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Okmulgee in the News

Saturday, 30 March 2013 14:20

Karate offered at the Okmulgee YMCA

Did you know that there are Karate classes available locally in Okmulgee. The Okmulgee YMCA offers classes each week to members and non-members.

Contrary to popular belief karate is not just about kicking and punching.  Martial Arts training has deeper meaning and benefit.  Martial Arts can improve focus, concentration, self-confidence, self-esteem, respect for others, self discipline, and leadership skills.

Children often improve grades in school, are less likely to fight in school, are able to handle pressure better, and exhibit more self control.  Other benefits include physical fitness, greater body awareness and control, friendship building skills, politeness, and yes, the ability to defend oneself if the need arises.

Adults can benefit from improved flexibility, stress relief , sleep, physical conditioning, energy levels, and many of the benefits mentioned above.

Instructor Rocky Conway has over 30 years of experience in the art of Goju-Ryu Karate.  His philosophy of training is traditional and is grounded in not only teaching self defense, but in building character.

If you are interested in experiencing the Martial Arts, beginner classes start on the first Monday of each month.  You are welcome to observe a class any time during hours taught.

Age requirements are 8 years and above.  

Beginning classes are Mondays and Thursdays 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and advanced classes are Mondays and Thursdays 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Dues are based on your YMCA membership status.  For more information contact Okmulgee YMCA at 918.756.6842.

An Okmulgee YMCA class Karate class demonstrated by instructor Rocky Conway and his students Josh mercer and Kelly Callicoat.  (Photos by Valerie Rice - ONN)


Okmulgee Pediatrics

Okmulgee Pediatrics booth:  L-R Dolores Garcia, Michelle Knight, Ashley Todd and Jessica Devore.

There were a few light showers of rain on the morning of the Okmulgee Service League Healthy Kids Day event and Easter egg hunt, but it wasn't enough to stop the fun for the children.  The hunt was still on and the kids filled their baskets with eggs and prizes.

The Easter egg hunt was held at the Municiple Park next to the YMCA.  where areas were sectioned off for ages 2-4, 5-7, and 8-10.  After the egg hunt Healthy Kids Day kick off.  The kids enjoyed jumping in two large inflatables, jumping in one while the other dried out.  

Several community businesses were on hand in the YMCA gymnasium to pass out information about health and wellness along with supportive ideas to get active.  Sheriff Eddy Rice brought his miniature Zebu bull for the kids to pet.  Okmulgee Pediatric handed out free jump ropes and bubbles.  Kids enjoyed playing basketball in the gym.

Okmulgee YMCA Swim Team booth:  L-R Rebecca Newton, Swim team member Kyle Newton,  Swim team member Erin Howell and Cindy Howell.   (Photos by Valerie Rice - ONN)

Dr. Hess Dentistry

Dr. Randy Hess Dentistry

(Photos by Paul Orosco - ONN Chief Photographer)



Bring the kids out to the YMCA park on Saturday March 30 in Okmulgee to enjoy a day of fun activities beginning at 10 a.m.  sponsored by the Okmulgee Service League.

An Easter egg hunt will be held at the Municiple Park next to the YMCA.  Areas will be sectioned off for ages 2-4, 5-7, and 8-10.  After the egg hunt Healthy Kids Day will kick off.

There will be several community businesses participating out to hand out information about health and wellness.  There will be goodies for the kids, two huge inflatables, relays, soccer, cardio dance, spin demos and many more activities to get kids moving!

Everything is FREE!!!

Learn Creative Ways to Finance Community Projects
and Grow Our Local Economy!

The Northeast Oklahoma Regional Alliance, in cooperation with the Okmulgee Chamber of Commerce, is hosting an important seminar on Friday, April 19, 2013.

This seminar is a multifaceted overview for anyone interested in learning more about community and organization funding.

Rhonda Clemons-Hill is a very knowledgeable and experienced fund-raiser and grant writer who can help us navigate through non-profit arena.

Topics covered will be:

- How to Develop a Community Foundation
- How to Organize and Implement a Centralized Faith Based Community to Get Grant Funds
- Grant Writing 101
-RFP for Dummies
-Introduction to Economic Gardening

The Session includes handouts – so reservations are required.
Reserve your space NOW!

Rhonda Clemons-Hill
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The Workshops will be held at
Okmulgee Community Center
1201 West 7th (7th and Kern)
Okmulgee, OK
April 19th
9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

NORA is a 501 C3 nonprofit organization with a 14-county rural focus area that includes: Cherokee, Adair, Sequoyah, Mayes, Delaware, Muskogee, Craig, Ottawa, Nowata, McIntosh, Okmulgee, Wagoner, Rogers, and Washington Counties in Northeastern Oklahoma.

NORA’s vision is producing a unified Region of unique, vibrant, and sustainable communities with abundant natural beauty and rich cultural heritage; where our diverse population takes great pride and accepts responsibility for our future; where innovative leadership is cultivated, children are treasured, meaningful high paying jobs are plentiful, and recreational opportunities abound; the Region of choice to live, work and play.

NORA believes that by working together we can solve our greatest challenges and change our future in northeastern Oklahoma!
For more information, contact the Okmulgee Chamber of Commerce at 918-758-1015 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013 22:11

Adult Binge Drinking is a Real Problem

A comedian on TV once had a rant on how binge drinking was bogus.  He claimed it was a new cause to scare people into thinking the sky was falling and there was no real harm in drinking alcohol to get drunk.  He was wrong.  Dead wrong.  

Recently a group of professionals worked with the state Epidemiologist to determine the major substance abuse issues in Okmulgee County.  Yes we have high levels of underage drinking, yes we have high levels of prescription drug use, but Okmulgee County ranked highest in adult binge drinking.  This is drinking with the intent to become intoxicated, and is classified as consuming four dinks in an evening for women and five drinks for men.

America is just now realizing that binge drinking is not the lone town drunk going on a weekend bender.  The sad fact is, a large percentage of adults are opting for the lost weekend.  New estimates show that binge drinking is a bigger problem than previously thought. More than 38 million US adults binge drink, about 4 times a month, and the largest number of drinks per binge is on average 8.  While we do not have data on average drinks for Okmulgee County, we know the Center for Disease Control has Oklahoma is listed as one of the states with the highest consumption per person.

Binge drinking is a public health issue that is about more than just the number of binge drinkers, it is also about the number of times these people choose to go on a binder.  The public often see this as a youth issue, and the greatest number of binge drinkers are in the 18-34 year old age bracket, but the age group that binge drinks most often is aged 65 and over.  The public perception is this is a condition of low income, and while this is partially true, the income group with the most binge drinkers makes more than $75,000 a year.  People who make below $25,000 tend to binge drink more often and will drink the most per binge.

This is not an addiction issue.  Most binge drinkers are not considered alcohol dependent.  Binge drinkers are people who seem to believe the good times are found in alcohol consumption and the goal of the evening is intoxication.  The lesson is learned early, often when the drinker is under the age to legally purchase alcohol, in fact, 90% of alcohol consumed by youth is while binge drinking.  This learned behavior follows individuals into adult life, as statistics show more than half of all of the alcohol adults drink is while binge drinking.
Make no mistake about it, you, the taxpayer, is footing the bill for this activity.  

The Center for Disease Control estimates drinking too much, including binge drinking, cost $746 per person, or $1.90 a drink, in the US in 2006. These costs include health care expenses, crime, and lost productivity.  Binge drinking cost federal, state, and local governments about 62 cents per drink in 2006, while federal and state income from taxes on alcohol totaled only about 12 cents per drink.  Drinking too much contributes to over 54 different injuries and diseases, including car crashes, violence, and sexually-transmitted diseases.  The chance of getting sick and dying from alcohol problems will increase significantly for those who binge drink more often and drink more when they do.

Alcohol Beverage Laws Enforcement Agent Mike Randol pointed out that the coalition is not looking to prevent drinking or serving alcohol to adults.  The problem is a real public health issue that has been identified in the community regarding binge or over drinking, which is often tied to over serving.   We tend to talk about the criminal aspect of over serving, but the reality is vendors and party hosts are opening themselves up to a wide variety of legal liability issues when they allow or promote over consumption of alcohol.  State assessors are collecting data from every DUI on where that driver got his/her last drink, which can then be traced back to the home or business that over served and then allowed an intoxicated person to drive.  If a fatality occurs that establishment or home owner can be held responsible.

Then the question is, “What can we do about it?”  Believe it or not you have a community group already working on the issue.  The Okmulgee County

Consortium (OCC) has been working on a community driven plan to address the issue of adult binge drinking.  OCC Chairman, Cris Campbell states the group has several irons in the fire for this issue.  “This issue is rife with problems for addressing adult binge drinking on a local level.  We have found several good strategies that have been effective in other states, and we have spent a good deal of time building the capacity in the community to add those strategies.”  Campbell said OCC has been assessing the way all restaurants and bars serve alcohol in the county.  They have worked with local authorities to gain information on local establishments that over serve customers and they offer free merchant education to clerks and businesses.  

Campbell concluded, “You know, here a few years ago we did a community assessment via water bills.  The biggest problem identified was not roads, or health access, or even poverty.  The biggest problem that people in Okmulgee saw with their own eyes was alcohol consumption.  So, this is not news to those of us that live here, we know we have an adult binge drinking problem.”  If you would like to find out ways you can help bring about positive changes in your community, call 918-756-1248 and find out how you can be a member of the Okmulgee County Consortium.

(L-R) Raymond Kennedy volunteer for the Okmulgee Humane Society, little Samuel Cook, Veterinarian Gill Graham with Rhianna Roberts.  (Photos by Paul Orosco ONN Chief Photographer)

Rhiannan Roberts, granddaughter of Gill Graham an Okmulgee Veterinarian,  celebrated her fifth birthday last Saturday and like most kids she enjoyed a party at a skating rink in Tulsa where she had the normal cake and refreshments.

But this year she had a special request when it came to gifts.  The selfless girl said that for those who wanted to buy a gift, if they would instead choose a gift for the Okmulgee Humane Society in the way of food for either dogs or cats.

The gifts were gathered at Graham veterinarian and will be delivered to the Humaine Society.


Tuesday, 26 March 2013 15:58

Plans for Trash-Off Day 2013 under way

Are you tired of seeing trash along your city streets? Do you cringe when you see someone throw litter out a car window onto the highway? Does litter really bug you? If so, this is the event for you!

The State of Oklahoma has designated the month of April as "Trash-Off Month" as a statewide cleanup day .  Clean Your State for a working date! Sharla Stephenson, Marketing Officer for First National Bank is coordinating all efforts for "Our Highway 75 Clean-Up".  The date for the clean up is April 20.

Our county needs your help.  Trash-Off is a growing success, so why not join in and help beautify your community! If your organization would like to be a team and help clean up Highway 75 please contact Sharla at 918-758-2465.

Sharla Stevenson points out the map of the location for clean up.

(Photo by Paul Orosco ONN Chief Photographer)

[L-R] County Commissioner District 1 Jay Hill, Commissioner Secretary Shelly Stephens, County Commissioner District 2 Bobby Hardridge, Couty Clerk Becky Thomas and County Commisioner James Conners District 3. (Photo by Valerie Rice)

The Okmulgee County commissioners covered a light agenda on Monday March 25. After the regular meeting opened there were no business items to attend to except a Utility permit, out of District 1, for Windstream Communications.

The Board acknowledged a letter from the Okmulgee County Wellness Coalition.  The letter said that they were making plans to build a greenhouse on the property next to their community garden. The garden is in its third year and the Board accredited it to be like a good idea.

There was no new business and no claims. The meeting was adjourned.

Sign at new Kabota location

The Okmulgee Kubota Dealer, Stewert – Martin Equipment, hit another milestone yesterday when they celebrated the grand opening of another store location to their system.  The new store will be located at 106th and Memorial in Bixby and will be ran by Jonathan Newton who is CEO in charge of the new store.  Jonathan is the son of Joey Newton, Stewert – Martin Equipment President.

The new store deals mostly in the construction line of their products.
“We are excited for Jonathan taking on this venture. Kabota is a good company to work for,” Joey Newton said.  “I like the saying about Kabota, - There’s only two kinds of dealer’s Kabota dealers and those that want to be Kabota dealers. – We are excited that Kabota would let us be a part of this.”

At the new location, it will be a rental store.  There is leasing, sales and rental available.  

If you plan to purchase Kabota equipment, remember to keep your purchases local at the Okmulgee store to keep our tax dollars at home.  Tax dollars assist in the revitalization of your Okmulgee Hometown!

(Photos by Paul Orosco - Chief Photographer)


(Photo by Paul Orosco - Chief Photographer)

Okmulgee Community Garden founded by Dr. Ed Osborn and the Healthy Lifestyles Committee of the Okmulgee County Wellness Coalition is now in its third year. Okmulgee Community Garden Committee Chair- Bob Seebeck now organizes the garden, along with many other volunteers. 

The garden is located at 1202 S. Belmont in Okmulgee west of the Okmulgee Memorial Hospital. Anyone can make application to use a plot throughout the Spring and Summer, no matter what your income is. The goal of the project is for supporting a healthier lifestyle by eating more fruits and vegetables. The garden also has a dual purpose as the overflow is used to donate to other worthy organizations such as the Okmulgee Homeless Shelter and Opengate.

This year they anticipate installing 33 garden plots on the property and each plot will be 4' wide X 32" long. The committee is also working on a grant in hopes that they can build a green house on the west side of the property. This will allow seeds to be started and growing new plants before each season.

There is water available on the property and the garden will be supervised somewhat throughout the week. The Old Tyme Village donated the use of a storage shed where some gardening tools are available when someone is on site.

Anyone interested in having a plot can contact Bobby Howard 918-756-1883 x140. The plots are free and some seeds are available. If you don’t have time to garden your own plot, you can think about helping out in the community plot. All of the produce there will be donated.

For more information visit their website at www.okmulgeegarden.weebly.com