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August 16, 2015, the Greer County Sheriff’s Office requested OSBI investigative assistance with a body found in a burned car near ECR 1340 and NCR 1830 in rural Greer County. One of the first steps for investigators is to identify the deceased.

The medical examiner (ME) has informed OSBI the body is identified as 60-year-old Richard Everett Sevo of Sayre. The ME has not determined the manner of Sevo’s death. OSBI is investigating this case as a suspicious death. The State Fire Marshal’s Office is also investigating.

Published in Law Enforcement & Fire
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This year, OSBI celebrates 90 years of fighting crime.  OSBI Forensic Artist Harvey Pratt is putting the finishing touches on the 90th anniversary badge he  has painted inside headquarters.  Interestingly, in 1925 bank robberies plagued the state.  Criminals eluded local police and sheriff's deputies by simply traveling across county lines. Today, Internet crimes against children is one of the most prevalent crimes in Oklahoma.  Despite child predators using the World Wide Web to share pornographic images of children, the OSBI Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit and the statewide ICAC task force arrested on average 1.5 predators each week in 2014. So far this year, the average is 3 predators per week.

Published in Okmulgee in the News

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Lion President Beth Flud, Athletic Director Coach Gordon and R.C. Morrow

Bulldogs Rising was the order of the day for Tuesday's Lions Club meeting with Coach Kevin Gordon and five Bulldog players--Dakota Ivy, Jeremiah Williams, Jabrion Tate, Chris Brown, and Tre' Pizang.  Coach K is really excited about this year's team and is impressed with the off-season work that the young men have put in prior to the beginning of practice.  The biggest loss due to graduation is the offensive and defensive linemen, however, even though this years linemen lack the size of last year, they make up for it with quickness, speed, and desire.  The linebackers and defensive backs pretty much remain intact, so the coaches are hopeful the added year of experience will help to contain or shut down opposing offenses.  According to Coach K, these young men have the "will" and "want-to" to succeed and they are the kind who will listen.  

Even though several coaches have left the program for promotions, new coaches have stepped in to take up the slack, which has created a positive air of expectation and excitement for coaches and players alike.  Practice began with 54 players but football is not a sport for everyone and attrition does take it's toll, however, the coach is really excited about his stable of running backs, with speed and athleticism.  Wide receivers and tight ends are also experienced with speed and athleticism.  This is Coach K's fourth year as Head Coach and he alluded to the fact that last year they were two points short of making the play-offs, which would have been for two years in a row.  So, the goal this year is to win the conference, make the play-offs, and see how far they can go toward a gold ball.

Coach K spoke with pride of Harmon Stadium and the new turf field, similar to Jenks, Union, and Tulsa University, which should give all Okmulgeeans a sense of pride, also, to have such a beautiful facility for football, track, and band, for students, parents, sports fans, and the community.  I'm reminded of what President Harry Truman once said, "It's amazing what can be accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit".  And I always appreciated how Bob Brewer used to close his sports' broadcasts with, "remember, good sports prepares you for the game of life".  After all, this game of life is what it's all about, isn't it?  The Bulldogs need and want the community's support--meet us at the stadium!
                                                                                       (Photos and information provided by Dean Craig)

Lions will hold a Pancake Day October 13.
Lion's Club members Christie Baldridge and Craig Brydges were introduced at this week's meeting.

Published in Okmulgee in the News
Tuesday, 25 August 2015 16:18

Minor injury in Craig helicopter crash

The small damaged helicopter will remain where it crashed a half mile north and one mile east of Ketchum in a privately owned hay meadow in Craig County until federal authorities have examined the wreckage,” say emergency responders.

The Aircraft crashed in the field Tuesday morning around 7:45 a.m.

John Marcotte, 51, of Vinita was the pilot and only passenger of the 2003 Robinson R44 Raven II Helicopter.  

Marcotte was fortunate to be treated at the scene for only minor cuts and abrasions.

Marcotte said he took off from Ketchum airport enroute to Grove, but shortly after becoming airborne he heard a sudden boom and suspected mechanical failure. Marcotte lost control of the aircraft and crash landed in the hay meadow. He emerged from the craft almost unscathed.

Federal Aviation Administration will investigate and prepare a final report on the incident.

Published in Law Enforcement & Fire
Tuesday, 25 August 2015 10:05

Film Festival coming to Okmulgee in October

The first annual Okmulgee Main Street 48 Hour Film Festival [MAIN STREET 48] will be held in conjunction with the “Harvest Spoon Chili Festival” on Saturday, October 17, 2015 in beautiful downtown Okmulgee Oklahoma.mainstree48logoWhite

Independent filmmakers will begin their 48-hour filming process on Friday evening, October 9th with a Kick-off party where the film “elements” will be revealed.   The elements are specific items that must be incorporated into the short films during production to make them eligible in the competition; some of which include a specific character, prop, and line of dialog. Entrants have 48 hours to script write, film, edit and produce their short film. Judges will have the following week to choose 1st and 2nd place.

All films will be screened on Saturday, October 17th at the historic Orpheum Theatre in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. Following the announcement of the Okmulgee Harvest Spoon Chili Festival winners on the downtown square, the 48-Hour Film Festival will begin at 4:00 with an “Orange Carpet” Event, sponsored by Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology.

Filmmakers will be announced and honored as they arrive to the theater. After all entries have been screened, 1st & 2nd place winners will be announced at the end of the screening.

Three judges will pick first and second place winners for $300 and $200 cash. A final Audience Choice Award will receive $100. Prizes and trophies will be awarded at the event. The "Audience Choice” votes will be tallied and the winner will be announced at an after party for the filmmakers.

For more information on how to enter and contestant rules visit:

www.okmulgeemainstreet.com/48submit

More Information

Okmulgee Main Street recently organized the Okmulgee Arts & Humanities Council. The council is working to support and expand cultural activities in the Okmulgee area. One of the first events is the Okmulgee 48-Hour Film Festival.

The Chair for this film festival event will be Tyler Roberds, Main Street Design Committee member and Arts & Humanities Council member. Tyler is a local independent filmmaker with experience in acting, directing, and producing both short form media as well as feature films & broadcast television. His last film, The Only Oly, was filmed entirely in Okmulgee and was premiered at the OrpheumTheatre in 2013. He has participated in several film festivals over the years in various capacities. According to Roberds, “Okmulgee is a fantastic place for story telling. It's a great place to produce film because the locals and businesses are so accommodating. I look forward to bringing more theater and film opportunities to the Okmulgee area in the future.”

Published in Okmulgee in the News

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For 95 years the Orpheum Theatre in Okmulgee has brought entertainment to Okmulgee through the stage and the screen. To celebrate, the public was invited to partake in cake, punch, and a quick trip back in time with a silent cartoon, “Felix in Hollywood” and a silent movie “The Eyes of Youth”, which was the first movie to be played at the Orpheum on August 23, 1920.  

With a line around the block, theatre goers of multiple generations entered the doors to be served cake from Mrs. Laura’s. A large cake displayed a picture of the Orpheum and another displayed the name of the theater. Everyone took their seats to enjoy pre-celebration videos. Students from Green County Technology Center produced three of the videos, “Park on The Square”, “Newscast”, and “Voices of Okmulgee”. Other videos included an Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology recruitment video and a TV spot for Tyler Roberts Productions, Inc.  

Emcee Craig Brydges began the presentations with the introduction of the Orpheum crew, Clinton Kilgore, manager, Tim Cueto, assistant manager, and Tye Brown and Joshua Knobloch, concessions. Speeches were also given by various members of the Okmulgee community, including Margaret Hess, Main Street President Elect and downtown property owner who spoke on her personal history with the Orpheum.

“I grew up here, spent my childhood here. My sister brought me when I was young and I remember getting a grape soda in a paper cup with a thin straw and to this day that is still the best grape soda I have ever had. Now as the caretaker to the McBrayer Building, I am so proud to be a neighbor to the Orpheum. We have had the time of our lives working to revitalize this place we call home. We are glad she is here and hope to enjoy her for another 95 years.”

Heather Sumner, director of Okmulgee Main Street, Inc., spoke on the movement of Okmulgee Rising, “I saw recently a quote that said we were the town that gave up on giving up. Since our inception, we have sold 21 downtown buildings and brought in over a million in revenue from these sales. We are proud to be partnering with OSUIT, who have purchased three of our downtown buildings and plan to house students there beginning spring 2017. We would also like to thank Ron Drake, without him it wouldn’t have happened as quickly, Okmulgee Rising would still be here but we wouldn’t have gotten this far this soon.”  

Kirsten Jackson, who teaches Ms. Jackson’s Theatre troupe, spoke on what an experience it was to teach and perform at such a historic site while three of her students took the mic to express the same.
Judy Lilly Grant reminisced on her youth at the Orpheum, “I remember sitting in the balcony and never realized as a child how beautiful this building really is,” states Grant who is working with Leman Lewis to revitalize the Colored Hospital along Highway 75.  

Steven Baldridge, Mayor of Okmulgee, also spoke at the event and gave thanks to John McConnell for all the effort, hard work, and joy that he has put into the Orpheum.

“For 95 years this building has been here and there is no way to tell how many people have enjoyed their theatre experience right here in these seats. Happy Birthday, Orpheum” said Baldridge.

Vice Mayor and Muscogee Creek Nation (MCN) Special Projects Coordinator Chris Azbell and Justin Giles Director/Curator of MCN Cultural Center also spoke and expressed their appreciation for the building and the history of the Orpheum.

Before the movies began, attendees were treated to a visit from “Lynn Cook”, ghost of the wife of the original owner of the Orpheum, portrayed by Main Street board member Billie Been.  The theatre, which was originally The Cook Theatre, was built by L.D.H. Cook. Cook was originally from Syracuse, New York and relocated to Okmulgee in 1908 during the oil boom. Cook became the first commissioner of finance in Okmulgee. Cook then built the theatre in the 1920’s and was proud to host acts such as Hop Along Cassidy, Houdini, and Sally Rand, the burlesque fan dancer. It is said that Houdini’s trap doors can be found near the dressing rooms back stage and that Rand gave theatre patrons more than they bargained for when she was asked what exactly she wore beneath her trench coat.

To the delight of the audience, the silent movies were accompanied by live organ music, courtesy of William “Ragtime Bill” Rowland of Tulsa. Rowland provided live soundtrack to both movies flawlessly and made the silent movie experience as authentic as possible.

Movie house owner John McConnel was all smiles during the days events.

“Everything about the day went well, and it was a pleasure for me to watch it come off as it did,” said McConnel.  

Front of house volunteers were provided by Main Street, Okmulgee News Network and Green County Tech Center and special thanks were given to Craig Brydges, Billie Been, William Rowland, GCTC students, Julie and Tyler Roberds, Mandy Flanary, Dr. Bill Path – President of OSUIT, Llewellyn’s, Eddy Rice, Rob Bess, Mary Lewellen, Josiah Jackson, Clinton Kilgore, Joshua Knobloch, and Muscogee Creek Nation for the sound system.

Photos by Allen Gardner - ONN

Published in Okmulgee in the News

Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello died Sunday after he was stabbed multiple times at an Oklahoma City restaurant and his adult son was arrested on a first-degree murder complaint, police said.

Officers were called to a Braum's ice cream and fast-food restaurant on the city's northwest side after a stabbing was reported, Oklahoma City Police Department Capt. Paco Balderrama said. Police said the altercation started inside the building and spilled into the parking lot, where bystanders helped subdue the attacker until officers arrived.

Costello was stabbed multiple times in the head and neck area, Balderrama said. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.

State Medical Examiner's Office spokeswoman Amy Elliott said an autopsy would be performed.

Balderrama said Costello's 26-year-old son, Christian Costello, was arrested on a first-degree murder complaint and was in police custody late Sunday night. Balderrama said he did not know whether the younger Costello had an attorney who could comment on the allegations.

Condolences poured in from state officials.

"Our hearts ache as an agency for this tragic event and our department grieves for his family during this very difficult time," Labor Department Chief of Staff Jim Marshall said in a statement.

Costello was married with five children.

"I'm just numb right now, as many of us are," Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Randy Brogdon said. "He was a great Christian, a good man and a wonderful husband and dad. He is going to be sorely missed."

Republican U.S. Sen. James Lankford also lauded Costello, saying in a statement he was "passionate about our nation, conservative fiscal principles, and the people of our state."

"Mark was a friend, and as we grieve, we will also pray for his family as they deal with this unbelievable tragedy," Lankford said.

A successful businessman from Bartlesville who founded a telephone software company in 1984, Costello ousted the incumbent Democrat with 64 percent of the vote during a Republican sweep of statewide offices in 2010. He easily won re-election in 2014.

A strong proponent of smaller government, Costello closed the agency's Tulsa office, which he said was underused, and that the agency's technology upgrades had allowed much of its professional licensing services to be conducted online.

"You can reform government," Costello said during last year's campaign. "It can be done when there is political will. I have that political will," he said.

Costello also faced criticism for comments he made in 2011 in which he compared state bureaucrats to "feral hogs," a comment he later said was "an unfortunate animal analogy."

Published in Law Enforcement & Fire

DEMMEETING1

The Okmulgee County Democratic Party met the candidates running in the Primary for the District 16 State House of Representative seat which State Rep. Jerry Shoemake holds and is retiring at the end of his term. The candidates were given time to talk about their qualifications to the members. They were Jan Columbine, Ronnie Kell, Anna Dearmore and Sarah Amador. (Amador was unable to be at meeting).

Mr. Mark Hammons State Democratic Party Chair was the guest speaker. Okmulgee County Committee Vice-Chair Tom Taton conducted the meeting.

Published in Political News

TICKET SALES TO BE SHARED BETWEEN MAIN STREET AND THE BLACK HOSPITAL

A silent cartoon and a silent movie are on the boards for the Okmulgee Orpheum’s 95th Anniversary celebration Saturday, Aug. 22. Admission is $5 for all ages and doors open at 1:30.

The main feature will be the silent movie, THE EYES OF YOUTH with Clara Kimball Young and Rudolph Valentino, which is the first movie shown at the Orpheum when it opened in 1920. Also showing will be a silent cartoon, FELIX IN HOLLYWOOD. Live organ accompaniment will be played by Bill Rowland of Broken Arrow. Rowland has a love of early 1900s music, and is an accomplished ragtime pianist, in addition to playing the organ. Rowland will entertain with ragtime piano music at the beginning and ending of the festivities.

The movie will be preceded by a program featuring short talks by local celebrities. The theme of the celebration will be twofold - Orpheum history and Okmulgee revitalization. It is reported that the ghost of the wife of theatre builder L.H.D. Cook will make an appearance, and it is feared that the theatre’s resident ghost, Zillah, may try to block showing of the movie.

Complimentary punch and cake will be served. As guests are being seated, videos of local projects, and videos made by local students and residents, will be showing.

Former Okmulgee High School faculty member, Craig Brydges, is emcee. Okmulgee Main Street is providing volunteers to assist theatre employees with the celebration.

Ticket sales will be divided between Main Street and the Black Hospital. Main Street’s Design Committee will use their money for grants to building owners to restore their building fronts. The Black Hospital will use their money to add to support that Leman Lewis is personally giving to nurture the restoration of this significant historic facility. The Orpheum appreciates the community support it has received, and wants to support the projects of others in the community who are willing to step forward and improve our City.

 

Published in Okmulgee in the News

A third position has just became available on the Henryetta Economic Development Authority (HEDA). Gary Clason, who had served as a member of HEDA since 2010, resigned from the board on Monday. G Clason

The resignation came after a discussion on whether or not it would be a conflict of interest with Clason’s wife, Jennifer, serving on City Council. Clason had recently been reappointed to a five year term on the board.

The brief resignation letter emailed to Roy Madden, HEDA Secretary, states “I, Gary Clason, must resign from the HEDA board effective immedately. If I can be of any help in the future please let me know.” Clason also stated he felt confident that the City will continue to move forward and progress.

Just last month HEDA member Mike Meeks also resigned while a third opening became available this last week with the resignation of Henry Koelzer as City Council Representative.

The Henryetta Economic Development Authority (HEDA) was approved by the City of Henryetta on December 11, 1990, and the Trust Indenture was certified by the Oklahoma Secretary of State on December 28, 1990. The HEDA serves as an economic development arm of the City of Henryetta. It is managed by 6 trustees, each appointed by the City Council for a 5-year term.

Published in County News
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