2013 ONG Column & Editorial Winners

  • December Column Winner

    Christmas is for children, but not all the children

    JEFF MULLIN, Enid News & Eagle

    Christmas is for children.
    The true magic of the holiday can be seen in a child’s wondering eyes, can be heard in a child’s happy squeal, can be felt through a child’s warm hug.
    In this country, it is expected children will open an average of $271 worth of gifts this Christmas.
    Many of the toys will be broken, or at least the batteries will be worn out, by the end of the day, but no matter. That’s all part of the fun.

  • December Editorial Winner

    Make it work

    WAYNE TROTTER, The Countywide & Sun

    Oklahoma has a new workers’ compensation law. It was even ruled constitutional by the State Supreme Court this week. It’s about time.
    There was a lot of rejoicing in the business community when the court gave the new law its okay earlier this week. The attack on the new approach was largely based on the possibility the Legislature had engaged in “logrolling” again. The court said nothing of the kind had happened.
    What’s logrolling? Boiled down, it’s getting your way by leveraging one thing to obtain another. Politicians like to do that. To keep them honest, the Constitution says every bill must be restricted to one subject and one subject only.

  • November Column Winner

    That unceasing drumbeat…

    DAVID CHRISTY, Enid News & Eagle

    Moments in history are both fleeting — and enduring.
    On PBS this past weekend, a home TV was on and I heard that slow-step drumbeat from the somber military procession, the cortege marching down Washington’s Pennsylvania Avenue as the flag-draped coffin of the 35th president of the United States slowly rolled along on a horse-drawn caisson toward Arlington Cemetery. Old memories flooded back, and that unceasing drumbeat kept going on, as if it would never end.

  • November Editorial Winner

    Transparent pricing good for Oklahomans

    TED STREULI, The Journal Record

    Last week, St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City took a step in front of the Affordable Care Act by publishing its prices online.
    It’s no wonder that Oklahomans are baffled by health care bills. According to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, rates for a procedure can vary widely. Drop by for an MRI, for example, and the bill might be as little as $958 at the McBride clinic in Oklahoma City or as much as $4,700 at the Medical Center of Southeastern Oklahoma in Durant. Visit the hospital clinic for something simple and the bill might be only $66 at Integris in Enid, or it might be as high as $409 at Midwest Regional Medical Center in Midwest City.

  • October Column Winner

    First, the good news

    FAITH WYLIE, Oologah Lake Leader

    Do you want the good news first or the bad news? I hate that question. Anticipation of the bad news overshadows any joy brought by the good news. Why can't life just bring good news?
    Good news has arrived on our doorstep several times in the past month, but some bad news showed up, too.
    "Getting smashed with the girls" won first place in the most recent statewide newspaper column contest. The column reported on a mammogram outing by the Leader's female staff members. We called it margaritas and mammograms.

  • October Editorial Winner

    Stiles is right on court records

    TED STREULI, The Journal Record

    State Rep. Aaron Stiles, R-Norman, questioned court clerks recently about which public documents do – or don't – get posted online.
    Canadian County Court Clerk Marie Ramsey-Hirst said she uses her own discretion to withhold documents with Social Security numbers, bank accounts and other information that may anger parties.
    The Open Records Act says "persons who submit information to public bodies have no right to keep this information from public access." That includes information submitted to the courts. A clerk should redact personal identifiers such as Social Security numbers, but there's no reason the entire document should be hidden.

  • September Column Winner

    From Panthers to Pirates, Taloga's Jordy Mercer is proud of his small-town roots

    BRYAN PAINTER, The Oklahoman

    The pitcher's mound is no longer the only bump on Taloga High School's baseball field. Some of the gopher mounds are more than ankle high.
    Near third base, the cover of an old baseball is nestled among the weeds and short grass of the base path.
    The bulbs on the eight light towers around the field have been cold for a few years, now that the school no longer plays the game. With a declining high school enrollment, the program ended.

  • September Editorial Winner

    Getting back on track is a good start

    MIKE MCCORMICK, The Shawnee News-Star

    Any serious discussions concerning the possible merger of county and city 911 emergency centers seems to have stalled a bit.
    It's really important, especially on local issues, to keep momentum and positive efforts headed in the right and same direction.

  • August Column Winner

    Getting smashed with the girls

    FAITH WYLIE, Oologah Lake Leader

    Be careful what you put on Facebook.
    I posted last week that the Leader office would close early so the office ladies could attend a mammogram party.
    I got a phone call. From a reporter. KJRH-TV Channel 2 wanted to come to our mammogram party.
    But it’s just three journalists getting smashed, I explained.
    No problem. Erin Christy still wanted to come.

  • August Editorial Winner

    Healing and hope can strengthen us all

    ED DARLING, The Duncan Banner

    Residents of Duncan started their path back o normalcy Friday might when more than 500 people–men, women and children, black and white, young and old - assembled under a setting sun on the grassy playground of Plato Elementary to honor the life of Christopher Lane, to comfort each other and to reaffirm the strength and compassion of a good Oklahoma community.
    The college baseball player from Australia, whose girlfriend Sarah Harper lives here, was fatally shot a week ago less than a half-mile from the school.

  • July Column Winner

    Out Of Many Meetings, This One Stands Out

    GLORIA TROTTER, The Countywide & Sun

    Sometimes I feel as though my life is consumed with meetings.
    In my line of work, there are all kinds of meetings. On Monday I had a lunch meeting to discuss a story with someone who is also a friend. That's just about the best kind of meeting.

  • July Editorial Winner

    Reality: Not every kid is college material

    JEFF KALEY, Waurika News-Democrat

    Give Barrack Obama credit on the issue of young people and higher education — he’s been consistent. In both of his presidential campaigns and during both tenures, Obama has consistently declared the goal of education is to make sure every young person has a college education.
    It’s an admirable goal, I guess, but it’s an issues on which Obama and I don’t agree. The reality, as I see it, is: Not every high school graduate should go on to college, for several reasons.

  • June Column Winner

    Dark moments in a clean, well-lighted place

    JEFF MULLIN, Enid News & Eagle

    It was time. I had dwelt in the dark ages long enough.
    It was time for me to join millions of my fellow humans and enter the world of the mobile, the connected, the tech-savvy.
    It was time for me to obtain a tablet.

  • June Editorial Winner

    She said she was sorry. Enough is enough. 

    NANCY KLETECKA, Guymon Daily Herald

    It never ceases to amaze me how in just the turn of a head something small can be blown up into a major catastrophe. Yes, I am referring to Paula Deen.

  • May Column Winner

    Remembering those that I never knew

    TRUDY HART, The Guymon Daily Herald

    As an American, I have always considered myself a sucker for a sentimental story of a soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.
    As a writer, I, myself, get to write those stories. I put a lot into such a powerful story, which I would hope could be a tribute to the individual I am writing about.

  • May Editorial Winner

    Give the teachers what they deserve

    KIM POINDEXTER, Tahlequah Daily Press

    When is the demonization of the teachers of this state going to stop? How many sacrifices do teachers have to make before the public realizes the anti-educator campaign is completely baseless, initiated by a small group of malcontents looking for someone to blame for society's ills or the failures of their own offspring?

  • April Column Winner

    April 19 changed my life forever

    JOSH BURTON, Owasso Reporter

    I will always remember April 19, 1995, as a day that changed my life.
    I was a junior in high school and remember hearing about the bombing after lunch, when a classmate of mine kept saying an Oklahoma City radio station was knocked off the air after a bomb threat had been called in to the building where the station was housed.
    She then said she heard from another station that the Alfred R Murrah Federal Building had been blown up.

  • April Editorial Winner

    Does Claremore really want a war?

    JOHN M. WYLIE, II, Oologah Lake Leader

    Claremore's Chamber of Commerce just came out against renewal of the penny sales tax for county roads when voters go to the polls May 14.
    Does Claremore really want a war with the rest of the county, whose residents outnumber city residents by a margin of almost 4-1?
    Does the Chamber really want to extort funds from the county for city streets, even though the Attorney General has ruled that this would be illegal?

  • March Column Winner

    Young or old can always agree that garden fresh is the best in the world

    Linda Craun, Hennessey Clipper

    Vegetable gardening is a lot of hard work that brings luscious bounty. Yet in recent years we've had all the work and little of the gain. We've planted less, worked harder, watered more and hardly produced.
    It's disheartening to watch newly sprouted plants shrivel away under blowing sand and a blistering sun.
    Today's gardens are a far cry from the ones Mom Craun and I used to raise. Those were gardens to brag about. Of course, I was younger then too.

  • March Editorial Winner

    Don't butcher our horses

    J.B. Bittner, The Elk City Daily News

    Bills under consideration in both the House and the Senate of the Oklahoma Legislature – House Bill 1999 and Senate Bill 375 – would open up a new ag market for state livestock producers.
    Slaughtering horses and selling their meat – it’s a potential market with a herd of negatives and no reasonable positives.
    While the legislative measures don’t open the door for horse burgers on your favorite sports bar menu, just as troubling should be the clear plan to market Oklahoma horse meat overseas.

  • February Editorial Winner

    Let’s Take the Smoke Out

    WAYNE TROTTER, The Countywide & Sun

    Before jumping into the mind-swamp of technology and its effect on open government, let's get one thing straight: We want Mayor Wes Mainord and the six other members of the Shawnee City Commission to communicate with one another. We want them to plan and think together. We want them to have new ideas. We want them to succeed.

  • February Column Winner

    Remember Those Affected

    J.B. BITTNER, The Elk City Daily News

    It's been a tough week in the community news business.
    If we chose to set aside the human connections to the events we cover, this job would be a lot easier.
    But instead we choose not to ignore that human connection. We are determined to recognize and remember that there are families and others affected, sometimes devastated, by the events that become news stories on our pages.

  • January Column Winner

    Rubber gloves are in style at our house

    BARB WALTER, Hennessey Clipper

    When I hitched up my pants, I knew it wasn’t necessary.
    It was symbolic of the plumber task at hand.
    It didn’t make it any easier when I pretended my husband’s bathroom was a crime scene.
    An evil side effect of a powerful antibiotic at the hospital had given him a severe case of the Running Two Step.
    It took a $50 trip to the grocery store to arm myself with several pairs of disposable rubber gloves, Clorox, Lysol, cleaning rags and scrubbers, paper towels and more Clorox.

  • January Editorial Winner

    Compromise: It only works if we let it

    KIM POINDEXTER, Tahlequah Daily Press

    America's love affair with the gun is partly rooted in our "wild west" heritage, and it's going to take more than escalating abuse by criminals and mentally disturbed individuals to change the culture. And despite the tragedy in Connecticut, it's not likely to happen in our lifetime.
    A look at the Daily Press Facebook forum over the past few days reveals the emotional impact of this topic. Though most of the comments on a thread seeking input for a story were civil, a few aimed sharp barbs at other participants. And while only two or three folks got out of hand, we learned later a couple of participants had launched vicious attacks in private messages to people with opposing views.

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