Commentary

Tue
15
May

Summer vacation

By Shirley Todd

School’s out for summer vacation. On Tuesday morning as I dropped my youngest daughter off at school, it hit me how fast time is going by. She has one year left of elementary school, this makes me very sad. Our youngest is our surprise blessing and we have enjoyed each day with her, some days we feel our age and then there are others when we don’t.

As I sat through an awards assembly, I watched as students received awards for their hard work during the school year. Awards were handed out to students for academic achievement at each of the school’s awards assemblies. These students worked hard in the classroom, read a lot of books and attended school each day to earn these awards.

 

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Tue
15
May

Slippery Three

Since 2015, annual taxes and other revenue taken from Oklahomans have increased by $1.1 billion. Oklahomans’ personal income taxes are up at least $185 million annually just since 2016.

Some important reforms passed this session, including enrollment audits and work requirements for Oklahoma’s expensive Medicaid program. Yet other programs proved just how slippery is the status quo when it comes to avoiding commonsense cost savings.

Oklahoma’s film industry handout is one example. The program is an actual welfare payment to cover costs for a favored business. Some of these films are never released. Others paint Oklahoma in a bad light. Perhaps the most prominent subsidized film, August: Osage County, was made by disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Because of this program, Oklahomans gave Weinstein’s company $4.6 million.

 

Tue
15
May

Thieves in the night

By J. D. Meisner

I’m going to talk about thieves… criminals of the worst kind… deadbeat, subhuman cowards who can’t work for a living because they are either too lazy, too addicted to drugs, or too simple-minded to make their own way.

Thieves are dirtballs who lack the self control to prevent themselves from being stupid and selfish.

I know… Tell us how you really feel, J. D. My pleasure. Thieves are complete scumbuckets who victimize innocent, hard working people, most of whom are completely innocent and have no control over the circumstances that led up to their becoming a a theft statistic – others are guilty of presenting these criminals with easy opportunities.

 

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Tue
15
May

City will haul your trash

By Bunny Baker

From the January 21, 1915 Bristow Record

Chairman Charles West, of the Bristow town board, announces that beginning Monday, January 25, the city work wagon will go through the alley of the downtown section collecting refuge. He urges that all persons have their waste matter collected in barrels and boxes and placed in the alley ready for the wagon.

 

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Tue
08
May

National teacher appreciation

By Shirley Todd

This past week has been National Teacher Appreciation Week, where parents around the country have shown appreciation to their child’s teachers.

Each year, National Teacher Day is observed on Tuesday during the first full week of May. This year, May 8 was declared as National Teacher Appreciation Day.

In Bristow, the teachers at Collins Elementary were honored with a breakfast on Tuesday, provided by the parents.

Last week Edison Elementary parents showed their teachers how much each of them are appreciated with food and gifts during the week.

According to the National Education Association this time of the year is for teachers to be recognized for the hard work, dedication and love they give their students each day.

Tue
08
May

More money, more problems

By Jonathan Small

It’s been busy lately, so you may not have noticed that the state of Oklahoma received $71 million from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement.

Of that amount, the Oklahoma attorney general received a little over $4 million. The state general fund collected a little over $13 million.

The real winner was the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET). TSET received a little more than $53 million. Don’t worry; they’ve got a safe place to keep it. They will add that $53 million to the $1.1 billion they are already sitting on.

This payment from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement happens every year. With all that cash in the bank and yearly deposits around $50 million, one can’t help but wonder how TSET will use their growing largesse. TSET gets to spend the earnings just about however they want.

 

Tue
08
May

My version of the commencement address

By J. D. Meisner

I have never been asked to deliver a commencement address… probably for a good reason.

First off, I’m a cynical guy and secondly, I’m a simple newspaper editor – not some successful role model business owner or politician (polar opposites, those).

But I have been told I’m a fair to middlin’ wordsmith; because of this, I wondered, what would I actually say if someone did ask me to deliver the keynote address to a group of graduates at a high school commencement ceremony.

So I sat down and put together some thoughts.

I think I'd look out across that fidgety shimmering sea of shiny square mortarboard hats balanced on those bright young heads and I’d look beyond them to the proud crowd of folks sitting in the bleachers and say, “I'm not gonna lie; y'all look tired... you teachers, parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles and friends of these young graduates… you look tired.

Tue
08
May

Breaking down the impact of the 2018 legislative session

By Trevor Brown

The curtain fell Thursday night on the 2018 session of the Oklahoma Legislature, leaving indelible memories of chanting crowds and heated rhetoric.

This spring’s session – as well as the concurrent special session that carried over from last year – was dominated by the teacher walkout and the intense debate over tax increases to pay for teacher raises and to boost public education funding.

But lawmakers’ actions went well beyond those critical issues.

The Legislature, which adjourned more than three weeks before deadline, passed more than 180 bills that will have significant effects on various groups, ranging from children to state retirees. For bills that passed in the final five days of session, Fallin has up to 15 days after adjournment to sign or veto them.

Here’s a look at how different groups will feel the impact of what the Legislature did, and didn’t do.

 

Tue
01
May

Suicide in Oklahoma

By Shirley Todd

Did you realize that each week, an average of two young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in Oklahoma will take their own lives? A 10-year-old? I can’t imagine what a child so young would have to be so depressed about that he or she would want to end his or her life.

My youngest daughter will turn 10 in July, this hurts me so deeply to think that someone so young even thinks of suicide. Of course, I do think 24 is awfully young also, your life is just beginning for someone to think it’s time to end it.

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Tue
01
May

Historic budget is just a start

by David Blatt

The past few weeks were historic for Oklahoma politics.

After years of gridlock and broken promises, Oklahoma lawmakers finally passed a major pay increase for teachers, boosting salaries by an average of $6,100. They also funded smaller pay raises for school support staff and state employees and a modest increase for school operations.

To pay for this, lawmakers overwhelmingly approved tax increases on cigarettes, motor fuels, and oil and gas production. The successful passage of the main revenue bill, House Bill 1010xx, came after two years of failed attempts to increase taxes, and it marked the first time that lawmakers have ever managed to clear the three-quarters supermajority requirement to raise revenue established by State Question 640 over a quarter-century ago.

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