Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Go vote!

Go vote!

Now, not later. And certainly not when and if you get around to it.

An individual’s right to vote is one of the biggest privileges we have.

People have died so we have the right to vote for who we want to represent us in our government.

And still, the voter turnout is usually low.

That is a shame. I have been guilty of this, as well, at times when the election did not seem important or I didn’t care about the question or the candidates.

But no more.

If there is an election, I will do my best to vote starting today.

You can vote from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at your local precinct. It doesn’t matter if you are a supporter of only one candidate or have a good grasp on all the elections.

Go vote.

We have the opportunity to vote for who will possibly represent us in the state house, a congressman, sheriff and county clerk and more, depending on where you live in our fine county

No governor or president, but it is still an important election.

I will be casting my vote during my lunch hour, unless somehow I can get around to it before going to work.

Hopefully, a lot of county residents will take advantage of this opportunity and let their voice and vote be heard.

This is the first of possibly three elections spanning the rest of 2012. There could be a runoff election in August with the general election in November.

And remember to take some form of identification, either a state or government issued identification or your voter card.

We will post updates from the election board as the results start coming in on the Journal’s Facebook page so you can get updates as they are reported.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Let's golf...in 107 degrees?

I found out Friday I get to play in the Poteau Chamber of Commerce golf tournament today.


I do enjoy my golf, especially the better tournaments such as the Chamber’s golf outing.

This morning, I was updating the weather forecast for the Journal.

Going to be sunny, okay, kind of expected that.

No chance of rain, always a good sign when one is going to hit the links.

Hmm, let’s see about the temperature…107!

Egad! Is that a typo? Has some weather dude, or dudess messed up. Negative.

That 107 degrees, ladies and gents, will set a new record for June 25.

I don’t know that I have ever golfed when it is 107 degrees. Last year when it got so hot, I traded in the golf for air conditioning.

Of course, it will be cooler up on Wolf Mountain.


Good breeze, can’t forget about that. But then again, since it is up on a mountain, wouldn’t it be warmer since we are closer to the sun?

I have already planned for my attack against the heat. Cool clothes, hat, ice, lots of water, and seek out shade at every opportunity.

My choice of liquid refreshment has changed to water. And lots of it. No heat stroke for Craig!

What happened to the milder summer? I’m extremely sorry, but 107 degrees in June is not mild in any shape or form.

The poor yard is already parched. Heck, I even started watering last night to try and save the grass. Typically, I just let it die so I don’t have to mow.

I fear if this is a teaser of things to come, there isn’t enough water in Wister Lake, or its tributaries, to save our grass.

Fortunately, the forecast calls for cooler temperatures on Tuesday. Cooler as in 102 degrees. I doubt that will bring out the return of a jacket.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Send us your scores

With the summer slowdown firmly set upon us, I have been spending quite a bit of time adding old football scores to my new website oksportsreview.com.

I had a bunch of scores from county schools and others from around the state last year when I had to shut the site down.

Now, I am rebuilding all the information and I could use your help.

I have not posted them yet, but do have all the football scores from county teams back to 2004. I have Poteau’s scores posted back to then. Here is the link to the section on high school football scores

I have more scores from Heavener than any other school, since I once did research and came up with most of the scores going back to the 1930s. You can see the Heavener scores I have posted HERE.

I have the scores posted back to 1990 as I write this, but have several years missing. I am going to post all the information I have from Heavener before starting on the other schools.

So, I need your help. If you have scores from any of the county or state teams, please send an email to craig@oksportsreview.com.

Eventually, I hope to have scores posted for all the state schools, although that will take a lot of time and help.

If you see a year, or game missing, please let me know. I would also appreciate it if you would pass this on to any friends who might have this information.

I continue to post the top Oklahoma sports stories every day on the site, but the old football scores will probably be the most popular part of the website.

Also, if you have old pictures from football games, please send them along also. I do have some pictures from a bunch of old Heavener games and players, but would like to have them from other schools as well.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Let the people, er, candidates speak!

Despite the obvious Thunder obstacle, the political forum went on as planned Thursday and a good crowd flocked into the Reynolds Center to see and listen to local, state and national candidates.

Prior to the start of the forum, I mentioned to a couple of friends that at approximately 7:50 p.m., it would look like Moses parted the Red Sea as the crowd disappeared in search of a television to watch Game 2 of the NBA Finals between the Thunder and the Heat.

We did lose a few, but most of the crowd stayed for the entire forum.

And they got a final look and chance to listen to many of the candidates running for positions in the upcoming Primary Election on June 26.

We got to hear some good speakers…and some that were not as polished.

Candidates talked about the usual hot button topics like jobs, taxes, water and the like.

The current office holders talked about the progress that had been made during their terms while those seeking the office preferred to look forward.

For the most part, it was a civil evening. Nobody nodded off, at least no snores could be heard from the audience.

One of the best parts of the evening was hearing Pansy Kidd student Talynn Barnes sing the National Anthem.

Then, we got to meet the candidates as they all gave a short introduction and asked for our vote.

There seemed to be a general consensus among 99.9 percent of the candidates that more and better jobs are needed, that big government is BAD, water in southeastern Oklahoma needs to stay here and not be sold or given to Texas or Oklahoma City, the economy is not all that great and nobody likes or wants to burden the good people of southeastern Oklahoma with more taxes.

We got to hear candidates for county clerk, county commissioner in District 2, county sheriff, state senate, state representative and congress.

All the candidates were given a chance to introduce themselves. Only those candidates who are involved with the Primary Election answered questions from the panel consisting of representatives from the Poteau Daily News and Sun, Oklahoma Welcome, LeFlore County Journal, Spiro Graphic and Heavener Ledger.

The event was put on by the Poteau Chamber of Commerce and the PDNS, while Central National Bank was gracious enough to sponsor the event.

Former state senator Kenneth Corn was the emcee for the event while James Smith did a good job timing the speakers.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Political forum tonight

The political forum will be held Thursday at the new Reynolds Center in Poteau.

This is the third forum that I have helped “moderate”.

There were two of them during the last rash of elections two years ago.

Kudos to the Poteau Chamber of Commerce and Poteau Daily News for organizing the event and to Central National Bank for sponsoring it.

I expect most of the candidates running for local office, along with the state representative and even some of the Congressional candidates will honor us with their presence.

This is a really good way to compare the apples to apples (or candidates vs. the other candidates).

All the candidates will be given a chance to introduce themselves and answer questions that have been submitted by the citizens.

During the last forums, we took questions from the audience, but that was not real easy to do. Of course, we did get some off-the-wall questions. I was the question booter last time. Hopefully this will have been done prior to the forum this time.

This will be one of the last times for the voters to listen to the candidates prior to the June 26 Primary Election.

The thing I like about these forums is you get a chance to see the candidates grouped together. We can gauge how well they speak, appearance and their knowledge of things the voters are interested in.

If it is anything like the last forums, some of the candidates will be well prepared while one or two might get caught with the old deer in the headlights look.

The forum starts at 6:30 p.m., which gives us roughly an hour and 30 minutes before the crowd disappears to check out the Thunder in the NBA finals.

I think it would be interesting to throw in some really wacko questions like if you were an animal, which animal would you be?

But I doubt the other media representatives would go for that.

So check it out tonight and get a look at our future leaders.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

We be streaming

Perhaps, I am a bit out of touch.

Okay, I am a lot out of touch on a lot of things.

But last week, we finally got streaming service at our house.

We were even behind by mother, who was been watching movies and other stuff streamed over the internet for way over a year.

My brother, Brian, upgraded some electronic device and no longer needed his Roku player so we received a hand-Craig-down electronic device.

I had signed up for Amazon Prime back when Trish the Wife purchased me a Kindle Fire for Christmas, but I had not used it much for the video stuff. It was tough for me and my aging eyes to watch movies or anything on something with that small of a screen.

I do enjoy reading on the Fire, though, and do some surfing on it.

After we figured out how to make the Roku work, we looked for something to watch.

And kept looking for something to watch.

That is a big problem in the Hall household. There is a big choice of stuff to watch and it is hard to pull the trigger on one thing, worried there might be a better choice available if you keep going through all the available shows.

For two nights, we watched old horror movies from the 1980s. The first was the original The Fog and the next night we watched Silver Bullet.

Both movies were far scarier than any of the crud which is put out now.

The special effects are not so special and some of the acting is not the best (Think Gary Busey. Enough said). But both movies were still enjoyable to watch.

One thing I did notice quickly was the movies back then did not feel the need to drop a F-bomb every other word. They might throw in a Hoover Dam (take out the Hoover and add an “n” to the last word), but none of the F-this or other words which most directors and writers seem to think need to be included now to qualify for an R-rating.

I also watched a documentary Sunday morning which was very good.

Brian says we need to add Netflix, but there is so much available through Amazon Prime that it will be a while before that is necessary.

You can rent movies which aren’t included among the free stuff available through membership in Prime, including many new releases. The movies cost a little more than they do at Blockbuster, but you don’t have to waste time driving to and from the video store.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Signs, signs...everywhere a sign

Everywhere one goes in LeFlore County, it isn’t the Scissortail Flycatcher or the wildflowers that catches our eyes.


It is the campaign signs urging us to vote for this political candidate or that political candidate.

I try to ignore them, and do for the most part. But they are still irritating.

And do they work? Would somebody actually vote for a person just because they saw his or her campaign sign?

I can just image somebody driving down the road and they see a colorful sign. “Lookie there, woman!” the man says while pausing to spit in his spit can. “Now that there’s a pretty sign! I’m a gonna vote for him (or her)!”

Maybe that happens. Let’s hope not.

I know, the signs are for name recognition. Political candidates and their supporters feel like the more signs they have out, the better chance they have to win the upcoming election.

The only people winning from all the signs are the sign makers.

I would love to see some town or city ban all political signs. It won’t happen since the people making those decisions will probably have to post similar signs for the next election.

But it would be nice.

Maybe I am in the minority, but I have never and hopefully will never vote for somebody because of a sign.

I prefer to vote for the person who makes the best impression and believes in the same things I do, not because they have the most signs or the prettiest sign.

And we still have the phone calls, both recorded and live, from the candidates and their supporters urging us to vote for their favorite candidate to look forward to as we move closer to the election on June 26.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A trip to Cedar Lake

Trish the Wife and I took four kiddoes to Cedar Lake on Saturday.

It’s hard for me to turn down a trip to Cedar Lake, even on a hot afternoon where there will be lots of people and a lot of noise

I’m still not used to the new access road to the lake, but it would probably be fun to drive in a sports car.

Since two of the little ones were…little, we went to the sandy side.

After we parked, I went to pay and bonus! It was a free day. Nice.

We unloaded all the crud and before Trish and I could even get seated, the little ones were in the lake.

Many others had made the same choice as we had to spend a Saturday afternoon at the lake.

There have been a lot of improvements at Cedar Lake over the years. Just on the sandy side, there is a fishing deck just off to the side and a concrete walkway down to the lake.

There is also some playground equipment to entertain the children when they get tired of swimming. New bathrooms, grills and much more.

Every time I visit Cedar Lake, I remember all the time I have spent there over the years. I remember camping, swimming, jumping off the dock for the first time, fishing with my dad, exploring the trails and so much more.

I can still remember the spot where we camped on a memorable visit back in the fall of 1971. We camped on the dock side and my father and I listened to the OU-Texas football game on an old radio while sitting in lawn chairs.

It took me a while to realize why he got so excited when OU scored or made a big play since I was only eight at the time. It didn’t take me long to figure it out, though.

All four of the kids had a good time, especially the little ones. Trish had gotten some water guns and balls that float on water. The little ones would throw the ball and race to see who could retrieve them first.

Some older kids would climb up on the poles and jump into the water, just like we used to do a long time ago. A couple of the kids hunted for crawdads while dads got out in the water and tossed their kids or took turns splashing and getting splashed.

No video games or phones, for a little while at least. Just summer fun the way it should be.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The drive-in experience

A couple of weeks ago, we were sitting at home watching a movie with some friends and somebody suggested we go to the Tower Drive-In to watch a movie.

Since the movie we were not exactly enjoying was not one of the best flicks ever, we agreed to go and watch a double feature offering Men in Black III and Ghostrider, the sequel.

It was around 7:30 or so and the movie wouldn’t start until around 8:40ish. No need to hurry, plenty of the time.

So we split up to get ready and decided to meet at the drive-In.

We loaded up some lawn chairs in the back of the Craigmobile (not to be confused with the Batmobile), and made the short drive to the Tower, expecting to leisurely make our way in, pick out a good parking spot and enjoy a night of watching movies under the stars.

As I drove up the lane, I realized the plans might not go as expected. There were already well over a hundred vehicles parked and waiting for the movie and several autos waiting in line.

Uh-oh, I thought and probably said, but can’t remember. I pulled out the phone and gave our friends a call telling them to get those rears in gear and hurry up.

Kids and some not-quite kids were playing down at the bottom down by the screen. I didn’t see any parking spots until we got to the top, and then, there weren’t all that many.

We paid and made out way into the lot to find a spot. I deftly parked at a spot in the upper corner, using my years of driving experience.

After I had to repark after the Trish the Wife was not exactly impressed with my parking, I got out and moved our chairs to an adjacent spot to save one for the Perdues, the Andy and Brenda variety.

“Gosh, there are a lot of people here,” I said. Trish said something appropriate like “duh”.

After I got comfortable in my chair, she decided it was time for some goodies. I had noticed the line was quite lengthy on the way in and suggested she go to the concession stand while I guarded the extra spot for the Perdues, but was given a wife veto and sent on my way in search of popcorn and a soft drink.

I ran into a couple I know (not literally) and mentioned how surprised I was to see this many people since my last visit was to watch Twister, which according to my friend Google came out in 1996.

Being veteran drive-In attendees, they said it was like this all the time. I thought they were joking.

Nope. Then, they said they arrived at 6:30 that night to make sure to get a good spot.


And I found out later that people actually had to be turned away the previous weeks when Avengers was showing. I also discovered the concession stand offered a lot more than I expected with hamburgers, hot dogs, funnel cakes and more, not just candy, drinks and popcorn.

Gosh, I felt like an idiot. I thought drive-in movies were on their last legs with DVDs, movies on smart phones and tablets, etc.

Not hardly. People still dug watching movies outside, just like they did back in the 1950s and 1960s. The biggest difference is you don’t have to attach a speaker to your window like you did back then. You turn the old radio dial to a certain frequency and hear the volume over the radio.

Our friends showed up and we parked the women folk in the back of the truck, but were nice enough to let them sit in lawn chairs, while Andy and I sat in our chairs by the truck.

Men in Black III was pretty good. We hightailed it after the first flick because it was past my bedtime and I had no desire to watch Ghostrider 2 Spirit of Vengeance since the original Ghostrider was easily one of the stupidest movies ever.

Plus, this week I read a story in the Tulsa World about a drive-in theater in Tulsa reopening after the screen burned and how anxious people were to attend it again.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The war is on

As the temperature heats up and summer makes its debut, it is obviously going to be a banner year for mosquitoes.

Maybe it was the lack of cold weather over the so-called winter, but it is almost impossible to spend much time outside at the Hall household without getting attacked.

I have done my part in trying to rid the mosquito menace by swatting several each trip outside, but the reserves are called out quickly to take the place of their fallen comrades.

We do not have any swamps or standing water, at least that I have found, so it is a mystery as to why the mosquitoes have chosen to make their stand at our house.

We bought one of the little candles in a pot that is supposed to rid the immediate area of bugs, but it almost seems like it draws more of them in. I change locations, which works for a few minutes until word spreads that the blood of Craig is available at a new location.

I read a story the other day that says you can use a fan to help alleviate the problem. I have not tried this yet, but did sit outside with Trish the Wife the other day and urged her to talk to see if the hot air would chase off the critters.

It didn’t.

They aren’t all that bad during the hot parts of the day, but in the evening when I like to sit outside and try to wear the dogs down by playing ball, the air is thick with them.

I have even considered putting up a Martin house (no relation to the Martin Tate home) since they are supposed to be quite the mosquito eaters, but have not done that yet as I fear the sparrows will take the house over and I will spend as much time battling them as I do the mosquitoes.

Some people have suggested using bug repellent, but I really don’t want the smell of Off! to mask my manly odor.

I guess the next step is to buy those Tiki candle things and fill it with citronella. Two problems right off the bat. I fear the ground is so hard it might require a backhoe and the smoke from the citronella makes me gag.

And then I got to read the story in the Journal the other day from the LeFlore County Health Department advising care as mosquitoes can carry the West Nile Virus. Egads. I don’t want any of that WNV stuff, although fortunately it is has been rare in the great state of Oklahoma.

Hopefully my chances of getting WNV are about the same as winning the lottery.

So it is onward in the great fight against the Mosquito Swarm of 2012. Fight hard brothers (and not just my brother Brian) and sisters (which I technically don’t have) and we shall prevail, or maybe the city will spray to rid us of this problem.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

New projects

I wanted to share with you a couple of new projects I have been working on.

The first is I restarted a website http://oksportsreview.com in April and it is growing and getting bigger daily.

oksportsreview.com has the top sports stories each day from throughout Oklahoma, from the professionals down to high school. All the stories and links are broken up into sections for each sports and team or division, which makes it easier if you are interested in OU, the Thunder, OSU or high school sports.

One of the most popular parts of the website is I am working on adding old high school football scores HERE. So far, I have all the county schools’ scores from 2011 and added Poteau back to 2003. Now, I am slowly adding the Heavener scores, which I have back to the 1930s but have only gotten a couple of years posted. There are a couple of years missing, so any help you can give is greatly appreciated.

I do have all the scores for county schools back to 2004, but need your help. If you have scores from any high school please send that information by email to craig@oksportsreview.com, or mail it to: Craig Hall, 300 S. Earl, Poteau, Ok. 74953.

This is a statewide site, not just for the county so we need scores from all the high schools. I really appreciate any help you can give with the scores, or by sharing the site with anybody you know who likes sports.

I first started the site last year but had to shut it down because the web software I was using was not supported any longer.

Also, I am adding a new addition to the Journal. A couple of weeks ago, I purchased a video camera so we can have videos on the Journal to complement the stories.

So far, I have posted one video to the Journal’s YouTube channel. You can view the video HERE or click the link above. It was a video of a golfing expedition on Memorial Day to learn how to edit and post the video.

The plan is to add video for stories on upcoming events and stories I cover to complement the pictures and story. Hopefully you will like this addition to the Journal, but there is still a lot I have to learn about using the camera and the editing process.

Thanks to all of you for your support. If you have any comments or suggestions, please send an email to craig@leflorecountyjournal.com.