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Okmulgee in the News

Wednesday, 18 January 2017 19:03

Shawn Fritsche Keeps Okmulgee in Compliance

By Betty Anderson

2017 01 17 ShawnFritscheShawn Fritsche, also known as Maverick, who is the Code Enforcement Officer and Safety Coordinator for the City of Okmulgee has a very busy job and is one of the hardest working guys in the city. He issued 3,572 code enforcement violations for 2016 from overgrown properties to living in travel trailer violations to illegal dumping violations and many more as indicated in this report.

Fritsche wrote on his annual report to the City Council, “5900 Informational Flyers were sent out this year to help educate the public and discuss Keep Okmulgee Beautiful Week. During this dedicated week, the City of Okmulgee painted over graffiti at Northeast Rotary Park & 13th Street Bridge, issued 56 free burn permits, & previous to this week Public Works had a successful recycling event.

Many other wonderful events and improvements took place in 2016 that involved Creek Nation, the Chamber of Commerce, OSU-IT, Main Street, and the City of Okmulgee (too many to name).”

2017 01 17 Code Enforcement


By Betty Anderson

Bob Seebeck, Chairman of the Okmulgee Chamber of Commerce Community Development Committee, addressed the Okmulgee City Council Tuesday evening at their regular meeting.  He wanted to thank the Council and all of the city employees who worked on upgrading the community bathrooms located between Morton and Seminole streets in downtown on Main Street. He praised Public Works, Marty Williams, Ken Anderson and Brian Dudley for their part in upgrading this facility.

2017 01 17 BobSeebeckHe says when people come to town and walk in it, they should be impressed. It has new partitions, fresh paint and a baby changing station. The bathrooms are opened 8 am to 8 pm every day.

Kay Rabbit-Brower, Chamber of Commerce Director informed the Council that someone had painted some graffiti on the bathroom brick wall. She said she has been working with Shawn Fristche (Maverick) and maybe working with some Green Country Students on an idea to have a map designed of Okmulgee so people can get a feel for what is available in Okmulgee and where to go. Then they would put it under Plexiglas and put it on that wall to cover up the graffiti.

Rob Robertson, Councilman, said that Main Street and the Chamber of Commerce are working on an arrangement to share some costs on maintaining the bathrooms.

Mayor Steven Baldridge introduced an idea to the Council which he had observed in some of his travels which he thought would be a good idea as a community for the City to possibly acquire bicycles for rental downtown, possibly have a station at OSUIT and possibly Walmart.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017 22:26

New Program for Okmulgee County Students

Anne Moroney Youth Services is excited to invite all Okmulgee County students in the 5th to 12th grade and their parents to a new youth-parent skills building program for better family communication. The Strengthening Families program is designed to improve student’s grades as well as helping all learn positive communication, goal setting and problem solving skills.

The spring 2017 session will start Monday, January 23, 2017 and end Monday, May 15, 2017. The program will be held from 4:30pm to 6:30pm. The location will either be in Okmulgee or Henryetta depending upon interest. A family meal will be provided for the student and up to two parents. Sessions are designed to be fun yet educational. There is no cost for the program but slots are limited. To sign up or for more information please call Rose or Portia at Anne Moroney Youth Services, 918-756-7700.

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Pictured left to right: President Lion R.C. Morrow, Sherri Powell, and Program Chairman Lion Kyle Powell

By Dean Craig Okmulgee Lion

Tuesday's Lions Club meeting was a break from tradition of meeting at the First Baptist Church to meeting at Baptist Village, with a delicious meal of barbeque, entertainment by the Bells 4 Him, and the program by Sherri Powell, Administrator of the Baptist Village. It doesn't seem possible that Baptist Village has been in Okmulgee for the past 30 years, but it has. Of course, it is a part of the largest not-for-profit organization in Oklahoma, beginning with the first campus in Hugo in 1958. The last one of the nine campuses was opened recently in Elk City, the only one in western Oklahoma. All campuses are Christian based and offer independent living and assisted living.

Sherri stated that Baptist Village has 72 units which consists of 50 independent living apartments (one and two bedrooms), six duplexes (two bedroom, two bath), and the rest are assisted living apartments. Baptist Village pays for gas, water and sewer, but the individuals pay for electricity. There is a fund that provides financial assistance for low-income individuals called the Adams Fund, and is totally dependent on tax-deductible donations from companies, organizations, and individuals. No funds are provided from the Baptist General Convention. There are presently nine individuals residing here who receive financial assistance. In fact, there was over $500,000 in financial assistance provided in the State of Oklahoma last year. However, these funds are being depleted faster than the funds being donated. Therefore, a new program is being formulated, called the Mustard Seed, which will fund the Baptist Childrens' Home and the Baptist Villages.

Sherri and her husband, Lion Kyle Powell, are both from Hollis in deep southwestern Oklahoma, were high school sweethearts, both attended Oklahoma University, with Sherri majoring in Fashion Merchandise and having big plans to take her talents to the bright lights of New York City, which, of course, never materialized. And being married to a banker, you get to move around a lot (kind of sounds like the ministry, doesn't it?) But Sherri began working in her parents' nursing home while a high school student and obtained certification as a nurses' aide so she could assist with everything, So she brings a lot of experience to Baptist Village, even though she has only been the director for the past three years. She also has six years' experience with the Department of Human Services in Adult Protective Services. And, speaking from experience of my 28 years with DHS, this will prepare you for anything.

Her first year with the 30 year-old Baptist Village building was the year of plumbing problems. The next year saw heating/air conditioning problems. And there has been continuing updating/decorating with help from employees to enhance the beauty of the building. People who work there are not referred to as employees, rather "friends teams". The Lions Club also has a "friends team" who are looking for a few good men and women to join us and share the blessings of helping those in need. I've been told that no one stands taller than those who stoop down to help a child or someone in need. "WE SERVE".

(Photos and information provided by Dean Craig)

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President Felecia Wittman and Rotarian of the Day Kim Stokely present a pen to speaker Aric White. Aric is the owner of Superior Vault Company. After graduating college with an Economics degree, he used the knowledge he had obtained growing up on a farm and maintaining farm equipment to start a burial vault company. Sitting in an office all day wasn’t for Aric, who prefers to work with his hands. He built the molds, mixes his own concrete and designed the hoists for moving the vaults. He also recently purchased Crown Hill Cemetery, a historic black cemetery in north Tulsa near Turley. He had to buy the delinquent mortgage from the lender and foreclose it, which posed some interesting legal questions. Ultimately he was successful. He admitted managing a cemetery has it challenges as his behind the scenes vault company didn’t prepare him for the interpersonal relationships, and sometimes emotional situations that occur with funerals and final resting plots.


OKLAHOMA CITY - Governor Mary Fallin today released the following statement regarding Martin Luther King Jr. Day:

“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached a message of tolerance, mutual respect and human dignity that is just as relevant today as it was when he lived. He was a patriot who believed in the great potential of our country and its message of freedom and equality of opportunity. I encourage all Oklahomans to join me in celebrating the spirit of brotherhood and love that Dr. King embraced.”

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Monday, January 16. The governor’s office will be closed in observance of the holiday.

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 January 17, 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 Shale Agreement with Billy and Charles Clarkson

G. Discussion and possible approval of Shale Agreement with Patrick Crowell

H. Possible approval of Invitation to Bid #10 to lease purchase 10-wheel dump truck

I. Possible approval of monthly Appropriations

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: January 12, 2017 Signature: __________________________________

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Pictured left to right: Lion Gary Volz, Lion R.C. Morrow (standing in for sponsor Lion Dan Anderson), Lion Duaine Janzen, sponsor for Lion Dr. Tom Alexander, and PDG Tom Cummings.

By Dean Craig Okmulgee Lion

Tuesday's Lions Club program was one of those necessary meetings to formally induct new members into the club. This is always a good sign because it means that we are growing. Past District Governor/Past Council Chairman Tom Cummings, Cushing, did the honors for us. Two of the new members were previous members and we are glad to have them back--Dr. Tom Alexander and David Fetgatter. Both are sponsored by Lion Duaine Janzen. The other new member is Gary Volz, sponsored by Lion Dan Anderson, and we are also glad to have him as a new member.

Lions International is the world's largest civic organization with 1.5 million members in 210 countries/geographical locations. During the 1925 International Convention, Helen Keller challenged the Lions to be "knights of the blind", thus Sight Conservation became our major project. A brand new sight-related project is the spot vision camera, with the target age group of six months to six years. Between the age of six months and six years old a child's brain learns how to use his or her eyes. If a child has a correctible eye problem that goes unnoticed, the child may never develop good vision for a lifetime. But as you know, a child that young does not know letters or numbers. A child that young often does not have the attention span nor understanding to do a regular eye exam. Our program only requires the child to look at the camera for a few seconds to capture and evaluate the child's eyes, which is then wirelessly transferred to the printer and printed out to be sent home to the parents.

With this equipment, we can ensure that the young children in our community can develop good eyesight during these development years. Doctors say that by the time a child enters kindergarten, it may be too late for this important brain development to take place. Severe nearsightedness, farsightedness, lazy eye, astigmatism, and other eye problems can prevent good eyesight development. And the best thing, our spot vision assessments are FREE. PDG Cummings presented this program to our club on January 12, 2016 and we have about 10 Lions certified to operate the spot vision camera, all of whom have had FBI background checks (a requirement for schools and day-care centers). We are planning to start this service with day care centers and, hopefully, eventually work with the schools.

We still have a place for a few good men and women--think about giving us a visit! "WE SERVE".

(Photos and information provided by Dean Craig).

OKMULGEE, OK. - The Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1189 in Okmulgee are announcing the kick-off of the national VFW Auxiliary annual Young American Creative Patriotic Art Contest. Any local student in grades 9 through 12 are eligible and encouraged to enter and entrants will be competing for a combined total of $21,000 in scholarships, awarding First Place through Eighth Place scholarships. Also, students who have their patriotic artwork awarded will have an all-expenses paid trip to the 2017 VFW Auxiliary National Convention for their art and themselves to be recognized, awarded, and thanked for their participation.

Eligibility requirements are:
- Any student in grades 9-12 who is enrolled in a public, private or parochial high school or home study program in the United States.
- Maximum student age of 18 at time of local entry.
- Student must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. national.
- Applicant does not have to be related to a VFW or VFW Auxiliary member to participate, but the student must attend school in the same state as the sponsoring VFW Auxiliary
- Art must be on paper or canvas. Water color, pencil, pastel, charcoal, tempera, crayon, acrylic, pen-and-ink or oil may be used.
- Digital art and photography is NOT ACCEPTED.
- Submit canvas entries on stretcher frames or canvas board; other entries must be matted on white.
- Do not frame.
- Art should be no smaller than 8” x 10” but no larger than 18” x 24,” not including the mat.
More information can be viewed at the VFW Auxiliary web-site:

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.

Monday, 02 January 2017 19:19

Jeremy Brian Hamilton obit

Jeremy Brian Hamilton, a lifelong resident of Henryetta, passed from this life on Thursday, December 29, 2016 in Tulsa at the age of 43. Jeremy was born on September 15, 1973 in Okmulgee, Oklahoma to Ronald Hamilton and Deborah Parker. Jeremy grew up in Henryetta, attending Henryetta Public Schools, and graduated from Henryetta High School with the Class of 1992. He also enjoyed his high school years playing football for the Henryetta Knights. Following high school, Jeremy attended college briefly at Okmulgee Tech. Shortly thereafter, Jeremy went to work in the pipeline business.

Jeremy was employed by Janx Integrity Group as a pipeline radiographer inspector. He loved the work he did and the many friendships he made with colleagues and the people he came into contact with through his job travels. Jeremy was a longtime member of the IUOE Local 112 union and a longtime member of the Immanuel Baptist Church of Henryetta. He loved to target shoot with his collection of firearms, loved watching football, and eating out with friends and family. Jeremy loved to help people, and some might say he was generous to a fault. The only thing bigger than his heart was the smile he would greet you with anytime you saw him. He was a loving son, brother, and uncle and hundreds of people are proud to have called him "friend".

He is preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Jenkins "Jenks" and Betty Hamilton; an uncle, Mike Hamilton; a maternal aunt, Shari Carley; and grandfathers, Bill Parker and Bobby Powell; as well as step-father, Mike Kidwell.

Jeremy is survived by his father, Ronald Hamilton and wife Teresa of Henryetta; his mother, Debbie (Parker) Whatley-Kidwell; a sister, Haley Fanning and husband Zach of Checotah; a brother, Kevin Green and wife Cathy of Henryetta; grandmother, Lena Powell of Henryetta; sister, Cassie Whatley-Weaver and husband Anthony of Nixo, MO; brother, Nick Whatley of San Antonio, TX; brother, Stephen Whatley of Springfield, MO; sister, Bonnie Hackler and husband Jeff of Tulsa; 4 nieces, Phoenix Weaver, Cate Hackler, Lilly Hackler, and Courtney Green; 4 nephews, Spencer Hamilton, Gavin Weaver, Nixon Whatley, and Colton Green; a grandmother, Dorothy Robnett of Henryetta; uncle, Terry Parker and wife Elaine of Henryetta; and aunt, Connie Lane and husband Joe of Henryetta; a very special friend, Shanna Kinslow and her sons, Seth Kinslow and Tylor Kinslow; by numerous cousins, other extended family and many good friends.

Viewing for Jeremy will be held on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 from 2:00pm until 8:00pm at Integrity Funeral Service.

A funeral service for Jeremy will be held on Wednesday, January 4, 2017 at 2:00pm at The First Baptist Church of Dewar with Brett Wheeler and Darin Smith officiating. Interment will follow immediately at Westlawn Cemetery, under the direction of Integrity Funeral Service.

Pallbearers will be Erick Sisson, Dustin Osmund, Brad Spurlock, Cory Pitts, Heath Carley, Josh Delso, Brian Martin, Kevin Williamson, and Greg Powell. Honorary bearers will be Aaron Carley, Brian Henderson, Mackey Lambert, Richard Willouby, Mark Dover, Johnny Brown, Damian Lund, Dave Klutz, Jerrod Brown, Nicholas Whitley, Stephen Whitley, Tom Harkins, and members of IUOE Local 112 union.

The family has designated the American Cancer Society, PO Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123-1718 or the Prayers for Nathan George Fund in Henryetta, OK as appropriate for memorial contributions.

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