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Oklahoma Business Briefs for Feb. 8.

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Briefs business Oklahoma Feb.

Teen volunteers earn honors

Brooke Bollinger, 17, of Blanchard, and Ellie Neidel, 14, of Oklahoma City, on Tuesday were named Oklahoma's top two youth volunteers of 2017 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for acts of volunteerism.

A senior at Bollinger Academy, Bollinger organized a sewing day that produced 112 dresses for young girls in Africa. Neidel is an eighth-grader at Highland East Junior High School. She volunteered last summer at the Infant Crisis Center in Oklahoma City, where she led a donation drive that received more than $1,000 in diapers, formula and other items.

Bollinger and Neidel each will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip in early May to Washington, D.C., where they will join the top two honorees from each of the other states for four days of national recognition events. During the trip, 10 students will be named America's top youth volunteers of 2017.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

U.S. Cellular invests $12.3M in state

U.S. Cellular invested $12.3 million in its Oklahoma network in 2016, the company said Tuesday. The company also invested almost $2.2 million to relocate or redesign its seven Oklahoma retail locations.

The communications company donated $1.3 million to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the National 4-H Council, including $65,000 to local clubs in Oklahoma. Employees in the state volunteered 4,392 hours with those organizations and other nonprofits throughout the year, the company said.

“We will continue to invest in every aspect of our customers' experience, including in the neighborhoods and communities that they, and we, call home," said Jeff Heeley, director of sales, corporate-owned channel for U.S. Cellular in Oklahoma.

OSU promotes Bake and Take Month

STILLWATER — Oklahoma State University's Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center is promoting and recognizing wheat production by celebrating Bake and Take Month in March.

The Bake and Take promotion encourages participants to bake a product made from wheat and take it to friends, relatives or neighbors. The center also is sponsoring a Bake and Take Contest for Oklahoma 4-H members.

To participate in the contest, 4-H members or clubs can a cake or cupcakes from scratch using at least two Made in Oklahoma ingredients. Full contest rules are available at fapc.biz/workshops/bakeandtake. Entries will be accepted until 5 p.m. on March 20 at andrea.graves@okstate.edu.

“We can get our youth involved in experiencing the joys of baking and understanding the importance of the cereal grain wheat grown in our state through this Bake and Take promotion,” said Renee Albers-Nelson, FAPC milling and baking specialist.

Survey shows more road trips for 2017

Ten percent more families are expected to take road trips this year compared to last year even though average gasoline prices are 50 to 65 cents higher than they were one year ago, according to a survey by AAA.

Seventy-nine percent of respondent families say they plan on taking to the highways this year. The AAA survey shows that more than one-third of Americans (35 percent) are planning to take a vacation of 50 miles or more away from home with family members this year.

While most families (70 percent) are planning to take one or two vacations, there is a significant increase this year in the number of Americans who say they are planning to take three or more vacations. The 28 percent of Americans who will take three or more family vacations this year is 13 percent higher than in 2016.

“Families continue to see the value of traveling as a way to bond and reconnect in today's busy world,” said Krista Mullenger, vice president of travel at AAA Oklahoma. “The best way to wrap up a family vacation is to start planning the next one, as more and more Americans are starting to do.”

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