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Okmulgee in the News

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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.

OKMULGEE, Okla. - Anderson Indian Law firm owner and Muscogee (Creek) citizen Michael J. Anderson announced Dec. 19, that President Barrack Obama has signed a land transfer bill that will authorize the Secretary of Interior to accept approximately 18.3 acres of land in trust for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation after purchase from the Army Corps of Engineers located in Eufaula, OK. Anderson Indian Law served as the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s legislative representative on the bill.

Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-2) worked the legislative process forward through the House Transportation Committee, Chairman Bud Shuster, and ultimate passage on December 8, 2016 in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN)(Section 1317).

Chairman James Inhofe of the Senate Energy and Public Works Committee is also to be commended for his work in ensuring passage of this legislation through the United States Senate on December 11, 2016. Senator James Lankford also played a critical and timely role in the passage of this bill. The Oklahoma delegation rose to the challenge of supporting this important legislative priority for the Nation.

Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief James R. Floyd identified and corrected a number of deficiencies in the prior versions of the bill and along with Second Chief Louis Hicks both of who conducted a number of trips to Washington, DC to lobby for passage of the bill.

The most important correction was allowing the land to be transferred directly in trust to the Nation. The prior versions of the bill required the transfer to go through the long and cumbersome BIA land intro trust process.

The transfer of Fountainhead Army Corps land will provide future economic opportunities for the Nation and fulfills a legislative goal Chief Floyd established at the start of his Administration.

Today is a great day for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation as it continue to promote the Nation’s self-determination, land recovery and economic development. Anderson Indian Law is proud to have played a role in this landmark achievement.

Monday, 26 December 2016 20:50

Whole Heart Summit to be held on January 12

The Okmulgee County TSET Healthy Living Program is proud to announce information for the upcoming, “Whole Heart Summit”. The Summit will be held on January 12th, 2017 at the First United Methodist Church’s Rowe Family Life Center. The day will begin at 8:30, and will conclude at noon. The morning will consist of several speakers from the community, such as Master of Ceremonies, Chef Aaron Ware, James Pope (CREOKS), Dr. Tracy Sanford, and Terry Perks of St. Matthew Missionary Baptist Church.

“We are very excited to host this summit. It will be a unique and fun experience for all. Our team is working to create an event that will give new insights and connections to resources for those who attend. The theme of the Whole Heart Summit is, “Connecting the dots between mental, physical, and spiritual health within your congregation.” While the summit will be aimed at congregation members, pastors, and group leaders, it will also prove to be beneficial to all members of our community,” said Jennifer Avery, TSET Healthy Living Program Coordinator.

Attendees are welcome from all denominations, and do not need to be a pastor to attend. Breakfast and refreshments will be served throughout the morning. Health resources from the TSET (Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust) Healthy Living Program and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Behavioral Health department will be available to participants. Some of the topics being discussed include mental health and social stigma, healthy means of comfort, congregational wellness success stories, and suicide prevention.

The Whole Heart Summit is a FREE event, hosted by the Okmulgee County Healthy Living Program. Everyone who attends will receive a welcome bag, and will be eligible to win door prizes. To RSVP for the event, visit EventBrite.com and search for the “Whole Heart Summit”; or, contact Jennifer Avery at the Okmulgee County Health Department 918-756-1883 x 145.

Free, Customizable Services and Nonjudgmental Support Available to Help Oklahomans Become Tobacco Free

In 2017, the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline — a free program of the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) — encourages tobacco users to start the New Year with a new approach to quitting.

Those thinking about quitting tobacco this New Year can explore the Helpline to find services that work best for them, and to customize a plan to fit their unique needs. Among the free services available are text and email support, phone and web coaching, free patches, gum or lozenges, and more.

“When I was quitting smoking, the Helpline quit coaches helped me identify a cessation tool that worked best for me,” said John Woods, TSET executive director. “More than anything, the Helpline gives an individual the ability to make a conscious decision to quit tobacco. I know taking the step to quit is scary, but that’s where the Helpline can support and encourage anyone even thinking about quitting.”

Once a customized a plan has been selected, the Helpline encourages registrants to reach out whenever needed, especially during cravings. Sticking to an individually customized Quit Plan increases the chances of breaking nicotine addiction, bad habits associated with it and, ultimately, quitting.

“Sometimes it can take several tries and a variety of methods to quit tobacco, but with each quit attempt, you are closer to reaching your goal of being tobacco free,” said Michelle Camacho, Wellness Coordinator serving Okmulgee County. “By allowing each person using tobacco to select the services that work best for them, the Helpline empowers them to quit and stay quit at the New Year or any time of year.”

The Helpline website, OKhelpline.com, offers other resources that tobacco users can reach for to help fight cravings. These include mini-quit tips, and distractions like games, puzzles and music playlists.

The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline’s resources are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. Call 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit OKhelpline.com to learn more. Connect with the Helpline through social media by liking the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline on Facebook or following @OKhelpline on Twitter and Instagram.

By Betty Anderson

The Council was happy to honor Rick Miller and the Public Works Department for the Environmental Excellence Award they received from Keep Oklahoma Beautiful.2016 12 15 Rick Miller Picture

According to Jeanette Nance, Executive Director of Keep Oklahoma Beautiful, the group of winners was amazing. Nance reported, “The KOB staff works tirelessly beginning as early as July to ensure a successful annual event, but it’s the contribution of our affiliates that make what we do, make an impact. KOB could not grow and improve without the passion and dedication of the wonderful people like you that help us do what we do to keep Oklahoma’s beauty running deep.”

The Council voted to approve the appointment of a representative of the governing body and an alternate to the Indian Nations Council of Governments (INCOG) Board of Directors for a two (2) year term. Chris Azbell was designated as the representative and Terry Watkins as the alternate.

They considered and voted to approve a parcel of land to be surplus, located at North Oklahoma Street and Kiowa which will be sold.

Vice Chair, Chris Azbell and Council Member, Everett Horne ran unopposed for their seat on the Council and will serve for three (3) years.

2016 12 20 CityCouncilThe Okmulgee Library reported that they have printed a few things for patrons with their new 3D printer. Several items are displayed with prices so everyone can get an idea of what can be done along with the expense. Citizens are very interested in learning more about it and how to find projects to print.

Police Chief, Joe Prentice, reported that the Violent Crime Task Force and the Sheriff’s Office Tactical Team were activated and in each case the situation was successfully resolved. Chief Prentice said, “These represent close working relationships with other law enforcement agencies within the county. We currently enjoy better relationships that I have seen in 30 years in law enforcement.”

Fire Chief, Bruce Swearingen welcomed three new firefighters to the Okmulgee Fire Department: Dalton Chandler, Tanner McElhaney and Zack Ledbetter.

The Council opened the Okmulgee Municipal Authority Meeting with a presentation by Rick Miller, Public Works Director, to provide an annual update on the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) permit for stormwater discharge for the City of Okmulgee.

Miller reported on new regulations from ODEQ regarding the disposal of concrete on construction sites. The ODEQ Storm Order Permit applies to everyone within the Okmulgee City Limits including both of the Lakes. Pollutants may not be discharged into our storm water system. EPA is tightening up many of their standards and that is reflected in the new ODEQ standards as well. One of the items is the handing of concrete at construction sites. Miller said, “In the past it wasn’t uncommon to see the concrete truck to be washed out on site and on to the ground or washed into a storm drain culvert.” The new standard is that the excess concrete and washout must be contained in a leak proof container or leak proof pit. It must be disposed of without allowing it to get into the ground or into the storm drains. Small projects in the city are under the same regulation as large construction sites. Arrangements should be made with the Concrete Companies to wash their trucks out back at their plants or dump into a leak proof container.

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Rick Miller (Above) gives Public Works report. Photos by Betty Anderson

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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)

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