Thursday, February 23, 2006

Spring Festival in Tahlequah Planned

Movie fans may remember a time in 1972 and ‘73 when Tahlequah, Oklahoma was made famous on the silver screen by way of one the most bittersweet movies I have ever seen: Where the Red Fern Grows. Where the Red Fern Grows is the tale of a boy and his beloved hunting dogs by written by Wilson Rawls. It was originally filmed in the Tahlequah area in the ‘70s and a remake was also filmed in the area, in 2003.

Now, the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce Tourism Council is working on creating a springtime Red Fern Festival to celebrate their unique place in movie history. If approved by the Oklahoma Centennial Committee, the new Tahlequah festival would be held in April 2007.

Events suggested for the Tahlequah Red Fern Festival include: a possum cook-off, catfish derby, hound dog show, a fern show, vintage cars, fiddling tournaments, gun shows, nature hikes and most importantly.. special paddling trips down the Illinois River. The Chamber even agreed to solicit proposals for a monument depicting 'a boy and his dog', to be placed in a local Park, during the inaugural Red Fern Festival.

It sounds like fun to me! I saw Where the Red Fern Grows at the movies when I was just a country child growing up in Oklahoma and I still find it very moving to this day. I think it is no surprise that Oklahoma folks are celebrating this great movie.

I was surprised to read about the planned monument to: A Boy and His Dog ...a darkly, funny, post-apocalyptic tale from one of my favorite Harlan Ellison short story collections! ;-)

Find out more from Tahlequah Daily Press: Red Fern Festival Taking Shape.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

FuddGate - Cheney Models Gun Safety

Redneck Enough for a Mullet, But Made for a NeoCon

I think that outdoor sports are one of the things that make Oklahoma a place worth living in. However, I also think that some of the cruel and thoughtless so-called sports like dog fighting, chicken fighting, dynamite fishing and road hunting are abominations. Have you heard about what folks are now calling Fudd-gate?

Fuddgate - VP Dick Cheney shoots 78 year old Harry Whittington, sending a member of his own hunting party to intensive care. A witness reported that Mr. Whittington had stepped away from the hunting party and had come back up without announcing himself. That might only rate a smack here in Oklahoma, but when in Texas...

Reading the news articles on Fuddgate, it would appear that the party was not hunting so much as 'road-hunting' (driving down the road and shooting whatever jumps up), when the incident occurred. My father told me that it was a shameful practice. I would be surprised if any real sportsman would want his participation in such an activity exposed.

The landowner's account said 'They got out of their car and went to flush a covey of quail.' That's when, at 30 yards' distance, the Vice President er... bwasted Mr. Whittington.

No doubt time constraints prevented the traditional pre-shooting debate over Rabbit Season/Duck Season.

Luckily for the VP, the Secret Service refused to let the local law enforcement talk to Cheney at all. The local sheriff was even kind enough to make a statement that no alcohol was involved, despite never going to the scene. No alcohol! Surely, that is one for the Road Hunting Record Books!

Is it news? Well, Aaron Burr was the last sitting vice president to shoot a man. He killed Alexander Hamilton in 1804...note which one of them is on U.S. currency today.

Although vice presidents usually only attend funerals, by now we should probably expect a more supply-side approach to death from this administration. However, if Dick Cheney tells you to 'Be vewy, vewy quiet!' you may want to think twice.

It is no wonder that some are saying that:

Harry Whittington's predicament threatens to become a metaphor of what's happened to America under Bush/Cheney. Profound injury has been inflicted on us. The damage could worsen at any moment. And the only response from those responsible is silence, arrogance and misdirection. -- Marty Kaplan on

The Owner's ego is greatest threat to gun safety.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Blue River - New Scenic River Designation?

Oklahoma Senate Bill 1019 and Oklahoma Senate Bill 1719

The Durant Democrat has published an interesting article on the efforts of Senator Jay Paul Gumm to protect the water resources of Southeastern Oklahoma. I hope his efforts to protect the rare and scenic beauty of the area, while promoting smart economic growth and are sincere.

Senate Bill 1019 would designate Blue River in Johnston County as one of Oklahoma's scenic rivers. The source of Blue River is the aquifer, and adding the river to the list of scenic rivers would give us another layer of protection for the river and its source water.

My goal is to protect the economic opportunities for southern Oklahoma created by the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer. A 'no economic growth' policy for the Blue River is inconsistent with what we are trying to do in our efforts to save the aquifer and the surface waters that depend on it.

My goal with this bill - and a similar one originating in the House of Representatives - is simple: protect Blue River, its scenic beauty, its source waters, and the opportunities the river creates - including economic opportunities. As long as I am your senator, I will fight to protect our water - our future - for the next generation who will call southern Oklahoma home. -- Oklahoma Senator Jay Paul Gumm

If it ever rains again I hope to paddle the Blue River in SE Oklahoma and make my own call on if it deserves to be calld a 'scenic river'. Check out the full article here: Durant Democrat - Aquifer tops list of concerns for 2006 session.

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