2016 ONG Column & Editorial Winners

  • December 2016 Editorial Winner

    'Fake News' may be entertaining but it's also dangerous
    Kim Benedict, The Ardmoreite

    Why haven’t you run the story on (insert subject), what are you covering up? It must be true, I read it on Facebook.”
    If we had a dollar for every time a legitimate multi-media company gets this comment from a “concerned citizen” we could provide funding for a great many charitable causes.  Read More...

  • December 2016 Column Winner

    Ornamental Memories
    Kindra Coffman, Tri-County Herald

    We put up and decorated our Christmas tree this week. I looked at the tree this year and thought of Jarred’s and my first one 11 years ago. It was adorned with color-coordinated bulbs, bows and ribbons placed symmetrically all around it. I took pride in how “perfectly” decorated it was.
    Our tree looks a little different now. It is covered with memories of our family’s lives.  Read More...

  • November 2016 Editorial Winner

    Encouraging women to run for office
    Ted Streuli, The Journal Record

    There will be three fewer women at the state Capitol this year. That’s bad news for half of Oklahoma’s population.
    A representative democracy should, in the end, be representative. But it’s never really been that way. States were allowed to decide whether a person was allowed to vote based on “race, color or previous condition of servitude” until the 15th Amendment was ratified in 1870. But women waited even longer than slaves, having no control over their own representation until 1920.  Read More...

  • November 2016 Column Winner

    It's not Angst-giving Day
    How about we take politics off the table?
    Christine Reid, Kingfisher Times & Free Press

    Let’s talk turkey.
    It’s four days until Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday of the year.
    Growing up the youngest of seven siblings, my memories of Thanksgiving revolve around multiple layers of family engaging in noisily overlapping conversations, boisterously good-natured debates and lots of laughter.  Read More...

  • October 2016 Column Winner

    My first tiny human job
    Jennifer Pitts, Tri-County Herald

    I recently got a phone call that has drastically changed my daily life.
    The woman on the other end told me of a precious, newborn baby being released from the hospital and asked if I’d be willing to take him, “for a few days.”
    I’d only recently been approved as a DHS foster parent and had focused on providing respite for families needing a little time away.  Read More...

  • October 2016 Editorial Winner

    No driving for drunks, druggies
    John M. Wylie II, Oologah Lake Leader

    If we want to get tough on repeat alcohol abusers and drug addicts, we need to get down to the real issue.
    The worst carnage caused by both classes of individuals involves driving while under the influence.
    So the solution isn’t warehousing the offenders, and it isn’t setting up treatment programs during which they can easily find ways to drive while high.
    It is making certain that they simply cannot get behind the wheel.  Read More...

  • September 2016 Editorial Winner

    Budget cuts bad for historic site
    Jeff Mayo, Sequoyah County Times

    News broke Tuesday morning that longtime Sequoyah’s Cabin curator Jerry Dobbs was retiring, and due to state budget cuts, the Oklahoma Historical Society was closing the Sequoyah’s Home historic site northeast of Sallisaw.  Read More...

  • September 2016 Column Winner

    Seeing the world through a child's eyes
    Jeff Mullin, Enid News & Eagle

    The photo, and the boy’s story, grabbed the world’s attention not long ago.
    The photo was of 5-yearold Omran Daqneesh, sitting in the back of an ambulance following a bombing raid on his family’s home in Aleppo, Syria.   Read More...

  • August 2016 Column Winner

    We want them to leave, don't we?
    Jeff Schnoebelen, The Mooreland Leader

    We spent a couple days in Oklahoma City last weekend having a little family fun, shopping for school clothes and eating at some good restaurants.
    We also put a little money into the economy purchasing dorm room stuff and college supplies for Jacob. It is exciting to see our number one son ready to move into the great big world.
    While perusing the aisles for sheets, comforters, fans, dry erase boards, shorts, shirts, etc., I thought how did 18 years go by so fast?  Read More...

  • August 2016 Editorial Winner

    The value in providing hope
    Kim Benedict, The Ardmoreite

    While it’s a sad state of affairs that in this day and age we’re raising funds for a larger facility for victims of domestic abuse, the reality is that there continues to be need.
    And as tragic as it is that we continue to have men, women and children that are victims of physical, sexual, verbal and emotional abuse, we’re blessed to have individuals that make their life’s work alleviating some of the pain.  Read More...

  • July 2016 Column Winner

    I'll bear it all... I have cognitive impairment
    Dayva Spitzer, Sayre Record & Beckham County Democrat

    It was a beautiful fall afternoon in 2014 when my husband, Brad and I were spending a leisurely Saturday afternoon on the golf course. We had just completed our fourth hole and Brad began writing his score for the hold and asked how many strokes I had. My mind was blank! I couldn't remember my last several shots even as Brad helped me mentally replay the hole in reverse. Now you may be thinking that you might have the same problem, especially if you are a novice on the gold course. But, for me this was a strange sensation as I played golf often, score regularly in the 70s and only had five shots on the hole in question  Read More...

  • July 2016 Editorial Winner

    Freedom needs a watchdog
    Ted Streuli, The Journal Record

    The answer was in the contract.
    The Department of Public Safety assured Oklahomans that its new scanners were meant to block identity theft, not to up its take on cash forfeitures.
    But when the contract came to light, it showed the police agency had agreed to pay a few thousand dollars for hardware and software and that the vendor would get 7 percent of all seized cash.  Read More...

  • June 2016 Column Winner

    Hand me my ruby slippers
    Nicole Smith, Tri-County Herald

    While at the Oklahoma Press Association’s annual convention I met a young man by the name of Parker Perry from the newspaper in McAlester.
    During our conversation he asked me where I was from. I told him that I was from a small town here in Oklahoma.
    “Define small,” he said.
    “I graduated with a class of 26 people,” I said.  Read More...

  • June 2016 Editorial Winner

    It won't hurt
    Wayne Trotter, Countywide & Sun

    Even though a majority of state voters approved its creation in 2000, most Oklahomans probably don’t know what the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust or TSET is or what it does. Mostly it does good things such as convincing people to stop using tobacco, funding tobacco-related cancer research and sponsoring health programs. TSET is not supported by taxes but instead gets its money from a settlement Oklahoma and 45 other states made with the tobacco industry. The trust gets 75 percent of the annual payment made by the industry with the other 25 percent going to the legislature and attorney general. In 2015, TSET received $58 million as its share of that year’s payment.  Read More...

  • May 2016 Column Winner

    Time well spent with our family
    Tracie Macy, The Hennessey Clipper

    This past Sunday we laid to rest my Great Aunt Edna. She was 98 years young.
    As they spoke about her life, it was as if God was sending me a message.
    She spent most mornings outdoors in her flower beds and most afternoons baking with family in the kitchen.
    The grand-kids talked about how much fun it was to help her in the kitchen and how wonderful all her cooking was.  Read More...

  • May 2016 Editorial Winner

    Open letter to Oklahoma legislators
    Carol Conner, The Fairfax Chief

    So we've come to the last days of the legislature without solving the Medicaid crisis to save our fragile elderly, our children, our nursing homes and our rural hospitals. Because the name of the solution is Affordable Care Act, and because our legislators have committed to not accepting what they erroneously call "Obamacare ”, we are headed to the June 1 deadline where 97% of nursing homes in the state will struggle for survival, then close.  Read More...

  • April 2016 Column Winner

    Celebrate, sign a donor card
    John M. Wylie II, Oologah Lake Leader

    Our family celebrates two unusual anniversaries.
    The first was yesterday, April 6, the 45th anniversary of the day Faith and I met, found love at first sight, and became a committed couple.
    It was five years before our alreadymade college commitments ended so we could officially wed in 1976, and we celebrated that anniversary on the wrong date for years. April 6 is different.  Read More...

  • April 2016 Editorial Winner

    Prez candidates have us voters between a rock and a hard place
    Barb Walter, The Hennessey Clipper

    Politicians use clichés when it suits them, and this year’s presidential race is like the blind leading the blind.
    Every day another candidate shoots themselves in the foot, ends up with egg on their face, or their rhetoric makes me madder than an old wet hen.
    Maybe I’m out of line, but this year I think voters are up a creek without a paddle. This entire election process is like a wild goose chase.  Read More...

  • March 2016 Editorial Winner

    Let the sunshine in
    Barb Walter, The Hennessey Clipper

    Our government should be an open government for all the people, not just the press, and the press doesn’t take it lightly that we have open government in our country.
    Our state.
    Our county.
    Our town. 

  • March 2016 Column Winner

    Make room for darkness
    Ted Streuli, The Journal Record

    One morning last year I had a day that didn’t start very well.
    There was tension at home, some arguing, a battle to get the children out the door in time for the school bus. I got in the car to drive to work and pulled out of the garage relieved to have the stressful household behind me. It was raining. Blurry red lights stretched for uninterrupted miles down Interstate 35 as cars plodded, then slipped, then squealed in front of me. The grayness seeped through and grabbed onto my soul.
    “Wait!” I thought. “I’ll turn off the radio and put in my new Diana Krall CD!”  Read More...

  • February 2016 Editorial Winner

    23andMe, the FDA, and Me
    Ed Lebeau III, Drumright Gusher

    A few weeks ago, AncestryDNA had a special on genetic testing, and I have wanted to do that for quite some time.
    In particular, I wanted to see if I had any indication of Native American ancestry. I guess it is one of those peculiarities of living in Oklahoma with its high percentage of people who can trace their roots to peoples who were in this country long before the white man ever showed up.
    I hoped that somewhere during the 300 or more years my ancestors were here in the “New World” that some Native American genes had found their way into my family tree.  Read More...

  • February 2016 Column Winner

    A surprise Valentine
    Brian Blansett, Tri-County Herald

    Dianna liked yellow daffodils, so we planted a few dozen in remembrance the autumn after she died.
    They’re mixed with some red tulips under an oak tree at the end of the driveway, kind of close to the creek.
    Last year, they bloomed in mid-March and I noticed the other day that the shoots were a good four, maybe five inches tall.
    Might bloom a little earlier this year, I thought.  Read More...

  • January 2016 Editorial Winner

    Tough times, hard answers

    Brian Blansett, Tri-County Herald

    We hear talk from the state Capitol about finding ways to supplement the state budget, which, as we all know, is in free fall.
    One of the things under discussion is elimination of state sales tax exemptions, which some estimates say could add S1.5 billion to the state budget.
    On the face of it, that sounds like a common sense approach and you might even wonder why the Legislature hasn't thought of it before. S1.5 billion could do wanders for the state budget.
    But peek under the covers and you see that some of those sales tax exemptions are for tickets to athletic events, for advertising and for purchases made by state agencies, including the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Senate.  Read More...

  • January 2016 Column Winner

    Substitute teaching can be a learning experience

    Tracie Macy, The Hennessey Clipper

    When I first moved back to Hennessey 15 years ago, I decided to substitute teach. I’m not sure what I was thinking at the time, but I tried it, and surprisingly, I survived.
    Just barely.
    The elementary age group is comparable to shopping on Black Friday. There is lots of movement, noise and chaos. When you get home you’re excited that you survived it, only you’re too exhausted to celebrate.
    High school kids are slower paced physically, but mentally they will try to wear you down with all their attempts to get out of class and not do any work. I was constantly trying to stay one step ahead of their attempts to run amuck.
    There was one high school boy who I won’t ever forget.  Read More...

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