Okmulgee in the News
OKMULGEE, Okla. - Anderson Indian Law firm owner and Muscogee (Creek) citizen Michael J. Anderson announced Dec. 19, that President Barrack Obama has signed a land transfer bill that will authorize the Secretary of Interior to accept approximately 18.3 acres of land in trust for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation after purchase from the Army Corps of Engineers located in Eufaula, OK. Anderson Indian Law served as the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s legislative representative on the bill.
Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-2) worked the legislative process forward through the House Transportation Committee, Chairman Bud Shuster, and ultimate passage on December 8, 2016 in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN)(Section 1317).
Chairman James Inhofe of the Senate Energy and Public Works Committee is also to be commended for his work in ensuring passage of this legislation through the United States Senate on December 11, 2016. Senator James Lankford also played a critical and timely role in the passage of this bill. The Oklahoma delegation rose to the challenge of supporting this important legislative priority for the Nation.
Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief James R. Floyd identified and corrected a number of deficiencies in the prior versions of the bill and along with Second Chief Louis Hicks both of who conducted a number of trips to Washington, DC to lobby for passage of the bill.
The most important correction was allowing the land to be transferred directly in trust to the Nation. The prior versions of the bill required the transfer to go through the long and cumbersome BIA land intro trust process.
The transfer of Fountainhead Army Corps land will provide future economic opportunities for the Nation and fulfills a legislative goal Chief Floyd established at the start of his Administration.
Today is a great day for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation as it continue to promote the Nation’s self-determination, land recovery and economic development. Anderson Indian Law is proud to have played a role in this landmark achievement.
The Okmulgee County TSET Healthy Living Program is proud to announce information for the upcoming, “Whole Heart Summit”. The Summit will be held on January 12th, 2017 at the First United Methodist Church’s Rowe Family Life Center. The day will begin at 8:30, and will conclude at noon. The morning will consist of several speakers from the community, such as Master of Ceremonies, Chef Aaron Ware, James Pope (CREOKS), Dr. Tracy Sanford, and Terry Perks of St. Matthew Missionary Baptist Church.
“We are very excited to host this summit. It will be a unique and fun experience for all. Our team is working to create an event that will give new insights and connections to resources for those who attend. The theme of the Whole Heart Summit is, “Connecting the dots between mental, physical, and spiritual health within your congregation.” While the summit will be aimed at congregation members, pastors, and group leaders, it will also prove to be beneficial to all members of our community,” said Jennifer Avery, TSET Healthy Living Program Coordinator.
Attendees are welcome from all denominations, and do not need to be a pastor to attend. Breakfast and refreshments will be served throughout the morning. Health resources from the TSET (Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust) Healthy Living Program and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Behavioral Health department will be available to participants. Some of the topics being discussed include mental health and social stigma, healthy means of comfort, congregational wellness success stories, and suicide prevention.
The Whole Heart Summit is a FREE event, hosted by the Okmulgee County Healthy Living Program. Everyone who attends will receive a welcome bag, and will be eligible to win door prizes. To RSVP for the event, visit EventBrite.com and search for the “Whole Heart Summit”; or, contact Jennifer Avery at the Okmulgee County Health Department 918-756-1883 x 145.
Free, Customizable Services and Nonjudgmental Support Available to Help Oklahomans Become Tobacco Free
In 2017, the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline — a free program of the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) — encourages tobacco users to start the New Year with a new approach to quitting.
Those thinking about quitting tobacco this New Year can explore the Helpline to find services that work best for them, and to customize a plan to fit their unique needs. Among the free services available are text and email support, phone and web coaching, free patches, gum or lozenges, and more.
“When I was quitting smoking, the Helpline quit coaches helped me identify a cessation tool that worked best for me,” said John Woods, TSET executive director. “More than anything, the Helpline gives an individual the ability to make a conscious decision to quit tobacco. I know taking the step to quit is scary, but that’s where the Helpline can support and encourage anyone even thinking about quitting.”
Once a customized a plan has been selected, the Helpline encourages registrants to reach out whenever needed, especially during cravings. Sticking to an individually customized Quit Plan increases the chances of breaking nicotine addiction, bad habits associated with it and, ultimately, quitting.
“Sometimes it can take several tries and a variety of methods to quit tobacco, but with each quit attempt, you are closer to reaching your goal of being tobacco free,” said Michelle Camacho, Wellness Coordinator serving Okmulgee County. “By allowing each person using tobacco to select the services that work best for them, the Helpline empowers them to quit and stay quit at the New Year or any time of year.”
The Helpline website, OKhelpline.com, offers other resources that tobacco users can reach for to help fight cravings. These include mini-quit tips, and distractions like games, puzzles and music playlists.
The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline’s resources are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. Call 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit OKhelpline.com to learn more. Connect with the Helpline through social media by liking the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline on Facebook or following @OKhelpline on Twitter and Instagram.
By Betty Anderson
The Council was happy to honor Rick Miller and the Public Works Department for the Environmental Excellence Award they received from Keep Oklahoma Beautiful.
According to Jeanette Nance, Executive Director of Keep Oklahoma Beautiful, the group of winners was amazing. Nance reported, “The KOB staff works tirelessly beginning as early as July to ensure a successful annual event, but it’s the contribution of our affiliates that make what we do, make an impact. KOB could not grow and improve without the passion and dedication of the wonderful people like you that help us do what we do to keep Oklahoma’s beauty running deep.”
The Council voted to approve the appointment of a representative of the governing body and an alternate to the Indian Nations Council of Governments (INCOG) Board of Directors for a two (2) year term. Chris Azbell was designated as the representative and Terry Watkins as the alternate.
They considered and voted to approve a parcel of land to be surplus, located at North Oklahoma Street and Kiowa which will be sold.
Vice Chair, Chris Azbell and Council Member, Everett Horne ran unopposed for their seat on the Council and will serve for three (3) years.
The Okmulgee Library reported that they have printed a few things for patrons with their new 3D printer. Several items are displayed with prices so everyone can get an idea of what can be done along with the expense. Citizens are very interested in learning more about it and how to find projects to print.
Police Chief, Joe Prentice, reported that the Violent Crime Task Force and the Sheriff’s Office Tactical Team were activated and in each case the situation was successfully resolved. Chief Prentice said, “These represent close working relationships with other law enforcement agencies within the county. We currently enjoy better relationships that I have seen in 30 years in law enforcement.”
Fire Chief, Bruce Swearingen welcomed three new firefighters to the Okmulgee Fire Department: Dalton Chandler, Tanner McElhaney and Zack Ledbetter.
The Council opened the Okmulgee Municipal Authority Meeting with a presentation by Rick Miller, Public Works Director, to provide an annual update on the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) permit for stormwater discharge for the City of Okmulgee.
Miller reported on new regulations from ODEQ regarding the disposal of concrete on construction sites. The ODEQ Storm Order Permit applies to everyone within the Okmulgee City Limits including both of the Lakes. Pollutants may not be discharged into our storm water system. EPA is tightening up many of their standards and that is reflected in the new ODEQ standards as well. One of the items is the handing of concrete at construction sites. Miller said, “In the past it wasn’t uncommon to see the concrete truck to be washed out on site and on to the ground or washed into a storm drain culvert.” The new standard is that the excess concrete and washout must be contained in a leak proof container or leak proof pit. It must be disposed of without allowing it to get into the ground or into the storm drains. Small projects in the city are under the same regulation as large construction sites. Arrangements should be made with the Concrete Companies to wash their trucks out back at their plants or dump into a leak proof container.
Rick Miller (Above) gives Public Works report. Photos by Betty Anderson
Pictured left to right: Dusty Delso and Program Chairman and President Lion R.C. Morrow.
(Photo by Dean Craig)
By Okmulgee Lion Dean Craig
Tuesday's Lions Club meeting was another south-of-Okmulgee towns program featuring Dusty Delso of the Schulter-Dewar area. Dusty began by stating how fortunate he was to be raised in Okmulgee County and what a great place to grow up. He began his "raising" in Schulter and both sets of grandparents were nearby and were hard-working coal miners. Three things you could count on from Grandmother Thornhill were: (1) plenty to eat (2) plenty of soap (3) and lots of love. She was a cook for Shipley's Café in Morris, and that goes back a number of years ago. He began playing Little League Baseball in Henryetta and he mentioned that the Henryetta Lions Club always sponsored a team, and he praised the Lions Clubs for all the community services they still provide, as they did years ago.
Because Schulter did not have enough players to field a baseball team, the family moved to Dewar. This would prove to be the right move because playing under Coach Wylie Ryal, Dusty was good enough to earn a baseball scholarship to Oral Roberts University, another good move because he met his wife of 30 years, Darcy, who was best friends with the daughter of former Major League pitcher, Jim Brewer, who had moved back to Broken Arrow and was the pitching coach for ORU. They have three children, the oldest daughter is a World Champion clogger, his son is a professional baseball player with Tampa Bay, and the youngest daughter is in college at OBU.
After college, Dusty began his teaching career at Twin Hills under the legendary Bob Pinkston, and one of his fourth grade basketball players was Brian Costanza, now with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. He moved on to Preston and then to Beggs, all the time continuing his education. He was a Principal at Kellyville, Muskogee, Jenks, and then went to work for the Cherokee Nation. All this time he was continuing his education toward a Doctorate Degree. He has taught night classes for Langston University for the past 15 years. He has also taught at Wright College, it closed; ITT, it closed; and another trade college, which also closed.
Dusty and my son, Jon, are long-time friends and my son was visiting me in the hospital when I broke my hip in August, and Dusty again related the story he had shared with me, my wife Anita, and Jon. Dusty's son, Dillon, the professional baseball player, had fallen down a flight of stairs in Florida, and suffered a near-fatal brain injury in the fall. Of course, Dusty immediately made the trip to his son's bedside in Florida. Doctors had had to remove part of his skull to relieve pressure and due to swelling in the brain. Dillon's diagnosis was not favorable, but he was on a lot of prayer lists. Dusty was in Dillon's room standing by the door but did not see anyone come in. When he turned around, there was a man in white. whom he assumed was the respiration therapist, and the man told Dusty that his son was going to be fine. Upon hearing this, Dusty turned away from him, but when he turned back around, the man was gone. You can draw your own conclusion, but I'm reminded of the song "Angels Among Us" by Alabama, which says: "Oh, I believe there are Angels among us, sent down to us from somewhere up above. They come to you and me in our darkest hours, to show us how to live, to show us how to give, to guide us with the light of love". Dillon is preparing for Spring Training to resume his career with Tampa Bay. Remember, Dusty played baseball for ORU and one of Oral Roberts' motto was "Expect a Miracle".
Dusty is back in Tulsa operating Main Street Lunch Box (BBQ, Burgers, and Burritos), 317 S. Main, Downtown Tulsa, 918 585-1111. His grandmother always fixed a good lunch box, thus the name of his restaurant. If you're in the area, stop in and say hi, order a meal, and ask for the "family discount" (just kidding!). What another outstanding and different program. Remember, you are always welcome to attend any of our programs and you can join us and attend them all. "WE SERVE".
(Photos by Dean Craig)
OKMULGEE COUNTY, Oklahoma - Two teenagers have pled guilty to one count of arson for burning a Twin Hills school bus in August, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma.
Garrett Lee Raynor, 19, of Bixby, and Joshua Scott Coppedge, 19, of Glenpool, were arrested following the August 23, 2016, incident when the pair, along with Devin Lee Riggins, 18, of Bixby, and a juvenile, stole two buses from the Twin Hills School District, drove them to a wooded area and set them on fire, police said.
Raynor and Coppedge face five to 20 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine, or both, the U.S. Attorney wrote in a news release.
Raynor and Coppedge "maliciously damaged, destroyed and attempted to damage and destroy, by means of fire, a 2010 Bluebird school bus," according to the indictment.
The arson charge was filed after a joint investigation by the Okmulgee County Sheriff's Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Both Raynor and Coppedge will remain in custody pending their sentencing hearing, the U.S. Attorney's office said.
Riggins was due in court for a preliminary hearing December 15 in Okmulgee County, where he faces larceny of an automobile and arson charges, according to online court records. He was charged in September.
Pictured left to right: Program Chairman Lion Craig Brydges, Dutch VanDenBorn, and President Lion R.C. Morrow.
By Okmulgee Lion Dean Craig
Tuesday's Lions Club program was another one borrowed from our neighboring town of Henryetta, in the form of educator, coach, and athletic director, Dutch VanDenBorn, one of 21 football clock timekeepers for the Big 12 Conference. At first glance, one wouldn't think this would be a big deal, just operating the time clock, but after just a short time listening to the former coach, you realize that it really is a very big deal. So, how does one become a Big 12 Conference timekeeper since there is no printed criteria to become one?
Dutch explained that he retired five years ago after 40 plus years in education so really wasn't looking for another job. He was playing golf with a group of guys, including Henryetta resident Dr. David Warden, a former NFL official and present head of the Big 12 officiating crews, when Dr. Warden asked Dutch if he would like to become a Big 12 timekeeper. His reply was "let me think about that", which he did for about a year. He obtained permission to attend an Oklahoma State football game to observe a clock operator to learn what all the job entailed, and decided he would give it a try. The first year he "clocked" three games (the first game was at OSU), the second year four games, the third year seven games, and this year eight games. One of this year's games was the OU-Texas Red River Rivalry, which was the first time the former coach was in the Cotton Bowl.
There are about 12-13 people in the officiating entourage and they arrive at least three hours before game time. He meets with the line judge to go over signals, when to start the clock, when to stop the clock, and any other situations that might arise. Then they go up to the press box to check out everything to ensure that all the equipment is working properly. Then he and the 40-second clock operator make a visit to the "control truck", and then they go eat, well, he says. Post-game is a meeting with the officials, discussing the game or any problems, and filling out forms about the game.
The Big 12 Conference is one of the few conferences that have independent clock operators rather than "home" clock operators. This was changed when Walt Anderson, of Texas, took over these responsibilities, and he believed that having independent clock operators could reduce or eliminate possible problems. Of the 21 clock operators, there is one female clock operator from Kansas, and she does a good job.
A special guest was Dan Rhodes, a former coach and teacher of 40 plus years and, according to Dutch, a long time friend and mentor to him. Also in attendance, of course, was Immediate Past President Lion Beth Flud, another long-term teacher and former Okmulgee Lady Bulldogs basketball coach. And I certainly cannot fail to mention that Program Chairman Lion Craig Brydges is another 40 plus year educator. We appreciate people like these who give a life-time of service to our youth and, like the ministry, it certainly isn't for the money, but it is a calling. I'm once again reminded of the ten lepers whom Jesus healed, but only ONE returned to say "thanks". But when that one returns to say "thanks", it makes it all seem worthwhile, doesn't it? We are still waiting for that one to come to our meetings and say they want to join us and make it all seem worthwhile. "WE SERVE".
Candidates for Henryetta Public School District Board Member may file Declarations of Candidacy beginning Monday, December 19th through Wednesday, December 21st, in the Okmulgee County Election Board Office, 8:00am to 5:00pm each day.
The Board of Education position at stake will be filled at the non-partisan Special School Election scheduled Tuesday, February 14, 2017.
If no candidate receives more than 50% of the total votes cast in this election, the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes will meet in a run-off election on Tuesday, April 4, 2017.
Offices for which Declarations of Candidacy forms will be accepted are the following:
Henryetta Public School District---Office No. 4 (unexpired 2 year term)
Candidates may pick up Declaration of Candidacy forms from the Okmulgee County Election Board Office or may download them from the State Election Board’s website.
Please call the office at 918-756-2365 if you have any questions.
Drive Raises More than 2.6 Million Meals for Hungry Oklahomans
OKLAHOMA CITY - Governor Mary Fallin today announced her seventh annual Feeding Oklahoma Drive, which ran Oct.1 through 31, exceeded its goal of raising 2 million meals. In total, the drive raised $303,991 in donations and 1,327,766 pounds of food, which will provide 2,626,428 meals for Oklahomans struggling with hunger.
“I want to thank the many generous Oklahomans who stepped up and donated to this year’s Feeding Oklahoma Drive,” Fallin said. “Because of your incredible generosity, we will provide meals to our hungry neighbors across the state. Just because the drive has ended, though, and we have met our goal, please do not forget the continued importance of giving this holiday season.”
The Feeding Oklahoma Drive benefited the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and their partner agencies. Over the last seven years, 6,294,414 pounds of food and $2,533,692 have been raised through the Feeding Oklahoma Drive, which has provided the equivalent of 18,499,775 meals for hungry Oklahomans.
“Hunger exists all year long, but winter is especially difficult as the cost of heat often cuts into the food budget,” said Katie Fitzgerald, chief executive officer of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. “Families struggling with hunger shouldn’t have to decide between heating and eating. Thank you for joining us in fighting hunger this holiday season.”
The drive was chaired by businesswoman Laure Majors. Participating Feeding Oklahoma Drive businesses included: Advance Pierre Foods, AT&T, BancFirst BP America, Bob Moore OKC, Cleveland County Abstract Co., ConocoPhillips, Devon Energy, Dobson Technologies, Dolese Brothers, Frates Insurance & Risk Management, First Mortgage Company, Frankfurt Short Bruza Associates, P.C., INTEGRIS Health, JP Morgan Chase, Lamar Advertising Company, Lopez Foods, Love's Travel Shops & Country Stores, Mustang Fuel Corporation, Mustang High School POM Squad, Northrup Grumman, Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Oklahoma National Guard, Oklahoma Pork Council, Oklahoma State University - Leadership and Campus Life, Riverwind Casino, The Boeing Company, The Boldt Company, The Chickasaw Nation, University of Oklahoma, Verizon and Walmart.
Last fiscal year, the Regional Food Bank and Community Food Bank distributed more than 73.1 million pounds of food and products through a network of more than 1,700 charitable feeding programs and schools across Oklahoma.
“Once again, we are so grateful for the governor's leadership and the state's response to the issue of hunger in Oklahoma,” said Eileen Bradshaw, executive director for the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. “It is a significant problem, but one that we can alleviate by working together. No Oklahoman should go to bed hungry.”
There still is time to make a difference in the fight against hunger this holiday season. Thanks to a generous matching challenge from APMEX.com, the Cresap Family Foundation and Chesapeake Energy Corporation, every gift donated to the Regional Food Bank through Jan. 15 will be matched, dollar for dollar - up to $600,000 - for a total impact of $1.2 million. To make a donation, call (405) 600-3136 or visit regionalfoodbank.org.
During the month of December, the George Kaiser Family Foundation will match new, increased and lapsed donations up to $150,000 for the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. For more information about the Community Food Bank, or to make a donation, visit okfoodbank.org or call (918) 585-2800.
About the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is the state’s largest private, domestic hunger-relief organization and a member of Feeding America’s network of Food Banks. The nonprofit provides enough food to feed more than 126,000 hungry Oklahomans each week through a network of more than 1,300 schools and charitable feeding programs in 53 central and western Oklahoma counties. Since its inception in 1980, the Regional Food Bank has distributed more than 644 million pounds of food to feed Oklahoma’s hungry. For more information, visit http://www.regionalfoodbank.org; find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/regionalfoodbank or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/rfbo.
About the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma
Founded in 1981, the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma is one of the largest, private hunger-relief organizations in Oklahoma. It distributes donated items to 450 Partner Programs in 24 counties of eastern Oklahoma. These programs include emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, after-school programs, shelters and veteran and senior citizen centers. In addition, the Food Bank helps raise public awareness about hunger and the role of food banking in alleviating hunger. For more information, visit okfoodbank.org; find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/okfoodbank or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/okfoodbank.
By Betty Anderson
An award for Environmental Excellence was presented to Rick Miller, Public Works Director for the City of Okmulgee, for the outstanding job of creating the Recycling Center in Okmulgee.
Prior to December 2011 Okmulgee did not have a Recycling Center and thanks to Miller, it was established with no initial investment and has been operating efficiently with minimal labor expense to the City. It is a self-sustaining, unattended 24/7 facility which has been greatly supported by the citizens of Okmulgee, according to Miller.
The Sanitation Workers have a strict work schedule to get it ready once a week for the service provider to come and get the recyclables.
Miller, humbly, credits the City, the Sanitation Department workers and the Citizens of Okmulgee for the success of this venture. The award was based on the data that the City sent on the recycling done over the past 4 years to Keep Oklahoma Beautiful.
To keep this wonderful venture successful, you may take your recyclables to 301 E. 3rd St. which is at the intersection of 3rd and N. Muskogee.