Oklahomans honestly can say that theirs is a state of cultural diversity. This states has become home to representatives of many — if not most — of the known cultures of the world.
It’s a state of many colors, and not just in the landscape. Through education, occupational opportunities, military assignments, personal relocation, or other reasons, Oklahoma has gained residents from all the continents, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics.
We may not be the largest state, but we certainly have diversification in our numbers.
The traditions of other cultures have produced some of Oklahoma’s best-attended events, ranging from festivals to re-enactments, from annual reunions to competitions.
The clothing, the music, the food and the games of these cultures comes to life in numerous community events during an average year.
There is history, there is progress, there is future to be explored.
You can learn more about what cultural events are planned for Oklahoma by going to wimgo.com or by looking at the material in KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/CULTURE.
You also can discover what is located within Oklahoma’s six tourism and recreation areas by going to KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/TRAVEL-TIPS.
Enjoy the journey.
You don’t have to be a world traveler to have an enjoyable time for rest and relaxation. And there are plenty of spots right here in Oklahoma that can be entertaining and inexpensive.
Visit http://knowit.newsok.com/travel-tips and wimgo.com to learn what our state has to offer. For tourism purposes, the state has six regions: Frontier Country, Great Plains Country, Green Country, Kiamichi Country, Lake & Trail Country and Red Carpet Country. Each has its unique set of possibilities.
There are some wonderful museums throughout the state. Each of Oklahoma’s 77 counties has museums and/or historic sites that present the past, present and future.
See great worship sites, the large military installations and more.
There are major art exhibits, outstanding historical displays, noteworthy educational sites and lots of musical entertainment possibilities. You can, in a matter of hours, take a trip through time, from the age of dinosaurs to space travel and beyond.
There are top-notch sports venues, great places to get outdoors, as well as Oklahoma’s lakes and streams. Whether it be through the small towns or the large cities, you can see how the residents of our state make their livings and what their contributions are to the state, the nation and the world.
From artwork to natural beauty, Oklahoma has plenty to see. So plan a trip or two, a long weekend, or maybe your next lengthy vacation here in our state.
The following is Part 2 of my responses from parents on what they have learned from their experiences with addiction and their child.
“I learned that I can only control how I react to a person, a situation or a comment.”
“I have learned not to engage in arguments with my child. Disengage!”
“I have learned my daughter’s addiction is not my fault.”
“I have learned that a relapse starts well before an addict actually engages in substance abuse.”
“I have learned It is a disease and that is cunning, baffling and powerful. ”
“I have learned It is so much more powerful than I am.”
“I have learned I am powerless over my daughter and her choices.”
“I have learned that powerlessness does not mean helpless or weakness.”
“I learned the more I try to control another person place or thing the less peace I have in my life.”
“I have learned that consequences do not matter to addicts.”
“I learned that my daughter is a sick kid trying to get better and not a bad kid trying to get good.”
“I learned to ask for help.”
“I have learned that 12-step programs work.”
“I learned to trust the process. ”
“I learned to let my son suffer his own consequences.”
“I learned that there is hope.”
What parent’s have learned through their own personal recovery:
“I learned that there is a God and it is not me.”
“I learned that I did the very best I could with what I had … and that was enough.”
“I learned that I love my daughter with all my heart but I have my own life to live.”
“I learned to save myself and let my family watch.”
“To live in the present moment.”
“I learned to be grateful for everything.”
“I learned that there are miracles.”
“I learned that I am worthy of love and have a tremendous capacity to love other people.”
“I learned that prayer is powerful.”
“I learned to experience all there is in this life.”
“I have learned about accepting the things I cannot change and learned to have courage to change the things I can. ”
“I have learned to forgive myself.”
“I learned that fear is selfish.”
“I learned to trust.”
“I learned to laugh again.”
“I learned how to have my head, my heart and my body in the same place at the same time.”
I learned to love this life I am living one day at a time.”
The cartoons in the “funny pages” of the paper are not just there to make us laugh. A cartoon is often the medium an artist uses to make us think. He uses it to make statement or moral point he wants to confer to his observers.
There was a Garfield cartoon earlier this week in The Oklahoman that I cut out and taped to my monitor to remind me that I’m OK.
Jon points his finger at Garfield and says, “You’re not perfect, you know.”
Garfield pauses to process this statement and thinks, “I must agree” but then he adds, “It is my one fault.”
First I had a chuckle, then I realized that I am just a person, not perfect, and I can own up to my faults, but I don’t have to carry the guilt of faults that are not really mine to own.
That’s pretty powerful if you think about it.
All parents look back at the way they raised their children and see mistakes they made, better ways they could have handled problems and crises than they did in the moment. Parents of addicted children are especially good at that. They heap blame and shame unmercifully on themselves. This is neither healthy nor helpful.
I have never met a parent mired in this world of addiction who did not enable his child. It is just a fact that, even after having read every book on addiction, attended Families Anonymous and/or Al-Anon meetings, had personal counseling by a licensed therapist, you will, on occasion, still enable your child. You do the very best you can, reaching out with love and encouragement, and there is no blame or shame in that.
Nothing you did drove him to make the choices he made.
Forgiveness of our loved one is a first step toward our own healing, our personal recovery. But the next step is to put the mistakes you thought you made with your child in the past. We did what every parent would do, has done and will continue to do, as they grope with the insane world of addiction.
I encourage you to focus your forgiveness on your addicted child.
No forgiveness is necessary for you!
It’s Winter Weather Awareness Day in Oklahoma and a good time to work on your pre-winter preparedness. It won’t be long until the consistent freezing weather, snow and ice will be in the forecast, so make plans now on how to survive them.
Gov. Mary Fallin issued a governor’s proclaimed naming the day. The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, National Weather Service and other state and local agencies are sharing information to help the public prepare for the winter season.
State officials said last winter’s blizzards were strong reminders that we need to have our homes and vehicles, as well as our families and pets, ready to meet cold-weather challenges.
Weather officials said that “during the Christmas blizzard, record snowfall required stranded motorists to be rescued by the Oklahoma National Guard, Oklahoma Highway Patrol and local first responders.
“The experience of those stuck in the cold for long hours during the blizzard last winter should drive home the need to always prepare,” OEM Director Albert Ashwood said. “Having a blanket, emergency food and water, a flashlight, a well charged cell phone and a full tank of gas would have made a big difference for many of those awaiting rescue on Oklahoma roadways.”
The state officials remind you that if you have to travel in heavy snow or ice, you should allow extra time and “be particularly cautious on bridges and overpasses as they will be the first to freeze.”
Remember that “travel conditions can rapidly change. Drivers who must travel in these conditions are urged to drive slowly during snow or ice storms and to plan extra time for their travel. ODOT crews report they are ready for this upcoming winter season.
“Statewide, our salt and sand supplies are fully stocked, and more than 500 trucks are available to clear snow and ice from highways and interstates,” ODOT Director of Operations Casey Shell said. “During our clearance operations, we ask that drivers stay at least 200 feet behind our equipment, for both their safety and the safety of our crews.”
At home, be sure you have adequate weather stripping and insulation. Keep your furnace clean and ready to use. Make sure your pipes are protected against freezing temperatures.
“By following some simple tips and monitoring your local weather during times of severe weather, Oklahomans stand their best chance at not becoming a victim,” said Rick Smith, warning coordination meteorologist with the NWS office in Norman.
He also reminds everyone that information regarding hazardous winter weather, including watches and warnings, is available on the NWS website at http://www.weather.gov, on NOAA Weather All Hazards Radio and on local radio and television stations.
You can sign up to receive OEM’s weather alerts and receive NWS watches and warnings on your cell phone or other email address at http://www.ok.gov/OEM/.
Go to knowit.newsok.com/severe-weather-oklahoma to find more ways to get ready for winter.
I’d like to say that in almost 40 years in this business, I’ve heard it all. But I can’t. They just keep coming.
I’ve quoted many times longtime columnist and former Managing Editor Frank Boggs, who said, “The readers always write.” To me, it’s the journalist’s version of “The customer’s always right.” You’re gonna hear from them.
It may not be a column or an editorial they disgreed with. But it doesn’t have to be a commentary on a story or photo they saw in the newspaper or on line. It might be something they saw or heard somewhere and just wanted to make a comment on it.
It can be entertaining, to say the least.
Here are some samples:
* * * * *
“Do we still have people on the moon? I saw a show about all that stuff we left up there and I wondered if the United States still had someone up there watching over it.”
I answered him best I could that I didn’t know of anyone still on the moon, and that the “stuff” we left up there from previous space missions was mostly discarded material no longer used or working.
* * * * *
There have been a few space-related “contacts.” Mostly, late-night phone calls involving unidentified flying objects.
“Has anyone else reported seeing that round thing with the blinking lights flying over the water plant last night?”
“It was big. It just kinda sat up there a while. I just wondered if anyone else saw it.”
He hung up right after saying he would call the local Air Force base and ask if it “showed up on their radar.”
Oh, well. The Air Force knows full well how to handle calls about UFOs, blinking lights and aliens.
* * * * *
“Can you get a ticket for driving a riding lawn mower when you’re drunk?”
If you’re driving it on a public street, it’s possible. The offense? It depends upon where and how you were driving.
* * * * *
“My sister and I were wondering … how do you make mud?”
Well, you get the necessary ingredients, such as dirt and water, and mix them together.
You can shape the mix and use it for building, but you need to do so before it hardens.
* * * * *
“Can you drown by drinking from a garden hose?”
Yes. It doesn’t take a lot of water to cause a drowning. A couple of inches can do it.
Please don’t try that at home.
* * * * *
And there’s always someone who wants to talk politics. So you get a call like this.
“Who’s going to be the next president?”
Simple. The one who gets the most votes … from the electoral college.
* * * * *
There are some unusual people out there, thinking unusual thoughts. See examples in http://knowit.newsok.com/unsual-weird-oklahoma and checkign the state, nation and world categories.
Oklahoma has a lot to offer those who want to see the sights, learn about history, enjoy the outdoors, meet its people, or experience its natural wonders.
You can play on its sand dunes, see buffalo and other animals roaming the prairie, tour magnificent buildings and mansions, enjoy lakes and rivers, camp in scenic locations, watch top college and professional sports, listen to musical performances of most any variety, visit highly acclaimed museums that feature everything from prehistoric artifacts to modern art and everything in between.
Maybe you want to look over the possibilities before planning a road trip to any of Oklahoma’s six “countries.” Look over the material for each, then set your sights.
It’s all available to you, right at your fingertips in http://knowit.newsok.com/travel-tips.
You’ll find that the state has distinctively different offerings in each area, from the history to the recreational aspects to the chief resources.
Some features are underground. Others are visible for miles.
Oklahoma’s lakes alone draw large numbers of visitors each year. But they are only part of what the state offers.
Take a look, then take a trip. It’s all here for you.
There’s more to our “know it” communities than news about Edmond, Midwest City, Norman, Oklahoma City and Yukon, and there’s an open invitation to you to become part of it.
Each of these communities has other cities and towns nearby. Sometimes, it’s hard to distinguish where one ends and another begins, and.or there is overlap. We set up the online communities to include them.
“Why didn’t you just use north, south, east and west?” a reader once asked me.
We needed a focal point, a center for each coverage area. Problem was, we still had some equally (or nearly as) large cities close enough in some areas that it almost required a double-emphasis name. For instance, Edmond and Guthrie; Midwest City and Del City; Norman and Moore; or Yukon and Mustang.
There also are those who believe that Bricktown is almost a city within itself … and within Oklahoma City.
So why didn’t we put together separate “know it” communities for each of them? For now, it’s more manageable, more functional to do it this way. Will that change in the future? We’ll see. Just about anything is possible.
We do have a “play position,” or key story on the page for each community. That allows us to emphasize a story from any of the cities and towns in that area. You might have a big event occurring in Guthrie or Piedmont in the lead position in “know it: Edmond.” Or, it might be a critical city council meeting in Moore that leads “know it: Norman.” The top story for “know it: Yukon” might be something big in Mustang.
You see how it works.
But there’s more. You can contribute to the coverage for your area.
If you’re looking for a way to get the news out about an upcoming event, deliver a word of praise, or perhaps an update or follow-up is needed to those in your community. Here’s a possibility for you. Our “know it” geographical communities can help.
Need some help getting the word out about your upcoming event? Maybe you want to say “thanks” to an individual or group. Or, it could be that you need to send an update or reminder about a community happening.
Our “know it” geographical communities can help.
Readers can use Twitter feeds to get their messages out in the five “know it” online communities — Edmond, Mid-Del, Norman, Oklahoma City and Yukon. These include the surrounding area for each city.
Each community has a specific hashtag, similar to other web tags, that helps add personal messages, or “tweets,” to a category. Hashtags have the “hash” or “pound” sign preceding them.
The specific hashtags for the “know it” communities are:
- Edmond area — #knowedmond
- Mid-Del area — #knowmwc
- Norman area — #knownorman
- Oklahoma City area — #knowokc
- Yukon area — #knowyukon
The tags also can be added to other hash tags, such as #NewsOK or #okpreps.
Each “know it” community features a special area titled “NEWS SUBMITTED BY YOU,” where information such as news releases can be added.
To use that area, the reader creates an e-mail with a document or photo attached, then sends it to the address for the particular community:
Here are some tips for using this feature:
- Add the e-mail address to your list of those who normally receive your news. (The other e-mail addresses will not appear online.)
- Send your information and/or photos as a SINGLE ATTACHMENT to your e-mail. (PLEASE NOTE: Text from the e-mail will not appear online. An attachment may be a WORD document [.doc], a text file [.txt], a portable document [.pdf], or a jpeg picture [.jpg].)
- The subject line will be your headline, so be specific about what is most important that you want to emphasize. Example: Cross Timbers Elementary plans open house on Tuesday.
- Avoid punctuation and ALL CAPS in your subject line, but do capitalize the first letter of the first word and all formal titles.
- Remember to tell others about this service!
All sites can be accessed by going to http://knowit.newsok.com.
Editors and reporters consider information submitted for possible use in other sections.
Each community link is a “window” into that city and area, its offerings, its people. These are living, growing communities online, just as they are in real life. We continuously look for new information to add to them, in addition to the items that flow there from The Oklahoman reports.
The design is such that readers can glean a wealth of information about their community, quickly and efficiently, by simply clicking on the topic, ranging from stories to facts and figures on people, services and locations.
It’s all here for you.
In one of my other “lives,” I write the Traffic Talk column for The Oklahoman. I had a special request for a reprint of one of those columns recently, one regarding the Fourth of July and dumb things people do with fireworks.
These are dumb, for sure, but they also are dangerous. So here is my column from July 3, 2006. Please don’t try these at home.
Examples of why fireworks and vehicles don’t mix. Please don’t try these yourself.
• From an Oklahoma Lake Patrol officer: Three party enthusiasts decided to launch a large aerial display from a boat on one of our state’s largest lakes. This came after drinking from a keg of beer.
The group anchored, set up the shot, then lit it. When the fuse burned to the ignition point, the display launched, showering the boat — and the group — with sparks.
The overhead display was beautiful, the officer said, but the brightest “display” was created by the fire on the boat — clothing, paper sacks, and anything else that could burn.
The group was rescued by those on a boat nearby. The smoldering vessel was towed to shore.
• From a deputy sheriff: A carload of teenagers filled with the holiday spirit, or “spirits,” drove county roads, using the vehicle as a mobile launching platform for bottle rockets. Those in the back seat would light a rocket, then launch it from a pop bottle or by hand.
Everything worked well when the little rockets went skyward. But two steered into a pasture, igniting dry grass.
The resulting fire spread quickly. By the time the nearest fire department could get to it, the fire had consumed several acres.
• From a police officer: Four young people (about 10 or 11, the officer said) were taking turns lighting mini rockets and firing them at passing cars within the city limits of a mid-size Oklahoma community. The group moved frequently from one hiding place to another so as to avoid detection.
One mini-rocket sailed through an open window, striking the driver, who was startled and steered into a parked car.
Luckily, the driver was not injured. But two vehicles were damaged heavily.
• From an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper: On a state turnpike, a father and his three children were transporting three bags of fireworks to their home near Tulsa when the father tossed a cigarette out the driver’s window.
The cigarette blew back in through the driver’s-side passenger window and landed in one of the bags. Within seconds, the back seat was filled with exploding firecrackers, which in turn lit additional fireworks.
Two of the three children were injured.
In each instance, there was illegal activity, and someone had loss and/or injury.
By the way …
These stories come from those who have seen firsthand what can happen. Please don’t let that happen to you.
If you’re in a location where you legally can use fireworks, exercise caution. Otherwise, leave the displays to those trained to use them.
Have a happy Fourth. Enjoy your week and drive safely.
It’s going to be another hot one today, at least the highs 90s. And I didn’t need a professional weather forecaster to tell me that. It’s simple observation.
Here were the clues:
* The ponds nearby resemble paintings. In fact, if it weren’t for the ducks and geese swimming slowly and making tiny — if any– ripples, there would be no movement at all.
* Smoke plumes on the horizon from controlled burns are rising straight into the sky, for what looks like hundreds of feet.
* There is no swaying of tree lims. They are perfectly still.
* A construction crew doing dirtwork is not stirring up much dust, and what does rise as the crew’s vehicles quickly dissipates.
* A lone bicyclist, who appears soaked with perspiration, stops to take a sip of water, then douses himself.
* The heat from the sunny side of the building has warmed up the room early in the morning.
* Clouds appear to be many miles — and hours — away.
* It is summer in Oklahoma.
These are but a few of the signs that say “hot day ahead” in this part of the country, where temperatures already have reached 100 degrees or higher and you can be assured will do so again.
Those who enjoy this time of year and the heat can be happy. Those who prefer cooler weather will have to be patient. Your turn is coming.
Learn more about Oklahoma’s weather and how to live in and with it by going to http://knowit.newsok.com/severe-weather-oklahoma and looking through the various stories, photos and resource material.