THUMBS DOWN

Area firefighters have been kept hopping lately by a series of blazes authorities believe were set by those shooting fireworks.

Earlier this week, $500 to $700 worth of damage was done by a hay bale fire in the 6700 block of West Willow. The same night, fireworks caused a grass fire at 9800 W. Wheat Capital.

Last weekend, Enid and area firefighters responded to five alarms in rural areas of the county, fighting blazes set by fireworks.

Thumbs down to those who are careless with fireworks, or any other potential source of fires, especially as we are heading into what is traditionally the driest part of the summer.



THUMBS UP

Army Sgt. 1st Class Mick Dustin doesn't like to toot his own horn, so we'll do it for him.

The Kremlin-Hillsdale High School graduate is a member of the Army's "Rough Riders" convoy security team in Iraq. While Dustin and his men were escorting a convoy last February, a roadside bomb exploded near one of the trucks, sending it off the road and setting it on fire.

The driver of the truck still was in the burning cab when Dustin arrived, so Dustin risked his life to pull the soldier out of the flames. The driver had been fatally wounded by the blast, but Dustin didn't know that when he fought the flames to pull the man out.

Dustin was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal with the bronze V for valor in combat.

Thumbs up to a true hero.



THUMBS UP

When you say "summer camp," most people think about swimming, camping, fishing and singing songs around the campfire.

But a unique summer camp offered in Enid instead centered around program planning, interviewing, lighting, audio and studio production, editing and dubbing.

The PEGASYS Video Summer Camp taught future television news photographers, anchors and producers about the basics of putting on a newscast.

The camp culminated with the production of a short video set to air on Cox Cable Channel 11. The film is called "Loco News," and involves a television news staff whose new teleprompter goes haywire.

The dozen campers ages 12 to 17 spent 40 hours of intensive, hands-on training covering all aspects of production.

Thumbs up to PEGASYS Video Summer Camp and the training it offers to young people who might someday show up on the 10 p.m. news.



THUMBS DOWN

Oprah Winfrey, the rich, powerful head of her own entertainment empire, just might have let all that money and fame go to her head.

The star of daytime TV and her own magazine decided to stop by the upscale and very expensive Hermes boutique in Paris last month to pick up a gift for a friend.

She showed up 15 minutes after closing time, only to be denied entrance because the store was being prepared for a private public relations event.

Oprah threw a fit, accusing the store of racism and saying she will never shop there again.

What if the shoe were on the other foot, and Oprah's company had reserved the store for a private event and the manager let other customers crash the party? Would Oprah have been gracious about the admission of the other customers? It is doubtful.

Stars often make arrangements to shop in stores after closing time to avoid being mobbed by fans. Oprah should have called ahead. Thumbs down to Oprah for blowing the incident out of proportion.



THUMBS UP

With many young people leaving the country for jobs in large cities, many family farms are being run by senior citizens.

The recent Celebrating Life with Freedom and Fun senior living conference featured a presentation by members of Oklahoma AgrAbility. The presentation involved information designed to further extend senior citizens' involvement in their family farms.

The average age of Oklahoma farmers is around 56, and 17,000 of them have some sort of physical impairment that limits their farm work.

Thumbs up to the AgrAbility program for helping the state's aging farmers remain active and productive.



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