THUMBS UP to everyone planning to vote in upcoming area elections.
Early in-person voting started Thursday and ends Friday for special elections in McAlester, Hartshorne and the Quinton school district.
Hartshorne voters will chose Barney Rosso or Cody Wilson for the Ward 2, Seat 2 post on the city council.
Quinton Public Schools is putting a bond issue to a vote of the district on a $6.3 million bond issue for a new cafeteria, with the dining room serving as a safe room, and a library resource center at the elementary school will serve as a safe room.
Voters in McAlester's Fourth Ward will pick between Randy Roden and Lance Yeley for an unexpired term on the city council. The seat became vacant following the death of then-McAlester Vice Mayor/Ward 4 City Councilor James Brown, who died in February 2021 following complications from COVID-19.
Pittsburg County Election Board officials said masks or other facial coverings related to COVID-19 protection will not be required — although the board is taking precautions of its own.
"We will have clear, plastic shields in front of our election board staff," Pittsburg County Election Board Secretary Tonya Barnes told us. "We will also have hand sanitizer out."
We urge everyone planning to vote to take precautions of their own to help us all fight COVID-19.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 449 active COVID-19 cases in Pittsburg County and three new deaths on Sept. 8 in its weekly update. Data shows 5,995 total cases, 5,461 assumed recoveries, and 85 deaths in Pittsburg County.
Data shows masks and vaccines work to slow the spread of COVID-19.
McAlester Regional Health Center reported an outage of rapid test kits on Friday as COVID-19 continues its resurgence in our area. The hospital struggles staffing ventilators amid the spike and at least four more people died from COVID-19 over the past week.
This is not say we should be afraid. We've said from the beginning that everyone should stay informed and make smart choices in helping to prevent community spread.
But we must do better to protect our friends, family and neighbors.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states mRNA vaccines help cells make a protein that triggers an immune response to protect against infectious diseases. The vaccines do not give someone COVID-19, nor do the vaccines interact with DNA.
So we urge everyone to get vaccinated and wear a mask when you go to the polls on Sept. 14.
THUMBS UP to Tyler Moore for self-publishing "The Ink of a Poet" after being inspired by his mother shortly before she died of cancer in 2013.
The McAlester author told us his mother said in one of their last conversations to focus on writing — "so I wanted to focus on writing more," he said.
Moore wrote more than 60 poems over the next year and got some publish in literary novels. Then he published a collection of those poems in a book that was released this summer and can be purchased on Barnes & Noble and Amazon.
We applaud Tyler for honoring his mother through his passion for creative writing.
All local authors add character to our community and we hope to highlight as many as we can.
• McAlester News-Capital Editorial Board