Thursday, October 27, 2011

State makes another dumb move

Well, another day and another strange move by some government officials in the great state of Oklahoma.

Remember the fiasco that was the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department’s decision to close seven state parks?

There’s another brilliant move coming up. Starting in January, all state employees and teachers will be forced to get most of their prescriptions by mail.

This is preventive medicines, which are typically for 30, 60 and 90-day supplies of drugs. Again, this is preventive medicines. State employees can still get a prescription filled at a local pharmacy if it is for a cold, infection, etc., which is not a preventive drug.

The move is expected to save the state over $8 million a year.

Great, huh?

Uh, not really. These orders will be filled by out-of-state companies with the money being sent to companies in different states.

Naturally, Oklahoma pharmacists are not happy with this move. They shouldn’t be. Neither should state residents.

While this might appear to save $8 million, it actually has an estimated $75 million negative impact on the state with lost revenues.

That will hurt countless pharmacies, especially the small-town pharmacies. Think you can get the same customer service from some drug company in Texas or Arizona as you do with your local pharmacist?

I don’t.

My only experience with mail-order prescriptions was not a good one. While working for a company which marketed medical plans for senior citizens, customers were told they could get their prescriptions for free if they were by mail.

Sounded great, except when orders were delayed or the prescription was messed up. This caused customers to be without their prescriptions and was a pain in the rear for the customers and doctors, who had to redo prescriptions which were supposedly never received by the drug company.

Several legislators are trying to change this decision, along with state pharmacists.

Hopefully the state will realize this is a bad move. But based on recent decisions, don’t hold your breath.

Monday, October 10, 2011

County team wins state...again

It is never easy to win a state championship.

But for the third time in less than a year, a LeFlore County team has brought a state championship trophy back to our county.

The latest to bring home the gold was the Panama fast pitch softball team.

Previously the Talihina boys won state in basketball last winter and Wister won the Class 2A state baseball championship in the spring.

Three teams from LeFlore County have proven to be the best Oklahoma has to offer in the respective sports. Some counties never win a state championship.

LeFlore County has won some, but it is never easy.

While Talihina and Wister were both considered favorites, or at least among the favorites going into the state tournament, Panama was not.

The Lady Razorbacks were not even rated in the top 20 by OK at the end of the regular season. But the girls entered the tournament on a roll, going back to the end of the LeFlore County Tournament.

Faced with elimination in the tournament and trailing Panama by two runs going into its last at bat, the Lady Razorbacks rallied to win that game and played Poteau a lot closer than anybody expected in the finals.

From that point on, Panama was on fire. The Lady Razorbacks defeated Poteau the next week, won their district and cruised through regional play, even though they had to play and win at Konawa.

Panama downed fifth-ranked Calera in the regional and won all three games in the tournament to advance to state.

Being unranked, Panama drew top-ranked Colbert in the first round. Colbert scored two early runs and it looked like the Lady Razorbacks were going to make a quick exit, trailing by two runs heading into their final at bat.

But once again, Panama rallied and tied the score at 2. Neither team could score in the eighth, ninth and 10th inning. Finally, in the 11th inning, Panama got the winning run to down Colbert, 3-2, and advance to the semifinals.

Panama only scored one run in the semifinals against Savanna, which won its first-round game the day before by scoring 10 runs. But the Lady Razorbacks got excellent pitching by Taylor Eaves and solid defense in holding Savanna scoreless.

That sent them to the state finals against an Oktaha team which had defeated Panama earlier in the season. This time Eaves and her teammates were too good, blanking Oktaha and again, scored only one run.

But that run was all Panama needed and the Lady Razorbacks won the 2A state championship, winning all three games at state by one run, and only allowing two runs in the three games.

So congratulations Panama, the rest of the state didn’t realize until it was too late you were the best in your class. You did the county proud.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Panama, Wister heading to state

Congratulations need to go out to the Panama softball and Wister baseball teams.

Those two squads advanced to this week’s state tournaments.

Panama was unranked going into the regional tournament last week, but went 3-0 in a field which included fifth-ranked Calera.

The Lady Razorbacks have been on a roll since the LeFlore County Tournament, where they finished second to Poteau. The momentum started in the losers bracket finals against Spiro.

Panama trailed going into its last at bat, rallied and then gave Poteau a tough battle in the finals before losing.

Since then, the Lady Backs have been strong, even beating Poteau the following week.

Panama opens the state tournament against top-ranked Colbert on Thursday at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City. The game is set to start at 5 p.m.

Wister’s road to a repeat trip to the state tournament was even tougher. The defending spring state champions hosted a regional, but fell into the losers bracket with a loss to Cameron in the first game of the tournament.

The Wildcats battled back to defeat Wright City and then downed Cameron to make it to the state tournament.

Wister opens tournament play with a game against Amber-Pocasset Thursday at 5 p.m. at Edmond Memorial High School.

If the Wildcats win, they will likely get a rematch with top-ranked Dale in the semifinals on Friday at noon. Wister downed Dale in the finals last spring.

Several other county teams came close to making the state tournament. Cameron lost out to Wister one day after nearly advancing before losing late to Rattan. Heavener, Spiro and Wister also won at least one game in the regional tournaments before coming up short.

Panama and Wister might not be the only county teams in the state tournament as Poteau’s girls open regional play at home this week. The Lady Pirates could qualify for next week’s state tournament by winning their regional in a field which includes Stilwell, Broken Bow and Fort Gibson.