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Okmulgee in the News

A Small Business Tax Basics Workshop will be held on the campus of Green Country Technology Center on Thursday, March 9, 2017 from 9am-11am in the seminar center. Dewey Brandon from the Oklahoma Tax Commission will be the presenter. Sponsoring partners include Green Country Technology Center, Okmulgee Main Street, Okmulgee Chamber of Commerce, Henryetta Chamber of Commerce and OSUIT, Muscogee (Creek) Nation and REI Women's Business Center. Register for this FREE workshop at www.reiok.org.


Pictured is Dale Day, Program Chairman Lion Duaine Janzen, and President Lion R.C. Morrow.
Photo by Dean Craig

The phrase, "the show must go on" came to mind regarding Tuesday's Lions Club meeting as the regularly scheduled program by Scott Wells, President and General Manager of Remington Park in Oklahoma City, was presented by Dale Day, Announcer and Communications Manager of Remington Park. Mr. Wells was out of the state so Dale admirably stepped in to present the program. And who better to be program chairman than Lion Duaine Janzen because he deals with Mustangs, only a different kind through Harlan Ford Motor Company. (Pun intended).

Dale said he was an "Air Force brat" (his father was an Air Force pilot and his mother was an Air Force nurse) and they lived in a lot of places before moving from Ohio to Oklahoma. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in Broadcast Journalism and joined the Remington Park staff in 1993 after spending many years working for sports radio station WWLS.. He announced football, basketball, baseball games, and even hockey games with John Brooks. His first job at Remington in October 1993 was as the operator of the message board, advancing to head of communications in 1996, marketing director from 1999 to 2005, adding the duties of announcer in 2004.

Remington Park was built by Edward J. DeBartolo, Sr. and opened in 1988. The years between 1994-2004 were rather lean years, and the track was close to closing in 2002. House Bill 712 allowed casinos, which basically rescued Remington Park. That, and the fact that the Chickasaw Nation, through Global Gaming, became the third owner of Remington, and began infusing money into the Park on January1, 2010. According to Dale, this was the best thing that could have happened for the track's future. Their purses are much higher now so they are attracting better horses and more of them. The State of Oklahoma receives 1/3 of the track's proceeds, Remington Park receives 1/3, and the horses 1/3. Since 2005, the Park has put $165 million in education.

March 10 the quarter horse racing begins, followed by the thoroughbred racing season. April 23 will be a special day of racing camels, zebras, and ostriches. Several Lions members wanted to nominate certain other Lions members to be jockeys for these special races, but Dale stated that would not be allowed because it is against track rules and, besides, it is too dangerous.

Admission, parking, and valet parking are always FREE at Remington Park, something you can't say about other sporting entertainment venues. Becoming a Lion member is not free but the blessings of serving the community is kind of like Mastercard..........Priceless!! (WE SERVE).

OKMULGEE, Okla. — The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health (MCNDH) Behavioral Health Services (BHS) is pleased to announce the receipt of an $8,291,875 five-year grant, including annual funding of $1,658,375. This opportunity is funded by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT).

This grant will fund a new program known as Many Paths-SBIRT through MCNDH BHS. The new program will focus on a practical approach called “Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment,” or “SBIRT,” and will support earlier diagnosis and treatment of substance misuse.

Studies show that SBIRT can be a cost effective way to prevent serious complications from substance abuse. Many Paths- SBIRT will screen adults in primary care for substance misuse and substance use disorders (SUD).

On February 6, 2017 a pilot program was implemented into the Koweta Indian Health Center.

“This is a chance at early intervention and prevention for American Indian people in our communities” said Michael Burnside, SBIRT Project Director.

Mr. Burnside went on to say “Many Paths is a non-judgmental approach to work with adults who suffer from alcohol and substance use disorders”.

If you have any questions about Many Paths-SBIRT please contact Muscogee (Creek) Nation Behavioral Health Services at 918-758-1910.

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Pictured, left to right: President Lion R.C. Morrow, Chuck Pyle, and Program Chairperson Lion Heather Sumner. Photo by Dean Craig. 

By Dean Craig - Okmulgee Lion

The mood for Tuesday's Lions Club meeting was one of light comedy, audience participation, and nostalgia in remembering catchy jingles and commercials from past years of yore, presented by Chuck Pyle, creator/owner of Jinglesmith Productions. Chuck was brought to our attention by Paul Brown, who had met and worked with Chuck when Paul was working with the Okmulgee radio station. He was also in attendance for Chuck's presentation.

Chuck began his "musical career" while still in high school by playing in several bands and, in fact, had begun writing songs. After several "career jobs", one of his friend who owned a business asked Chuck to write a jingle/song for his business campaign. So, sitting down with his guitar, he wrote the campaign ad in about 30 minutes, played it for his friend, and was immediately hired to go on a campaign tour, private jet and all the works. Thus, began the beginning of Jinglesmith Productions in 1976. He stressed that even though we might not like certain company jingles, we all know them and remember them. For example, he started jingles by Camel and Winston cigarettes, Oscar Meyer wieners, etc., and the audience could finish most of them. Of course, in 1973, cigarette ads were being removed from commercials by the government due to health hazards and concerns.

He sang a jingle for a funeral home, made from three Lions' members names (Tiews-Vaughn-Kennedy), even though Gary Volz (Schaudt's Funeral Home) was in attendance. Then, a jingle for a Mexican restaurant made up of three names suggested by the audience. Next, a jewelry store jingle taken from names of our cook and helper (Rissler-Caudle Jewelry Store). All were "catchy and witty, designed to catch your attention. Of course, the two best were jingles for the Lions Club and "Okmulgee Rising", as follows:

Being a Lions Club member himself made it easier to write about without much research. And who better to serve as program chairperson but Mainstreet Director, Lion Heather Sumner. What a fun and enlightening program, full of enth_siasm--the only thing missing Is u. Why don't u join us?? "WE SERVE".


They're movers and shakers, they get things done!
The big rainmakers, having lots of fun!
Doers and dreamers with a heart to share!
Okmulgee Lions Club is beyond compare!

Providing eyeglasses, helping kids to see!
You find a need and fill it, and take the lead!
For pancakes and sausage, raising money for the cause!
Okmulgee Lions Club, like a dose of hot sauce!

Your teamwork is effective and efficient!
Your hundred years of service is profound!
Your catered meals each week are so delicious!
With 2nd and 3rd helpings for Paul Brown!
Okmulgee's best and brightest are two thumbs up!
The movers and the shakers........join us!
The movers and the shakers, Okmulgee Lions Club!


Come together Okmulgee Rising
Our hometown spirit's alive again!
With innovative leaders and creative people
As we walk together, everybody wins!
With great events and celebration,
And the good life that we share
Our loyalty to community is beyond compare!
Come together Okmulgee Rising
Our hometown spirit's alive again!

We support our Mainstreet merchants,
And local businesses large and small
Reaching out to attract new business to our town!
With fresh ideas and a heart to win
Bringing jobs and growth
Back home again!
Feel the momentum building
We're Okmulgee proud!
Come together Okmulgee Rising
Our hometown spirit's alive again!

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(Photo by Dean Craig)



The Henryetta Chamber of Commerce has scheduled the first Friday of February, March, and April for the 2017 Legislative Forums. The forums will be held at the Cowboy Corner located at I-40 Exit 237. The forums will begin at noon. Hopefully this noon schedule will allow for expanded attendance for these very informative meetings with your legislators.

The Legislative Forums are designed to offer an opportunity for constituents to hear directly from their elected representatives regarding the details of various legislative efforts that may affect our area, the State of Oklahoma, and the nation. The Forum also offers a chance to meet one-on-one with your elected representative and to voice your input on the issues being addressed during the current session.

Friday, March 10, 2017, is the last day to apply for voter registration in order to be eligible to vote in the April 4, 2017, Annual School Runoff and Regular Municipal Election, Okmulgee County Election Board Secretary Ashley Carnes said today.

Carnes said that persons who are United States citizens, residents of Oklahoma, and at least 18 years old may apply to become registered voters.

Those who aren’t registered or need to change their registration may apply by filling out and mailing an Oklahoma Voter Registration Application form in time for it to be postmarked no later than midnight Friday, March 10th.

Carnes said applications postmarked after that time will be accepted and processed, but not until after April 4, 2017.

The County Election Board responds in writing to every person who submits an application for voter registration. The response is either a voter identification card listing the new voter's precinct number and polling place location or a letter that explains the reason or reasons the application for voter registration was not approved. Carnes said any person who has submitted a voter registration application and who has not received a response within 30 days should contact the County Election Board office.

Oklahoma Voter Registration Application forms are available at the Okmulgee County Election Board office located at 314 W 7 Street, Room 102 of the Okmulgee County Courthouse and at most post offices, tag agencies and public libraries in the county. Applications also are available at www.elections.ok.gov.

I love the fact that once an individual catches a glimpse of their potential, and they see how much more there is to life and what they hold within themselves – it becomes nearly impossible to get them to settle for less than what they know they are capable of. Think about the athlete who has a ‘personal best’ goal – it’s hard for them to not aim for beating that target! Think of when you were in school, and how the students with a LarabeeHeadshot2history of straight A’s remained diligent in their studies and were disappointed with anything less than high scores in all of their academic pursuits. The talented musician that’s perfected their craft for years – they won’t be satisfied with missed notes and sloppy practices. Once someone’s potential has been unleashed, they desire to do more and more!

So why do some never recognize their potential to begin with? Maybe they need someone else to see it, and then encourage them to work hard reach it. That’s what good coaches and excellent teachers do. It’s what we hope to accomplish as parents. If no one ever tells you there’s more inside of you, only a very few can see it for themselves and are able to reach out and achieve it. Most of us need a cheerleader – we need encouragers and influencers who challenge our thinking and tell us there’s more, or we might in danger of settling for less.

I think that’s part of our challenge here in Okmulgee. So many people have settled for less in terms of what they think our city is capable of. There are some cheerleaders out there that are working hard and see the potential, but we still have a large number of people who really do think Okmulgee’s best days are behind us. I’m tired of that kind of thinking!

When we go through seasons of negativity and hurt, much like Okmulgee recently has with the violent incidents that have taken place, there’s a temptation to just give up and resign ourselves to thinking maybe that’s all we’re capable of. If you’re like me, or you’ve had the opportunity to be around someone who’s caught the ‘Okmulgee Rising’ bug, then thoughts like those seem ridiculous! We’ve only caught a glimpse of what our town is capable of, and we won’t settle for anything less than our best efforts even on our worst days! I know there’s something worth fighting for here in Okmulgee because I’m constantly surrounded by other cheerleaders who know exactly how much more potential there is within our community, and they sincerely believe that we are able to achieve it!

So, maybe if you can’t say the same, you should come hang out with all of us crazies who are excited about how great Okmulgee is, and who believe we’re going full steam ahead to days that will be better than anything Okmulgee has experienced in the past. Warning: there might be work involved. It’s possible that we won’t listen to your complaints without asking you what you plan to do about them. It’s also likely that when you begin doing something, you too will see the amazing potential our city has and you’ll realize what you once settled for when you considered Okmulgee has been far less than what we’re actually capable of. Don’t Settle!

You’re welcome to email me anytime at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

*Additional (and awesome) contributions were made to this article by Kasey Bowers.

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Richard Larabee is an Okmulgee downtown resident. He serves on the board of Main Street, and operates his own business out of the historic McCulloch building in downtown Okmulgee.

(Oklahoma City, Okla.) – The Oklahoma Main Street Center announced today the finalists of the program’s annual statewide awards competition. All finalists will be honored, and the winners announced, at the 28th annual Main Street Awards Banquet, May 9, at the Embassy Suites OKC Downtown/Medical Center Hotel.

“The Oklahoma Main Street Center Awards Banquet celebrates the communities, people and events that make the program thrive,” said Buffy Hughes, Oklahoma Main Street director. “There are 21 competitive award categories representing the Main Street Four Points, and 19 different programs are in the top three of each. We are always excited to see so many projects, events and people highlighted by the local programs. It is a joyful time for all involved in Main Street.”

Each award category falls under one of the “four points” in the Main Street Approach – Organization, Promotion, Economic Vitality and Design. Panels of outside judges for each point review the entries and determine the winners.

The Community of the Year Award will recognize the Main Street program that earned the most quality assurance points during the 2016 calendar year. The top 10 programs (in alphabetical order) include: Altus, Bartlesville, Duncan, Guymon, Hobart, Newkirk, Okmulgee, Ponca City, Prague, and Wilburton. The top program will also be announced at the banquet.

In addition, the top Main Street Program Directors will be recognized at the banquet. Those making the top three this year include Stephen Boyd, Hobart Main Street, Inc.; Melyn Johnson, Main Street Guymon Inc.; and Ed Sharrer, Kendall Whittier Main Street.

The award finalists are:


Premier Partner
Bartlesville – Hilton Garden Inn/Bartlesville
Okmulgee – Street Signs
Ponca City – City of Ponca City

Best Community Education/Public Awareness
Ardmore – “Your Favorite New Place” Billboard Campaign
Duncan – “This Place Matters”
Wilburton – Main Street Week Activities

Best Volunteer Development Program
Durant – Durant High School Service Learning Project
Guymon – Football Families
Hobart – Main Street Design Committee


Main Street Hero
Altus – Shannon Preston
Newkirk – Caryl Morgan
Okmulgee – Richard Larabee
Ponca City – Richard Winterrowd

Best Creative Fundraising Effort
Durant – Dancing with the Stars
Okmulgee – Big Brain Trivia Night
Ponca City – 2016 Battle of the Burger


Premier Special Event Under 1,000 Attendees
Claremore – Food Truck Thursday
Enid – Butterfly Invasion
Enid – Downtown Dogfest

Premier Special Event Over 1,000 Attendees
Collinsville – 15th Annual Hogs ‘n’ Hot Rods
Durant – Trick or Treat on Third Street Carnival
Hobart – 9/11: Never Forget

Best Retail Event
Durant – Dash for Cash
Ponca City – Ladies Night Out
Tahlequah – Ladies Night Out 2016

Outstanding Image Promotion
Enid – Elf on the Downtown Shelf
Enid – Shop the Square & Main Street Menu
Ponca City – The Downtown Flyer

Creative New Event
Hobart – 9/11: Never Forget
Ponca City – 2016 Battle of the Burger
Stockyards City – “Cowboys and Caboodles” Art Show and Sale


Best Placemaking Project
Enid – The Trail Mural
Ponca City – City of Ponca City/Light Poles & Street Signs
Ponca City – Veterans’ Plaza

Best Sustainable Design Project
Enid – Lamp Post Refurbishment
Enid – Mural Program
Ponca City – Veterans’ Plaza

Best Interior Design Project
Enid – Leonardo’s Children’s Museum
Kendall Whittier – The Beehive Lounge
Okmulgee – Park on the Square

Best Façade Rehabilitation Under $10,000
Claremore – Barron Law Firm
Hobart – Krieger Insurance
Newkirk – A Perfect Day

Best Façade Rehabilitation Over $10,000
Bartlesville – Chris Dizmang – CR Anthony Building
Claremore – Main Street Tavern
Newkirk – Newkirk City Hall
Tahlequah – Wilson Building Façade Project

Best Visual Merchandising
Ada – Farm Girl Boutique
Ada – Rustic Ridge
McAlester – Harper and Gray House

Best Building/Business Branding
Durant – Bliss Boutique
Kendall Whittier – The Beehive Lounge
Newkirk – Cheeky Burgers


Best Adaptive Reuse Project
Claremore – Main Street Tavern
Hobart – Frisco Creek Barbeque
Newkirk – Inner Spaces

Best Business Practices
Ada -- Scraptopia
Altus – Belles & Beaux
Durant – With Bump

Best New Business
Kendall Whittier – Calaveras Mexican Grill
Okmulgee – 102 Ristorante
Stockyards City – Prairie Dust Soaps and Stuff

Business of the Year
Hobart – General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute & Museum
Newkirk – Urban Prairie Art Gallery
Ponca City – Lewis Associates Architects, Inc.

The dinner and program will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased from your local Main Street Program for $45.

For a listing of Main Street programs in the state, or for more information about the Oklahoma Main Street Program, please call (405) 815-6552 or visit OKcommerce.gov/mainstreet.

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                                                                                               Photo by Kendall James

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Army National Guard (OKARNG) welcomed a new general officer to its organization Tuesday during a promotion ceremony held at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

Brig. Gen. Louis Wilham, resident of Edmond, Oklahoma, was officially pinned to the rank of Brigadier General, making him the newest general officer for the OKARNG.

“It’s a pretty daunting task,” Wilham said. “Many of my mentors and people I've looked up to my whole career have been promoted to the general officer ranks, and they have set extremely high standards for me to try to live up to. I'm truly honored and humbled to now be included in that group.”

Pinning on his star were his two daughters, Taylor and Shelby, who according to Wilham have only known a life of their father serving in the Oklahoma National Guard. Alongside them was Wilham’s wife, Jody, who beamed with pride while watching their daughters pin on her husband’s new rank. Without the support of his family, Wilham said, he never would have gotten to where he is today.

“I would never have been able to achieve even half of what I've done without the love and support of my family,” Wilham said. “My wife Jody and I have just celebrated our 30th anniversary, and she's had to put up with a lot of absences over the years.”

Whether it was his deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2008, his state-active duty mission in response to Hurricane Katrina, drill weekends or annual trainings, an unavoidable part of being in the military is the time spent away from loved ones; time that adds up through the years.

“It doesn’t seem like it at the time, but when you add up all the missed days, it turns out to be quite a lot,” Wilham said. “Through it all though, they've been very supportive of not only me, but more importantly, each other.”

The Senate Assembly Room was standing-room only, with leaders from the Oklahoma National Guard, Oklahoma legislatures, fellow Soldiers and Airmen, and adoring family and friends.

“This is a testament of you who you are as an officer,” said Maj. Gen. Robbie Asher, the adjutant general for Oklahoma, as he addressed the filled room. “This is a great day for our state, a great day for our nation, and a great day for the Wilham family.”

Wilham has spent nearly 30 years in the OKARNG. He enlisted in 1987 after being convinced to join by his father-in-law, Master Sgt. (Ret.) James Roe, and then commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1989. Wilham began serving on active duty for the OKARNG in 1997, where he has served in a multitude of command and staff positions in the company, battalion and brigade-levels, including serving as brigade commander for the OKARNG’s 90th Troop Command.

Wilham’s current assignment is the assistant adjutant general for the OKARNG. He also serves as the executive director of the Oklahoma Military Department in Oklahoma City, the state agency responsible for the administration of the Oklahoma National Guard.

For Wilham, reaching a rank among general officers wasn’t one he necessarily thought he would achieve, but one he is grateful for and one that his family is proud of.

“Even without this promotion, I’ve had an extremely rewarding career and have been able to do many great things with the Oklahoma Army National Guard,” Wilham said. “My family is all very proud, but probably none more so than my mother-in-law, Becki. She and my father-in-law have been very supportive.”

When asked what advice he would give to Service Members just beginning their career, he suggested to build a team and rely on that team to accomplish the mission.

“I’ve been extremely fortunate throughout my career in being able to work with a great group of officers, non-commissioned officers and Soldiers, and we have made each other successful,” Wilham said. “‘Mission First, People Always’ is not just a cliché or motto; it truly is the way you need to operate. You must ensure everyone is mission-focused, but you have to care about the people working with you and their families.”

Wilham holds a bachelor’s degree in Law Enforcement Administration from the University of Oklahoma, and a master’s degree in International Relations from Troy University and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.

His awards include: Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Combat Action Badge, and more.

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The Oklahoma National Guard welcomed the newest general officer to its organization, Feb. 28, 2017, during a promotion ceremony held at the Oklahoma State Capitol. Brig. Gen. Louis Wilham was promoted to the rank of brigadier general where he currently serves as the assistant adjutant general for the Oklahoma Army National Guard, as well as the executive officer for the Oklahoma Military Department, the state agency responsible for the administration of the Oklahoma National Guard. (Photos by Kendall James)

Okmulgee Service League's 2017 will hold their major fundraiser Queen of Hearts Casino Night Saturday, March 4th 2017 7pm at the Okmulgee Elks Lodge.  Tickets are on sale now!casinonights1

Tickets are $25 each and ticket holders' will receive chips for playing craps and blackjack. At the end of the evening the player with the most chips will win a nights stay at the River Spirit Casino hotel, dinner for two at the Fire side grill and two tickets to Brad Paisley live in concert at paradise cove! There will also be a second and third place consolation prize. In addition to the gaming tables there will be a prize wheel, win loose or draw basket auction, 50/50 raffle and a photo booth.

Ticket holders will also enjoy food from the Elks Ladies Auxiliary, and Mrs Laura's Cakes.

Last years fundraiser raised over $20k that went back into the surrounding communities of Okmulgee county. OSL hopes to do that and more again this year they say! You cannot lose at this spectacular benefit event!


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