The Oklahoma Energy Producers Alliance, a statewide organization that represents small oil and gas producers, is starting to be heard at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission and the Statehouse, said OEPA President Mike Cantrell.
Oklahoma lawmakers will have $85.5 million less to spend this legislative session, according to the latest budget projections released Tuesday.
An Ada man has died from a gunshot wound he received Monday during an incident police describe as an attempted burglary.
East Central University’s School of Fine Arts presents a concert celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Ataloa Theatre.
Special Olympians compete in OKC
Visit the McSwain Theatre in Ada at 7 p.m. Saturday for an evening with the world-famous Glenn Miller Orchestra.
Jaime Campbell is a young woman who has schizophrenia, and a traveling exhibit at East Central University is shedding light on that condition and other mental illness issues.
OKLAHOMA CITY — Agriculture Day at the Capitol is notorious for honoring the Governor’s Outstanding Achievement Award in Agriculture. This award, created in 1998, recognizes those who have helped lead the industry while demonstrating exemplary personal values and pursuing agricultural achiev…
The State of Oklahoma unveiled a new brand, logo and slogan this past week. The year-long project came at a cost of about $200,000. The fee was paid to an international branding firm that had worked on rebranding efforts of several "Fortune 500" companies.
Many people prefer to workout with their head down and headphones plugged in, but breaking a sweat with a group might help both beginners and experienced athletes switch things up.
NORMAN — A Norman homicide victim pleaded for his life seconds before he was robbed and shot five times in his own vehicle, a court filing shows.
The Tahlequah city treasurer resigned after 19 years and the City Council appointed an interim during the Feb. 18 meeting.
Earl Granville has always believed in the military motto “No Man Left Behind.”
Pittsburg County Sheriff Chris Morris said skeletal remains found near McAlester were identified as that of missing woman, Holly Cantrell.
NORMAN — A third manslaughter count was filed Tuesday in Cleveland County District Court against a man accused of plowing his pickup truck into a group of Moore High School track and cross country runners two weeks ago.
CUSHING – The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has ruled Monday’s suspicious death in Cushing as a homicide.
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – The seamstress employee who played a central role in helping two convicted killers escape from a maximum-security prison in northeast New York in June of 2015 has been released on parole.
CHAMPLAIN, N.Y. — Nolan LaValley, blind since birth, does not let his disability keep him from bowling and enjoying a sport he has learned from his high school coach and teammates.
OLIVE HILL, Ky. -- It had the trappings of a scene from The Natural. A hand-crafted bat made from scratch for Tim Johnson’s son J.T.’s summer season in the North Carolina North State League, showcase for college baseball players with big league dreams.
It wasn’t “Wonderboy” made for Roy Hobbs from a tree split by lightning. But it lickety-split earned the reputation of whim-wham lumber from J.T.’s Piedmont Whitetails’ teammates, including the winner of the league’s 2019 home run derby.
From there, word of mouth spread so fast that Tim Johnson’s woodworking hobby moved to the early stage of a budding bat production company, making customized and model bats for baseball and softball players of all ages.
Located in the northeast Kentucky hamlet of Olive Hill, the informally named Big Johnson Bat Company includes marketing maven Madison, Johnson’s niece and a softball player at Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, Kentucky. She sells Johnson bats like they were hotcakes cooked in pork fat.
“I had to tell her to quit,” said the 54-year-old Johnson. “I couldn’t make them as fast as she sold them.”
With the assistance of his brother Shawn, Johnson fastidiously lathes blank cylindrical billets of ash or maple into sanded, customized bats, each taking three to four hours. Duplicates of non-customized bats take 20 minutes on a duplicator, a machine designed to ensure the legs on a chair are identical.
Customized bats are made to a hitter’s preferred length, weight and sweet spot. A wood-burning pen brands the barrel, then Johnson hand rubs each bat with seven or eight coasts of lacquer, a task performed in the bathroom of the family home because there’s too much humidity and dust in his workshop.
Johnson’s “plant” is his 576-square-foot garage, jammed with various machines, prototypes, raw wood, tool chests and a refrigerator for drinks in one corner. To cross the sawdust blanketed workspace, you carefully set your foot with each step.
Making bats is Johnson’s night job. During the day he’s an administrator for three area vocational schools, meaning he starts his bat-making around 4 p.m. He normally turns out two customized bats before calling it a night, though he’s made as many as five hand-turned bats in one very long night, an experience he doesn’t plan to repeat.
Johnson works on and off during the week, unless “Madison goes back to a selling rampage, then it’ll be every night.”
The Johnson customized bat sells for $125. Madison-designed bats for training, with an enlarged sweet spot, go for $75. One-handed bats cost $50. Johnson also makes long, lightweight fungo bats for hitting practice balls to fielders.
The Johnson brothers learned wood working at a young age, assisting their father, who owned a used furniture store that included refinished antiques. They also played baseball in high school and college before taking up successful high school coaching careers. That background has been helpful in bat production, said Tim Johnson.
“I know what a bat needs to feel like,” he said, “if it needs to be balanced or end-loaded, how thick or thin a handle needs to be, if you need a cupped end, a smaller taper on the barrel or a longer barrel, and what type of wood has the qualities that would be most productive with each particular swing.”
Johnson never thought his bat hobby would go this far. Yet he plans to retire from his school administrator’s position sometime next year, then decide whether to make bats for a living -- with the help of his brother Shawn, son J.T. and niece Madison.
They already have a tee-shirt slogan, “Swinging hard wood.” Now all they need is a natural like Roy Hobbs to popularize the power of the Johnson bat.
Zach Klemme, sports writer for the Ashland, Ky., Daily Independent provided details for this story.
Richard Malone, the embattled bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, New York, has resigned, the Vatican announced Wednesday.
ENID, Okla. – Air Force officials Friday identified the two airmen killed in a crash landing of a trainer jet at Vance Air Force Base as student pilot Lt. Travis Wilkie, 23, and instructor Lt. Col. John “Matt” Kincade, 47.
ENID, Okla. –Two jet fighter planes used for pilot training at Vance Air Force Base in northern Oklahoma crashed Thursday morning, causing the death of two airmen, base officials announced.
DUNCAN, Okla. – The police clock read 9:55 a.m. Monday when a 911 caller reported an unidentified man and woman, walking calmly from the money center in Walmart to enter their parked car, suddenly were shot to death through the windshield.
This Week's Circulars
ADA [ndash] Ann Grant, 88, of Ada passed Feb. 12, 2020, in California. The funeral service will be at 1 p.m. Friday at Philemon Baptist Church in Ada.
- Suspect dead in Monday burglary, shooting
- Ada police investigating early morning shooting
- Busby joins Hughes firm
- Ada man killed in one-vehicle wreck
- ECU coach to be part of Hutchinson CC Hall of Fame
- Ada's Odom inks with Emporia State
- Mock trial team enjoying success in 2020
- Local trio headed to state swim meet
- Ada girls look playoff-ready in victory
- Educator Spotlight: Becky Walker