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For most of its existence, Oklahoma City has been an oil-fueled place, ringed and riveted by superhighways and boulevards unsullied by shoulder or sidewalk. It was a city built to make cars happy. Parking was effortless, walking unnecessary and suburbs sprang like fungi across the unfruited plain.

Donrae Moore (left) placed her son Skyler (to her left) on the waiting list for state-funded services for the developmentally disabled. The family is still waiting for those services.
Clifton Adcock / Oklahoma Watch

Ten years is a long time to wait for state help to improve the care of a developmentally disabled child or other relative.

But that is the current wait time for assistance for Oklahoma families seeking state-paid special-needs services. The Oklahoma Department of Human Services reports more than 7,200 households are on the list; the estimated waiting time for more than half is six years.

Brad Collins, of nonprofit addiction recovery center 12&12, said an alternative to jail provided by 12&12 would help both those with alcoholism and those who need to sleep off a one-night party.
Clifton Adcock / Oklahoma Watch

Each year, 3,000 to 4,000 people are booked into Tulsa’s David L. Moss Correctional Center, the county jail, on complaints of public intoxication.

Some are chronic alcoholics. Others went out for a good time and had too much to drink, said Tulsa Police Department Maj. Travis Yates.

The Science Of Mindfulness And Meditation

Oct 22, 2015

Here & Now spoke yesterday with Andy Puddicombe, the one-time Buddhist monk turned entrepreneur whose Headspace meditation app has been downloaded millions of times around the world. Yes, there is an app for that, and it’s good for people with any level of meditating experience. The app includes meditations for when you’re cooking, running, or even having a melt-down. It’s huge in Silicon Valley.

British-born Andy Puddicombe spent 10 years studying in Buddhist monasteries in India, Nepal and Burma, and then another three in a Tibetan monastery in England. So why is his name now synonymous with Silicon Valley? Puddicombe found a way to combine his passion for mindfulness and meditation with a technology that can bring it would-be-meditators around the world.

Buffy Heater, chief strategy officer of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, is evaluating options for shifting part of Oklahoma’s Medicaid population into a “coordinated care” program using private-sector contractors.
Warren Vieth / Oklahoma Watch

At the insistence of state lawmakers, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority is exploring cost-saving options that could lead to partial privatization of the state’s $2.4 billion Medicaid program for aged, blind and disabled people.

The state tried that once before, and it didn’t work out. Costs escalated, companies dropped out, and the state pulled the plug. Supporters of the new effort predicted it might turn out better because of improvements in managed-care practices.

For nearly a decade, Dan Buettner has been researching so-called Blue Zones – those areas of the world where people live longer, healthier and happier than anywhere else on the planet.

health insurance cards and dollar bills
Lindsey Whelchel / Oklahoma Watch

Affordable Care Act health insurance rates are expected to rise in Oklahoma in 2016, and the state Insurance Department insists it cannot do anything about rates except review and approve the paperwork.

In the past, however, the department held a somewhat different view, according to a former high-ranking state insurance official.

Coca-Cola Health Campaign Under Scrutiny

Aug 10, 2015

Coca-Cola is behind an effort to promote physical activity over calorie counting, according to a report out today by the New York Times.

The story starts in the bullpen of the independent baseball team the Portland Mavericks. The team was owned by actor Bing Russell – Kurt Russell’s father, who was famous for his role in the TV series Bonanza.

Two pitchers, Rob Nelson and Jim Bouton, didn’t like players’ habit of chewing tobacco – they found it disgusting. Nelson had an idea: small bits of bright pink chewing gum in a pouch – you could take as little or as much as you wanted.

The sudden death of Dave Goldberg, the husband of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, is still being investigated. Goldberg, who was 47, died after falling off a treadmill he was using while on vacation at a resort in Mexico. He is said to have died from head injuries, but there are reports he may have had a heart attack while using the exercise machine.

Panera Bread announced this week that it will stop using a number of artificial ingredients in its foods. John Coupland, a professor of food science at Penn State University, talks with Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti about what these additives are, and why more and more companies have been making moves to eliminate them in foods.

Interview Highlights: John Coupland

On whether these changes will make Panera’s food healthier

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has completed its first national study on Hispanics’ health risks, disease, causes of death and access to health services. The report shows there are differences in disease and health behaviors such as smoking and drinking among U.S. Hispanics from different countries.

The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, home to the Oglala Sioux tribe, is wrestling with a sudden surge of teen suicides.

Seven young people have taken their lives since early December, and some fear others are being encouraged do so on Facebook – and with nooses that have been hung near kids’ homes.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

A new study of county health rankings lists Kingfisher County as the healthiest in Oklahoma.

Kingfisher County snagged the top ranking thanks, in part, to its low rates of smoking, child poverty and single-parent families.

It’s also seen its unemployment rate decline to 3.3 percent since 2010.

A 'Night Camp' For People With Dementia

Mar 2, 2015

For many Alzheimer’s patients, the daytime is when they get their sleep and the night hours are when they are most alert. This causes major problems for family members who need their sleep at night.

The night program at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale in the Bronx, New York, offers a place for people with dementia, to spend the evening dancing, doing yoga, arts and crafts and getting physical and occupational therapy overnight.

Ladybug bake sale cupcakes.
Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma education officials say students can continue to sell snack foods in schools despite concerns that the fundraisers contribute to health problems.

State Board of Education members Thursday granted schools the ability to set local exemptions to a 2010 federal law that limits the sale of foods high in sugar or salt at schools.

The board previously allowed a limited number of fundraiser exemptions per school.

Proponents say the fundraising helps communities and that health decisions should be made locally.

If you’re one of the many millions of Americans who put some version of “eat better” on your New Years resolutions list, food advertising, as well as the way your home and workplace are designed, may be working against you.

When Alysia Abbott was 22, her dad died of AIDS. It was San Francisco, 1992. Even though her dad was out as a gay man at the time, she wasn’t out about his illness.

There was so much shame and stigma, and she didn’t know anyone else who shared her experience. Not until many years later, when she met Whitney Joiner, who had also lost her father to AIDS the very same year, in rural Kentucky.

Is Sugar More Addictive Than Cocaine?

Jan 7, 2015

The 2015 Dietary Guideline Advisory Committee just released new recommendations to limit added sugars to 10 percent of daily calories. Right now, Americans are eating more sugar than ever before — on average, about 160 pounds a year.

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