thumb and want to help on later projects, let us know.
(Photo provided by Beth Flud).
By Wesley Coburn - ONN
On Saturday, August 5, there will be county-wide Prayer Walk beginning at 9 a.m. at Green Country Vo-Tech on 1100 North Loop 56 in Okmulgee. Groups of four (preferably from different churches) will drive to a school and walk around in prayer circles, much like the Israelites did in Joshua 6.
The event is being organized by Christy Parker, her brother Darren Downing, Mike James and Pastor Marcus Jeffries of Eastside Baptist Church.
Schools to be visited include Beggs, Dewar, Henryetta, Morris, Okmulgee, Preston, Schulter, Twin Hills and Wilson, in addition to the College of the Muscogee Nation, Green Country Vo-Tech and OSU-IT. The prayer walk will run from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Parker grew up in Okmulgee attending First Baptist, she is currently a teacher in Coweta and her husband is a coach. Before leaving Okmulgee they attended Southside Baptist, because Christy had family going there. About three months ago she shared a post on Facebook that God was leading her to pray for Okmulgee, and that turned into a multi-denominational prayer meeting at Brock Gym, which went so well that this second event was organized, specifically for the schools this time.
“People keep coming to me - I’ve never put one of these on until three months ago,” Parker said. “Just to have God lay it on my heart, and then to find out that everybody else had it on their hearts – that was so awesome.” A third Prayer Walk is tentatively scheduled for January 2018, and organizers hope to put on about three per year.
Following the Prayer Walk, a different committee will be hosting a meal for first responder personnel, EMSA personnel, the Okmulgee Police Department, the Okmulgee Fire Department, the Okmulgee County Sheriff’s Department and the Creek Nation Lighthorse. It will be held at Eastside Baptist on 219 N. Osage. Donations are greatly welcomed and appreciated; they will matched by Randy’s Foods.
Prayer Walk T-shirts may be purchased at Truly Yours, located at 113 E. 6th, until Thursday, July 20. Youth sizes are $10, adult sizes small through extra large are $15, and 2XL and up are $17.
Some suggested topics on what to pray for during the walk are safety, provision and wisdom for students, teachers and staff.
“I’ve been pretty humbled by it because I feel like ‘I’m just Christy, ya know? Nobody’s gonna listen to me.’” Parker said. “But it isn’t about me, it’s about who God is and what He wants to do. So that’s been the really amazing part about it all, and I’m really anxious to see what He’s gonna do. I think He’s gonna do some pretty big things. He’s definitely wanting it to happen, so it’s been pretty exciting to watch.”