Every year at this time we go through the files of the previous 52 weeks trying to decide what the number one story of the year is and the nine or so subsequent top stories of the year.
This year the number one story is also two through 10.
COVID-19 and the pandemic has taken our way of life away. It has also literally taken the lives of 2,383 (as of Monday) Oklahomans with over 35,528 active cases.
The first mention of the virus appeared on the front page of The Purcell Register in the March 12 issue and has been reported on weekly ever since.
That story March 12 said there was a fear of a possible global pandemic.
The following week city managers from Purcell and Lexington met with PMH CEO/CNO Kem Scully, Jackie Wadley and the PMH Infection Prevention team.
Schools either closed or postponed class work.
Proms were cancelled and graduations were postponed.
We now are requested to wear masks in public. We have gone from students in class in Purcell to A/B learning to fully virtual with drive-through meals provided to students.
There is drive-through COVID testing, no church for many and no visiting in nursing homes or hospitals.
Hospitals are full and front line workers like doctors and nurses are pushed to the brink.
There is limited access to places like courthouses and schools.
There was no trick or treating or taking pictures with Santa or Bell Ringing for the Salvation Army. College and pro sports are played in front of nearly empty stadiums.
As the pandemic has progressed over the months city councils in some towns, like Norman, have mandated mask wearing.
The Purcell Council has gone from suggesting mask wearing to requesting it, coming up just short of a mandate. Mayor Ted Cox has given shelter in place orders.
Washington, Lexington and Dibble turned to The Purcell Register and newspapers to provide their learning and study guides in the spring semester.
For six weeks they sent in work for each grade and The Register prepared and printed the study guides. With the help of superintendents Chris Reynolds at Washington, Chad Hall at Lexington and Chad Clanton at Dibble they were distributed to students and their parents.
Schools were not the only things to go virtual. So did churches, Veteran’s Day Programs and meetings of all types for both business and family and friends.
But as disruptive as the pandemic has been there have been other stories covered by the newspaper this year.
Other top stories were:
- The breaking of ground for the new Purcell Municipal Hospital and the subsequent work on the project.
- The 2020 census.
- Jessica Garvin came out of nowhere to defeat incumbent State Senator Paul Scott in the Republican Run-off and was elected to office knocking off Terri Reimer in the general election.
- Joe Biden unseated President Donald Trump nation-wide while Trump carried all 77 counties in Oklahoma.
- Jason Sanders was hired as the new Purcell High School Principal and Cindy Stone at the Elementary School.
- Justin Mann was hired as the new Washington Middle School principal.
- A pillar of Wayne, long-time educator Zack Powell died suddenly February 1.
- Graham Fishburn was re-elected to the Purcell City Council and the Purcell Police Department was named as one of only 21 departments in the state that are Oklahoma Law Enforcement Accredited.
- Purcell and Lexington both have new police chiefs. Bobby Elmore was named the chief here early in January with James Bolling named Captain.
- At Lexington, Michelle Moore became the town’s second woman police chief replacing Deana Allen who has become city manager.
- Washington native James Winchester is a Super Bowl Champion after his Kansas City Chiefs won the title in January.
- Purcell and Lexington had several power outages including the one that lasted for an extended time in October following an early ice storm.
- Mike Eubank was named the superintendent at Mid-America Technology Center replacing Dusty Ricks.
- It’s been a wet year in Purcell with the unofficial rain gauge collecting 51.4” of rain.
The normal annual rainfall for this area is 35.55”.