Monday, August 20, 2012

Predicting the football finishes

Predictions are like a person’s exterior region.

As in, everybody has one.

It’s the time of the year when newspapers and magazines are predicting the expected outcomes of Oklahoma high school football districts.

This is an inexact science, as you may recall.

It’s a good thing people do not depend on these predictions for income. I know I wouldn’t like that wager. There is no way to predict what a bunch of 15-18 year olds will do.

Factor in injuries, stage fright and much more and it becomes an impossible call.

Most of the predictions are based on either last year’s success or the number of starters returning.

I have looked over magazines and newspaper and decided to give you what they say, and what I expect to happen.

In 4A-4, Poteau is predicted to finish somewhere between third and sixth. Everybody says the district winner will come from Sallisaw and Cascia Hall. It is a tangled mess for the final two spots.

Broken Bow is mentioned in most predictions based on the number of returning starters, along with Fort Gibson, Poteau and Muldrow.

I’m going with Cascia Hall to win the district with second-place coming down to the Poteau and Sallisaw game, the district opener for both teams win week four.  This isn’t a homer pick, mind you, but based on what I saw in the scrimmage last week and the Pirates’ performance against Catoosa and Tulsa Memorial on Friday.

The Pirates will have a good test when they host Mena on Thursday in their final scrimmage.

In 3A-8, county teams Spiro and Heavener will compete. Spiro is usually mentioned in the top four while Heavener is near, or at the bottom. I think Stigler will probably win the district with Spiro, Checotah and Valliant competing for the final three spots.

Vian is the overwhelming choice in 2A-6. Pocola was predicted to finish in the top four in one poll I saw, but after the Wolverines and Hartshorne, the final two spots are wide open. I expect Panama to open some eyes this year.

Talihina is back in class A and predicted to finish behind Gore and Savanna. Uh, wrong.  With a load of starters back and dropping down a class, the Tigers will finish in the top two and wouldn’t surprise me to win the district.

Arkoma is picked in the top three of its district but has to replace a lot of starters. Bokoshe is expected to finish near the bottom of the district.

You can discuss the upcoming football season

Friday, August 17, 2012

And let the battle begin...

Imagine you are at Friday Night Fights, or in this case, Oklahoma fights.

In one corner, you have the powerful Oklahoma Tourism and Parks Department.

And the challenger in the other corner, the people of LeFlore County, represented by the Poteau Chamber of Commerce!

The fight will be to decide if there will be a Christmas Light Display at Wister Lake this year, or, more appropriately, will the tourism department help, like they have done since the event originated in 2003.

The first blow was delivered by the tourism department: No, there will be no help! We don’t have the manpower to assist in the display. Do it yourself! We will let you do it, but no help from us!

The challengers came back with a request that isn’t it your job and duty to actually support events like this, to bring tourists to Oklahoma? That is what the tourism department is designed to do and our tax payers support your department.

Tsk, tsk, the department shakes their head as they engage in a staredown. Don’t these people learn? Can’t they remember the Runestone? We do what we want. The governor is a buddy of our director, fools!

But wait, the locals fire back, we raise money every year to buy more and better displays. We don’t ask for your help in buying lights, just in putting up and taking down the displays and lights. This brings people from as far away as Arkansas to our state to visit and spend money, contributing to our state’s economy.

We will not use our manpower to put up or take down the lights, the tourism department counters with an uppercut. Even though we have $300 gazillion hidden away, we won’t spend the time or money for something in LeFlore County! What, you think you people down there are important?

The good people of LeFlore County are about to deliver a solid combination when Rep. James Lockhart fights through the crowd to join the fracas. He sends a solid right with a letter to the governor of the state, who will likely hide in her office and not get involved, much like the way she did during the tourism department’s foolish decision to close state parks.

The tourism department takes Rep. Lockhart’s fight and counters with the old we are losing money at the park and have had to take a 22 percent cut in the department!

The fight continues, but winds up in a draw!
There are no winners. The tourism department slips out the side door without making any changes. The chamber forges ahead with plans to try and keep the display, even without the help of our tourism department.

And once again, LeFlore County and its people are ignored.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Save the lights!

The Heavener Runestone is one of Oklahoma’s better attractions.

Unfortunately, in the summer of 2011,  the Oklahoma Parks and Recreation washed its hands of the park and six others around the state. The city of Heavener is responsible for the upkeep, maintenance and advertising.

Now, one of the county’s more popular events is in danger of shutting down.

Since 2003, thousands of local and not-so-local residents have visited Wister Lake to drive through the beautiful Christmas Light display on Quarry Island.


It is a great way to bring visitors to the county, who can see a great display and hopefully shop in the county.

Unfortunately, park officials have notified organizers the staff will no longer help in putting up the display or taking it down after the tour ends.

Who is to blame? A person close to the situation says it is split between local and state officials.

Sure, this is more work for the workers at the lake, in addition to their other duties.

But isn’t it worth it?

Think this would happen if it was a park in Oklahoma City? I don’t.

Organizers are hoping to save the display, which they have worked extremely hard to grow each year. Volunteers greet the visitors at the entrance to the display and the guests give donations to help maintain and add more lights.

Some of the lights from last year were never even taken down.

So unless something is changed, if you want to see an excellent Christmas light display, be prepared to travel to Muskogee or some other distant location come December.

If you want to help save the Christmas Lights at Wister Lake, contact the Poteau Chamber of Commerce at (918) 647-9178.

You can also contact the Oklahoma Parks and Recreation Department at (800) 652-6552 or by email at

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A strange request

Since April, I have been publishing, a website about Oklahoma sports from the pros down to high schools.

The site has stories and links to other stories on Oklahoma sports, including teams and players with ties to our state. Many of the state’s teams and schools send me their press releases and I post them.

All the stories are broken down by sport, along with team or school. I am working on updating high school scores by school and have got most of the Heavener information published. The Heavener page has 99.9 percent of the football scores back to 1926, along with pictures, stories, coaching records and much more.

You can see the Heavener page HERE. Eventually, I hope to have the same sort of page set up for each school in the state.

The website has not caught on like I expected. I blame this on bad marketing on behalf of the publisher.

Over the weekend, I purchased a book on marketing. So I have been reading up on marketing, looking for a way to spread information about the site and get the word out.

I have been posting updates to’s Facebook page and the Google + page, and sent out some emails to get people to visit the site and read the stories.

Last night, I woke up about an hour after falling asleep with a strange idea. I would send out an email to one friend, ask him to send out emails to anybody he knows might be interested in the site, and ask them to do the same.

I would ask that if they like the site to do the whole like thing on the site’s Facebook page and see if and how many people liked the site and how many hits the site received. And also to request they also forward the request to the people who are interested in sports, especially Oklahoma sports.

Plus, I decided to write this blog to help. Currently, the site has 50 fans. But instead of just sending out the email to the person, who is still considered a friend but who might reconsider after this request, I ask that you do the same.

Visit the site. If you like it, please like it on Facebook and share a link to this blog with anybody you think might be interested and ask them to do the same. Then ask them to repeat and keep it going.

I will report back the results, whether they are great or it was a waste of time.

Plus, I have even a stranger idea in the works for next week.

Monday, August 13, 2012

A new addition to the Journal...

The LeFlore County Journal will turn three years old in the middle of September.

Thankfully, we have a good base of readers who click on every day, or at least several days a week.

Then, there are the occasional clickers to the Journal.

To all of you, I can’t tell you how much you are appreciated. (P.S. I would appreciate you even more if you share the Journal with friends, neighbors, relatives and people you meet at the store)

Because without you (and my great advertisers!), there would not be a

Back in 2009 when the Journal was first launched, I described the site basically as an online newspaper.

But that description did not fit then, and really does not fit anymore. The Journal isn’t a newspaper, of course, even an online one.

It took a while to figure that one out. We are a website to inform and hopefully entertain our readers.

I want to get the news, sports and information out to you readers, both first and best. That’s our biggest advantage over our friends at other media companies. And I want to offer additional services you will not find by opening a newspaper.

That includes photo galleries and my latest offering, video. That is our new and hopefully big addition to the Journal in coming months.

In addition to stories and photo galleries, I will be adding video to a lot of the stories on the Journal, especially sports.

I must caution that I am not a professional videographer, which is plain to see. Saturday was my first real experiment adding video to a story as I went to the Poteau Red-White football scrimmage and embedded the video clip to the story.

You can see the video HERE.

For the Journal to continue to grow and reach more people, we have to offer the things people like. That includes stories, photographs and now, video.

Hopefully you like the new addition. Also, when we switched software and hosts last year, I did not include the link to the Journal’s forum.

But I am also bringing it back out of the dreaded mothballs so our readers can discuss issues with each other. It has never caught on like I expected, but hopefully it will now.
Here is the link to the Journal’s forum.

Please take part in it, but keep it civil.

As always, I like to hear from you. If you have comments, suggestions or advice, please send an email to

Friday, August 10, 2012

See ya, summer siesta

The summer siesta, as if, is officially over.

The summer used to be a time to catch my breath here at Journal world headquarters, but no longer. No games to cover, but a lot more content comes through the inbox and the new website is growing bigger each day.

Check it out. Now. Or, at least as you finish reading this insightful column. It’s stories about Oklahoma sports, from the professionals to the high schools. And, a special bonus, no Arkansas crud!

Schools have already started or will soon. Trish the Wife no longer can sleep until noon since she is busy educating students.

It is still hot, like you didn’t know that, but cooler temperatures should arrive by, say Thanksgiving.

The monsoon season for LeFlore County arrived on Wednesday, at least for a day. There were winds blowing up to 75 mph in Poteau with rain coming down in sheets. You can check out the video HERE. I almost broke an arm off by simply opening the door, got a wind gust and soaked in approximately half a second.

Several trees were lost at Choctaw Country Club and houses in south Poteau were damaged by the high winds.

Typically, we don’t have to worry about those types of weather outbreaks this time of the year. We just have to worry about if we will get any rain during August.

Everybody is complaining about the heat and saying it’s because of global warming. Okay. Each day in our weather forecast on the Journal, I list the record highs for the particular date.

Several days recently, the record high was from the dreaded summer of 2011. But there have also been record highs from back in 1936 of well over 100 degrees.

I didn’t suffer through that summer. My parents were only a year old so they weren’t even dreaming about having a child, even one as brilliant as, uh, my brother Brian. Speaking of brother Brian, he just had his 51st birthday yesterday. I used to think people of our age group were pretty much ancient.

Sometimes, my view has not changed.

Think it’s rough now? Air conditioning was rare in most homes and business offices back in those dark ages. I imagine the body odor factor was rather pungent, even more so than now, eh?

For those of you bored about the dog days of summer, there are plenty of activities coming up (which you can read about in our county calendar!) with fastpitch softball games already being played and football coming soon.

So far, we just have the practices. But the scrimmages start next week and the first game for county teams is Aug. 30 when those fighting Panama Razorbacks host Gore. The other county teams get started the following night.

Plus, you Poteau Pirate fans out there can get a preview Saturday night when the Red-White scrimmage is held at 7 p.m. at Costner Stadium.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Great year for OK Kids teams

It’s hard to make a state tournament in any sport.

That is true in basketball and baseball, even in the OK Kids leagues.

This was a banner year for LeFlore County and the future of baseball in our county looks good.

LeFlore County was represented in all four divisions at the OK Kids State Baseball Tournament.

Heavener Thunder advanced to the state tournament in coach-pitch, Poteau had two teams in the pee wee state tournament while the Poteau Pirates made it to the midget state tournament and Wister fielded a team in the preps state tourney.

But even better, two of those teams brought home state championships.

The Heavener Thunder won the first state championship in OK Kids baseball with a 19-17 win over Hollis on Saturday. Heavener was undefeated in the tournament and not really challenged until the finals.

Head coach David Grubbs said his team won over 50 games and lost just three, only one to an OK Kids team.

The Poteau Buccaneers were the second county team to win a state championship. The Buccaneers closed out a perfect season with a 4-2 win over the Shawnee Spikes to capture the pee wee state championship.

Until the finals, the Buccaneers’ closest game at the state tournament was the opening round against the Poteau Rebels.

The Poteau midget team lost its opening game to eventual state champion Clinton White, but bounced back to win a game before being eliminated.

And while Wister failed to win a game in the state tournament, both games were close contests.

Plus, the Heavener Hotties finished second in the OK Kids softball state tournament.