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Local senior citizens struggling to keep up economically

Lawton_Senior citizens are feeling the financial crunch in our economic crisis.  How are they coping?  With the economic storm that has blown in, seniors are finding places to take shelter, and many are looking for financial help.  Sylvia Walker says the damage has been done.  She says that she and her husband ranched for 40 years, and when they retired, they invested almost everything they had in the stock market.  "I know this economy stuff is very scary, especially for elderly people like we are," she said.

Ann Day says her biggest cutback is traveling around town.  She says she watches where she goes more.  "Make your trips like they tell us," she said.  "All in one errand - and everything in one trip."  She says she's changing her eating habits as well.  "I allow myself one steak a month, and that's sirloin."  Sylvia took advantage of stimulus checks being offered by the government.  "It's always nice to have a little check coming in," she said. 

Frank Curry is a local volunteer with the AARP, and he coordinates offices from Lawton to Duncan.  He says last year about 1,800 people were helped with financial services and tax forms.  "I would say a simplified tax form takes 15 to 30 minutes [to complete]."  He can help you if you need filing assistance to see if you qualify for the federal incentive check.  Sylvia says she hopes that future generations have learned a lesson.  "I want them to save. I want them to prepare in case they have trouble down the line," she said.   To determine if you are entitled to a stimulus check, you must file your taxes for 2007, the deadline is October 15 to complete the paperwork. 

In Stephens County, the United Way is partnering with AARP and the IRS on free tax preparation for seniors, and low to middle-income families on October 11, from 9 a.m.-noon, 16 S. 8th Street in Duncan.  Call 580-255-3648 for more information.

In Lawton, stop by the Great Plains Improvement Foundation, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., or call them at 580-353-2364.

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