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OKLAHOMA CITY — Billy Taylor, with Armstrong Bank in Muskogee, was elected to serve on the Oklahoma Bankers Association’s board of directors by the OBA membership on Tuesday. His election was part of the OBA’s annual business meeting, conducted by video conference.

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W. Edwards Deming once said, “It is not necessary to change, survival isn’t mandatory.” Change has never been more necessary than now. In light of the recent economic impact of COVID-19, it may indeed be mandatory if a community is to survive. In recent columns, we have spent time discussing…

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Winston Churchill once said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” It is that time of year where many communities have either gone through or are preparing to go through their local elections. While it can be easy to believe your individual …

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We have all known or been associated with business owners that have failed. They had big dreams, small budgets and great work ethic. They had hoped word of mouth would spur business growth. They hoped great customer service would set them apart. They hoped they could overcome the poor, yet a…

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TULSA — Arvest Bank’s mortgage division and Arvest Central Mortgage Company, a bank subsidiary, have been recognized with the Fannie Mae Servicer Total Achievement and Rewards™ (STAR™) Performer designation for 2019.

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Shipping activity at the Port of Muskogee was mixed during the first quarter, reflecting the turbulence of markets before much of the nation began shutting down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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It was described this week as "a great success story" — the response by the White House to the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus and all of the related issues. 

TULSA — Arvest Bank ranks highest among its peers in customer satisfaction with retail banking in both the Southwest and South Central Regions, according to the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study released April 30.

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Hi, Helaine: We don't know what to do. I lost my job last week (COVID-19 layoff). At the same time, my husband's salary has been reduced by 10% through next year, for the same reason. I'm applying for unemployment, but when the $600 federal boost to it goes away this summer, I'll receive onl…

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Tony Robbins once said, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you you’ve always gotten.” This rings so true with the onset of COVID-19, and the major restructuring of the national retail scene underway. Every community, both small and large, will feel the pending impact. What m…

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Municipal sales tax revenue in Muskogee bounced back in April after sinking to its lowest point this fiscal year, but this month's deposit lagged totals reported for the same period a year ago.

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Dear Helaine: The government deposited the $1,200 check we are getting to help us get through the coronavirus lockdowns and shutdowns in my checking account. No problem. My question is about what I should do with the sum. 

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I love the quote by Jim Rohn when he said, “Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” Most will agree there are several potential pathways a community or downtown district might take as they embark on a successful transformation or revitalization effort. It certainl…

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STILLWATER  – The U.S. cattle industry lost an estimated $13.6 billion by early April this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and more economic damages to agriculture are likely, according to a study commissioned by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

OKLAHOMA CITY – The number of initial Unemployment Insurance claims dipped slightly from the previous week as COVID-19 related closures and the energy crisis continue to take a toll on Oklahoma’s workforce.

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Muskogee Farmers Market plans to open May 2, with restrictions to prevent spread of COVID-19.

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STILLWATER – Soil temperatures and other weather conditions indicate most Oklahoma crop producers wanting to plant corn should do so now, agricultural experts said.

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Hi, Helaine: I've got four middle-aged children, and I am well-off. My youngest daughter, age 45, is married to a man who is spiteful and possibly mentally ill. For more than a decade, he's done his best to alienate my daughter from me. 

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While communities certainly have more on their minds these days, it is never too early to start thinking how your community is going to position yourself moving forward post virus. If your community has never really focused on their brand, now is the time to start thinking about that. With t…

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BOYNTON — Cane Creek Distillery has turned out thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer since loosened regulations allowed them to begin producing it, said owner Steve Allen.

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A period for public comment on an interim final rule that restores the Small Business Administration’s affiliation principles and size standards that existed prior to 2016 will close Friday. 

Hi, Helaine: I own a home that's divided into four apartments. I live in one and rent out the other three units. I like some tenants more than others but never experienced a difficult problem until now. In one unit, my tenant lost her job and says she can't pay the rent until she gets on une…

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To quote Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the …

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Gross Receipts to the Treasury in March show the calm before the storm. As has been the case for several months, they indicate slight overall growth, but with slowing sales tax collections and reduced oil and gas production, State Treasurer Randy McDaniel said Friday.

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Muskogee saw its share of sales tax revenue disbursed in March sink after three productive months that bolstered year-to-date figures and fueled third-quarter totals toward an upward trajectory. 

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Hi, Helaine: My partner and I are both in our mid-40s. He earns about half what I do. Almost all our monthly income goes toward paying down our debt: There's the mortgage, two newer cars, a $40,000 401(k) loan, a $9,000 student loan and $16,000 in credit card debt. About half his monthly inc…

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The past few weeks has reminded me of a quote by Roy T. Bennett, who said, “You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.” My guess is each of us has been, or will shortly be at the end of our comfort zones.

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Arvest Bank was scheduled to launch its annual two-month Million Meals initiative on Monday to fight hunger in the four-state region the bank serves. Instead, the bank announced it will proactively provide one million meals in the fight against hunger.

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Oklahoma gas prices have fallen 15.2 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $1.56/g Monday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 2,294 stations. Gas prices in Oklahoma are 58.5 cents per gallon lower than a month ago and stand 87.9 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.

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Hi, Helaine: I see the government is allowing people to postpone paying their 2019 taxes till July of this year because of the coronavirus epidemic. I owe several thousand dollars. My taxes are prepared, and the money is set aside to pay the feds. What should I do now? I think I should keep …

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I enjoy this quote by W. Edward Deming, “It is not necessary to change, survival isn’t mandatory.” Not all change is good, not all change is bad, it just is. When we review change in the review mirror, we can often evaluate what the ramifications of those changes have been. In the case of mo…

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Oklahoma gas prices have fallen 17.2 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $1.73/g Monday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 2,294 stations. Gas prices in Oklahoma are 44.4 cents per gallon lower than a month ago and stand 67.5 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.

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STILLWATER – Sheep and goat producers wanting to sell their animals should check with the establishment conducting the sale to make sure coronavirus precautions have not caused disruptions in operational hours or services.

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Two medical businesses have shuffled their locations, moving into new offices on Main Street. Good Shepherd Hospice has moved from its prior location at 1145 N. Main St. to 701 N. Main St. CREOKS Behavioral Health Services has moved from 433 W. Broadway to 1139 N. Main St.

WASHINGTON – American Gaming Association President and CEO Bill Miller released the following statement on the economic toll the COVID-19 outbreak is having on the U.S. casino gaming industry:

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Hi, Helaine: I've been living with my elderly parent for two years. It wasn't intentional. It's a voluntary choice that became an entrapment. My sister wanted my dad to move into assisted living. It was an expensive disaster, close to $10,000 a month. After that, I took a year off paid work …

In response to the spread of COVID-19, a respiratory illness, Dollar General stores will dedicate their first hour of business each day to seniors who need to shop, according to a news release.

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Whether it is the invasion of big boxes, chains and dollar stores or the onslaught of Internet shopping; one fact remains certain; most communities throughout the country are struggling financially. Revenue is slowly, or rapidly in some cases being eroded through these ruthless competitors.

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A pair of new eateries opened their doors last week, expanding the ever-lively Muskogee restaurant scene to the South Cherokee Street and Peak Boulevard areas. 

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ST. LOUIS – The American Farmer has long been viewed as the backbone of our nation’s economy and lead provider of the breadbasket for the world. As they strive to meet the growing demand for corn to satisfy increasing world need, one area grower has been honored through the 2019 National Cor…

LOWELL, Arkansas — Arvest Wealth Management announced today that its assets under management surpassed the $13 billion mark as of year-end 2019, and that it successfully completed the first phase of its move to a new customer and clearing platform.

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Hi, Helaine: I just read your article on medical expense etiquette. What do you suggest if you tell your doctor, following an exam covered by Medicare, that you can get new glasses for much less elsewhere, and he flies into a rage saying, “You know, we don’t get much from Medicare, and you w…

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I always love a good quote; this one is one of my favorites, General Shinseki said, “If you dislike change, you’re going to like irrelevance even more.” One of the few things we can bank on in life is change, it can mold our community or it can destroy our community, which way it goes is ent…

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Obituaries

65, Auto Parts Salesman, passed away Wednesday, May 19, 2020. Service Info: 11AM, Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at Greenhill Cemetery Pavilion. Cornerstone Funeral Home & Crematory