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2019: The year in review

Checotah was an active community in 2019, from honoring veterans to raising money for worthwhile causes.

The schools received a lot of honors and there were acts of heroism.

Some of the stories the McIntosh County Democrat covered this past year include:

JANUARY 3

Educator Jackie White retires

Longtime educator Jackie Dixon White is officially retiring after 44 and a half years of devoted service. White, who was the senior executive director of Federal Programs, has had an amazing career in public education. During White's career she has worked with 13 superintendents and six chief financial officers.

JANUARY 10

Nominations open for

Citizen of the Year

Nominations are now open for the McIntosh County Citizen of the Year.

The winner will be announced at the Checotah Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet, which will be held in February.

Church faithful to its vision for decades

After 32 years the vision of Faith Church has finally become a reality. Family and church members came from afar to help celebrate the grand opening of the new facility at 389 S. Paul Carr Dr.on Dec. 30, 2018.

The vision began in 1987 when the Rev. William "Bill" A. Bartlett was appointed pastor of Faith Temple in Checotah by the Rev. Mary Cable, who gave them the church building. Standing faithfully by his side were his wife, Margie, and their three children, Chad, Amber and Benjie.

JANUARY 17

Poacher had a date with justice

An unnamed female deer poacher from Mc-Intosh County went online to perhaps find a date with a man, but instead landed a date with justice.

Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Warden Cannon Harrison, who is responsible for McIntosh County, recently posted what he thought was a humorous, but harmless, message on Facebook.

The message quickly went nationwide,

with stories appearing in such esteemed publications as the Washington Post newspaper and Sports Illustrated magazine.

Harrison’s Facebook message described how late one night, about a month ago, he was contacted by a woman by way of a dating APP called Bumble.

During the course of their messaging back and forth, the woman boasted that she had just illegally killed a “big ol' buck.”

She had no idea the man she was messaging was a game warden. Apparently she thought she would bag a “dear” while she was bagging a “deer.”

JANUARY 24

New business is old business

Last year Checotah lost an icon in the barber business, Jim Jones, who had been cutting hair for generations.

Though change can be hard on everyone, another gentleman has stepped up to the chair and is now making a new business out of his old business. That man is Louis Yeley.

Yeley isn't a stranger to the area, owning a small ranch on Texanna Road, and he definitely isn't a stranger to the barber business either. Bringing 53 years of experience to his clients, Yeley knows the barber business.

Council hires former Muskogee teen-aged mayor as city attorney

The Checotah City Council has hired John Tyler Hammons as the new city attorney.

The action took place at the council’s monthly meeting on Jan. 14.

Hammons was 19 years old when he was first elected Muskogee mayor in 2008.

He was that city’s 47th mayor, serving from 2008 to 2012, and one of the youngest in U.S. history.

Living kidney donor

sought for Stogner

HENRYETTA - One thing the Stogner family and friends are aware of is that life is so very precious.

Larry Stogner, who once worked for Checotah Public Schools, knows this personally as he suffers from Stage 5 Renal Failure and is going through dialysis three times a week, in four-hour sessions.

His family members and friends are spreading the word about seeking a living kidney donor with O-type (either positive or negative) blood for Larry.

JANUARY 31

OKC Zoo goat named “Checotah”

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma City Zoo recently welcomed six nine-month-old, female dwarf Nigerian pygmy goats to its barnyard habitat located in the Children’s Zoo and asked for the public’s help picking names for the new arrivals.

In keeping with tradition, the Zoo proposed 10 names of Oklahoma towns and asked voters to help winnow the field to the top six.

The name “Checotah” placed fifth with 427 votes.

Community rallies behind Kirby family

On January 16, almost eight weeks after a horrific car accident that almost took his life, Steve Kirby was flown to a special rehabilitation facility in Houston, Texas.

His wife, Kacy Kirby decided her husband would benefit better with aggressive physical therapy more focused to his specific needs.

So Steve had his first plane ride ever to Texas as his hometown community and extended family rallied behind him planning a bean dinner and auction to help with the financial need.

"Our whole family and community wanted to do something for my cousin, Steve," Cindy West said. "So we decided to host a bean dinner and auction to raise money for him and to keep us all 'Staying Kirby Strong' which is exactly what he would want us to do."

Kirby's aunts and cousins have been working non-stop picking up items from businesses all over town and the surrounding areas. Many individuals have also made cash donations for the cause.

FEBRUARY 7

Community helps accident victim; Auction raises over $30,000 for Kirby

The Steve Kirby Bean Dinner and Auction was a huge success Saturday, raising over $30,000 for this former Checotah police sergeant who was critically injured in a car crash on Thanksgiving Day, 2018.

FEBRUARY 14

Man jailed in Arkansas after allegedly kidnapping local wrecker driver

An Oklahoma City man has been charged in McIntosh County District Court with kidnapping, feloniously pointing a firearm and possession of a firearm after a former felony conviction after allegedly kidnapping a wrecker driver last week near Checotah.

Rafael Torres, 35, was arrested in Morrilton, Arkansas, on Interstate 40 about 50 miles northwest of Little Rock and 175 miles east of Checotah.

He is jailed in Arkansas awaiting extradition.

According to reports Torres kidnapped Jonathon Serrato, a driver for Morgan’s Wrecker, on I-40.

FEBRUARY 21

FFA premium sales exceed $64,000

The Checotah Local Livestock Show on Saturday, December 9 was a full day of showing off some impressive livestock for the Checotah 4-H FFA Booster Club.

The Premium Sale Dinner for these prize animals was then held on Monday, Febrary 11.

The gross total brought in for the FFA Club was $64,993 with $37,300 coming in from the premium sale and $27,693 coming in from the add ons.

The Masonic Lodge #86 also presented the Checotah 4-H FFA Booster Club with a check for $7,300. This came from the money the kids raised from ticket sales for the Masonic Lodge breakfast on Feb. 2. The Masonic Lodge then matches the money of the kids sales.

Woman of vision remembered

The Rev. Marjorie W. Bartlett was emphatically a woman of faith and vision to the very end of her ministry and battle with cancer.

More importantly, she was a pastor and friend to everyone she met and just wanted to love people.

That was truly her calling and now the legacy she passes on to her children, grandchildren, and all who will remember her.

Her son, Chad Bartlett, expressed at her home-going service that "Cancer did not take my mom out. God took my mom home."

The love that Rev. Bartlett had shown others was apparent in a packed memorial service of approximately 300 people.

FEBRUARY 28

Grillin’ & Chillin’ in Checotah

A little rainy weather didn’t slow down folks as they gathered for a barbeque feast at the Checotah Chamber of Commerce's annual banquet Saturday, February 19 at the First Free Will Baptist Church Family Life Center.

Another Chili Cook-Off in the books

Another successful Chili Cook-Off is in the books for Checotah.

On Saturday, February 23, the 12th Annual Chili Cook-Off sponsored by the Heartland Heritage Museum and Gallery went off without a hitch.

Alleged kidnapper of wrecker

driver appears in district court

Rafael Torres, 35, who has been charged with kidnapping a wrecker driver near Checotah, was arraigned in district court on February 19.

Torres, of Oklahoma City, was arrested in Arkansas hours following the alleged kidnapping of Jonathon Serrato, a driver for Morgan’s Wrecker.

The defendant also faces charges of feloniously pointing a firearm and possession of a firearm after a former felony conviction.

MARCH 7

Pastor preaches half a century

On Sunday, March 17 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Onapa Baptist Church will be having a pastor appreciation service and invites the community to come celebrate with them as they honor their pastor of 50 years.

Yes, Pastor Richard Ford began preaching 50 years ago at the Onapa Baptist Church. The year was 1969 and he was a mere 32 years old.

MARCH 14

Mildred Burkhalter named Teacher of the Year

Mildred Burkhalter, who teaches Alternative Education, has been named the Teacher of the Year by Checotah High School.

Burkhalter graduated from Checotah High School in 1973 and in 1979 received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and Management from Northeastern State University.

She then earned a Masters in Educational Technology from East Central University in 2008 and in 2016 she earned another Masters in Education of Principle Leadership at ECU.

MARCH 21

New School Board member sworn in

The Checotah Board of Education met on Monday, March 11. The meeting began with newly elected board member Jackie Farmer being sworn into office.

The Board then voted on officers.

Meloney Brown and Laurie Burkhalter were both nominated for president, but Burkhalter won the majority vote to remain president and Brown will remain Vice-President.

MARCH 28

Celebrating 25 years of service

Mayor Daniel Tarkington recently honored three City of Checotah employees who are celebrating 25 years of service to the community.

On Friday, March 22, Tarkington rolled up his sleeves and cooked hamburgers and hot links for the city crews and honorees Jerry Lewis, Rick Cox and Todd Garner.

APRIL 4

Suzanne Roberts named CMS Teacher of the Year

Suzanne Roberts has been named the Checotah Middle School Teacher of the Year.

Roberts teaches American History, Geography, and Title I Reading to the 7th and 8th grade and has been teaching for 23 years at Checotah Public Schools.

APRIL 11

Heather Ambrose named Intermediate Teacher of the Year

They say the best education is not given to students; it is drawn out of them.

That is exactly what 4th grade math teacher Heather Ambrose does in her math class.

Ambrose was recently named Checotah Intermediate School (CIS) Teacher of the Year.

APRIL 18

Surviving cervical cancer

Kristin Emerson Corbin is not your typical nurse practitioner working for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Health Service in Eufaula.

Though she is now a doctor of nursing practice sitting on one side of the table, she knows all too well how it feels to be the patient on the examination table because she's been there too many times. Corbin is a survivor of cervical cancer.

APRIL 25

Disc Golf's growth soaring with no signs of stopping

The Checotah Disc Golf League started its fourth season this past Thursday, April 18 at the Checotah Sports Complex.

Checotah has had disc golf since 2013 when course designer Curtis Hartshorn, minister with the Checotah Church of Christ, went before the city council and received permission to design and build the course.

City merchants sponsored each hole. Their names and logos are on the signs in front of each tee box. The labor was volunteered by disc golf players from the surrounding area.

Veteran battles esophageal cancer and wins

Amanda Davis was only 32 years old and a master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force when she was attacked by an unforeseen enemy – esophageal cancer.

The diagnosis forced her to take a medical separation from the military in May of 2013.

Three weeks after her diagnosis, Davis would start chemo and radiation.

Six weeks after finishing chemo and radiation, Davis had a 10-hour surgery to remove two-thirds of her esophagus and the top portion of her stomach. Doctors then created a new stomach/ esophagus by connecting what was left.

Most people with esophageal cancer eventually die from it. Less than one in 20 patients diagnosed with it will survive

Today she is cancer free.

MAY 2

Michelle York named District Teacher of the Year

Michelle York has been named District Teacher of the Year.

This is her second major honor this year. Earlier she was named Teacher of the Year at Marshall Elementary

York earned her Degree in Elementary Education from Tulsa University in 2003. She then went on to teach a Tulsa Public Schools from 2003-2015.

In 2015 she began teaching at Marshall Elementary for Checotah Public Schools and currently teaches second grade.

Ashley Funburg inducted into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi

Ashley Funburg of Checotah was recently initiated into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation's oldest and most selective all-discipline collegiate honor society. Funburg was initiated at Oklahoma State University.

MAY 9

Checotah Foundation for Academic

Excellence awards grants

Checotah Foundation for Academic Excellence, Inc. (CFAE) announced their winning grant recipients on Tuesday, April 30. Of forty grant applications received this year, CFAE was able to award 14 of these grants totaling $6,167.

MAY 16

3-dog limit passed by City Council

The Checotah City Council Monday night set a limit of three dogs per household within the city limits.

Also discussed was the number of feral cats in the city, but no action was taken on how to deal with them. However, the council did agree to an annual $2 registration fee for each pet.

Emmy Stidham inducted into the

Oklahoma Historian Hall of Fame

Emmy Scott Stidham was one of four honorees inducted into the Oklahoma Historians Hall of Fame in Chickasha on April 26.

MAY 23

Locals support motorcycle riders

in annual Run for the Wall

Locals from McIntosh County and the surrounding areas gathered at 8:30 a.m. Sunday to show their support for the 31st Run for the Wall (RFTW), an annual event that brings hundreds of motorcyclists together to cross the country on behalf of veterans.

MAY 30

Memorial Day Ceremony honors all veterans

The annual Memorial Day Ceremony in Veteran Circle at Greenlawn Cemetery in Checotah brought tears of gratefulness to many eyes on Monday.

Jean Gawf, who helped organize the event with help from the Chamber of Commerce and the City of Checotah, said she was thankful that Checotah chooses to never forget our fallen heroes. “These men and women gave the ultimate sacrifice for us all and it's only fitting to honor them on this day on this hallowed ground,” Gawf said.

Fishertown Cemetery brought back to life

Fishertown Cemetery was overgrown with trees obscuring the entrance, weeds over the tombstones, rusty signs and poles.

Then something wonderful happened.

An amazing group of volunteers pitched in and transformed this sacred ground.

JUNE 6

Road to Hollywood began in

Checotah for voiceover artist

Brad Venable, a 1995 graduate of Checotah High School, once aspired to be an opera singer.

But instead of standing in the spotlight onstage somewhere singing like Pavarotti, today he is out of sight of the audience and his voice is making a name for itself performing voiceover parts in films, videos and commercials.

JUNE 13

Davis captures his Cherokee heritage through nature

The talent of local artist Jeff Davis, a 1985 graduate of Checotah High School, is not only beautiful to the eye, but it speaks to the soul.

Jeff Davis, aka J. Ross Davis, is an award winning Cherokee photographer and graphic artist specializing in wildlife and landscape art.

53rd Old Settlers Day came rain and shine

A little rain couldn't dampen the spirits of the excited crowd and participants that gathered for the Power Wheel races and the Lawn Mower races on Friday night at the Checotah Sports Complex.

The 53rd Old Settlers Day Celebration got underway at the Dixon Speedway in honor of retired coach Truman Dixon.

There were stock heats, modified heats, blindfolds and powder puff races on Friday night followed by "The Last Call Band."

JUNE 20

T.R.A.M.P.S. still flying high in Checotah

The Three Rivers Area Model Plane Society (T.R.A.M.P.S.) is flying high in Checotah and having fun promoting the hobby of flying radio controlled aircraft.

Clayton Keithley has only been flying three years and Anthony Garcia about seven years, but Rick McAdoo has 43 years of experience.

JUNE 27

Patsy Mann named 2019 Significant Alumna

Continuing the tradition that began in 1989 to honor special Checotah graduates, a Coffee at the Katy Depot on Paul Carr Drive will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 29, for a special lady and team.

"This year we have an extra special reason to celebrate," Betty Working, president of the Checotah Landmark Preservation Society, said. "Patsy (Farrimond) Mann, Class of 1965, will be the Checotah Significant Alumna.”

Officers save life of man cut by sword

Checotah police officers Scotty Burge and Sam Fisher were recently credited with saving the life of a local man after a serious accident.

At about 11 p.m. on June 19 the Checotah Police Department received a distress call that Darren Casey was accidentally cut with a sword and bleeding profusely.

Dispatch quickly notified EMS and officers Burge and Fisher.

The officers were closer to the scene and arrived first, at approximately 11:18 p.m.

They found Casey with an extremely deep laceration to his lower leg below the knee.

Both officers worked together to apply a tourniquet to the leg and a clotting agent to the wound.

They then called dispatch for a helicopter.

Storm knocks out power to thousands

Almost 6,000 electric company customers lost power during severe weather Saturday evening. A dozen transmission poles were knocked down as a result of severe weather that produces strong winds and torrential rain.

According to OG&E, some 5,800 customers in Checotah, Eufaula, Porum and surrounding areas were left in the dark.

JULY 11

Mayor’s race ends in crash

Mayor Daniel Tarkington is still taking care of city business and in his spare time tearing up the race track, a hobby he’s enjoyed since the age of 15.

During the 2019 race season he has already competed in nine races, bringing home a big win at Tri-State Speedway in Pocola on June 15.

However, on June 21, it was a totally different scenario when Tarkington totaled the race car he was driving at Thunderbird Speedway.

JULY 18

Honey Springs holds annual memorial

Honey Springs Battlefield and Visitor's Center held their annual memorial service honoring the 156th anniversary of the Battle of Honey Springs on Saturday, July 13.

AUGUST 1

Local biker pastor earns honor

When Benjamin "Porkchop" Bartlett took over the Priesthood ministry that was started in McAlester, he wasn't sure he even wanted to lead the group that had dwindled down to three members in November of 2014.

But God had a bigger plan for this biker man and his family.

Five years later, Bartlett has been named the 2018 National Priesthood President of the Year and his chapter has won the 2019 Priesthood National Homecoming Largest Chapter with 27 members and it's still growing daily, with five new prospects in the wings.

AUGUST 8

Checotah Intermediate honored for its progress

Checotah Intermediate School has been honored by the Oklahoma Public School Resource Center (OPSRC) for the progress the school has made over the past year.

Jeff Pritchard, a representative with OPSRC, attended Monday night’s school board meeting and presented the school with a special award.

AUGUST 22

City Council works on new

neuter/spay ordinances

At the Checotah City Council Meeting on Monday, Aug 12, a new "three strikes they're out" ordinance was discussed by the city council.

The "three strikes" is the number of times an animal could be picked up by animal control before the animal would have to be neutered or spayed.

Along with the cost of the spay/neuter, a fine would also be imposed and go up at each impounding starting at $25 for the first offense, $35 for second offense and $55 for third offense.

Both dogs and cats would be under the same guidelines.

Suspect who allegedly threatened

courthouse makes initial appearance

The suspect who allegedly threatened to lead an assault on the McIntosh County Courthouse earlier this month was arraigned Friday, August 16, in the courthouse he reportedly terrorized on Facebook.

Anthony Shane Hammer, 36, was arrested near Tahlequah on August 5 after the threats on Facebook were brought to the attention of police.

Former Creek Chief George Tiger to

appear in federal court on bribery charges

MUSKOGEE - George Tiger, 69, who served one term as Principal Chief of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, will make his initial appearance in federal court at 10 a.m. Wednesday, August 28, to respond to an accusation of bribery.

Assistant United States Attorney Douglas Horn said Tiger will enter a plea at that time.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma announced last week, on August 14, that Tiger has been charged with Bribery Concerning Programs Receiving Federal Funds.

AUGUST 29

Deputy has new K-9 partner

Thanks to a lot of generous donors, McIntosh County Deputy Sheriff Casey Torix has a new K-9 partner.

Torix’s first partner, Bruno, died unexpectedly on April 22.

It was devastating for Torix, who worked with Bruno for six years.

“I had him since he was six months old,” Torix said.

However, the deputy soon began a monumental effort to raise enough money to buy another police dog.

A dog as well trained as Bruno can cost $10,000.

It took almost four months, but Torix raised $11,000.

SEPTEMBER 5

Local couple struggles through infertility for fifteen years; miracle baby born in July

Most people may look at Leonard and Latitia Hill and see just another couple with a sweet little baby, but there is so much more to their story. For fifteen years the Hills strugglED with unexplained infertility. Finally on July 25, 2019 at 11:10 p.m. Londyn Grace made her grand entry into the world weighing five pounds, one ounce and measuring 18.5 inches long. She was a little early (37 weeks) but perfect.

Former MCN Chief Tiger to go to trial October 1

Former Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief George Tige will go to trial October 1 on a charge of bribery that allegedly occurred after he left office in 2016, according to federal prosecutors in Muskogee. The trial date was set after Tiger appeared before U.S. Magistrate Kimberly West in the United States District Court on August 28 and pled not guilty to the charge.

The 69-year-old Bristow resident was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury on August 14.

If convicted Tiger could face up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.

SEPTEMBER 12

Two Checotah schools get $1.3 million grant

Marshall Elementary and Checotah Intermediate schools have been awarded a 21st Century Grant in the amount of $1,320,000.

The money, to be used for a variety of programs, will be disbursed over a period of five years.

SEPTEMBER 19

City Council amends animal ordinance

The City of Checotah took action at the City Council Meeting on Sept. 9 to amend an animal ordinance that was recently approved.

Ordinance #588 stated that if an animal was caught at large three times then the city could spay or neuter the animal along with fining the owner of the animal. The new Amending Ordinance #337 states that this will take place if the animal is caught three times and “within one year of the first offense.”

Former MCN chief pleads guilty to bribery

MUSKOGEE - Former Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief George Tiger, 69, pleaded guilty Friday to a federal bribery charge which could result in 10 years imprisonment, up to a $250,000 fine or both.

The defendant was allowed to remain free on a personal recognizance bond pending a sentencing hearing. The date hs not yet been set.

The charge to which Tiger pled guilty was Bribery Concerning Programs Receiving Federal Funds.

SEPTEMBER 26

Let the demolition begin?

Associate District Judge Brendon Bridges last week dismissed a lawsuit against the City of Checotah filed by motel owner Ahmad Zulfiqar, who objected to his Budget Inn Motel being condemned.

Neither Zulfiqar nor his attorney appeared at a pretrial hearing last week.

Weeks ago Bridges tossed out a lawsuit by Zulfiqar against the city council and others individually.

In his ruling on September 18, Bridges said there was a “complete lack of participation of the plaintiff and the plaintiff ’s attorney.”

He issued a default judgment in favor of the defendant.

OCTOBER 3

Students exercise their rights with “Prayer at the Pole”

The temperature was ideal outside as approximately 35 high school students and 25 middle school students exercised their right to meet and have student-led prayer at the poles on Wednesday, September 25.

Several Checotah Wildcats got up a little early to meet their classmates by 7:15 a.m. around the flagpoles to be a part of this Global Day of Student Prayer.

At two separate campuses these students gathered to pray for their school, their administration and for the country in a display of their First Amendment right of Freedom of Speech.

OCTOBER 10

Creeks void September

primary election; another

primary set for Nov. 2

After the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Election Board received two petitions complaining about the Sept. 21 primary election, the MCN Supreme Court decided to void the election.

The Election Board has set Nov. 2 as the new Primary Election date.

“There must be absolute confidence in our election process and our system,” said Wendy Dunson, MCN Election Board Chair. “It is the Election Board's highest priority to make certain every ballot cast is counted correctly and to ensure the integrity of this important process remains intact.”

Patrons refuse to let Monroe's be a memory

The billowing smoke could be seen for miles.

On March 5, a five-alarm fire ripped through Monroe's Sports Bar and was close to destroying Jay Patel's motel, America's Best Value Inn.

By the time they extinguished the flames, Monroe's was gone and the motel had suffered smoke and water damage. Patel's BMW, which had been parked under the motel awning, was also destroyed.

Monroe's had been in business for 18 years.

Now everything was a total loss.

Patrons of Monroe's met the Friday after the fire to pay tribute to their old bar and to say goodbye but now seven months later these same patrons are still gathering every other month at Castle-berry's home to mix and mingle.

OCTOBER 24

County hit by high winds

Storms ripped through McIntosh County late Sunday and early Monday, but there have been no reports of major damage, according to McIntosh County/Eufaula Emergency Management Director Suzie Whittle.

“Winds gusted up to 70 miles per hour, but no tornadoes,” she said.

There were trees down and power outages in parts of Checotah, but no reports of structural damages or injuries.

OCTOBER 31

93-year-old bowler lives life in the fast lane

Bowling is a game which can be played as a competitive sport or a recreational, casual sport to meet up with friends and just have some fun.

93-year-old Fred Jackson has been doing both for the past 67 years.

NOVEMBER 7

Bomb threat forces evacuation of courthouse

A bomb threat forced the closing of the McIntosh County Courthouse last week.

In Eufaula, The McIntosh County Sheriff's Department 911 Center received a report from an unidentified caller at about 8 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 30, who said an explosive device had been placed in the courthouse, according to District Attorney Investigator Kevin Branscum.

The suspect said the bomb was due to explode in two hours.

Honey Springs weekend reenactment

The weekend was a full one at Honey Springs Battlefield and Visitor Center.

Education Day was held on Nov. 1 with approximately 1,500 students coming from different schools across the state. Students, as well as the general public, had the opportunity to explore numerous education stations teaching topics related to the Civil War, Indian Territory and the Battle of Honey Springs.

Many historians and homesteaders were on site teaching the youngsters about the past and showing them the 19th-century reproductions of military equipment, clothing and the way of living so many years ago.

NOVEMBER 14

Hammer to stand trial on charge of threatening courthouse

Anthony Shane Hammer, 36, is scheduled to stand trial in January on a charge of threatening the McIntosh County Courthouse.

He will appear in court for a sounding docket at 9 a.m. on Jan. 24, at which time the trial date will be set.

In April 2018 Hammer was handed an eight-year suspended sentence after pleading guilty to a charge of possession of a firearm after a former felony conviction.

That sentence was revoked at a hearing last month.

He is alleged to have made threats on Facebook against officials in the McIntosh County Courthouse and DHS employees.

Checotah honors Veterans with breakfast and assembly

Checotah Public Schools invited all veterans and the community to the Checotah Veterans’ Day Breakfast and Assembly at the CHS Event Center at 9 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 11.

A hot, homemade breakfast was provided by the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA).

NOVEMBER 21

Hutcherson an Exemplary Teacher

Choral Director Carolyn Hutcherson will be awarded the Oklahoma Music Educators Association (OkMEA) Exemplary Teacher Award on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020.

The ceremony is a part of the OkMEA Winter Conference and will be held at the DoubleTree in downtown Tulsa in the International Ballroom beginning at 6 p.m. Exemplary teachers must have completed at least 15 years of active service as a music teacher and/or music administrator and been a member of OkMEA/NAfME for a minimum of 10 years.

Man who kidnapped wrecker driver

pleads guilty in federal court

MUSKOGEE – Rafael Torres, 35, last week entered a guilty plea in federal court to the February 3 kidnapping of wrecker driver Jonathon Serrato in Mc-Intosh County.

The Oklahoma City resident could be punished by up to life in prison and fined up to $250,000.

He also pled guilty to several other federal crimes, including interference with commerce by robbery, which is punishable by not more than 20 years in prison; using a firearm in a crime of violence, punishable by not less than seven years in prison; and to possession of a firearm after a former felony conviction, punishable by not more than 10 years in prison.

Veterans honored with special dinner

The Warrior's Journey Honor Event and Dinner hosted at the First Assembly of God in Checotah had a great turnout on Thursday night, Nov. 14. Seventy-one veterans and veteran's spouses were fed grilled New York Strip steaks, baked potatoes, salad and desserts.

DECEMBER 5

Dixons to lead Christmas parade as grand marshals

Who needs Vixon at the reins when Checotah has the Dixons! Truman and Colleen Dixon will be the grand marshals for the 2019 Checotah Christmas parade on Saturday, Dec. 7. at 4 p.m.

The theme of the parade is "A Gingerbread Christmas" and there's nothing sweeter than this couple that have been married 71 years.

DECEMBER 12

Operation Christmas Child collects thousands of gifts

‘Tis the season for giving, that is why Checotah and the surrounding areas didn't disappoint when they collected over 16,020 Operation Christmas Child boxes this year. That's 1,912 more boxes up from last year.

Rose the Reindeer makes a stop in Checotah

Oh the windy weather outside was a little frightful, but Rose the Reindeer was quite delightful and didn't seem to mind the cold at all, neither did her companion Yukon, who stopped by the Jim Lucas Library in Checotah on Dec.

1.

Rose the Reindeer and Yukon are part of the Reindeer Club, owned and operated by Nick Ledbetter and his family out of Bristow. Ledbetter is Oklahoma's only reindeer farmer owning five reindeer in all: Rose, Yukon, Anna, Hiser and Prancer.

DECEMBER 19

Hill elected MCN principal chief

Muscogee (Creek) Nation voters elected Bristow resident David Hill as the tribe’s new principal chief.

According to unofficial returns by the MCN Election Board, Hill who received 3,399 voters – 65.64 percent – defeating opponent Bim Steve Bruner, who received 1,779 votes – 34.36 percent.

Incumbent Principal Chief James Floyd decided not to seek a second term.

Checotah Landmark Preservation Society serves special lunch

The Checotah Landmark Preservation Society recently served a special lunch for Mayor Daniel Tarkington, the City of Checotah workers and Honey Springs Director Adam Lynn to say thank you for all the hard work they do to bring for the community and to bring in tourism.

The event was held on Thursday, Dec. 12, at the Katy Depot.

DECEMBER 26

Angel Trees shines light on 127 families

The Lions Club Angel Tree program brought a light of hope and Christmas cheer to 127 local families.

Angel Trees were placed at six different locations: Walmart, Sharpes, Atwood's First Family Credit Union, Armstrong Bank and Peoples National Bank and patrons were encouraged to help sponsor a boy or girl with a few Christmas gifts.

McIntosh County Democrat “shares the warmth” with local nursing home

The McIntosh County Democrat collected hats, scarves, socks and gloves as a community project for the residents of Checotah Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Collections were made through the month of December at the Checotah office and then shared with the staff on Dec. 20 just in time for the residents' Christmas party.

By helping us decorate our tree and share the warmth this Christmas, together we are making a difference in our community.

Though the weather may be cold outside, there is no better way to warm up than to warm the hearts and hands of those in need.

McIntosh County Democrat

300-A S. Broadway
Checotah, OK 74426
(918) 473-2313