Balancing my job as a broadcast journalist and my career as a rodeo cowgirl can be challenging to say the least. Two different worlds that, on certain occasions, I get to combine and produce a story that is close to my heart in more ways than one.
The deadly equine herpes virus has been a hot topic in our arena at home and has the broadcast world buzzing. Should we stay or should we go? That was the main question plaguing me as a horse owner and last week I got to turn the camera on some of my closest rodeo friends and let their voices be heard.
A virus of this magnitude could potentially end our horses lives and our careers. However, after talking to the experts, we learned the nitty gritty details and got a glimpse through the eyes of horse owners all across Oklahoma as they gear up to protect their horses in several different ways.
On the Horizon: Deadly Decision from Alisa Hines on Vimeo.
I have never had a gun put in my face, but in talking to those who have, I hear a recurring theme; no matter the caliber, when you are starring down the barrel it looks like a cannon. Something I thought of when I learned of the conviction of an Oklahoma City pharmacist last week.
Jerome Ersland was given a life sentence for the first-degree murder of would be robber 16-year-old Antwun Parker. The 59-year-old pharmacist shot the youngster six times during an attempted armed robbery in 2009, leading jurors to decide he had acted beyond the limits of self defense.
Dramatic surveillance footage shows Antwun Parker and an accomplice running into the Reliable Discount Pharmacy in South Oklahoma City and pointing a gun directly at Mr. Ersland. Ersland then shot the 16-year-old dropping him to the floor. After chasing the accomplice from the store, Ersland then gets a second gun before shooting Parker another five times.
I wonder if when Mr. Ersland went to pharmacy school, he could have imagined he would find himself in such a life and death situation.
When asked why he robbed banks, bank robber Willie Sutton is reported to have said…”because that is where the money is.”
That same principle applies in a disturbing trend of pharmacy hold ups. Criminals not looking for money, but for drugs. In today’s video blog, Oklahoma Horizon’s Courtenay Dehoff introduces us to another Oklahoma pharmacist who was on the wrong side of drug store violence.
Pharmacy Danger from Alisa Hines on Vimeo.
The year was 1888 and the Wild West was changing. Recognizing that fact, showman Gordan W Lillie, known today as Pawnee Bill, started a Wild West show that traveled the country and the world until 1913. But, the story does not end there.
In 1988, the Pawnee Bill Ranch and Museum hosted the first re-enactment of Pawnee Bill’s original Wild West Show. Every year since, they have continued the tradition the last three Saturdays in June.
Today in our video blog we head to Pawnee, Oklahoma, to learn more about the man who began it all, and the people who have kept his dream alive more than a century later.
Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show from Alisa Hines on Vimeo.
As I write, medical examiners have yet to release the official cause of death for University of Oklahoma football player Austin Box. According to El Reno Police, a friend who lived with the 22 year-old found him unresponsive and believed he had overdosed on prescription pain pills. In a 911 recording, the roommate said Box takes pain pills and he’s not responding to me.
If true, it’s just the latest sad incident in a troubling trend: the misuse of prescription medication, whether intentionally or accidentally. Former OSU basketball coach Sean Sutton plead guilty last year for illegally obtaining pain pills that he began taking after a back surgery then to which he subsequently became addicted.
Box played a brutal sport that requires unusual physical and mental toughness. The demands often require playing through pain and sometimes even injury. I worry that in our attempts to explain such a tragic loss of life, we focus on the symptoms and not the wider disease. Prescription medications are just as addictive as anything purchased from a seedy street corner. According to law-enforcement, prescription painkillers rank second behind marijuana as the country’s most common illegal-drug problem. Today we begin a multiple-part video post about a growing problem that cuts across all age groups and economic classes.
Prescription Addiction from Alisa Hines on Vimeo.
I love my job. Every week I get to meet people who know significantly more about something than I do. I once heard Bill Moyers liken it to walking on the shores of others’ oceans of knowledge. That is why in 2005 we started a PBS television show called Oklahoma Horizon, to discuss the issues and visit the places that give our viewers context to our changing world. From an awful time slot on a single station, we have grown into a show now seen in 40 million homes across the U.S. and in 17 countries around the world.
The stories we tell from week to week will range from economic and social trends to just plain ole feel good stories about life in a state we all love and want to see be the very best. This week we begin our postings with a story about a story.
Native American legend has it that a very long time ago, a little boy and girl were wondering through the Cherokee Hills when they were caught in a blizzard. It was not until the following spring their bodies were found lying next to each other, their hands still clasped together. Between the two little ones, an unusual red fern had sprouted, leaning its vast shade over the two tiny bodies. It is a legend that influenced an Oklahoma boy to start writing stories he wanted to read and eventually pen the classic “Where the Red Fern Grows.” We debut our Red Dirt Chronicles blog with a video trip to Tahlequah, Oklahoma to visit the festival that honors Oklahoma author Wilson Rawls.
Literary Landmark–Where The Red Fern Grows from Alisa Hines on Vimeo.