ENGINEER DON DOUGLAS AND DEVON ENERGY CEO LARRY NICHOLS INSPECT THE SECOND OKLAHOMA RIVER CRUISER STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION
The boat didn’t sink.
Actually, the first Oklahoma River Cruiser, the Devon Discovery, performed flawlessly Wednesday on its first full trial run. Those on board, and sometimes taking the wheel, included former Mayor Ron Norick and Devon Energy CEO Larry Nichols.
The boat bares no resemblence to the water taxis that carry thousands of passengers a year on the nearby Bricktown Canal. The 65-foot-long, 49-passenger touring boat includes an enclosed cabin that has ample seating and accomodations for parties and regular passenger transit. The boat is equiped with a restroom, so long trips won’t be a worry. I suspect most Oklahoma City residents will be surprised when they finally get to see the boats for themselves.
Award-winning Oklahoman photographer John Clanton recorded the entire trip for an online www.newsok.com video that will accompany coverage this weekened. To get just the right images, Clanton crawled into the boat’s engine room and then climbed aboard a separate raft to film the Discovery speeding by.
It’s just another day on the job for Mr. Clanton.
- Steve Lackmeyer, Business Writer
Devon Energy CEO Larry Nichols and former Mayor Ron Norick are leading a delegation visiting Albany, New York today as they participate in the first trial run of the Oklahoma River Cruisers that will arrive in Oklahoma later this year.
While enjoying dinner Tuesday evening, they spent much of their time discussing the Oklahoma City Public Schools bond issue and the Tulsa river tax – both being decided as these two Oklahoma City civic leaders were halfway across the country. They were shocked at the margin of victory for the school bonds – 78 percent – and disappointed by the loss of the Tulsa tax.
The Tulsa proposition would have funded an ambitious redevelopment of the Arkansas River, and Norick and Nichols showed no hometown bias in hoping the initiative would pass and spark the sort of revival now being seen along the Oklahoma River.
They also spent much of their evening discussing other cities that have developed once ignored riverfronts. Their ambition for the Oklahoma River may not include the funding proposed as part of the failed Tulsa tax, but it’s every bit as far-reaching.
-Steve Lackmeyer, Business Writer
For most of the decade-plus that I knew my late father in-law, he carried a humongous bag phone on the dash of his old Ford pickup truck.
George Bottom was a farmer in western Oklahoma, and spent much of his day in his pickup truck far out in the pasture tending cattle or repairing fences and equipment.
But it was his choice of the bag phone that amused me. It weighed about 10 pounds, was covered with dust from the red western Oklahoma dirt and sometimes would fall from its perch on the dash into the floorboard.
It worked, however, and that’s all George cared about. He had no use for new-fangled flip phones or tiny handhelds.
George passed away in 2003, and I thought the use of bag phones may have died with him.
Now Motorola has revived the bulky bag phone in a couple of models that are being marketed by wireless companies in Oklahoma. The new digital bag phones are targeted for farmers like George, and the energy and forestry industries, officials with U.S. Cellular told me.
When I saw that bag phone at a local U.S. Cellular office, it brought back a flood of memories — all of them good ones — about my father in-law.
Long live the bag phone.
Business News Reporter
Yes, commuter boats really will soon be cruising the Oklahoma River. A delegation led by Devon Energy CEO Larry Nichols and former Mayor Ron Norick will be traveling Tuesday to Albany, New York as Scarano Boats begins trial runs of the 49-passenger Oklahoma River Cruiser dubbed the Devon Discovery. The boat is 65 feet long and will be among three to be delivered to Oklahoma City over the next 18 months. The Discovery will arrive later this month.
A decade ago, the Oklahoma River was hardly a river at all, and was widely derided as having to be mowed three times a year. That all changed with a $54 million waterway restoration funded through the city’s Metropolitan Area Projects program.
I’ll be accompanying the delegation to Albany, and will report back on the trial run, the boats’ construction, and how the boats are expected to promote development along the Oklahoma River.
- Steve Lackmeyer, Business Writer
Below are some excerpts from an Associated Press story on this year’s winners of the Nobel Prize in medicine. This is particularly pertinent because Oklahoma researchers are using some of the same techniques on tiny roundworms.
Mario R. Capecchi, Oliver Smithies and Sir Martin J. Evans won for their groundbreaking discoveries that led to “gene targeting.”
“The process has helped scientists develop models on mice of human disorders including cardiovascular and neurodegenerative ailments, diabetes and cancer. … Gene targeting is often used to inactivate single genes. Such gene “knockout” experiments have elucidated the roles of numerous genes in embryonic development, adult physiology, aging and disease. To date, more than 10,000 mouse genes (approximately half of the genes in the mammalian genome) have been knocked out. … With gene targeting it is now possible to produce almost any type of DNA modification in the mouse genome, allowing scientists to establish the roles of individual genes in health and disease,” according to the prize citation.
Research on C. elegans, the worm used in The C. elegans Knockout Consortium at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, has won several Nobel Prizes, but this year’s is the first for gene targeting. The OMRF knockout project creates genetically modified worms on a production-line scale and is a crucial link between scientists’ curiosities and ability to test their ideas on a “model organism.” This year’s Nobel Prize for medicine went to scientists who pioneered the method in mice.
Mice are more complicated — both good and bad, from a research perspective — but that doesn’t detract from the importance of the technology this year’s winners developed and its diffusion to Oklahoma and elsewhere.
Any time my eyes glaze over when I hear about/read about research, I think about what it is scientists are able to do in the lab and how global research powerhouses no longer have a monopoly on talent and technology.
Please check out The Medicine Bag blog at http://blog.newsok.com/health
Jeff Raymond, Medical Writer
Each week here on the newsroom blog, the weekly quiz tests your news knowledge. Now, you diehard news junkies don’t have to wait a week — study up every weekday by taking our NewsOK.com daily quiz. Go to NewsOK.com and click on the “quiz” icon. Answer five questions on topics in the news to determine your NIQ (news intelligence quotient). Take it every day to prepare for our weekly quiz, which will include some questions featured in the daily quizzes — plus a few extras, just to keep you on your toes. Here’s the latest weekly quiz:
1. A recent study of older people finds less risk of Alzheimer’s among those who:
a) Drink plenty of coffee
b) Eat an apple a day
c) Are more conscientious and self-disciplined
d) Have parents with the disease
2. How did former University of Oklahoma professor Anita Hill react to U.S. Justice Clarence Thomas’ book, “My Grandfather’s Son”?
a) She bought TV air time to tell her side
b) She filed a lawsuit seeking $10 million
c) She called him a big fat liar
d) She rebutted his claims in a New York Times column
3. New rules have gone into effect requiring day care centers to:
a) Serve pizza on Fridays
b) Limit the ratio of boys to girls
c) Make sure bandages and gloves are ready when knees are skinned
d) Have inspection reports available for parents
4. Tulsa-based pop group Hanson canceled several concert appearance because member Isaac Hanson, 26, had to be treated for a blood clot in his lung. The group is best known for what 1997 hit?
a) “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)”
b) “Bye Bye Bye”
d) “I Want It That Way”
5. Fifty years ago, the Russians kicked off the space race by launching Sputnik, the first manmade satellite. How big was the history-making craft?
a) Roughly the size of a 1957 Volkswagen
b) The same size and shape as a phone booth
c) About the size of a beach ball
d) The size of a football field
6. Besides Chinese-made products being recalled because of high lead levels, what other manufacturer had to pull products off the 6. Which is NOT on the list of how you can go green (environmentally speaking)?
a) Don’t wash clothes in hot water
b) Choose the microwave over the oven
c) Unplug appliances when not in use
d) Don’t shut down computer every day
7. Why did Gov. Brad Henry and a group of mostly attorneys travel to Brazil, according to trip organizer Terry West of Shawnee?
a) They went fishing
b) They wanted to study other methods of jurisprudence
c) They were there for Carnival
d) They wanted to surprise those who thought they were going to Canada
8. How did state schools Superintendent Sandy Garrett propose to improve learning?
a) Offer cash for correct answers in class
b) Extend the school year five days and lengthen the school day by an hour
c) Combine biofeedback techniques with high-speed computer interfaces
d) Send poor performers out of state
9. Zac Robinson, Oklahoma State University’s sophomore starting quarterback, went to high school in Littleton, Colo. To which Big 12 Conference program did he originally commit?
a) Texas Tech
c) Kansas State
10. Jurors in a 2006 drive-by-shooting case were taken out of court and shown how to:
a) Fire a semiautomatic rifle
b) Drive a fast car using one hand and fire a gun with the other hand
c) Drive a manual shift car and fire a pistol
d) Start a car using a rubber band, a shoe lace and a paper clip
11. The presence of remote-control toys on airplanes has raised new concerns. Why?
a) They could interfere with navigation
b) They could be used to detonate bombs
c) They could disturb sleeping passengers
d) They won’t operate at high altitudes
12. Like many people who bought the product early, a New York woman is angry at Apple for cutting the price of a recent gizmo by $200 soon after it was introduced. She’s so mad, she’s seeking $1 million in damages in a lawsuit filed over what Apple product?
13. What did Texas A&M football coach Dennis Franchione do that has critics calling for his resignation?
a) Benched his starting quarterback
b) Sold subscriptions to a secret newsletter
c) Yelled at a reporter
d) Installed cameras in the visitors’ lockers
14. What were three people accused of illegally circulating a petition in Oklahoma trying to get onto a state ballot in 2005?
a) Abortion rights
b) Animal rights
c) Taxpayer rights
d) Right to tattoo fish
15. Federal officials are overseeing a cleanup effort in Snyder after what was found in the bleachers of the high school football stadium?
a) Uranium 238
b) Petroleum residue
16. Los Angeles deputies have caused alarm by doing what during their day-to-day work routine as peace officers?
a) Judging beachfront beauty contests
b) Holding contests for how many arrests each deputy could make
c) Competing in “ultimate fighting” matches
d) Holding target-shooting competitions with seagulls as targets
17. Celebrating his birthday, Barry Switzer attributed his great career at the University of Oklahoma to:
a) Being hired as the Sooners’ offensive coordinator
b) Being turned down for the job of head coach at Michigan State
c) Chuck Fairbanks’ being hired to coach the New England Patriots
d) All of the above
18. Iraq’s foreign minister said Iran is punishing the wrong people for the arrest of an Iranian official. Who did he say they were punishing incorrectly?
b) O.J. Simpson
d) The U.S. military
19. State officials said what rate is down to its lowest point in nearly a decade?
a) Babies named George
b) Drunken driving arrests
c) Inmate paroles
d) New outhouse construction
20. University of Oklahoma football who were heading to the State fair of Texas over the weekend may have had a hard time purchasing:
a) Funnel cakes
b) Fried Twinkies
c) Corn dogs
How did you do on the quiz? Here are the correct answers:
1-C; 2-D; 3-D; 4-C; 5-C; 6-D; 7-A; 8-B; 9-C; 10-A; 11-B; 12-A; 13-B; 14-C; 15-C; 16-B; 17-D; 18-A; 29-C; 20-D
Another week has passed. Here is your chance to catch up on news stories you might have missed.
Did you grow up in the WWII era? If you helped the war effort here at home, we want to hear your story. Were you Rosie the Riveter? Do you still have your ration book? Did you do anything special to support the troops? Can you describe what Oklahoma was like during the war? Call Ken Raymond at 475-3331 or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
What I remember most is her laugh. She had the best laugh, the kind that you could hear from across a room. She had the kind of laugh that made you want to know her and a smile that warmed whoever she graced with it.
Four years ago, my aunt, Glennis Porter, died of breast cancer. This month, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I’ll wear a pink bracelet in her memory and in the hopes that other women will fight breast cancer and survive.
A big part of that fight is awareness, which is one of the goals of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. The foundation encourages women to have healthy lifestyles, get regular screenings to detect cancer early when its more treatable and to know the factors that can increase risk, like a family history. You can show your support of breast cancer awareness at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Oct. 20 in Oklahoma City. Registration is now open. For more information, go to http://www.komencentralok.org/site/PageServer.
I think my aunt will be smiling. – Dawn Marks, MyEdmond reporter
Elderly patients who were diagnosed with a stroke in a hospital emergency room, including many who had had a stroke previously, still didn‘t identify their symptoms as stroke-related and delayed seeking medical care for as long as eight days, according to a study by the American College of Emergency Physicians.
“Despite numerous efforts to educate the public about stroke symptoms, the people most likely to suffer stroke – the elderly – still don‘t recognize this ‘ killer ‘ even when it is happening to them,” said researcher Dr. Latha Stead of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. “Half of the patients we studied had even had a stroke previously and they still did not make the connection between the two events. We need to do a better job of educating people that stroke is a medical emergency and that they need to get to the emergency room.”
Researchers studied 344 stroke patients in hospitals, all age 65 and older.
The most -frequent stroke symptoms are: weakness, an inability to speak or slurred speech, mental confusion, dizziness, numbness or tingling in an arm, or a facial droop. Even some of the patients who knew their symptoms suggested stroke still didn‘t come to the emergency department right away, according to the study.
“Some of the reasons are really heartbreaking: patients were afraid to come to the emergency department alone because they feared dying at the hospital alone; and others didn’t want to inconvenience a friend or family member by asking to go to the hospital,” said Stead. “In fact, you are less likely to die if you get to the ER as soon as possible. And the inconvenience you might cause a family member is nothing compared to the inconvenience of lasting stroke damage!”
Annually in the United States, 700,000 people suffer a stroke, with 150,000 of those dying .
“The vast majority of the studied patients were independent in their daily activities,” said Dr. Stead. “With early medical intervention and good care, they have a much better chance of keeping it that way even after stroke!”
-Jim Killackey, medical writer