• Writers, artists of children’s books to meet in OkC

    From Staff Reports | Yesterday

    The Society of Children's Book Authors and Illustrators of Oklahoma, or SCBWI, will have its next Oklahoma City Connect meeting from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at Full Circle Bookstore in 50 Penn Place, 1900 NW Expressway, according to a news release. Special guest Kim Ventrella, author of “The Skeleton Tree” (an upcoming book for middle-schoolers), will talk about the “Elements of a Winning Query Letter.” Such letters are sent to publishers and agents by authors hoping to land book contracts. Guests also will learn about the SCBWI Oklahoma Spring Conference, set for April 16, which will bring together agents, editors, art directors and other publishing professionals. The Full Circle meeting is free and open to the

  • If Ferguson dissolves police department, who would step in?

    By JIM SALTER Associated Press | Updated: 10 hr ago

    FERGUSON, Mo. — As Ferguson prepares to do legal battle with the Justice Department, the town's leaders have acknowledged the possibility that it might someday disband its police department and cede law enforcement to another agency. The question is: Would anyone else want it? The federal government sued Ferguson on Wednesday, just a day after an agreement to radically reshape the city's police and municipal court practices fell apart. On Tuesday, the Ferguson City Council approved the settlement, but with seven amendments. In the eyes of the Justice Department, that amounted to rejection. Among the attempted changes was a statement that the terms of the agreement would not apply if another agency takes over

  • Ahead of Pope Francis’ visit to Mexico, a revitalized El Paso is ready to show off

    By ASTRID GALVAN Associated Press | Updated: 10 hr ago

    EL PASO, Texas — No longer the desolate space it was a few years ago, downtown El Paso is ripe with new hotels, bars, restaurants — and bulldozers that herald the planned construction of a streetcar, a children's museum, a Mexican-American cultural center and new mixed-used buildings. The far West Texas city is ready to shed its long-held reputation as a center of illegal immigration and show off its revitalized streets to the tens of thousands of tourists hoping to get a glimpse of Pope Francis, who will cap a five-day visit to Mexico on Wednesday in neighboring Ciudad Juarez with a Mass in a large field near the border that many will be able to see from downtown.

  • Best-sellers


    Oklahoma best-sellers FICTION 1. “Harry Potter Coloring Book” (Scholastic) 2. “The Stranger” by Albert Camus (Vintage) 3. “Night Before Valentine's Day” by Natasha Wing (Grosset & Dunlap) 4. “Me Want Pet” by Tammi Sauer (Simon & Schuster) 5. “Sacred Alarm Clock” by John T. Biggs (Liffey) 6. “Siren” by Kiera Cass (HarperTeen) 7. “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: The Illustrated Edition” by J.K. Rowling (Scholastic) 8. “Happy Valentine's Day, Charlie Brown” by Charles M. Schulz (Simon Spotlight) 9. “Man Called Ove” by Frederick Backman (Washington Square Press) 10.

  • Nonprofit offers scholarships for horror writers

    From Staff Reports | Yesterday

    The Horror Writers Association, a nonprofit formed in 1985, is accepting applications for its five scholarships. “Scholarship categories for horror and dark fantasy writing include fiction, nonfiction and poetry,” according to a news release. “The HWA also offers the Mary Shelley Scholarship for female writers. Two of the scholarships — the Rocky Wood Memorial Scholarship for Nonfiction Writing and the Scholarship from Hell — are new additions.” All applicants will be considered, even those who are not members of the association. The Horror Writers Association Scholarship awards $2,500. It is intended to assist the professional development of horror writers.

  • Archery in the Schools champions crowned

    By Ed Godfrey | Updated: 6 hr ago

    The Archery in the Schools state shoot for the western half of the state was held Wednesday and Thursday at State Fair Park. Competition was held for both boys and girls in elementary, middle and high school divisions. Top female shooters were Gabriela Font, Wayland Bonds Elementary in Oklahoma City; Riane Tuthill, Chickasha Middle School; and Ambria Norman, Chickasha High School. Top male shooters were Dillon Graham, Southlake Elementary in Oklahoma City; Gavin Hiatt of Chickasha Middle School; and Mitchell Ritter of Elgin High. Ritter had the top overall score of 297 out of a possible 300. Tuthill had the highest score among girls with a 291. For the team titles, both boys' and girls' scores are compiled

  • 'Warriors of the Storm' continues series about conquest of Britain

    By Glen Seeber Staff Writer gseeber@oklahoman.com | Yesterday

    “Warriors of the Storm” by Bernard Cornwell, ninth novel in The Saxon Tales series (HarperCollins, 298 pages, in stores) Once upon a time, long before Merry Old England was merry, or old, or even called England, Saxons fought Northmen and each other for control of the island of Britain, with sword and ax, spear and shield, sweat and blood. The Roman occupation was already ancient history, and even their well-built stone structures, bubbling fountains and meticulous mosaic designs were long into decline. Pagans who worshipped the old gods — Wotan (Odin), Thor, Freya (in whose tradition we still call the days Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) — were in conflict with followers of the one true God and his only

  • What or who is a cavapoo?

    By Ken Raymond Book Editor kraymond@oklahoman.com | Yesterday

    Oklahoma children's author Stella Dutton has a new book coming out Friday. “The Trouble With Cavapoos” is an illustrated story for young children. You may have to explain to them that a “cavapoo” is a mixed-breed dog, a cross between a Cavalier King Charles spaniel and a miniature poodle, as that is not spelled out in the book. The simple tale reflects on how messy, energetic, hairy, destructive ... and fun! ... cavapoos are. The book will be available on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites, as well as the publisher's site at www.quimbysneet.com.

  • Interim corrections boss visiting prisons

    By Graham Lee Brewer Staff Writer gbrewer@oklahoman.com | Updated: 3 hr ago

    In 2006, speaking to Texas Monthly, Joe Allbaugh said his career was about finding new ways to challenge himself. “When I left FEMA, I made a conscious effort not to pigeonhole myself into disaster response and recovery,” the former Federal Emergency Management Agency head and political adviser told the magazine. And while Allbaugh, 63, has found success in defense contracting, running the gubernatorial and presidential campaigns of George W. Bush and as a chief of staff for Gov. Henry Bellmon, perhaps his background in disaster recovery was an appropriate place to begin vetting him for his current position as interim director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. When Allbaugh took the job last month he

  • Take a breath, then develop plan to guide your investing strategy

    By Tom Phillips For The Oklahoman | Published: Sun, Feb 14, 2016

    So far, 2016 has been a wild ride and it's only been a few weeks. Daily swings of triple digits for the Dow early in the year have been commonplace and are a shock to the system for those who became accustomed to the “melt up” of stock prices over the last few years. It's akin to jumping into an ice cold lake. Along with the volatility, which is not necessarily a negative, a drop of 10 to 15 percent for most market averages is painful, and dire predictions abound that the worst is yet to come. So what's an investor to do during these trying times? For starters, take a breath. It's no fun watching your account values drop. But pullbacks of 10 percent are called “corrections” and are common in the stock

  • Prudence, political will needed at Legislature

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Feb 14, 2016

    IN a recent meeting with The Oklahoman's editorial board, state Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman was blunt about the challenges legislators are facing this session. “There will be many difficult decisions that we will be asking members to make this year,” said Bingman, R-Sapulpa. But then he added, “That's what we were elected for.” Indeed. As we've noted, Oklahomans cannot afford business as usual from lawmakers this year, not with a $1.3 billion budget hole for next fiscal year. Flaws in the structure of state government and agency spending must be addressed.

  • Progressives’ itch to regulate speech

    Published: Sun, Feb 14, 2016

    WASHINGTON — Bernie Sanders, greedy for power to punish people he considers greedy, has occasioned 2016's best joke (reported in Bloomberg Businessweek): “In the Bernie Sanders drinking game, every time he mentions a free government program, you drink someone else's beer.” But neither Sanders' nor Hillary Clinton's hostility to the First Amendment is amusing. Both have voted to do something never done before — make the Bill of Rights less protective. They favor amending the First Amendment to permit government regulation of political campaign speech. Sanders and Clinton detest the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision, which they say their court nominees will promise to reverse.

  • Pulling at his heartstrings

    By Nathan Poppe Entertainment Writer npoppe@oklahoman.com | Updated: 3 hr ago

    Oklahoma musician Blake Parks knows firsthand what it's like to play second fiddle to the rest of his high school. He was a choir kid at Duncan High School back in 2003. There wasn't much of a budget for the program, and the only money set aside had to come from student fundraising efforts.  That's why Parks, 27, decided to lend a hand with the inaugural effort of Music To Your Peers. He returned to his alma mater in November with his rock band Nicnos for a fundraising effort and motivational talk. The band shares responsibilities with Music To Your Peers in order to raise funds and awareness for music programs. "We aimed to benefit every kid in the school because we talk about success," Parks said in an interview

  • Lankford offers straight talk on dealing with U.S. budget

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Feb 14, 2016

    IN remarks on the U.S. Senate floor last week where he criticized the final budget of Barack Obama's presidency, Sen. James Lankford also took some time to explore just how troubling and serious are the nation's finances, and offered proposals he would like to see considered. They merit further mention. Obama's $4.1 trillion budget, Lankford noted, includes about $3.4 trillion in new taxes over the next decade and would increase spending by $2.5 trillion in that time. The U.S. had $10.6 trillion in total debt when Obama took office in 2009. That would grow to $27.4 trillion by the end of his latest budget, Lankford said. “This is an issue for us, and it continues to accelerate,” he said.

  • OK Capitol Boxscore

    By RICK M. GREEN Capitol Bureau rmgreen@oklahoman.com | Published: Sun, Feb 14, 2016

    Timely debate clears committee, heads to House A bill that would exempt Oklahomans from observing daylight savings time has cleared a House committee. Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, said that under House Bill 2557, clocks in Oklahoma would “stay the way they are right now instead of ‘springing forward.' “We're trying to be consistent.” Dusk in the summer would arrive about 8 to 8 p.m. instead of 9 to 9:30 p.m. However, “We'd see daybreak about 4 a.m.,” said Rep. Mark Lepak, R-Claremore. “We would be out of step, or out of time, with most of the rest of the country,” he said, adding it might cause Oklahoma companies dealing with businesses in other states and nations

  • Multiple fees, fines, bail charges add to jail crowding

    By Randy Ellis Staff Writer rellis@oklahoman.com | Updated: 3 hr ago

    The stacking of fees, fines and bail amounts have turned the Oklahoma County jail into an overcrowded debtors' prison. A newly released report by the Vera Institute of Justice doesn't flat-out call the jail a debtors' prison — but it sure describes it as one. “Currently, money plays an outsized role in who occupies pretrial beds in the Oklahoma County Detention Center,” the Vera Institute said in its initial 14-page report. Vera is a New York-based nonpartisan organization hired by a 17-member task force of Oklahoma County business and community leaders to study and make recommendations about what to do about Oklahoma County's overcrowded jail.

  • Jail report draws praise from task force members

    By Randy Ellis Staff Writer rellis@oklahoman.com  | Updated: 7 hr ago

    A consultant's report on the Oklahoma County jail was a real eye-opener to some members of the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Task Force, while others said it got right to the heart of issues that need to be addressed. "I think for years we've had a debtor's prison. I think what we're doing to offenders is unconscionable," said Oklahoma County Public Defender Bob Ravitz, who serves on the 17-member task force. Ravitz said the initial report of the Vera Institute of Justice was on point when it talked about how the stacking of fees, fines and bail amounts have overwhelmed indigent offenders and resulted in an overcrowded jail containing many people who don't need to be there. "The bond schedules and bond settings in

  • Benghazi contractor won’t play politics in OKC talk

    By Silas Allen Staff Writer sallen@oklahoman.com | Updated: 3 hr ago

    Dozens of times over the past four years, Kris Paronto has turned on his television, only to see people arguing over the basic facts of an incident he remembers firsthand — the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. As frustrating as it is to see his own personal history turned into political theater, Paronto said it's even more discouraging that nobody seems to get it quite right. “The politicians have no clue what happened there on the ground, unless they listen to us,” he said. Paronto, a former U.S. Army Ranger, was one of a team of CIA security contractors who defended the consulate against a terrorist attack Sept. 11, 2012. U.S.

  • Police say suspect said she needed money for kitty litter

    By The Associated Press | Updated: 7 hr ago

    PITTSBURGH — Authorities say a Pittsburgh woman jailed in four recent store robberies told police she needed money for dog food and kitty litter. Police say 28-year-old Melissa Santoro netted less than $300 in the heists. Police say a clerk at a Sunoco gas station robbed last month and again Tuesday night recognized Santoro when she came in to buy cigarettes. Police say she denied robbing the station. She also denied robbing a Pittsburgh Rite Aid last month and Jet's Pizza in neighboring Dormont on Tuesday night. But police say after taking a lie detector test, Santoro confessed to all four robberies. She told them a gun she carried was plastic, and she needed money for her

  • Scholarship match program adds up to more money for college students

    By K.S. McNutt Staff Writer kmcnutt@oklahoman.com | Updated: 7 hr ago

    Now is the time for college-bound students to apply for the many scholarships administered by the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. More money will be available for awards this year following a successful 2015 scholarship match campaign that added $771,576 to 82 scholarship endowment funds, foundation officials said.  But students won't get a penny if they don't apply, said Megan Hornbeek, scholarship funds coordinator. More than 2,100 students have started the application process, but many haven't finished. "Take 30 minutes to sit down and write that essay," Hornbeek tells students. The one hour it takes to apply could pay off with a $2,000 scholarship. "That's good pay for one hour's work," she said.