City members hear proposal for change during council session
By PATRICK FORD
Times assistant editor
"If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand."
- borrowed by President Abraham Lincoln from the Gospel of St. Mark.
There are those in Okmulgee today that fear a growing division in the community. Whether it’s economic, social or racial, such a division could hurt this town in many ways.
The topic was addressed last Tuesday during the regular September meeting of the Okmulgee City Council. The council chambers was packed with guests who wanted their concerns heard by the five council members.
Marcus Jeffrey was the speaker who outlined the concerns and issues to the elected officials. The session came on the heels of a series of recent meetings held with the mayor, district attorney and other law enforcement. The focus of the earlier talks was allegations of racial profiling.
Jeffrey wanted to see the division replaced by cooperation from all parties.
“My main objective is to bring unity to Okmulgee,” he said. “That’s my main objective.”
He repeated the US Constitution - something that was written to bring fairness and structure to the citizens of our nation.
“I’m not Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson,” Jeffrey said. “I’m Pastor Marcus Jeffrey of the Eastside Baptist Church of Okmulgee. I grew up in Okmulgee and I know quite a few people here. But my objective is to bring unity into Okmulgee, Oklahoma.
Jeffrey then outlined a proposal to the council:
1. Okmulgee Police Department should reflect the racial make-up of the population within our city. Studies show that it will defuse tensions with residents and bolster the image of the Police in minority neighborhoods.
2. That it be made mandatory that each of its law enforcement officers participate in a face-to-face meeting with pastors and community leaders to build a dialogue between law enforcement and our community.
3. Some of our tax dollars go to make-up the income of our officers that are assigned to protect our citizens. With this in mind we are asking for the City of Okmulgee to look strongly into and strongly encourage Human Relations Training for each of its officers.
4. You demand for us to uphold the law within our city. So in turn, we also, the citizens of Okmulgee, are demanding that same respect be given by an organization, whose motto is “TO PROTECT AND TO SERVE. "
5.That the City Council, along with the DA's Office form an investigation into the allegations of harassment, and profiling by its officers, and that with its findings the citizens will be informed within 30 days of its findings.
Jeffrey offered another thought to the council members.
“You all will never understand what it means to be profiled,”he said. “It never happens to you. When you review this and take this into consideration - because I am here to help you to help our community - I am not a troublemaker but a man who has a opinion and who is bringing that opinion to you this evening. I hope and believe and pray that you will take it under advisement.
He also presented a citizen-signed petition to the council asking for action on the matter.
Ward 2 Council representative Chris Azbell offered his own thoughts about the issue.
“I didn’t grow up in Okmulgee,” he said. “I have lived in Okmulgee for the last ten years. It’s difficult when you come to a city council meeting. Obviously there is an issue and a divide in the community.
“We can get this resolved. There is no doubt that this community will get a lot stronger if we were all together. This is not just the police department. This is a divide that transcends the police department, it affects where people live - it’s all kinds of issues. It’s not something that’s new. It’s something that has festered itself over the years.
“Obviously, everyone watches the news and we don’t want Okmulgee to turn into a Ferguson. We can make this right. We need everyone to come together. I want everyone to know that this City Council that you have right now - with Mayor Baldridge - is to me the best city council that has been around since I’ve been here and I’ve only been here 10 years.
“We promise you that we will do our best to address any of your issues and any of your concerns. It’s all of us together and we have to work to make Okmulgee better.”
Council approves ordinance changes
As downtown Okmulgee continues its resurgence, the Okmulgee City Council approved several ordinances during Tuesday’s session that will make this possible.
The council okayed the ordinance that allows multi-family residential uses on the upper stories in the Commercial Downtown Business District. The bottom floors of the buildings will still be for commercial use, until there is a special permit granted.
Several downtown properties have been purchased and are being put back into use. Building owners are putting in apartments in the upper stories. This has a positive effect in bringing more people into the area, adding more businesses and creating a bustling downtown as in years past.
This works quite well with Okmulgee Main Street’s Okmulgee Rising efforts that is already seeing more people in downtown and renovating properties that have sat empty for a number of years.
The council also approved an ordinance that would allow a partial refund on multi-family water meter installation under specified circumstances in the commercial business district. This would come after completion of the work and satisfactory repair of the sidewalks and related items after installation.
Other items considered during the meeting were:
• Approved ordinance amending the zoning map of the City of Okmulgee for rezoning of Lot 14, Block E, Northeast Addition, RS-2 Residential to CG - Commercial General
• Adopted the 2009 International Fire Code
• Approved Amendments to Section 5.06.190A Subsections 2, 3 and 5 (dispensing of alcoholic beverages and low point beet at special events held within the city) and comparable amendments to Section 5.04.080A Subsections 2, 3 and 5. This change moves closer to state law and state regulation. Changes made focused on patrols traveling the event with beverages in hand as long as they do not become intoxicated, size of individual drinks or the materials of the containers.
• Approved special use permit on the properties located where the new jail annex will be built on West 7th Street.
• Approved final plat of the Okmulgee Business Complex.
• Approved grant application from the City of Okmulgee to the Oklahoma District Attorney's Council for the purchase of body worn video cameras for the Okmulgee Police Department.
• Approved resolution declaring certain personal property to be surplus property and authorizing the sale, transfer and disposition of surplus property.
• Transferred ownership of the equipment listed purchased through a grant for a County Wide Communication System to the Okmulgee County Rural Fire Association.
• Approved Amendment No. 3 to Owner-Engineer Agreement with Cobb Engineering Company to provide grant administration, field survey and engineering plans and specifications for the project to INSTALL 4-BOX PAPls (AlP 3-40-0074-021-2015) at Okmulgee Regional Airport.
• Approved Bylaws of the City of Okmulgee Community Trust.
• Tabled action on agreement with Project H.E.A.R.T., Inc. for rental of the Senior Nutrition Center for $150 per month for FY 14/15
• Appointed Bruce Force to the Okmulgee Airport Advisory Board.
• Approved appointment of Rick Chisum to the emergency Medical Service (EMS) Board of Trustees as the City's representative.
• Acknowledged receipt of permit for the construction of 355 linear feet of eight (8) inch PVC sanitary sewer line and all appurtenances to serve the City of Okmulgee.
Baptist Village of Okmulgee is offering
Educational Seminar on Medicare Sept. 22
For most Medicare beneficiaries, the Medicare Open Enrollment period, which runs October 15 - December 7, is their only opportunity each year to enroll and/or change their healthcare and Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. Unfortunately, most beneficiaries don't bother to review their drug coverage - and end up paying more than necessary because they are tied to a plan that doesn't fit their specific prescription needs.
Sherri Powell, Campus Director of Baptist Village of Okmulgee, is pleased to offer a free Medicare Part D seminar on Monday, September 22, to help local beneficiaries learn how to get the greatest benefit from their Medicare prescription drug coverage. The seminar, which will be presented by Cindy Loftin from the Medicare Assistance Program at LIFE Senior Services, will include a primer on Medicare Part D as well as information about changes in the Part D landscape for 2015.
LIFE Senior Services, a Tulsa-based non-profit United Way organization, has helped more than 25,000 Medicare beneficiaries with their Part D decisions since the federal program first came into existence in 2006. Last year, 67% of the beneficiaries LIFE counseled either switched Part D plans or enrolled for the first time, saving more than $1.2 million on their prescription drug costs for 2014.
Medicare Part D has provided tremendous relief for thousands of Oklahoma Medicare beneficiaries, both seniors and adults with disabilities, enabling them to better afford their medications, and helping them access the prescriptions they need for both chronic and lifethreatening health conditions.
According to Loftin, Medicare beneficiaries need to review their Part D coverage for 2015. "Even if they have been satisfied with their current plan, the across-the-board changes each year in plan costs, co-pays and coverage make it critically important for beneficiaries to take a fresh look at their coverage options."
The Medicare Assistance Program at LIFE opens a seasonal clinic staffed by specially-trained staff and volunteers who help beneficiaries compare plans using Medicare's Plan Finder on the Medicare.gov website. The clinics are free and offer personalized, unbiased assistance based on beneficiaries' individual prescription needs.
According to Loftin, "At the clinics we work with beneficiaries one-on-one to help them compare, select and enroll in a Part D plan that fits their individual prescription and budget needs. In just one hour, we can help them make sure that they are getting the best coverage for their money."
Loftin noted, "We usually have 60-75 people come from Okmulgee to LIFE's Part D Clinics each year - but we would love to be helping more. We have been gearing up for Open Enrollment since August and are already making appointments. It's not too early!"
The Medicare Part D presentation will be held on Monday, September 22 at 2:00 p.m. at Baptist Village of Okmulgee, 1500 W. 6th West Street. For more information about the event, or to reserve your spot, please call Sherri Powell at 918-756-5377.
IMLS awards $49,995
museum grant to MCN
The Muscogee Creek Nation is one of several museums in Oklahoma which which were awarded grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The announced grants for eight museum projects in the state totaled $479,204.
Besides the Creek Nation, the other museums were the Gilcrease Museum, the Bartlesville Area History Museum, the Kaw Nation, the Tonkawa Tribe, the United Keetoowah Cherokee Council, and the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, which received two grants.
The grants are among the 263 museum awards made in 2014 by IMLS totaling more than $30 million. A list of the grant recipients is available on the IMLS website.
“Oklahoma’s museums support the public by providing resources for lifelong learning, serving as stewards of the state’s collections, and addressing specific community needs,” said IMLS Director Susan H. Hildreth. “These federal investments will ultimately help museums deliver enhanced learning experiences, improve collections care, and address community needs.”
Museums will use these funds to support learning experiences, engage community members, make rich collections more accessible, and safeguard the state’s cultural and scientific heritage represented by the collections. Grants support a wide variety of projects, including exhibits; onsite and offsite arts and education programming; projects to digitize collections; partnerships to reach underserved neighborhoods and to address community needs; projects for people with disabilities and underserved populations; conservation of threatened or fragile collections, including living collections in zoos and botanical gardens; creative physical spaces for hands-on learning; internships; makerspaces and STEM-based learning projects; and much more.
Muscogee Creek Nation - Okmulgee, OK
Grant Program: Native American/Native Hawaiian Museum Services Program Award Amount: $49,995
The Muscogee Creek Nation Museum, Archives, and Cultural Center will develop a comprehensive collections management program, purchase archival supplies, and enhance the museum's digital infrastructure. Project activities will support the preservation of collections and improve access to more than 3,000 objects, photographs, and archival materials. This project will facilitate the ongoing care of current artifacts, serve as a foundation for future curatorial endeavors, enable the museum to acquire new items, and allow for a systematic organization of the collection. As a result, the museum will be able to increase accessibility for Muscogee tribal citizens and the public and better serve its mission to advance the presentation and knowledge of Muscogee culture—past, present, and future.
COUNTY STUDENTS ATTEND KIDS ARE SPECIAL PEOPLE DAY
Third grade students get a first-hand look at the inside of the Air Evac helicopter on Wednesday during the Kids Are Special People Day event. Inside Covelle Hall, students were able to learn about fire safety, health and cleanliness, and staying healthy. See page 10a of today’s issue for additional photos. (Staff photo by Patrick Ford)
The Local Angle
By HERMAN BROWN
Okmulgee Times editor
Children are our most precious treasure.
They are a gift from God ... and bring us so much joy and love.
As parents or grandparents, we should ALWAYS do everything we can to keep them safe from harm. That’s why it is so upsetting to see how many babies and children are not properly seated in car seats when riding in vehicles.
So folks will not bother to buckle in the little ones. Others do buckle the straps, but allow the child to wiggle out of the shoulder or chest harness. That may keep you from hearing the little ones screaming. However, it will not provide the best protection for them.
My daughter, Amber, is a major advocate concerning car seat safety. She gets very upset with adults who don’t use rear-facing car seats - or parents who misuse the booster seats.
Please stop and think what is best for your little one. Take the time and effort to buckle them in the vehicle in the safest method possible.
A minute or so of your time might be the difference in having a healthy child - or one that could be badly injured or killed in an accident.
We can’t always keep the little ones as safe as we’d like. But we owe it to them to do all we can to make their journey a safe one.
• Hometown heroes
Okmulgee is a better place to live because of ... . Evella Grayson-Anderson ... a faithful volunteer at The Salvation Army store in Okmulgee. She puts in countless hours there, and is also active in the ladies auxiliary of the Knights of Peter Claver at Uganda Martyrs Catholic Church in Okmulgee.
• This Day in History
1957 - "Perry Mason", the television series, made its debut on CBS-TV. The show was on for 9 years.
1970 - "NFL Monday Night Football" made its debut on ABC-TV. The game was between the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets. The Browns won 31-21.
• Today’s Birthdays
Stephen King 1947
Faith Hill 1967
Ricki Lake 1968
Alfonso Ribeiro 1971
Maggie Grace 1983 - Actress ("Lost")
• Scripture for Today - Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others. —Philippians 2:3-4
• Today’s Forecast - Sunday - A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 81. Calm wind becoming north around 5 mph in the afternoon.
Sunday Night A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 61. North wind around 5 mph.
Mary Ellen Hanson
Mary (Gan-Ma) Ellen Hanson, a longtime resident of Okmulgee, went to be with her Lord on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at the age of 83. She was born May 19, 1931 to Eugene and Flossie (Pennington) Crain in Turley, Oklahoma. She was a member of the Clearview Baptist Church in Okmulgee. Ganny Ma, from which everyone called her, loved spending time with her family and enjoyed playing with her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She will be greatly missed by all that knew her.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Eugene and Flossie Crain; first husband, W.T. Melton; second husband, Ronald Hanson and brother, Bob Crain.
Survivors include her five children, Dennis Melton and wife, Betty of Sand Springs, Danny Melton and wife, Susie of Beggs, Dickie Melton and wife, Nancy of Nuyaka, Rhonda Hopper and husband, David of Okmulgee and Butch Hanson and wife, Sherri of Kiefer; two sisters, Marie Howell and husband, Jim of Okmulgee and Carolyn Fisher and husband, Ted of Morris; two brothers, Leon Crain of Prague and Ralph Crain and wife, Pat of Joplin, Missouri; fourteen grandchildren; fourteen great-grandchildren and numerous other relatives and friends.
Services will be held at 10:00 a.m. Monday, September 22, 2014 at the First Baptist Church in Okmulgee with Dr. Dennis Taylor and Pastor Randy Matthews officiating. Burial will follow the service at the Sperry Rest Haven Cemetery under the direction of the Jackson Funeral Home and Crematory in Okmulgee.
Visitation will be Sunday from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Jackson Funeral Home Chapel in Okmulgee.
Pallbearers will be Justin Melton, Dustin Melton, Steven Hopper, Kenny Hopper, Todd Hanson and J.R. Gleason. Honorary Pallbearers will be David Hopper and Charlie Pearson.
Friends may send their condolences to www.jacksonfhandcrematory.com
Jimmy Bissett, age 74 of Henryetta died September 17, 2014 in Henryetta, OK No services are planned locally. Arrangements were under the direction of the Integrity Funeral Service of Henryetta.
GRACE MAXINE GARGILL
Grace Maxine (Daniels) Cargill, longtime resident of Okmulgee died at her home on Thursday, September 18, 2014. She was born June 17, 1925 in Boynton, Oklahoma to the late William Dorsey and Frances Louise (Cowan) Daniels. She married the love of her life Charles Arthur Cargill on October 17, 1947. Maxine was a very active member of the Grand Avenue Church of Christ and worked for many years at Montgomery Ward.
Maxine was preceded in death by her husband, parents, brothers, Eugene, Claude and Billy Daniels and sisters, Edna Nevstead, Lucille Stephens, Floy York and Sarah Matthews.
Survivors include her son, Michael and his wife Patricia Cargill of Stillwell, Oklahoma, two daughters; Kathleen and her husband Gary Moores of Eufaula, Oklahoma and Patricia and her husband Phillip Habeger of Tulsa, Oklahoma,a brother, Bob Daniels and wife Charlene of Sapulpa, a sister-in-law, Ruby Faye Daniels of Bixby, grandchildren, Michael Nickell, Angela Nickell, Cara Lea Cargill, Michael Charles Cargill, Cate Lyn Cargill, Daniel Patrick Cargill and Alison Habeger, and great grandchildren, Zoe Grace Goodman, Micah Nickell, Killian McGrew and Keenan McGrew. She is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, relatives and loving friends.
A committal service will be held 11:00 A.M. Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at the Okmulgee Cemetery with Kevin Copeland officiating. The family will receive friends Sunday from 4:00 P.M.-6:00 P.M. at the McClendon-Winters Funeral Home Chapel. Friends may visit the funeral home Sunday from 12:00 P.M.-6:00 P.M. and Monday from 8:00 A.M.-8:00 P.M. Casketbearers will be Kenny Wilson, J.J. McGrew, Mark Dobbs, Gill Graham, Matt Mabrey and Mike Bailey. Arrangements are under the direction of the McClendon-Winters Funeral Home of Okmulgee.
Memories, condolences, photos and videos may be shared with the family on Maxine’s Tribute Page of our website at www.mcclendon-winters.com
Wanda Ruth Adams
Wanda Ruth Adams, 78 years, 11 months, and 9 days, of Henryetta, Ok passed from this life on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 in Tahlequah, Ok. She was born October 8, 1935 in Chickasha, Ok to Griffin B. and Ester (Woodard) Walker.
Wanda graduated in 1953 from Haskell High School and then attended Northeastern State University receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary education. She taught at Briggs School in Tahlequah, Maple Park in Wagoner and her last position before retiring was at the Community of Wilson in Henryetta. She had been a longtime member of the Schulter First Baptist Church and a member of the Retired Teacher’s Association.
After the death of husband of 54 years, Fred Adams, Wanda married her high school sweetheart Donald Fultz and they had three wonderful years together.
Wanda had various hobbies which included raising her chickens and dogs (especially her Rat-Terrier). She was a homebody who enjoyed watching soap-operas.
Wanda is preceded in death by her parents Griffin and Ester Walker and husband Fred Adams. She is survived by husband Donald Fultz, of the home, 2 sons Ronnie Adams of Tahlequah, Ok, Jerry Adams and wife Lori of Prairie Grove, AR, 3 grandchildren Jamie Adams, Tim Adams and wife Samantha, Ronnie Adams, Jr, 3 great-grandchildren Hunter and Artcher Skaggs, Baylor Adams and 1 on-the-way as well as many other relatives and friends.
Funeral services will be held at 10:00 am, Monday, September 22, 2014 at the First Free Will Baptist Church in Haskell with Mr. Del Cox officiating. Interment will follow in the Haskell Cemetery under the direction of Dowdy Funeral Home.
JAMES O. WALL JR.
James O. Wall, Jr., resident of Okmulgee, died Wednesday, September 17, 2014 in Okmulgee at the age of 63. James was born September 14, 1951 in Riverside, California to James O. Wall, Sr. and Alice Elizabeth (Jaggers) Wall. James was a Gunsmith and enjoyed playing music. He moved to Okmulgee 35 years ago from Palm Springs, California. He was preceded in death by his wife Sandy and his father. Survivors include his mother, Alice Morrow, of Okmulgee and a brother, J.D. Wall of Okmulgee. A committal service was held Friday, September 19, 2014 at the Okmulgee Cemetery under the direction of the McClendon-Winters Funeral Home of Okmulgee. Memories, condolences, photos and videos may be shared with the family on James’ Tribute Page of our website at www.mcclendon-winters.com
Barbara Jenell Johnson
Barbara Jenell Johnson, a resident of Henryetta, passed away Friday, September 19, 2014 in Henryetta, OK at the age of 74. She was born June 21, 1940 in Hitchita, OK to Daniel L. Bynum & Rosie E. (Heaslet) Bynum.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Kenneth Johnson, her parents, Daniel and Rosie Bynum, son, Dewayne Johnson, 4 sisters, Viney, Edra, Mary, and Vivian.
Barbara is survived by her son, Floyd R. Johnson of Sand Springs,
daughter, Opal McCoy of Ft. Gibson,
seven grandchildren, Debbie K. Kidwell of Glenpool;
TC McCoy of Tahlequah;
Ladonna Nance of Yukon, Oklahoma;
Nicki Mayes of Sand Springs;
Kenneth McCoy of Oklahoma City;
Alex Moore of Scottsdale, Arizona;
and Teresa Hampton of Sapulpa, Oklahoma;
three great grandchildren, Blake Nance of Yukon;
Scottie Mayes of Sand Springs;
and Devon Martin of San Springs,
one sister, Geneva Woods of Henryetta,
one brother, Fred Carpenter of Tulsa,
as well as a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
Viewing will be on Sunday, September 21, 2014 from 6-8 pm and from 8am-8pm on Monday, September 22nd at Integrity Funeral Service.
Graveside services will be held on Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 at 10:00 am at New Sonora Cemetery with Rev. Lee Nuckolls, officiating. Services are under the direction of Integrity Funeral Service.
Letter to the Editor
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
Little Nova Dixon needs a heart transplant.
The 2-year-old daughter of Cody and Katie Dixon was diagnosed with Dilated Cardiompopathy. Her paternal grandparents are Scott and Galeene Dixon of Okmulgee. Nova also has a 5-year-old brother, Rokkett.
Nova was flown to St. Louis Children’s Hospital where she and her family will stay while she awaits the heart transplant. She will remain under the care of physicians there until a heart is available.
The transplant will cost over $1 million. Fundraiser events are ongoing in the Okmulgee community. All proceeds will go to help the family with medical expenses.
One of the fundraisers is a drawing for a new Optima V2 .50 caliber stainless steel /Real Tree Xtra Green - Dead on mount with Vortex scope. $2 donations are being accepted for tickets to a drawingat 12:00 noon on October 11, 2014 at Pat’s Archery. You can purchase the tickets at Pat’s Archery or by contacting Scott Dixon at 918-759-8335. Any questions about the drawing can be directed to either phone number.
“$2 a ticket buys you a chance to win,” Dixon said. “Let’s help this little girl receive a heart transplant.”
There are donation jugs for those who wish to donate to help this beautiful little girl. The “change jugs” are at Pat’s Archery, Massey’s BBQ, Leo’s Automotive on South Wood Drive (Next to Terry’s Muffler) and at the Shell station at 20th and Wood Drive. There is also a change jug in Tulsa at Kenny's Auto Accessories at 7620 East 42nd Place.
The grandparents, Scott and Galeene, are planning muptiple fundraisers to help with Nova’s medical expenses. If you have any questions or concerns, you may call Scott at 918-759-8335.
“Thank you and may God bless you and your family,” the Dixon family said.