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  • Court Newkirk

The Worst of Times, the Best of Times?

As I sit at my keyboard, the latest news is that the Covid-19 pandemic is now on the verge of growing exponentially. Just six short months ago, Oklahoma’s daily average of new infections was less than 200 per day. We are now exceeding 3,000 per day. Last night on the local (Tulsa) TV news, they reported that a couple of Oklahoma hospitals have reached maximum capacity.


We live and we learn. So what have we learned so far about Okmulgee?


  1. Children are a major concern.

  2. We have a school system that is very agile. Quickly adjusting to ever changing circumstances. The Okmulgee Public Schools have kept their delivery of meals going basically unstopped since last spring when the pandemic first wave hit. Congratulations to Mr. Price and his staff.

  3. In-school, to virtual classrooms, back and forth, a moving target and hundreds of students and parents to keep in the loop of information.

  4. Getting the computers and tablets into the hands of the students, then figuring out internet access.

  5. Exposed teachers to replace with substitutes.

  6. In short, a hundred different issues every day. Congratulations to Ms. Dove and her dedicated staff.

  • Congratulations to our local manufacturing plants. They are all up and running and doing their best to protect their employees from Covid-19 and from layoffs.

  • Congratulations to City Hall, very few sick employees, and no layoffs.

  • All Okmulgee First Responders, still on the job 24/7/365.

  • The grocery stores, drug stores, restaurants, mostly open and ready to serve you.

  • The Okmulgee Daily Times, has never missed a publishing date.

  • Convenience stores, open and have plenty of gas.

  • OSUIT has completed another successful semester and not only did they not lose any students, enrollment for the fall semester was actually up in student count.

  • The local churches and other social help groups are feeding families and collecting much needed materials and foods so hopefully every family in the area can have a wonderful Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas.


Families around town know that almost everyone is having a tough time because of the pandemic, so to lighten everyone’s spirits, holiday decorations are going up all over town. Yes it’s maybe a little early in the season for some people’s taste, but if it brings a little joy to someone that’s not doing well, then it’s worth the time and effort.


Okmulgee is strong, we will do what it takes to help get each other through this virus. So please, speak civilly to those you disagree with, protect them as well as yourself. Pick up a card off the Angel Tree, drop off a toy at Harlan Ford, donate spare food, do what you can.


I noticed on a recent map of Oklahoma infection rates, Okmulgee County was one of very few counties that was not dark red. We’re doing something right, keep it up, and even try to do better. Our goal: To be the first County in Oklahoma to be Covid-19 free.


Okmulgee can turn the worst of times into the best of times.


About the Author



Court Newkirk is the Executive Director of Okmulgee Area Development Corp (OADC). A native of Oklahoma, he has decades of community and economic development experience, some of which was in Okmulgee in the 90s. Court is a big believer that Okmulgee can be anything it wants to be, if we all work together. Contact Court at Court@ChooseOkmulgee.com.

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