Thousands of people rushed into post offices and court clerk’s offices in January to apply for passports in time for their summer vacation travels abroad. Now many of those same people are still waiting on their passports — resulting in canceled trips and wasted money.
Are you experiencing a long waiting period for your passport? Have you had to cancel your trip because of the delay?
If so, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Elvis Presley Fan Club of Oklahoma will present “Elvis in Hollywood” on June 16 at Brick Street Cafe, 104 S 2, in Okemah.
The event will be 6 to 10 p.m., with a silent auction from 6 to 9 p.m.
Officially-licensed Elvis memorabilia and items donated by Oklahoma businesses will be sold at the silent auction. Up for bid include Legends in Concert tickets in Branson, Mo., Oklahoma Rodeo Opry tickets, costume jewelry, Elvis replica jewelry and Elvis T-shirts, hoodies, men’s bowling shirts, bears and books.
Ronnie Kaye, a longtime personality on KOMA radio, will lead a dance.
Tickets are $8 per person. Children age 5 and younger will be admitted free of charge. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Okemah’s volunteer fire department.
The Elvis Presley Fan Club of Oklahoma is registered with Graceland and “Elvis in Hollywood” is licensed by Presley’s estate.
One of the traditions my family has always observed is grave decoration day, usually in early spring where we travel to the cemetary where my grandparents are buried and decorate their graves with flowers.
This year, my wife honored her late father on Memorial Day by decorating his grave with flowers.
George Bottom died in late 2003 of Lou Gehrig’s disease. His life was an inspiration to me and many others for the simple way he lived, with a mission only to serve God and others in all his actions. The Memorial Day tribute was fitting because he served in the Merchant Marines during World War II, traveling on ships carrying men and equipment to the Pacific Theater.
Dozens of graves in the cemetary just outside of Hammon were decorated in a similar fashion Monday, and all were adorned with a tiny American flag near the headstone. I was glad we came and that I got to share in this tradition with my wife. Thank you, Paula.
Business News reporter
Oklahoma has selected the image to appear on the back of its state quarter, not without a little controversy. Early next year Oklahoma’s quarter will be the 46th released by the U.S. Mint, representing the order the states were admitted to the union. In fact, we now can see the images each of the 50 states have chosen for their quarters, even though only 42 have been issued.
Here are the other unissued state quarters.
I’m a big fan of the state quarters program. My oldest son started collecting the quarters, found other passions to replace numismatics and I have taken up the job of completing the collection. I’ve always had an interest in coins and currency. Here are some of the images I like best and least.
New Jersey: This representation of Washington crossing the Delaware probably shouldn’t have worked as well as it did, but it’s a fine engraving and our minds fill in the gaps in this iconic image.
Indiana: A race car? You bet. (Did I mention that I’m an auto racing fan?)
Alaska: (See above) Several states chose wildlife, but you just can’t beat a bear eating a salmon.
Wisconsin: A cow, a wheel of cheese and an ear of corn says “We’re cheeseheads and proud of it!” There’s no doubt which state this represents.
Connecticut: The Charter Oak is unique and always eye-catching.
Some I liked not so well:
Nebraska: That right-facing covered wagon seems to say “Busted. We’re headed back to Philly.”
New Hampshire: One of the original 13 colonies, and the best they could come up with was a rock formation? By the way, “The Old Man of the Mountain” collapsed in 2003, three years after this coin was issued.
Missouri: I’ve been to Missouri, and the Gateway Arch does not span the Mississippi River. Show me, indeed.
Texas: Looks like our friends to the south missed the deadline or forgot to fill out a form. They neglected to put much of anything on the coin.
South Dakota: Mount Rushmore is here, of course. But is it a good idea to place a bird above the carved faces? Aren’t birds and sculptures natural enemies?
Let me know which ones you like or don’t by leaving a comment.
This is your chance to see how much attention you’ve been paying to the news in the past week or so. From The Oklahoman’s news copy editors and designers, here’s a quiz:
1. Florida’s governor signed a bill moving up the state’s …
a) Orange crop
b) 2008 presidential primary
c) Spending for education
d) Ranking among hurricane sites
2. The government has good news for owners of old big-box televisions …
a) Your TV won’t automatically become obsolete before Feb. 17, 2009
b) You’ll still be able to order pizza even if you can’t watch the Super Bowl.
c) Everyone gets a new, digital television — if you pay for it.
d) Television is bad for you anyway.
3. College grads are lacking in some essential skills, a survey of local business leaders said, among them …
b) Fashion sense
c) Work ethic
4. Who will decide whether the Cherokee Nation’s vote to exclude descendants of freed slaves will stand?
a) Chad Smith
b) Wilma Mankiller
c) Dirk Kempthorne
d) President Bush
5. Some Oklahoma consumers were told they can expect to pay less for what commodity this summer?
c) Ice cream
d) Cable TV
6. What pest are some wheat farmers in the state battling?
b) Boll weevils
c) Wheat berrys
7. Researchers investigating the medical history of Abraham Lincoln said he was suffering from what during the Gettysburg Address?
a) A toothache
c) Scarlet fever
d) Small pox
8. Why was former state Insurance Commissioner Carroll Fisher’s trial on income tax evasion charges moved from Oklahoma City to Tulsa?
a) That’s where he lives
b) That’s where he signed his 1999 tax return
c) The courthouse is larger
d) Fewer people know him there
9. Dell Inc. announced that it will begin selling desktop computers at which store?
b) Home Depot
10. T-Mobile has launched the first cell phone to come with Microsoft’s latest version of Windows Mobile, with improve handling of e-mail and tougher security. It costs $299 with a two year contract and is called what?
a) The Wing
b) The Spring
c) The Ring-Ring
11. For the third year in a row, Newsweek Magazine has named what Oklahoma City high school as one of its top 100 in the nation?
a) Putnam City North
b) Northwest Classen
c) Classen School of Advanced Studies
d) Putnam City West
12. Which company has made a pitch to buy The Topps Co.?
c) Upper Deck
13. A man went on a rampage killing himself and two others in a shooting where?
a) Abilene, Texas
b) Moscow, Idaho
c) Moscow, Russia
d) Paris, Texas
14. The world’s No. 1-ranked tennis player, Roger Federer, ended what player’s streak of victories on clay courts?
a) Billie Jean King
b) Ivan Lendl
c) Rafael Nadal
d) Bobby Riggs
15. Who became the newest and youngest “American Idol?”
a) Blake Lewis
b) Jordin Sparks
c) Sanjaya Malakar
d) Carrie Underwood
16. In a surprise move that restored hope for the future, which teams earned the top two picks in the NBA Draft Lottery?
a) Hornets and Celtics
b) Supersonics and Trail Blazers
c) Memphis and Orlando
d) Sooners and Cowboys
17. Oklahoma City is set to launch a discussion into whether people want what?
a) MAPS 3
b) An NBA team
c) A new mayor
d) An NHL team
18. The NFL owners voted that which venue will host the 2011 Super Bowl?
a) Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.
b) New stadium in Arlington, Texas
c) New stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
d) Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Fla.
19. Oklahoma County Commissioner Brent Rinehart described himself as what?
a) The best city councilman the city ever saw
b) A sharp dressed man
c) A victim of nattering nabobs of negativism
d) A potential “American Idol” contender
20. Oklahoma RedHawks owners and Oklahoma City officials are clashing over what?
a) Plans to build a $200 million development east of the AT&T Bricktown Ballpark
b) A new scoreboard
c) Lack of parking
d) Naming rights
How did you do on the quiz? Here are the correct answers:
1-B; 2-A; 3-A; 4-C; 5-B; 6-A; 7-D; 8-B; 9-C; 10-A; 11-C; 12-C; 13-B; 14-C; 15-B; 16-B; 17-A; 18-B; 19-A; 20-A
In case you haven’t been able to keep up with all the news lately, this is your opportunity to catch up. Here’s a quick look at top stories from the past week or so:
- The Lebanese army pounded a Palestinian refugee camp with a barrage of tank and artillery fire, battling militants believed allied to al-Qaida. About 50 combatants were killed in the country’s worst fighting since the end of its 1975-90 civil war.
- A sniper in Moscow, Idaho, sprayed dozens of bullets at a courthouse, killing a sheriff’s deputy before killing a caretaker and himself.
- Israel’s air force fired a missile at a house in the Gaza Strip, killing at least eight people. Neighbors said the house belonged to a Hamas lawmaker.
- A 14-year-old girl was arrested in the fatal stabbing of a woman at a Cushing apartment complex.
- The University of Oklahoma softball team beat the University of Massachusetts to advance to NCAA Super Regionals.
- The widely prescribed diabetes drug Avandia is linked to greater risk of heart attack and death, a new scientific analysis suggested, and the U.S. government issued a safety alert.
- Republican presidential candidate U.S. Sen. John McCain told the Oklahoma Legislature that if elected he’ll hold federal employees accountable.
- Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signed a bill moving his state’s 2008 presidential primary up to Jan. 29, putting it behind only Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.
- Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. expects consumers will pay less for electricity per kilowatt hour this summer because of a decrease in the price of natural gas.
- The Bureau of Indian Affairs denied approval of a Cherokee Nation constitutional amendment that allowed the tribe’s recent vote to exclude the descendants of freed slaves from tribal rolls. The final decision whether to allow the vote to stand belongs to the U.S. Interior Department secretary.
- An infestation of armyworms has hit the wheat fields in north-central Oklahoma pretty hard, a state Extension Service agronomist said.
- After a seven-year absence from the gaming industry, the Kiowa Tribe opened the Kiowa Red River casino in Devol. It is a 63,000-square-foot building with 1,000 slot machines and 20 poker and blackjack tables.
- A judge ordered a change in venue in the tax evasion trial pending against Carroll Fisher, moving it from Oklahoma City to Tulsa, where the former state insurance commissioner signed the 1999 income tax return in question.
- Java Dave’s Coffee formed a partnership with state Rehabilitation Services Department to open at least five stores in Oklahoma that will be operated by visually impaired vendors.
- Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson said he expects to receive information soon from MySpace.com on registered sex offenders it has identified and removed from the social networking Web site.
- Seventeen-year-old Jordin Sparks was crowned the newest and youngest “American Idol.”
- NFL owners voted to bring the 2011 Super Bowl to the Dallas Cowboys’ new stadium in Arlington, Texas.
- In a visit to Tulsa, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticized the media’s airing of a secret U.S. plan in Iran.
- In a surprise move that restored hope in the Pacific Northwest, the Portland Trail Blazers and the Seattle Supersonics landed the top two picks in the NBA Draft Lottery.
- The Big 12 Conference awarded its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments to Oklahoma City in 2009.
- The state Senate voted to repeal a new law that gave police in former “speed trap” towns authority to issue traffic tickets on portions of highways that run through their city limits.
- Anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr reappeared in Baghdad and banned his army from fighting Iraqis.
- South Korean officials reported that North Korea test-fired several missiles Friday.
The folks marketing the new HD — high definition — radio broadcasts have inundated us with lists in the past couple of weeks. Here’s one that fits their industry: BMI’s 100 most played rock/pop songs of the 20th century.
I don’t have any problems with this list, except I think they should have called it the top 100 most played “soft rock” songs of the 20th century, because not many of these would make the play list of a “classic” rock station.
Or at least the ones to which I listen.
Anyway, here’s the top 10 and bottom five of the top 100. Forgive me if you get any of these tunes stuck in your head for the rest of the day:
BMI’s 100 Most Played Rock/Pop Songs of the 20th Century
1 The Righteous Brothers – You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’
2 The Association – Never My Love
3 The Beatles – Yesterday
4 Ben E. King – Stand By Me
5 Otis Redding – Dock Of The Bay
6 Simon and Garfunkel – Mrs. Robinson
7 Johnny Rivers – Baby, I Need Your Loving
8 Ray Charles – Georgia On My Mind
9 The Police – Every Breath You Take
10 Roy Orbison – Oh Pretty Woman
96 Gilbert O’Sullivan – Alone Again, Naturally
97 The Beatles – And I Love Her
98 Gerry Rafferty – Baker Street
99 Charlie Rich – Behind Closed Doors
100 The Everly Brothers – Bye Bye Love
Business News reporter
We’re weeks away from the summer’s biggest entertainment event: the publication of the seventh and final volume of the Harry Potter tales, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” My family likely will have a copy of the book on the day of publication (12:01 a.m. on July 21). Some Potter fans are combing the Internet, discussing possible plot twists and speculating about what will happen to whom.
This is the cover of the U.S. version of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”
All author JK Rowling will say is that this indeed is the final Harry Potter book, and that there will be more deaths. She killed off a major character in the last volume.
I add my own plea … for one reason, and one only: I want the readers who have, in many instances, grown up with Harry, to embark on the last adventure they will share with him without knowing where they are they going.
Some, perhaps, will read this and take the view that all publicity is good publicity, that spoilers are part of hype, and that I am trying to protect sales rather than my readership. However, spoilers won’t stop people buying the book, they never have – all it will do is diminish their pleasure in the book.
Rowling also provides a handy rumor-killing service on her site. For instance, Rowling notes that NONE of the following speculation is true. I repeat, the following statements are NOT TRUE:
- Harry and Neville must kill one another to fulfill a prophecy.
- Dumbledore is Harry’s grandfather or relative of some kind.
- Harry and Valdemort will merge into a single entity.
If you just can’t get your fill of Harry Potter information, check out the Harry Potter Automatic News Aggregator for regular updates.
Oklahoma City officials made good on a promise to kids and will open nine new spraygrounds this weekend, just in time for Memorial Day.
Spraygrounds are like little water parks. Most of the gadgets at the city’s new spraygrounds are designed so kids can splash their buddies with water. Seems like that’s why the lifeguards always kicked me out of the pool when I was a younger pup, but hey – things change. Splash on.
City parks with the new spraygrounds opening this weekend are:
Douglass Park, 901 Frederick Douglass Blvd.
E.B. Jeffrey Park, 4432 NW 16
Macklanburg Park, 11700 N Stratford
McKinley Park, 1300 N McKinley
Melrose Park, NW 5 and Council
Memorial Park, 3600 N Classen
Sellers Park, 8301 S Villa
Wiley Post Park, SW 17 and Robinson
Youngs Park, SW 44 and Youngs Blvd.
The spraygrounds are free and open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol will participate in two national safety programs continuing through the weekend — Click It or Ticket and Operation C.A.R.E. Combined Accident Reduction Effort) — targeting vehicle restraint violators.
Oklahoma had 11 fatalities on state roads crashes during the Memorial Day weekend last year. Nine of the 11 people killed were not wearing seat belts.
“The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has a ‘no tolerance’ for seat belt and child restraint violations and we do not issue warnings,” Capt. Chris West said. “Troopers will focus on alcohol-related offenses, speeding, seat belt and child restraint usage. Troopers will be out in full force this Memorial Day weekend.”
There will be safety checkpoints throughout the state, West said. Speed enforcement will involve using the patrol aircraft, and motorcycle units will be using laser radar.
Operation C.A.R.E., which began in 1977, is a nationwide traffic enforcement campaign. State troopers and police throughout the United States concentrate enforcement activities toward alcohol-related offenses, speeding and seat belt and child restraint use.
The number of deaths on Oklahoma’s lakes and rivers have traditionally spiked during the Memorial Day weekend.
Five people drowned in the state during the Memorial Day weekend last year.
Boats are required by Oklahoma law to carry a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for every person on board. Passengers under age 13 on boats smaller than 26 feet are required to wear a personal flotation device at all times.
Most lakes are at their highest levels in many years.
“Many obstacles that were formerly visible are now just below the surface. With the recent rains, there is some chance of encountering significant debris in the water,” West said.