• Tale of easy credit and debt resolution shows why not to change interest rate

    Published: Sun, Jul 5, 2015

    Dear Mr. Berko: Do you have any idea when the Federal Reserve will begin raising interest rates? TW, Punta Gorda, Fla. Dear TW: I will get to your question, but first I want to address a request from a recent letter writer. He wrote: “Some five or six years ago, you wrote an article about how a town in Arkansas had solved its debt problem. It made such good sense, and I’d like to see it again.” It’s a hot, agonizing day in the imaginary small town of Loon Lake, Ark., probably 100 degrees in the shade under the old oak trees on Main Street. Loon Lake is on Old Route 62, some 23 miles west of Yellville. There are almost 1,000 residents, including a half-dozen old- timers who claim that their families lived

  • Can I check the status of pending retirement benefits applications?

    Published: Sun, Jul 5, 2015

    Q: How can I check the status of a pending application for retirement benefits? A: If you applied for retirement or disability benefits online, you can check the status of your application at www.socialsecurity.gov by selecting “Benefits” and “Check Application Status” under “Apply.” You will need to enter your Social Security number and the confirmation code you received when you filed online. Your application status will show: • The date we received your application. • Any requests for additional documents. • The address of the office processing your application. • If a decision has been made.

  • Oklahoma State Regent Turpen raises $500K in scholarships for students

    BY K.S. MCNUTT Staff Writer kmcnutt@oklahoman.com | Updated: 7 hr ago

    The need for more scholarships to defeat crippling student debt was Mike Turpen’s battle cry as chairman of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. Turpen issued that challenge in September when he chaired his first meeting, and he continued to talk about the need throughout the academic year both in public comments and private conversations. But Turpen did more than just talk about it. He raised more than $500,000 at “scholarship rallies” to benefit students. “My personal obsession was, how do you overcome student debt,” said the Oklahoma City lawyer who just completed his term as chairman. “I just think we have to work harder and harder to create more scholarships, and that’s what I’ve

  • Business People

    From Staff Reports | Published: Sun, Jul 5, 2015

    The Oklahoma City office of Grant Thornton LLP adds three people in its audit, technology solutions, and business advisory services practices. Sonny Blanchard joined as an audit associate. Blanchard graduated from Nicholls State University. Cyril Onoja joined as a senior associate in the technology solutions practice. Onoja has experience working on a variety of technology projects. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. Jennifer Finley joined as a manager in its business advisory services practice. She has experience in the oil and gas and transportation industries. Finley has an MBA from Oklahoma City University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Education from the University of Central Oklahoma.   Camilla

  • Business Almanac

    Published: Sun, Jul 5, 2015

    Wednesday Heartland Chapter of the American Business Women's Association presents Steve and Julie Peter on the topic of "Parade of Presidents," 11 a.m. Wednesday at Boulevard Cafeteria, 525 NW 11. Fee: Cost of meal. Contact: Wanda Foley, 751-4780.

  • Discussing sentimental or costly items early can make estate planning easier for families

    Lauren OttawayCrowe & Dunlevy For The Oklahoman  | Published: Sun, Jul 5, 2015

    Most people consider their estate plan complete when they have planned for the disposition of all of their financial assets and real property. However, we all have personal effects — for example, jewelry, furniture, and collectibles — that have either sentimental or monetary value and will be inherited by our family members.  After the death of a spouse, a typical estate plan leaves personal effects “equally to my children.” The personal representative or trustee must decide which child receives what personal effects. If there are items of significant monetary or sentimental value, the family may struggle to divide these assets. The following tips can help avoid a dispute: Conflicting promises: Do not

  • When it's 'all Greek to me' — what does Greece matter?

    By Ian Ogilvie For The Oklahoman | Published: Sun, Jul 5, 2015

    The Ancient Greek philosopher Plato could have been warning his modern descendants when he wrote: “Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.” You might think his words went unheeded. Successive late twentieth century Greek governments set up unrealistically generous pension and other benefit plans, and spent freely. Greece spent billions on a military arsenal that they didn’t need and would be unlikely ever to use. Greece was even Europe’s largest importer of conventional weapons when the 2008 recession happened, ranking fifth in the world behind China, India, the United Arab Emirates and South Korea.

  • OKC man's career is good to the last drop

    By Steve Lackmeyer Business Writer slackmeyer@oklahoman.com | Published: Sun, Jul 5, 2015

    Earl Neighbors got his start in the coffee business in 1948, and his employer Cain’s Coffee was the hometown favorite. Now, at 88, Neighbors is preparing to retire from the coffee business.

  • #MyOklahoma

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    We asked our community of readers to show us why they live in and love Oklahoma. We received more than 53,000 responses via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or NewsOK.com and plan to run an image every day. Some images may have been digitally altered by the photographer. Follow us on Instagram @News_OK to see more photos.

  • One open hour would help state teachers

    BY LAWRENCE A. BAINES | Updated: 8 hr ago

    The exodus of teachers from Oklahoma schools is alarming.  Many of our best teachers are fleeing to states where pay is much higher. A teacher with a master’s degree and no experience earns around $34,000 in Oklahoma City; the salary may be more than 50 percent higher in nearby states. In Plano, Texas, for example, a new teacher with a master’s degree earns $52,000. Of course, most teachers don’t enter the field of education to get rich. Instead, they become teachers because they love their subjects, enjoy working with children and want to make a positive impact in the world. Nevertheless, even for a born-and-bred, loyal Oklahoman, a 50 percent pay cut represents a harsh penalty for sticking around.

  • The stories of two unintentional heroes

    RUTH MARCUS The Washington Post Writers Group | Updated: 8 hr ago

    WASHINGTON — Heroism tends to be understood as a matter of public display — the bystander racing into a burning building, the soldier braving fire to rescue a comrade. But there is heroism, as well, of a quieter, more self- effacing variety, the unintentional hero, quiet but determined, who acts in the vacuum of others’ complacency. This is a column about two such individuals. The first, Nicholas Winton, died Wednesday at age 106. As a 29-year-old stockbroker in London, Winton was planning to go skiing in Switzerland in December 1938. Instead, he went to Prague to help refugees in the just- annexed Sudetenland. There, he confronted an obvious question that lacked an answer: “Who’s helping the

  • Your Views

    Published: Sun, Jul 5, 2015

    Read the Letters to the Editor published in the Sunday, July 5, 2015, edition of The Oklahoman

  • Entrepreneur dredges up a treasure trove of opportunity with junk removal service

    By Paula Burkes Business Writer pburkes@oklahoman.com | Published: Sun, Jul 5, 2015

    Hunter Magness likes to joke that he has OCD — obsessive compulsive disorder. He’ll do just about anything but sit around, he said. Magness means it. He runs Edmond-based Junk Boss junk removal service and, when his eight employees are swamped, he willingly jumps in one of the company’s four trucks to assist them, he said. “I wouldn’t ask my employees to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself,” Magness said. He’s pushed them aside, he said, to cut wooden moving pallets with a chainsaw or unload a hoarder’s refrigerator full of years’ worth of rotten food. Junk Boss loads consumers’ or companies’ unwanted junk, which is donated to a charity nearest the job site,

  • At a glance: Oklahoma City metro area cool zones

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library, 300 Park Ave., Oklahoma City Salvation Army Red Shield Kitchen, 300 SW 4, Oklahoma City Wright Library, 2101 Exchange Ave., Oklahoma City Belle Isle Library, 5501 N Villa Ave., Oklahoma City Jeltz Senior Center, 1225 N Kate Ave., Oklahoma City Salvation Army Warr Acres Senior Center, 4301 N Ann Arbor Ave., Warr Acres North Side Branch YMCA, 10000 N Pennsylvania Ave., Oklahoma City Ralph Ellison Library, 2000 NE 23, Oklahoma City Spencer Nutrition Center, 8306 NE 36, Oklahoma City McGuire Nutrition Center, 1316 NE 12, Oklahoma City LMT Nutrition Center, 2001 M.L. King Ave.,

  • Flags stir intense emotions, but meanings depend on beholders

    By SHARON COHEN and ADAM GELLER Associated Press | Published: Sun, Jul 5, 2015

    Raised by firefighters from the smoking wreckage of the World Trade Center, a flag telegraphed both anguish and resolve. Planted atop a mountain on Iwo Jima, another piece of national cloth came to symbolize collective perseverance and conquest. Around the globe, flags — some of nations, others of affiliation — have wrapped spectators at soccer matches and participants in protest marches, flown over revolutions and holy wars, adorned advertisements and marked lunar landings. But even to people gazing up at the same flag, it can mean very different things. And, experts say, there may be nowhere else in the world where flags stir more intense feelings than in the United States. That was proven again after a massacre at a

  • Gene Autry museum closes amid controversy over management

    BY JENNIFER PALMER Staff Writer jpalmer@oklahoman.com | Updated: 5 hr ago

    GENE AUTRY — In the heart of this tiny, southern Oklahoma town, a museum honoring the famous singing cowboy for whom it is named, closed without explanation in May. Now, folks in this Carter County town are raising questions about the management of the once-bustling attraction. When it closed, the museum’s liability insurance had lapsed, some memorabilia had been reported stolen and the longtime museum director, Elvin Sweeten, appeared to be preparing to clear out and sell what items were left, Mayor Kyle Lawson said.

  • Moving in deep waters of faith

    By Carla Hinton Religion Editor chinton@oklahoman.com | Updated: 5 hr ago

    NORMAN — As boats sped by and children floated around them, almost a dozen people waded into the waters of Lake Thunderbird on a recent sweltering Sunday evening. Cliff Woodring and his son, Kaden, 9, broke away from the crowd and walked slowly toward the Rev. Dave Evans. The father gently immersed the boy into the lake. Just like that, young Kaden moved into deep waters — the deep waters of faith. Dave Evans, senior pastor of Highland Baptist Church, led the Woodrings and the rest of his Moore congregation in an old-fashioned outdoor water baptism. Evans said his church has been doing outdoor baptisms at their annual picnic at the lake for the past several years as a public witness for Jesus Christ.

  • Embattled flag reassessed at historic Ga. park

    By JEFF MARTIN Associated Press | Published: Sun, Jul 5, 2015

    ATLANTA — At Georgia’s iconic Stone Mountain — where the Confederacy is enshrined in a giant bas-relief sculpture, the Ku Klux Klan once held notorious cross-burnings and large Confederate flags still wave prominently — officials are considering what to do about those flags. The park, which now offers family-friendly fireworks and laser light shows,  and multiple Confederate flag varieties are still displayed at the mountain’s base. The display includes the “battle flag” of the Confederacy, said Bill Stephens, chief executive officer of the Stone Mountain Memorial Association. That banner has come under renewed criticism nationwide after the June 17 church massacre in Charleston, South Carolina.

  • Scholars seek review of achievements of forgotten founding father John Jay

    By HILLEL ITALIE AP National Writer | Published: Sun, Jul 5, 2015

    KATONAH, N.Y. — The inner circle of founders has been set for as long as anyone can remember — Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Hamilton and Madison. Almost never mentioned is John Jay. “Most people know something about him. ... But very few know the full breadth of his accomplishments. Most are very surprised by what they learn,” explains Heather Iannucci, director of the John Jay Homestead in this Hudson River town, where the July Fourth celebration will include a reading of the Declaration of Independence, music and tours of the stately, shingled house where the country’s first chief justice lived his final years.

  • Staying healthy means keeping cool as summer heat settles in

    BY SILAS ALLEN Staff Writer sallen@oklahoman.com | Updated: 7 hr ago

    As summer sets in and high temperatures in the 90s return to the Oklahoma City area, it's important for residents to stay cool in the hottest part of the day, experts say. Certain people, including children, adults age 65 and older and those with chronic medical conditions are especially susceptible to extreme heat and should take extra precautions during hot weather, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. Across much of Oklahoma, including the Oklahoma City metro area, Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co., the American Red Cross and local agencies are partnering to offer public places where residents can go to cool off during hot weather.