If you're reading the e-edition, it's Friday, May 22 - and that means it's the last day to turn in a nomination form for the Tahlequah Daily Press' annual "Best of Cherokee County" contest.

This year, this method of recognizing our local businesses, organizations and individuals could be more important than ever, as they struggle to get back to normal after suffering through the COVID-19 pandemic. It can be a real morale boost to know that your customers, members and fans are thinking of you, and have taken the time to give you a tip of their hats.

The nomination ballots, which must be filled out by hand, were published in the weekend edition of May 16-17, and the Tuesday, May 19, edition. Both of these were print editions. While the final voting for the winners can be done digitally on our website, there is no way for our online system to recognize hand-written nominations on newspaper-sized ballots. As of this writing on Thursday afternoon, May 21, we still have a few ballots available in our office.

Late next week, staff will begin calling nominees and letting them know they're among the top picks. The nomination tab - with all the names of the finalists - will be published in the weekend edition of June 27-28. Also in that edition will be a "paper" ballot that can be used by voters who don't have access to digital ballots. Otherwise, the digital ballot will be on our website until July 3 at 5 p.m., and anyone wishing to participate must vote before the cutoff date. After that, TDP staff will notify the winner, and the "winners tab" will be published Thursday, July 30, in the print edition.

This is an exciting product every year since TDP launched it - and in fact, we were only the second newspaper in the state to do so. Since then, almost every newspaper has added a "best of the best" product to honor the businesses, organizations and individuals who deserve it the most. Don't forget to do your part!

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