ScissorTales: Future of poultry lawsuit unclear

The Oklahoma Editorials Published: November 13, 2010

A state lawsuit against poultry producers is in the hands of a federal judge in Tulsa, and has been for some time. If no decision is reached soon, will the lawsuit be dropped?

The question is relevant because Attorney General-elect Scott Pruitt says he plans to look at whether the state should continue with the lawsuit. The case was filed by the man now holding the office, Drew Edmondson.

Edmondson sued several poultry companies, contending that waste from chicken farms in northeast Oklahoma has polluted the Illinois River watershed. The lawsuit was filed in 2005, went to court in fall 2009 and testimony ended early this year.

Pruitt accepted several thousand dollars in campaign contributions from poultry industry employees and executives. He has said all along that those donations wouldn't influence his decision, although they do open him to criticism that would only increase if he dropped the lawsuit.

Gov.-elect Mary Fallin also said she plans to assess the litigation. A spokesman for Fallin says this case would be among many legal matters the new governor reviews after taking office.

Dinner time nears
The Christmas push that seems to begin earlier every year can wear some folks out. But it's not too early to call attention to the Red Andrews Christmas Dinner. This dinner started in the 1940s and is now being carried on by Bob McCord, great nephew of the founder's namesake. McCord's mother, Betty, had directed it for the past 30-plus years. Scores of volunteers are needed to pull it off — as many as 8,000 people have attended in recent years. If you want to give your time, call McCord at (405) 379-3250. Monetary donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 54856, Oklahoma City, OK 73154.

Assisting the less fortunate
Speaking of doing for others, kudos are due the Oklahoma City law firm McIntyre Law, which is leading an effort to provide 650 Thanksgiving meals for the less fortunate. More than 60 firms are helping the cause. The prepackaged meals contain a ham, a roasting hen, dressing, corn on the cob, rolls, gravy, green beans and sweet potatoes. The groups will distribute 400 boxes in Oklahoma City and the remainder in Tulsa. “Mother Teresa said that if you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one,” senior partner Noble McIntyre said. “Oklahoma trial lawyers working as a group can feed a hundred people. In fact, we can feed thousands of people. We are very aware that what we do makes a difference and we take that responsibility seriously.”

Lame excuse
We've heard the ignorance excuse before when it comes to public bodies following open meetings and open records laws. And quite frankly, it's lame. The district attorney in Rogers County suspects ignorance is to blame after the Claremore Progress, the local newspaper, questioned why the Rogers County Election Board hadn't posted meeting agendas on its website since July.

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