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If you did not make it to the 2019 Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) Fall Forum last week, then you missed quite an event! We had more than 150 advocates from across the state assembled to participate in workshops, discuss potential new legislation with state lawmakers in attendan…

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Healthcare is an issue many Oklahomans are concerned about, and the Legislature took valuable steps during session earlier this year to help improve the health of numerous Oklahomans.

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Once upon a time, having a job at a newspaper meant working in one of the most imposing buildings in town, inhaling the acrid aroma of fresh ink and the dusty breath of cheap newsprint and feeling mini-earthquakes under our feet every time the presses started to roll. For those of us old eno…

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On our Sept. 11 meeting, the Board of County Commissioners approved an agreement with Oklahoma City Public Schools to construct a bus road at John Marshall Middle School. Our road crew has been working hard and have already finished the base lift. The project is scheduled for completion by e…

Surely every home in Edmond has access to high speed internet through either AT&T or Cox, right? Wrong. Nearly 50% of Edmond, geographically, does not have access to either AT&T or Cox. The vast majority of Edmond east of U.S. Interstate 35 is limited to extremely slow DSL service fr…

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The County and greater community seem very enthusiastic about reform at the county jail. Many are excited about a new jail administrator and the Jail Trust. Some have asked if the Sheriff’s employees quitting at very high rates due to fear of loss of benefits as a result of the Jail Trust?

One year ago in my weekly column, I wrote about the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), a program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that helps to fund free breakfast and lunches for all students in eligible schools. The program aims to help students in low-income, high-ne…

Our country has been shaken by senseless tragedies recently in Gilroy, California, El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. My heart breaks for the families who have lost loved ones at the hands of sick individuals and something must be done to prevent this from happening again.

It was an amazing evening last Friday, as the Heroes Ball and Sidekicks Ball hosted more than 370 adults and 30 kids for a night of fun and celebration. We honored seven outstanding Oklahoma individuals and organizations who do great work for the children of our state.

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It should go without saying, but every Oklahoma child should have access to nutritious meals. No child should go hungry, nor should they have to eat unhealthy foods — which can stunt their physical and mental development — simply because those foods are cheap and readily available.

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We are currently enjoying a week in Florida on our annual family beach vacay. Perpetually sandy, sun-kissed, and in need of a nap around the clock, it is hard to think about anything other than where I put the driest swimsuits and when we are headed back to the water. However, every night wh…

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“My earliest memories of spending time with my dad were in our family grocery store. From the time they put a sign out front announcing my birth — with my name, weight and length — to the time I learned how to pack a bag of groceries without breaking the eggs or smashing the bread.

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Is it possible that we are already a month-deep into summer and July is right around the corner? Feels like yesterday that we were handing out teacher gifts, packing the last of lunches, and making exciting summer break itineraries to keep us busy as honeybees until the back-to-school rush o…

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Even when making out a family budget, there’s a tension between the need to put money into savings and covering the cost of the necessities of life. But most families understand not everything one wants is automatically a necessity. That’s not so with government agencies.

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As I contemplate the environment in my home away from home, I reflect on my personal and intellectual journey that brought me from my homeland, Kashmir, which is cradled by the Himalayas in the south and by the Pamirs of the Karakoram range in the north, to the rolling plains of Oklahoma. 

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This week’s dispatch comes to you from the Emerald Coast, where dolphins frolic just beyond the waves’ foam and the bearded, ponytailed man in red cutoffs five yards from our deck rents a pair of blue canvas beach chairs with a matching umbrella for $200 per week.

After over a decade of hard work and study, criminal justice reform has bipartisan support across the state. Over 70 bills have been filed this legislative session to address excessive sentences, community supervision, pretrial detention, and more. But, with all the talk of needed policy ref…

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Last year we enjoyed two Central Middle School band concerts in the Memorial High School auditorium. Raymond, who had never played an instrument more complicated than a kazoo, chose the coronet for his foray into musical performance.

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Two weeks ago, the Oklahoma Ethics Commission held its final hearing on proposed rules for this year. The unusual process calls for the Commission to write ethics rules then send them to the Legislature at the beginning of session. Lawmakers can veto the rules; otherwise, they take effect wh…

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Week two of the session is behind us, and it was a virtual whirlwind.  As chair of the Senate Finance Committee, we continued working through bills that directly impact the economic structure of state government and the core services Oklahomans depend upon.  I was also called upon to preside…

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In “The Lonely Dead,” a teen who talks to the dead must seek the killer of her ex-best friend before the killer finds her first. This is the intense plot of the latest young adult thriller from April Henry.

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On Monday, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) and the Oklahoma Women’s Coalition held our second Women and Children First advocacy training program. It was a great event – we doubled our attendance from the previous year and conducted several panels discussing the best tactics …

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Edmond can feel like a very small town. Browse Uptown Market for more than five minutes and there’s a good chance someone you know is going to have a read on your dinner menu. Pop into Target and you’ll lose an hour catching up with people. It’s sort of like Facebook except there are actual faces.

Over the last month or so, our editorial board has had the pleasure of sitting down with the candidates. We did so to have a candid conversation before the upcoming election. Yes, there is a city election this Tuesday so please get out and vote (the over/under turnout agreed on by our board …

Governor Stitt has made it his goal to move Oklahoma toward top ten status among the states. Exactly how he would measure this is unclear, but education is obviously targeted, given its prominence in his inaugural speech. This much is clear, though; Oklahoma will not become a top-ten state i…

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Has Edmond really come to this? A not-so-slightly covert push to elect the deceased as our mayor has surfaced over the past few weeks. After the untimely death of Mayor Charles Lamb, the citizens of Edmond learned that Charles' name would be on the primary ballot on Feb. 12. Shortly thereaft…

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Crisis (noun): defined as ‘a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger’ or ‘a time when a difficult or important decision must be made.’

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While negotiations to fully fund the government unfortunately remain underway in the Senate, I am pleased to report that lawmakers in both chambers of Congress did recently complete work on bipartisan legislation to improve the federal justice system. Already signed into law by the president…

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Edmond will always have families whose fundamental needs are not met due to an acute emergency.

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Alzheimer’s disease is known by many as the long goodbye, but it’s a goodbye for caregivers that doesn’t have to be experienced alone. That was one of the lessons from a series of articles I’ve written this year.

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Voter turnout during the Nov. 6 mid-term election for the state of Oklahoma was incredibly invigorating with 1,186,385 or 56 percent of citizens casting a ballot in the governor’s election. And while this number has Oklahoma moving in the right direction, another number released by the state…

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Everything that is about to be said can be summed up: Don’t tweet dumb stuff. 

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If you haven’t heard, Oklahoma’s Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) is searching for a new director. But what this small state agency with a giant bank account really needs is a new direction.

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With the Christmas parades beginning and holiday decorations lining our towns, it is certainly beginning to look a lot like Christmas. For my family, Christmas means getting the whole family together to have good food, play games of tag in the yard, and generally, to just be together.

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If you ever want to know what it feels like to hang out with an A-list celebrity, go to a Norman Walmart with former coach and OU legend Barry Switzer. This is what I learned last week when Coach Switzer generously volunteered his time and money to join the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advoc…

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By now, we all know that President Trump is a negotiator. At the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires last weekend, the president showcased his dealmaking skills in yet another trade negotiation on behalf of the American people.

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Oklahoma’s birthday was Nov. 16. On that day in 1907, President Teddy Roosevelt issued the proclamation that made us a state. It’s a fitting time to consider what it means to be a state and to live in a nation made up of states.

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Existing throughout the fabric of our society are the unmistakable threads of Native American heritage. In Oklahoma, those threads are numerous and vibrant indeed.

Over the weekend, I had the chance to watch the new movie, “Instant Family,” a comedy/drama about a couple adopting three foster children into their lives. I recommend that our readers watch this movie over Thanksgiving weekend to help put in focus the need for more foster families in our st…

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Hands down, Thanksgiving is my favorite time of year. The November holiday allows us to be with our family without the stress of gift-giving or weeks of preparation trimming the tree and decking the halls. Family is one of the greatest gifts we are given in life and Thanksgiving allows us an…

They say Black Friday is the start of the holiday shopping season, but I don't really get into the spirit of the season until the next day, Small Business Saturday.

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The future of Edmond zoning is facing a critical moment in its evolution over the next few months. Just as we have seen our City Council make an informed and precedent-setting decision regarding zoning and the Lake Arcadia watershed, their ability to legally block bad zoning decisions is bei…

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It’s fall, and just last month, one of Oklahoma’s celebrated, award-winning authors, Lou Berney, released a book appropriately titled for the season: “November Road.”

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I did not intent to write another column so soon, but I am becoming concerned by the lack of recognition of the hundred year anniversary of the armistice of World War I. The nation went all out on the Bicentennial of our nation (for good reason), the same for the 100 and 150 year anniversari…

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Alzheimer's Disease runs through both sides of my family with my great-grandparents, my grandparents, and my uncles all facing Alzheimer’s during their lives. When you have a loved one suffering from dementia, it can feel like they are slipping away one day at a time. Each year, I meet with …

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Following the recently ended fiscal year, it was reported that the federal government’s budget deficit increased significantly compared to the previous year. While this is certainly discouraging news, the existence of a deficit is not surprising or unusual. Critics are of course quick to bla…

This Week's Circulars

Obituaries

Charles Frederick "Freddie" Marks, Sr., died Oct. 12, 2019. Born Aug. 29, 1929, and raised in Edmond, Okla., he was the middle child of five and the third of four boys born to Mary Alice McCaulley Marks and Luther W. Marks II. Freddie's early life as part of a third-generation family active …

Dana Leon Stilwell, age 71, of Bella Vista, Ark., died Oct. 10, 2019. He was born Jan. 25, 1948, in Oklahoma City, Okla. Dana proudly served in the Navy. He is survived by his wife, Robin Stilwell. Arrangements by Bella Vista Funeral Home & Crematory. For condolences and full obit see ww…