June 2007

Weekly Winner
Oologah Lake Leader

Mental patient roams to Tulsa; caught in Catoosa
In a June 7, 2007 article, Oologah Lake Leader Editor John M. Wylie revealed the secrecy around an escape of a violent felon. Randy Kent Thweatt, 42, was allowed to attend a recreational outing to Oologah Lake on May 23 when he simply walked away. Thweatt was under the custody of the Oklahoma Dept. of Mental Health. Thweatt’s escape was concealed from local authorities until Wylie worked with a local law enforcement officer to force the mental health department to release limited information on the felon. Thweatt was apprehended by Highway Patrol Officers 42 hours later.

Daily Winner
Muskogee Phoenix
Agency wants mercury curbed
After the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality drafted an early version of rules to curb mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants, Phoenix writer D.E. Smoot followed how that would effect the environment in the Muskogee area. In the June 17, 2007 article, Smoot found that coal plants are the nation’s largest remaining source of manmade mercury emissions. ODEQ has been leaning toward adopting Environmental Protection Agency rules for mercury emissions. The Air Quality Council’s meeting to discuss such rules came on July 18. For the article, Smoot talked to officials from Oklahoma Gas & Electric, ODEQ and the Oklahoma Sustainability Network.