Thursday, December 22, 2011

Top 10 for 2011

Every year, all the major news organizations feature the top stories of the year.

We are not a major news organization, unfortunately, but there have been some big stories in LeFlore County over the last year. And here are my top 10 stories for the year:

1. State champions. LeFlore County had three state champions in 2011, likely an all-time record. Talihina boys won state in basketball, Wister captured a state crown in the spring in baseball while Panama’s girls won a fast-pitch softball title in the fall.

2. Oklahoma dumps on state parks. The Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation decided to close seven state parks, including the Runestone near Heavener, without advance notice or any planning to keep the parks open. Fortunately, the city of Heavener was able to keep the gates of the Runestone open along with help from the Friends of the Runestone.

3. Weather. Bad ice and snow storms in the winter turned into the stormiest spring in recent memory with high winds, tornadoes and hail. The summer was the hottest ones in history.

4. Audit reveals problems. LeFlore County finally got an audit and it was not that good. The state auditor revealed problems with the county, especially regarding former county commissioner Carrol Rogers in Dist. 1. County residents, including members of the Tea Party are calling for an investigative audit.

5. Poteau superintendent. The Poteau school board offered the position to Hank Harris, then removed the offer at a heated school board meeting which did not set well with supporters of Harris.

6. County tournament returns to LeFlore County. After two years at UAFS, the LeFlore County Tournament was played in Spiro’s new facility in 2011. Heavener’s girls and Talihina’s boys each won for the second straight year.

7. Pocola problems. The school board and city council of Pocola continues to have problems and infighting.

8. Bokoshe. Continued controversy over fly ash dumped near town along with a police officer striking a member of the city council.

9. Alleged murderer returned to county. Suhail Shanti was arrested in June and extradited to LeFlore County for allegedly murdering a fellow Carl Albert student in 1983.

10. Donald W. Reynolds Community Center opens. The new facility in Poteau opened with much fanfare this fall with an open house and several events already held there.

Naturally, there are some stories which are not listed. Please list other events from 2011 in the comments section below or send them to me by email to and they will be addressed on Friday.

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