• December Column Winner

    It's All About Perspective

    MARSHA MILLER, The Ardmoreite

    One of the Merriam-Webster online definitions of perspective is: "The capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance." It's a single sentence that's spot on. It's all about what really matters today, tomorrow, next week, next year and into the future.
    It would be great if, as humans, our perspective meters were fully functional all the time. The problem is, sometimes perspective gets skewed. We lose, at least momentarily, the ability to decipher what really matters.

  • December Editorial Winner

    County Should Rescind Its Resolution

    MIKE McCormick, The Shawnee News-Star

    Even though there was no discussion on the issue during last week's county commission meeting, commissioners unanimously voted to call an election for February to raise fees on landlines.
    Residents throughout Pottawatomie County, excluding those in Shawnee, will be asked to raise the percentage they are paying on telephone landlines to increase funding for 911 service.
    The resolution approved, without discussion, calls for an election Feb. 12 to ask voters for a five percent increase in 911 tariff fees.

  • November Column Winner

    Stormy seas shake up Harvest Moon dream

    TED STREULI, The Journal Record

    When I pick up a sailing magazine and read stories about blue water adventures and picturesque ports of call, I am awash in the romance of salty air, fresh breezes, unimpeded stars and sunsets that make the whole ocean glow for my personal enjoyment.
    It was just such a story about the Harvest Moon Regatta, a race from Galveston to Port Aransas, Texas, that fired my dreams. Two hundred boats enter, few caring about the winner, for the Harvest Moon is a siren of a race that seduces the cruising set, those accustomed to loading their galleys with wine in a box and setting their cares on the dock before boarding, and choosing whether to pick them up upon return.

  • November Editorial Winner

    Be Thankful: Thanksgiving time means taking nothing for granted

    JEFF MULLIN, Enid News & Eagle

    It's that day again, the day for turkey, stuffing, pie, parades, football and awkward family conversation — a cease-fire in the annual holiday war between crass commercialism and the true meaning of Christmas.
    It is Thanksgiving.

  • October Column Winner

    Karaoke machine, video finally convince her

    PATTI MARSHALL, The Countywide & Sun

    At one time I could dance, but lack of practice and 30 plus years (and pounds) has created a lumbering graceless image of my former self. Unfortunately, this painful realization was made after my husband videotaped my public terpsichorean attempt, and then privately replayed it for me before I let it go to my head. I don't dance anymore.

  • October Editorial Winner

    Keep the faith; Lose the politics

    ZANE THOMAS, Wagoner Tribune

    Every election year, we are bombarded with campaign ads that proclaim this candidate is a good Christian person or they have high Christian morals.
    My response is this - so?
    I don't doubt one's faith, but we're not electing spiritual leaders. We're electing government leaders.
    Now, if we were being asked to elect the Pope, or church deacon members, then I would very much want the candidate to be a good Christian person with high morals.
    This Presidential election must have some people confused.

  • September Column Winner

    Judging people a Graves error

    TED STREULI, The Journal Record

    You are going to read a lot about Oklahoma County District Judge Bill Graves.
    The 74-year-old Graves, described recently by the Tulsa World as "a lightly regarded member of the Oklahoma Legislature for 24 years ... known mostly as an opponent of same-sex marriage," abandoned a run for a congressional seat, then was elected to the district bench, where he has been responsible for judging cases since 2006.

  • September Editorial Winner

    Victory for Openness: Criminal cases need to remain open, transparent

    ROB COLLINS, Enid News & Eagle

    On Tuesday, we expect all records related to the dismissed felony perjury charge filed against an Enid attorney to be expunged.
    That means the records regarding the case essentially will disappear after being released one week before.
    For nearly four months, the Enid News & Eagle fought with Eric Edwards' attorney, Stephen Jones, over the manner in which the records of the charge were sealed and removed from public view.

  • August Column Winner

    Great Balls of Fire, we sure had fun at Reunion!

    BARB WALTER, The Hennessey Clipper

    Peggy Sue, Long Tall Sally and Bony Moronie were at my 50-year high school reunion last weekend, but not in person. So were Lucille, Be-Bop-Alula and Maybellene.
    There in the flesh to Twist and Shout were 50 of the more than 200 members of my Classen High School Class of 1962.
    We Let the Good Times Roll Friday and Saturday nights, and I gotta tell you there was a Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On, but maybe that was just me waddling into the banquet room.

  • August Editorial Winner

    Just fix it

    WAYNE TROTTER, The Countywide & Sun

    Let's get a couple of things straight before moving on to the heart of this editorial. Lawyers for the Greater Shawnee Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Shawnee are in court today fussin' and fightin' over mistakes made way back in 1994. The argument presumably is over the best way to attract tourists and other visitors to this area, but it certainly looks like the real rationales are bruised egos on both sides and embedded "we know better than you" attitudes ... especially on the part of the city.

  • July Column Winner

    Keep black helicopters out of the courthouse

    TED STREULI, The Journal Record

    Just hours after an EF-5 tornado killed 161 people and tried to rip heart out of Joplin, Mo., local newspaper staff members started showing up to work. Some had lost relatives to the massive storm. Others lost homes and vehicles. Some had only the clothes and shoes they were wearing at 5:41 p.m. May 22, 2011.
    "This was a time when newspapers had to rise to the occasion," Joplin Globe editor Carol Stark told Oklahoma newspaper men and women Friday morning. "No amount of disaster preparedness. No little handy-dandy book. Nothing prepares you for this."

  • July Editorial Winner

    It's time to make county elections non-partisan

    DAVID BURGESS, Vinita Daily Journal

    Imagine this scenario: You live in rural Craig County. You arrive home one night to find that your house has been burglarized. You call the Craig County Sheriff's Department. And the first question is, "Are you a Democrat or a Republican?"
    Of course, that question would never be asked.
    But asking it would be no more ridiculous than the current system of electing county officials.
    Craig County voters - Republican voters, anyway - got their latest taste of the flawed system three weeks ago, as did voters for county offices throughout the state.
    There are 2,200 registered Republicans in Craig County, and none was able to vote in the primary.

  • June Column Winner

    Newspapers still matter; ask folks in Joplin

    ANDY RIEGER, The Norman Transcript

    Just hours after an EF-5 tornado killed 161 people and tried to rip heart out of Joplin, Mo., local newspaper staff members started showing up to work. Some had lost relatives to the massive storm. Others lost homes and vehicles. Some had only the clothes and shoes they were wearing at 5:41 p.m. May 22, 2011.
    "This was a time when newspapers had to rise to the occasion," Joplin Globe editor Carol Stark told Oklahoma newspaper men and women Friday morning. "No amount of disaster preparedness. No little handy-dandy book. Nothing prepares you for this."

  • June Editorial WInner

    The beast is tamed

    JEFF MULLIN, Enid News & Eagle

    Like the advice young Benjamin received in the film "The Graduate," outgoing Vance Air Force Base wing commander Col. Russ Mack has one word of wisdom for his successor. Only in this case, that word is not plastics, but contract.
    "We're not contract specialists, that's not our bailiwick," Mack said. "But it's a beast."
    Indeed it is. Vance was the first base to employ contractors to do aircraft maintenance and base operating services back in 1960, and has the largest contract in Air Education and Training Command today, worth about a half-billion dollars.

  • May Column Winner

    Cookies, a love story

    TED STREULI, The Journal Record

    Frances was a baker. Coconut cakes required the cracking of the big brown nut and slow, careful grating of its white meat. Cake was made from flour, sugar and eggs, not a cardboard box bearing the name of Duncan Hines.
    Frances was tiny; less than 4 feet, 10 inches. A stepstool or the generosity of someone taller was required to get ingredients from pantry shelves and cabinets to counters and tabletops.

  • May Editorial Winner

    Time for a change at the ODVA

    M. SCOTT CARTER, The Journal Record

    The time has come to change the leadership at the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs.
    For more than a year, this newspaper has reviewed documents, interviewed residents and their family members, and examined mountains of federal reports and state court records that all show the same thing: Veterans are being harmed at several state veterans centers.
    Documents show that many veterans have been assaulted, abused, drugged and in some cases died prematurely because of poor medical practices at state veterans centers.

  • April Column Winner

    Smiling Through Tears: Daddy's Home

    SUZIE CAMPBELL The Countywide & Sun

    For eight months we have planned, dreamed and waited on this day to arrive. I could feel the butterflies bouncing around inside my stomach as I marked the days off the calendar one by one. I felt anxious and a little giddy as I counted down the hours, then minutes, then seconds until his arrival.
    I was excited to see my son, but I was more excited to see Delilah spend time with her dad. Then he was here. I watched as he walked towards us through the airport. I watched Delilah, who thought we were at the airport to see the planes. She turned and spotted her daddy. She stopped dead in her tracks and just looked at him with wide eyes.

  • April Editorial Winner

    Save the Pool

    WAYNE TROTTER, The Countywide & Sun

    Fresh from getting their collective heads handed to them in the Feb. 14 referendum, Shawnee's city commissioners went back to the people Monday night and asked those willing to show up at the Expo Center what they'd like to do next. The answer was loud, clear and specific: Keep the city's swimming pool open.

  • March Column Winner

    H Unit echoes linger after execution

    STEVEN JAMES, South County Leader

    The pounding started sometime around 5:40 p.m. Random and disorganized at first, but it quickly found its rhythm. BAM-BAM-clank.
    BAM-BAM-clank.
    You could hear it through the concrete of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary's H Unit.
    I was one of seven media witnesses and two Department of Corrections employees waiting in the Law Library, a small, cramped room ringed on three sides by bookshelves and on the other by three empty standing-room-only cells, with a couple of desks in the center.

  • March Editorial Winner

    A little history

    WAYNE TROTTER, The Countywide & Sun

    History can be an unsettling subject, even among neighbors. Close to a quarter-century ago, Tecumseh wisely invested $2 million in water for the future. That money, which the city borrowed, was funneled through the Pottawatomie County Development Authority along with $18 million from the City of Shawnee and major assistance from the federal government. The payoff for Tecumseh was supposed to be 15 percent of the lake's water or more than 600,000 gallons a day. Shawnee would get the other 85 percent.

  • February Column Winner

    Shadid's life, work should be celebrated

    CLAY HORNING, The Norman Transcript

    I would love to tell you that Anthony Shadid was one of my best friends. But he wasn't He was a friend in fourth and fifth grade, when both of us went to school at Westminster in northwest Oklahoma City.
    His cousin Eddie, now an Oklahoma City councilman, became one of my best mends. Anthony wasn't that, but he was part of this nucleus of kids who would be familiar with each other for the rest of their lives.

  • February Editorial Winner

    Priceless Legacies

    TED STREULI, The Journal Record

    Print journalists have a longstanding axiom: A newsman isn't news unless he shoots somebody.
    This week there is good reason to put forth a sad corollary: A newsman isn't news unless he gets shot.
    Veteran American war correspondent Marie Colvin, who was working for The Sunday Times of London, and French photographer Remi Ochlik died Wednesday in Syria. They wer

  • January Editorial Winner

    An idea whose time has come

    DOUG RUSSELL, Stigler News-Sentinel

    Partisan politics aside, good ideas often come from either side of the aisle and this legislative session one of the best ideas for the state of Oklahoma overall comes from an Oklahoma City Republican.
    State Sen. David Holt has filed legislation to end the exemption that the state legislature has given itself from the Oklahoma Open Meetings and Open Records acts. The move comes not a moment too soon, as lawmakers are meeting in secret to "iron out" differences in policy that will affect every single person in Oklahoma, no matter what region or city they are from.

  • January Column Winner

    Precious moments with baby Lily

    TED STREULI, The Journal Record

    My sister-in-law celebrated her 42nd birthday in a hospital room Jan. 5. Her husband was with her. No one was sick.
    The previous day, at 5:35 a.m., Lily was born in a room across the hall. She was newborn soft and healthy, with dark hair, pink cheeks and a quiet, chirping little cry that let you know it was time for a bottle.
    We had been waiting to meet Lily since August, when the attorney first said there was a birth mother - I'll call her Tiffany - who might be the right fit.

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