Rachel Beckwith’s story is a testament to human kindness.
Rachel, a 9-year-old from Bellevue, Wash., died last year in an automobile accident. At the time, she was trying to raise $300 to help bring clean water to Africa.
As her 10th birthday approached, she asked friends and family to forgo buying her presents and instead donate to a New York-based group called charity: water. News of Rachel’s quest spread following her death, and it resulted in nearly 32,000 people giving a total of $1.27 million.
This week, the girl’s mother, grandparents and others were in Ethiopia visiting the wells built with Rachel’s gift. That money will go a long way. Charity: water says a $20 donation can provide one person with clean drinking water for decades.
“There’s something about Rachel and her story that has touched people and inspired them,” her mother told The Associated Press. “She was such a special girl.”
This month Greenland’s ice sheet experienced dramatic change. About 97 percent of the ice sheet experienced melting over four days. The largest melt area observed by satellites over the past three decades covered just 55 percent.
Is this “proof” of global warming? Not really.
Ice core records show similar melting occurred in 1889 and indicate similar melts have happened every 150 years. Greenland’s history is filled with dramatic temperature change. The Norse Vikings arrived around 980, during a 300-year-long warm period. Then around 1100, the average temperature dropped 7 degrees Fahrenheit in about 80 years, driving the Vikings out.
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that over the past 5,600 years the Greenland arrivals and departures of the Vikings and two other groups coincided with major, rapid temperature changes.
A changing climate is not proof that mankind is changing the climate.
Dan Cathy has stirred up quite a hornet’s nest.
Cathy, president of the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain, had the audacity to say recently that he defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman: “Guilty as charged.” This has riled up the liberal masses.
Boston’s mayor says he no longer wants Chick-fil-A in his city. The company behind the Muppets backed out of a deal to partner with Chick-fil-A on kids meals toys. An alderman in Chicago says he plans to prevent the company from building a restaurant in his ward. “If you are discriminating against a segment of the community, I don’t want you in the 1st Ward,” he said.
But Chick-fil-A isn’t discriminating against anyone. Cathy is an easy target because he’s an unabashed Christian who walks the walk — for example, his restaurants are closed on Sundays.
If Cathy were a Muslim, would anyone have said boo about his stance on gay marriage? No way. He certainly wouldn’t have been subjected to vitriol such as that spewed by “actress” Roseanne Barr, who tweeted that those who eat “antibiotic filled tortured chickens 4Christ” deserve to get “the cancer that is sure to come.”
Oklahoma Republicans have been enjoying a good run in the state Senate. They picked up six seats in the chamber in 2010, giving them a veto-proof majority. This year, two more seats automatically flipped to GOP control when no Democrats filed after the incumbents declined to seek re-election.
However, Republicans are now hitting a few bumps in the road.
The Republican challenger for the Ada-based Senate seat is in jail for failure to pay child support, and failure to pay fines for driving with an open container and driving without a driver’s license. Republicans also lost an opportunity in less-embarrassing fashion in the northeastern Senate District 1, where GOP candidate Michael Romero, withdrew from the race after getting a job in Oklahoma City.
Although it’s likely small comfort to Democrats, things clearly could be worse.
In March, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney drew just 28 percent of the vote in Oklahoma’s Republican presidential primary. That led some to suggest Romney’s past political moderation and his Mormon faith were a bridge too far for Oklahoma conservatives. Some thought Romney would struggle to attract state voters this November.
Looks like those predictions were wrong — very wrong. In May, a SoonerPoll survey found Romney leading President Barack Obama 62-27 in Oklahoma while a poll by Cole Hargrave Snodgrass & Associates found Romney leading 55-30.
And now it appears Romney is on track to shatter Oklahoma fundraising records for a presidential candidate. As of June, Romney has raised $1.9 million in Oklahoma, just shy of the fundraising record for the entire election cycle.
If Oklahomans had any reservations about Romney, Obama’s pitiful economic record and love of big government solutions made Oklahoma voters forget all about them.
“Iconic” is a word overused by a profession (our own) that seems to find an iconic this or that on every block. Yet it’s hard to otherwise describe Stage Center in downtown Oklahoma City, said to be an iconic piece of architecture that must be saved primarily because it’s an iconic piece of architecture.
That it’s not much else except an unused, deteriorating structure on a valuable piece of land is self-evident. No one has come forward to rescue this John Johansen-designed building that opened in 1970 and is featured in architecture textbooks.
The New York Times reported in April on a slew of Modernist buildings reaching middle age and showing signs of decay. Slapping the “iconic” label on such structures won’t save them. That takes cash and determination, the kind that rescued the Skirvin Plaza Hotel but not the International-style Downtown YMCA building.
The Union Tank Car Dome, a spitting image of the Gold Dome at NW 23 in Classen, was completed in Baton Rouge, La., in 1958, in the heyday of geodesic dome guru Buckminster Fuller. Its unique design and links to a famous designer didn’t save the dome. It was demolished in 2007 after years of disuse. Stage Center has reached that phase and could be next on the list of “iconic” structures to fall.
Here’s the ironic mixed with the iconic: Stage Center was part of a downtown redesign plan that resulted in the demolition of historic properties that would surely be called “iconic” today.
Oklahomans have long been known for their generosity. After the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, the “Oklahoma standard” became nationally known due to the response of local citizens to the tragedy. We take pride in being good neighbors.
Citizens of Ethiopia knew about the Oklahoma standard long before the 1990s even though their neighborhood is far, far from Oklahoma. A new documentary highlights that fact, focusing on efforts by Oklahoma professors and students to share agriculture knowledge with the people of Ethiopia decades ago.
The project was conceived in 1949 and resulted in development of a rich coffee industry in Ethiopia at that time. Mel Tewahade, whose father was governor of Harer in Ethiopia in the 1960s, recalls how his dad “used to tell me how beautiful these people are.” Until that time, Tewahade “didn’t know what Oklahoma was.”
Oklahomans should take pride in that legacy.
Dogs. Is there nothing they can’t smell?
We ask because of news that the state’s only bed bug-sniffing canine has been dispatched to Tulsa to check out the books and the furniture in the downtown library. Ms. Liberty Belle, a beagle, will do the sniffing.
With recent outbreaks of bed bugs in the hotels of New York, trained dogs have become the front line (no pun intended in relation to flea treatment) for detection of the blood-sucking parasites. A New York Times story in 2010 placed the accuracy of the dogs at 97 percent for finding the bugs or their eggs.
Tulsa’s library will get a scent scan from a beagle whose ability to read is somewhat limited but whose snout is worth a thousand words.
The Del City Council said not just no, but heck no, this week to the idea of turning a church property into a halfway house.
Operators of the halfway house wanted to relocate from SE 51 and Interstate 35 to a Baptist church whose property is for sale. The church’s pastor was to serve as chaplain to the halfway house.
But the council on Monday voted 5-0 against the idea, in front of a full house in council chambers. The vote wasn’t a surprise. Previously the city’s planning commission had unanimously rejected the plan, after hearing from an overflow crowd that spoke against it.
“I’m sorry for the people who are incarcerated,” one longtime Del City resident said at the council meeting. “But a residential area is no place for a facility like that.” The question becomes, what area is?