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Scanning the state for news items

Don Gammill Modified: April 18, 2013 at 1:35 pm •  Published: March 27, 2013

Marquis James wrote in his book The Cherokee Strip about his days as a young  journalist in Enid and how a column called “Dull Day Items” taught him — and readers — a lot about life.

As a teenager in the first decade of the 20th century, before he even reached full-fledged reporter status, he was given the assignment of visiting a local hotel and checking the registry to see where the guests were from. He then knocked on their doors and talked to them about what was going on in their usual locales.

Those tidbits ended up in the “Dull Day Items” and proved quite interesting. James himself went on to a successful career in newspapers as a historian and as an author, winning two Pulitzer Prizes.

We can’t visit each hotel to check the registry and visit the guests as James did in Enid, but we can learn a bit about what’s happening in cities and towns throughout the state by checking their local news outlets.

Such as …

Sprucing up

Harold Irby has managed the senior citizen center in Chickasha for many years.
Harold Irby has managed the senior citizen center in Chickasha for many years.



CHICKASHA — The Chickasha Senior Community Center is going to have a fresh, younger look soon, thanks to a revitalization effort. (

The center was built in 1986 and will get some new carpet and work on the walls, according to a report in the Chickasha Express-Star.

Center and city officials said the renovation is needed and they look forward to the improvements.

The community is behind the effort. Money for the work came from a sales tax passed by voters.


Visitors welcome

GROVE — A new season has begun at Har-Ber Village, and the welcome mat is out to all who want to drop by, management staff says.

The longtime popular spot at Grand Lake was founded by Harvey and Bernice Jones. A bronze statue of them stands holding the sign at the entrance to the village. (

The history of the village, a report in the Grove Sun documents, centers on the love of the area by the Joneses, who often ventured over from their home in Arkansas to fish and enjoy the location in far northeastern Oklahoma.

They loved it so much that, in 1968, Harvey took care of a concern Bernice had about missing church services in favor of going to Grand Lake — he built a church for her on the banks of the recreational spot.

From there, their history grew.

Roundup begins

WICHITA MOUNTAINS WILDLIFE REFUGE — It’s spring, and that means it’s time to cull cattle at this southwest Oklahoma wildlife center so that the balance of the herds can be maintained.

Refuge officials look over the stock and select animals to be sold, meaning that soon buyers will have an opportunity to obtain some of the bison and longhorn livestock. (

The Lawton Constitution reports that the process of reducing the size of the herds is even more important when drought conditions and the threat of wildfires are prevalent, as is true now.

Ralph Bryant, deputy refuge manager, told the newspaper: “We have to manage the herd in order to maintain the adequate points for them since we have the longhorns, bison and elk, and other animals that eat the grass.

“We have to maintain a certain number of animals to keep the area and herd healthy.”



Market is growing

TAHLEQUAH — The Farmer’s Market is a popular spot in many cities and towns throughout Oklahoma, including Tahlequah, where the number of vendors is increasing  just about as fast as the number of visitors.

In fact, local officials think that when the first day of the market opens this year in April, there could be bigger crowds than ever.

Marla Saeger, president of the farmer’s market board, said 28 vendors are expected to participate this year, bringing “a variety of items, from seeds to soap to fiber, to a wide selection of edibles like tomatoes, produce, poultry and beef products,” the Tahlequah Daily Press reports. (

The newspaper reports that vendors from neighboring counties are also calling to join the Saturday six-month market.

In addition to the new vendors, there are additional events and activities for those visiting. There will be crafts, music and other areas relating to healthy living, in addition to food products that normally are important parts of the market.

The first market date and time is April 6 at 8 a.m. at Norris Park.

These are just samples of what’s making news in Oklahoma.



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