Sample Story 9

Marines defend American citizens and despise them at the same time.

“I can tell you that all Marines hate civilians,” said Jimmie Gann, a former Marine. “They are nasty and irritating. I went and gave for my country and all they want to do is complain about the military.

“You sign up to defend your country, that’s where your involvement ends. Politics controls everything else. The politicians are who controls the military. Why bitch about the military instead of the politicians? You have no choice in it; you’re just doing your job.”

You wouldn’t guess that Gann was a Marine by looking at him. Gann is average height and could easily fill out a Santa suit. He has a flat top haircut and the chin section of a goatee. Gann speaks intelligently but would fit in well with a group of sailors.

Gann said he could summarize his view on civilians with a quote from the end of the credits of the HBO TV series Generation Kill, “There it is folks; we are sitting here fighting for your freedoms. You got the right to say what you want, we got the right to punch you in your f****** mouth if we disagree.”

Aaron Reeder, a friend of Gann and a former Marine, said he agrees that all Marines hate civilians.

“There is an amount of accountability in the Marines,” Reeder said. “We operate under an honor code; civilians don’t have the same accountability.

“Most civilians don’t care or hold little value for Marines or what Marines do. There is a lack of appreciation and respect. Marines have a hard time dealing with civilians and their complaining. The changes aren’t apparent until after the Marine Corp.”

Reeder said Marines feel a separation from civilians.

“There is a social separation from others,” Reeder said. “You feel like an outsider, I don’t know how to explain. It’s almost like a social withdraw syndrome. Partly due to the experiences Marines face and the structure of the Marine Corp.”

Along with his newfound displeasure for civilians, Gann said he has had trouble assimilating into society.

“I used to be an authority figure,” Gann said. “I had control over several men. Now, I’m the low man on the totem pole. It’s irritating.”

Gann, now an electrician, served in the United States Marine Corps from 2002 to 2009 and was stationed in Iraq from 2008 to 2009.

Gann was part of a mobile assault platoon commonly known as a combined antitank team. Gann described the combined antitank team as the “backbone of the Marine Corp.”

“We did anything and everything,” Gann said. “We provided firepower for anyone who needed it. We would be sent out on ordinances (checking for illegal explosives), be part of a convoy. We would sneak around and destroy stuff.”

Gann had two military occupation specialties. First, Gann was a toe gunner. A toe gunner is the person who sticks his upper body out of a Humvee to fire a 4-foot missile. The toe gunner guides the missile to its target using two knobs while looking at a screen in front of him that shows what the missile is headed toward. Think of an Etch-A-Sketch; one knob controls the line up and down and the other knob controls the line left and right. The same concept is used when directing the missile.

Gann’s second military occupation specialty was a sniper for the combined antitank team.  He wouldn’t talk about how many confirmed kills he had. It was clear that was one door that would remain closed, but he said one of the scariest moments in Iraq was when he was a sniper.

Gann said on one mission he and two other Marines were on top of a three-story building watching the Iraqi municipal building. As soon as Gann started scanning the buildings around him, he realized he had no cover from enemy fire. As he scanned the windows of a nearby building, he noticed one window with a window barely opened enough for a rifle barrel to stick out and shades cracked just enough for a rifle scope to see out. Gann said you eventually learn to read the signs of possible dangerous situations.

“I just didn’t feel right,” Gann said. “I had a bone-tingling chill crawl up my spine. I called for backup to look, but none was available. We had to stay at our position until the mission was over. We must have been up there for a couple of hours, but it seemed like all day. I knew that if someone wanted us dead, there was nothing we could do the stop it.”

Fortunately for Gann, if someone was looking out the window, the person decided not to do anything.

Gann said the danger he faced regularly was not as bad as the distance from his family.

“You don’t get to talk much on the phone,” Gann said. “Mostly e-mail and not every day. It’s very sporadic. You might not get an e-mail for weeks and then one day you get 30. It’s hard because can’t pick up the phone and call like normal people do. It’s worse with your kids. You miss the events of them growing up.”

Gann said Marines have to try to stay busy when they get time to themselves.

“If you dwell, that’s how you lose your edge. I know a lot of guys that it screwed with their head to the point where they had to be put on suicide watch. You have to shake it off and go to work even though you are working on only five hours of sleep.”

Beth, Gann’s wife, said she wasn’t bothered when her husband was away for training missions but was worried when he was in Iraq.

“It was like a vacation, but I’m independent; I like space,” Beth Gann said. “Iraq was different because I was constantly worried about his safety and his mental stability. The lack of communication is really hard.”

Gann constantly complained about the living conditions he was given. He said the majority of the time; Marines have to sleep in a random storage-hanger or in a half-destroyed building for multiple days.

“It’s horrible,” Gann said. “You are stuck in a run down shanty for five or six days with no shower, no running water and no bathroom. The locals around the area start messing with you because they know you are running on five hours of sleep and multiple energy drinks.”

With all the negatives aspects about serving in the military Gann said he misses it and would do it again.

“You always miss it, but you don’t know why,” Gann said. “I guess it’s the experience. Ninety percent sucks ass and 10 percent you want more. It’s the brotherhood you share with the other Marines, the ties that no one else with understand because they haven’t been through it.”

Gann said the good experiences stay with him, such as the time he and 300 Marines were on a Navy vessel traveling from Morocco to Spain.

“The ship was traveling at 40 knots through a storm,” Gann said. “The Navy crew were eating and laughing because all 300 Marines were getting sea sick. I remember thinking it must have been hilarious watching us.”

Or the time his combined antitank team was part of a convoy and the toe gunner ate something that upset his stomach.

“We couldn’t stop for anything,” Gann said. “The toe gunner needed to relieve himself so we made a private first class hold a military rations box underneath the toe gunner. Keep in mind we are in a Humvee going 50 mph through a desert. There isn’t a paved road so we are going over rocks and hitting holes. The toe gunner wore goggles and gloves but he was still covered. We couldn’t stop laughing.”

Jimmie Gann said some Marines are affected negatively by their experiences in the military, but he isn’t one of them.

“I saw a therapist once,” Gann said. “He told me I had post traumatic stress disorder because I sometimes think back to when I was a sniper. I remember how it felt to have my crosshairs point on someone and the 2.5 pounds holding my trigger in place, the power of being able to send that person to meet their maker.

“The therapist told me to seek help immediately after I left but I just went home. I don’t think I PTSD, not like one guy I know who lost his mind.

“Another sniper I know had to shoot a woman who was holding her daughters hand because [the mother] had a suicide vest on. He went crazy because of that. I heard when he went back home he left his wife and kids, moved to Arizona and no one has heard from him since.”

Gann said he doesn’t have any experiences like that that have affected him, but his second-guessing himself does. He said sometimes he will think whether he let someone go whom he shouldn’t have or he might have missed a sign the person was acting suspicious.

Beth Gann said Jimmie doesn’t talk about his experiences as a Marine but she isn’t worried about him.

“He was crazy before he went to Iraq and he is still crazy now,” Beth Gann said. “I haven’t seen much of a change since he has been back. Jimmie is strong-minded and does a good job at internalizing what he thinks and feels.

“He knows he can talk to me if he needs to, but I don’t want to be one of those wives that tells her husband he has to let it out. It does kinda bum me out because I would like to know what he is thinking. When he cried watching Saving Private Ryan I wanted him to share, but I wasn’t going to ask.”

Caitlian Gann, Jimmie’s stepdaughter, said he didn’t change much when he returned home.

“He was kind of nice,” Caitlian Gann said. “He used to be more strict. He is still strict and dad like, pretty much the same as he was before he left.”

Kelsi Ellis, a friend of the Gann family, said Gann should be remembered for the love for his family and his strong will.

“He loves his wife and their family,” Ellis said. “He is strong willed and carries himself proud. Going from the military to a home life was not a challenge due to how much he loves them.

“I feel the bigger factor was the change in routine. The months away and living through a phone call to being a dad in person, doing the daily wiping up of spills, helping with homework and working through daily issues that arose. He did it with extreme and has the respect of his wife and the family.

“Jimmie knows what working hard is about and not only did he do it for the military, but he did it for his wife and family.”


Sample Story 8

Stillwater residents can now enjoy the atmosphere of a European pub.

Chris Warde, 30 and a sophomore majoring in history at Oklahoma State University, opened Finnegan’s Fighting Goat pub at Seventh and Main on Saturday.

“If you want a place that is quiet and you want to try a new beer, this is the bar for you,” Warde said.

Finnegan’s Fighting Goat is the first European-style pub in Stillwater.

Warde got the idea of opening a European pub after he spent time traveling.

“I traveled to England and New Zealand, a lot of places associated with the British colonies,” Warde said. “I really liked the atmosphere of a pub and the pub games.”

Warde said he wanted to open a bar that was friendly, quiet and nonsmoking.

“The bars on ‘The Strip’ are good bars, but seem all the same to me,” Warde said. “They are loud and you always go home smelling like smoke.

“I used to smoke, and I have become sensitive to smoke since I quit. Finnegan’s is an alternative to ‘The Strip.’”

Houston Gandy, a sophomore majoring in secondary education, shares the feelings with Warde.

“I’m glad there is an alternative to the cowboy-oriented bars,” Gandy said. “I’m not a cowboy and I hate country music. Finnegan’s Fighting Goat is a place where I can escape from rednecks and hillbillies.”

Warde said most bars in Stillwater don’t have a wide selection of beers on tap and he wanted to change that. He said he wants Finnegan’s to be similar to TapWerks in Oklahoma City or James E. McNellie’s Public House in Tulsa.

Josh Perry, Warde’s friend and former owner of Rivals Sports Bar, is the manager of Finnegan’s Fighting Goat. Warde said he and Perry became friends about a year ago when he used to go to Perry’s bar.

Perry sold Rivals Sports Bar after the roof collapsed.

“I don’t know anything about starting a bar,” Warde said. “Perry has already been through it, so I let him run the place.”

Perry said he wants Finnegan’s Fighting Goat to help people discover beers they have never heard of.

If there is a beer or liquor a customer wants to try, Finnegan’s will order it. Perry said if the alcohol isn’t good and doesn’t sell, he won’t order it again.

“We will carry microbreweries that no one else carriers,” Perry said. “My goal is to make Finnegan’s the flagship of good American beers. We will have 86 different beers, 36 on tap and 50 in bottles.”

Perry said he is trying to carry beers that no other bars in Oklahoma carry. He said he has one beer company, Strongbow, on board.

Jamelle Lynch, a senior majoring in nutritional science, said he is excited for something different in Stillwater.

“Having a European pub in Stillwater is something this town could definitely use,” Lynch said. “I’m glad to see something new and culturally diverse here.”

Warde said he also wanted to open Finnegan’s for his initial investor, his father. Warde’s father, William Warde, was a statistics professor at OSU until he died in August.

“I wanted my dad to have a place to come to after work,” Warde said

“We were hoping to be open this past September but we have had lots of delays.”

Finnegan’s Fighting Goat opened Friday, November 26. Warde said he wasn’t going to open the bar but he mentioned to his friends he might open it and they showed up looking for a drink.

“We discovered our nitrous tank was leaking,” Perry said. “Because of that we could only serve liquor and bottled beer.”

Warde said he estimated 50 people were in the bar that night and not one person complained about not being able to have draft beer.

Perry said people have shown interest in the pub in the past two months.

“I’ll be working on something and people will just walk in the door and ask what I’m doing,” Perry said. “There is a sign out front that says, ‘Finnegan’s Irish Pub Opening Soon’ and I’m standing in a bar, what do you think I’m doing?

“So I have fun with them. I told one lady I was installing baby incubators, she literally s***. I told another guy that this was becoming a new Taco Bell and that they wanted to move downtown.”

All joking aside, Warde and Perry have big plans for Finnegan’s, but they made it clear that it would be well into the future before they make any additions to the pub.

The upstairs area is one of the additions Warde and Perry plan to use as a private party room or a smoking section. Warde said a sprinkler system has to be added before customers can go upstairs.

Now, the upstairs is an office, but previously the room housed all the money for the city of Stillwater. The money was kept in a large walk in safe. The safe is there and functioning.

A kitchen area is another addition that Warde said is crucial. Finnegan’s Fighting Goat has some food machines, such as a popcorn machine and a pizza warmer, but because it doesn’t have a kitchen, it can’t prepare food.

Warde said he isn’t sure whether he will add a sprinkler system or a kitchen first.

“It all depends on what makes me more money,” Warde said.

Warde said if Finnegan’s Fighting Goat made enough money off food he would consider changing the pub to 18 and older.

Warde said Finnegan’s Fighting Goat has a patio area in front of the store similar to Louie’s Grill and Bar.

The use of the roof as a terrace is perhaps the most exciting possible addition to Finnegan’s Fighting Goat. Warde said it would require a structural engineer to make the roof secure, but he would love to use the roof because no other bar in Stillwater has a terrace on the roof.

Perry said he hopes to help the city start a shuttle service between Main Street and ‘The Strip.’ He said he has talked to the city officials about the idea and they liked the idea but don’t want to spend the money.

Jeremy Pearce, 25 and a Stillwater resident, said Finnegan’s Fighting Goat became his favorite bar after his first visit.

“[Finnegan’s Fighting Goat] has the best selection of beers,” Pearce said. “They have 36 beers on tap, more than you would get anywhere else.”

Pearce said the best thing about Finnegan’s Fighting Goat is the customer service.

“They take their time and make sure the beer is perfect,” Pearce said. “The bartender just poured a stout beer which takes a long time, he walked away and let the beer settle before he topped it off. You just don’t see other bars doing that.

“Earlier they asked if I wanted my shot glass chilled, any other bar would tell you you get the shot hot and you will like it. That is an awesome sign of customer service.”

Pearce said he is impressed with the setup of the bar and can’t wait to see what Warde and Perry add to the bar.

“I would like to see them add some live music,” Pearce said. “Food is always good, but it should be quick bar food, buffalo wings for example.

“I think it is a great idea to add the upstairs as a smoking area, but I think they should make it a cigar bar. I don’t smoke very often but it would be nice to enjoy a beer and a cigar at the same time.”

Warde and Perry debated over what to name the bar.

“[Perry] wanted to name the bar Finnegan’s, but I thought that sounded too common,” Warde said. “I thought about calling it the Feisty Goat after a bar in the movie Euro Trip.

“There are several Feisty Goats in Europe, they are very popular. Finally, I suggested Finnegan’s Fighting Goat because I have goats and they fight.

“[Perry] was like no way. You can’t call your bar Finnegan’s Fighting Goat, but one day he threw his hands in the air and said, ‘Fine, call it what you want.’”

Warde said he started owning goats because he didn’t want to mow his yard.

“I live on 6 acres,” Warde said. “And I didn’t want to have to mess with mowing my yard. I got woods and lots of poison ivy.

“One day my buddy was joking and told me I should get some goats to mow my grass. His mother raised goats so I told him to give some.

“I used to own seven goats, but they got sick and died. Now I’m down to two.”

Finnegan’s Fighting Goat will offer weekly specials, but Warde and Perry are unsure if they will offer discounts to OSU students.

Finnegan’s Fighting Goat is open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Monday through Saturday.

“We are excited to be Stillwater’s first pub,” Warde said. “If you are looking for an alternative to ‘the strip,’ come to Finnegan’s. We offer the best beer selection of beer and the friendliest service in town. Come get a taste of pub atmosphere in a pint glass.”

Sample Story 8

One OSU student used the power of social media to collect more than $750 in a week to help bring clean water to Haiti.

Tucker Lincecum, a junior majoring in broadcast journalism, spent March 21-27 raising money for Don’t Hate On Haiti. All-American Rejects front man, Tyson Ritter, started the Don’t Hate On Haiti charity. Lincecum invited people to a group of Facebook and sent his friends texts about the charity. On Feb. 22, Ritter announced a contest for people who donated money to Don’t Hate On Haiti that included several prizes with the grand prize being a Skype interview with the band. Ritter designed the contest to coincide with his band returning to the studio, to record a new album, for maximum exposure.

Don’t Hate On Haiti donate the money it raises to Charity:Water. Charity:Water is a nonprofit organization that builds clean water projects around the world with its current focus on building clean water wells in Haiti.

            “[Ritter] started the contest and then he added some prizes for the person who donated the most money, but I wasn’t really doing it so much for the prizes,” Lincecum said. “I just wanted to help out. So I just thought I would try to help out and got some friends to donate, and I ended up raising $750 and I just sent that in on Friday to the offices in California.”

Lincecum said he was surprised at the quick response he got from people and how quickly he raised the money. Lincecum said 25 people donated money, which is an average of $30 per person.

“I had several [donations] that were 25 to 50, but I had a lot that were just smaller donations,” Lincecum said. “But everything helps, any donation is a good donation, I say. I thought people wouldn’t want to give money or they would give a dollar, which there is nothing wrong with a dollar, but I was surprised by the amount that I ended up raising.

“I sent out an event on Facebook and text some people on my phone and had a whole bunch of people say, ‘Yeah, I’ll donate’ and just started raking in the dough.”

Lincecum said it is important to remember Haiti a year later because it needs help.

“Now that everyone has moved out of Haiti and they are on to Japan and the crisis in Libya and all the other stuff that’s going on just because the media is out of Haiti doesn’t mean they don’t still need help,” Lincecum said. “They will need help for years to come on rebuilding and getting people clean water.”

Cameron Hutton, a recent graduate from OSU, donated $50 to Lincecum and said he agrees that people need continue to keep places such as Haiti in mind as more disasters happen in the future.

“If it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind,” Hutton said. “Right now what’s in sight is the Japan ordeal still. Pretty soon, another earthquake is going to happen somewhere or a hurricane or a tornado or something like that and that will on the front lines.

“I think it’s still important to keep New Orleans in mind cause I was down there a couple weeks ago and it’s still not fully recovered. People need to realize that things are still going on, people are still dealing with things even though the media’s not covering it.”

Hutton said he is glad Lincecum is promoting help for Haiti because if he is reminding people about Haiti, it will stay fresh in their minds.

Kendall Slaughter, a junior majoring in forestry, said he wanted to help Haiti because he has a friend who recently returned from there.

“I have a friend who has been to Haiti before to help out after the earthquake and he is going back again,” Slaughter said. “He has kinda made sort of aware of  what’s going on over there so I’ve been more focused on that then other things because he knows people over there. I’ve got a direct relation to them I guess.”

Slaughter said he knows there are people in the U.S. who are helping Haiti but said he feels like the majority of the population have focused on the most recent disaster story.

“I just want people to know that they should focus on everyone instead of the most recent occurrence,” Slaughter said.

Slaughter said he hopes to visit Haiti in the future and help bring fresh water to those who need it.

“I plan on going to Haiti in the next year or so,” Slaughter said. “I’m not really sure what I will be able to do cause I’ve never done anything like that before. I like the idea of bring water to people who need it; it seems like something I can do that is easy but very important. I want to feel like I am making a difference.”

Jessee Weavel, 24, from Broken Arrow, said donating to Don’t Hate On Haiti was her first time donating to a cause outside of the U.S.

“I do a lot of local stuff, but I’ve never done anything national,” Weavel said. “I usually give my money to the Humane Society or Women’s Benefits. It’s local, so I see it more directly but I think if it’s something you care about they only way that you are going to improve anything is by helping and donating money or donating time.

“I know Tucker so that’s why I donated money to him,” Weavel said. “Tucker explained to me how Haiti still needs help even though the news and media hadn’t been talking about it. I hadn’t really thought about that, so donating money made me feel good that I was helping people that are essentially forgotten about.”

To date, Ritter and Don’t Hate On Haiti has raised $25,000 and built five clean water wells in Haiti. It takes $5,000 to build one clean water well.

Lincecum said he wants to continue raising money for Don’t Hate on Haiti.

“Even though the contest has already ended, I would like to raise some more money later this year,” Lincecum said. “I would like to present [Ritter] personally with a check of donations. [All-American Rejects] are my favorite band and they kinda know me. I have a lot of their early EPs that they recorded while still in Stillwater. So hopefully I can see them this fall when they go back on tour and give them more donations personally.”

Lincecum’s girlfriend of three and a half years, Tavia Garrison, helped Lincecum collect donations and said she is not surprised that he is giving to others.

“He is very charitable,” Garrison said. “He will always help anybody that needs help and I think he saw this as not only an opportunity to help his favorite band out, but also help people who are in need.”

Garrison said she collected money from her family, friends, coworkers and people at her school.

“It’s pretty easy to get change from people once you explain to them how this people are in such a need of water and how it’s kind of something we take for granted every day but hey don’t have it,” Garrison said.

Garrison said she and Lincecum share the same favorite band, the All-American Rejects, and that she thinks it is honorable that Ritter is used the fact that he is a celebrity to help bring awareness and aid to Haiti.

“Since we are fans of the All-American Rejects, I thought it was cool for somebody that we kind of look up to help people who are in need for the past two years,” Garrison said. “They do have a bigger spotlight, so they have the power to help people like that. I wish more celebrities were like that. I feel like a lot celebrities are all about themselves and that is a shame.

“If everyone pitched in a little bit here and there, we could help Haiti, Japan and the next country to have a big disaster. I just don’t understand why people don’t realize that we are all in this together. I know some of the people I asked for donations said they don’t see why they should help other countries when we need help ourselves. You have to understand that by helping other countries when they are in dire straits, they will remember that help us when we need it the most.”

Ritter announced on his twitter account on April 7, that all of the contest donations were collected and raised a total of $6,200. Ritter said on his twitter that he was amazed at the response from his fans and that he was excited that the contest raised enough money to build a water well for Haiti. With the addition of the next water well, Haiti will have a total of six wells.

Anyone who would like to send donations can mail them to: Don’t Hate On Haiti, P.O. Box 4084, Santa Monica, CA, 90411.

Sample Story 6

Stillwater residents have a new place to shop for their Christian worship items.

A Ruth’s Christian Bookstore opened at the former Blockbuster Video on Perkins and Hall of Fame on Saturday Oct. 23.

            “Stillwater lost its only Christian bookstore four years ago,” said Natalie Church, manager of Ruth’s Christian Bookstore. “We are very excited to be a part of the community and to help the community in any way we can.”

The Ruth’s in Stillwater is one of four stores. The others stores are at Oakwood Mall in Enid, Quail Springs Mall in Oklahoma City and Arrowhead Mall in Muskogee.

Church said that Stillwater residents constantly thank her for opening the store.

“The people of Stillwater have been praying for us to open a store here,” Church said.

Paige Evans moved to Stillwater from Kentucky last year and said she was thankful for the bookstore.

“I was very excited when I saw Ruth’s open,” Evans said. “I used to spend a lot of time in the Christian bookstore back in Kentucky. I have been homesick a lot lately, so this helps me get over the sickness.”

Church’s mother, Ruth James, opened the first Ruth’s Christian Bookstore in Pond Creek, Okla., in 1989. James converted a metal barn in her backyard into the first Ruth’s Christian Bookstore.

James said she grew up a farm girl in Pond Creek and married a farmer. When she got pregnant with her third child, she couldn’t do the farm work.

“I wanted to use the building to serve God, but I didn’t know what to do with it,” James said. “Finally, after months of praying, God told me to open a Christian bookstore.

“I resisted at first because I didn’t know anything about running a bookstore and I wasn’t confident in myself.”

James said she got the courage and inspiration to open the Christian bookstore after she read passage 3:11 in the Book of Ruth from the Old Testament.

Ruth 3:11 reads, “And now, my daughter, do not be afraid, I will do for you all that you ask, for all the assembly of my people know that you are a worthy woman.”

“After I read the passage, I knew that I needed to listen to the Lord,” James said. “I called the owner the Stillwater Christian Bookstore, which was still open at the time, and asked for advice.

“He gave me an 800 number that sells Christian supplies and that’s how things started.”

Church said the first professional bookstore opened in 1990 in Enid.

“God called us to the mall,” Church said. “We moved to Enid 20 years ago. We also have stores in Oklahoma City and Muskogee and our most recent store in Stillwater.”

The store in Oklahoma City opened in 2000, and the store in Muskogee opened in 2007.

Church said Ruth’s is different from other Christian bookstores because it is a ministry first and a business second.

“We are a store of encouragement,” Church said. “We pray over all the bibles we sell. We want to spread the word of God and the love of Jesus to everyone.”

Church said business is good.

James said since the previous Stillwater Christian bookstore closed, Stillwater residents have come to the Ruth’s Christian Bookstores in Oklahoma City and Muskogee.

“After the Christian bookstore shut down four years ago, because of the owner’s death,” James said. “People from Stillwater began shopping at our stores and asking us to come to Stillwater. Stillwater has always had a special place in my heart. It just seemed natural to open a store here.”

Ruth’s Christian Bookstore takes up only half of the former Blockbuster Video. The other half is a corporate AT&T store. AT&T leases the other half to Church and James.

James said she got lucky with AT&T.

“AT&T is giving us a generous lease,” James said. “There was no way I could afford to lease the whole building alone. I think God helped me by helping AT&T.”

Ruth’s Christian Bookstore welcomes all faiths, denominations and nondenominations.

“Ruth’s Christian Bookstores are open to all people,” James said. “People come in for encouragement and to be uplifted.”

Church said the resident’s strong reactions have surprised her.

“The people of Stillwater have welcomed us with open arms.” Church said. “They are thankful for us coming here and tell us have that we have answered their prayers. One woman saw me walking into the store; she got out of her and car and hugged me for opening the store.”

Evans said she will move back to Kentucky on Nov. 14, but hopes to have a Ruth’s Christian Bookstore in Kentucky soon.

“The Christian Bookstore in Kentucky is great,” Evans said. “But Ruth’s is much more than just a bookstore. Ruth’s is like a minichurch, whenever I have a bad day or have a problem that I can’t work out, I know I can go to Ruth’s and talk to someone about it. The people who work there always know what to say.”

Ruth’s Christian Bookstore sells a wide range of products. It has Christian music, books and movies. Ruth’s features a “kid’s corner” where children can read children’s Christian books and watch movies while their parents shop.

Ruth’s also sells greeting cards and home décor items. Ruth’s offers free imprinting for all bibles sold and special order any items it does not have free of charge.

Ruth’s Christian Bookstore will celebrate its grand opening on Saturday.

“We will be serving refreshments,” Church said. “So come on in, get yourself a drink and have a look around.”

Evans said she is glad she will still be in town for the grand opening.

“I can’t wait to for the grand opening,” Evans said. “I just know that Ruth’s will make a difference in the community if given the chance. These are the kinds of people we need leading the way in the 21st Century; honest, trustworthy, god-fearing people.”

James had to turn the management of Ruth’s over to Church after a hip replacement, but she helps with the ministry in the stores.

Ruth’s Christian Bookstores is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

“We are excited about the doors God has opened for us in Stillwater,” Church said.

Sample Story 5

Stillwater businesses found spring break to be a big challenge for business.

Spring break is a tradition for college students to get away from the college. Most students travel to a beach destination and spend the entire week drinking to the point of alcohol poisoning.

The absence of students in a college town affects each Stillwater business differently. Some businesses found no difference between the week of spring break and any other week during the semester. Other businesses found that spring break causes a break in their profits.

Miriam Hunn, store manager of Hibbett Sports at Hall of Fame and McElroy Streets, said her business lost almost half of its sales during spring break.

“I have never had that happen,” Hunn said. “Last year I know there were some camps and some tournaments so I think that helped us out. This year I know the college was out, Stillwater schools were out and there weren’t any camps to draw people into the store.”

Hunn said one positive thing about spring break is the students who stay in town work twice as much as they do normally. She said most associates work 15 hours a week but because of the lack of workers, they worked 30 hours a week during spring break.

Kita Stokes, a bartender and part-time manager at J.R. Murphy’s bar, said her business suffered during spring break too but the biggest change was the crowd.

“This was my third spring break at Murphy’s and I saw a higher number of locals, so an older crowd,” Stokes said. “Maybe they are just more noticeable now because the students are out of the way, but I saw a larger 30 and over crowd, especially in the early evenings.

“About 10 to 11 I saw a much older crowd, people coming from out of town into Stillwater to partake in the bars when they aren’t quite so busy, especially on St. Paddy’s Day. They come into visit because Stillwater is a party town. They think that they are going to get to see the good times cause they are on break too and it is just not that way.”

Stokes said spring break is important for the bars in Stillwater because that is when they start training new employees for the upcoming football season.

“Typically all bars will hire around spring break and they start their training processes,” Stokes said. “If you hire right before football season, it is like throwing people to the wolves. So we hire early and train through the summer, then you get to the football season and you have enough experience not to panic when there’s 400 people in the building.”

Not every business in Stillwater lost business during spring break. Kelsey Harris, the store manager of The Buckle at hall of fame and McElroy, said her business did better during spring break than it did during a normal week.

“We weren’t affected at all,” Harris said. “It was amazing. We surpassed all of our numbers. I hire the right people for the job. I would say half of my team left but the people who stayed were awesome and knew what to do. It was probably one of the funnest weeks I’ve had in a really long time.”

Harris said she thinks the store promotions were a big factor in the increase in sales. Customers, who made a purchase, had the chance to win up to $20 off a purchase and receive a free beach bag.

With the majority of students leaving Stillwater for spring break, those students who stayed in town were able to work more hours and experience a different side of Stillwater most students don’t see.

Monique Hurd, a freshman who works at Med-X Drugs, was one of the students who stayed in Stillwater during spring break. Hurd said Med-X didn’t see a decline in customer but saw mostly locals in the store.

Hurd said she stayed in Stillwater because she worked five days during spring break and didn’t want to spend her two days off work driving back and forth between Bixby and Stillwater. Hurd said she liked staying in Stillwater and working and would continue to do it in the future.

“Most likely I would stay in here and work,” Hurd said. “I’d rather save my money instead of spending it all going to Florida or something. Honestly, I don’t know how most students can afford to travel during spring break. I barely work enough during a normal week to pay bills and eat.”

Alex Hardison, a freshman who works at Wal-Mart’s pharmacy department on Perkins Street, was also in Stillwater during spring break. He said he didn’t enjoy being in Stillwater and didn’t see a significant change in business.

“There wasn’t a noticeable change in business,” Hardison said. “I only worked an extra four hours than I normally do. The only effect that we had was a reduction in sales on certain items that more college students buy like birth control, the Plan B pill and the prescription medications for the college students.”

Hardison said unlike most businesses in Stillwater, Wal-Mart’s pharmacy department only had two employees leave for spring break and thinks that was a reason why he didn’t see a significant increase in work hours.

Hardison said he didn’t enjoy spending spring break in Stillwater and plans to get away in the future.

“It was a dead town,” Hardison said. “During spring break, I was out and about in town throughout many periods of the day and I noticed the streets were much less busy, there was much less traffic and people at any particular building or store.

“For students spring break is supposed to be your time to get away and do whatever you want. I would rather get out of the town and do something fun, take my mind off of school. It’s kind of hard to forget about school when I have to return to my dorm room every night.”

Sample Story 4

Oklahoma students and faculty may soon be able to carry concealed guns on campus.

Three legislative bills were introduced recently that would allow people to bring concealed weapons on campus if they have a concealed-carry permit.

House Bill 2807 would allow faculty who have a concealed-carry permit to bring a concealed weapon on campus. State Bill 858 would allow anyone who has a concealed-carry permit to bring a concealed weapon on campus and State Bill 896 would allow faculty and those certified by the Council on Law Enforcement, Education and Training to bring a concealed weapon on campus. State Bill 896 would also allow campuses to opt out of allowing concealed-carry on campus during sporting events and on-campus activities with large crowds.

The possibility of allowing concealed-carry on campus has caused mixed reactions with some OSU students.

Houston Gandy, a sophomore majoring in history, said he supports concealed-carry on campus and campuses should at least allow faculty to carry concealed weapons on campus.

“I think faculty would be a good start but I’m for all students being able to,” Gandy said. “If you have a concealed-carry permit, I think you should be able to carry on campus because the only people who are going to abide by gun free zones are people who obey laws.”

Gandy said he thinks a good plan would be to allow the faculty to have concealed-carry for five years, see what the rate of incidents are, and then extend concealed-carry to everyone with a permit.

Jess Thompson, a freshman majoring in sociology, said she is against concealed-carry on campus and faculty should be able to choose if they want to allow weapons in their classrooms, if the laws are passed.

“If a faculty member is uncomfortable, I think they should have the right to ban guns in the classroom because they are facilitating that area and they are responsible for things that happen in that time,” Thompson said.

Thompson said the thought of some of her fellow students having concealed guns on campus scared her and liked the idea of being able to privately discuss her concerns with her professors if she felt endangered by a fellow student.

Ronnie Mondloch, a professor at Southern Nazarene University, said she supports concealed-carry on campus but thinks some additions need to be made to campus policy.

“First, I think both students and faculty should be allowed to carry a concealed weapon if they have the permit,” Mondloch said. “I think that the campuses should have a list of everyone on campus that has a permit and professors should know who in their classes has a permit.”

Mondloch said the schools should make faculty and staff take a course, instructed by campus police, on how to best act in a crisis situation before they are allowed to carry a concealed weapon on campus.

“It’s all about education,” Mondloch said. “I think you can work on improving that by offering within a college if you are going to carry, then you have to do a special class that’s taught by your security police officers. So right off the bat, you’re not allowed to it unless you pass that little, mini-course; so then they would all know what to do and then it would be a matter of rethinking how things work in a crisis situation.”

Mondloch talked about how cell phones used to be banned from classrooms and how students were able to use their banned cell phones during crisis situations to call for help.

Keaton Kachel, a junior majoring studio art, said he supports concealed-carry on campus and wouldn’t be bothered with students have guns.

“I come from a small town and I have a close family that always had guns around,” Kachel said. “Everybody is knowledgeable to know that an accident could happen and to always be careful. So as long as you know and treat it with respect, I think its fine.”

Craig Freeman, a junior, said he is against anyone being allowed to carry concealed weapons on campus.

“I hate the idea of civilians with gun trying to respond to a Virginia Tech scenario,” Freeman said. “Police officers are trained specifically to react to those delicate situations. I’ve heard supporters say they just want to be able to defend themselves from a shooter on campus but I have a hard time believing they will only act defensively. I’m worried about the hero factor. I can see a student or group of students trying to stop a gunman by themselves and that would only cause more confusion for the police. How would the police be able to differentiate between the crazed gunman and the students with guns?”

Sample Story 3

The Stillwater Medical Center Foundation held a public meeting Friday at 12 p.m. at the Stillwater Public Library.

The subject of Friday’s meeting was “understanding your pain medications”. Two local pharmacologists, Cliff Herr and David Dennis, spoke to an estimated 75 audience members for an hour about pain medications.

            Friday’s meeting is part of the Stillwater Medical Center Foundation’s “First Friday.” The first Friday of every month, between September and May, the Stillwater Medical Foundation hosts a meeting to help introduce new physicians and raise medical awareness of the public and their customers.

“People need to know they have a responsibility to know their medications, their doses and why they are taking them,” Herr said. “They also need to be aware of the side effects of the medications.”

Herr said the most common mistakes people who are prescribed pain medications make, is taking the medications on an empty stomach and not taking the medications as they are prescribed.

Bill Petermann and his wife, Ladonna, went to the meeting to find out information about the prescription medications they are on.

“I don’t spend much time with the doctor,” Bill Petermann said. “I tell the doctor I have a pain, he writes me a prescription and doesn’t tell me anything about it.”

Ladonna Petermann has had problems with medications prescribed by the doctor. One doctor prescribed Ladonna with a medication that affected her memory and caused drowsiness. When she went to the hospital for a severe kidney infection, the medication made it hard for her to communicate with the hospital staff.

Herr and Davis recommend that people, who take pain medications, should keep a list of the medications they are taking. The list should include their medications, the doses and times they take the medications, and any allergies.

Anytime a person visits a doctor or the hospital, they should take the list with them. It is important to always keep your medication list up to date.

Herr and Davis talked about how prescription medications are categorized and the potential for abuse with each category.

The lower the category number, the greater the potential is for abuse. For example, CII medications have the greatest potential for abuse.

Herr also talked about the importance of keeping pain medications secure. He said you never know who might want it.

Herr told a story about one family who had a family member with terminal cancer.  Herr sent the family an analgesic, such as morphine. Another family member injected needles into the tubes that carried the morphine and then withdraw some morphine.

Herr and Davis recommend that people use as few pharmacies as possible. The more pharmacies a person uses the harder it is for the pharmacists to catch any problems that arise.

Ladonna Petermann said that she was taking the same drug twice, but her pharmacy noticed the mistake when she had her medications refilled.

Sample Story 2

Oklahoma drivers may soon face fines if caught texting and driving.

            Rep. Danny Morgan, D-Prague, unveiled a new house bill last month that will ban cell phone use while driving, specifically texting and driving. If caught texting and driving, drivers can face fines from $100 to $2000, possible suspension of their license and possible community service.

Currently 30 states, Washington D.C. and Guam, all have some sort of text message law in effect.

If passed, House Bill 1316 will prohibit all drivers under the age of 18 from using cell phones, except for emergencies, prohibit all drivers, regardless of age, from sending, composing or receiving text messages, and prohibit the use of cell phones in school zones and construction zones.

Morgan said that driving is a responsibility and that drivers have to focus on the road for their lives and the lives of the drivers around them.

“I don’t know if there is anyone out there that can say that texting and driving isn’t a very dangerous situation,” Morgan said. “It’s more dangerous than anything else we do. I’ve had some criticism that say, ‘well you’ve got people drinking their coffee and eating Danish rolls and putting on make-up,’ I understand that and they can still be stopped for distractive driving if the law enforcement officer chooses to do that, but that still is not nearly as dangerous as texting and driving.

“All the information we have seen is that the most dangerous thing to do behind an automobile, is to text. I’m hoping that we are going to be able to give law enforcement officers to stop someone if they’re caught texting before an accident occurs, in other words I want to be proactive with our legislation and not reactive.”

Jenifer Frazier, a Sapulpa resident, agrees with Morgan that House Bill 1316 is needed.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Frazier said. “Especially because new drivers don’t know what they are doing anyway. They should have some kind of restrictions pertaining to their phones.”

However, Tulsa resident Ryan Wheeler said he thinks the law is unfair and that drivers shouldn’t be banned from using their cell phones while driving.

I don’t like it,” Wheeler said. “Seriously, there’s plenty of people that don’t know how to drive period, so why restrict their cell phone? If you are distracted by your cell phone, what’s next, are we not going to be allowed to eat or drink or listen to the radio? There’s plenty of things that can distract you besides your cell phone.”

Morgan said a lot people are endorsing House Bill 1316. He said 13 of 101 members of the legislature are coauthors of the bill and wanted to show their support by being coauthors. AAA, the Oklahoma and Tulsa county Health Departments, the Oklahoma Department of Health, OG&E and AT&T are some of the organizations that are supporting the house bill.

Morgan said voting on the house bill would be in the  next couple of weeks and if passed, would become effective Nov. 1.

Sample Story 1

OSU students are learning that you can’t always get what you want.

Some OSU students are finding out that just because you have a job in Stillwater, doesn’t mean you will get many hours.

According to the Associated Press, Oklahoma’s jobless rate fell from 6.9 percent to 6.8 percent in December, meaning more OSU students could potentially have jobs in 2011.

“You have so many people that are coming into town that ultimately need jobs, so you either don’t have a job or you don’t work a lot,” said Amanda Brown, a senior majoring in nutritional science.

Brown works at Stillwater Medical Center and said it is a constant struggle to get enough hours to pay her bills and maintain her grades.

“I don’t work enough,” Brown said. “I need to work more but I’m taking enough hours that if I worked more, my grades would suffer. It’s a constant battle balancing work and school because I need to work more to make more money but I’m taking extremely hard classes.”

Hunter Lane, a sophomore who works at Perkins restaurant, said the reason why he doesn’t work as many hours as he would like, is because he is a student.

“Everyone else kinda has priority over students,” Lane said. “If I was in a situation where I would need to work more hours, I definitely don’t think that I would get the hours I needed to. There are a couple of people who have ends meet that they need to make and they have a hard time doing that because most of the people that are not in school, the people that are either older or they make it their job, they usually get most of the bulk of the hours and with that they get the good shifts.”

Lane said that in the past, if he were desperate for money, he would donate plasma.

Emily Grimmett, a senior who works at Pier 1 Imports, said she does not have any problem with getting hours at her job.

“I work probably about 15 hours,” Grimmett said. “I can usually find someone to pick up more hours or give some away.

“I really don’t need the money, I just like staying busy. My first two years of college I didn’t have a job and I look back now and realize I was so lazy. I had this idea that work was going to take away too much of my time and I was going to be stressed with school, but then I got one and it’s not that big of a deal.”

Lane said he thinks Stillwater businesses should keep the number of student employees low so they can work more hours than they currently are.

“The problem with Stillwater is most businesses make money when school is in session and all the students are in town,” Lane said. “The flip side to that is when school is in session, it’s hard to get a lot of hours because all the students are working.”

HIMYM review Season 3 Episode 8 “Spoiler Alert”


“Spoiler Alert” again proves how even when How I Met Your Mother isn’t about Ted meeting the Mother, it’s still worth watching. We find Ted excited about his new girlfriend, Cathy, played by Lindsay Price. After a long dinner, the group can’t stand Cathy and the worst part is Ted can’t see Cathy’s flaw because of his feelings towards her. After some begging, Marshall eventually reveals that Cathy talks all the time. When Ted thinks about the dinner he realizes Marshall is right, shattering his illusion, which Carter Bays and Craig Thomas illustrate with the sound of shattering glass.

Eventually, Ted breaks up with Cathy but the focus of the episode is on the gang’s own bad habits. One by one everyone’s flaws are learned by the group. Lily chews loudly, Ted corrects everyone, Robin uses the word “literally” a lot, Marshall sings his daily activities as he does them, bringing us to Barney, The gang all pitch in a bring up multiple flaws of Barney, including talking in a high-pitched voice, using lame catch phrases and spacing out during conversations.


With the gang at each other’s throats, Robin sings one of Marshall’s songs and adds how they get stuck in her head, “And what’s worse: they’re catchy! Apple, Orchard, Banana Cat Dance 8663. See, we know that one because you once sang it for like three hours? What the hell is that?” As it turns out, that song was Marshall’s password for the BAR exam results that he had forgotten earlier in the episode, AOBCD8663. Marshall rushes to his computer with the password and finds out he is officially a lawyer. The gang celebrates at MacLaren’s as future Ted tells us that if you really love someone, you can look past their flaws.

The episode ends three years in the future with Ted running into Cathy and her fiance, who happens to be deaf. Ted signs to Cathy’s fiance, as first mentioned in “How I Met Everyone Else”, and adds a joke about Cathy’s non-stop talking. The man looks confused and the phrase “(glass shattering)” is shown on the screen.

“Spoiler Alert” was a great change up from the seriousness of the past few episodes. The ability of How I Met Your Mother to bring a story full circle only continues to get better, whether it is in one episode or multiple. The fact that the episode began with Marshall’s lost password, switched to everyone’s bad habits, back to Marshall’s password and finally ending with future Cathy and didn’t seem to cluttered (unlike this sentence) is amazing. I have to give credit to the writers for making Cathy’s flaw that she talks a lot, “Chatty Cathy”, and that she ends up with a deaf man.

The added sound effect of glass shattering during the episode is my favorite part of the episode, but my favorite scene was when Ted met Cathy and her fiance and then shattered the fiance’s illusion of Cathy with the graphic “(shattered glass)”.