Jun. 11—THUMBS UP to Samantha Donato and Estella Kirk for representing our community at the Miss Oklahoma pageant.
Donato is the reigning Miss McAlester and Kirk is Miss McAlester Outstanding Teen as both are competing at state pageant at Tulsa's River Spirit Casino and Resort.
We appreciate the hard work and dedication these two women — and all the representatives before them — put into representing our community at the top level.
Their time to shine and deserved recognition is also long overdue.
Donato and Kirk were crowned at the local competition affiliated with Miss Oklahoma and Miss America in June 2019.
They were set to compete in last year's state competition before the COVID-19 pandemic forced cancellations.
But the two continued working to represent our area and we applaud them for everything they've done.
We also wish them good luck the rest of the way in the competition.
----THUMBS UP to organizers of the upcoming Juneteenth Festival set for 10 a.m. June 19 at Michael J. Hunter Park in McAlester.
Barbara Smitherman, a McAlester native and organizer of Juneteenth activities said carnival games for kids, fun music and good food for everyone will be available at the event that will focus on bringing people together.
"I want everyone to come, first of all, to enjoy themselves — but I want the community to come back together," Smitherman said. "I want unity."
Juneteenth is a holiday to commemorate June 19, 1865 — the date when Union Army General Gordon Granger read aloud in Galveston Bay a general order announcing the end of the Civil War. Approximately 250,000 slaves in Texas were emancipated under the terms of the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln in April 1863.
We urge everyone who can make it go to learn, honor and celebrate at this fun event.
----THUMBS UP to everyone participating in the fan-vote portion of our journey to name the 2021 McAlester News-Capital All-Time McAlester Football Team.
Sports Editor Derek Hatridge researched McAlester High School football stats records and team records, combed through our archives for information on players throughout the years, and met with anonymous committee members for input as he works to select a team of the best players at each position in program history.
But it's important to hear what the fans think, too.
That's why we opened polls for anyone to vote for their favorite player at various positions.
Fans voted Lawson Giddings as the best school's best receiver of all time in the first poll we made available. Each poll will have six players from which to select — plus an "other" category if someone doesn't see their favorite player at a given position. Anyone can write in any player in comments on social media or by emailing email@example.com.
Here is the full schedule of fan-vote polls for each position:
6/6 — Receiver (Lawson Giddings)
6/9 — Special teams (Taeam Kang)
6/13 — Defensive back
6/16 — Running back
6/20 — Linebacker
6/23 — Defensive line
6/27 — Offensive line
6/30 — Quarterback
Thanks to everyone who has participated so far and making it even more fun. We hope you enjoy it as much as we have so far.
—McAlester News-Capital Editorial Board