MANY of the schools that comprise the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association have to be smiling this weekend. As the football finals and semifinals got under way, only one private school (Oklahoma Christian, in Class 2A) remained standing.
The OSSAA member schools voted a few years ago to punish private schools by requiring their teams to move up one class if they reach the final eight in any sport three out of five years. This stemmed largely from schools such as Heritage Hall and Bishop McGuinness in Oklahoma City winning state titles in football.
Proponents of the rule change said something needed to be done to counter the advantages private schools have by being able to control their enrollment. Those advantages never seemed to be an issue when those schools weren't as successful.
Certainly Carl Albert's football team didn't seem to have any issue with those private school advantages last weekend when the Titans walloped McGuinness in the Class 5A semifinals. If they beat Tulsa East Central on Saturday night, the Titans will win their 11th state championship. Clinton is playing for its 16th state title on Saturday afternoon in Class 4A.
Outrage? There is none. Nor should there be. Carl Albert and Clinton have built tremendous programs. Success — of all kinds — should be applauded, not demonized. And so we say, congratulations and good luck!
The life of pies
Hostess is attracting suitors for its signature brands, plants and other assets. When news of Hostess' pending demise broke last month, thousands of Americans mourned the loss of the Twinkie and other Hostess products. But brands, like factories, can be bought and sold. The Twinkie may live on with a different baking company. Will it taste the same? Remains to be seen. Other famous brands that are likely to survive under new ownership include the Ding Dong, Donettes, Sno Balls, Ho-Hos, Chocodiles and Zingers. We're worried, though, that another Hostess staple may be too generic to find life after bankruptcy. It's those miniature fruit pies that (at least in the minds of mothers who pack school lunchboxes) are healthier than other Hostess offerings. Will someone please pluck the fruit pie from the Hostess tree and plant it in another orchard?
Jail tax vote coming
In just three months, voters in Oklahoma County could be asked to approve a 10-year, half-cent sales tax to build a new jail. The head of a committee formed to plan the adult-juvenile complex says the vote could be held as early as March. The price tag is roughly $350 million. County Commissioner Ray Vaughn says if the plan is approved, officials would look for enough land to build a sprawling one-story complex. The current jail, opened in 1991, stands 13 stories and was the subject of a harsh critique by the U.S. Justice Department five years ago. Most of the problems outlined in that report have been addressed, but Sheriff John Whetsel says some deficiencies can only be fixed with a major remodeling or a new jail. The present jail is a problem, has been for a long time. A March election doesn't allow much time to convince the public to pay for a new one, but then, there's probably no perfect time to make such a request.
Baptists keyed in to victims
We wrote this summer in praise of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma's disaster relief ministry. At the time, members of the group were awaiting a possible call to help victims of wildfires in Colorado, having previously spent two weeks there providing laundry services. When Superstorm Sandy wiped out portions of the East Coast in October, Oklahoma Southern Baptists again answered the call. They were honored with a key to the city of Middletown, N.J., after serving more than 64,535 meals over a period of weeks. That's a lot of food, but the convention's mobile kitchens are well-equipped. The largest can produce 25,000 per day; the other, smaller units able to prepare 3,000 to 5,000 per day. A proclamation from Middletown officials read: “Thank you for bringing warm smiles, hot meals, and enduring friendships at a time when we needed it most.” Oklahomans should be proud of this group's good deeds.