THUMPS UP to workers preparing for the 2020 Census — and to those ready to be counted.

The U.S. Census Bureau is set to get the 2020 Census rolling on April 1 — but Census Bureau Partnership Specialist Mary Jenkins said people can expect to start hearing from the agency in March.

A local group called the Complete County Committee recently met with Jenkins on the McAlester Campus of Eastern Oklahoma State College as several Census workers start preparing for the Constitution-mandated population count.

The 2020 Census counts the population in the U.S. with each home to receive an invitation to respond to a short questionnaire — online, by phone, or by mail.

Contact from the U.S. Census Bureau is expected to be mailed through the U.S. Postal Service with a card containing a 1-800 number to call in.

The population of a given area impacts allocations of federal funds, redrawing boundaries of legislative and Congressional districts, and more.

Jenkins provided information that showed up to $635 billion a year can be lost because all of an area’s population is not counted in a census.

We thank those assisting in this massive project and encourage everyone to make sure you’re counted. Our livelihood might depend on it.

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THUMBS UP to city and county workers who helped prepare for the winter weather this week.

Although the storm was not as icy as the forecast, we appreciate everyone who helped prepare for the worst to ensure the safest road conditions possible in case we had to travel.

Around 400 tons of rock salt is stored at the city of McAlester’s west-side barn and crews were prepared to use a snowplow designed to attach to the front of a dump truck in the event that the midweek winter weather brought enough snow and ice.

We appreciate everyone planning and preparing in the event of a big snow storm so we can all be safer on the roads if needed.

Of course, we also suggest staying home if the roads get too icy.

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THUMPS UP to all area athletes who recently committed to continue their educations at the college level and have it paid for through athletic scholarship.

Signing day is a special moment that athletes remember for the rest of their lives as they prepare to embark on the next level of their careers — both as an athlete and as a student.

Education is vital to individual growth and we applaud everyone who pursues higher goals of earning a college degree. However, that pursuit comes at a high cost financially and in the amount of time put into gain knowledge in preparation for joining the workforce.

We encourage students to utilize athletic scholarships in pursuit of higher education as it helps reduce the financial strain of earning a degree. We also applaud those who learn on the job and work hard in pursuing their careers in every field.

McAlester News-Capital Editorial Board

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