The Edmond Sun


May 31, 2013

AS I SEE IT: Technological advances in weather forecasting help us all

EDMOND — I’m doing the best I can on this muggy Wednesday morning to get my thoughts together and convey them in logical sequence. Weather warnings befuddle my thinking, and the state of Oklahoma has just been issued another doozy. In the living room, my favorite TV weatherman is telling me I’m going to die at some point before this column hits the stands Saturday if I’m not in the storm shelter the split second he tells me to go.

That’s pretty much the same thing my less-than-favorite weatherpersons competing for my attention on this household’s other three TVs are warning, too. Yes, a total of four TVs, not counting the battery-powered one snuggled up against the down-under hidey-hole that the good folks at Smart Safe dug into the floor of my garage eight years ago. On the heels of what could be last week’s tragic sequel, I’m prepared to snatch up Su-the-dog and race for cover the minute one of those weathercasters says it’s a go.

And no, a total of five weathercasters looking out for my well-being is not overkill. I grew up in the depths of semi-dark dusty Oklahoma cellars huddled shoulder to shoulder with cousins holding family pets, their mothers clutching keepsakes — the family Bible, photo albums, ancestors’ silverware — while the men and older boys stood at the top of the cellar stairs debating the track that whirling black clouds overhead were likely to take, their wives pleading with them to come down.

Spidery insects left the dusty jars of canned goods lining the shelves behind us to examine us cousins where we sat, but we didn’t start trembling in fear until whatever the men had seen topside brought them clattering down to join us, the last of them barring the wooden door and all of them manning the attached chain intended to keep the door closed against the storm’s whirling suction, eager to swoop us up and deposit us in the next county.

After the danger had passed, I wasn’t one of those who climbed out of the cellar to see dwellings intact and the sun breaking through and, like the men, mumble in embarrassed bravado, “Waste of time!” as though they’d have preferred damage. “Let’s get on back to the fields. Wheat’s not going to bin itself.”

No, that wouldn’t have been me as a child, and certainly not as a mid-teen in 1947 when the giant Woodward F-5 tornado leveled over a hundred city blocks, destroyed a thousand homes and businesses, injured almost a thousand people and killed more than a hundred.

Largely because of that tornado, with technologies available after World War II, the National Weather Service set up a media warning system that has contributed greatly to today’s drop in tornado deaths statewide. I can’t tell you how happy I am to avail myself of their services.

MARJORIE ANDERSON is an Edmond resident.

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  • Sheltons travel for better life for family

    Some time around 1865 a mixed-race African American couple, William and Mary Shelton, made their way from Mississippi to east Texas. Nothing is known for certain of their origins in he Magnolia state, or the circumstances under which they began their new lives in Texas.

    July 29, 2014

  • Film critic Turan produces book

    Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
    There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is  often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.

    July 28, 2014

  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Technology that will stimulate journalism’s future is now here

    To say technology has changed the newspaper media industry is understating the obvious. While much discussion focuses on how we read the news, technology is changing the way we report the news. The image of a reporter showing up to a scene with a pen and a pad is iconic but lost to the vestiges of time.
    I am asked frequently about the future of newspapers and, in particular, what does a successful future look like. For journalists, to be successful is to command multiple technologies and share news with readers in new and exciting ways.

    July 23, 2014

  • New Orleans features its own “Running of the Bulls”

    On July12, the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans were filled with thousands of young men who were seeking to avoid being hit with plastic bats wielded by women on roller skates as part of the annual “Running of the Bulls” that takes place in New Orleans.
    The event is based on the “Running of the Bulls” that occurs in Pamplona, Spain, that is  part of an annual occurrence in which a group of bulls rampage through the streets of Pamplona while men run from them to avoid being gored by their sharp horns. That event was introduced to the English-speaking world by Ernest Hemingway, who included scenes from it in his critically acclaimed 1926 novel “The Sun also Rises.”

    July 22, 2014


The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
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