budget crunch

It’s been said that, in either Chinese or Japanese, the word for crisis and the word for opportunity are the same.

While that’s actually horse shit, it is true that, sometimes, a bit of good can come from a lot of bad. For example, the state’s current budget problems, while certainly a crisis, still affords (see what I did there?) the opportunity for increasing operational efficiencies.

Courts opting for digital statutes over print

To wit, Chief Justice John Reif recently circulated an email that was subsequently forwarded to NonDoc. The “To” field includes “All District Court Judges; All Associate District Judges; All Court Clerks.” In the body of the email, Chief Justice Reif unveils a pretty clever money-saving plan that kinda makes one think, “Why hasn’t this happened sooner?”:

… it was determined that we would receive a substantial savings by decreasing the number of physical sets of Oklahoma Statutes Annotated received by judges across the state. Print has become increasingly cost-prohibitive. So we have reduced the number of sets received by each county and ask that everyone share.

Further, Reif notes that legal database Westlaw has all of Oklahoma’s statutes online anyway, and he even goes so far as to offer Westlaw classes “to judges in every county” (except Oklahoma and Tulsa, per a small footnote in the end that makes it “inapplicable to Oklahoma and Tulsa counties”).

It’s a laudable move from a financial and even environmental standpoint. (Have you SEEN how much paper goes into a statute collection?) Sixteen years into the 21st century and Oklahoma’s courts are finally embracing the concept of an environmentally friendly office.

Better late than never.

Schedule change to save $700k

In another show of Spartan ingenuity designed to save money during these lean times, OKC Public Schools expects to save $700,00 next school year through bus schedule modifications achieved by changing the classroom hours for seven schools.

From the June 21 OKCPS press release:

The savings is a result of eliminating the daily need for an additional 18 bus routes, and drivers. Fewer buses running routes reduces district costs for fuel, tires, oil changes, repairs, and drivers. Schools affected by the change will have later start and end time hours from 9:10am to 4:00pm.

Although the schedule change may cause some grumblings from otherwise time-poor parents on tight schedules of their own, it remains a clever idea. It’s the kind of freakonomic innovation an organization has to employ when facing a $30 million shortfall.

Singer/songwriter Travis Meadows headed to Tish

Speaking of a little good coming from a lot of bad, enter Travis Meadows stage left:

Called “Nashville’s most badass songwriter” by Rolling Stone, Meadows lost his right leg to cancer as a teenager and has persevered past other self-made hurdles.

He will perform Thursday, July 14, at The Pickin’ Parlor in Tishomingo with three albums and a growing resume of covered songs under his belt.

From The Tennessean in September:

Meadows first found out he had cancer when he was 14 and a little girl kicked him in the leg.

“I fell down in excruciating pain. We started going to the doctor, it started off as you have a cyst. And in turned into quite a dramatic two years.”

That’s when he lost the leg, from the knee down, and Meadows got his first prosthetic.

That launched a decades-long struggle with self-acceptance. Meadows tried drugs, alcohol, preaching, rehabs and songwriting.

Meadows, the article notes, owns a three-legged dog.