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April 1, 2014

Journalism Hall of Fame to induct 9

EDMOND — Nine journalists will be honored during the 44th Anniversary Celebration of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame on April 24 at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.

Honorees this year are Ed Blochowiak, Shawnees News-Star photographer; Thomas H. “Tom” Boone, of the Bixby Bulletin, retired; Jay Cronley, Tulsa World columnist;  Kelly Dyer Fry, editor of The Oklahoman and vice president of news for OPUBCO Communications Group; Carolyn Estes, marketing director of the Oologah Lake Leader; Larry Ferguson of the Pawnee Chief; William A. Hamilton, Paul’s Valley native, retired; Tim Schnoebelen of the Mooreland Leader; and Jan Stratton, of KSWO-YV in Lawton, retired.

The luncheon program will  begin at 11:45 a.m. on the third floor of the Nigh University Center. Master of ceremonies will be Mark Thomas, executive vice president of the Oklahoma Press Association.

More than 250 journalists, friends and families are expected for the Hall of Fame, said  Terry M. Clark, director of the Journalism Hall of Fame.

“The event has become sort of homecoming celebration for members of the Hall of Fame to come together and recognize each year’s honorees,” he said.

Luncheon reservations at $15 each may be made by contacting Clark at tclark@

uco.edu, or calling

974-5122, by April 17.

Honorees are selected by a committee composed of members of the working press and the Hall of Fame. The committee sifts through all nominations, both new ones and those held over from previous years before selecting the nine honorees. Nomination forms are available at any time from the sponsoring UCO Department of Mass Communication.

Framed citations are on display in a new Hall of Fame display in the Nigh University Center at the University of Central Oklahoma. The UCO Department of Mass Communication is host and administrator of the Hall. The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation helps underwrite expenses for the ceremony.

The Hall of Fame was founded in 1971 by former Journalism Chairman Ray Tassin. This year’s inductees make 398 total members. The Hall is supported with funding from UCO, The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation and the Oklahoma Newspaper Foundation.

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  • Candidates disagree with White House’s minimum wage

    Gubernatorial candidate Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, said the state needs to have serious growth in high-paying living wage jobs that will provide for Oklahomans.
    Dorman cautioned that while Oklahoma’s jobless rate improved in June, the state’s rankings for the well-being of children has dropped from 36th to 39th place, for one of the largest declines in the U.S., according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT Project.
    The unemployment rate in June dropped to 4.5 percent, down a percentage point from 4.6 percent in May, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, Gov. Mary Fallin said this week.
    The state’s unemployment rate was more than 7 percent when Fallin was elected during the brink of the Great Depression. Alex Weintz, communications director for Fallin, pointed out that per capita income in Oklahoma was second in the nation from 2011 to 2013.
    The non partisan Congressional Budget office reported in February that raising the minimum wage could kill a half-million jobs in the United States.
    According to The Washington Times, CBO analysts reported, “Once the other changes in income were taken into account, families whose income would be below six times the poverty threshold under current law would see a small increase in income, on net, and families whose income would be higher under current law would see reductions in income, on net.”
    President Barack Obama in February signed an executive order to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour.
    Weintz said the governor believes tax cuts have enabled families to keep more of their money.
    No one is talking about the under-employment rate of families working minimum wage jobs, Dorman said.
    “It’s all fine and good when you have fast-food jobs that don’t cover the bills and that counts toward your unemployment rate.”
    Oklahoma’s minimum wage reflects the federal minimum wage set at $7.25 an hour, a standard set in 2009.
    Fallin signed legislation this year to prohibit municipalities from raising their local minimum wage above $7.25 an hour.
    “If the minimum wage goes up to $15 in Oklahoma City, all of the sudden you would drive retail, business, service industry locations outside of the city limits and that would be detrimental to the economy, consumers and to businesses,” Weintz said.
    Fallin has said that she opposes raising the minimum wage in Oklahoma because it would stifle job growth for small business and lay off workers. A lot of people earning the $7.25 minimum wage are part-time workers and many of them are students, Weintz said.
    “We believe raising the minimum wage is not a good way to address poverty,” Weintz said. “A lot of people earning the minimum wage are actually people living with their parents or other people who are employed full time, and in many cases they are middle class families. So it’s not a good tool to reduce poverty.”
    Dorman said he does not necessarily support the proposed $10.10 an hour minimum federal minimum wage that is being discussed by Congress.
    “I think we need to have a living wage in Oklahoma that is reflective of our economy,” Dorman said.
    About 102,300 jobs have been added in Oklahoma since Fallin took office in January 2011, according to her office.
    The cost of living in the national economy tends to be higher in some other states, Dorman said.
    So a minimum wage increase should be tied to economic gains so that families can pay their bills and afford to care for their children, Dorman said.
    Independent candidates for governor include Richard Prawdzienski of Edmond, Joe Sills of Oklahoma City and Kimberly Willis of Oklahoma City.

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