Hello Shawnee! The staff members of the Shawnee Department of Recreation and the Shawnee Senior Center send greetings to you, and we want you to know we've missed seeing our friends since we've been closed!

Hello Shawnee! The staff members of the Shawnee Department of Recreation and the Shawnee Senior Center send greetings to you, and we want you to know we’ve missed seeing our friends since we’ve been closed!

Our staff has been busy working from home, and we look forward to connecting in person again soon. While we wish we could re-open the Senior Center and the Community Center right away, we need to wait until it is safe to do so. Since the Governor has extended the “Safer at Home” order into May, the earliest we will re-open is now May 11. That date might change again, based on the situation, but this is our plan is for now.

We will continue to provide updates here in the Shawnee News-Star, as well as putting information on local Oklahoma news stations and on the local KGFF radio station at 1450 AM or 100.9 FM.

In the meantime, while most of us are spending more time at home, have you completed your census questionnaire? The deadline has been extended, due to COVID-19, so you still have time. We want to encourage you to respond, as the information gathered in the census is important to our community.

Until I looked it up on the census webpage at 2020Census.gov, I didn’t know specifically how the information is used. Here is a brief summary of how the census results can benefit Shawnee and our local area.

The census data provides a snapshot of our population which helps determine how federal dollars are allocated. Those funds support schools, highways, housing, construction, insurance providers, and public transportation, as well as specific programs like Medicaid, Head Start, Pell Grants, SNAP, and area school lunches.

The demographic data also helps determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives. In addition, state and congressional levitative district maps are set according to census results. Lastly, they point to any need for communities to develop new school, clinics, highways, and programs which support local citizens.

So, please take the time to fill out the census questionnaire. You should have already received your form in the mail. It is available to complete online, by phone, or by mail, and you must use your unique census ID number which appears on your form. For questions about the census or how to submit it, you can call toll free 1-844-330-2020.

And as you are spending more time at home during this time, please remember you are not alone. If you need someone to talk to or would like to ask for prayer, you can call one of the many friendly churches in the area and ask to speak to a minister. There is also a toll free 24/7 Prayer Line set up by Samaritan’s Purse at 1-888-388-2683.

If you have questions or concerns regarding COVID-19, there is a toll free 24/7 informational call center at 1-877-215-8336 which is offered by The Oklahoma State Department of Health. This dedicated phone line offers information, resources, a symptom checker, and local references. It is operated by public health nurses, and you can speak with a live professional after calling in and making a few selections.

Thanks for reading, please stay safe and healthy, and we will be back with update on future Shawnee Senior Happenings!