Look back on a sampling of efforts around Oklahoma that made the news this past month to learn about policies, practices, and programs that are making Oklahoma communities healthier. Whether you find out about new initiatives in your area or enjoy a boost by celebrating “wins” in wellness, there’s value in seeing what’s new!
- General Lee’s Bar snuffs out indoor smoking – It’s not easy for a bar to ban smoking, but providing a gazebo might help. Joe Lee, the owner of the General Lee’s bar in Chickasha said it was actually a vape user that helped solidify his decision. A patron came in with an e-vape and blew a huge cloud. Lee said he found it so obnoxious that he was sure he wanted to move all nicotine-infused-smog outside. Of course, there were other reasons. The bar almost burned down after a smoker used a knothole in the bathroom to (almost) extinguish a cigarette. Lee announced the upcoming smoking ban last June and put the policy into place after Labor Day the same year.
- City of Holdenville honored for efforts to improve health – The City of Holdenville was honored recently for efforts to improve health and quality of life for residents through the TSET Healthy Incentive Program for Communities. Holdenville received a $50,000 grant and has chosen to use the funds to purchase new playground equipment as well as a new pavilion and grill at the Holdenville Park. Holdenville implemented strategies such as adopting policies or ordinances for all city-owned and operated property to be tobacco and vapor-free, implementing street and zoning policies that improve walkability and promoting community gardens and farmer markets. These programs are important for encouraging residents to be active, live healthy, and be smoke-free.
- Weatherford Public Schools honored for efforts to improve health – Weatherford Public Schools was honored recently for efforts to improve health through the TSET Healthy Incentive Program for Schools. The district received $30,000 and plans to use the incentive grant for physical education (PE) and physical activity equipment for elementary school sites, secondary PE and health education curriculum, equipment and supplies to support hands-on learning experiences in Health, Wellness and Nutrition Education classes for students, cafeteria equipment for elementary kitchens, and water bottle filling stations at multiple school sites to encourage increased water consumption for students and staff throughout the day.
The City of Enid is improving walkability through a Safer Streets Simulation Project – The City of Enid has been named as a finalist for the Oklahoma State Main Street Project of the Year award. The TSET Healthy Living Program serving Garfield and Grant counties and various partners throughout the community contributed to the success of their Safer Streets Simulation Project. The goal of this simulation was to design the ideal main street that not only was fun but also safer and healthier. Enid wanted to improve the walkability of their main street as well as slow down traffic to ensure safety. Enid included interactive signs, crosswalk and sidewalk art, and no-smoking zones in front of public entrances. Increasing walkability, as Enid did with this simulation project, can encourage citizens to be more physically active, and at TSET we know that leading an active lifestyle has both immediate and long-term health benefits.
- City councilors vote to fully fund downtown Streetscape – McAlester merchant Kristen Lloyd has been involved with the proposed Streetscape project since its inception in 2014. She expressed her thoughts in one word — “relieved” — on Thursday night just minutes after McAlester city councilors voted during a special meeting to fund the Downtown Streetscape project in its entirety. The Streetscape project includes the extension of city sidewalks along Choctaw Avenue farther into the street, between South Main Street and Second Street. It also includes the creation of bicycle lanes and the planting of trees, flowers and other greenery.
- Ardmore area proactive amid statewide increase in tobacco sales to minors — Some Oklahoma tobacco retailers are increasingly failing to meet legal requirements regarding underage tobacco sales; however, Ardmore officials have been ensuring products stay out of the hands of youth. … Although strides were previously made to keep cigarettes off of school properties, vaping products weren’t regulated until Gov. Kevin Stitt signed Senate Bill 33 into law on April 15, 2019. The bill expanded the Tobacco-Free Schools Act to include any vaping product whether or not the device contains nicotine. This fairly new legislation is what Ardmore City Public Schools Superintendent Kim Holland said has helped regulate tobacco product usage among Ardmore’s high school and middle school students.