The Shawnee News-Star
  • The Scoop

  • As voters head to the polls for Tuesday’s primary election, there may be some confusion about who can vote for certain races. I received an inquiry from a local resident who has moved here from Kansas since our state’s last primary election, and she was unsure about who all she can vote for on Tuesday. She...
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  • As voters head to the polls for Tuesday’s primary election, there may be some confusion about who can vote for certain races. I received an inquiry from a local resident who has moved here from Kansas since our state’s last primary election, and she was unsure about who all she can vote for on Tuesday. She said she is a registered Republican.
    Any registered voter in the Shawnee city limits may vote for any of the candidates running for mayor, and the ward 2 and ward 3 city commission posts. City commission candidates are elected at-large, and are not affiliated with any particular political party.
    But candidates on the ballot seeking county, state and/or federal offices are affiliated with their respective parties. So only registered Democrats and Republicans can cast ballots in those races in Tuesday’s primary.
    Voters can rest assured that when they check in either at the election board today or Monday or their polling places on Tuesday, precinct officials will provide them with the propert ballots they are to cast.
    Reporters Kim Morava and Amanda Gire have done a nice job putting together questions and answers from the candidates in several of the races. A couple appeared in Friday’s paper, there is another on Page 1 today, and there will be a couple more in Sunday’s edition.
    Also, as a reminder, in-person absentee voting continues today at the county election board from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. and again on Monday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. No in-person absentee voting is allowed on Tuesday. Voters must casts their ballots at their respective precincts on that day.
    I’m going to venture and say that I spotted the oldest spectator attending this year’s International Finals Youth Rodeo when I saw Mike Merrill, 102, attending Saturday afternoon’s finals at the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center. He was accompanied by his son, Mike Jr., who volunteers in the Media Center each year and spends the week helping in that area.
    Mike Jr. also said he accompanied his dad for a tour of the trade show, taking him home after watching part of the rodeo that afternoon. His dad will turn 103 in November, he said.
    Stephen Salwierak, the son of Gary and Marian Salwierak of Shawnee, participated recently in the running of the bulls in Spain. He will begin his second year of law school next month and he is in England this summer attending the OU/Oxford exchange program and took time out to participate in the annual event in Spain.
    I haven’t paid much attention to the state questions Oklahomans will vote on Nov. 4. But recently I was reading some information about the four on the general election ballot, and there is one in particular which grabbed my attention.
    Page 2 of 3 - It’s State Question 742 which is to decide if Oklahomans’ right to hunt and fish and take game should be protected by the state constitution. If approved, the citizens’ right to hunt, fish and take game would become a part of the state constitution.
    Hunting and fishing is part of Oklahoma’s heritage. This state question is intended to allow Oklahomans to more firmly secure that right. It states in part “all citizens of this state shall have a right to hunt, fish, trap and harvest game and fish, subject only to reasonable regulation as prescribed by the legislature and the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission.”
    It also calls for “hunting, fishing and trapping shall be the preferred means of managing game and fish that are not identified as threatened by law or by the commission. Nothing shall be construed to modify any provision of common law statutes relating to trespass, eminent domain or any other property rights.”
    As a hunter, fisherman and outdoor enthusiast, I support this state question because I believe it provides further security for helping manage game and fish populations and enjoying the outdoors.
    When the Dodge City Rodeo begins a five-day run on Wednesday next week, it will be without its announcer who has called that rodeo the past 31 years.
    Clem McSpadden, who died on July 7 following a long bout with cancer, was the announcer for that rodeo for 31 years. I had the pleasure of meeting McSpadden a year ago when I was sent on special assignment to cover that rodeo for the Dodge City Globe, our sister paper.
    Shawnee’s legal counsel, John Canavan, tells me he hasn’t found anything yet that will allow the city of Shawnee to sell the lots at Shawnee Twin Lakes, especially those occupied by leaseholders.
    Canavan explained and reminded city commissioners that the only way the city can sell property is to declare it surplus first, then sell it off at an auction. Mayor Chuck Mills brought up the idea about the city getting out of the leasing business during the lengthy commission meeting on June 16.
    But Canavan has said those leaseholders have certain rights and they have a vested interest in their properties they are leasing and have fixed up. In checking with Canavan this week, he assured me he has not discovered a way for the city to do it.
    It would appear the mayor is opening a new can of worms, and it once again is another example of the mayor and/or commissioners having a tendency to stray from the focal points that will improve and make our community better.
    Nowhere during discussions held a year ago with citizens, who were asked to identify strengths and weaknesses, and then list priorities, was this issue even brought up. Nor has it risen to the surface since then.
    Page 3 of 3 - Commissioners and citizens have enough on their plates. Allowing some issue like this to sidetrack them from what really is important is ludicrous.
    If you have ideas or something of interest for this column, please call me at 214-3922 or e-mail me at michael.mccormick@news-star.com, but please include your name and a phone number for contact purposes.
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