There was a day when you couldn’t get me to say the word “retire.” I had too much going to even give it a thought. From the time I shut off the alarm and got out of bed until the time I turned out the lights at night, my life was set on “go.”
Through the years, there have been a few changes. Actually, there have been many. Some days, it feels like my get-up-and-go just got-up-and-went, as they say. Other days, I”m still going strong. Or at least, I really want it to be that way.
I recently took a class on retirement, just to see how I stood and what I might out to do to prepare for that day when I would be able to leave the fulltime job and shift at least some of my efforts from things I HAVE TO do to things I WANT TO do. Well, at least that’s’ the intention.
It was during that class that I realized I’m certainly not at that point yet. In fact, I’m not certain when I will be there. But at least now I have an idea as to what it will take to get me there. I also know there are many things to consider before I can make it happen.
I have to look at such things as …
* Finance — Where will it come from and how much will we have? Will my retirement account and our investments sustain us?
* Health — Will we able to get around well enough to remain independent?
* Insurance — What can we afford and what will it cover? Health, home and vehicle insurance are only part of that picture.
* Home — Can we maintain our home? There are always areas that need attention, from cleaning to repairs.
* Transportation — What are our options? Will we still be able to drive ourselves, or will we need assistance?
* Activity — A key point for most any retiree. It’s not just keeping the body active. You need to keep the mind sharp as long as possible.
These were just some of the key concerns. There are many more. Each individual’s situation is different.
Take a look at KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/RETIREMENT-OKLAHOMA to see areas a person looking ahead should be aware of before taking that plunge. Don’t forget also to look at KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/MONEY-OKLAHOMA for more ideas on what you can do to prepare.
These and other topics in our “know it” library might be just what you need.
I call it “being curious.” Some call it “being snoopy.” But I’ve always been interested in what’s on everyone’s mind. After all, that’s what people in my business are supposed to do: find out what people want to know about and give them as much information as you possibly can.
Sometimes, it’s easy. You can start with weather. Especially in Oklahoma, the weather plays a big part in most everything, from business to pleasure, from life to death. Weather is a factor.
You always can talk politics. This is an election year and, no matter how hard you try, you can’t escape hearing or seeing someone voice an opinion on who is and who is not doing the right thing, who will or who will not win in the November general election, who ought to stay, who ought to go.
One of the most significant freedoms we have it the right to state our opinion, and the right to agree or disagree, whether you do or don’t want to hear it.
Now that the Thunder’s season has ended, there’s a break. Right? To a degree. There are still the Thunder players participating in the Olympics, which, by the way, is another topic that will be even bigger soon.
We’re just a few weeks away from the start of the new football season. The predictions and expectations already are there.
Money always is an important topic, from how to make it to how to spend it, or how to save it. Add to that the cost of anything, which always seems to being heading upward. Who has money, who needs money and how to help those who don’t have enough to adequately survive also get attention.
Vehicles have been popular topics since the first ones were invented. You can expect that to continue until we don’t use them anymore.
Health matters — yours or those of someone else, how to avoid them and how to treat them — are important and often discussed.
Items relating to the military, particularly in a state like Oklahoma where it has such a presence, affect many people.
You also will read, see, or hear about such topics as children, pets, religion, travel, recreation and cultural events.
Plenty, huh? And there are many more.
Each of the topics mentioned above is in at least one of our “know it” topics. It may be a story, it could be a photo, or it might be in a topic’s resource material. Then again, it might be in more than one, sometimes several.
That’s why they are there: To give you information. And you can contribute as well by sending news releases, notes of praise, or other tidbits to the online communities.
Visit HTTP://KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/ and look them over.
I’ve noticed over the past several years that traffic in Midwest City has drastically increased. At least it feels like its a drastic increase every time I go out to do something and find myself rubbing my ears in frustration.
I don’t even think it’s the amount of traffic, but the manner of traffic. Let me explain. If everyone is paying attention to what they are doing, watching out for each other, you know, courteous driving, then everything is fine.
When I have a problem is when we get Johnnie Hot Rod zooming in and out of traffic, or Sally Makeup, or Dave SlowDriver, or Oh My, Victor, We’re In The Big City Now not knowing how to use a center turn lane properly.
Ok, I know, I’m venting. But when the traffic volume increases, it seems as if these people really stick out in a crowd. I think I have a solution.
Let’s give those people special orange lights that go on the roof of the car, so that we can all at least see them coming or going and have an ample chance at avoiding them altogether!
Anyhow, I know that other large metro towns are probably feeling the same pain, Norman comes to mind, I just hope the city fathers are allowing for the increase of traffic that added good eating and shopping bring to a community.
Orange lights on sale now, send checks made out to Ken Tate. Installation extra.
Memorial Day always has been one of my favorite holidays.
It’s the first holiday of summer, even though the change of seasons doesn’t occur for nearly a month. That means it’s time to enjoy those warm-weather activities.
Of course, in Oklahoma, warm weather sometimes arrives early, which can sure play havoc with those of us who have allergies.
Memorial Day is a confirmation in many communities that school is — or nearly is — out. Like most people, when I was a student, I looked forward to those weeks when I got a break from the books and assignments.
I also enjoyed my summer job, earning a little money while spending time with people I knew well. I was lucky in having that opportunity.
Much of time in the summers was spent playing baseball. The older I got, the more fun it became. Again, it was spending time with people I knew well, traveling to ballparks and working together.
I always enjoyed watching the Indianapolis 500, from the prerace pageantry to the dueling on the track to the final lap. When I got to take a lap around the Brickyard while on vacation one year, I thought about all those drivers I had seen competing on that very same track.
That also made watching the race on TV more enjoyable because I was able to recall certain areas of the race course.
Taking a trip, even a short venture to the lake, to relax and check out the scenery or play in the water also has been something I have tried to do.
And I always remember those who no longer are with us, including those who gave their lives in service to our country so that we might have those opportunities such as I mentioned above. “Thank you” never could adequately cover that debt.
We should all remember them … always.
See more about those in our armed forces in KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/MILITARY-OKLAHOMA, as well as in The Oklahoman.
“Have I got news for you.”
Ever heard that phrase? Most of us either have said that, heard it, or done both during our lives. There’s always something we think is important enough to share with others and they with us.
A few years ago, when we established our “know it” communities we offered readers a chance to share news releases, alerts, recognitions and other information (including photos) by sending their items by email to any or all of the five sites:
Many groups and individuals have participated. You can see what they are sending by going to the reader-submitted area (upper right) of each community:
(Note: You can see all of them by going to: http://knowit.newsok.com/)
The instructions also advise that editors at The Oklahoman will consider items submitted for publication in the newspaper. That has happened.
But now, that has been enhanced by using a page, labeled News From You, each Saturday in the Local/State section of the newspaper.
We even include posted blog material.
So how can you get your information to us for consideration?
You can send to the communities, as mentioned above, by following the directions for emailing.
Or, you can send email to Metro reporters Vallery Brown (email@example.com), Matt Patterson (firstname.lastname@example.org), Jane Glenn Cannon in Norman (email@example.com), or Diana Baldwin in Edmond (firstname.lastname@example.org).
It’s your news to share and be shared.
Have you noticed how so many things are on the rise these days? We definitely seem to be in an increase mode.
Start with the weather. Here it is mid-March and we’re experiencing temperatures you would expect in late spring or early summer. Pushing — or passing — 80 degrees. We’ve seen little of the normal winter weather conditions, such as snow or bitter-cold temperatures.
I’m not complaining, you understand. Last year’s January-February snow created some significant problems and I’m happy we didn’t have the same this year. Could this be a start to an extremely hot summer?
So with warmer weather, many people feel like doing a little traveling. But current economic conditions may cause them to do a little thinking before setting out. The increase continues at the gas pump and it doesn’t appear to be slowing.
Many times recently I’ve had to make a trip to a pharmacy, a grocery store, or another such location, only to find on my return that the price board at the filling station has new, higher numbers than were there when I first passed by it. And if you dream that you saw a big jump at the pump, it might be more true than you think. Jumps of a dime or more overnight have not been unusual.
With higher gas prices come higher costs for many other items, such as many of our food products. The experts remind us that the costs of many items are “connected” through transportation expenses. That’s one reason alternative fuels are a hot topic.
If you’re a cable TV subscriber, you may have seen an increase in your bill recently. Someone has to pay for all those major technological breakthroughs and excellent service. Right? Paying more to hear experts say you’re paying more.
As an aside here, you might ask that if you pay less, do you hear less of such expertise? The answer is “yes,” but only because you will lose your service when it’s disconnected.
I mentioned the pharmacy. There actually have been some moves to reduce costs for some prescriptions. In some instances, there have been major moves resulting in substantial reductions in cost. Generic medicines have spurred some strong competition.
Obviously, these and many other price increases hitting at the same time put a strain on our personal finances. We realize prices do go up over time, but how much and how soon they do has a great effect on our lives.
Meanwhile, we’ll have to do some comparative shopping. And you can check out the experts in KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/MONEY-OKLAHOMA for information on how to reduce the effects of price increases. They just might save you a few bucks.
It won’t be long now. Just hours, in fact, until you can drive on a portion of the new and improved Crosstown Expressway in Oklahoma City.
Eastbound lanes of the new Interstate 40 will open Thursday, running from the I-44 junction to downtown, about five blocks south of its old — and crumbling — predecessor.
If all goes as planned, the westbound lanes will open in another month to month and a half. It won’t be a complete opening, however. The work continues on the 10-lane freeway. A couple of lanes will be closed near Robinson Avenue until construction on the Skydance Bridge is finished next spring.
But, meanwhile, we can enjoy the lanes that are open. Be prepared. It really is much improved over what you’ve been driving on the past many years.
The new road, and the sites connected to it — such as the $5.2 million Skydance Bridge — will be impressive.
The new Crosstown runs about five blocks south of the existing freeway, from the I-44 junction to that with I-35 and I-235. Cost of the new roadway is said to be $670 million, making it the most expensive road construction project in the history of Oklahoma. Most of that, of course, is paid for with federal money.
Construction began in 2005 and is ahead of schedule, according to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. That is due to the construction being split into several sections, allowing crews to work on them simultaneously; good weather; and a lack of unforeseen delays.
Once the new Crosstown is complete, work can begin on the “deconstruction” of the old road. The roadway has needed constant repairs for the past several years, with holes appearing in the pavement and other problems. Soon, it will be gone altogether.
The old freeway eventually will be replaced by a boulevard, a part of MAPS 3. There also will be an urban park as part of the city’s Core to Shore plan.
Better roadway, better scenery, better opportunities for everyone.
If you’re going to be on the road during the Thanksgiving holiday, do your part in making it a safe journey.
My friends in law enforcement and public safety remind everyone that Oklahoma roadways will be filled with travelers this week, before, on and after Thanksgiving. They urge extra precautions to keep drivers and passengers safe.
And remember, Thanksgiving starts the holiday season, when you’ll see more people traveling and more people visiting shopping centers and malls, as well as places to eat.
Any of those can lead to increased stress for the driver.
Officials in the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office advise taking a little time to make smart choices about your travel. Alice Collinsworth, OHSO communications manager.
Last year in Oklahoma, the Thanksgiving holiday period ran from 6 p.m. Wed., Nov. 24, to midnight Sunday, Nov. 28. During this time period, 546 crashes were reported. Six people were killed and 327 others were injured, said Alice Collinsworth, OHSO communications manager. Four of the six fatalities occurred in alcohol-related crashes, she said.
“Law enforcement officers across the state will be out in force during the holiday,” Collinsworth said. “They’ll be watching for drivers who are impaired, who are breaking the speed limit, or who are distracted, and they also will be enforcing seat belt laws. The goal is to save lives and to make sure everyone arrives safely at their holiday destination.”
OHSO also recommends taking these steps for safe travel:
* Make sure all children in your vehicle are placed in age-appropriate car seats and all adults are buckled up.
* If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact local law enforcement, or dial *55 from any cell phone to alert the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
* Plan ahead for inclement weather and make sure your vehicle has appropriate emergency equipment.
* Avoid distractions while driving, such as cell phones and electronic equipment.
* If alcohol is part of your Thanksgiving celebration, plan ahead to designate a non-drinking driver.
AAA Oklahoma once again is offering Tipsy Tow services over Thanksgiving to motorists who have partied a bit too much and feel unsafe behind the wheel. The auto club will give the driver and one more person — plus the vehicle -– a free ride home.
AAA’s Tipsy Tow program, free to members and nonmembers alike, will start at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 23, and will run until 2 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 28, in metropolitan Tulsa and Oklahoma City, as well as in Lawton, Shawnee, Enid, Muskogee and Bartlesville.
“Many motorists may think they are okay to drive but research shows that impairment starts with the first drink,” said Chuck Mai, AAA Oklahoma spokesman. “And remember, the first thing to go when you drink is judgment. After drinking, we tend to make less-than-smart decisions -– like going ahead and driving.”
To access Tipsy Tow, call (800) 222-4357 (AAA-HELP) and ask for Tipsy Tow. There are just two restrictions: the tow must be within a 15-mile radius of point of pickup, and there is only one place AAA will take you and your car: home.
For information on Oklahoma road conditions, check The Oklahoman and/or NewsOK.com.
Years ago, my wife and I were looking for a new car. It didn’t have to be BRAND new, just new to us.
In other words … affordable.
But there were certain things I thought it ought to have on it.
This is Oklahoma. It gets hot in the summer, cold in the winter. So air conditioning and a good heater (and defroster) were musts.
Mom always stresses good tires. No argument there.
We didn’t want ripped upholstery, broken glass, or an oil leak. And we didn’t want one that had been to the moon and back, distance-wise, according to the odometer.
It had to have a good radio, preferably with (back then) a tape player.
So, we decided that we would look over the lots, new and used. For a young couple, married only a few years and still just trying to make ends meet, money was a major consideration, of course. There were certain sizes and types we knew we couldn’t afford.
We wanted something that would provide protection in an accident. We looked for those that could handle severe weather. Though we had no plans for long journeys, it had to be comfortable on a trip.
Though in the years since I’ve learned of many auto purchases at garage sales, it wasn’t something we weren’t going to do. Buying a car was going to be done through a reputable dealer or individual.
The great search began, and continued, and continued, and …
We looked at sporty, classy, fast, shiny, slick, big, small, midsize, sedans, coupes — you name it. Then, one day, we looked at one that we thought might just be right for us.
It was new. The color was nice, the interior appeared comfortable and we were told it would be good on gas mileage. It had a radio and tape player.
“Go ahead. Open it up and sit in it. See what you think,” the salesman said.
I reached for the door, opened it, then froze.
“The key is IN the ignition,” a woman’s voice said.
“And I am out of here,” I responded as I shut the door.
I wasn’t going to have a vehicle that talked to me. No way.
Eventually, we settled on a small station wagon. It fit our needs and it was comfortable, it had all the items we wanted and the price was right.
It also didn’t talk to me.
If you’re looking for a new car, my advice to you is shop around, get an expert’s opinion on how sound the vehicle is. Check your finances, and price good insurance.
Ask questions. Many. Know the vehicle best you can before you make a deal.
Look for more advice in knowit.newsok.com/buying-a-car-oklahoma
I’d like to say that in almost 40 years in this business, I’ve heard it all. But I can’t. They just keep coming.
I’ve quoted many times longtime columnist and former Managing Editor Frank Boggs, who said, “The readers always write.” To me, it’s the journalist’s version of “The customer’s always right.” You’re gonna hear from them.
It may not be a column or an editorial they disgreed with. But it doesn’t have to be a commentary on a story or photo they saw in the newspaper or on line. It might be something they saw or heard somewhere and just wanted to make a comment on it.
It can be entertaining, to say the least.
Here are some samples:
* * * * *
“Do we still have people on the moon? I saw a show about all that stuff we left up there and I wondered if the United States still had someone up there watching over it.”
I answered him best I could that I didn’t know of anyone still on the moon, and that the “stuff” we left up there from previous space missions was mostly discarded material no longer used or working.
* * * * *
There have been a few space-related “contacts.” Mostly, late-night phone calls involving unidentified flying objects.
“Has anyone else reported seeing that round thing with the blinking lights flying over the water plant last night?”
“It was big. It just kinda sat up there a while. I just wondered if anyone else saw it.”
He hung up right after saying he would call the local Air Force base and ask if it “showed up on their radar.”
Oh, well. The Air Force knows full well how to handle calls about UFOs, blinking lights and aliens.
* * * * *
“Can you get a ticket for driving a riding lawn mower when you’re drunk?”
If you’re driving it on a public street, it’s possible. The offense? It depends upon where and how you were driving.
* * * * *
“My sister and I were wondering … how do you make mud?”
Well, you get the necessary ingredients, such as dirt and water, and mix them together.
You can shape the mix and use it for building, but you need to do so before it hardens.
* * * * *
“Can you drown by drinking from a garden hose?”
Yes. It doesn’t take a lot of water to cause a drowning. A couple of inches can do it.
Please don’t try that at home.
* * * * *
And there’s always someone who wants to talk politics. So you get a call like this.
“Who’s going to be the next president?”
Simple. The one who gets the most votes … from the electoral college.
* * * * *
There are some unusual people out there, thinking unusual thoughts. See examples in http://knowit.newsok.com/unsual-weird-oklahoma and checkign the state, nation and world categories.