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Okmulgee in the News

By Wesley Coburn -

Students from all over Okmulgee County have scattered to various places for college, and many of them have done well, being named to the honor rolls of their schools for the fall 2017 semester. To be named to the President’s Honor Roll at most schools, students must be full-time (12 hours) and have a 4.0 GPA for the semester. To be named to the Dean’s Honor Roll, students must be full-time and have a 3.5 GPA, with no grade worse than B.

In Tahlequah at Northeastern State University, many county RiverHawks earned a spot on the President’s Honor Roll. These include Beggs residents Jessica Donaho, Kaitlin Galindo, Kyle Harders, Deana King and Denver Pinkston. Dewar’s Ally Baker and Parrish Been also made the list, as did Henryetta’s Tiffany Peters and Taylor Story. From Okmulgee, Mary Allen, Shannon Baker, Melissa Hanshaw, Amber Simpson and Cydni Young all made the list as well.

In Stillwater, Oklahoma State University saw their share of county names among the President’s Honor Roll, including Matthew Howell of Okmulgee, Ryleigh McNabb of Beggs, Morgan Pearson of Morris, Holly Stuart of Morris and Caitlin Uva of Okmulgee. Those named to the Dean’s Honor Roll include Brenna Adolph of Beggs, Rainey Barnes of Beggs, Daijha Cobb of Okmulgee, Hannah Dykes of Morris, Joshua Gallagher of Okmulgee, Micalin Lawson of Henryetta, Amy Neal of Beggs, Colt Schrader of Beggs, Hannah Six of Beggs, Grant Sontag of Henryetta, and Mara Sylvester of Beggs.

In Claremore, Rogers State University saw local Hillcats Colton Wesley of Beggs and Mikayla Pak of Henryetta named to the President’s List, while Henryetta’s DarciJo Johnson and Okmulgee’s Victoria Hunt were named to the Dean’s List.

In Weatherford, Southwestern Oklahoma State University Bulldogs of local heritage earning high grades were Kruz Lynch of Beggs and Bailey King of Morris.

In Edmond at the University of Central Oklahoma, high-achieving Bronchos include Peyton Elizabeth Alexander and Morgan Price, both of Okmulgee, and Henryetta’s Cameron Pak, all of whom made the President’s Honor Roll. Phillip Hughes of Henryetta and Jordan Eggleston and Audra Harris, both of Beggs, made the Dean’s Honor

Monday, 29 January 2018 17:40

Little League registration in progress

 By Wesley Coburn -

Summer is still a ways off, but registration for the 2018 season of the Okmulgee Youth Baseball and Softball League is in full swing.

The signups began in late January, and there will be two more chances for parents to register their children on Sunday, February 11 and Sunday, February 18, both times from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The location for signups is Morgan Field at Bateman Park.

Parents can also sign up their kids by returning a signup form to their respective school secretary by Monday, February 19. Signup is free, but there is a $20 charge per family after the deadline.

T-ball is available for players 6 and under, 8 and under are in a coach-pitch division, and then there are 12 and under divisions for baseball and softball. Girls cannot turn 13 before January 1, 2018, and boys cannot turn 13 before April 30, 2018.

Teams and coaches will be assigned on March 5, and practice schedules should be given to teams by March 12. League play will begin April 16 and finish by July 1.

For more information, call David Dunlap at 918-770-3540 or Candi Padfield at 918-752-8628.      

Baseball Glove

By Wesley Coburn -

Every summer, a select group of 70 high school juniors from all over the state get an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. as part of the National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (NRECA)’s Youth Tour. The statewide delegation is sent by the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives (OAEC), and consists of students from almost all of the OAEC member co-ops’ service areas.

“Youth Tour is a one-of-a-kind experience that you’ll never forget,” Jennifer Dempsey, former Youth Tour Director, said. “In addition to visiting and seeing so many sites that you’ve only seen in history books or TV/movies, you also get to meet and form friendships with amazing young people from all over not just our state but other states, too. I think it helps expand horizons and helps the participants learn that good things can come from putting yourself out of your comfort zone.”

“My favorite part of the experience was making lifetime friends and memories that I will always cherish,” said Jose Hernandez, YT ’11.

Students visit a variety of historical sites, including the Smithsonian museums, Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, Mount Vernon and the Arlington National Cemetery.

I came back with a new sense of pride for my country,” said Kalon Moore, YT ’10. “It opened my eyes to some of the things our country has fought for. The Holocaust Museum was powerful. It made me realize how different the world could have been if not for our country's intervention. It's hard to explain. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the wall of names of fallen soldiers just makes it all real. It makes it hit home that people your age had to sacrifice their lives for the betterment of the world.”

The selection process varies by co-op, but for East Central Electric (ECE) the process is straightforward: write a 500-word essay.

This year’s prompt is “describe the differences between an electric cooperative and investor-owned utilities.” The essay will be judged by the following criteria: 40 percent on knowledge of subject, 40 percent on originality and creativity, and 20 percent on composition and grammar. Please use double-spacing.

Entrants must be high school juniors (11th grade) and live within the nine-county ECE service area. The service area covered by ECE includes all or parts of Creek, Lincoln, McIntosh, Muskogee, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Seminole, Tulsa and Wagoner Counties.

Entrants do not have to be children of ECE members, just live within the ECE service area. Immediate family members of ECE employees or trustees are not eligible.

“My favorite part of the experience for me was getting to see DC through the eyes of my Youth Tourians every year, knowing what we were going to see or do next and being so excited to share it with them, knowing what their reactions were going to be,” said Dempsey. “I did it for 17 years without getting tired of visiting the same places over and over, and getting to be a small part of something that I knew they would remember forever. I will probably be ‘Spike Momma’ to someone out there the rest of my life...that’s a pretty cool legacy.”

The deadline is March 1, winners will be revealed after April 1, and the trip should take place in mid-June to early July. Mail the essay to: East Central Oklahoma Electric, ATTN - Billie Been, P.O. Box 1178, Okmulgee, OK 74447.

For more information, go to www.ecoec.com/content/how-apply.

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By Wesley Coburn

Local citizen Stephen Robertson, a former Harlem Globetrotter, has the opportunity to take part in the East Meets West Charity Game in Los Angeles, California on February 13 at the University of Southern California’s Galen Center.

But to compete, Robertson must raise $500 for travel expenses, and donations from the community are welcomed. Donations may be dropped off at the offices of Okmulgee Main Street and the Okmulgee Chamber of Commerce.Player 3

The game will be part of the lead-up to the NBA All-Star Weekend, which culminates in the 2018 NBA All-Star Game at the Staples Center. It celebrates the bonds being made between the U.S. and China, is presented by Anthem Communications, and benefits the Steve Francis Foundation, which strives to create educational and recreational opportunities for at-risk youth.

One of the teams will be coached by former NBA player Jellybean Bryant, father of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.

Robertson is the husband of Okmulgee High School graduate Dawanna Robertson, and the father of reigning OHS Homecoming Queen Sydnee Robertson.

The NBA All-Star Game will feature Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook, as well as former Thunder players Kevin Durant (Golden State), James Harden (Houston) and Victor Oladipo. It will be on televised on TNT Sunday, February 18, at 7 p.m.

Coca-Cola bottling plant in Okmulgee expects to close in March

Coke Plant

Hundreds of Coca-Cola employees, including many in Okmulgee will be looking for new jobs.

This after Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages announced it will be closing its bottling plant in Okmulgee and consolidating operations with its Oklahoma City bottling facility.

In a statement, the company says their distribution facility in Okmulgee will remain open.

"We are closing the manufacturing operations in Okmulgee, our Okmulgee distribution center’s frontline salespeople, drivers and merchandisers are not impacted. While difficult, these changes are helping us create a faster, leaner and more agile organization to accelerate growth in the local marketplace. We do not take decisions about job impacts lightly and are committed to treating our people with dignity, fairness and respect throughout this process," stated a company press release.

In all, 246 jobs in both bottling plants will be affected.

The company says the job reductions were necessary.

Okmulgee City Manager Roger Ballenger said that it will set the city back some, but they are always working to get new jobs here for Okmulgee. He said it will affect the city indirectly through sales tax through people who work at the plant and purchase within the city.

"It is a blow to Okmulgee, but we will survive," said Ballenger. "It will affect our revenue on water sales because they are a major water purchaser. At the same time this will open up resourses to other companies.  We have plenty of water, but their is always a limit."

The Coca-Cola company says the consolidation will happen beginning in March.

The company has always been a huge financial supporter of the City's annual fireworks show for the citizens.

By Wesley Coburn

The Okmulgee Lady Bulldogs earned third place in the 15th annual Muscogee (Creek) Nation Okmulgee County Tournament, held at Brock Memorial Gym last week. They took the bronze rafter defeating the Dewar Lady Dragons on Friday night.

The Lady Bulldogs faced the Wilson Lady Tigers in the first round on Tuesday, sailing out to a 20-2 lead after one quarter and a 31-9 advantage at halftime. The final score was Okmulgee 56-23.

Leading the Lady Bulldogs was Sahmeya King with 14 points, Myesha Cosby scored eight points and McKenzie James had seven. Wilson’s top scorers were Raven Shaw with nine points, Cheyenne Duggar with five and Emma Sparkman with three.

On Thursday night Okmulgee faced the Preston Lady Pirates in the semifinals. After one quarter Preston led 24-10, and they stayed ten to fifteen points ahead for the rest of the game, leading 35-24 at halftime and winning 63-50.

Okmulgee’s scoring was led by James and Kailey Ward each with 12 points, King had 11 points and Tierney Gardner added 10 points. Preston’s top scorers were Tecumseh with 13 points and Aaliyah Harrison, Eunice Leach and Ahmaia Tiger all with 10 points.

That sent Okmulgee into the third-place contest on Friday night against Dewar. The Lady Bulldogs stayed roughly fifteen points ahead of the Lady Dragons all night, beginning with a 29-16 first-quarter lead and 41-26 halftime advantage. There was a lengthy pause in the middle of the third quarter after Destiny Jordan got an elbow to the nose, bleeding all over the court, but that didn’t deter the Lady Bulldogs from their 67-43 victory.

Leading the Lady Bulldogs was James with 21 points, Jordan scored 17, while Ward added 12. Dewar’s top scorers were Corbin with 14 points, sisters Savannah and Skye Been both scored eight points, and Keke Carter added five.

Okmulgee will get back into action on Friday, January 26, at home against Wewoka, the girls tip off at 6 p.m. and the boys immediately following.         

By Wesley Coburn

The Preston Lady Pirates won the 15th annual Muscogee (Creek) Nation Okmulgee County Tournament last week with a win over Beggs at Okmulgee’s Brock Memorial Gym, the eighth time Preston has claimed the title of the best in the county.

Their first-round opponents on Monday were the Henryetta Lady Knights, and after one quarter Preston led 10-7, which grew to 26-15 by halftime. The Lady Pirates doubles Henryetta’s output at one point in the third quarter, finishing it ahead 46-32, and the final score was 59-46 in the Lady Pirates’ favor.

For Preston, scoring was led by Samantha Hack with 13 points, Eunice Leach scored seven points and Aaliyah Harrison and Ahmaiah both added six points each. For Henryetta, Kaylee Hemric had 17 points, Ashlyn Green scored 13 points, and Lexi Lollis added seven.

In the semifinals on Thursday Preston faced the Okmulgee Lady Bulldogs, and Preston jumped out to a 24-10 first-quarter lead and held it ever after. The final score was Preston 63-50, advancing the Lady Pirates into the championship game on Saturday night.

Aiyonna Tecumseh scored 13 points to lead the Lady Pirates, with Harrison, Leach and Tiger all adding 10 points apiece. For Okmulgee, McKenzie James and Kaylee Ward both scored 12 points, with Sahmeya King scoring 11 points and Tierney Gardner adding 10.

The top-seeded Beggs Lady Demons were the opponents in the championship game, and while it started sloppily for both sides, the first quarter ended with Preston holding a 15-13 edge. The Lady Pirate lead expanded to 37-27 at the halftime break; Beggs was hampered by a leg injury to Moia Phillips. At the end of the third quarter Preston led 47-35, but the Lady Demons rallied to trail 55-52 with 3:30 to play. But the Lady Pirates held on to leave the building with the trophy after the 63-56 victory.

Tecumseh led Preston with 16 points, Tiger and Abby Long both scored 11 points, and Hack added 10. Tecumseh also won the girls’ 3-point shooting competition. For Beggs, their scoring was led by Moia Phillips with 14 points, Emiko Goudeau scored 11 points, and Cheyenne Johnson added 10.           

Preston gets back to regular-season play at home against Atoka on Tuesday, January 23, with the girls tipping off at 6:30 p.m. and the boys tipping off at 8 p.m.  

By Wesley Coburn

The Okmulgee Bulldogs, playing in their home of Brock Memorial Gym, won the 15th annual Muscogee (Creek) Nation Okmulgee County Tournament with a win over Beggs. This is the fourth times the Bulldogs have won the tournament, and the second year in a row.

The tournament started for the top-seeded Bulldogs going against the Schulter Bulldogs in the final game of the first round on Tuesday night. After the first quarter Okmulgee led 26-3 and 66-14 at halftime. The final score was Okmulgee 118-41, which set a new record for most points scored by one team in a game.

Every Okmulgee player scored; they were led by Armando Rodriguez with 18 points, Melic Jefferson scored 15 points, Louis Camacho and Jordan Lewis each added 10 points. For Schulter, they were led by Austin Pena’s 17 points, while Trenton Twist scored eight points with Caleb Caldwell adding seven.

The final score of Thursday’s semifinal game against Dewar was 83-70, but the Bulldogs dominated the Dragons at every step; the first quarter ended with OHS up 21-8, and at halftime it was 43-24.

Anfernee Nelson led the Bulldogs with 32 points, while Devion Nelson scored 16 points and Jacob Barrett added 14. For Dewar, Dustin Blood scored 21 points, Brock Hicks scored 11 points and Joey Fowler added 10.

In Saturday night’s championship game, Okmulgee jumped to an 11-2 lead on Beggs before leading the Demons 19-12 at the end of the first quarter. Things tightened up in the second quarter; Okmulgee led 32-29 at halftime. Okmulgee broke out in the third, ahead 51-38 with eight minutes to play, and they rode out the final quarter en route to a 72-62 victory.

Devion Nelson led all Okmulgee scorers with 30 points, Keishawn Gardner scored 16 points and Anfernee Nelson added 14. For Beggs, Jayden Grayson scored 23 points, E.J. Smoot scored 12 points and Chandler Stanton added eight.

Okmulgee will get back into regulars-season action on Friday, January 26, at home against Wewoka, the girls tip off at 6 p.m. and the boys immediately following.

By Wesley Coburn

The Preston Pirates finished in third place in the 15th annual Muscogee (Creek) Nation Okmulgee County Tournament last week by holding off the Dewar Dragons.

Preston faced off against the Henryetta Knights in a first-round matchup Monday night, and the scoreboard operator was kept very busy. The game wasn’t ever especially close, Preston had control the whole way through after an 18-11 first-quarter lead that grew to 46-27 at halftime. Henryetta rallied in the third quarter as Preston’s lead shrank to 66-53, but the Pirates pulled out the 95-75 win.

The Pirates were led by C.J. Cochran, who scored a tournament-record 57 points, while Turner Howk scored 15 points and Jarron Williams added seven. For Henryetta, Colten Wion scored 24 points, Drew Brown scored 10 and Micah Lowe added nine.

Preston moved on to Thursday’s semifinals against the Beggs Demons, falling in another high-scoring contest. It was basically the flipside of Monday’s game, as Beggs led the entire way through, ending with a 95-88 score.

Cochran led the Pirates with 43 points, while Williams scored 15 points and Billy Hudson scored 14. The Demons were led by E.J. Smoot with 38 points, Shaidan Jordan with 22 points and Jayden Grayson with 18 points.

Saturday’s third-place game began with six straight Dewar points, only for Preston to tie the game, and then Dewar reeled off eight straight, the Dragons leading 27-18 at the end of the first quarter. Things tightened up in the second quarter as the halftime scoreboard showed the Dragons ahead 38-34. Preston’s first lead of the game came with 2:49 left in the third quarter at 50-49, and both teams traded the lead back and forth with the Pirates ahead 57-56 at the end of the third quarter. Dewar clawed back to lead 62-61, but Preston held them off to pull out a dramatic 77-70 victory.

Cochran led the Pirates with 31 points, Juan Zavala scored 15 points, while Williams scored 12 and Jared Fife added 10. For Dewar, Joey Fowler scored 24 points, Brock Hicks scored 21 points, Dustin Blood scored 15 and Gentry Bryson added 10.

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Preston gets back into regular-season play at home against Atoka on Tuesday, January 23, with the girls tipping off at 6:30 p.m. and the boys tipping off at 8 p.m.

By Wesley Coburn

The Morris Lady Eagles earned fifth place in the 15th annual Muscogee (Creek) Nation Okmulgee County Tournament last week, defeating their archrival Henryetta Lady Knights in the consolation championship.

Tuesday’s first round matchup saw Morris going up against the Dewar Lady Dragons, and it opened as a back-and-forth affair, MHS leading 13-11 after eight minutes and tied at 25 at halftime. Dewar gained the upper hand in the third quarter, leading 36-31 with eight minutes to play, and in the fourth their shots fell while the Morris shots didn’t, as the Lady Eagles fell 55-39.

Charie Barnett led Morris with 16 points, Madyson Lewis scored 11, and Kyzia Wizenhunt added four points. For Dewar, Skye Been had 20 points, Savannah Been had 16 point, with Morgan Britt and Skyler Randall both contributing eight.

The Lady Eagles then faced the Schulter Lady Bulldogs in the losers bracket on Wednesday. The outcome was almost instantly decided; Morris led 23-3 at the end of the first quarter, and 38-6 at halftime. The final score was Morris 64-15.

Barnett led the Lady Eagles with 17 points, Emily Wallace scored 15 points, Barnett had 14 points, and Treysa Clay added seven. Malachi Hedrick scored 12 for Schulter, with the other three coming from Abby Earhart.

Friday night’s fifth place game started out with ten straight Morris points, and the Lady Eagles held a 19-6 first-quarter advantage over the Lady Knights. 42 fouls were committed in this clash, which is to be expected. At halftime Morris’ lead increased to 39-14, and by the end of the third quarter the score was 51-28. The final score ended up with Morris winning 67-38.

Lewis led the Lady Eagles with 25 points, Barnett had 17 points, and Katie Pinkston scored eight. For Henryetta, Kyla Green scored 14 points, Kaylee Hemric scored 11 points, and Kim Hayes had six.

The Morrii and Henryetta boys also played for fifth place, and it went to overtime before Henryetta finished off a buzzer-beating comeback in the extra period with the 76-70 victory.

For Morris, Joe McBride scored 21 points, Brett Beard had 18 points, and Trenton Kelley scored 12. For Henryetta, Pepper Logan and Jarrett Day both scored 14, while Colten Wion and Avery Moore scored 13 each.

The Eagles and Lady Eagles host Henryetta on Tuesday, January 23, with the girls tipping off at 6:30 p.m. and the boys tipping off at 8 p.m.

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