• September Editorial Winner

    Walmart has right to stop selling ammo
    By Kim Poindexter, Tahlequah Daily Press

    If you’re an advocate of the “free market” and of limited interference in private business from the government, you can’t pick and choose what types of meddling you’ll tolerate, while lambasting others. Merriam Webster identifies that as “hypocrisy.”
    Widespread outrage is likely in store for Walmart, which announced it would stop selling short-barrel rifle and handgun ammunition, and in Alaska, it will no longer sell handguns. The decision was spurred by the recent spate of mass shootings, two of which happened in Walmart stores. To that end, Walmart has also opted to ban the open carrying of firearms.  Read More...

  • September Column Winner

    Longing for a windy day
    By David Christy, Enid News & Eagle

    The end of summer, according to our history of four seasons on this planet, is officially Sept. 23. But in reality, we kind of know that when Labor Day comes and goes each year — this year on Sept. 2 — we are changing our seasons from the hot, occasionally humid and usually windy Oklahoma summers, to cool and crisp.
    OK, what happened?  Read More...

  • August Column Winner

    Tips for a successful year
    By John Martin, Choctaw Times

    Thanks to Kylee (Phillips) Voyles, who was one of the greatest advocates of my G-T program and shared her son, precious mother, father, brother's son, countless students and many encouraging words to an old man for many years.

    She is the ultimate cheer sponsor and really hit the jackpot with the shoes for her 2019-20 squad. I love her dearly.

    She claims no credit but, as usual, is trying to make things better for kids.  Read More...

  • August Editorial Winner

    Job well done
    By Wayne Trotter, Countywide & Sun

    “The opioid crisis has ravaged the State of Oklahoma.
    It must be abated immediately.”

    District Judge Thad Balkman
    In a comment delivered just prior to releasing his ruling on the Johnson & Johnson opioid case

    Even the greenest reporter on any news staff knows this much about covering courts: You have to be there to correctly understand everything that’s going on. In modern democratic governments, judges are the Twenty-First Century restoration of those all-powerful medieval kings and too many of today’s attorneys absolutely love to play the role of the evil sorcerer ... you know, the meek little nobody who enjoys creeping just barely across every forbidden line but always manages to pause just before earning his or her golden opportunity to meet the Royal Beheader close up and person-to-person.  Read More...

  • July Column Winner

    Recovering from eating disorders
    By Jaden Jennings, Tri-County Herald

    My roommates and I ordered two large pizzas from Little Caesars during my sophomore year of college. This meal was followed by a tub of ice cream and a belly full of regret.
    I excused myself to the lady’s room because of my unsettled stomach, and without hesitation, I accidentally threw up every bit of those calories.  Read More...

  • July Editorial Winner

    Council has shot at true transparency
    By Michael Clements, Durant Democrat

    The Durant City Council has an opportunity to keep a promise that several councilmembers made when they ran for office. That is to be more transparent than their predecessors.
    The Council will consider a couple of resolutions during a special meeting this coming Monday. If approved, those resolutions will officially start the search for a new City Manager. Information the Council will take action on includes an official job description, outline of his or her qualifications and an outline of the search process.  Read More...

  • June Editorial Winner

    State should work to avoid 'brain drain'
    By Kim Poindexter, Tahlequah Daily Press

    College graduates have been moving out of Oklahoma faster than they’re moving in – at least, that’s been the case for the past five years. The same causes of that “brain drain” are attributed by head hunters to be why corporations with high-paying jobs are reluctant to move in – and it doesn’t have to be that way.  Read More...

  • June Column Winner

    Rother's heart entwined
    By Rob Collins, Enid News & Eagle

    Our son nearly died after childbirth 13 years ago.
    Critically ill after his premature birth, Landon’s heart was shunting. Basically, the blood was flowing in the wrong direction.
    As young parents, we had to learn scary acronyms like NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) as our baby’s lungs were supported by life-saving respirators.  Read More...

  • May Editorial Winner

    Memorial Day; Untouchable by Politics
    By Zeke Lay, Choctaw Times

    Memorial Day; a holiday for heroes. What could be more appropriate? There is actually some disagreement on when it started but I think we can righteously say that these arguments don't matter. As long as a country honors its heroes, it has a chance. Hail our victorious dead. As we also hail all those that perpetuate the true meaning of Memorial Day.
    It is impossible to keep politics out of war.  Read More...

  • May Column Winner

    The night Depression didn't win
    By Jaden Jennings, Tri-County Herald

    I told myself this cool evening in April would be my last.
    Driving home from cheer practice, I was crying and bashing the steering wheel, cursing God for not helping me to overcome this deep sadness.
    When I got home, I headed straight to the medicine cabinet.
    Without thinking twice, I swallowed an 800 milligram Motrin and wished things could be different, that I could just feel different. Another pill followed, then another and another...  Read More...

  • April Editorial Winner

    Despicable swastika still freedom of expression
    Kim Poindexter, Tahlequah Daily Press

    Last Friday, the Press received several phone calls, emails and texts from alarmed readers who had seen a man walking around town wearing a swastika armband. Photos were shared on social media, and astonishment was expressed.
    At this point, no one knows his identity. He has been described as possibly an older teen. He may or may not be a local resident, but his appearance in the wake of the anti-Semitic and anti-black graffiti on monuments and structures in Norman and Oklahoma City can’t be a coincidence.  Read More...

  • April Column Winner

    She made better choices after hugging trees
    Kaycee Campbell, The Countywide & Sun

    In August of 1997, while attending open house at my school, I met a woman who would forever impact my life. She sat at a little table just off the sidewalk between buildings with a sign up sheet for Camp Fire Boys and Girls. She had grey curly hair, bright blue eyes, and the biggest, most beautiful, genuine smile. Her name was Judy Bridges.
    Over the next 12 years Judy became like family to me. She taught me so many things.  Read More...

  • March Editorial Winner

    Vote 'Yes' for student safety, Altus' future
    Rick Carpenter, The Altus Times

    It’s appropriate that the slogan for the Altus Public School bond issue proposal is “This is the Year.” That’s because voters haven’t passed one in at least 60 years, but this may be the defining year for Altus to pass it. That’s because the future of Altus may depend on how well we support our children.
    Altus Air Force Base is the driving force for the Altus economy. It’s the number one job producer along with cotton production. The base employs 1,507 civilians and 1,410 fulltime military personnel ...  Read More...

  • March Column Winner

    Write 'Okie' on tombstone for Woody Guthrie's baby sister, Mary Jo
    Rob Collins, Enid News & Eagle

    Growing up in Enid, I never heard too much about Woody Guthrie. Sure, we sang “This Land Is Your Land” at Hayes Elementary School, but I didn’t know much more besides the iconic song being written by an Oklahoman. Still, I was proud of that.
    Little did I know at that time how my future journalistic efforts would lead to discovering his mother’s lost grave.  Read More...

  • February Column Winner

    Second-hand sadness; firsthand rage
    Linda Provost, The Duncan Banner

    I know I have written before about my tender heart, something while working in media you must protect fiercely. However sometimes a blow comes which your defenses just cannot deflect.
    Recently there have been several traveling exhibits going around the world. These are neither art nor science but important all the same.
    These exhibits display clothes, not high fashion, or from a movie. They are at first glance garage sale finds, overalls, pajamas, school uniforms, baggy yard-work tees and an occasional burka.
    But they have history – a sad, dark history.
    These are all outfits people were wearing when they were raped.


      Read More...

  • February Editorial Winner

    Constitutional Carry Gun Bill: Put it to a vote of the people
    Debi DeSilver, The Chronicle (Elgin)

    The gun debate.
    Not being able to go to the voting booth and have a voice in one of the most polarizing issues facing our great Nation elicits fear, frustration and anger among most people I know.  Read More...

  • January 2019 Editorial Winner

    The Closure Crisis
    Wayne Trotter, Countywide & Sun

    Every living American who truly cares about the dignity, integrity and continuity of this country’s great experiment in self-governance is bound to be aware of the momentous events that occurred in 1776. In that fateful year, 48 patriots who had been born and raised on these shores joined with eight brethren who had been born in Mother England but by 1776 had become residents of the 13 colonies in mind and in spirit. Together, these 56 men signed a message to the tyrant King George that would change the entire world.  Read More...

  • January 2019 Column Winner

    A trip to the grocery store:
    Stranger in a strange land
    Jeff Mullin, Enid News & Eagle

    It's that time of year again, the time for taking down Christmas decorations, for beginning to pay off the holiday bills and for making New Year’s resolutions you know you won’t possibly fulfill.

    Resolutions date back to the ancient Babylonians, who promised at the start of every year to return borrowed objects and pay their debts. Residents of the Roman empire opened the year making promises to the god Janus, from which we get the name January. There’s no record of what these promises were, but they undoubtedly involved losing weight and getting more exercise.  Read More...

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