Some people think of this state as a laughingstock. Others cry over its failings. Me, I figure what goes around eventually comes around.
Archive for Soonerland
There was some brief outcry earlier this week when Governor Fallin signed House Bill 3167; apparently some people thought this meant that speed limits in this state were canceled. It means, of course, nothing of the sort:
The speed limit set for the turnpikes, interstates and other state highways was erased in a bill, signed by the Governor Monday. That doesn’t eliminate current speed limits, but eliminates the maximum that was once set by law.
House Bill 3167 deletes the section of the law prescribing a maximum speed limit.
It replaces it with the following: “On a highway or part of a highway, unless otherwise established in law, a speed established by the Department of Transportation on the basis of engineering and traffic investigations used to determine the speed that is reasonable and safe under the conditions found to exist on the highway or part of the highway.”
Before that, there was a hard limit: 75 mph and no more.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation did not request the bill and did not oppose it, said Terri Angier, an agency spokeswoman.
The department has “no intention of raising any of the speed limits across the board on any of the highways, but it allows us to look at specific situations, if requested,” she said.
We’ll see 80 on the Turner Turnpike by this time next year. And the nimrods who currently drive 84 in a 75 zone will — well, actually, I’m not sure what they’ll do. About eight years ago, during a brief blast down a Texas highway posted at 80, I seldom saw anyone going much faster than 82 or 83.
The apparently not-dead-yet Ted Cruz — at least, that’s the name in the From field — has issued this blurb on behalf of Rep. Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma’s 1st District:
There are hundreds of congressional races taking place across the country this year, but this election in Oklahoma is especially important.
Jim Bridenstine is one of the top conservative leaders in the House today and he isn’t afraid to stand up to the powerful interests in Washington.
He has fought to stop Obamacare, to defund President Obama’s executive amnesty, and to stop Planned Parenthood from receiving taxpayer money.
Time after time, Jim has stood with me and other conservatives in Congress to defend the Constitution, and now he needs your help.
The Washington establishment has recruited a candidate to run against Jim in the June 28th Republican primary election. He’s a threat to the Beltway insiders so they are determined to defeat him.
*Please join me in supporting this outstanding conservative leader by making a contribution to his campaign today.*
Some of us down here in Soonerland are, shall we say, suspicious of solicitations for out-of-state money. And we know this is going out of state, because Ted Cruz and/or his fellow travelers in this particular PAC didn’t send this to me; it was sent to good old Roger Green in Albany, New York, who isn’t the least likely person on earth to send a contribution to the Jim Bridenstine campaign, but he’s a long way from the top of the list, if you know what I mean.
There is no Democrat running in the First District, which should give you an idea of how this area skews politically. (There is an Independent in the race.) Tom Atkinson, the “establishment” Republican candidate, actually considered running against Bridenstine two years ago, but eventually thought better of it. With Bridenstine vowing to serve a maximum of three terms — he’s completed two — Atkinson may actually get a chance in 2018.
From page A5 of yesterday’s Oklahoman:
Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan is giving campaign donors their money back.
The District 2 commissioner secured a third term earlier this month when the deadline passed without an opponent filing for the seat. Maughan says he returned $75,810.11 to 372 donors after deducting expenses.
Maughan had geared up for a challenge after others announced plans to run. Maughan says each donor got back about 79 percent of what they contributed.
I suppose the scary aspect of this is that it takes about a hundred grand to run for County Commissioner, at least in a county this size. (There are 77 counties in Oklahoma, each divided into three districts.)
Still, this is a far better return on investment than a donor normally gets without Actual Graft.
Maughan’s campaign Web site is still up, though it probably doesn’t cost a whole lot.
And doing it well, one would think:
Newcastle is the city at the north end of McClain County, Oklahoma; it has about 10,000 people.
(From Dorkly via Miss Cellania. Originally I was going to set this piece to the Bee Gees’ “New York Mining Disaster 1941” — “Have you seen my ass, Dr. Jones? Do you know what it’s like on the inside?” Taste prevailed, kinda sorta.)
The last two elections, we had more than 50 (!) legislative incumbents returned to office because they didn’t draw any opposition. This year, not so much. There are no unchallenged Senators, and only a handful of House members got a free pass:
- H22: Charles A. McCall (R-Atoka)
- H24: Steve Kouplen (D-Beggs)
- H34: Cory T. Williams (D-Stillwater)
- H35: Dennis Casey (R-Morrison)
- H37: Steven E. Vaughan (R-Ponca City)
- H38: John Pfeiffer (R-Orlando)
- H48: Pat Ownbey (R-Ardmore)
- H57: Harold Wright (R-Weatherford)
- H59: Mike Sanders (R-Kingfisher)
- H68: Glen Mulready (R-Tulsa)
- H77: Eric Proctor (D-Tulsa)
- H88: Jason Dunnington (D-Oklahoma City)
- H90: John Echols (R-Oklahoma City)
Of these thirteen, nine appeared on the 2014 list.
Collin Walke, who ran for House District 87 two years ago and was beaten by incumbent Jason Nelson, is trying again, now that Nelson’s out of the running. (He left a small flyer on my door some time between 11:30 and 1 yesterday.) He’s the second Democrat I’ve heard from, following the opening salvo last week by Kelly Meredith. And there won’t be any more: no other Democrats filed before the end of the official filing period Friday.
Meanwhile, four Republicans have signed up to take a stab at it, and with this year’s actual recognition of the party, there’s a Libertarian; in fact, the LP has sixteen candidates for 2016, and there will be an actual Libertarian primary, there being two candidates for Senator James Lankford’s seat.
Scott Inman is the Minority Leader in the Oklahoma House, charged with keeping the Democrats more or less in line. He has a short bio in Wikipedia, which used to be a lot longer before this section was excised:
Okay, we get it: Scott Inman is not Aquaman.
Inman’s comment upon reading this:
[M]y friends have a unique and clever sense of humor. And apparently they have a lot of time on their hands too.
(Via Phil Cross at Fox 25. He didn’t do it, I’m pretty sure.)
For just about as long as I can remember, whenever OG&E has had a rate case pending, there’s been a note stuck into the electric bill with all the other detritus. And yes, there’s a rate case pending; the Corp Comm is scheduled to open hearings on the third of May, and my particular rate class would go up by about 6.6 percent.
Nothing too surprising here, except that on the bill itself, for the first time I can remember, there is a LARGE PRINT statement:
*** PLEASE SEE ENCLOSED SPECIAL NOTICE TO OKLAHOMA CUSTOMERS. ***
(They do have a few Arkansas customers, who would not be affected.) And the notice itself is marked SPECIAL NOTICE, so there’s presumably no excuse for missing it.
The April bill, for me anyway, is typically the lowest of the year, so the rate increase looks like a mere four bucks or so. In August, it’s going to hurt a little more.
Last week, Rep. Jason Nelson (R-Oklahoma City) announced he would not seek reelection:
The Republican floor leader of the Oklahoma House says he will step aside from his northwest Oklahoma City seat after eight years in office.
Rep. Jason Nelson said Wednesday he will not seek re-election to his District 87 House seat in November. The 44-year-old Nelson announced his decision on the floor of the House where he was congratulated by Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb and Republican and Democratic House members.
As an actual resident of District 87, I am of course interested in Nelson’s successor. And the first flyer has arrived, on behalf of Kelly Meredith. Her political affiliation is not disclosed, but let’s read between the lines, specifically these lines from the flyer:
Kelly will bring her experience as a strategic planner, an educator, and a mother to the Capitol. She is tired of seeing reckless budgeting, wasteful legislation, and political games that hurt our children and our state.
Got to be a Democrat. (Republicans have a 70-31 majority in the House, so at least two of those charges will presumably be blamed on the GOP.) Which means I will eventually meet her; in the 12 years I’ve lived in 87, every single Democratic candidate — and no Republican — has come out to knock on my door at a time when I could conceivably have answered it.
Middle of the morning, I got a note from a neighbor via Nextdoor: “I am going to close your garage door.” This, of course, leads to the obvious question: why in the fark is it open? I contemplated several possibilities, the most unnerving of which was the chance that someone might have figured out the Double Super Secret Code that runs the remote. This particular garage-door opener dates back to — well, not the Pleistocene, exactly, but it’s old enough to have its code set by a row of jumpers, the sort of thing we haven’t seen since we got rid of master and slave drives in PCs. I put in a call to William of Ockham, who noted that I happened to be carrying two remotes, one in the car, one on my person, and if I started the process with the former and inadvertently engaged the latter while turning away from the house, I could easily have created this situation myself. I argued that I didn’t think the secondary remote had that kind of range, but to no avail. I arrived back home about 11:30, and everything seemed to be in order.
And it is an election day, so I figured I’d take care of that detail on the way back to work. Turnout was expected to be light, given the single race on the ballot: finishing the unexpired term of Oklahoma County Court Clerk Tim Rhodes, who resigned last year to take a job at the Corp Comm. I did not, however, imagine it to be this light: at a quarter to twelve, four hours and forty-five minutes into the session, I was preceded by a mere 23 voters. There are more than 1500 registered voters in this precinct.
The original Vision 2025 sales-tax scheme in Tulsa County has come to an end, and with the horror of losing that 0.6 percent staring them in the face, the powers that be have assembled a wish list for a renewal of the scheme. One of the bigger items on that list is a pair of low-water dams on the Arkansas River to supplement the existing Zink Dam. And those dams are on the list, apparently, because it is assumed the suckers will vote for them even if they’re not actually going to be built:
According to emails obtained by FOX23 News and videos of city council committee meetings being held throughout the month of February, city officials were aware the south Tulsa-Jenks dam was falling through and began to set up “contingencies” where voters would approve the two low-water dams, but the money raised from the sales tax, at least on the City of Tulsa side, would go to improving the Zink Dam, setting up a maintenance endowment for the Zink Dam, and then distributing what was left of the two dam plan’s funding to various projects throughout the City of Tulsa, some in council districts nowhere near the Arkansas River.
Cynical in the extreme, even by Tulsa standards.
The vote comes Tuesday, 5 April. In the meantime, expect to see these sprout up:
But how’m I gonna manage this?
North-central and northwestern Oklahoma are among the highest risk areas in the country for damage from earthquakes, according to an updated earthquake hazard report released by the U.S. Geological Survey on Monday.
The report marks the first time the USGS hazard map has included risk from both natural and human-induced earthquakes.
“By including human-induced events, our assessment of earthquake hazards has significantly increased in parts of the U.S.,” Mark Petersen, chief of the USGS National Seismic Hazard Mapping Project, said in a statement. “This research also shows that much more of the nation faces a significant chance of having damaging earthquakes over the next year, whether natural or human-induced.”
The fracking problem apparently isn’t actually fracking, per se, but the disposal, via injection, of waste water.
The probability diminishes the farther you get from Fairview, which endured a 5.1 quake in 2011, though there are areas of concern in Dallas and in northern Arkansas. Biggest ever in the state: 5.6. Now how big is 5.6? This big, at least in Big D:
If a 5.6 magnitude quake were to happen, northwest Dallas, West Dallas and downtown would bear the brunt, according to the U.S. Geological Survey ShakeMap included in the FEMA report.
Levees and dams could collapse. About 80,000 buildings would be at least slightly damaged, causing $9.5 billion in “direct economic losses.” Some 290 area bridges — those with a “10 percent or greater chance of exceeding slight damage” — would need to be inspected to make sure they didn’t crack or buckle.
I suspect some of us will crack or buckle when the ground shakes.
A man and a horse were shot in a Thursday night drive-by shooting in northeast Oklahoma City.
About 10:20 p.m., Frederick Leon Jackson, of Spencer, and Carlos Romon Miles, of Jones, were riding their horses back from a rodeo arena, off NE 50 and Post Road, when they stopped in front of a church off NE 41 to smoke a cigarette.
Miles told police he saw a red car approach and someone in the car started shooting as the car passed by, according to a police report.
Jackson was hospitalized with a bullet wound to the calf; his horse caught a round in the upper right shoulder.
This is a pretty remote area — the Spencer post office actually delivers the mail this far out — and definitely not the sort of place you’d tend to expect a drive-by shooting. I suspect the occupants of the vehicle were, um, somewhat impaired at the time.
The State Election Board has released preliminary precinct-level counts for Tuesday’s primary, and, well, I’m not above grubbing up a spreadsheet to look at my local numbers.
Democrats: Sanders 271; Clinton 227; others 11.
Republicans: Rubio 163; Trump 112; Cruz 102; Carson 19; Kasich 17; others 6.
Which is a total of 509 Democrats and 419 Republicans.
Democrats: Clinton 34,255; Sanders 32,368; others 1,716.
Republicans: Rubio 29,030; Cruz 26,912; Trump 22,117; Carson 4,992; Kasich 4,007; others 1,351.
Should anyone care, he who garnered the fewest votes was Lindsey Graham, with 49.
Note: Democratic totals may include independents invited to participate.
When the news came down, I was even more startled than I might have expected to be, mostly because I’ve visualized this scene so many times it seems like part of the background now: pretty much any time the phrase “bridge abutment” occurs on this site, there’s a thought of crashing into one for some reason.
And really, if your destiny lies in the concrete on the underside of an overpass, that might well be the one you’d pick: genuinely sturdy — the Turner Turnpike sits on top — and far enough out in the sticks that you wouldn’t be noticed quickly. We’re talking Midwest Boulevard between 122nd and Memorial Road, from which Aubrey McClendon’s crushed Chevy Tahoe was extracted earlier today. Was this deliberate? For what it’s worth, he wasn’t buckled in.
Then again, “restraint” wasn’t in McClendon’s vocabulary; the man built a remarkable empire on a perfectly ordinary commodity. More than once he ran afoul of protocol. When Clay Bennett’s syndicate, of whom McClendon was a member, purchased the Seattle SuperSonics, it was McClendon who let slip the destination of the team, which everyone knew but which everyone was bound to deny. (The NBA fined him a quarter of a million dollars, which would be like fining you or me a Quarter Pounder with cheese.) In Michigan, McClendon tangled with conservationists, and did not prevail. In 2013, his own board of directors sent him packing. Undaunted, he set up a rival firm just down the street from the Chesapeake campus where he’d once ruled. That campus, incidentally, was another bit of McClendon willfulness: while other oil barons went vertical downtown, he built horizontally out towards the ‘burbs.
And the day before yesterday, a little incident from his Chesapeake days came back to haunt him, in the form of an indictment: during the acquisition of new oil and gas leases, said the Feds, he’d engaged in a sneaky form of bid-rigging. Whatever he’d been doing, it must have worked; at one point, Chesapeake was the largest natural-gas producer in the nation.
But those days are gone, natural gas is selling for a comparative pittance, and McClendon burned up a few BTUs of it this morning to get to the last place he’d ever get to. The unraveling will fill several books: if there’s anything to that indictment, perhaps several sets of books. One should be written, I insist, about how Aubrey McClendon left his brand all over this town, and how we’re a better place for it.
Thinking that this might be close to a record year for turnout, given the sheer nastiness of the campaign so far, I decided to close up shop early and beat the after-work crowd. Arriving at 3:50, I noticed a small lake where I used to park: there had been about 0.4 inch of rain last night. Not a problem.
When I reached the line, there were five in front of me: two Democrats, two Republicans, and one slightly baffled Independent, who could receive a Democratic ballot but who apparently was hoping to get one for the GOP. And there was a youngster on the way out the door, wearing a grey Trump T-shirt.
Nine minutes to take care of business and cast ballot #656. I was really expecting more like #800, but then I was earlier than I usually am for these things. The polls will remain open until 7 pm.
Earlier this month, a brief (1:15) video surfaced, featuring Tulsa news reporter Lori Fullbright mostly from here down, and scores of shoes she’s worn over her many years in T-Town media. The Lost Ogle happened upon it, and, as TLO will do, made fun of it. And it was, I think, a bit on the silly side.
The video, posted to Vimeo, was gone by the following morning, but its deletion apparently wasn’t because TLO had made anyone uncomfortable. Fullbright herself sent a note to the site:
Just so you know, News on 6 did not create or release that shoe video as a promotional tool.
I was asked to emcee the Pinnacle Awards/Women of the Year banquet and those putting on the event, the YWCA Tulsa and the Mayor’s Commission on the status of Women, asked me to create a fun video that was light hearted to show at the event. They suggested something to do with the shoes I wear and sometimes post, as a break from all the serious, tragic and heartbreaking news I cover on a daily basis on the crime beat. Our team created that video at the request of those agencies to show at their fundraising event, which it did, last Friday night. It was not something that aired on News on 6 or was put out there to market me to a larger audience in any way. I take my role as a journalist seriously and believe my reputation for excellence, fighting for victims and teaching people how to stay safe from crime speaks for itself.
“Light hearted?” Were it any lighter, it would be approaching escape velocity.
That said, there is precedent for this sort of thing. Jeanine Pirro, host of Judge Jeanine on Fox News, often posts shoefies to Twitter and Instagram before the show airs, and I suspect she has a higher wardrobe budget than anyone on Tulsa television.
And that said, whoever picks out Fullbright’s shoes is at least charmingly eccentric, though I did actually like these, courtesy of that now-deleted video:
The delta between these shoes and “wretched excess” is vanishingly small, but this is one of those cases in which I don’t care.
The billion-dollar hole in the state budget has brought out the usual “No! No! Cut THEM!” calls from various state agencies and their clients. No shortage looms larger than the one presented to the state education system, but as the Friar notes, the solution is not exactly cut and dried:
The problems with salaries and school funding are real: Our teachers are not paid what they should be, nor are our schools funded at the level they should be.
The problems with the revenue stream are real: The tax cut was an iffy idea at best considering how hard it would be to go back to the higher rate when need arose. And it made no sense whatsoever to tie the triggers to projected future income instead of to past or current income or to an average of them over several years.
But the problems with a 19th century educational system are real too. It’s organized for an agrarian culture without the ability to artificially cool buildings during summer. Its funding and governing structures assume myriad small populations near to but mostly isolated from each other by slow travel. Its methods and instruction principles have as much to do with the Procrustean production of two-legged voting and tax-paying citizen widgets as they do with educating students for their own growth and flourishing as thinking human beings. That many teachers manage to bring about 21st century people testifies to their ability to work in spite of the system that employs them, not because of it.
Being hopeful, alas, is not part of the mix:
I also fear that if the state somehow manages to find a Peter with a wallet fat enough to let Paul boost teacher salaries and per-pupil expenditures from their rank in the high 40s to the low 40s or even high 30s, the people who can make that change happen will smile and wave and say they’ve handled things and la-la-la-la their way long enough that when the problem reappears they’ll be sipping retirement coffee and shaking their heads at what the world is coming to and why their barista can’t make change.
I am generally inclined to dismiss rankings: no two states have exactly the same circumstances, and the Wobegon Factor, which afflicts too many of us, demands that everyone be above average, because fairness. But at headline level, only one metric seems to matter.
The Attorney General offers to take one for the state, kinda sorta:
Attorney General Scott Pruitt sent a letter Monday to Gov. Mary Fallin and legislative leaders, asking that about $6 million in state appropriations for his office be withheld in the next budget in view of financial problems affecting the state.
A hole of about $900 million is expected in the next state budget as revenues have fallen because of a downturn in the oil industry.
Asking for a decrease in the budget? Unpossible!
But that’s not quite the whole picture:
The current fiscal year appropriation to the attorney general’s office is more than $13 million, but the office’s overall budget exceeds $40 million when federal grants, revolving funds, case settlements and legal counsel contracts are considered.
The money Pruitt asked to be withheld represents operations expenditures. This year, operations funds totaled $6.4 million in his budget.
“We’re able to absorb the loss of that appropriations through cost savings in the office,” said Aaron Cooper, a spokesman for Pruitt. He said no salaries would be cut.
The fun part of this, apart from the spectacle of an actual state official asking for less funding, something you don’t see too often, is imagining Mary Fallin’s reaction. I mean, what’s she gonna do, turn Pruitt down?
Note: This was in the Tuesday Oklahoman, page 3A, but I couldn’t find it on NewsOK, and while I am a subscriber and can get through the Oklahoman paywall, you probably aren’t.
Regular as clockwork come the newest examples of unintelligent design:
The first state bills of the year that would interfere with science education have appeared in Oklahoma. There, both the House and Senate have seen bills that would prevent school officials and administrators from disciplining any teachers who introduce spurious information to science classes.
These bills have a long history, dating back to around the time when teaching intelligent design was determined to be an unconstitutional imposition of religion. A recent study showed that you could take the text of the bills and build an evolutionary tree that traces their modifications over the last decade. The latest two fit the patterns nicely.
The Senate version of the bill [pdf] is by State Senator Josh Brecheen, a Republican. It is the fifth year in a row he’s introduced a science education bill after announcing he wanted “every publicly funded Oklahoma school to teach the debate of creation vs. evolution.” This year’s version omits any mention of specific areas of science that could be controversial. Instead, it simply prohibits any educational official from blocking a teacher who wanted to discuss the “strengths and weaknesses” of scientific theories.
We are on record as describing Senator Brecheen as “not the sharpest tool in the shed.”
Meanwhile, in that Other Chamber:
The one introduced in the Oklahoma House [pdf] is more traditional. Billed as a “Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act” (because freedom!), it spells out a whole host of areas of science its author doesn’t like:
“The Legislature further finds that the teaching of some scientific concepts including but not limited to premises in the areas of biology, chemistry, meteorology, bioethics, and physics can cause controversy, and that some teachers may be unsure of the expectations concerning how they should present information on some subjects such as, but not limited to, biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.”
Do I really have to tell you who came up with this bill? No, you were right the first time, it’s Sally Kern. This is her fourth such bill. And really, “human cloning”? I can see a debate over “global warming,” inasmuch as the temperature of the globe isn’t exactly fixed and never has been, but what’s with the Clonus Horror?
If these two knuckleheads want to do the schools a favor, let them craft a measure to tell the US Department of Education to go fart up a flagpole, and then fill the existing funding holes, already fairly deep, with local money and local control.
You can’t pass a bill without introducing it, and Rep. Harold Wright (R-Weatherford) has prefiled this for the 2016 session:
A. The standard time in Oklahoma shall be known as Central Standard Time.
B. This section shall not be construed to affect the standard time established by United States law governing the movements of common carriers engaged in interstate commerce or the time for
performance of an act by an officer or department of the United States, as established by a statute, lawful order, rule or regulation of the United States or an agency hereof.
C. As authorized by the Uniform Time Act of 1966 as amended and notwithstanding any other provisions of law to the contrary by the United States government relating to adoption of daylight saving time by all of the states, the State of Oklahoma elects to reject such time and elects to continue in force the terms of subsection A of this section relating to standard time in Oklahoma.
If passed, this measure would become effective on the first of November, five days before DST ends for this year.
[We] have sold our home in Yanush to a lovely, young, immigrant Muslim couple from Qatar and Pakistan, and we two+ are going to move into a newer, larger home in LeFlore County, Ok.
Effective late January.
So I will be away for awhile, until AT&T U=verse connects us to the InterWebSuperHighway — they claim it will be on February 2 … but they wouldn’t say which year.
The community of Yanush isn’t big enough to be mentioned in Wikipedia, though it does have a Facebook page.
Lynn looks inside Spanx and finds a silver lining of sorts:
In 2010, an Oklahoma woman wore Spanx over her head while she robbed a McDonald’s. Oh that is so Oklahoma. I don’t know whether to be proud or ashamed. Robbery is definitely not cool but it goes to show that we could come up with better uses for Spanx. It could be up there with duct tape and WD-40 in the Stuff With 1001 Uses category.
I dunno if you could come up with a thousand and one, but even just one — other than “medieval torture device,” that is — might be worth the effort.
“The most perverse weather this side of Baffin Bay,” I once said, and the year just completed gave me no reason to change my mind:
— Oklahoma Mesonet (@okmesonet) December 31, 2015
I don’t actually think in millibars, so I did the conversion to mercury: 31.05 inches. Now that’s some serious pressure.
And about that dew point in Webbers Falls:
Those accustomed to continental climates often begin to feel uncomfortable when the dew point reaches between 15 and 20 °C (59 and 68 °F). Most inhabitants of these areas will consider dew points above 21 °C (70 °F) oppressive.
So I imagine 83 °F was probably excruciating. (I can’t remember personally experiencing anything much over 79.)
If there’s any comfort to be found on this map, it’s that none of those extremes came within fifty miles of me. Then again, through Christmas Day, we were on pace in Oklahoma City for the second-warmest December on record, behind only the fluky 48.7 degrees of 1965. (For warmenists: nine of the top ten are before 1965.) Then the snow and the rain and several days of cloud cover, and the best we could do was a tie for fifth at 45.3. I did manage to be present for three of the coldest Decembers, including the heinous 1983, a feeble 25.3 degrees for the month. (The coldest days around here, statistically, are in early January, at an average of 38.7 or thereabouts, though the coldest day EVAH was 12 February 1899, at a Dakota-esque 17 below.)
We all waited impatiently for the return of Blue Bell Ice Cream after the Great Listeria Scare. And now that it’s (mostly) back — a few flavors at a time — a local supermarket chain is, for the moment, dropping the line for “unfair pricing.”
This isn’t the first time Crest Foods told a food producer to take their product and shove it, either:
A few weeks back, Nick Harroz’ Crest Foods in central Oklahoma posted a notice beside the pasta-sauce shelf to the effect that they would no longer be stocking the Classico and Ragú brands, owing to large price increases by Unilever, owner of those brands, which the store did not wish to pass on to shoppers. It’s easy enough to be cynical about this sort of thing, but Harroz has done this before, and almost invariably he’s gotten his way, or a reasonable fraction thereof, which is how he manages to keep his prices around the Walmart level without going all, well, Walmartish on us: he’ll take on anyone up to and including mighty Coca-Cola.
Harroz died last year at 94, but it’s pretty clear that the store plans to follow his plan. And this, too, shall pass, once Blue Bell gives in — which they almost certainly will.
The Illinois River — no, not the one that flows through Illinois — looked something like this yesterday:
— Troy Littledeer (@troylittledeer) December 28, 2015
At the time, the river was up over 30 feet, a place it’s never before been in recorded history (which is probably 125 years or so).
— OK NatureConservancy (@Nature_OK) December 28, 2015
Flood stage at this station is a mere eleven feet. The river might recede to that point before this weekend, if there isn’t any more rain; last I looked, it was down to about 21 feet.
NOW 92.9, née NOW 96.5, is now THEN 0.0; Tyler, having failed to make any headway with a CHR-ish format against iHeartMedia’s KJYO (KJ103), has reworked this translator into The Edge 92.9, billed as OKC’s Rock Alternative. As before, it’s a side-channel of a big station — KOMA-HD2 — running 200 watts, which isn’t enough to reach the entire metro, though you can always spend a few bucks for an HD Radio receiver, as have at least ten other people in this town, or pick up their audio stream.
KOMA-HD3, in case you were curious, is the Classic Hip-Hop outlet at 103.1, known as V103; I find it amusing that three stations image with 103 in this town, starting with KJ103, which is actually at 102.7; Perry’s KVSP, long the urban (read: “black”) station in town, continues to be “Power 103.5.”
Students at the University of Central Oklahoma will return to campus in January to find two new programs designed to supplement gender and sexuality studies on campus.
The Women’s Research Center will focus on the research, study, scholarly and activity programming that supports and supplements the intellectual growth and social development of women while the BGLTQ+ Student Center will supplement activities that enhance the campus and community life of bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender and queer students. The “+” represents letters not listed including questioning, intersexual, asexual and allies.
I admit to being slightly baffled by this string of initials: it’s not that I object to the subject matter or to the inclusion of all the variants, but I’d never seen them in that particular order before. (Harvard arranges them that way, minus the plus sign for now, but several pages of Bing results yielded up no other BGLTQ.)
Why don’t we do it back of chambers after the meeting?
Three Okemah City Council members have now found themselves at the center of criminal charges after allegedly violating the state’s Open Meeting Act.
Arrest warrants were issued on Monday, Nov. 30, for Lloyd L. Raimer, Wayne J. Bacon and Bobby G. Massey. All present city council members. According to court papers filed by the district attorney’s office, the Open Meeting Act violation occurred following a June 22, 2015 council meeting. Michael Dean, an agent with Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations, began investigating the allegations after the OSBI was requested by Okfuskee County District Attorney Max Cook.
According to the probable cause affidavit, after the June 22 meeting had adjourned, Bacon, Massey and Raimer went to the back of the council chambers and began to discuss city business with other individuals. Court records claim, “The [city] business discussed by Raimer was reference the hiring of an individual for lake patrol. Raimer discussed it was not right to hire the individual because the person was already employed by the city as fire chief and code enforcement.” The affidavit continues, “Raimer knew Massey and Bacon were present but didn’t know what, if any, discussion they had reference this subject.”
Nearly four years ago, the Okemah City Council was criticized for appointing a new member in an apparent violation of the Open Meeting Act because the action wasn’t listed on the meeting agenda. After questions were raised about the appointment, that councilman resigned and the council sought applications for a replacement.
None of the current Council members under fire were part of that earlier kerfuffle.