Project intended to protect Illinois River
ROGERS, Ark. (AP) — A $30 million project intended to stop pollution and erosion in the Illinois River is under way in Arkansas.
More than 20 square miles of land along the river and its tributaries will be planted with trees, native grasses and other plants under the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program.
The program matches a similar one in Oklahoma and will cover the entire Illinois River watershed.
Land owners can apply to sign 15-year contracts for use of their land along the river and streams. They'll be paid an average of $85 an acre with a starting bonus up to $350 per acre.
Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson is suing Arkansas poultry companies over pollution in the river. He says he hopes the project will help stop pollution.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The new 114th Congress counts more minorities and women than ever, although lawmakers remain overwhelmingly white and male in the Republican-controlled House and Senate.
A record 104 women are in the new Congress, and for the first time, African-American members of both genders and representing both parties are among the ranks on Capitol Hill.
The number of female lawmakers is up slightly from 100 at the close of the last Congress, but represents about 20 percent of the total in Congress. It's far less than the nearly 51 percent of the U.S. population.
A total of 96 racial minorities will serve in Congress, about 18 percent.
There are 100 senators and 435 seats in the House.
The House will have 246 Republicans and 188 Democrats. One seat is vacant following the resignation on Monday of Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., who pleaded guilty to a felony tax evasion charge.
The Senate will have 54 Republicans and 44 Democrats, plus two independents - Maine's Angus King and Vermont's Bernie Sanders. Both caucus with Democrats.
A total of 84 women will serve in the House, compared with 80 in the last Congress. The new lawmakers include Elise Stefanik, a 30-year-old New York Republican who is the youngest woman ever elected to the House. Also making history is Mia Love, 38, whose election to a suburban Salt Lake City district made her the first black female Republican to win a seat in Congress.
Forty-four African-Americans are in the House, including Love and another black Republican freshman, Will Hurd of Texas. Hurd made news last month as he was named chairman of an Information Technology subcommittee on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, an unusual distinction for a freshman.
There are 34 Hispanic lawmakers, including 10 Republicans, as well as 10 Asian-Americans and two Native Americans, both Oklahoma Republicans.
The number of women in the Senate remains at 20, following the election of Republicans Joni Ernst of Iowa and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, and the defeat of Democrats Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. (Re-elected were Republican Susan Collins of Maine and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.)
Two African-Americans serve as senators - Republican Tim Scott of South Carolina and Democrat Cory Booker of New Jersey. There are three Hispanic senators: Republicans Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas and Democrat Robert Menendez of New Jersey.
Democrat Mazie Hirono of Hawaii is the only Asian-American in the Senate.
Fifty-eight House freshmen join the ranks - 43 Republicans and 15 Democrats. Three other members are new to Congress but are considered veterans of a few weeks. Reps. Dave Brat, R-Va., Donald Norcross, D-N.J., and Alma Adams, D-N.C., took the oath shortly after November's elections to fill the seats of lawmakers who had left Congress.
The Senate welcomes 13 new members - 12 Republicans and one Democrat, Gary Peters of Michigan.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration is considering improvements on Highway 82 in Cherokee County that would begin near East Allen Road in Tahlequah and go north to near Gideon, according to reports.
The meeting will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Jan. 27 in the University Center Ballroom at Northeastern State University.
ODOT held a meeting in 2013 regarding the highway, and following that meeting the state performed studies on the corridor. ODOT officials said within that study they evaluated upgrading the existing highway. They plan to discuss their findings from the studies during the meeting.
The meeting is open to the public and will be an open-house format. It will allow for some discussion with engineers and planners for the potential project.
For more information, call Frank Roesler III at 405-521-2350 or email <a href="mailto: email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a>.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. –The Cherokee Nation and the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation NAHASDA Annual Performance Reports are readily available for the public to view and to make comments upon.
The reports are available from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. until Jan. 27 at the Cherokee FIRST department located in the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex and in the lobby of the HACN office located at 1500 Hensley Drive in Tahlequah.
<a href="http://www.cherokee.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=7G5FQptSBvE%3d&tabid=5274&portalid=0&mid=5878" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> the report.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation Businesses officials said before work on any site to be developed can begin they must do due diligence with regards to pre-development steps. Currently, that is where CNB officials area at on the Cherokee Springs Plaza project.
Since the project’s September announcement, CNB officials said they have done several “behind the scenes” tasks in preparation for construction.
From September to December, CNB officials said they met with Tahlequah officials to review city permit requirements, located all existing utilities and completed some infrastructure planning. They also they developed and posted a request for proposal for civil engineering work, completed the land survey for the site, as well as competed an aerial topography of the site for elevations and civil engineering design work.
CNB Executive Vice President Charles Garrett said CNB officials selected a civil engineer in November for master planning and design and are conducting a traffic impact study that’s required prior to roads being designed or built.
CNB officials said they also began civil engineering design of utilities, roads and temporary storm water, as well as identified what parts of the land would be submitted for a trust application.
“(CNB) Developed, posted and selected a geotechnical firm to do a soils investigation report that is required by civil engineering for the design of foundations, utility and roads,” Garrett said. “In January we will be drilling 56 borings throughout the site. With the soil borings taking place, we will have the information required to develop a grading plan and start turning dirt to develop Phase I of the site.”
In September, Garret said the first phase was establishing the infrastructure that creates access and provides the necessary utilities and the “civil engineering” portion of the project that would consist of road construction and pad sites where potential businesses will be developed.
The continuation of the project will include two other phases, one being the construction of a new Cherokee Casino Tahlequah that will include a resort hotel, convention center and golf clubhouse. The third phase will create a retail strip, centering along Grand Boulevard, which will enhance the pedestrian and shopper experience.
Overall, it is anticipated 1.3 million square feet of mixed-use space will be developed at an estimated cost of $170 million, officials said.
The Cherokee Phoenix Editorial Board will be meeting via conference call at 9 a.m. CDT, February 6, 2015. To attend, please use the conference call information listed below. The meeting agenda is here.
Entry code: 4331082
<a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/1/8864_150205_EditorialBoard_Agenda.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> the meeting agenda.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – On Jan. 9, the Cherokee Nation Gaming Commission approved a cutover plan that would allow Cherokee Nation Entertainment to operate its own simulcast signal through the tribe’s Will Rogers Downs Cherokee Casino.
To operate the simulcasts, CNE previously contracted with the Oklahoma City-based Remington Park Dissemination Company. Simulcast is a simultaneous transmission of the same program on radio and television, or on two or more channels.
The agreement between CNE and the Remington Park Dissemination Company was that Remington was to provide the off-track betting services at Cherokee Casino West Siloam Springs and Cherokee Casino Sallisaw.
“There was a decision on Remington’s part that they wanted to exit that agreement, and in order to transition the services that Remington has provided up to this point over to a new provider, which in this case is going to be a company that is created by CNE and ran through Will Rogers Downs,” Jamie Hummingbird, CNGC director, said.
Hummingbird said the plan is to take what the Remington Park Dissemination Company had been previously offering in terms of signal, wagering and reporting and put that over onto the new CNE company, Will Rogers Downs Dissemination.
“So it’s taking the services that were provided by one company, transitioning them over to another one and providing for all of the transitional services that are required, primarily the redemption of any outstanding wagering that have not been redeemed prior to going to a Remington system to a WRD system,” he said.
Like the Remington Park Dissemination Company, Will Rogers Downs Dissemination will also be providing totalisator equipment that controls parimutuel betting.
“Will Rogers Downs Dissemination will just simply be doing the exact same thing Remington Park would,” CNE Chief Operating Officer Mark Fulton said. “When they informed us that they would not be renewing the contract to provide those services our decision became ‘do we want to keep our facilities or parlors open at West Siloam or Sallisaw?’ and ‘yes we do.’’
Because CNE will no longer be contracting with the Remington Park Dissemination Company, Fulton said Cherokee Nation Businesses, which is CNE’s parent company, would save some costs but not a lot because it isn’t a heavy volume of business.
“We don’t have a heavy volume of business that utilize that so it was probably more of an administrative burden to them (Remington Park Dissemination Company) then the revenue they were generating,” he said.
Fulton added that the creation of Will Rogers Downs Dissemination would not need CNB board approval.
“The operating agreement is executed and falls within the authorities that already exist. It’s not a new entity for large revenue generation or profitability,” he said.
Plans to have Will Rogers Downs Dissemination running are expected to be in mid-February.