When you are in this business you will, on occasion, have some downtime between live broadcasts. It's during this time I find myself having random thoughts. Driving around you take notice of the changes that are happening.

Lawton has been on the positive side of change for a while and that's great! Not only for the city but also for the people who work here. Town West Shopping Center opened just in time for lots of Christmas shopping. Academy and Target rolled into town along with Famous Footwear, Panda Express, Petsmart, TJ Maxx, Chuck E Cheese and Qdoba.

The West side has had their moment in the limelight. The second street project is primed and ready to come to life. A great example of what is reviving downtown. We have all watched with much anticipation as the Hilton Garden Inn, along with Kohls, Dicks Sporting Goods, PETCO, Bed Bath and Beyond, Shoe Carnival, Ulta, and JoAnn Fabrics have come to life, giving us all additional opportunities to keep our money local. And now, with shopping on both sides of Lawton, we will be able to spend a good deal of time here. A March opening is still anticipated.

Yes there will always be times when you may not be able to find exactly what you want and a road trip might be in order. We have all gone for a very long time waiting for the big city conveniences to come to us. Now it is our time to reap the benefits. The changes have arrived...and I'm assuming there will be more over the next few years.

Will all of the new merchants that have come, or that will be arriving in Lawton, change your mind about shopping locally?