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We all know that Hillcrest Hospital Claremore is important to the health and well-being of the people of Claremore and Rogers County. But did you know that it is also a strong driver of our local economy? Not only would State Question 802, Medicaid expansion, strengthen our local health care…

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The widely viewed video of a Minneapolis police officer killing a Black man by pressing his knee into the victim’s neck for eight minutes offers a brutal encapsulation of the relationship between law enforcement and the minority communities they police. Following another police killing of a …

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During this COVID-19 emergency, we are all doing our best to self-distance, avoid getting sick, and slow the spread of this terrible virus. At Cherokee Nation, we are slowly reopening businesses and governmental offices while still utilizing telework principles to keep everyone safe to accom…

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If your priority is the education of Oklahoma’s children, you should be worried sick that SQ802, which expands Medicaid (SoonerCare), might pass on the June 30 ballot. Expansion proponents rarely address the enormous costs Oklahomans will shoulder, how we will pay for it, or other negative c…

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Americans are suffering from a crisis of confidence. It is not the same type of crisis President Carter spoke about in 1979, although the result of uncertainty about the future may be the same.

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On Monday I found a notice on the Claremore Meals on Wheels door that two members of our volunteer team were nominated for a Channel 6 award. Although this is much appreciated and heart warming (and it very much is), Claremore Meals on Wheels continues to service our city because of the dedi…

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Will Rogers, “Oklahoma’s Favorite Son,” once said, “This country has gotten where it is in spite of politics, not by the aid of it.” Even though Rogers said this more than 100 years ago, it remains true to this day.

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As CEO of Hillcrest Hospital Claremore, I understand the financial challenges of managing a rural hospital. Being ready for all types of emergencies 24/7 with trained medical professionals and necessary lifesaving technology is expensive. Yet many of the hardworking folks in our community ca…

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Near the end of my second term as Tahlequah’s mayor, some began suggesting the Civil War-related monuments on the Cherokee Capitol Square be removed. They cited many of the same reasons you often hear on the national news regarding the dismantling of statues and other types of memorials to C…

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As I read Markwayne Mullin’s article in today’s, 6/12, Claremore Progress regarding HIS understanding of the “Pledge of Allegiance” I agreed with much of what he wrote but was upset by what he left out. Was he being intentional by neglecting the key phrase, “...and justice for all”? Does he …

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One of the many issues my office has been working on since the conclusion of the 2020 legislative session last month is constituent assistance with unemployment claims. The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) has battled many roadblocks since the pandemic took hold of our state in…

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The idea of a “deep state” is relatively a new phenomenon, emerging from a specific historical context. Its wider application has come at the price of developing a consistent criterion for what constitutes a “deep” state, as opposed to a modern administrative state with a robust civil servic…

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Whether voting in-person or by absentee ballot, it's imperative that voters are informed and empowered as they head into election day.

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Walking through Claremore’s Woodlawn Cemetery on a peaceful summer’s day one comes upon a historic marker signifying the graveyard’s oldest burial site, the final resting place of one of Claremore’s earliest residents. This noteworthy Cherokee lived during a time of great Native American tra…

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At Cherokee Nation, we remain deeply invested in ensuring good education for Cherokees and all children living in our 14-county jurisdiction. Each year, we provide millions from our car tag revenues to support local schools. We are also highly involved in making sure children receive accurat…

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After more than a month since the first phase of our state’s reopening, Oklahoma has officially entered the third and final phase of the governor’s Open Up and Recover Safely (OURS) plan. The decision to continue the reopening of our state has been made on COVID-19 testing data taken over th…

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If you have a college-bound teen or current college student, you probably already know filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is one of the best ways to apply for scholarships and grants to help cash flow that degree. And let’s be real, the FAFSA is already confusin…

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Speculation abounds about the type of economic recovery that will take place as societies adjust to COVID-19. Many descriptive images related to a graph representing the economy are used to try to convey the possibilities.

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The governor went to work signing and vetoing legislation last week that was approved by both chambers, deciding if the measures would become law. While there were a number of great bills he approved, there were also several he decided to veto that would’ve made a positive impact on our stat…

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May 20 is national “Be a Millionaire Day.” I know, it might be a strange thing to bring up at a time like this, when the economy is limping along thanks to the coronavirus shutdown. But I disagree. In fact, it’s more important than ever to stay focused on your wealth-building dreams.

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As job losses continue to pile up due to the actions belatedly taken to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, public conversation about the pandemic has shifted. During the initial stages of the response to the virus, news coverage was largely focused on the health threat. Private conversa…

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In February, it was projected that Oklahoma would have a revenue gap of about $85 million for the Fiscal Year 2021 budget, primarily due to lower energy prices. By April, the State Board of Equalization announced that we’d instead be facing a $1.3 billion budget hole as a result of the econo…

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Senate and House leadership reached a budget deal this past week to stabilize the Fiscal Year 2021 budget to the fullest extent possible under the dwindling state revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and low oil and gas prices.

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As Mother’s Day approaches, we pause to honor and remember the courageous women who love, nurture, and mentor us, or who have done so in our past. There is a Claremore woman for whom I am eternally grateful, a mother who, odd as it may seem, I have never met. One hundred years separate the d…

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Obituaries

Jessie Jay Phelps born February 15, 1929. He is survived by 3 children, daughter Karen Dennis and husband Ron, daughter Sherye Griffin, and son Jay Phelps and wife Pam. Jessie is survived by 2 brothers and 1 sister, 7 grandchildren, 19 great grandchildren, 3 great great grandchildren and man…