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Okmulgee in the News

Tuesday, 11 October 2016 16:50

Update on Real ID Enforcement

The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety was notified today that the State of Oklahoma’s request for an extension of time to become compliant with the REAL ID Act has been denied. Included in the message was notification that Oklahoma has been issued a grace period that will end on January 29, 2017. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security:

“Starting January 30, 2017, Federal agencies are prohibited from accepting driver’s licenses and identification cards issued by [non-compliant] states for official purposes.”

What this means is that after January 30, 2017, anyone who does not have a form of identification that is REAL ID compliant will not be able to enter a federal building or facility, military base, courthouse, etc. Oklahomans are strongly encouraged to plan ahead before visiting any federal building or facility.

KEY DATES TO REMEMBER

Beginning January 30, 2017: Federal agencies are prohibited from accepting driver’s licenses and identification cards issued by non-compliant states for official purposes.

Beginning January 22, 2018: A driver license or state ID issued by a state that is not in compliance with the REAL ID Act and has not been granted an extension by DHS will not be accepted to board a commercial aircraft within the U.S.

The Henryetta “Main Street Halloween Trick or Treat” is scheduled for Monday, October 31st beginning at 3:30 PM and ending at 5:00 PM. Participating merchants will display a “Jack-o-lantern” on their front windows. The event attracts hundreds of youth annually and helps to ensure a safe Halloween for our young ghost and goblins. If you are a merchant and want to participate please contact the Chamber of Commerce at 918-652-3331 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

OKMULGEE, OK. - The Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1189 in Okmulgee are sending their support and thanks to the Oklahoma Army National Guard troops who have been deployed to the Middle East since June with much needed personal supplies in care packages addressed to each soldier.

Carol Smith, Post 1189 Auxiliary President, along with other officers of the Auxiliary visited with the administration officer and NCO at the local armory for advice on what the individual soldier needs that he or she would not otherwise be able to easily obtain while on active duty in the Middle East. Okmulgee’s local armory is home to Company A of the 777th Aviation Support Battalion which is headquartered at Camp Joseph

T. Robinson in North Little Rock, AR. The Oklahoma National Guard website describes Company A as the ONG 90th Troop Command’s “777th Distribution Company providing water distribution, fuel distribution, warehouse operations, and transportation as necessary. The unit has supported multiple State Active Duty missions and is currently deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.”

After learning what the troops’ most desired needs are, the Auxiliary purchased items such as shower shoes, soaps and shampoos, moistened hand wipes, easily pocketed packaged snacks, chewing gum, ballistic shatter proof UV protection safety sunglasses, and other needed items helping to make each soldier’s life a little easier while performing their duty overseas. The Auxiliary will be preparing the care packages on October 15th with the help of National Guard members assigned to the local armory who are administratively supporting the deployed troops. This activity and preparing the packages for overseas mailing will be carried out at the local VFW Post 1189 located at 1427 North Okmulgee Street in Okmulgee.

Nationally the Auxiliaries of VFW Posts throughout the U.S. have nearly 465,000 members in more than 4,000 Auxiliaries who volunteer millions of hours and fundraise millions of dollars for charitable projects that benefit veterans, military service personnel and their families. Anyone 16 years or older that have a relative who is a member of the VFW or eligible to be a member of the VFW is eligible to join the Auxiliary and take part in assisting America’s Veterans and Troops. If interested in becoming a member of VFW Post 1189 Auxiliary in Okmulgee, contact Auxiliary President Carol Smith, 918-232-5621.

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Pictured left to right: Jim Kennedy, Program Chairman Lion Kyle Powell, Missy Wilson, and President Lion R.C. Morrow.

By Dean Craig - Lion Member

Tuesday's Lions Club meeting was one of those necessary local programs regarding the United Way and the tremendous financial support given to the 60 agencies in the six counties that are a part of the Tulsa United Way. Those counties are: Tulsa, Okmulgee, Okfuskee, Creek, Rogers, and Wagoner. Melissa Wilson, better known as Missy, Human Resources Director for the First National Bank, is the representative for Okmulgee, and Jim Kennedy, a retired Navy veteran, is the executive "on loan" to assist our local efforts. And Missy stated that, speaking from experience, no one knows at what point they might need to utilize one of these United Way-sponsored agencies, in her case, adoption. Not only once, but twice. And myself, speaking from experience as a former Department of Human Services County Administrator, I can most certainly agree with whoever said "no person stands taller than those who stoop down to help a child". What a marvelous example of unselfishness with two biological children of their own, and adopting two more. So much more than MasterCard--PRICELESS!

Jim Kennedy is a retired Navy veteran and has been with the United Way for the past ten years. He has high praise for all the volunteers, whom they must depend on, and he also stated that every hour you give as a volunteer is also priceless. He was almost boastful in alluding to the fact that the Tulsa United Way is in the top 3% in the Nation for low administrative costs, as only 12 executives are paid by the United Way, which equates to 9.3 cents per $1.00. And, approximately 7,000 hours are spent vetting the process to fairly and equitably dispense these funds to ensure that they are good stewards of the monies collected. More than $26 million was raised in 2015 by over 2,000 volunteers and more than 45,000 donors. Over 500,000 people were helped last year in the six-county area. Some of the agencies receiving financial assistance in Okmulgee County are the Family Resources Center, Homeless Shelter, Okmulgee-Okfuskee County Youth Services, and CASA. Take a look at what your generosity provided: 8,515 Okmulgee County residents received help representing a total community investment of $401,982; 4,198 hours of counseling were provided to 387 young people through Okmulgee-Okfuskee County Youth Services; 75 children received help from CASA; 94% of juvenile offenders who completed Okmulgee-Okfuskee County Youth Services assistance program did not commit another crime; 6,318 domestic violence victims were provided with protective order advocacy by Domestic Violence Intervention Services (DVIS); 1,709 victims of house fires, storms, and floods received assistance from the United Way. So, combining forces and resources allows us to become so much more for our community. Have you made your pledge yet? Please consider doing your part. "WE SERVE".

(Photo and information provided by Dean Craig with excerpts from the United Way pamphlet)

Story by Sgt. Bradley A. Cooney, 145th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

BRAGGS, Okla.—Jana and Matthew Machniak—if seen shopping at the local supermarket with their two children—would appear to be a conventional, everyday married couple.

But underneath that sublime small-town family exterior are two Oklahoma Army National Guard members on the road to mobilize to the Southwest Asia. Their unit, the 1345th Transportation Company, Oklahoma Army National Guard, deployed to Southwest Asia. That means the couple will be going together.

It’s difficult enough for married folks to manage the usual range of weekly duties—getting the kids off to school, soccer practice, appointments—but the Machniaks, just three years into their marriage, say deploying together will be simple. It’s just a matter of faith.

“Faith is the foundation of our relationship,” said Matthew, of Adrian, Michigan, adding he and Jana first met at a church group. “We wouldn’t be together if we didn’t have the same beliefs.”

Shortly before they met, Jana decided to join the Oklahoma Guard and Matthew followed not long after. Their bond grew stronger through their faith in God and service to their county.

“We have always been headed in the same direction since we met,” said Jana of Hydro, Oklahoma. “We have the same goals, which makes it easier.”

When they were told that their unit was mobilizing, they were faced with some tough choices.

“We were given the option for one of us to stay,” said Matthew. “We thought about it in terms of what is best for our family and we both wanted the experience.”

The couple had the support of their leadership during the decision-making process.

“These two soldiers really impressed me,” said Cpt. Dustin Ruth, 1345th Transportation Company commander. “For these two to sacrifice being away from their two young children for an entire year, to put their unit and mission first, says a lot about their courage and conviction. I don’t know many people who would not have jumped at the chance to stay home.”

Matthew is a motor transport operator and Jana is unit supply specialist. The two are in different platoons so their time spent together during a busy pre-deployment training is limited. They make everything work through texts and brief run-ins during their day. Through their dedication to the mission and each other, their bond stays strong.

“We have gone into this with the mindset that when we get to see each other, it’ll be awesome,” said Jana. “When we can’t, at least we know that we are going through it together.”

One very important detail comes to mind during all of this: where will their children be while their parents are off serving our country? The couple’s two children are staying with their grandparents in western Oklahoma during the mobilization.

“Their grandma and grandpa run a farm that they spend a lot of time at,” said Matthew. “So we couldn’t have asked for a better situation to leave them in.”

Through all of this, their children are never far from their thoughts.

“I hope that they recognize that we did this to honor our commitment,” said Jana. “Not only did we do this to keep our marriage strong, we also wanted to keep our commitment and fulfill our duty.”

Matthew agreed. “We will come back with a new appreciation of time with our family, that’s for sure.”

OKLAHOMA CITY –Attorney General Scott Pruitt is once again recognizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month with several events scheduled throughout the month to raise awareness about domestic violence prevention.

The 9th Annual Domestic Violence Awareness Month Press Conference and Awards Ceremony will take place Thursday, Oct. 13 at 1:30 p.m., in the Blue Room of the Oklahoma State Capitol. The yearly press conference aims to increase awareness of domestic violence in our communities and honor the law enforcement, victims’ advocates, prosecutors and other partners who have gone above and beyond to assist victims of domestic violence. Award winners this year are Jacobi Nichols Whatley, District 21 Assistant District Attorney; Captain James Bell, Northeastern State University Police Department; Evelyn Hibbs, Executive Director of Women in Safe Home; and Brian Reeves, children services volunteer for YWCA-OKC. Following the ceremony, a reception will be held at the Attorney General’s Office to honor the awardees.

 “Domestic violence continues to have a devastating impact on families across our state,” Attorney General Pruitt said. “Through the cooperative efforts of several state agencies and local organizations, our mission this month is to bring awareness to this issue and recognize the many endeavors already taking place to prevent domestic violence with the hope to one day eliminate the tragedy entirely.”

Other events planned in October to recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month include:

October 12th - Domestic Violence Awareness Month Balloon Release –OU/DHS Training Center, Norman at 12pm
 October 27th - DHS Walk to Remember – Sequoyah Building South lawn, 1:00pmOctober 27th - YWCA Wreath of Hope Ceremony – State Capitol, 1:30pm

Also, in what has become a tradition across the state during the month of October, Attorney General Pruitt is inviting Oklahomans to join him in wearing purple every Thursday of the month as a visual reminder to honor those victims who lost their lives and to celebrate survivors of domestic violence. Adding to that tradition, community partners, state agencies and local leaders are being asked to light their homes or businesses purple during the week of October 24-28.

Other agencies and organizations partnering with the Attorney General’s Office to recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month include District Attorney’s Council, Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Native Alliance Against Violence, Oklahoma Department of Human Services, and YWCA.

To report incidents of domestic violence or to seek help, call the statewide 24-hour hotline at 1-800-522-SAFE (7233). For other resources to assist victims of domestic abuse, contact the Attorney General’s Victim Services Unit at (405) 521-3921 or (918) 581-2885.

Monday, October 10th at 4:00 pm at the Mvskoke Nation Youth Services office located at 112 E. 6th Street just west of Paddy's Kickboxing. 

Wednesday, 05 October 2016 21:07

FFFCU Celebrates Credit Union Difference

On October 20, 2016, First Family Federal Credit Union (FFFCU) will, along with more than 56,000 credit unions around the world, celebrate International Credit Union Day, and the foundational principles that make credit unions unique.

Join the celebration at their annual Open House event on Thursday, October 20th from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm. There will be refreshments and FFFCU promotional giveaways at your nearest location.

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives guided by nine principles, including democratic control, social responsibility, and returning all profits to members. This year’s theme is “The Authentic Difference,” a description of credit union’s cooperative structure and principles. FFFCU celebrates International Credit Union Day because it believes banking should be principled.

On International Credit Union Day, FFFCU joins the more than 217 million credit union members around the world in celebrating the people-first principles that have helped lift people out of poverty and strengthen communities all over the globe.

The public is welcome to stop by any of the four FFFCU locations (Checotah, Henryetta, McAlester and Okmulgee) and celebrate a movement that concerns itself with the financial success of all people.

2016 ICU Day Principles

Wednesday, 05 October 2016 18:27

October is Quit Month in Oklahoma

SmokingisNotOK Campaign will inform Oklahomans about the importance of smoking cessation

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Insurance Department, along with the American Cancer Action Network and the American Lung Association, will partner with numerous local health care providers in Oklahoma to sponsor SmokingisNotOK, a public awareness campaign aimed at informing residents about the importance of quitting smoking.  

“Smoking is Oklahoma's leading preventable cause of death, killing more Oklahomans than alcohol, auto accidents, AIDS, suicide, murder and illegal drug use combined,” said Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak. “Last year, federal agencies clarified a requirement that health insurance companies cover tobacco use counseling and interventions. Coverage of the preventive services is required. The services are covered with no out-of-pocket costs and no prior authorization.”

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma ranks 39th among all states for its adult smoking rate, with about 23 percent of adult Oklahomans smoking cigarettes.

“Oklahoma is among 13 states that don't have comprehensive smoke-free state laws in place,” said Dawn Watson, Oklahoma government relations director, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Inc. “Oklahoma residents can smoke in bars and the state allows restaurants to have separate ventilated smoking rooms so there is still more to be done in making Oklahoma smoke-free.”

Oklahoma residents can get involved in Quit Month by using the hashtag #SmokingIsNotOK to share stories about quitting on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

“Our main goal is to educate and inform Oklahoma residents about the resources available to help them quit smoking,” said Jeremy Hughey, executive director, American Lung Association in Oklahoma. “We realize it is no easy feat to give up the addiction to tobacco, but Oklahomans need to know there is help available to them when they’re ready to quit.”

You can get more information about Oklahoma Quit Month at NOTOK.oid.ok.gov. There are also helpful tools online at QuittersCircle.com and you can download the Quitter’s Circle® app* from the App Store or Google Play.

The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline is also available at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669) for access to FREE resources.

About the Oklahoma Insurance Department
The Oklahoma Insurance Department, an agency of the State of Oklahoma, is responsible for the education and protection of the insurance-buying public and for oversight of the insurance industry in the state.

Main Street is looking for the best chili cooks to face off in this years Harvest Spoon 22nd Annual Chili Festival and contest.

The event will be held around the historic square in downtown Okmulgee from 10:30 to 6. Chili Judging will happen at 10:30 and at 11 a.m. tasting kits go on sale.

Categories are the same as last year:

Individuals...
Uncles, aunts, cousins, sisters, brothers, grandmas, moms, dads (you get
the point) are all eligible to enter this class, but no more than two folks in one booth (maybe three if they are small family members).

Family or Business ...
This is an opportunity for company teams and families to participate in the community and just have fun!

Non-profit or Organization ... This division will give local organizations, schools, groups, clubs and charities the opportunity to win cash prizes and is a fun way to increase your group's visibility in the community!

The entry fee for each category is $25.00. Registration deadline is Friday, Oct. 9th, 2015.

Winners will be chosen from each of the three categories who will be awarded a trophy and a cash prize of$250.00.

In addition, and through votes cast by the chili tasters, a People's choice award will also be awarded and the cash prize for this honor is $500.00. This winner will also be receiving the never awarded before traveling BASS Spoon award as the final part of the prize package!

Contenders will also have a chance to compete for the best "Cool Factor" at their booth if they choose.

Main Street hopes to have many entries this year, so get your form in early as it is a first come first chosen selection process.

Pick up your entry form here:  http://okmulgeemainstreet.wixsite.com/okmulgeechilifest

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