We have a lot of military personnel and vets living in our state. They have given life and limb to serve our country and protect us. I’m very impressed with those who have given up everything to serve. It takes a special person to leave their family and go to sometimes inhospitable places to help keep the peace.
Many people complain about where they are stationed and that we shouldn’t be in certain places. What I can tell you from talking to friends who are vets, they’re exact words are, “we needed to be there.” Here at home we tend to “arm chair quarterback” events in the world and make criticisms about things we really have no idea when in reality, we need to be supportive of the men and women who sacrifice so we can have the freedoms we have.
So how do we show support? Well here in Oklahoma we are making sure that returning vets and even vets who may have served many years ago have an opportunity to find a job. Only fitting since many of them had to give up jobs to go overseas for a few years. In this week’s video blog, we show you just how Oklahoma is helping our hero’s once they return.
One thing about my job I enjoy is bringing stories to people about places in Oklahoma that most don’t realize are there. Many don’t know that Oklahoma used to have a growing vineyard and wine industry back before statehood and prohibition. But prohibition changed that and the industry died on the vine.
Even with the repeal of prohibition, it still took nearly 40 years for the industry to reemerge into the burgeoning wine industry it is today. Unfortunately, many people are unaware that we even have vineyards in our state. But the Oklahoma Agritourism Department is changing that for the better.
In this week’s blog, we look at how Oklahoma Agritourism is putting Oklahoma’s wine industry on the map. Hopefully it will help interest you into touring an Oklahoma vineyard near you.
Oklahoma Wine Trails from Alisa Hines on Vimeo.
Most expected Congress to take up immigration reform before they recess to campaign in October. The threat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq has pretty well derailed those hopes. I visited with Conservative Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole about the chances Immigration reform could happen in Congress this Fall. In today’s video blog, listen to what he said.
Conservative Cole on Immigration from Alisa Hines on Vimeo.
There is one person in my life aside from my family, who I trust more than anyone. Of course this person is my hair dresser.
When I first moved to Stillwater from my hometown of Haworth, the thought of switching to a new hair stylist scared me more than being on my own. My freshman year I made a six hour drive every four weeks to get my hair colored and styled by Tonya, the lady who had been doing my hair for as long as I can remember.
One day I took a leap of faith and a friend’s advice, and tried a new, young girl in Stillwater, who just graduated from cosmetology school. Catie was her name, I was anxious, but when I was done and she turned my chair around and a smile filled my face and I immediately became a loyal client of Catie’s.
The relationship you form with your hair dresser is all about trust. Being someone’s client is your way of saying ‘I trust you with my life’ well for a girl it is anyway, because our hair is pretty important to us and that is what Linda Keeton said to Emanuel Perry. The moment I saw the relationship they had between one another I could tell Keeton wasn’t nervous at all. She knew from previous experience that Perry knew exactly what he was doing. While spending the day at Tulsa Technology Center’s Cosmetology Program, I saw the desire and work ethic Perry exhibited, and the way his instructor Sarah Ruleford spoke about him impressed me even more. Perry received a bachelor’s degree in accounting and worked in that industry for two years, but he wanted to expand on his creative talents, and a talent that I believe will take him far in the cosmetology industry. Perry’s life is changing styles.
Stylin’ Stylist from Alisa Hines on Vimeo.
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I recently went to cover an interim study about drones also known as UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles). During the study, much was said about personal security and what needs to be done to make sure that our right to privacy is kept just that…private.
UAVs are here to stay. Get used to it but realize that your privacy may be invaded a little bit but it’s nothing to be worried about. If law enforcement do use a UAV to track a suspect, they may need to fly over your property but they aren’t spying on you or gathering info about you. They are simply following the shortest path to get where they need to be to collect info about someone who is actually breaking the law. This issue was discussed in great detail and when the final law is enacted, you’re privacy will be covered.
In recent days, I’ve read articles about the town in Colorado that wants to shoot down UAVs. That’s a little bit extreme and always makes me wonder, what are they hiding???? Why the paranoia? Does the government really invade our privacy that much? Well if you’re watching the news about the Edward Snowden case and the NSA, good possibility. Maybe the paranoia is a little warranted but I truly believe the government isn’t out to get everyone. They are out to protect us but if you aren’t doing anything wrong, don’t worry about. Maybe I’m naïve but I try to keep an open mind until such time as something happens to me or my family.
What many people don’t realize is the good that UAVs can do. Farmers are beginning to use them to be able to check their cattle and land especially when there is snow and ice on the ground to the point that they can’t get out in vehicles to do so. They can fly over and not be hampered buy the hazardous conditions. Forestry fire divisions are using them to fly over suspect areas to check on fire conditions instead of having to send someone in person into a hazardous situation. Places like Colorado should understand that quite well. In this week’s video blog, we look at the issue of UAVs in our skies.
Tactical Electronics Up in the Air from Alisa Hines on Vimeo.
I know a lot of people don’t really like the Affordable Care Act (ACA) otherwise known as Obamacare but I’m not really sure why. I’ve heard all the rhetoric from the far right and must say that they really are a doom and gloom bunch. Some of what they say could be true but I believe much of it is more of a scare tactic towards people who won’t take the time to research what the ACA really says and will believe anything they hear whether or not it’s correct which is really sad. Is it perfect? No, but I believe that it is something that will help many, many people.
For example, I have a friend who has cancer. For a while now, he hasn’t been able to have any insurance. His insurance company cancelled his policy when he was diagnosed. That really bothers me that insurance companies which we pay into for a policy can cancel our policies just because they don’t want the expense. Isn’t that what they are for? Anyway, he has to pay out of pocket and rack up lots of bills for his cancer treatment. It’s bad enough that he was diagnosed with a disease that kills people but not knowing how he can afford to pay for his treatments is something he shouldn’t have to worry about. Now with the ACA, he doesn’t have to worry. And that’s what it’s all about. It is forcing insurance companies to cover the really necessary treatments that they should have been covering all along.
The other thing that really affects me even though I have insurance currently, is what would happen when I retire in a couple of years? See I have a pre-existing condition of Diabetes. It’s something that evidently runs in my family (I’m adopted so I have no idea what medical conditions I could come down with but evidently Diabetes is one of them) and I developed it in mid-life. But many insurance companies won’t even let you sign up with them with a pre-existing condition like my disease. And some of my medications are expensive even with insurance and I haven’t even needed to think about insulin yet so have no idea how much that will cost me when I do have to start using it. So the thought that I wouldn’t be covered by insurance in later life really scares me. But not anymore, because the ACA guarantees I will be covered regardless of any pre-existing conditions.
Those are just two examples where the ACA is helping people out. Does it need some work? Yes and I think that eventually the fixes it needs will be addressed. This is a good thing for those who need insurance and either can’t afford it, have a pre-existing condition, or have had their policies cancelled do to an illness they didn’t ask for. Can we afford it? Well if we were to get rid of the “pork” we’ve been paying for for a long time now, I think we can. We just have to have politicians who are willing to slice and dice the budget and get rid of things we don’t need and take care of funding what really helps the people.
In today’s video blog, we visit with an Oklahoma state Senator who is also an emergency room doctor who also agrees that the ACA is a good thing even though his political party trys to say it isn’t.
On the Horizon: Obamacare from Alisa Hines on Vimeo.
I’ve always been interested in archeology. If there is a show on television that has anything to do with it, I watch it. History was always one of my favorite subjects in school although I do have to admit, if it’s anything from 1900 forward not so much. It’s too “current” for me to enjoy. I really like the ancient history topics. I even did extra credit in high school by going through an extra history book. It’s just really fascinating to me.
Imagine my surprise while shooting a story for OK Horizon, I was told by a person that I could actually volunteer my time to digging up history. I was certainly excited. The only problem was…I simply didn’t have time. But a few years later after my children grew up and left home, I revisited the thought and looked up the Oklahoma Anthropological Society (OAS) online and found out how I could get involved. They told me about an upcoming dig and said come on out and find out for yourself whether you like it or not. So I did. Well I was hooked and the rest, as they say, was history.
The OAS does two digs a year, one in the Spring and one in the Fall. They do them in conjunction with the Oklahoma Archeological Society. Archeologists and Anthropologists from OU and OSU jointly do the digs and they use the OAS volunteers to help them dig. It’s the one time that school rivalry is set aside and everyone gets along and really enjoy themselves. Volunteers from all walks of life come out for each week-long dig. Some stay all week and some only come for a day or two. They come from all over the state and even a few come from out of state to help.
It is hard work but at the same time, at least for me, it’s a time to de-stress. As you are concentrating so hard on the task in front of you, all thoughts of everything else simply drift away. You use muscles that you’ve forgotten you had. By the end of the time you are there, you are exhausted but enthused. Little objects that come out of the ground make everyone really excited and the thought that no one has seen or held these objects for a thousand years or more is simply awe inspiring.
In today’s video blog, see what it’s like to dig up some Oklahoma history.
On the Horizon: Digging Up History from Alisa Hines on Vimeo.
Family farms have been a tradition in America for years. From crops to livestock, farmers keep the grocery stores shelves stocked and the clothes racks full.
A trend that is emerging is the average age of farmers is increasing and less and less young farmers are coming up to take their place. With the global population nearing nine billion, a small amount of people are presented with the task of feeding and clothing more with less.
Despite this grim scenario, a young couple in Western Oklahoma are bucking the trends and have a farm and then some. I was able to spend a couple days with the Base family at their farm in Geary, Okla. It was easy to see their passion for agriculture and it was obvious to see how dedicated they are.
In today’s video blog, we take a look at the Base Vines and Cattle farm. Diversity doesn’t begin to describe what the Base family does. They seem to have their hands in all things agriculture. They have a little bit of traditional and a little bit of nontraditional. All in all they are definitely doing their part in feeding the world.
On the Horizon: Variety on the Farm from Alisa Hines on Vimeo.
Whether I am recovering from a surgery or just that annoying lower back twinge we get from time to time, I am grateful for pain medication. It amazes me how scientists have figured out ways of stopping, or at least minimizing pain. But with all of the different cases for which I have taken prescription medicine I have never found myself “needing” more. The best side effect for me is the fact that it takes the pain away.
Every day we see more and more people hooked on prescription medicine. This epidemic is quickly becoming more serious than marijuana and cocaine. It is a sad and dangerous issue but one that doesn’t only hurt addicts and their loved ones. While reading an article about prescription drug abuse, I came across some frightening information. According to doctors in Oklahoma City, women are more likely to become addicted to prescription painkillers. With that increase comes the higher rate of unborn babies also becoming addicted. Our world can be a scary and dangerous place. Add that to the fact that an unborn baby is addicted to painkillers through no fault of their own – it is disheartening.
Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice is not an issue. If a baby is coming into the world, they should not have to start out a step behind because of unfortunate choices of their parent.
On the Horizon: Prescription Drug Abuse from Alisa Hines on Vimeo.
I believe at some point in everyone’s life, a person stops and thinks about space, the infinite frontier. What else is out there? What is it like to be in zero gravity? There are so many questions that have been answered and so many that are still being researched.
With efforts to use the excitement of space exploration to get students interested in and involved with science, technology, engineering and mathematics, NASA has made a national effort to reach out to as many schools as they can and give students a hands on look at what working with them is like.
In this week’s video blog, we take a look at what leaders in Oklahoma are doing to help promote and educate people about the importance of STEM education.
On the Horizon: Space Day from Alisa Hines on Vimeo.
On a recent trip to Southeast Oklahoma, I met a group of students who really impressed me. They were all valedictorians at their home schools and taking a pre-engineering course at Kiamichi Tech Center in Idabel.
Now a lot of people think that going to a tech center means you aren’t planning on going to college, but that just isn’t the case. Many students are taking courses at local tech centers to prepare them to go to college. In the pre-engineering course, the instructor talked about how he had a student who had gone through his class and then went to college only to find out that one of the books they had used while in high school, was the same book that was being used in his college class. The only difference…when he went through it at the tech center, they went ALL the way through the book and at college they only did a portion of it. So he actually got more academic training at Kiamichi Tech than he did in his college class.
When I asked each of the students why they took the pre-engineering class at Kiamichi Tech, every single one of them said, “Because it’s more challenging.” They were wanting an education that challenged them and the basic high school classes just weren’t enough. There was even one student who before taking the class was very introverted and wouldn’t talk to anyone and just kept to himself. But after going through the pre-engineering class, he became very outgoing and animated when talking about what he was learning. I guess his classmates were more on his level and could understand him. It’s really nice to see high school students excited about learning.
In this week’s video blog, meet the students from Kiamichi Tech Center’s pre-engineering class and see what makes these kids want to learn more.
On the Horizon: It’s Hard and That’s a Good Thing! from Alisa Hines on Vimeo.
I still remember the day quite vividly. I was young and had been away at a summer camp and my dad was on a trip in Washington, D.C., which left my mom home alone to take care of livestock and our house. I remember that year being an exceptionally wet year and I remember this due to a particular event that I will never forget. Our house flooded.
We’re not talking about a basement flood or that the carpet in our house was wet and soggy due to a water leak, we are talking about the fact that there was so much rain that water slowly rose to a point that it crept in through our doors and filled our house to a point where water was up to your knees. Granted the water only rose as fast as it rained which allowed us to save most all of our belongings but as I mentioned earlier, my mom was home alone and pregnant at the time so we considered ourselves lucky to be from a small rural community that pulled together to help save what they could. It was one of those times that you find out who your friends are and consider yourself blessed to have said friends and family.
Our natural disaster was mild compared to some of the other stories we have seen and heard over the years but in this week’s video blog, you see how weather can affect not only lives but can also be big business. I also mention in the show a top 10 weather disaster list where Oklahoma was mentioned more than once and that list can be viewed at the link provided below.
Recently I spent a day with a young person who I greatly respect after following her around for the day. She is a straight “A” student and has been all her life but not only is she smart, she is athletic as well. It was fun to watch her with her classes because she enjoys them so much. From a class in graphic communications which she plans on making her career to an AP Literature class, Kelsey completely absorbs herself in whatever it is she is doing.
Now her athletic abilities have D-1 schools clamoring after her to come to their school. But she is quick to tell them “My career is going to be in graphic communications do you have that at your school?” She is completely focused in the right area of her life. I’m so impressed that she doesn’t let the attraction of so many schools wanting her go to her head.
In this week’s video blog, you can see how much enthusiasm Kelsey McClure has and the determination to make her future count.
Written Aug 26, 2011 11:40am
We are saying goodbye to our precious baby today. Giving family a chance to say their goodbyes, including Tucker. Then we will send everyone away so Austin & I can be alone with him once he’s off the machines. Just the 3 of us, like the day he was born. We will let everyone know arrangements once they are done. Thank you all for your love, support & prayers. Greyson will have a great time in heaven listening to my dad & all his grandpas tell tall tales with sweet ChiChi laying beside him.
Written Aug 26, 2011 7:16pm
Greyson has gone.
Those were words friends of mine wrote the day their precious baby boy, Greyson, died. Heart wrenching for a parent to have to write much less read. I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes just trying to write this and both my children are grown and healthy. I can’t imagine the pain and suffering my friends went through. It breaks my heart thinking about it knowing that there was something that could have been done at the start that might have prevented his death.
You see he had a congenital heart defect. Greyson’s specific condition is called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. His left ventricle did not properly develop, so he basically had only the right side of his heart. There is a test hospitals can do to detect this defect and begin treatment immediately but unfortunately, most hospitals don’t perform this test (it only costs $10) and the hospital where Greyson was born, at the time, didn’t choose to perform the test. They do now thanks to the brave parents of little Greyson who decided their baby boy wasn’t going to die in vain.
In this week’s video blog, meet Greyson’s parents, Austin and Melissa Moore, and hear their story and what’s being done to help prevent future parents from going through what they’ve been through.
I remember receiving mail from the Bursar’s office and always cringing at the sight of my tuition bill. Luckily, I had scholarships to fund a lot of my education, but because I was an out-of-state student, my bill was even higher than most of my peers. I realize a college degree is important, but how much is too much for a piece of paper in a picture frame?
In today’s video blog, we take a look at the national student debt and why employers are saying that graduates aren’t fully prepared for the workplace.
One of my favorite teachers while in high school was my Family and Consumer Sciences instructor. I took the class because of this teacher and I was fortunate to learn a lot from her. Her classes focused on things that you need to know in the real world like balancing a check book and interviewing skills but one experience that has stuck with me throughout the years was the night I had to take care of an electronic baby.
I wasn’t too concerned about this assignment because let’s be honest, how bad can taking care of a doll be? To answer that question, it’s hard. This electronic baby cried and it sounded like a real baby. It interrupted my sleep schedule and kept me up all night. It often needs to be fed and when it would eat it would soon need a diaper change. This baby was as close as a real baby could get and I think it did the trick in making me want to wait a LONG TIME before wanting to have kids of my own.
I recently got to visit a Family and Consumer Science class where students were participating in the same Baby Think it Over program that I had experienced while in high school and in this week’s video blog, we visit with the teacher and see how she is getting her students to “Think it Over” before wanting a baby.
Hay becomes extremely valuable to farmers and ranchers during the cold winter months, especially this year as farmers continue to struggle with a record setting drought.
Many farmers have had to sell livestock due to the lack of pasture to graze and because of the high rise in grain and hay costs. You can ask a farmer why they have had to sell so much of their stock and the response is almost always the same, they just can’t afford to feed them. Times like these often leave people desperate and that desperation has even lead to some people committing crimes of stealing what they need to get by. The combination of this desperation and the rise in hay costs has caused a growing epidemic of hay bales being stolen.
In this week’s video blog, we see how one clever Oklahoma sheriff found a way to catch hay thieves in the act.
It’s still hard for me to get over the fact that water is being rationed. I come from a state where water is everywhere and we never have to worry about how to water livestock, the grass or ourselves. This concept of only being allowed to use so much water per day reminds me of the stories about war time and having to ration food and supplies for the troops.
I have covered the drought from a journalistic standpoint since its beginning in 2011. I’ve witnessed the heartbreak, the struggles, the concerns, and the farmers’ realization that their livelihood may not be a reality any longer. I have sympathized with them and, on occasion, have had to put down the camera and share in their tears.
In this week’s video blog, we take a look at the year 2013 and how all signs point to a continued drought with record setting heat. We talk with a cattle producer whose goal in life is to raise cattle and be the best producer he can be.
In the words of Paul Harvey on the 2013 Dodge Ram Super Bowl commercial, we need someone who will be dedicated to feeding and clothing the world “so God made a farmer.”
When you’re known as the state where the wind comes sweeping down the plains, it only makes sense that Oklahoma would have a large industry for wind. Many of you have probably noticed some of the large turbines that can be seen along some roads so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to find out that wind has become an important energy source across the nation, especially in Oklahoma.
In this video blog, we take a look at why wind developers were nervous at the end of 2012 and what’s happening in the wind industry today.
When it comes to heights, I’m one of the biggest scaredy-cats out there. I don’t do roller coasters and I definitely don’t like to climb really high things. But, like with everything in life, the day came where I had to conquer this fear.
Living in one of the windiest states in America it’s no surprise to see wind towers going up faster than gas prices. But I never knew what it takes to maintain them once they are installed – both from a knowledge and physical standpoint. Thanks to my job, I got an inside look at the training process and tried not to look too much like wimp.
In this week’s video blog, we go up inside a wind machine and take a look at the rescue training process turbine workers must go through before heading out into the field.