Is It Legal to Collect Rocks?

Rock collecting isn’t just for hardcore rockhounds. All types of people, young and old, who find a pretty rock on a hiking trail or side of the road may put it in their pocket and take it home. But could you be breaking the law? This is a complicated question, and the simplest answer is maybe. It really depends on where the rock was found. Private land is relatively straightforward, but on public land, some states say okay, other states say no way and the government says it depends on which entity owns the land, what you’re collecting and who’s doing the collecting. Originally appeared in the January 2022 Issue of Rock & Gem magazine

Wintertime tornadoes are unusual, not unheard of

Nobody wants to think about a tornado hitting their home or business, but in Tornado Alley it’s a very real threat. When you do think about tornadoes, it’s likely in the spring and early summer when they’re most common. However, wintertime doesn’t mean the danger has passed, which was unfortunately demonstrated last Friday when 40-plus tornadoes ripped through six states causing mass destruction and numerous deaths. The best advice is to be prepared no matter the season . . . Originally published in the Dec. 21 edition of the Miami News-Record / Page 3

Grinch fan wins Miss Merry Christmas 2021

The Miami Hi-Noon Business Women’s Club held their annual Miss Merry Christmas on Thursday, Dec. 3 and they crowned the cutest Grinch in the land. Pat Hecksher emceed the event with six participants ranging in age between 3 and 8. Elaina Joyce Parker was the winner of the 2021 Miss Merry Christmas pageant. Three-year-old Elaina is the daughter of Korie Payton and Detrick Parker and the granddaughter of James and Sari Payton. Elaina loves Mr. Grinch as demonstrated by her chosen outfit for the pageant, which sported the Grinch’s signature green fur. She also loves riding bikes, reading books and everything rainbow. Elaina was presented with a sash, tiara, 1st place trophy and piggy bank containing $100 . . . Originally published in the Dec. 7, 2021 edition of the Miami News-Record / Page 3

Parade phenomal success in town that doesn't exist

From infants to older folks, hundreds of people lined the street to watch the 7th annual Picher Christmas parade on Dec. 4. Kids eagerly awaited the first toss of candy from parade participants while two older gentlemen talked about the glory days on the Picher football field. It was a traditional scene filled with small-town charm and community spirit. There was just one big difference between this parade and the many others that took place on Saturday. The Town of Picher technically no longer exists . . . Originally appeared in the Dec. 7, 2021 edition of the Miami News-Record / Page 1

How To Check & Protect Navel Health Of A Chick

Even though a chick hatches from an egg instead of being born from its mother’s womb, it still has a “belly button.” However, the navel on a chick is more difficult to find, especially on a healthy newborn. A poorly closed navel is a clear sign there’s something wrong with the chick. And it may indicate a problem in your incubator or incubation techniques. A chick’s navel is one of the most vulnerable places for bacterial and fungal infections. So it’s important to understand what a chick’s belly button tells you. Originally appeared in the November/December 2021 issue of Chickens

Double Cast Brings The Nutcracker to Life

Christi Leonard has been teaching children to dance for the past 42 years. She faces one of the biggest challenges of her career this year with a double cast for her Nutcracker ballet. “I only do Nutcracker every other year,” explained Leonard. “Last year should have been the year, but we couldn’t get into the NEO theatre because of COVID. The kids were just devastated. The Nutcracker is the story of Clara, a young girl who receives a magical Nutcracker as a gift from her uncle at her family’s annual Christmas party. Later that night, her Nutcracker grows to life-size and defeats the villainous Rat King. The Nutcracker turns into a Prince who takes Clara on a grand adventure in the Kingdom of Snow and the Land of Sweets. Originally published in the Dec. 3, 2021 edition of the Miami-News Record / Page 1

Home fire risks increase during the holidays

The holidays are in full swing and many people have already trimmed their trees and hung Christmas decorations. It’s important when decorating to make sure you’re not accidentally creating a fire hazard. Poor decorating habits and additional fire dangers brought on by wintertime heating can increase your home’s fire risk. As you enjoy the season, don’t forget basic fire safety tips to ensure your family stays safe during Christmas and throughout the New Year. Originally appeared in the Nov. 30 edition of the Miami News-Record

Park of Lights opens Thanksgiving night

The 18th annual Park of Lights kicks off Thanksgiving night at the Twin Bridges Area of Grand Lake State Park at 6 p.m. About 50,000 to 70,000 visitors drive through the Park of Lights each year, said Twin Bridges Park Partners President Melissa Davis. Davis has been involved with the Park of Lights and Twin Bridges Park Partners Board for the past eight years. Previously, she served as the group’s treasurer but she’s served as the president for the past two years. Originally appeared in Nov. 23 edition of the Miami News-Record

Route 66 centennial countdown back on track for 2022

America’s Mother Road celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2026 and Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell wants to throw one of the biggest birthday bashes ever for Route 66. People still want to get their kicks on Route 66 and with the big celebration coming up, a major spotlight will be put on Oklahoma as the state with the most drivable miles of the iconic highway. Originally published in the Nov 16, 2021 edition of the Miami News-Record

What are Nurse Licensure Compact States?

The Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact began on January 19, 2018, but most nurses simply refer to it as the NLC, or “the compact.” The NLC allows registered nurses and licensed practical nurses/licensed vocational nurses to apply for one multistate license in their home state and practice in person or via telehealth in any state that’s part of the Compact. As of November 2021, a total of 38 states or U.S. territories have implemented legislation to join the eNLC and more than 2 million nurses live in Compact states.

Pinnell talks tourism at summit in Miami

Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell spoke to an eager audience about how tourism in Oklahoma could be better during the Travel & Tourism Summit held at the Coleman Theatre on Tuesday, Nov. 2. He emphasized that the tourism industry brings valuable tax dollars to communities, but it can also lure new residents to the state. The event, hosted by the City of Miami, Visit Miami OK (CVB) and the Coleman Theatre Beautiful, was held in partnership with the Oklahoma Travel Industry Association. It featured education sessions on the best practices to grow tourism and hospitality in cities and counties across the region. Guest speaker Bill Geist, the Chief Instigator at DMOproz, presented these sessions. Lt. Governor Pinnell, who also serves as Secretary of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage on Governor Kevin Stitt’s cabinet, oversaw the town hall meeting and shared information on how tourism in the state has improved and how it can continue to improve through community involvement. Originally appeared in the Nov. 5, 2021 edition of the Miami News-Record on Page 1 and continued on Page 4

Inspired by FFA

AFTON, OKLA. – Quetta Woodall doesn’t come from an agricultural background, but agriculture has become an important part of her life because of the FFA. // Quetta is the 2021-2022 Oklahoma FFA Northeast Area Vice President and a recent graduate of Afton High School. She’s an agricultural education major at Oklahoma State. Her goal is to become an agricultural educator to high school students in hopes of giving them opportunities in the agricultural industry along with FFA. Although Quetta grew up in a rural community, she didn’t have an agricultural background. However, she had many friends who raised livestock and lived on farms, so she was constantly around agriculture. Her school required agricultural education for eighth graders, but she said she’s been passionate about livestock and agriculture since elementary school and got involved in FFA because her older siblings were involved. Originally appeared in the Ozarks Farm & Neighbor Newspaper

Chips Ahoy! Everything you need to know about microchipping your horse

Having your horse stolen right out of its paddock, lost during a natural disaster or wander out through a broken fence are some of a horse owner’s worst nightmares. Making a bad situation even worse is locating your missing horse and not being able to prove it’s yours. Like the VIN on your car, microchipping provides permanent identification for your horse that’s much less painful than branding or tattooing and helps link you as its owner if properly registered. Although microchipping got off to a slow start in the equine world, primarily due to miscommunication and technology issues, it offers a wide array of benefits and increases the chance of lost or stolen horses being returned to their rightful owners. Originally appeared in the print edition of the November/December 2021 issue of Horse Illustrated

Halloween safety tips to avoid hospital trips

Halloween is Sunday and all of Miami’s little ghouls, ghosts and goblins are ready to collect a mound of coveted candy. Although some cities in Oklahoma opted to have trick or treating on Saturday, Miami isn’t among these cities. Trick or treating will take place on Oct. 31 . . . Scientists have determined that there’s minimal risk of getting COVID-19 from candy wrappers, so no candy chutes or candy catapults required this year (Oh, darn!). Since candy wrappers aren’t contagious, there’s no need to quarantine your treats before you eat them (Yay!). However, parents should still double-check all treats to ensure they’re properly sealed and appear safe to eat before letting kids attack that great big sack of candy. Originally appeared in the Oct. 29, 2021 edition of the Miami News-Record on Page 2

Spooky fun is on tap all weekend across Miami

With Halloween on a Sunday this year, kids can take advantage of various Halloween events all weekend long. Several organizations have activities planned for the spookiest holiday of the year with some events on Halloween and others taking place on the Friday or Saturday before. It’s a weekend full of fun for the whole family and lots of candy, too! Originally appeared in the Oct. 29, 2021 edition of the Miami News-Record on Page 1 and continued on Page 4

Nursing Shortages: A State-by-State Breakdown

Nursing shortages have been the norm for decades with shortages occurring when demand outweighs supply. However, severe shortages in nursing staff are reportedly going to worsen much sooner than expected in some states. The blame for more intense shortages may be at least partially due to the strain of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and to a much lesser degree, resignations and terminations brought about by vaccination mandates. COVID-19 put further strain on frontline workers, especially nurses, pushing some to the breaking point. According to an in-depth report on healthcare labor markets, severe nursing staff shortages are projected in some states as soon as 2026. Surprisingly, some states won’t feel the bite and it can benefit your career to know which is which.

Tips for Fire Prevention Month

Getting out of your home safely during a fire depends on advance warnings from smoke alarms and advance planning. Smoke detectors work around the clock to provide that early alert you need to safely escape. Every second counts, because a home can quickly become engulfed in flames. When you hear your smoke alarm go off, be sure you and your family are prepared by practicing EDITH drills. EDITH stands for Exit Drills In The Home. Everyone in your family must know at least two escape routes from every room in the home, but especially their bedrooms since many fires start at night while everyone is asleep. Practice these escape routes until they become automatic. It’s easy to panic during a fire, but if escape routes have been drilled in everyone’s head, instinct should kick in. Originally published in the Oct. 22, 2021 edition of the Miami News-Record on Page 11

What You Should Know About Vaccine Mandates

Healthcare facilities around the nation have mandated COVID-19 vaccinations for their staff while others just strongly recommend it. However, many states have jumped into the fray and taken the decision out of the hands of the facilities by announcing statewide mandates. While some state mandates impact all healthcare workers, others only affect those in state-operated facilities. Mandates that create a “vaccinate or terminate” situation could further exacerbate the nursing and healthcare staff shortages many facilities continually battle with. Hospitals in states where the deadlines for getting vaccinated have come and gone have already lost some staff members either due to resignation or termination. While rules, regulations, laws and governor orders can change, as of mid-October 2021, 21 states and the District of Columbia had issued some type of COVID-19 vaccine mandate that impacted some or all healthcare workers.

Wildlife Moving Into Miami

Miami residents are used to squirrels frolicking in their trees and rabbits scampering across the yard, but certain wildlife isn’t always the norm. For some residents though, other critters are making their homes in their backyards. Foxes have become frequent visitors in many neighborhoods and at least one resident has a groundhog living beneath a shed it burrowed under. “One of the neat things about living in Oklahoma for a lot of us is that we don’t live that far away from wildlife,” said Micah Holmes, Assistant Chief of the Communication and Education Division at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. Originally published in the 10/15/2021 edition of the Miami News-Record - Page 1 and continues on Page 8
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