The Oklahoma Highway Patrol will step up its enforcement of drunk driving during the next 10 days. Troopers will work 100 to 120 extra shifts from June 30 to July 8.
Troopers have “zero tolerance” for anyone driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription drugs, patrol Capt. Chris West said.
Sixty-three people have died this year in alcohol-related or drug-related crashes on Oklahoma roads, the patrol reported. Last year, 23 percent of crashes were alcohol or drug related during the Fourth of July holiday.
“We want to get intoxicated drivers off our roads before they kill someone,” West said. “The Oklahoma Highway Patrol doesn’t issue warnings for alcohol-related or drug-related offenses. If you are stopped for DUI, your vehicle will be impounded, you will go to jail and your driving privileges will be revoked.”
During last month’s Click it Or Ticket campaign, troopers issued nearly 2,700 seat belt citations and zero warnings.
“We are hopeful that during this holiday citations for safety belts will be down. It only takes a few seconds to buckle up. These few seconds may save your life,” West said. “The worst part of a trooper’s job is notifying family members that their loved on has been killed in a traffic crash.”
The patrol also will participate in Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) — targeting vehicle restraint violators during holiday periods.
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.
Oklahoma City fire officials are encouraging private citizens to let experts handle fireworks during the Fourth of July holiday because they say it will lead to a safer holiday.
Fire department code enforcement officers responded last year around the Fourth of July holiday to 23 calls and complaints involving the lighting of fireworks. Firefighters responded to five fires caused by fireworks during the same time.
In 2004, there were about 18,900 fires in the United States caused by fireworks, causing nearly $22 million in property damages, according to statistics provided by the fire department. The statistics state that children under age 15 suffered 40 percent of the 9,600 injuries caused by fireworks in 2004.
It’s against the law to sell, possess or set off fireworks without a permit in the limits of the City of Oklahoma City. Violations carry a fine up to $200, including court fees, and confiscation of fireworks.
The fire department provided this list of fireworks displays in Oklahoma City:
June 30, 7 p.m. — Crossings Community Church, 14600 N Portland (inside pyrotechnics)
July 1, 7 p.m. — Crossings Community Church, 14600 N Portland (inside pyrotechnics)
July 1 — Crossroads Cathedral, 8901 S Shields
July 1 — Eagle Heights Church, 12000 S Interstate 35 Service Road
July 1 — Factory Direct Furniture & Bed, 219 S Portland
July 1 — Quail Springs Baptist Church, 14613 N May
July 1 — Grace Place Baptist Church, 9300 S Anderson
July 2 — Downtown Airpark, 1701 S Western
July 3 — Downtown Airpark, 1701 S Western
July 3 — North Church, 1601 W Memorial
July 3 — Auburn Meadows housing addition, NW 178 and Pennsylvania (pyrotechnics and fireworks)
July 3 — State Fair Speedway, 1001 N May
July 4 — Downtown Airpark, 1701 S Western
July 4 — The Links Golf & Athletic Club, 700 NE 122
July 4 — Sportsman’s Country Club, 4001 NW 39
July 4 — Bricktown Association, Sheridan & Byers
July 5 — AT&T Bricktown Ballpark, 2 South Mickey Mantle
July 6 — AT&T Bricktown Ballpark, 2 South Mickey Mantle
July 7 — The Links at Mustang Creek, 2004 S Mustang
This is Jason Stulce of Oklahoma City, right, and some buddies as they wait in line this afternoon in front of the Apple retail store in Penn Square Mall for the iPhone to go on sale. Stulce was No. 2 in a line of about 100 people at 1:30 p.m. He said he arrived at the mall about 5 this morning, although security did not allow anyone inside until 6.
Business News reporter
Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett became a grandfather Friday morning.
Cornett’s oldest son, Michael, and his wife, Jessica, welcomed their daughter, Lillian Margaret Cornett at about 9:30 a.m. at St. Anthony Hospital.
“The mother, and the grandmother, are doing well, and we are joyous and thankful for this amazing blessing,” Mick Cornett said in a written statement. “We are especailly excited to finally welcome a girl into the family. It took a while.”
Lillian Cornett is the first girl born into the extended Cornett family in more than 30 years, Mick Cornett said.
By Bryan Dean
Walk into the Penn Square Mall this afternoon and you will be greeted on the west end of the lower level by a long line of camp chairs filled with people waiting for the iPhone debut at 6 p.m.
There were maybe 100 people at 1:30 p.m., mostly seated and quiet in what might appear to be a crowd of happy campers in any other setting. The Apple store closed at 2 p.m. and will reopen at 6 for what appears to be shaping up to be a product rush that compares with the Playstation 3 and Wii frenzy from back in December.
First in line out front of the Apple store was Vicki Baldini, who admitted that she was there to buy the phone for her husband, Anthony. She said she arrived art the mall at 5:15 a.m. and used what she called an “unfair advantage” to claim the No. 1 spot in the line. Baldini and her husband own a business, a hair salon, that is located in the mall.
Anthony Baldini’s interest in the $600 (8 gig model) iPhone was driven by the device’s Internet browser and access, Vicki Baldini said.
“He says it’s like a man’s toy,” she said. “He’s more interested in the data package. He’s probably more into it than I am, to tell you the truth.”
But when push comes to shove at 6 p.m. — and it undoubtedly will with the crowd gathered in the mall — Baldini said she will buy one for herself, as well.
“I’ll probably buy two of them if they will let us buy (more than one),” she said.
Business News reporter
I’ve been casting a nervous eye toward the news throughout the day ever since I heard reports this morning that London police found a car bomb in the British capital.
I was in London as recently as Wednesday, after having spent three weeks in the U.K. with my girlfriend–now fiancee–visiting family in my native Scotland. My Mum, step-dad and 18-year-old brother, Gordon, are still in London and are scheduled to fly back to Texas on Saturday.
Tensions are high in London, but my family is doing just fine. I texted my Mum this morning after I heard the news. In a suspicously quick return text message–making me think my brother did the typing–she reported back: “We are fine. Drinking Guiness at Wimbledon.”
Life goes on.
–Business Writer Paul Monies
By Ja’Rena Lunsford
6:19 a.m. Nearly three hours have passed since I woke up, panicking, second guessing everything I’ve ever been told by a source. Second guessing my judgment of character and second guessing myself as a journalist.
I’ve never thought of myself as gullible or naïve. I thought I could tell when something sounds too good to be true. I know when someone is trying to swindle me — at least I thought I did.
Now I’m not so sure.
One story changed that.
One story changed me.
When Troy G. Brodrick’s pastor called and told me of Brodrick’s accomplishments — a World War II hero who flew Air Force One for Dwight D. Eisenhower, earned three Purple Hearts and served with Gen. George S. Patton — I jotted the information on a scratch paper and politely said I’d get back to him. I was impressed by the story, but didn’t see how it would fit into my beat — the business of transportation.
Brodrick’s story sat forgotten for almost a month before I came across that piece of paper again. Still impressed, and now a little curious, I asked my assistant editor about the idea. We both agreed it was worth looking into.
I called the pastor back and told him I was interested in speaking to Brodrick. The 82-year-old wasn’t feeling well, he said, but wanted to do an interview. He’s wanted his story told in The Oklahoman for a long time, the pastor said.
We set up a time for the three of us to meet, April 24. I got the address to Brodrick’s Midwest City home.
“You can’t miss the house,” his pastor said. “It’s the one with the flags.”
He was right. The house’s exterior exuded the pride of a military vet, foreshadowing the stories the interior would reveal.
A tall, slender Brodrick greeted me with a hug, as he tried to balance himself. He excused his unsteadiness and said he wasn’t getting around very well that day.
My eyes immediately darted around the living room of wood-frame house. Limited strips of white were visible as pictures and plaques hung from wall to wall.
Brodrick immediately started the tour, pointing to each photo and revealing a story. There were photos of him presenting awards to soldiers, photos of him receiving awards. Photos of the aircraft he said he flew.
The tour revealed a history I had only read about and honors I had only heard about. I felt my palms get sweaty with nerves as I held a Purple Heart in my hand.
“What year did you get this,” I asked.
“1944, it’s on the back,” he said.
I flipped the heart over and traced my finger over the inscription of his name and the year. I didn’t feel worthy to be holding something so cherished. Unbeknownst to me, neither was Brodrick.
Photos Brodrick said were of his crew with him the night before D-Day, a photo of General Patton and other memories continued throughout the house.
Although we hadn’t formally sat down for the interview yet, I already felt like I knew his story.
And I was anxious for more.
Sitting in chairs side by side, Brodrick told me of his decision to join the military right out of high school. He told me of his appointment to colonel by General Patton. I was immediately impressed by his recall of dates. His memory was better than mine, I thought. His story told the tale of a young colonel. I asked him about his quick move up the ladder — colonel by 21.
General Patton was so impressed with him on the ground, Brodrick said, that he pinned the youngster immediately, thus creating Col. B.
Brodrick’s pastor sat quietly on the sofa, shaking his head in familiarity — this story and many others were not new to him. He’d heard them since October, when Brodrick first came to his church in Edmond.
Brodrick continued with his story, telling of the years he spent working for NASA in California, his friendships with astronaut Tom Stafford and Gen. Chuck Yeager and — the story I had been waiting for, the story that got my editors interested — his experience as a pilot on Air Force One.
The Air Force One story was brief, like his time as a pilot. He said he only spent about a year flying Eisenhower.
Time was up. The photographer was there. Brodrick went and put on his uniform, which was hanging on display in his hallway. I said my goodbyes and left him with my co-worker and my business card.
An hour later back at the office, photographer Jim Beckel inquired where the story will appear.
“You should see about getting that on Page 1,” he said. “That guy has such a good story. I don’t know how we’ve missed him. How did he stay below our radar?”
It was a question I had asked myself, too. Brodrick’s story was good and I felt greedy for keeping it for myself instead of saving it for a reporter who would cover Veteran’s Day or D-Day.
For the next week and half, I received phone calls from Brodrick. He inquired when the story would run, asked if I would bring him copies and thanked me for coming out. He ended every call the same way:
“You know, I’m 82 years old, and I’d do it again,” he’d say. “I love you.”
Brodrick called the day before the story appeared in the paper. By now I was used to the calls — some of which came on the weekends and or early in the morning. They were always the same. “How are you?” “Thank you for coming out.” “Keep me in your prayers.”
Brodrick told me he never married and considered the church his family. I chalked up the calls to loneliness and did my best to not sound bothered when I answered.
I told Brodrick to expect to see the story the next day. He thanked me again.
Like Brodrick’s memories, the story flowed easily. I made a few calls to him to verify some information, such as working for NASA in 1953 — my editor pointed out that NASA wasn’t created until 1958.
My notes were wrong, I assumed. I misheard the dates.
Brodrick corrected me; he worked at Edwards Air Force Base in 1953, he said.
The story was done.
I was surprised to have no calls from Brodrick awaiting me when I checked my messages the next day. He had called me for the past 10 days, but nothing on May 4, the day the story ran.
But I did get other calls. And e-mails.
“You’ve been swindled, my dear,” one e-mail read, with a 2004 interview with Brodrick attached. The interview had some of the same information, but some — such as his place of birth — was different.
“He’s at it again,” said another caller.
The questions and concerns rolled in.
But so did the Col. B fans.
A former FedEx employee e-mailed, excited to see “Col. B, from my old route.” The reader reminisced about listening to Brodrick’s stories when he would make a delivery.
Two Troy G. Brodricks were in front of me. One was a decorated war hero; the other was a fraud, muddying the name of the real war heroes. Both sides were convincing, but I knew there was only one truth.
Six weeks later, when I saw a white envelope in my mailbox I knew exactly what it was. It was Brodrick’s military records, the documents I had requested six weeks earlier. I wanted to open them and read that all the calls and e-mails alleging fraud were wrong; I wanted to see, there in black and white, that Brodrick’s story was the truth. I wanted him to be Col. B. But he wasn’t.
What he was, though, was a WWII vet who served this country. I just wish he thought his actual service was enough without the extra tales.
Connor Black was expecting to win the Junior Showman Competition at the Summer Classic Dog Show today. That is — until his Whippit, Phoenix, decided to go to the restroom during the competition.
“On the first go around in the ring, he pooped,” 15-year-old Black told me.
But despite a dirty start to the competition, Black still walked away with best of show for the junior competitors aged 15-18.
“I don’t know why I won, really,” Black said. “I guess it’s how fast I cleaned it up.”
For the fourth year, Oklahoma City is hosting the Summer Classic Dog Show. The show attracts thousands of dogs from around the nation — and even the world (I met a French trainer who breeds Beauceron, a French herding dog). With 149 breeds and over 50 pet vendors, it’s an event dog lovers will be doggone devastated to miss.
While the competition is important, for dog owners like Connor Black, nothing compares to the relationship that is established between the dogs and their owners.
“They’re basically just like people. Dogs are just wondeful,” Black said.
The show is being held Thursday through Sunday at the Cox Convention Center. Tickets are $7 for adults and $3 for children under 12. For more information, visit the American Kennel Club’s Web site.
All the employees at the Apple retail store in Penn Square Mall (except for a couple guys behind the Genius Bar) on Thursday afternoon wore black T-shirts that featured a June 29 calendar image with the words “the wait is almost over” beneath it.
They were all pointing to Friday’s launch of the iPhone, of course. Everywhere you turned in the store you were confronted with a display or an image of the iPhone. Even the wallpaper on the computer displays pitched the iPhone.
As I strolled through the store, I tried to figure out what the iPhone debut compared with.
Was it the Xbox 360 launch that had thousands waiting in line a couple years ago? Was it the midnight madness of the Windows 95 launch in the mid-1990s? I remember the local Egghead store on N May being inundated with frenzied customers wanting their copy of Windows when it went on sale at midnight. If they only knew what they were getting.
Somehow the iPhone seems to transcend the marketing of mere gadgets and toys and software. The whole nation seems to be awaiting its debut, even if only a few million will actually be able to afford the $500 or $600 price tag of the Swiss Army knife of wireless communications gadgets.
OK, here is what I compare it to: the 1969 moon landing and Neil Armstrong’s first steps on another planet. I’m not saying it compares in importance, but the buzz certainly seems to be in that league.
If the moon landing is too outlandish, then how about The Beatles debut on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964? I think that may be a more apt comparison.
A sign at the entrance to the Apple store said “We will be closed from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. to get ready” for the iPhone launch. I spoke with an employee on the floor who told me “there will be a line.” The retailer was discouraging people from spending the night in the mall, he said.
The store will stay open until midnight on Friday.
Meanwhile, AT&T stores will close from 4:30-6 p.m. to prepare for the launch and remain open until 10 p.m. Friday.
Business News reporter
Brides beware! The Oklahoma Tax Commission recently shut down one of Oklahoma City’s bridal shops, and one Edmond bride-to-be almost lost her dress in the process.
After briefly closing in February and failing to meet a payout plan with the tax commission, Sabra Bridal & Formal, 7101 NW Expressway, closed June 21 with little fanfare–until now.
A spokeswoman from the tax commission said she has already received “several” calls from brides worried about the status of their orders. Sabra is not open for business, but if the store completes a transaction with a customer who has already placed an order, it will not be a violation of the close order, she said.
Although I’m not planning a wedding of my own, I am a recent college graduate who tends to spend most weekends attending bridal events–engagement parties, showers, rehearsal dinners and, of course, the big day–so I’ve heard of Sabra and know it’s a popular bridal destination.
Which leads me to this question: Has this place left many brides empty-handed? If so, I want to hear from them. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.