Letters to the Editor
Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014
To The Editor:
To the person who sent Marcus Jeffrey a letter tell him how you felt about him, and his attempt at solving a real problem our town has.
This is addressed at you.
I read your letter you wrote to Pastor Jeffrey, and would say to you, it amazes me that you think you know this man’s motives or his heart. You compare him to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton (professional race exploiters), and their race bateing.
You go so far as to accuse him of playing the race card, which he hasn’t. Which he could because it is racial, yet he hasn’t but, from your perspective, you think you know what’s going on in his personal situation, even questioning his “calling himself a man of God.”
He has decided to make an attempt to organize, unify and truly solve a problem Okmulgee has. So you insult and judge him, then not even have the courage to sign your letter.
I haven’t known Pastor Jeffrey long, but in the conversations we’ve had, I’ve found him to be sincere, thoughtful, respectful and very qualified to handle this situation.
I also want to resolve the issues many of us have with our local law enforcement, as I think they do also.
So to all my fellow citizens, let’s sit down calmly and respectfully work together to fix our problems.
/s/ Jenny Carter
A Christian, White Female
On Saturday evening August 9, 2014 around 9:15 p.m. as my wife and I were driving home heading west on 6th Street near Miami Street we noticed Okmulgee's finest right behind us. The officer began to "Profile" us as we headed west on 6th Street. The officer turned on his cruiser lights. As law abiding citizens we pulled over in front of the Nick Agency office building.
There we waited about a minute or two before the officer came to my window. I kindly asked him if there was a problem. He proceeded to tell me that I had a busted taillight. He then asked me for my license and insurance. Out of curiosity I got out of the car to check my taillight and to my amazement it was not busted out.
While looking at my light I noticed two more of Okmulgee's finest had arrived to assist with the broken taillight that was not broken. One of them insisted that I get back into the car. My reply, ‘why would I if you said my taillight was out. I would like to check it out.’
When I returned to my car one of the officers proceeded to ask me questions about my vehicle which was none of his business. We were there for a nonexistent busted taillight not where I got my car, or how much I paid for it, or where I was from.
When the first officer returned with my information, I asked him his name. I was unable to make it out on his person because it was dark. He told me his name was Scott.
I believe the Rodeo is an awesome event that happens in our town once a year. Although I am not a fan of this awesome event, however, I am a citizen and a tax paying citizen who can and will go anywhere I please. My wife has been harassed on two other occasions, while at her mother's home (not on this same evening). The officer proceeded to ask her why was she over on that part of town when she lived on 13th Street. Many other citizens are being harassed and profiled everyday not just in August because of the Rodeo. These officers go off to training. What for? To learn how not to protect but to profile?
I am a native of Okmulgee, I raised my children here, again I say I am a tax paying citizen this ought to be enough. I need you as tax paying citizens, if you have ever been profiled, to join me in this effort to correct this wrong in our city. As a Pastor I need to help protect the rights of my parishioners as well as all citizens. As a school board member I'm concerned about how our children are viewing police today. If we don't act now, we may be looking at another Trevon Martin incident right here in Okmulgee.
I'm a law abiding citizen. I always respect the law. I just want the law to respect me. If this is asking too much, then I am asking for it anyway. In fact, I'm demanding it.
If anyone (citizen of Okmulgee or not) has ever been harassed or felt as though you were profiled in box me on Face Book or email me-Marcus Jeffrey email@example.com.
It has recently been brought to my attention that the Muskogee Creek Nation Medical Center felt the need to remove the photos of all of the current and retired physicians in the main hallway of the hospital. These are the same physicians that started and have carried that hospital for the last 40+ years even through the transition of the hospital when there was 1 inpatient. These physicians still found a way to bring revenue to the hospital.
I feel that this is a disrespect to those physician who have dedicated their lives to this rural area, many of which have since passed on.
These photos were removed from the walls and delivered, unannounced, wrapped in old newspaper, to the physicians' surprise.
The community felt that it was going to be a positive movement when the hospital was acquired by MCNMC.
Instead, we feel offended that the physicians that have saved lives, delivered babies, spent many nights in the E.R., and working the floor, have been disrespected by having their pictures and identities removed.
Removing these pictures dishonors the years of dedicated service these physicians have contributed to Okmulgee and the surrounding areas.
Mary P., Lisa O., Kathy G., Susie B.
Medical Office Staff
To the Editor,
In the aftermath of the horribly botched execution of Clayton Lockett by officials of the State of Oklahoma, I have some thoughts as one of the citizens in whose name this execution was carried out as well as having a multitude of questions. In this case of such a badly flawed attempt at execution, I can only believe that we have lowered ourselves to the same moral level that he operated within when he cruelly murdered Stephanie Neiman.
Folks, I am just as prone as anyone to an instinctive impulse that cold blooded murderers should die just as horrible a death as their victims. The problem is that this is a time when we quite assuredly should give long hard thought to whether or not we want to allow those base instincts to rule our actions. My concerns here do not address the specific case of Lockett but address my concerns about capital punishment in general.
My first concern is that the only thing I can think of more horrifying than being murdered by a criminal is for an innocent person to suffer being murdered by the state in a case of justice gone badly wrong. The administration of justice in our system of government is a purely human endeavor and as in all such human endeavor, it is subject to human error. We have seen that proven time and time again when men and women thought and judged to be guilty of horrible crimes and condemned to die as punishment for those crimes were proven innocent when new evidence such as DNA proved that they could not be the person who committed the crime. Knowledgeable authorities agree that it is a virtual certainty that we have already executed multiple wrongly accused and convicted men and women across our country and have most likely done so right here in Oklahoma.
Until we can work out a better solution, let's make the ultimate responsibility for an execution the literal responsibility of two specific individuals who must personally and physically turn, push, or pull a switch in unison to cause the mechanics of an execution to proceed. Their station should be mandated to be within the execution chamber with a clear view of the condemned as he or she dies. The two people who should be required to act as executioners are the Governor of the State and the Chief Justice of the Court of Criminal Appeals. One alternative that might be considered is if the trial judge who imposed the death sentence is still an active judge then the Chief Justice of the Court of Criminal Appeals could at his option, pass the duty to that sentencing judge. Perhaps this would give pause to those two officials if there exists even a remote chance that the condemned might actually be innocent.
One other step we should make would be to pass legislation making the concealment of evidence of the possible innocence of an accused at trial by any of the accusing and/or prosecuting authorities or any other person with personal knowledge of the crime a major felony crime in and of itself with a mandated lengthy prison sentence.
As for another commonly argued justification, we have known that the possibility of execution for a crime has virtually no deterrent value since the days of public hanging of pickpockets. The evidence is as old as the historical accounts of "Olde England" that tell of condemned pickpocket's compatriots having a field day plying their trade in the crowd that gathered to witness their fellow's public hanging.
Finally, the argument that execution is the only way to be sure to deter that one individual is devoid of merit in the face of the alternative of life imprisonment in a high security prison without the possibility of parole. This logic is magnified exponentially by the fact that imprisoning someone for life costs us taxpayers only a small fraction of the cost of executing the person convicted of a capital offense.
For the sake of making this last point clear, the costs of the process of attempting, with no guarantee of success, to insure that no innocent person is condemned and executed for a crime they did not commit is several orders of magnitude higher than keeping someone imprisoned for even 60 or 70 years in the second most expensive of all imprisonment alternatives, imprisonment in a maximum security unit. I say second most expensive because imprisonment on death row is by far the most expensive even when only considering the costs of physical imprisonment.
I have made several assertions here that would be easy to dismiss as misinformed opinion except that EVERY one of them is easily proven out by even a cursory search of available documentation from reliable sources on the internet. Even studies by our own state government bear this out.
I have only one more assertion and this is purely personal opinion informed by my own interpretation of God's word in my copy of the Holy Bible. My final concern in my line of logical discussion is to ask how we should approach the subject of capital punishment as Christians which the vast majority of us profess to be. The only justification for capital punishment that seems to stand any kind of logical scrutiny is vengeance and any so-called Christian who does not know what God had to say about that subject had better be looking at his hole cards before he faces God's PERMANENT judgment himself.
I DO NOT want to have to face the One widely known and unquestionably certain Innocent who was without doubt publicly executed in a most horrible manner and be asked by Him, "Why did you promote such a crime against your neighbor. 'I' told you they are brothers you must love. You did this even though you knew what happened to ME! 'I' did not stutter or say 'if or but' when 'I' instructed you, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.' " "What do you have to say for yourself?"
How many of you out there are willing to stand up to The Son of God in the face of those questions and be forced to tell Him you did not deem His instructions important enough to pay heed to? When you want to argue that He also said, "Render unto Caesar...", you need to realize that under our form of government, each and every one of us wears an equal share of the mantle of Caesar. We do not have an Emperor or King to assume full responsibility for the actions of the executioner in our stead.
/s/ Gary Klein
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! for all those who helped in making the two Christian movies “Son of God” and “God’s Not Dead” such a wonderful success her in Okmulgee.
The outpouring of God’s love and the Word of Truth was so evident for all in attendance.
Every night was filled with people enjoying the life and love of Jesus Christ. The Gideons were present every night of each showing with a total of over 1000 bibles presented to the viewing audience.
A special thanks to John McConnel, the owner of the Orpheum Theater in allowing these movies to be shown in his theater was great appreciated.
Additionally, Paul Brown and Johnny Ray with KOKL did such a fantastic job in broadcasting all the movie information.
And, of course, Patrick Ford with the Okmulgee Times was such a blessing.
Paul Orosco was also fantastic in getting the information on the internet.
Thank you to all the churches, local businesses as well as Christian brothers and sisters who helped financially.
Our hearts are united in reaching Okmulgee and the surrounding areas for Jesus Christ.
And we declare in one accord that Jesus is Lord in Okmulgee County as well as the State of Oklahoma.
God bless you all and to God be all the glory!
/s/ Linda Adams
Editor of Okmulgee Times
RE: Okmulgee Times, Sunday, May 4 2014, "Mayor fears training law will hurt Beggs."
Interesting to think a mayor can focus on the duties of a mayor without know what the duties are and the Oklahoma Statutes that relate to them? The required training relates to budget and purchasing requirements, Open Meetings Act, Open Records Act, conducting public meeting, ethics and conflict of interest. I do not understand the procrastination. If the training is required; why not complete it early so you can benefit for a longer time.
If they all wanted to go together; why not in Mayor June of 2013, which would have been Jack, Smitty and Teresa? Doris Tharp was not appointed until later maybe September of 2013. Verna Barnes still has approximately 10 months to complete her training.
"I had my mind on working with the fire department and other things" the mayor said. How does one work with the fire department if one does not know what Oklahoma Statutes relate to fire department? I wonder if Jack Bell has consulted with Fire Administrator with Eastern Oklahoma Development District (EODD). Evidently, the mayor phoned OML in the last few days. I wonder how many times he has phoned OML in the last year.
I would assume it would be difficult to prepare an annual budget; either with or without the training.
One sentence the article reads "Bell is now concerned with the future of Beggs". On the 5th of May 2014, I noticed a couple signs of his concern. One was an 4" x 8" sign near A Avenue and Highway 16, which read" Jack Bell County Commissioner ... " The other sign was about 4"x 4" on Alternate 75, which may violate the Beggs Sign Ordinance.
I sure hope that I live longer to see if I will be happy when the following happens:
1.) I can request an Open Record and prompt assess is provided. I realize the BPW A bills need to be prepared and mailed; however, when I am told two weeks. I cannot expect two weeks as "prompt".
2.) I can request that an item be placed on the agenda and it be placed.
3.) The annual audits for the City and BPWA are prepared in compliance with the Oklahoma Statutes.
4.).Claims (purchase orders) may be reviewed as an open record.
5.) The amount of funds and accounts that receive appropriation are tracked; that way one could determine how to adjust the appropriations.
/s/ O.G. Thompson
Dear Editor, Okmulgee Times
On April 1st the voters of the City of Okmulgee will be going to the polls to approve or disapprove the funding for a new city police station in the amount of $700,000. I admit a new police station and administrative operations center is a definite need, especially considering the age and condition of the current location, I think that the amount that they are seeking is excessive. Keep in mind that the requested funds are for new offices and not a new jail. Fortunately the city has many empty buildings in the downtown area that could be adapted to the needs of our police department. If that is deemed to not be true, I would suggest that they look at other city property that we already own and look to build a new building. This would keep some, if not all, of the construction funds here in our city. I would suggest that they look at land around the other city operations buildings on North Okmulgee and propose a cost of somewhere in the $100,000.00 to $200,000.00 range. It was just 2 years ago that the City Council approved money for an impound lot. What is wrong with construction near the existing impound lot? I would also suggest that locating the police station nearly outside the city limit may not be in the best interest of timely response to all areas of town.
Police and fire protection is a must for any city to grow and prosper, but the looks of the police headquarters is not the issue, but the effectiveness of its officers can be an issue. We have many needs in Okmulgee that should be addressed and this is one of them, but $700,000.00 for a police headquarters when we have citizens drinking and washing their clothes in brown water? This is just not a good business decision.
Whether you agree or disagree with me, I ask you to go to the polls on April 1st and be heard. Every vote counts the same and every vote is important.
/s/ Terry Watkins
Dear Mr. Editor:
It appears there is some confusion regarding the upcoming election. Based on conversations I have had with citizens as well as those the City Manager has had, I felt the need to write to clarify some important points. The condition of the building currently housing the Police Department is very poor and the City Manager and I have examined our options and determined it is cost prohibitive for the City to pursue the necessary repairs. Some of the issues include: deteriorating brick and mortar, extensive water damage, termite damage, roof damage after numerous attempts to repair and extremely antiquated plumbing. The decision was made to relocate of the Police Department.
A potential building was located and the owners of the building are open to discussions about sale. The building was determined to meet the needs ofthe department and to accomplish the acquisition, Council and staff began looking for funding. We quickly realized we could accomplish our goal without obligating the city to further debt by utilizing money the city already has. That money was identified as the proceeds from the sale of the Council House Museum. The use of those funds is restricted to a very narrow purpose unless authorized by the voters.
Our City Council called for a special election to be held April 1, 2014 and are asking the voters to approve the use of those funds for this purpose. There has been some confusion as to whether this issue is connected to the recent sales tax extension approved for the jail. They are totally separate issues and this election does not represent a tax of any kind, nor will it pass any additional cost on to the voters. It is simply asking for approval to use money the city already has for a specific purpose. The officers and staff at your police department have worked in this building with its many problems without complaint for years and it is time to provide them with a better work environment.
I personally want to thank the citizens of Okmulgee for the support they have provided both me and the staff at the Police Department and ask for their continued support with a YES vote on April 1, 2014.
/s/ Joe Prentice
Chief of Police
Open letter to the City Council
Although the need for new facilities for our Police Department are probably needed, I have to vote NO!
Priorities of the city and county must be considered first. Having lived in nine states in my 81 years and visited 49 states; the first thing you see when you enter is the road in front of you. Our streets are in terrible condition. And they have been for years. I've lived here 30+ years.
If I was a business seeking to locate and hire employees, and create JOBS, I would pass by Okmulgee, because they do not present a city that takes care of it's image. Businesses want a city that they can be proud of.
Okmulgee has much to be proud of, but that first image of its streets is not one of them. Businesses probably don't care about the facilities for a police department that effects a few people, the streets effects us all.
/s/ Stella E. Thorn
We would like to speak out as a business here in Okmulgee County.
We have had on an occasion to have customers write us an insufficient check-not to often thank goodness- but on that occasion we request those be picked up and if they are not we have no other recourse but to turn them over to the District Attorneys office.
We work with several DA offices in the state and hands down our local District Attorneys office is the best!! Without a doubt we know when we take something to them they are handling it the moment it gets there. We never get the run around- They are AWESOME! We have never felt more empowered than we do now. We actually have someone in our corner trying to help in everyway possible. As a small business we are not able to operate with numerous debts uncollected- They are a breath of fresh air.
Thank you again Okmulgee District Attorneys office!!
/s/ Randys Frozen Foods
Yes, we need a new police station but do you really want to spend money from the sale of our number one tourist attraction for a police station? And do you really want to put it out on Hwy 75? I think this a bad idea on many levels. Could not that money be used to attract people and businesses to our historical downtown? Why was not that money available to save our Train Station? Many decisions are being made that only look at the short term fix, not at the long time impact on our unique rich history. We have more empty buildings now than we have had in 50 years. Surely there is one that would work for a police station with lots of parking downtown.
Until we start to look at turning this decline around and promoting occupancy downtown and making it a place that people want to come and bring their families too and shop, we are just shooting ourselves in the foot.
/s/ Helen Cooper Nygard
Letter to the Editor
Another year has come and gone for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Okmulgee County Basketball Tournament.
I wanted to express my appreciation to Okmulgee Public School Administration and Staff for a job well done on hosting the tournament and their effort to make sure things were smooth and efficient.
Many people from all over Okmulgee County and the surrounding area attend this tournament and look forward to it each year.
Thank you to Mr. James Lyons, Superintendent of Morris Public Schools for all his time and effort to make sure all the paperwork and necessary documentation are in order to host such an event on this scale.
Thank you to Muscogee Creek Nation, DIS, Neal’s Furniture, Love Bottling, Yearger Dental, Morris State Bank and many other area businesses for financial support to help with expenses of the tournament.
Thank you to KOKL radio for live broadcasting and Larry Owen, of the Okmulgee Times, for the newspaper coverage.
Plans are already being made for the tournament next year January 19-24, 2015.
Superintendent, Dewar Public School
The Morris Fire Dept. would like to express our appreciation for your support at our recent fundraiser. It is great to have such overwhelming support from this community! We would also like to give a special thanks to The Morris News for the great advertising!
Morris Rural Fire
Letter to the Editor
Christmas is about love, kindness and sharing. Christmas night my daughter was traveling alone after our wonderful holiday time together. She just got stm1ed on her trip when she had a tire blowout on 36th St, in the Jurassic Park jungle section which is very secluded and scary. She was doing her best to change the tire in the dark but the jack wasn't working and so I made a call to Seth Kellogg. Even though he was relaxing with the family on this holiday, he quickly jumped into warm clothes and came to our rescue. He quickly changed the tire, decided the spare wasn't much better, aired it up and left us with the little generator that would air it up in the morning if need be.
Anyone living around Okmulgee knows the kindess and generosity of this local businessman but I just wanted to mention that his actions are not a once a year kind of thing. Yes, this was Christmas. Yes, he came to her rescue and we are very grateful. But this is just Seth Kellogg, 24/7, 365 days a year. Thank you Seth, for being you.
Small town life gives us the privilege to get to know people, really know people and I am very grateful to be part of this community where you can see hearts in action.
/s/ Cindy Kraft
Toy Drive Thanks!
Christmas blessings to all who brought toys to be donated to the Okmulgee Salvation Army Angel Tree, Saturday, 11/23/13. Special thanks to everyone who braved the weather for the 2nd Annual Okmulgee Christmas Toy Run. The motorcycles, vans, trucks & trailers rolled into the parking lot at Crosstown PH Church right on time, to deliver their toys, as planned. Then they were treated to a delicious lunch prepared for them by Masseyls Bar-B-Que.
Once again, the generousity of the Okmulgee community & surrounding area has amazed us. Thank you again for making the toy run a success but most of all for allowing us to help make Christmas special for the little “angels” from the Salvation Army Angel Tree.
We couldn’t have accomplished it without the help from our many supporters:
Crosstown PH Church
Breakin’ Eggs Bakery
Upscale Hair Salon
/s/ Marianne Payne
CMA - Christian Motorcycle Association
Triple Nichols Ride for Runts
Triple Nichols completed their 3rd annual “Ride for Runts” with great success. Good weather, good food, and good people helped to make this a success. The toys are donated to CASA to be distributed to those in need here in Okmulgee County.
We want to thank everyone who participated. Special thanks to 1st Street Tires in Henryetta, Kenny Roberts, CMA Ridgers, Grady, Tasha, Toni and everyone else that helped make another year a succes.
CASA really appreciates your donations.
/s/ Triple Nichols
Letter to the Editor:
Thank you, Thank you!
Saturday, November 19th was “Food for Kids” first Santa photo event held at the First Baptist Church. It was very successful and the money raised will help continue feeding hungry children here in Okmulgee. Many thanks to the families that came and supported this event.
I especially want to thank Paul Orosco who donated his time and photography services to make this event possible. Thanks so much Paul.
A special thank you to Santa for coming to Okmulgee and to Apples Flowers and Gifts for helping with the décor.
Lastly, I want to thank the volunteers that worked the event and the First Baptist Church for all their kind support and cooperation.
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!
/s/ Holly Barris and Tressia Ables
Toy Run Thanks
For the past two years, the Salvation Army has hosted a toy run for area children. In conjunction with the efforts of Crosstown Pentecostal Church and the local chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association known as the Holy Spirit Riders, toys and gifts are donated to others so they might enjoy the holiday more fully.
The ride began at the Walmart parking lot with hot chocolate and coffee offered by the CMA Holy Spirit Riders to participating riders and curious passersby who may have wondered why anyone would brave such cold temperatures! CMAers are always eager to explain what we do and why we do it so if you ever see the CMA tent or a CMA rider, don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation. This year, Massey’s BBQ donated lunch to the cold and hungry riders after the toy run as they ended a very chilly ride at Crosstown Church. And the toys and donations were gratefully received by the Salvation Army for distribution on a date closer to the big day.
It is with great appreciation that we recognize Okmulgee Walmart management for allowing us to begin the organized ride in their parking lot. And we are equally grateful to Massey’s BBQ for the generous food donation (so tasty!) as well as Crosstown Pentecostal Church for the use of the gym for lunch and a place to warm up after the ride. Crosstown’s love and support are priceless to us. Of course, nothing would happen for the community’s kids without the Salvation Army! The Army works hard for the area and we appreciate them so much.
One more special thank you to Paul Orosco for the excellent pictorial coverage he provides for the various events of the Holy Spirit Riders. We appreciate his commitment to getting the pictures of what’s happening in Okmulgee to the people of Okmulgee.
Above all, we give thanks to Jesus Christ who gives us all things! He is the reason for the season.
/s/ Okmulgee’s Holy Spirit Riders CMA
NEW SALEM MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH 76TH CHURCH ANNIVERSARY
Thank you to the businesses and churches that took out ads in our souvenir books. Citizens Security Bank, Fansher Stone & Hess Insurance, House Of Winn Funeral Home, Allen Electric, Dairy Queen, Massey’s Barbeque, St. Matthew Baptist Church, Eastside Baptist Church, First Baptist Church, Central, Greater Jones AME Methodist Church and CASA.
Again, Thank you,
Myrtle Powell, chairperson
Rev. Harold White, Pastor
I feel I should clear up a misconception/statement concerning the awarding of teacher grants by the Henryetta Education Foundation. The article stated that the grants were awarded by three adjudicators and by my recommendation. Actually, I am just a facilitator and I do not recommend for or against an grant that is properly submitted. Also, I do not delete any submitted grant that seemingly does not follow the guide lines but have the full committee decide.
The judging process is simple and has worked very well for many years. There are always three very experienced teachers who read each grant application. These teachers are in three different schools separated by several miles so there is no outside influence on their individual decision nor group discussions. As experienced Oklahoma teachers these teachers know of the problems of getting the best for their students so they have a built in empathy. They spend, literally, hours reading and prioritizing the applications to attempt to get the very best for the most students. As the facilitator, I do not contact nor communicate with them until they submit their final priority list to me. They have no way in knowing who the teachers are so the applications are judged "blind." This is a very workable and efficient system.
Then I take the three submissions and, using the adjudicators lists, put the applications into a final priority order using their order and a simple mathematical formula. This is submitted to the full board of the H.E.F. for them to make the final decision. It is unfortunate that the H.E.F. cannot fund every application but, living in the real world, this just cannot be done. Other than checking to see if the applications follow the set guidelines I have no influence over the final decision. If you have followed my explanation you can see this is done using a totally impartial method.
The Henryetta teachers who go to the trouble to submit an application are striving and hoping for some method to improve the children's educational experiences. They are to be commended for trying to go above and beyond!
Chelsea C Cook