The Internet has certainly made some things easier.
But it has also presented many new challenges.
Chad Brown sold his vehicle to Car Cannibal in Oklahoma City in October. He found the business on-line after searching for options to sell his vehicle. Going in to March, he has yet to receive payment for it.
I understand Brown’s plight, and so does the owner of Car Cannibal, according to his remarks below.
It took several phone calls and emails to finally get comments from the business owner, but when he finally contacted me through email, he told a side of the story we wouldn’t have otherwise known.
There have been many problems over the last two to three years with my business and I take full responsibility for those issues. I am committed to completing this and have put everything I have into it. I am unsure how a story will us affect us now …a more appealing story could read how a struggling small Oklahoma business pulled itself out of turmoil despite economic uncertainties.
But anyone can learn from Chad’s story. Do your homework, especially if you are doing business with a company that isn’t nearby. Also, check the Better Business Bureau and see if there are local agencies that regulate the business.
I’ve been in this business a long time and have seen plenty, but in the last couple years I’ve either been out of touch with reality or drifted conservative.
A few months ago we started running stories about a Tulsa woman having sex with dogs. The stories made the rounds on the Web and I think may have ended up No.1 for page views for 2008.
Today, the top article: The octuplets’ mother is offered $1 million for a porn film.
I know I can’t put my three young daughters in a bubble. They’re avid online and newspaper readers. But my explanations to them are getting trite.
Marcia Robinson Lowry, executive director of Children’s Rights, said the audit documents some of the problems cited in a federal lawsuit the group filed in Tulsa last year.
The lawsuit seeks to fix the state’s foster care system, which attorneys claim is broken.
Lowry said the audit shows the state Department of Human Services needs significant reform.
Children’s Rights wants to turn its lawsuit, filed on behalf of nine children in foster care, into a class-action case for all children in state custody.
A federal judge in Tulsa will hear arguments on the matter March 30.
More troops are joining the fight to keep a convicted killer behind bars, an Oklahoma County prosecutor said Monday.
Assistant District Attorney Suzanne Lister said a number of murder victim Nancy Heuring’s friends have contacted her since a story about Dedra Wilhite’s bid for parole was published in The Oklahoman on Sunday.
Lister said they are now adding their voices to the chorus protesting the prospect of early release for Wilhite, 30, who has served less than half of her 35-year term for second-degree murder.
Wilhite pleaded guilty to helping a friend kill Heuring in 1994 when both teenagers were employed as caretakers for the former state Department of Human Services worker, who suffered from multiple sclerosis.
Co-defedant Carie Walker was denied parole earlier this month when Heuring’s nephew, former Olympic diver Kent Ferguson, joined prosecutors to protest her bid for early release.
Wilhite was cleared for early release by the parole board in November, leaving it to Gov. Brad Henry to decide whether she should get out of prison.
Lister said Heuring’s friends are writing letters urging Henry to keep Wilhite in prison.
Nancy Heuring had few options for care,” Cortner wrote, “and the senseless violent tragedy that occured is unsufferable to all Oklahomans.”
The governor has not ruled on Wilhite’s bid for parole.
These are not the best of times for the Peanut Corporation of America, which is seeking bankruptcy protection in Virginia after being linked to a salmonella outbreak that led to one of the largest product recalls in U.S. history.
The company warned Friday against using any products that originated at its plants in Blakely, Ga., and Plainview, Texas, since January 2007.
It is no longer communicating with customers because of bankruptcy proceedings that began Feb. 13. All inquiries about the company’s products are now being handled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recall coordinators.
Products from the Georgia plant have been recalled after an outbreak strain of salmonella that has sickened more than 650 in 44 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The infection has been tied to at least nine deaths.
The company’s Texas plant was shut down Feb. 12 by state health officials, who ordered a recall of all products manufactured there since March 2005.
More than 2,500 products have been recalled and the list continues to grow, but major brands of peanut butter available in stores have not been affected.
I’ve been diligently covering the story about Seminole County Sheriff Joe Craig since he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor alcohol charges on Feb. 6. The sheriff has vowed not to step down from his post before the next election in 2012 despite calls from county leaders asking him to resign. The Oklahoman has various stories that Ann Kelley and I have written about the situation, and we are working daily to keep apprised with what is going on in Wewoka.
I was bound and determined to find the minor girl mentioned in Craig’s guilty plea and hear her side of the story. It was the part of the puzzle that didn’t quite add up. Tracking her down wasn’t too hard, either. With a little savvy and understanding of how teenagers work, the Internet has most certainly made a once large world much smaller and more connected. I was able to reach her, and with a few assurances and tearful exchanges, I set up a time for us to visit.
I met her at a country home near Seminole. It was small and quaint on the inside, but with all the necessary accoutrements of a home: Nuzzling puppies, shag carpet that makes one want to grab a pillow and sleep on the floor, and a blazing space heater near the rear of the room to keep everyone warm and comfortable.
She was helping attend to her little cousin, and in a few instances on the audio recording you can hear her cooing and speaking with the other adult in the room about boots and horses.
The backdrop was normal, comfortable Oklahoma. I sat and spoke with the girl for nearly 2 hours Feb. 17 in addition to a 45-minute interview I did with her the night before. Much of her story was painful and she choked back tears. At other times, anger seemed to boil up from the bottom of her small frame as she talked through her relationship with Joe Craig.
It was a relationship. He’s since likened her to a granddaughter (see link below), and she’s known him since she was a kid, she told me. They’d go to horse auctions together; he’d call her up and take her places like senior citizen dances in Ada. So she didn’t think anything of it when he called her the day the accounts turn sour and foggy.
In television interviews, Craig decried not being able to give his own granddaughter a drink, likening it to speeding. He also denied driving with an open container despite having pleaded guilty to doing so in court.
Today, The Oklahoman editor Ed Kelley didn’t beat around the bush. Like the Seminole County Commissioners, he called for Craig to step down.
We’ll keep following the story.
We’ve joined the Twitter-verse.
To follow us, go to WatchdogOK on Twitter. We’ll be posting updates on our stories and investigations, as well as links to other interesting sites across the Web.
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–Database Editor Paul Monies
Crystal Long of Moore asked for the Watchdogs’ help in trying to track down witnesses to an accident she was in. Normally, the team doesn’t chase cars, but fender benders are such as common occurrence we figured readers can relate. Who knows, helping might even settle some demons for someone still angry over a fender bender in their life.
So anyway, Crystal was driving north on Interstate 44 about 8:30 a.m. Thursday and was about to merge onto I-40 west when, according to her, without warning a blue Chevy truck whipped into her lane. She drives a 2000 silver Pontiac Sunfire.
“The other lady in the blue truck had a different story, she is not fessing up,”
Crystal has about $2,000 worth of damage on her car, but only has liability insurance. She’s a single mom, student and works full-time, she said.
“I didn’t know that I needed a witness or I would have flagged someone down,” she said.
Amid a raging torrent of product recalls, the Girl Scouts are assuring would-be cookie buyers that their products are safe to eat.
Two varieties of Girl Scout cookies with peanut butter do not contain any products from Peanut Corporation of America, the company tied to a salmonella outbreak, said a spokeswoman for Girl Scouts-Western Oklahoma Inc.
Food safety is of the utmost importance to us,” spokeswoman Catherine Wagner said in an email to The Oklahoman. ”We have and continue to work closely with all of our ingredient suppliers to ensure that they continue to exceed food industry operating standards as part of our goal to bake safe, great tasting Girl Scout Cookies. In addition to our expectations of ingredient suppliers, our suppliers are subject to rigorous food safety audits from independent third party auditors.”
The salmonella outbreak has led to the recall of more than 2,200 products that contained peanuts linked to a Georgia plant.
More than 600 people have gotten sick after being infected with the outbreak strain of salmonella, including four in Oklahoma. The bacteria has been attributed to nine deaths since the outbreak began in September.
This is a serious issue that I believe lives up to the reasons that I everl became a journalist in the first place. Our job is to educate you on what is going on so that you can make the best decisions possible. We were questioned on our judgment in posting the video and questions that we would like to ask Sheriff Craig. Yes, it’s a little edgy. Yes, it is going after a public official in a different way. But just because it’s unusual does not make it wrong. It just means we are willing to push things a little bit further in order to get the information needed to form solid opinions. This is an issue that deserves answers, not silence. In this case, the lack of response coming from the sheriff’s side smacks of an arrogance and a belief not that he is above the law, but that he owes no one explanation. This is a public official who works for the people, and if the people want an explanation, then it is most certainly owed. He works for the residents of Seminole County, and YOU are the ones who set the standards. Also, as an addendum, we will be following this, keeping in contact with officials in Seminole County and those involved in the process. Thank you for your continued feedback and response. This is an important discussion and one that should continue.