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Okmulgee in the News

Monday, May 15 is the last day applications can be submitted for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's popular Controlled Hunts program.

For $5, sportsmen can put their name in the running for this special slate of unique-to-Oklahoma draw hunts for deer, elk, antelope and turkey. Some of the available hunts are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Others include hunts on Department or other government-owned or managed lands where unrestricted hunting would pose safety concerns or where overharvest might occur.

The online application process must be completed through the Wildlife Department's website at wildlifedepartment.com. Applicants whose names are not selected for 2016 earn preference points toward future years' drawings.

Applications are offered online through a secure process that only accepts applications once they have been filed correctly, and a print-out confirmation page is available for sportsmen to document their submitted application.

Log on to http://www.wildlifedepartment.com/controlledhunts.htm for complete application instructions, including tips on enhancing chances of being selected as well as a full listing of available hunts for elk, deer, antelope and turkey.


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Pictured left to right: Skylene Willingham, Braydon Hunter, and Program Chairman Lion Craig Brydges. (Photo by Dean Craig).

By Dean Craig Okmulgee Lion

WOW!  And double WOW!!  What a powerful teaching experience was given to us Lions by Braydon Hunter, Okmulgee High School senior who has earned his way to the speech National Finals in Alabama in June (17).  Lion Craig Brydges was the program chairman and a retired teacher of 36 years, a former Speech and Drama teacher for OHS, who had four students go to Nationals, one of whom won a National Championship.  He introduced present OHS Speech teacher, Skylene Willingham, who introduced Braydon Hunter to the club.

In her introduction, Willingham stated that Hunter had come to her and wanted to be in competitive speech, his first year.  And the rarity of it all, no one accomplishes the goals that Hunter had, and in his first year.  And all this was accomplished by competing against all schools with no class divisions, including schools like Booker T. Washington, Sapulpa, and others.  What is so amazing is that nearly all of the competing speech coaches would come up to her and ask, "where did you find this kid"?

Hunter was born in Idabel but the family moved to Okmulgee shortly thereafter, but his beginning school experience was met with disastrous results by being expelled from kindergarten for his disruptive behavior.  Again being expelled from the third grade, he returned to Idabel to live with his grandmother to complete the school year.  Somewhere along the way, he "got it" and now is a straight A student, participates in sports, with no behavior problems.

Hunter writes poetry and wanted to do a poetry speech but was told that poetry was not a category, so he would need to just do a speech, however, did incorporate some poetry in his speech.  What a powerful and impactful 8-10 minute speech he gave, one that was prone to bring tears to your eyes.  He declared that he was a ghetto child, which is not a black thing but a ghetto thing.  He referred to the movie "Slum Dog Millionaire" and of the increase in poverty among minorities, with 22,000 children dying each day around the world due to poverty.  His way out was that he found wisdom.  As a result, he will be attending college at Cameron University (Lawton) on scholarship, the first in his family to attend college.

After his very moving speech, Hunter had time for a questions/answer session.  My question was what happened to change this behavioral-problem child into this now straight A model student?  His answer was, "when I made my mother cry" because she thought I would turn out to be a criminal, and when a teacher told him that she believed in him and that he could be successful at whatever he wanted to do.  I cannot help but "editorialize" on the fact that a teacher was just doing her job but performed a miracle.  Two occupations that are among some of the lower-paid jobs but require the highest "callings" are teachers and preachers.  One prepares our students for the "game of life", and the other prepares us for eternal life.  In Japan, some of the highest paid jobs are teachers, because they realize the value of education.  And lest anyone thinks the cost of education is high, try ignorance.

In summation, this young man is needing to raise approximately $3,600 for the eight days in Alabama for the national competition.  So, if you have some spare funds that you could give, what a marvelous investment it will be to this young man and to this community.

On a related note, the 100-year celebration glass was won by Lion Thomas Taylor, whose name was drawn last week but he was not present.  The eight names drawn, but not present, were: Renee Dove, Jon Giddings, Barrett Corsini, ShaVon McClanathan, Philip Wright, Jill Moore, Alicia Dudley, and David Fetgatter.  We're still looking for a few more good men and women to enter their names in the drawing.  "WE SERVE". 

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Pictured left to right: Program Chairman Lion Kyle Powell, Rose Washington, and President Lion R.C. Morrow. (Photo by Dean Craig with excerpts by Samuel Hardiman, Tulsa World)

By Dean Craig Okmulgee Lion

When is it permissible to begin a story with....and a good time was had by all....rather than at the end of the story? Well, sir, it just happened Tuesday when the Lions and guests began assembling for the program by Rose Washington, executive director of the Tulsa Economic Development Corp. As everyone began arriving, it rapidly became a "meet and greet" session with all the hand-shaking and hugging going on, and the excitement building in quickly becoming a "who's who in Okmulgee". These guests were even inspiring to the Lions, and the meeting outdid all the social interaction of a local bean dinner or even the Lions semi-annual pancake dinner.

Guests in attendance were: Margaret Hess, Julie Roberds, and Larry Killibrew, Green Country Technology Center; Luke, Aaron, and Paul Abbott, Covington Aircraft Engines; Dr. Bob Klabenes, OADC; Terry Bemis, Paige Hayden, and Terry Costanza, First National Bank; Keith Estes, First National Bank, Henryetta; and Lion Jim Vaughn's daughter, Sherri. Luke Abbott won the $2.00 bingo prize, but don't think for a moment that the mean ole' Tail Twister would let him keep it--not a chance, even though we usually don't fine guests. Of course, we can always make exceptions.

Washington began her program by explaining her roots of being born in Pickens, Mississippi, and raised by her grandmother, a former sharecropper, who raised 13 children in a house her grandmother built. Even though her grandmother only had a third grade education, she was full of common sense and sage advice in instilling into Washington that she could do anything she wanted to do. And Washington recounted a number of these wise sayings that her grandmother shared with her, which reminded me of a wise saying that I heard by an elderly black lady--"son, if the mountain was flat, you couldn't climb it". Hmmm!

"She is why I am", Washington said of the woman who died when she was 22. The grandmother was a strong proponent of education, as was Washington, who earned an MBA, and later was an adjunct professor at a University. She met a Tulsan in Los Angeles, when she was teaching at USC (eight years), whom she married, and he later wanted to come back to Tulsa, and that's how she came to be in Tulsa. And she has been a catalyst for economic development in the region for 15 years, helping connect businesses with funding they otherwise wouldn't get through the non-profit she has run since late-2001.

Washington's work and reputation have propelled her to a position that only one other Tulsan has held; chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's board of directors. She was appointed to the position in January. Her role at the Fed gives the central bank's leaders a perspective that augments what economic data show and gives northeastern Oklahoma a voice at the table with key policymakers in Kansas City and in Washington, D.C.

After the meeting, Heather Sumner (Mainstreet) and Margaret Hess (Green Country Technology Center) met with Washington about similar things going on in Okmulgee that Tulsa is doing, which can benefit both communities. And it appears that Okmulgee has developed a good resource in Rose Washington. And the Lions Club continues to reach out to the community for a few more good men and women so that we can continue to be a valuable resource. "WE SERVE".
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Pictured left to right: Immediate Past President Lion Beth Flud; Anthony Nieto, Okmulgee Times General Manager; Patrick Ford, Okmulgee Times Editor; and President Lion R.C. Morrow.
(Photo and information provided by Dean Craig)

By Dean Craig Okmulgee Lion

Tuesday's Lions Club meeting was one of local flavor and a story just waiting to be told, because you would never hear it from him.. And that story is about Patrick Ford, the new Editor for the Okmulgee Times, replacing the legendary Herman Brown. Patrick was born and raised in Okmulgee, graduating with the Class of '86. An interesting side-note that Patrick shared with me was that he was in Lion Beth Flud's ninth grade History class and, of course, I had to tell that to the whole club as part of my introduction of Patrick and because Beth was in attendance, also. Of course I can keep a secret, it's just the ones I tell who can't.

During his growing-up years, Patrick had kind of thought about radio or TV as a career but not about writing until around the 10th grade when he had written some poetry that was published. He mentioned several teachers who had an impact on him, one in particular was Florence Hancock. He let her know that he wanted to be on the yearbook staff, and he was assigned as features editor. He quoted her advice to him--if you believe in what you do, you can be anything you want to be.

After graduating high school, some things happened that precluded him from attending college, so he set out to find a job, with not much luck. The last place he visited was the Okmulgee Daily Times, and the late Bettye Grant took him under her wing and gave him a job working along with the late Joe Foster. During this tenure, Patrick was exposed to everything, i.e., photography, layout, design, operating the press, inserts, delivery, and just about everything else associated with running a newspaper office. All of this experience would prove to be invaluable later on.

Patrick left the newspaper business for retail business for about six years but decided that retail was not for him, so back to the late Jerry Quinn for a job with the Times, again. But not yet are we ready to say "and the rest is history". It wasn't. Enter Herman Brown. After a period of time, Herman came to Patrick and said he wanted Patrick in his department. Thus, began a good working and close relationship between the two. So, suffice it to say that Patrick has paid his dues to earn his title as Editor. I am not a writer, but for the past three or four years I have endeavored to write the articles for our Lions Club programs, but not without Patrick's help and guidance. He truly has the patience of Job, never condescending nor disagreeable, but always giving tender guidance. I would be remiss not to mention the same guidance from Valerie Rice with www.okmulgeenews.net I am so thankful for both of them.

On a side note, both the Okmulgee Times and Lions International (as well as the Okmulgee Rotary Club) are celebrating 100 years of service to this community. And the two winners of the 100-year commemorative glasses were Lions James Thompson and Heather Sumner. Names drawn but not present to win were Jon Giddings, Tim Walker, and Leroy Parker. Be sure to be present next week to win a glass.

A special guest came with Patrick, Anthony Nieto, General Manager of the Okmulgee Times. Patrick alluded to the fact that Anthony always offers a positive outlook--hang in there, things will get better! And, with people around like these two, things will get better. The only thing that could be better is if they both decided to join the Lions Club, and you, too. We're still looking for a few more good men and women. "WE SERVE".
P.S. Don't forget that the Lions Club Mobile Health Screening Unit will be in Okmulgee during the Pecan Festival and all services are FREE, compliments of the Okmulgee Lions Club. Bring the kiddos also because we will have the spot vision camera (target age 6 months to 6 years) and the parents will be provided a print-out of the results. Also FREE. We'll be looking for ya'all, ya hear?

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Pictured left to right: Lion Dean Craig, Kris Bohanan, James Bohanan, and Program Chairman Lion Raymond Kennedy.

Tuesday's meeting was an introduction to the Lions for one of the newest businesses, Love's Travel Stop and Country Store, by General Manager, James Bohanan, accompanied by his wife, Kris.  James said he was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee until his ninth grade, when his family moved to Boise City, Oklahoma.  During his Senior year, his sister contracted leukemia so the family moved to Oklahoma City to be close to medical facilities, and he graduated high school there.

After high school, James joined the military and served in Desert Storm in Germany, Turkey, and Iraq.  After his military service, he had two different short-term employment periods with Love's before beginning his third term in 2002.  The Okmulgee store is his ninth store, and his second new one to open.  Therefore, he says they plan to stay in Okmulgee as long as possible and have bought some land near Preston.  He was asked if he had ever been to Okmulgee before, and his answer was that Oklahoma City was the closest he has been.  But, they are eager to "settle down" because between him and Kris, they have six children.

James recounted the fact that Tom Love started Love's Travel Stop and Country Stores with one $10,000 gas station in 1964 and soon will be opening their 428th and 429th store.  They are now in 46 states and was the first company of travel stops, meaning equipped with showers.  It was around 1997, when Love's was having trouble getting gas during the gas-shortage, that Mr. Love created his own gas company.  Love's only uses American fuel and does not use any foreign imported fuel.  The Okmulgee store has 66 paved parking spaces for trucks, a lot of which are filled each day.

Some additional partnerships located in Love's stores include Taco Bell, Burger King, Dunkin' Donuts, Subway, and IHOP.  In fact, there are only nine IHOP Express units located in travel stops in the world, and Love's owns five of them, which includes the IHOP Express in Okmulgee.  According to James, Love's is expanding into hotels and storage buildings.  All of the corporation is based on Tom Love's strong work ethics and they do their own 10-day training.  All of their stores are clean and neat, and all of their employees are clean and neat, sans tattoos.  And customers WILL be greeted with a friendly welcome and a smile.  James invites everyone to stop in and get acquainted.

On a related note, someone (me) forgot to bring the 100-year celebration commemorative glass to be given to the person whose name was drawn and was present, so President Morrow suggested that we give two glasses next week.  Be sure to show up so you can claim your prize.  We have other prizes in store for a few more good men and women who become a Lion--the blessing for the opportunity to serve our community.  In fact, the Mobile Health Screening Unit will be here during the Pecan Festival (diagnosing eight medical conditions) basically for adults, with the spot vision camera (target age 6 months to six years) and all of it is FREE, compliments of the Okmulgee Lions Club.  "WE SERVE".

(Photos and information provided by Dean Craig)
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First Family Federal Credit Union (FFFCU) will hold its 61st Annual Members Meeting in the Henryetta High School auditorium at 1800 Troy Aikman Drive, Henryetta, on Tuesday, April 18th. Registration begins at 5:30 pm with the meeting to start at 6:00 pm. The theme is ’Integrity. Members. Community’, and CEO David Dykes will address members with exciting credit union news. Goodie bags and cash prizes will make it a fun-filled evening! All FFFCU members are invited to attend.

FFFCU is a full service financial cooperative. They are owned by the people they do business with - their members.

Unlike other financial institutions, which are governed by and responsible to stock holders,
a credit union is owned by and responsible to its members. Its motive is not for profit,
but service and return to its members.
FFFCU Board of Directors are elected from membership and serve in a volunteer capacity.

For more information, visit FFFCU online at www.firstfamilyfcu.com

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As required by Section 311, Title 25 of the Oklahoma Statutes, notice is hereby given that the Board of County Commissioners of Okmulgee County will hold a regular meeting on April 10, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. The meeting will be held in the County Commissioners Conference Room in the County Courthouse, located at 314 W. 7th, Okmulgee.

NOTE: The Board may discuss, vote to approve, vote to disapprove, vote to table or decide not to discuss any item on the agenda.


1. Call to Order, Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance

2. Possible approval of minutes from regular meeting

3. Input by the Public on any non-agenda items

4. Order of Business:

A. Discussion and possible approval of Officers’ Reports

B. Discussion and possible approval of Blanket Purchase Orders

C. Discussion and possible approval of Employee Acknowledgment Forms

D. Discussion and possible approval of submitted Utility Permits

E. Discussion and possible approval of Private Property Agreements

F. Discussion and possible approval of Notice of Award to Ryburn Construction Solution on

Rural Water District #5 CDBG Project

G. Possible approval of reimbursement claim for expenditures of the District Attorney’s Office

H. Possible approval of reimbursement claim for Election Board Secretary’s salary

I. Possible approval of Invitation to Bid #13 for carpet replacement for Health Department

5. Report from Emergency Management Director

6. New Business

7. Discussion and possible approval of claims and/or signing of documents

8. Vote to go into Executive Session to discuss a confidential communication matter with the Board

of County Commissioners’ Attorney

Attorney communications:

25 O.S. §307(B) (4) Executive Sessions: Confidential communications between a public body and its attorney concerning a pending investigation, claim or action if the public body with the advice of its attorney, determines that disclosure will seriously impair the ability of the public body to process the claim or conduct a pending investigation, litigation, or proceeding in the public interest.

9. Vote to return from Executive Session

10. Discussion and possible vote on matters discussed in Executive Session

11. Adjourn

Name/Title of Person Posting This Notice: Becky Thomas/County Clerk

Date: April 6, 2017 Signature: __________________________________

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Picture left to right: President Lion R.C. Morrow, Lion Marie Burns, and Program Chairman Lion Dan Anderson. Photos by Dean Craig.

By Dean Craig Okmulgee Lion

Tuesday's Lions Club program is not necessarily a required program but it is one of informative happenings regarding the Oklahoma Lions Service Foundation, presented by Lion Marie Burns, Executive Director. Marie has an MBA and has worked for non-profit agencies since 1995, coming to OLSF in 2014.

OLSF was created in 1974 to act as the primary fundraising branch for the Lions' two state projects, the Oklahoma Lions Boys Ranch (now called Meadows of Hope) and the Oklahoma Lions Eye Bank. This is accomplished through a variety of fundraisers, most notably, our two annual campaigns, White Cane and Cowboy Cadillac. During White Cane, clubs throughout the state solicit funds for the Eye Sight program, many by simply carrying a bucket in front of a popular location in the community (usually a Walmart) and handing out White Cane stickers, symbolizing the use of the white cane by the visually impaired. Cowboy Cadillac fundraiser provides tickets to clubs who then sell these for the annual truck raffle.

Sight Conservation has been one of the major projects for Lions International since 1925 when Helen Keller attended our International Convention and challenged the Lions to become Knights for the Blind, a challenge the Lions gladly accepted. If not for the Oklahoma Lions, Oklahoma would not have an Eye Bank. And, since 1957, Oklahomans have received over 27,500 cornea transplants (these figures are at least five years outdated), restoring the precious gift of sight. We do not mean to "toot our own horn" but we feel it necessary to be accountable to the public who donate these funds to us, and we intend to be good stewards of these monies. Every penny goes for its intended purpose because ALL of our time and efforts is strictly voluntary.

The Oklahoma Lions Boys Ranch began many years ago on land donated by the Main family and was overseen by H.F. Donnelley, who was married to their daughter. The facility was originally called the IOA Boys Ranch, more specifically, meaning Individual Opportunity for Achievement. Eventually, Mr. Donnelley convinced the Oklahoma Lions to accept and sponsor the ranch as a state project. Initially, they dealt only with boys who were in trouble with the law or were wards of the court. Due to recent changes in the law, the Boys Ranch name was changed to Meadows of Hope and changed from a boys-only facility to also include both sexes in a foster-home-type setting.

The Mobile Health Screening Unit (MHSU) has been in operation in Oklahoma for the past 19 years. The OKC Downtown Lions Club and the Tulsa Downtown Lions Club each donated $7,500 to start the $186,000 to obtain a unit. Lions Club International Foundation gave $50,000 and individual Lions and other Lions Clubs made up the difference. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma and Integris Health also sponsored the unit's operating costs and are still a major donor. The MHSU travels statewide and with the help of local Lions and medical professionals offers free screenings for: visual acuity, glaucoma, blood glucose, blood pressure, bone density, lung capacity, body mass index (BMI), and cholesterol screening. This is about a $300 service but is free for everybody. We experience about a 40% failure rate, which means referral to one's medical provider.

Our local club is planning to bring the unit to Okmulgee so keep watching for the date. Also, we plan to have the spot vision cameras available for ages 6 months to 66 years (no age limit really) hoping to detect any eye deficiencies before the children begin kindergarten. This is also a free service and the parents are given a print-out of the results. We have previously had an entire article in the Okmulgee Times and on the internet, okmulgeenews.net, regarding the spot vision camera and we have about ten Okmulgee Lions certified to operate the spot vision cameras (with OSBI background checks--which is a requirement to work with schools and day-care centers).

All of these entities are under the auspices of the Oklahoma Lions Service Foundation and a Lion has provided up to a yearly $250,000 matching grant for 30 years for these state projects. But the Lions Clubs have to raise that amount to get the full grant. If we fail to raise the full amount, other charities are next in line to get what we don't raise. So, if anyone has any spare funds just lying around and not needed, what better way to help our fellow human beings. No person stands taller than those who stoop down to help a child or someone in need.

On a related note, we gave a 100-year Centennial commemorative glass to a lucky winner this week, Lion Kay Rabbitt-Brower. We have 10 more of these collector items to give, one per week, but you must be present to win. Names of those drawn, but not present, were: Dr. James Ward, Chris Azbell, Heather Sumner, Alicia Dudley, Marianne Payne, and Thomas Taylor. See ya' next week, and stay tuned to see who is next week's winner

So, when we use our motto "We Serve", we mean it. And we still have a few more spots for a few more good men and women. "WE SERVE".

By Betty Anderson

Kenneth Anderson, City of Okmulgee Emergency Management Director and Tim Creighton, Okmulgee County Emergency Management Director needs your help.

The FREE CodeRED Notification Procedure is now in place and they need everyone in the City of Okmulgee and Okmulgee County to please register your phone number by putting this number in your phone contact 866-419-5000.

The below photo will inform you of all the benefits you will receive from doing this. You also can enroll at http://www.okmulgeeonline.com. Ken Anderson and Tim Creighton are looking out for your safety and want to keep you informed in case of an emergency.

2017 04 02 CodeRedFlyer

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Pictured left to right: Program Chairman Lion Dean Craig, Rev. Michael Abel, Kailey Abel, and Lion Jim Vaughn.

Tuesday's Lions Club program was another one of those "WOW!" programs provided by Kailey Abel, a 16 year-old Verdigris High School junior, who just returned from Hollywood where she competed with four other finalists in the Guitar Center Singer-Songwriter (season 6) with Red One & Cody Simpson competition. Pretty amazing to be in the top five from more than 9,000 entrants.

For the online contest, artists, at least 16 years old, could submit up to five videos of themselves performing their original songs. The competition began last September and ended in November with the finalists being announced the last week of January via Guitar Center's Facebook page by record producer-artist Red One.

With her family by her side, she heard Red One say her name and compare her voice skills to Lady Gaga. "I love your voice", he said as she screamed and high-fived her father, Michael Abel, pastor of the Verdigris Assembly of God Church. "I love the fact that you were very comfortable with your voice and you controlled it......I don't know if I'm allowed to say it but you remind me a little bit like how Lady Gaga plays with her voice. You delivered an amazing delivery".

Last week, Kailey and her parents were flown to California to compete against the other four finalists at an invitation-only event on stage at the legendary Troubadour Club in West Hollywood (the same stage where Elton John, Billy Joel, John Lennon, Waylon Jennings, and many other famous artists have performed). She sang two of her songs, which she performed for the Lions, while most of us sat mesmerized by the talent this young lady possesses. I can not help but allude to the fact that many a God-given talent (such as the late Elvis Presley and so many other successful famous singers) was begun and honed by singing in church. And Kailey is no exception, as she is the praise-and-worship leader in her church.

Not surprising if you consider that the 16 year-old once auditioned for "The Voice" and didn't make the second cut but was invited to come back and skip the first round. She turned the offer down because she earned a golden ticket for the final season of "American Idol". There, she made it to the Hollywood rounds before being eliminated.

As a finalist, she has already won a $6,688 package of performance gear including an ES-Les Paul special electric guitar, amps, strings, keyboard unit, microphone, condenser, ear phones, pedal, monitor, and a Martin guitar.

As a young girl, Kailey said her dreams included being a horse rider, a doctor, a teacher, an architect, and even an astronaut. But once she picked up a microphone, it was all over--she knew what her calling was to be, writing songs and singing--exactly what she is doing now. But without a doubt, Kailey will be able to do whatever she wants to do, and she will pursue it with a passion. Quite possibly when she starts her career, she will become a Lion because we are still looking for a few more good men and women. How about you? "WE SERVE".

(Photo and information provided by Dean Craig with excerpts by Rita Sherrow, Tulsa World).

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Kailey Abel entertains Lion members.

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Kailey Abel and Heather Sumner

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