By Bobby Ross Jr.
Some of my best and/or favorite stories for The Oklahoman between 1993 and 2002:
• Marriage and divorce in Oklahoma: In-depth series on Gov. Frank Keating’s taxpayer-funded initiative targeting the state’s No. 2-in-the-nation divorce rate.
• Archbishop sees failure in abuse case: Evaluation of Duncan priest sought in 1994, he acknowledges in interview with The Oklahoman. Earlier story.
• U.S. bishops ask Keating to lead board (reporting from Dallas): Governor to oversee panel on clergy sexual abuse.
• Gay rights group protests during Southern Baptist Convention (reporting from St. Louis): A dozen Soulforce members arrested as SBC president declares the denomination will not compromise.
• Four spot news stories from Sept. 11, 2001: 1. National tragedy bitter reminder for Oklahoma City bombing victims. 2. City’s Muslims fear backlash of blame. 3. Faithful gather for prayer, support across Oklahoma. 4. Oklahoma professor’s daughter witnesses attack, describes scene.
• First woman executed since statehood (reporting from McAlester, Okla.): Two-time killer Wanda Jean Allen dies by lethal injection, despite protests by Jesse Jackson and death penalty opponents.
• Parole rates soaring (reporting from Lexington, Okla.): New members, changed attitudes alter pattern of recommendations, a review by The Oklahoman finds.
• Washed in the blood: Trooper paralyzed by shooting finds new hope.
• Execution day starts early, lasts 18 hours (reporting from McAlester, Okla.): Behind the scenes of capital punishment in Oklahoma.
• Inmates obtain dignity in death (reporting from McAlester, Okla.): Cemetery is final resting place for orphaned prisoners.
• Killer given hope: In precedent-setting case, state to consider clemency for inmate serving “life without parole,” The Oklahoman learns. Related story. Final decision.
• Arbuckle wildfire leaves ruins (reporting from Davis, Okla.): A sign that hung in one mountain cabin warned visitors, “If you’re smoking, you better be on fire.”
• High costs for inmate phone calls questioned: Hefty commissions charged on prisoners’ collect calls pump more than $1.5 million annually into the state Corrections Department, records show.
• Racial tensions compound tragedy (reporting from Wynnewood, Okla.): High school football player’s death may have opened door for hatred.
• Winners & Losers: School choice in Oklahoma: An investigative series based on a computer-assisted reporting project and two months of school visits and interviews.
• ‘They were in the house that’s gone’: Victims flood hospitals after killer tornadoes in Oklahoma City area.
• Young throng revs spirits to greet pope (reporting from St. Louis): Arm-waving, hip-shaking crowd of 20,000 welcomes John Paul II. Other coverage.
• Violence: Who’s to blame?: In the wake of a seeming epidemic of school shootings, society looks at media, entertainment sources.
• Chartering new territory: Choice school scandals worry educators.
• Colorado residents mixed on charter schools (reporting from Castle Rock, Colo.): Experience there offer lessons for Oklahoma.
• Sources: Schools chief fighting to keep his job: At least three board members oppose extending his time with the Oklahoma City district, several central-office administrators and sources close to the board say.
• Test exemptions hide flunking schools, critics claim: Roughly three out of 10 Oklahoma City students exempted from high-stakes standardized testing, records show.
• Bus rides’ integration role nearly over: After a quarter-century, Oklahoma City slams the brakes on the last vestige of court-ordered desegregation.
• DHS investigator battles to keep day care safe: High caseloads make fulfilling state inspection requirements difficult, state records show.
• A tale of three cities: Little Rock, Ark., Oklahoma City and Topeka, Kan., were desegregation battlegrounds.
• Dying to be thin: Husband, children struggle with loss of anorexic mom.
• Elvis Presley (reporting from Memphis, Tenn.): Faithful hordes still swarm the King’s castle 20 years after his death.
• Priest who killed himself carried unknown burdens: The Rev. Edward Joseph Moras’ spirituality and simplicity touched parishioners, but he was unraveling inside.
• 8-year-old’s death rattles Oklahoma (reporting from Little Axe, Okla.): The hell that Shane Alan Coffman endured pushes child abuse to the front of the state’s collective conscience.
• Tears, prayers, bells, headlights offer tributes: Coverage of first anniversary of Oklahoma City bombing.
• Enthusiastic crowd greets president (reporting from Edmond, Okla.): In Oklahoma to commemorate the first anniversary of the federal building bombing, Clinton touts anti-terrorism legislation as he addresses thousands.
• Wounds to community’s soul may be slowest to heal (reporting from Edmond, Okla.): Ten years ago, Edmond’s name became synonymous with a tragic event — seemingly forever linked with the post office rampage that left 15 dead. With sidebar.
• Uncle Sam repays state taxpayers: Federal government sends $1.10 worth of bacon for every $1 worth of pork Oklahoma contributes, records show. Related story.
• Busing still provokes emotions: Many seek end to crosstown schools.
Oklahoma City bombing coverage
• Neighbor cares for boys when mom doesn’t return: The children had clung to hope that Army recruiter Lola Renee Bolden, a 40-year-old single parent, survived the bombing. She did not.
• Somber vigil taking toll on families: For a third straight day, family members of Rick L. Tomlin and scores of other missing bomb victims maintain an excruciatingly familiar routine: wait and hope.
• Child’s ready smile, affection remembered: Upon arrival at the federal building daycare that tragic morning, 15-month-old Danielle Nicole Bell opened her eyes and leaned her head against her mother’s chest.
• ‘It just makes you scared’: A week ago, thunder meant thunder. Today, for Oklahoma City schoolchildren, thunder sounds like a bomb.
• Injured fight to rebuild after bombing: Those fortunate enough to survive begin the difficult task of rebuilding their lives.
• Compassion, closure draw record crowd: With rescue efforts over and the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building’s remains soon to be demolished, visitors view a somber piece of history.
• Sightseers still drawn to bomb site: They come with cameras, pain and respect. They’ve seen it a thousand times in the news, but still they come to see it in person.
• Six miracle children reunite: Youngest bomb victims attend Christmas party.
• Road to justice: Behind the scenes of a high-profile, double-murder case unlike any in Oklahoma history.
• Serial killer Dahmer slain in prison: Mass murderer found peace, Oklahoma minister says.
• Number of elections questioned: The way some Oklahoma voters see it, the ballot box should come equipped with a revolving door.
• Although rare, Edmond killers attention-getters: The extraordinary nature of recent homicides puts community in the spotlight.
• Taxpayers foot bill for Edmond council: Officials contend it’s the opportunity for training, not tourism, that attracts them to the friendly skies.
• Nightmare comes true for parents: Daughter killed by speeding driver who had just left a bar.
• Edmond police chief quits; severance package questioned: My first story for The Oklahoman makes Page 1 above the fold.