THUMBS UP to local and area libraries who are finding ways to engage children, as well as other patrons while the country is in the midst of a pandemic.

Eastern Oklahoma Library System recently began offering curbside pick-up of books, games and other materials. EOLS includes libraries in Muskogee, Fort Gibson, Warner, Haskell, Checotah, Eufaula, Hulbert and Tahlequah.

Summer programs for children have been eliminated this year, but each week, Muskogee Public Library will have a bag of activities including crafts, with directions. Kids can do it and earn points for the crafts, as well as their summer reading.

And the Jim Lucas Checotah Public Library has found a way to pair reading with exercise. They erected a StoryWalk along the Checotah Sports Complex fitness trail. The walk features 25 posts where children can read from a book. Each display along the fitness trail will feature a page from a children’s book, usually about fitness and nutrition. The book displays will change each month.

THUMBS UP to Maj. William L. Triplett and the members of Muskogee High School's Air Force JROTC unit for being honored with the 2019-2020 Air Force JROTC Distinguished Unit with Merit Award. The award recognizes units that have performed well above and beyond normal expectations, and that have distinguished themselves through outstanding service to their school and community while meeting the Air Force JROTC citizen development mission for America.

Just last year, the unit, the oldest one in Oklahoma, was in danger of closing because of a low number of cadets. Through hard work and successful recruitment, the unit was saved. Saving the unit was no easy feat. It took months of hard work, and that work paid off. Muskogee High School's unit was chosen to participate in a new computer-related initiative.

Congratulations to Triplett and the students.

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