Each year, Congress must authorize the necessary funding and resources for our nation’s defense.

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OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy has released the nominees for its annual Anne Roberts People’s Choice Awards. The public may vote online at OICA.org until 5 p.m. July 26 to select both an individual and a group that best serves the needs of children in Oklahoma.

Regardless of political points of view, most Americans can agree that good stewardship of the earth and its precious resources is important. And I am always encouraged by the special efforts made by individuals, families and communities to do their part today to ensure a fruitful and beautif…

While the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is recognized as the state’s preeminent watchdog and advocate for children, we know that improving conditions for children is a team effort. 

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This week, with almost everything in bloom, I picked one of my favorite flower lenses, my Tokina 100mm f/2.8 macro.

SoonerCare, or Oklahoma’s Medicaid program, is designed to provide health insurance to children in low-income families, low-income seniors, people with disabilities and several other high-needs populations.


The multi-colored western kingbird is a close relative of the scissor-tailed flycatcher.


On the Fourth of July, we celebrate the courage, conviction and boldness of those who came before us to secure and defend American liberty.

In December, I featured a butterfly, the goatweed leafwing, and mentioned that it is somewhat similar in size and appearance to this week’s featured creature, the question mark.

For those looking to help the cause of child wellbeing in Oklahoma, OICA has two important events coming up that we need the public’s help and input on. 

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month

Extreme weather is as much a part of Oklahoma as the waving wheat and the wind coming right behind the rain. Tornadoes and scorching temperatures are not at all unusual, and neither is frigid cold weather.

This week, I’m featuring monarda citriodora, a wild-growing aromatic annual (sometimes biennial) flowering plant.

I have never gone a spring season without photographing at least one storm damage event. It seems to be part of what every news photographer in Oklahoma does.

Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives considered – and the Democratic majority passed – a very controversial resolution.

As we move past the legislative session and into the summer months, the team at the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy has had the privilege of working with two successful youth programs: OK-LEAD and Hoops 4 Heroes.


The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (recently) released its 2019 Child Well-being Legislative Report Card.

The black rat snake, also known as the eastern rat snake, is completely harmless to humans (non-venomous) and is a rodent eater.

Over the course of world history, D-Day remains one of the most pivotal moments. Seventy-five years later, the world still remembers the incredible sacrifices made when Allied forces courageously came together to confront Nazi Germany by storming the Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944. As we p…

Gardening in straw or hay bales has become popular. Growing a garden in bales allows gardening when conditions do not allow working the ground, when there are poor soil conditions or when the gardener may have limited ability to move in or around the garden.

The end of the 2019 legislative session has arrived. While there were some great ideas passed into law and a budget that provided additional funding for many worthy causes, there were also several issues left unaddressed.

The first half of the 57th Legislature has officially sine die, which I learned is Latin for “without assigning a day for a further meeting or hearing.” Constitutionally, we must sine die by May 31, so we were able to finish a little early. I think we had a very productive session. We, along…

As I look back on the 2019 legislative session, I am profoundly grateful for what has undoubtedly been the most productive session I’ve had the privilege of participating in since first coming to the Senate. We have been able to make important and much needed investments in every core area o…

Ever since our brave forebearers declared America’s independence, the United States has been a beacon of liberty, hope and opportunity. Indeed, America is still regarded the world over as a land where success can be achieved regardless of where you’ve come from. And that is because our foreb…

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I very deliberately chose one of my favorite lenses, as it has been for more than 30 years: the 180mm f/2.8.

This week, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority is expected to consider a rule that will terminate eligibility for Medicaid if some mail communications are “returned to sender.” This rule, as written, requires a “prompt redetermination of eligibility” whenever a member’s (child’s) mail is retu…

I believe education is one of Oklahoma’s most important economic drivers. Having a well-educated workforce helps the entire economy by attracting companies seeking highly qualified workers for well-paying jobs. We also know the more education a person has, the greater their earning potential…

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As I have grown older and, hopefully, at least a little wiser, I am more cognizant every day of why “at least you have your health” is so significant: There are people around me who don’t have their health.


The Eastern phoebe is among the first birds you’ll hear singing before sunrise.

Last Wednesday was Child Advocacy Day at the state Capitol, and I’d like to thank everyone who came out in support of policies that benefit children. We were joined by more than 100 Oklahomans who participated in advocacy workshops before meeting with lawmakers to discuss child-focused legislation.

During Military Appreciation Month, we rightly join in expressing gratitude for our service members, their families and the daily sacrifices they make on our behalf. It is because of their selfless service that Americans wake up every day with the privilege of peace and freedom at home.

According to Oklahoma’s Constitution, the Legislature must complete its work no later than 5 p.m. on the last Friday in May. That means we have until 5 o’clock Friday, May 31 to finish everything. Any bills that we’ve not completed voting on can be taken up again next session. But because th…

Well, it’s that time of year again. Poison ivy is popping up everywhere, ready to inflict pain and suffering on anyone who comes in contact with it.

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Sometimes I like to get out the old gear and shoot with it, to make sure I don’t rely too heavily on technology to get my job done well

Have you ever gone birdwatching/birding on or near a coast?

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I ask instead that you join me for a short walk around our patch of green in Byng.

Thursday, April 25, marked the Senate’s deadline for floor votes on measures that began in the House of Representatives — likewise, they also had to complete floor votes on the measures we sent over.

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Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a little bird, conceived in the wild, and dedicated to the proposition that all birds are created equal.

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My newspaper and I follow and cover sports all year long, and we are about to dive headlong into spring sports playoffs: tennis, golf, softball, soccer, baseball, track and more.

When I first came to the Senate, we still were dealing with huge budget shortfalls—some of it was the result of economic shifts, but some of it was caused by a budgeting process that badly needed to be reformed. We made some very tough choices, but as a result, we are on much more solid foot…

I was drawn to the Republican Party because of my conservative principles — family-oriented, religious and socially conservative. But it has been difficult to reconcile my allegiance to the party with its devolving evermore into a mouthpiece for President Trump’s dangerous views and policies…

As I write this column on Tax Day, or April 15, we most likely will have about one month left before lawmakers adjourn the 2019 legislative session. I want to take the time to reflect on one of the major tax policy discussions being held at the Capitol: The Earned Income Tax Credit. 

Thursday, April 11, marked the deadline for Senate committees to vote on bills sent over from the House. We have two more weeks before the April 25 deadline for floor votes on those measures.

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It seemed like a long winter, and I think we are all happy spring is with us. 

In just under one year from today, the U.S. Census Bureau will be contacting Oklahomans – via phone, internet, mail and in-person surveys – to seek their participation in the 2020 U.S. Census. The results are secure and confidential, and it is vital that every Oklahoman who is contacted part…

This Week's Circulars


ADA [ndash] A visitation for Viviane Hope Duncan will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Criswell Funeral Home. Viviane Hope, the infant daughter of Richard and Melissa Duncan, was born and died Wednesday, July 17, 2019, at a local hospital. Survivors include her parents, Richard and Melissa…