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The news has been dark. People are sad, hurting, panicked. Stores are shuttered. Sports arenas are silent. Concert halls are empty. What in the world is happening to our country

With this new way of life, all ages face significant challenges. Adults must work from home or seek unemployment assistance. Youth must do their coursework over the Internet and with computers and, for some, miss out on major life events like prom, graduation, or programs dear to them.

The natural disaster caused by COVID-19 is unlike any other our nation has encountered in modern history.

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 of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

Last week, two men died who influenced my life.

Some special-interest groups suggest tax increases are the only way to deal with budget shortfalls. But Oklahomans are benefiting from a far better, preemptive solution: Saving money during boom years.

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The COVID-19 situation continues to be the focus of our communities, the state, the country and the world. We’ve experienced nothing like this in our lifetimes. 

How do I know if I need a hip replacement? My right hip gets so stiff after I’ve been sitting at work for a few hours that I can hardly walk, and then it aches for the rest of the day and night.

Unlike the traditional enemies our nation has faced throughout history, COVID-19 is one that can dangerously hide in plain sight and threaten the health and well-being of any American community.

DEAR HARRIETTE: Recently, a guy I haven’t talked to in years recommended me for a job. Out of the blue, it seemed, he called me and told me about this opportunity. A few months went by before things came together. Well, I got the job, but in the flurry of everything, I forgot to contact the …

Dear Doctor: Our sister saw her doctor because her chest felt “heavy,” and he found fluid in her lung. Further tests showed lung cancer, which had already spread. She never coughed, and she quit smoking years ago. What are some of the symptoms of lung cancer?

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 …

COVID-19 has dominated the news in the last week. Over 335,000 people have been infected worldwide. 14,611 have died, 5,500 in Italy alone. In the United States, 34,000 have tested positive with 423 deaths. In Oklahoma, 67 people have tested positive and 2 people have died.

With confirmed cases of COVID-19 multiplying rapidly across the nation and around the world, there is increasing concern about how to effectively slow the spread of this mysterious coronavirus in the United States. While I am grateful for the Trump Administration’s swift and decisive respons…

Dear Doctor: Would you please explain the terms we keep hearing in news reports about that new virus, like “epidemic” and “outbreak” and “pandemic”? It seems like they’re being used interchangeably, and it makes it hard to understand what’s really going on.

Dear Doctor: I’ve had lower back pain for years, and nothing has helped. I’ve tried physical therapy, yoga and chiropractors, and I’ve even contemplated surgery. My sister suggests something called the Alexander technique. What do you think? I’m willing to try anything, but I don’t want to c…

DEAR HARRIETTE: I feel like I am turning into my grandmother. I am in my 50s, and I have many of the chronic diseases that she has had since about my age. I am not proud of that, but it’s true. 

In a matter of hours, the world in which we live changed last week, and that change started right here in Oklahoma.

Because hospitals operate in a system with little pricing transparency, many patient bills are more fiction than fact, yet patients can face financial devastation if they don’t pony up.

On Thursday the 27th, the Senate hit the 2020 session deadline for our committees to act on bills introduced in this chamber. 

Hello, dear readers, and welcome back to our monthly letters column. We’re happy to report that you’ve kept our mailboxes full, so we’ll dive right in.

Sometimes, what seems like a good idea on the surface, isn’t always so. House Joint Resolution 1027 is a good example. Making it “easier” for citizens to collect signatures for initiative petitions is a good idea, right? (Right.) But, is that really the aim of HJR 1027? We don’t think so, and neither should you.

Over the last several weeks, there have been numerous developments related to the coronavirus, including an uptick in confirmed U.S. cases and unsettling swings in the stock market.

Oklahoma is one of 24 states that have an initiative petition process. It allows citizens to bypass the legislature by collecting signatures from registered voters and get issues on the ballot.

DEAR HARRIETTE: Even though I am a college student, I still live with my mother; it’s much cheaper than living in a dorm. I may be an adult, but every time I go out, I have to tell my mom where I am going. If I am out planning on being out late, I have to tell her how long I will be. Wheneve…

Dear Doctor: I’m 66 years old, and I seem to be of an age at which the people I know are being diagnosed with COPD. I’ve heard it mentioned in TV ads, but I still don’t really understand what it is. Who gets COPD? Is there a cure?

We’ve just completed the fifth week of the legislative session and are just a few days away from March 12 deadline for the full Senate to consider legislation that was introduced in this chamber for 2020. After March 12, our bills will cross over to House committees for consideration and Sen…

When the preliminary numbers came in for Pontotoc County’s Super Tuesday results, some residents were probably scratching their heads and wondering, “What happened?”

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend I have known for ages. I considered her to be family. There was an incident, however, that changed it all. One day, my friend and I went to a convenience store to pick up a few things. I asked her if she wanted anything -- even told her that I would pay -- but…

Dear Doctor: Everybody’s suddenly talking about how it’s important to eat some walnuts every day. Who decided that? Why is there always a new food fad?

The Legislature has completed committee work on bills in the house of origin. The only bills left alive for those filed this year are the ones approved by committees and some legislation carried over from last year.

Dear Doctor: Our mom had half of her face go numb for a few minutes, and she also had trouble speaking. She went to the doctor and was told she had a ministroke. What is that? Is it dangerous?

Economics is the science that deals with the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. Adam Smith was an 18th-century British philosopher renowned as the father of modern economics. There are generally four accepted economic systems. A “traditional” system, which is gen…

Recently, thousands of Oklahoma students’ names and home addresses were obtained from the Oklahoma Department of Education and used for mailers. Parents were understandably upset

The Democratic Party’s tightening embrace of socialist proposals and politicians is real cause for alarm, especially in a country whose very foundation is liberty. Indeed, the precious freedoms that exist here in America have always set us apart. Just think about how many people still want t…

One of the first books I inherited from my mother was her illustrated hardback version of “Little Women,” which she had read and loved as a child.

On Saturday, I was approached by a nice-looking young man in a Walmart parking lot, asking me if I was a registered voter in Oklahoma.

This Week's Circulars

Obituaries

ADA [ndash] Steven Albert Warkaske Jr., 49, of Ada passed away Sunday, March 29, 2020, in Ada. A come-and-go viewing will be held from 2-5 p.m. today at Estes-Phillips Funeral Home in Ada. Due to current world events, a private interment will happen at a later date.

ADA [ndash] Former East Central University golf coach Danny Key passed away Monday, March 30, at the age of 67. Key was a 1974 graduate of ECU who had a career in the energy industry in Houston before coming home to Ada to work with the Chickasaw Nation. He served the Nation for 11 years as …

MIDWEST CITY [ndash] Amanda Gayle Estes McPhetridge, 42, of Midwest City passed away Saturday, March 28, 2020. Due to current world events, a come-and-go viewing will be held from noon until 5 p.m. today at Estes-Phillips Funeral Home in Ada. A private interment will be held at a later date.

ADA [ndash] Graveside services for Emily Ann Bess-Dixon, 37, of Ada are at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Lightning Ridge Cemetery. Chad Large will officiate. Mrs. Bess-Dixon died Wednesday, March 25, 2020, at a local hospital. She was born Oct. 24, 1982, to Larry Bess and Karen Hallmark. She graduated …