Okmulgee in the News
by Wesley Coburn - ONN
The Okmulgee Fire Department will begin their annual testing of the city’s fire hydrants beginning Monday, August 7. According to Fire Chief Bruce Swearingen, this process should take about six to eight weeks to complete.
Testing will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday during the process, beginning on the west side of the city and gradually working eastward.
This is required for insurance purposes, while also making sure that hydrants will work properly in case of emergency. Water in faucets and pipes may run dirty while testing is underway.
For more information, call the OFD at 918-756-3265
Pictured left to right: 1st V.P. Lion James Thompson, President Lion Duaine Janzen, Coach Clay Patterson, and Program Chairperson Lion Beth Flud.
By Dean Craig - Okmulgee Lion
Tuesday's Lions Club meeting was a homecoming of sorts with the program provided by Clay Patterson, Head Football Coach at NEO (Miami, Ok.), and a graduate of Morris High School. His father, Rick Patterson, is a former coach (and Head Coach) of Morris High School, along with Larry Bookout (a legendary coach at Morris and a 2013 Football Coach's Hall of Fame inductee), and my son, Jeff Craig, (Head Football Coach and Athletic Director at Blanchard), former quarterback for Morris, all were in attendance to hear Coach Patterson speak. I filmed the football games for Morris for seven years and was close to the coaching staff, but this was the first time all four of us have been together in 30+ years.
After graduating from Morris, Coach Patterson attended NEO A & M for two years, where his uncle, Okmulgee High School graduate Dale Patterson, was the Head Football Coach. Moving on to Southeastern State, Durant, he played for two years and served as a graduate assistant for two years, before being hired as a position coach there for two years. Then on to Tarleton State (Texas) for a short time before his former coach at Southeastern State, Keith Baxter (a Holdenville native), called offering the offensive coordinator position at Texas A & M at Kingsville. He later applied for the offensive coordinator job at Trinity Valley (Texas) and was granted that position, staying for three years. Then when the Head Coach job became available at NEO, he received a call from Dr. Jeff Hale, President of NEO, who had been President of Southeastern State when Patterson played and coached there, and was offered his first Head Coach assignment. Of course, it didn't hurt that his uncle, Dale Patterson, is the Athletic Director at NEO, but when you look at Patterson's previous successes and resume, he has paid his dues and earned the recognition. Coach Patterson laughingly stated that his grandmother (Norma Jean Patterson, who worked for the late Dr. Bob Hasselman in Okmulgee for many, many years), had a lot to do with his hiring.
So, this becomes another "feel good" story and one of "small-town local boy does well". And it really doesn't matter how big nor small of a school you attended, it boils down to absorbing your information and training, perseverance, doing the best job you can, and taking advantage of every opportunity given. Bob Lilly, former Dallas Cowboy player, probably said it best when he said, "it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog". And Coach Patterson preaches, and lives by, his "eat" formula--effort, attitude, and tempo. And this also applies to personal, spiritual, academics, and life. It seems to have worked so far.
What an inspirational program, particularly from one so young, but his goal is to restore NEO back to its "glory years". We predict that this will happen. And our Lions Club is in the process of restoring our club back to its "glory years", and you can help because we still have a few more slots available for a few more good men and women. "WE SERVE"
Lion R.C. Morrow, Clay's Little League baseball coach; Jeff Craig, Rick Patterson, Clay Patterson, Larry Bookout, and Lion Dean Craig. (Photo Dean Craig)
By Wesley Coburn - ONN
The July session of the Muscogee (Creek) National Council was held Saturday, July 29, at 10 a.m. in the Mound Building on the MCN campus. All representatives were present except for one.
Principal Chief James Floyd delivered his quarterly report, and the minutes from the June planning session and regular session were approved.
Twenty-three Tribal Resolutions were considered, all of which were passed except for one construction-related resolution, which was postponed for two months, and a partnership with law firm Rosette, LLC, which was postponed for a month. These resolutions included agreements with Okmulgee County, the Cities of Eufaula and Henryetta, the Okmulgee County Rural Water District #2, and the Vivian Rural Water District #6. Other agreements including leasing tribal land in Hughes County and sewer improvements in McIntosh County. Monte Deer was appointed as an MCN Supreme Court Justice, and Daniel Carter was named to the Mvsoke Media editorial board. Wording was changed to the MCNCA Title 21 “Gaming,” and a purchase of Okmulgee County land for a veterans cemetery was approved.
Thirty-three National Council Acts were considered, one was returned to committee, two others were postponed for two months, while all others were passed, some only after much discussion. The MCN Reintegration Program, MCN Physical Rehabilitation Center, MCN Department of Health, MCN Orthopedic Clinic and MCN Elderly Nutrition Program all saw budget increases. Donations were made to the McIntosh County Disabled American Veterans and Depew Public Schools, and special appropriations were authorized to Apekhv Fellowship Church, Ryal Community Baptist Church, Concharty United Methodist Church, Covenant Harvest Ministries and Many Springs Baptist Church. Funds for MCN traditional churches to purchase lawn mowers and send their youth to church camps were also approved. Some wording was changed to various laws as well.
The cause of much discussion was a request for educational aid from an art student who had the opportunity to study overseas in Italy, and his request for funds was eventually approved, drawing large praise from the audience.
The meeting adjourned at 11:58 a.m.
By Wesley Coburn - ONN
The 62nd annual Okmulgee-Roy Leblanc Invitational Rodeo will be held Friday and Saturday August 11-12 at 8:30 p.m. at the Bob Arrington Rodeo Arena on Highway 75 and Fairgrounds Road. The event is hosted by the Okmulgee Round-Up Club, and there will be an accompanying parade held downtown on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Major sponsors for the rodeo are the City of Okmulgee and One Fire Casino. The City of Okmulgee will be sponsoring the parade, Steer Wrestling and the Pony Express relay races, One Fire Casino will sponsor the Bull Riding and Bareback Riding events, Harlan Motors is sponsoring the Calf Roping contest, with Barrel Racing presented by First National Bank and Trust (Ladies division) and Lifetime Insurance (Junior division). The Junior Breakaway Roping will be sponsored by R&S Collision, and Morris State Bank will be the sponsor for the Ladies Steer Undecorating. A $6,000 payout awaits.
In the parade, $100 prizes will go 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.
Rodeo tickets are $5 for kids twelve and under, $10 for adults.
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.