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Oklahoma ScissorTales: A new look for the Memorial Marathon

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Runners in the 2018 Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]
Runners in the 2018 Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]

Runners will tell you that no two races are the same, but Sunday’s Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon will literally be different than the previous 18. A change in the course ensures as much.

Organizers have laid out a course that will take runners south of Interstate 40 and near what eventually will be the Lower Scissortail Park and the Oklahoma River. “The city is changing, so we’re trying to go with it,” says Kari Watkins, executive director of the Oklahoma City Memorial.

The finish line will be in a different spot, too. Marathon runners used to finish along Automobile Alley, but organizers say the race simply outgrew that area. Sunday’s race will end at the corner of Hudson and Sheridan avenues, between the Devon Tower and the Bank of Oklahoma tower. (Beginning next year, it will end at Scissortail Park).

Taking the route south is a way to recognize the city’s growing and vibrant Hispanic community. As Mayor David Holt said when the course changes were announced last year, 21 victims of the Oklahoma City bombing lived in south Oklahoma City and five were of Latino descent.

“These are important gestures that need to be made in every way we can,” Holt said then. The changes “are about that all parts of this city matter and that all people in this city matter.”

We wish good luck to all the those taking part in this wonderful tribute to the men, women and children killed and injured in the 1995 bombing.

Lankford: Sowing chaos is Russia’s priority

One finding of the Mueller report was that Russia wanted Donald Trump to win the 2016 presidential election instead of Hillary Clinton. Why? U.S. Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, offers a simple answer: chaos. Lankford, a former member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, says Russia engages in all NATO elections and will “pick the underdog and try to be able to help bring him up in the polls just to be able to create a stir in the country. They’ll pick the most unlikely or the person they think they’ve got the greatest opportunity to influence.” Lankford also said Russia has been trying to meddle in U.S. elections since 2014, not just since Trump came on the scene a year later. “Their biggest issue isn’t just elections, it’s creating stir in the country,” he said. It’s worked.

Moving date could mean more attention

Oklahoma has a “Native American Day” each year. It’s the third Monday in November, although this will change if Gov. Kevin Stitt signs a bill sent to him this week. The House on Monday gave final legislative approval to Senate Bill 111, by Sen. Michael Bergstrom, R-Adair and Rep. Collin Walke, D-Oklahoma City. The measure would move Native American Day to Columbus Day — the second Monday in October. Several states honor their Native Americans on that day. Former Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed a similar effort last year, which surprised tribal leaders and backers of that bill. SB 111 was requested by Oklahoma tribes and received overwhelming approval in both chambers of the Legislature. Moving the date could bring more attention to a day that many Oklahomans may not even know exists.

Encouraging voting statistics from Census Bureau

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Oklahoma ranked among the bottom 10 states last year in voter turnout. But we’re taking a glass-half-full approach to the Census figures, because they showed voting in Oklahoma increased considerably compared with the 2014 midterm elections. An open race for governor and an influx of new candidates for Legislature helped push Oklahoma’s citizen voting rate to 49 percent in November. It was 34 percent in November 2014. Particularly encouraging was an increase in younger voters — 21% of those age 18-24 voted in 2018, compared with just 11% four years earlier, and 38% of those 25-34 voted, which was nearly double the 19.5 percent in 2014. Here’s hoping this trend continues in the years ahead.

Paying for sins committed 80 years ago

For years, the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team has played Kate Smith’s soaring rendition of “God Bless America” as a good-luck charm. The team even placed a statue of Smith outside the arena. Now, both are history. On learning that Smith had recorded two racially insensitive songs during the Depression, the team removed the statue and won’t be using her song any longer. Baton Rouge Advocate columnist Danny Heitman, writing in The Wall Street Journal, said the songs are now seen, understandably so, as offensive. However, he was still distressed by what had transpired. “Maybe, in reconnecting with the basic humility that ‘God Bless America’ suggests, we could remember that human beings are all less than perfect — each one is capable of moral failure and transcendent grace,” Heitman wrote. “Recognizing that, we can lament people’s flaws and celebrate their virtues without fear of hypocrisy.” Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Not even close.

The Oklahoman Editorial Board

The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Kelly Dyer Fry, Publisher, Editor and Vice President of News; Owen Canfield, Opinion Editor; and Ray Carter, Chief Editorial Writer.. To submit a letter to the editor, go to this page or email... Read more ›

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