Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome
OKLAHOMA CITY – Online motor vehicle tag renewals can be processed by local tag agents under legislation enacted via veto override Friday.
House Bill 4049, by House Speaker Charles McCall, requires the state to offer citizens renewing vehicle tags online with the option to digitally renew their vehicle tag through their local tag agent.
“Local tag agents provide a valuable service, especially in rural Oklahoma. As digital becomes the new normal, these tag agents will be able to continue serving their communities. I appreciate Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols and Representative Brian Bill for accurately clarifying what the bill does and does not do.”
Oklahoma has hundreds of local tag agents across the state that could be harmed if the state were to limit online renewals only through the Tax Commission directly, or if the state were to make it difficult to find the option online to renew through a local agent.
The bill does not prohibit direct renewal with the Tax Commission from being listed an option on the online tag renewal application. The bill does clarify that the Tax Commission is not a tag agent.
The bill takes effect Nov. 1, 2020.
The Southeastern Conference announced the return of voluntary in-person athletics activities on campuses league-wide beginning June 8 under strict supervision of designated university personnel and safety guidelines developed by each institution.
SEC Release: https://bit.ly/2yqhNvD
Below are statements from Director of Athletics Hunter Yurachek, Football Head Coach Sam Pittman, Men’s Basketball Head Coach Eric Musselman and Women’s Basketball Head Coach Mike Neighbors.
Hunter Yurachek – Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics
“I appreciate the leadership and commitment of SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, our conference member institutions and the SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force related to returning student-athletes to campus. As we resume on-campus activities, the continued health and well-being of our student-athletes will remain our top priority. I sincerely appreciate the efforts of our Department of Athletics staff and numerous medical professionals across our state, who worked collaboratively to develop a detailed plan in accordance with University, SEC, NCAA and Arkansas Department of Health directives. We are well prepared and look forward to confidently welcoming back many of our student-athletes in the coming weeks.”
Sam Pittman – Football Head Coach
“I’m thankful for all the people that have spent a lot of time and effort in making these decisions this week. The most important part in all of this is the health and well-being of our student-athletes. We are confident in our plan to bring our guys back to campus where our resources are here to help them academically, emotionally and physically. For us as a new staff, we can’t wait to see them and continue to build our trust with one another.”
Eric Musselman – Men’s Basketball Head Coach
“This is an exciting step in our hopes to play sports in the fall. I think it will be great for our student-athletes to be back on campus and have the many services our support staff can give them in terms of academics, medical needs, physical conditioning and mental wellness. While we look forward to seeing our student-athletes back, we know this is still a serious time in this world-wide pandemic. We need to take things slow and we need to follow all the guidelines in order to ensure the health of everyone. That is the only way we can move forward.”
Mike Neighbors – Women’s Basketball Head Coach
“We’ve shared a saying around our program for three years: if you stay ready you never have to get ready!
“Since day one, I’ve used Governor Hutchinson, Commissioner Sankey, Chancellor Stenimetz, and Hunter Yurachek as my Mount Rushmore of information on how to proceed through these challenging times. They have kept us well informed and have built confidence in us all that there is a great plan in place. So if they say we’re ready, we are ready.
“We understand it’s “more proceed with caution” for now rather than “GO”! We will strictly adhere to the guidelines and procedures put in place to keep us safe.
“I can’t wait to see each and every returner and welcome our newcomers!”
James Timothy “Tim” McDonald born on August 18, 1971 in Fort Smith, Arkansas to June (Graham) McDonald and Hershel McDonald and passed away on May 13, 2020 in Spiro, Oklahoma at the age of 48.
Survivors include his daughter, Chelssie Richards; nephew, Kirk McDonald; niece, Willow McDonald; aunts; Barbara Chapel, Thelma Johnson, Sharon Graham, Margaret Fleege; uncle, Harlan Graham; numerous cousins, other family, and loved ones.
Tim was preceded in death by his parents, June McDonald and Claude Gregory and his brother, Willis McDonald.
A family memorial service will be held at the Short Mountain Cemetery at a later date under the direction of Mallory-Martin Funeral Home in Spiro, Oklahoma.
To sign Tim's online guest book, please visit www.mallorymartinfuneralhome.com
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma Education Association has awarded Rep. Jason Dunnington, D-Oklahoma City, the F.D. Moon Human & Civil Rights Education Award.
"OEA presents the F.D. Moon award to an individual who has contributed significantly to the advancement of education for students,” said OEA President Alicia Priest. “Rep. Dunnington has written legislation to increase the minimum wage, ban LGBTQ conversion therapy practices, prohibit wage discrimination based on gender, paid sick leave, and more. These are examples of legislation that help Oklahoma students have a brighter future."
Melissa Pelletier, the president of Oklahoma City’s OEA chapter, recommended Rep. Dunnington for the award.
“Rep. Dunnington’s passion for helping make things better for his constituents is demonstrable when you see the issues emphasized in both the legislation he authors and that he supports,” Pelletier wrote in her letter recommending Rep. Dunnington.
Anna King is the President of National PTA and vice president of Douglass PTSA in Oklahoma City. She offered the following remarks.
"Being a champion for all our children to reach their full potential, I understand the importance of bridging the gap between the isles of our state leaders for the success of our Oklahoma children,” she said. “That is why I especially take great pleasure in working alongside my representative, Jason Dunnington. He not only understands the importance of a quality education in a safe place to learn, but he engages with his constituents to help make our children's potential a reality."
Dunnington offered the following statement about the award.
“I’m honored to receive this award from the Oklahoma Education Association and grateful that we share a vision of a better Oklahoma, where everyone can build a better future regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or socioeconomic background,” he said.
The award is named for Fredrick Douglass Moon, a luminary for African American education in Oklahoma. He was born in 1896, at Fallis, Oklahoma Territory, according to the Oklahoma Historical Society. Moon was educated in the segregated schools of Lincoln County, Oklahoma. Because there was no high school for African Americans near his home, he entered Oklahoma Colored Agricultural and Normal University, now Langston University, in the ninth grade. Moon began his teaching career in 1921 at Crescent. The Oklahoma Association of Negro Teachers elected him as president in 1929. In 1940 he moved to Oklahoma City and became principal of Douglass High School. Considered the "dean of African American education,” he was elected to the Oklahoma City Board of Education in 1972 and served as its first African American president in 1974. He served at a time when federally mandated desegregation occurred within the Oklahoma City Public School System.
Press Release from OSU News
A colorblind Oklahoma State University marching band member is seeing the world differently these days, thanks to a touching gift from his bandmates — EnChroma glasses.
The collective Valentine’s Day gift from 35 bandmates had master student and clarinetist Isaiah DeHoyos overcome with emotion. The glasses allowed him to see color accurately for the first time.
“The day my friends surprised me with the EnChroma glasses was very emotional,” he said. “For them to band all together was very powerful and a beautiful memory that will forever live in my heart. It reminds me that I’m surrounded by such a great group of people. They knew how much it meant to me to actually see colors. Oklahoma State University and my friends will always hold a special place in my heart because of this experience. Literally and figuratively, America’s Brightest Orange has become even brighter in my eyes.”
Kent Streeb, director of public relations and partnerships for Enchroma Inc., called it a wonderful moment that celebrates human kindness when we need it most. Millions have shared the moment, thanks to social media, with video of DeHoyos donning the glasses for the first time eclipsing 8 million views on Tik Tok.
Red-green colorblindness affects one in 12 men (8%) and one in 200 women (.5%), or around 350 million people globally.
To DeHoyos, the world appears dull, washed out and some colors are indistinguishable as he only sees up to 10% of the 1 million colors people with normal color vision see. To him, purple appears blue, pink looks gray, red and green stop lights look white-ish, red flowers look dead, and the orange in his band uniform — America’s Brightest Orange — appears brown.
He was diagnosed with colorblindness in elementary school when he began coloring the trees and bodies of water “incorrectly.” All four of his brothers are colorblind as well.
“I would color the bark red and the leaves brown or confuse purple and blue unless the color was labeled,” he said.
It continued to be an obstacle for him as his education continued, though he continued to succeed.
“It is very difficult determining whether or not the stoplight is green or red and to mix chemicals in science class,” he said. “Recently, I graduated with a B.A. in mathematics in the honors program. I did my honors thesis, ironically, on the color symmetry of platonic solids using origami models. I spent countless hours, with lots of help, making sure I folded many shapes using the correct color patterns and that they were symmetric. It was a nightmare at times.”
Now, all that’s changed for DeHoyos, thanks to the giving spirit of friends like Avi Harrison who led the charge to give their fellow Cowboy a brighter world.
“I was completely shocked that pink exists in sunsets and new colors to me, like lilac, are in the sky at times, and discovering the variety of colors; it’s overwhelming,” DeHoyos said.
“My entire perspective of the world has changed with these EnChroma glasses. Some days I love to just look at the flowers just to see all the colors. It makes me want to travel the world in color and document the experience.”
Harrison said he got the idea when DeHoyos mentioned the glasses in conversation. That very day, he made a GroupMe account and started reaching out to fellow members of the Cowboy Marching Band.
“I can't imagine seeing without color and knew how badly Isaiah wanted to experience this,” he said. “Thirty-five friends helped, and we raised $325 within five days. It felt really good to have our friends come together and do this for him.”
Like DeHoyos, Harrison said it’s a memory he’ll cherish forever.
“There are so many special things about Isaiah that I can’t name them all,” he said. “He is one of the most intelligent people I know, a fantastic friend and there is nothing that he wouldn't do for us, so we wanted to return the favor and to show how much we all love him. Being able to give Isaiah something that he has wanted for some time was an indescribable feeling. He has been able to experience things that I take for granted every day. I will remember this moment forever.”
The Science Behind EnChroma
EnChroma glasses are based on two National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grants, clinical trials at University of California, Berkeley and University of California, Davis, and 10 years of research and development. They are NOT a cure for color blindness and do not correct it 100%. The glasses work for four out of five colorblind people, enabling them to experience an expanded range of clear, distinct and vibrant color.
Robby Dean Dorey, 84 of Poteau, OK went to be with the Lord Thursday, May 21, 2020. Rob was born September 12, 1935 in Fort Smith, AR to Wilfred & Bertha (Wood) Dorey. Rob was well known and loved by many. He worked as a carpenter for many years and was preceded by 9 siblings.
Survivors include his daughter & son in law, Tracy & Rusty of Dallas, TX; grandson & wife, Garrett & Lindsay of Dallas, TX: twin brother, Bob Dorey & wife Wanda of Poteau, OK; brothers, Leo Dorey, Harrell Dorey & wife Barbara; sister, Wilma White all of California; other relatives, loved ones and friends.
Viewing will be Tuesday, May 26, 2020 from 8 am – 8 pm at the funeral home. Private services will be held due to the current health issues.
In lieu of flowers please make donations to the Pleasant Valley Free Will Baptist Church, 411 Pleasant Valley Road, Poteau, OK 74953.
You may leave an online message at evansandmillerfuneralhomes.com.
The family has chosen to entrust the care of the services to Evans & Miller Funeral Home, POTEAU, OK.
PRESS RELEASE from Oklahoma Department of Human Services
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – On May 20, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the approval of a request from Oklahoma to provide online purchasing of food to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households. The USDA SNAP online purchasing pilot program, created in the 2014 Farm Bill authored by former House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, will allow Oklahomans to be able to purchase food online with their SNAP benefits.
“Even before the current coronavirus pandemic, Congress recognized the changing needs of families and individuals as advances in technology further shaped our society. As I shepherded the 2014 Farm Bill, my colleagues and I saw the need to ensure that SNAP customers have access to these innovative tools that are changing the retail industry,” said Congressman Frank Lucas. “Oklahoma’s approval of expanding SNAP online purchasing is great news to those who use SNAP to feed their families and producers and small businesses who are providing for their neighbors. As we continue to safely and responsibly practice social distancing, this new pilot program will help Oklahomans continue to stay safe as they order their groceries online and use curbside pick-up. As one of the members who helped enact this pilot program, I’m excited to see the wonderful benefits this brings about to my fellow Oklahomans.”
“During this pandemic, thousands of Oklahomans who never needed our services before have filed for SNAP benefits,” said Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) Director Justin Brown. “We are grateful for our federal partners at the USDA and to Congressman Lucas for his work to expand the SNAP online purchasing pilot program to our SNAP customers here in Oklahoma.”
“This is fantastic news for our SNAP customers,” said OKDHS Adult and Family Services Director Patrick Klein. “Like so many Oklahomans, it is much safer during this pandemic for SNAP recipients to be able to order groceries online and pick them up curbside instead of going inside a grocery store. The pilot program has been successful in other states and we are excited it is now available in Oklahoma.”
On April 18, 2019, Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the launch of the two-year SNAP online purchasing pilot that began in New York before being rolled out to additional states. The 2014 Farm Bill, which was written by former House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, authorized USDA to conduct and evaluate the possibility of allowing retail food stores to accept SNAP benefits through online transactions.
As part of its response to COVID-19, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has worked closely with all interested states, retailers, and benefit processors to make online purchasing a reality for more SNAP households.
OKDHS continues to work with potential retailers to test and implement the online purchasing using SNAP benefits.
In less than six weeks, amidst an unprecedented situation, USDA has expanded SNAP online purchasing to 36 states and the District of Columbia – nearly three-quarters of the states, covering 90% of SNAP households.
OSU Press Release
"The action by the legislature today to create a pathway to fulfill a longstanding promise made by the State to match donations from hundreds of donors who contributed to endowed chairs at universities and colleges across Oklahoma is commendable. It is fitting the bill passed on Boone Pickens’ birthday. He was one of the most generous people ever to higher ed and a donor to the endowed chair program. We thank the legislative leadership and the bipartisan support of legislators on taking this critical step forward. We are encouraged, and hopeful funds will be available next year to honor the promise made to Boone and so many other donors." OSU President Burns Hargis
Press Release written by Joseph Jones (Madigan Army Medical Center) MADIGAN ARMY MEDICAL CENTER, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
COVID-19 has changed many of our daily routines in a way no one anticipated. Many of us are at home more to minimize exposure. Isolation and being at home can illicit the temptation to eat snacks high in sodium, junk food and low-quality meals that provide instant gratification for our taste buds rather than nutrient-dense whole foods that can also be delicious. This is a challenge for many in these times of social distancing and self-isolation.
A day that may have previously included many steps, physical activities like walking from your car at your workplace parking lot twice per day, shopping for groceries, outings with the family or visiting shopping mall are absent for many. With this unprecedented lifestyle shift, there is a potential for the normalization of a more sedentary lifestyle packed with activities like watching television, sitting while reading for long periods, or sitting at your computer for longer-than-usual periods of time. We must stay proactive, and in some cases creative, to maintain an active lifestyle in the era of social-distancing. Even if you are not directly affected by COVID-19, or tested positive, it no doubt has had a drastic impact on your day-to-day routine, which could negatively affect your overall health.
So what are some things we can do to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle and routine while the world around us has adapted to limiting exposure to COVID-19?
- Stay active:The gyms may not be open, however, there are lots of safe alternatives to getting physical activity without going against the preventive best practices recommended by the CDC like social distancing and avoiding large crowds. Aerobics can be done successfully at home. Another important point to consider is that avoiding crowds does not mean avoiding nature. Going for a brisk walk or jog outside in uncrowded areas outdoors is still considered relatively safe. Push-ups, sit-ups, jumping-jacks and more exercises are great ways to stay fit away from the gym. For more ideas, visit:
- Adequate sleep:Good sleep is essential to our overall health. According to The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the nation’s leading medical research agency: “Immune system activation alters sleep, and sleep in turn affects the innate and adaptive arm of our body's defense system.” While the amount of sleep needed for good health and optimum performance mostly depends on the individual, the CDC recommends adults age 18-60 years get seven or more hours of sleep per night.
- Diet and nutrition:Practicing self-discipline and avoiding “emotional eating” due to stress that may be related to the drastic changes surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and how it affects our lives is imperative. According to the CDC, whole foods like dark, leafy greens, oranges and tomatoes—even fresh herbs—are loaded with vitamins, fiber and minerals. Make it a habit to try to eat more whole nutritious foods instead of processed snacks or fast food.
- Self-care:Take time to take care of yourself. Be supportive and suggest the same for those close to you. Meditation, relaxation, quality time with family, personal care of yourself promotes overall wellness. The Defense Health Agency (DHA) has free, evidence-based, self-care tools developed by psychologists that you can check out here: https://health.mil/About-MHS/OASDHA/Defense-Health-Agency/Operations/Clinical-Support-Division/Connected-Health/mHealth-Clinical-Integration
- Healthcare maintenance:If you have medications prescribed for any condition, be sure to take them as directed by your provider. Chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma and many others should be kept in check with taking your medications as prescribed. Be sure to reach out to your healthcare team with any concerns as well. In the age of COVID-19, telehealth solutions are available if you want to speak with a provider about a health concern unrelated to COVID-19.
- Cope with stress and anxiety:Positively cope with stress and anxiety induced by new precautions we must all now take to combat the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Positive coping mechanisms would include exercise, meditation, reading, further developing certain skills or hobbies etc. Use this era to increase your daily repetition of these positive activities and develop new or even betterroutines than you may have adhered to prior to the emergence of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
- Stay connected:Talking with loved ones while in isolation can help reduce the anxiety and instances of feeling down. Take time to utilize the multitudes of technologies and apps (many free) that can help you stay in touch with those you love. Our busy lives before the COVID-19 may have limited how often we connected with distant loved ones, now’s the time to fully exploit these modern capabilities for fellowship, companionship, and camaraderie.
The guidance above is to improve overall health and wellness. Please be aware that although eating nutritious foods, physical activity, adequate rest and taking care of our mental health makes us more resilient, it’s not a cure nor does it guarantee immunity from contracting COVID-19. In addition to these suggestions, first and foremost be sure to practice CDC guidance on social distancing, self-care, self-quarantine, wearing of cloth masks when social distancing is not possible and talking with your provider about any concerns you may have regarding your health. If you have a medical emergency, visit an emergency room. If you have an injury or illness unrelated to COVID-19, be sure to visit an Urgent Care Center.
Living through a global pandemic while adapting to new circumstances, like social distancing, can cause distress in anyone.
“We all need social connection, and being separated can make people feel more isolated and lead to depressive symptoms like low mood, poor concentration, lack of or too much sleep,” said Kelly Blasko, a clinical psychologist at the Defense Health Agency. “It is easy to feel overwhelmed, and that can lead to other mental health concerns such as anxiety and worry.”
Addressing mental health issues early can prevent potential problems down the line.
“We need to look at medical readiness holistically with mental health as just one aspect of overall health,” said Blasko. “Just like preventive measures are used to reduce the chances of a physical injury, there are preventive measures to reduce the chances of poor mental health.”
Mobile mental health tools, including apps, can provide valuable resources and support to people experiencing anxiety during the COVID-19 crisis.
“These health technologies can help during the in-between times of seeing your provider and can continue to improve the symptoms [of anxiety or depression],” explained Blasko, who is the lead for mobile health clinical integration at the DHA’s Connected Health branch.
Connected Health has developed mobile health tools and published several articles and research on the benefits of using digital health in clinical care, including guidelines on integrating mobile mental health tools into clinical practice.
The DHA’s mobile apps, listed here, are free and available for anyone to download from app stores for Android and Apple devices. There are apps that enhance self-care, and others that are a companion to treatment with a health care provider.
“Many self-care apps can be used without ongoing treatment. For example, Breathe2Relax teaches diaphragmatic breathing that is a skill we all can use to reduce stress.” said Blasko. “The Military Health System is expanding its virtual health services during this time and beneficiaries should check directly with their providers to see what options are available for them,” she added.
Blasko cautioned that mental health apps should never replace help from a health care provider.
“It is always good to seek help from a professional if you are worried about your mental health,” she said, noting the Military Crisis Line is available for urgent mental health issues. “These tools can be a way to develop daily coping skills and self-care habits. It is important to know how a mobile app is going to be helpful before relying on it for self-care.”