Not really New Year’s Resolutions.
Making New Year’s resolutions for me is always difficult. So, rather than calling them resolutions, this is some of what I’d like to see happen during 2014.
• The Bridges Out of Poverty Program coordinated by The Salvation Army begin a strong, successful venture.
• Shawnee Public Schools finally resolve the litigation over the Jim Thorpe Stadium project and the track completed before the end of this calendar year.
• Our U.S. troops and involvement in Afghanistan brought to the bare minimum.
• That churches throughout our area prosper with increased membership and involvement by their members.
• That the Campaign to raise sufficient funding for the proposed Municipal Pool be completed and the pool finished at least by the end of the summer.
• The local non-profits find sufficient funding to fulfill their mission.
• That no government shutdowns occur during this calendar year.
• That our legislators remember they work for their constituents and not themselves, casting their votes accordingly.
Beginning with today’s edition, The Shawnee News-Star will not accept any letters to the editor regarding political candidates at any level including local, county, state and federal until after the Nov. 4, 2014 general election.
This includes any attempts for endorsements or letters opposing any candidate or incumbent.
This is from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Dru Polk, game warden stationed in McCurtain County in southeast Oklahoma, has been named the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's Game Warden of the Year for 2013 and Wildlife Officer of the Year for the Shikar-Safari Club International.
Polk was recognized before the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission at its December meeting. Former U.S. Rep. Bill Brewster of Ardmore, a member of Shikar-Safari Club International, presented Polk a framed certificate and a silver commemorative plate from the club.
"To be selected officer of the year by your peers is something to be proud of," Brewster said.
State Rep. Curtis McDaniel, a neighbor of Polk's in Smithville, also read a citation from the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Gov. Mary Fallin in recognition of Polk's accomplishments.
"The award means a lot to me, but it means just as much to my family," said Polk, who has served as a warden since 2001. "If it wasn't for them being understanding, I wouldn't be able to do what I do."
Polk said his favorite part of the job is "being able to ensure that we have a heritage for our kids, for my girls to be able to hunt and fish and to have the same opportunities that I've had growing up. That's why I do what I do."
Col. Robert Fleenor, chief of law enforcement for the Wildlife Department, said Polk typifies what a game warden should be, adding that his area requires long hours and an even temperament.
"What's interesting about Dru is that he is so well-respected in his area," Fleenor said. "It's obvious that people in his area very much respect him besides knowing that he's going to tend to the law and take care of business. Dru typifies what a gentleman game warden is all about."
Polk graduated from Durant High School in 1990 and earned a degree in conservation of natural resources in 1998 from Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
Polk began his career with the Department as an hourly employee in the Fisheries Division and began working full time in 1999 as a technician at the Durant State Fish Hatchery. In 2001, Polk was promoted to game warden and was stationed in McCurtain County, a place he had always wanted to go.
Besides his tireless efforts enforcing game laws, Polk also serves as a counselor at the Department's annual youth camp, instructs in the Department's Shotgun Training and Education Program and in the Aquatic Education Program, and is active in the Archery in the Schools Program.
In being selected the Department's Warden of the Year, Polk was also nominated for the 2013 Office of the Year honor from the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
Shikar-Safari Club International began more than a half-century ago with the purpose of supporting hunting and conservation, and addressing issues that affect those areas. The club's foundation puts more than $1 million into wildlife and conservation each year, including awarding more than 30 scholarships annually to children of wildlife professionals who are pursuing careers in wildlife or conservation.
Game wardens are law enforcement officers for the Wildlife Department charged with enforcing fish and wildlife laws.
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