March 2008

Weekly Winner
Countywide & Sun

Trains creep from OKC to Shawnee while North Canadian takes control
by Lori Goat

Shawnee was once the Queen City of Oklahoma railroading and was founded on the day the first train entered her city limits. Today she has been reduced to a mere footnote in the chapter of railroad operations in 2008. Countywide & Sun reporter Lori Goat investigates the history and neglect of the 3,770 miles of track in Oklahoma, though nationwide railroad companies are investing $22 billion to update and expand operations. One of those neglected tracks is the only line still operating in Shawnee, the Shawnee to Oklahoma City corridor. Exploring the vast locomotive history, Goat reminisces about the success of the city of Shawnee, but today the railroad companies are ignoring the past, and the facts of geometry by surpassing the quickest routes to cater for a different customer, the overseas market. One saving grace could be House Bill 3207, which would renovate the dead track between Shawnee and McAlester, but there is still one threat ... the Canadian River and its ability to overflow and put a halt on railway operations.

Daily Winner
The Norman Transcript
Noble officers charged with manslaughter handed tougher sentences than in original plea agreement
by Julianna Parker

District Judge Tom Lucas called it the most emotional case he’d ever heard. Transcript staff writer Julianna Parker reports on the heart-wrenching trial of two Noble police officers, Robert Shawn Richardson and Paul Bradley Rogers, who responded to an animal complaint Aug. 3 about a snake stuck in a birdhouse in a backyard. The officers attempted to knock the snake out of the birdhouse, but when that was unsuccessful Richardson, the field training officer, told Rogers, just out of CLEET school, to shoot the snake. The bullet missed the snake and struck Austin Haley in the head where he was fishing at a pond with his grandfather. The three-piece story followed the trial and ended with both officers tearfully apologizing and then pleading guilty to manslaughter in the death of the 5-year-old Noble boy. A five-year deferred
sentence, a one day a week community service and fines were issued to officer Richardson, while a two and a half year deferred sentence, one day a week community service for 26 weeks, and fines for officer Rogers were issued. Both officers also forfeited their CLEET certification and were forced to pay $500 to a victim’s fund.