Child Watch Tour aids those assisting teen parents

BY CHRISTINA GOODVOICE
07/15/2009 09:29 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Health officials say area hospitals are delivering babies for girls as young as 12 and 13 and that teenage girls are getting pregnant these days because they think it’s “cool.”

These topics were discussed during the “Child Watch Tour: Putting the Pieces Together” on June 25, which focused on increasing awareness and responding to difficulties faced by teen parents.

The tour was made possible by Smart Start Cherokee County and Community Partners for Adair and Cherokee Counties Coalition.

About 30 people took the tour, which included stops at Tahlequah City Hospital, Cherokee Nation W.W. Hastings Indian Medical Center, Help-In-Crisis and Kid Connection to inform participants of resources and services each site provides to teen parents, pregnant teens and the children of teen parents.

In 2000, more than 11,000 girls in Oklahoma between the ages of 15 and 19 were pregnant. In 2006, Oklahoma saw more than 1,100 births to Native American teen females, according to thenationalcampaign.org, a Web site aimed at preventing teen and unplanned pregnancies.

“Every day we schedule four new OB (obstetric) intakes, and out of the four, at least two to three of those are teens,” Paulette Wilson, a registered nurse at Hastings, said. “We have a high teen pregnancy rate.”

Registered nurse Sarah Craig, who has been a nurse/midwife at NEO Health Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates in Tahlequah for nearly three years, said she said she’s seen one significant change in teenage girls during that time – they now want to get pregnant.

“The big change I’ve seen in the last 2 ½ years with teenagers is they’re wanting to be pregnant,” Craig said. “These aren’t accidents anymore. Not like they used to be. They think it’s cool. They think it’s a way to get out of school.”

But pregnancy doesn’t get girls out of school anymore, not like it did in years past when pregnant teens could be homebound. “There’s no more homebound because you’re pregnant,” she said. “You’re not sick; you’re pregnant.”

Craig, a teenage mother herself at 18, graduated from high school while pregnant. But with her husband and mother’s support, she obtained her licensed practical nursing degree and two master’s degrees in nursing and midwifery.

“I have a big calling to teen pregnancy,” she said. “It’s been a big issue, and it’s an ongoing issue, and it’s only getting worse instead of better, unfortunately. We all know that it’s an issue, and we need to change it.”

Craig said discussions about abstinence, teen pregnancy and safe sex are common in her house with her four children.

“This is dinner conversation at my house with my kids,” she said. “That’s the message you need to give every teenager you meet. You tell them, but sometimes it’s not enough. (Sex is) fun? So is riding a bike. So is water skiing. It’s an adult act and has a lot of repercussions.”

Craig said parents, counselors, teachers and community members need to get involved with teens earlier.

“At eighth and ninth grade, they’re already pregnant,” she said. “You have to tell them, ‘you can have sex all day long. That doesn’t make you an adult. You’re making an adult decision, but you’re not ready to handle the adult responsibilities that come with it.’”

Jan Tomascheski, a Cherokee County Systems of Care employee, went on the tour to become more informed. Accompanying her was her 16-year-old daughter, Jenee, who carried a “Baby Think It Over” infant simulator.

The simulator is a lifelike, life-size doll with realistic computerized responses, which allows people to experience some demands of infant care.

“(The infant simulator) is something we’re doing as part of today, and I guess as a mom as well,” Tomascheski said. “It’s programmed and has sensors, so when the baby starts to cry…it’s hungry, needs a diaper change, the head’s not being supported, had shaken baby (syndrome), fussy or needs to be burped. It’s up to the student to see what the baby needs and is up to them to fix it.”

Jenee said the crying doll caused her some hectic moments as she tried to figure out what was wrong with it. “It’s a weird feeling. I don’t know what to do,” she said.

The simulator served its purpose after half a day of random crying because Jenee said she doesn’t have plans in the near future to be in that situation.

But for teenage girls who have had babies, it’s not too late to help them get educated, get jobs and be good, successful parents, Craig said.

“You just have to encourage them and tell them, ‘it’s not the end,’” she said. “You’ve just taken a different road in life.”

News

BY WILL CHAVEZ
Senior Reporter
11/21/2014 08:40 AM
LOST CITY, Okla. – American flags lined the dirt road leading up the Swimmer Church in rural Lost City on Nov. 11 as veterans and their families came to partake in the church’s annual Veterans Day program. One of the event’s organizers, Pat Martinez, said her late mother, Lora Crittenden, and her mother’s best friend, Juanita Allen, began honoring veterans at the church 25 years ago on Veterans Day. She said her late uncle, Bob Crittenden, was a prisoner of war during World War II, and her mother and Allen thought it would be nice to honor Bob and other veterans in the community on Veterans Day. “So they called and they went to see people and asked people to come to Veterans Night. They made little trinkets and used crate paper (to make decorations). It’s evolved to 25 years later to what it is now,” Martinez said. “We give them something to remember the church and also to remember them being a veteran. We’re proud of this small community coming together and making a difference.” During the program, veterans enter the church after everyone else is seated and are seated in the front. Veterans are presented with certificates and medals and are asked to stand or sit on the stage and tell everyone the military branch in which they served. After the program, which includes a welcome from the pastor and patriotic songs, the veterans walk next door to the church’s fellowship hall for a potluck meal. Martinez said the church’s congregation understands a program and a meal is “not much” to thank the veterans for their willingness to sacrifice themselves to help protect the country. “If you served during peace time or if you were combat, our freedom still depends on men and women like you,” she said during the program. “God bless you veterans and God bless America.” Cherokee veteran Ross Gourd, who lives in the nearby community of Double Springs, served in the Army from 1969-71. He has been coming to the Swimmer Church Veterans Day program for 13 years and appreciates that veterans have a place to get together on their day and enjoy a home-cooked meal. He is a recipient of the Cherokee Warrior Award from the Cherokee Nation. Jimmy Carey of Hulbert served in the Air Force during the Vietnam era from 1966-70. “I did what I had to do to show that my people were supportive of this government. I think it’s the greatest government there is. It’s not perfect, but it’s great, and I wouldn’t want to live anyplace else,” he said. A CN citizen, Carey taught the Cherokee language at Sequoyah High School for 14 years and worked for the Nation for 22 years. He retired from teaching this past spring. It was his first time attending the church’s Veterans Day program and he said he was “impressed.” “This is what can happen when you get to thinking you need to do something. I like it. I really do. I’ll be back next year,” he said. Martinez said 20 to 25 veterans attend the program each year, but as the years pass there are less and less World War II and Korean War veterans. “We hope the younger ones will pick up the torch and come,” she said.
BY STAFF REPORTS
11/19/2014 10:01 AM
WASHINGTON – Photographer Dana Gluckstein is working alongside Amnesty International to honor Native American Heritage Month. In doing so they announced the tour of DIGNITY: Tribes in Transition, an award-winning photography exhibition that honors indigenous peoples worldwide. Exhibition photographs are being shared on social media sites during November. The exhibition will open on Jan. 29 at the Boston University Art Gallery. According to a Boston University College of Fine Arts press release, DIGNITY’s artistry, power and impassioned call to action create a historic exhibition in support of indigenous peoples, who represent six percent of the global population. DIGNITY previously toured in European museums for the past several years. More exhibition dates and locations will be announced soon. To view Gluckstein’s work, visit her Twitter and Instagram @DanaGluckstein.
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
11/18/2014 01:52 PM
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Revenue at U.S. casinos jumped more than 6 percent in 2012, the first significant increase in three years as economic growth picked up speed and more casinos opened in several markets. But revenue generated by Indian casinos rose less than 2 percent the same year, Casino City’s North American Gaming Almanac found. Growth is limited due to regulations restricting tribal casino expansion beyond reservations and differences between tribes over how best to expand, said Vin Narayanan, editor-in-chief of Casino City. “There’s a giant political question about that,” he said. Total gambling revenue in 2012 was $94.47 billion, with the largest share, $40.38 billion, from casinos and card rooms. Tribal casinos generated $28.14 billion followed by lotteries ($23.41 billion) and racing and sports gambling ($2.55 billion) in 2012. Casino revenue grew by a fraction of 1 percent in 2011 and 2010 and fell nearly 6 percent in 2009 as the steepest economic downturn since the Depression took hold. Year-to-year revenue changes are vastly different from one state to another. In Ohio, for example, total gambling revenue jumped by one-third from 2011 to 2012 as casino gambling ramped up. But in New Jersey, seventh largest among the states in overall gambling revenue in 2012, casino revenue fell from $3.69 billion in 2009 to $2.71 billion in 2012 as three Atlantic City casinos shut. Nevada, California and New York are the top three states in casino revenue. Narayanan said saturation is the culprit for the decline of Atlantic City’s casinos, but it’s not an issue elsewhere. “Are there too many casinos in the market? As far as Atlantic City is concerned, there are too many casinos on the market,” he said. But casinos opening in Ohio are satisfying “pent-up demand,” he said. Similarly, the legalization of casino gambling in Maryland in 2008 and the opening of the state’s first casino in 2010 generated tremendous revenue. Casino and card room revenue increased from $27.6 million in 2010 to $377.8 million in 2012. Total gambling revenue jumped to $1.15 billion in 2012 from $760.6 million in the same period. “Maryland is a place that’s just taking off,” Narayanan said. The opening of casinos in Massachusetts in the next few years is expected to lead to a significant new source of revenue, possibly at the expense of neighboring Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort casinos. Narayanan questioned if gamblers who check out a Massachusetts casino will still be comfortable traveling to Connecticut’s tribal casinos. “That’s a real good question,” he said.
BY STAFF REPORTS
11/17/2014 03:09 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Phoenix offers a digital alternative to keep in touch with the news and events posted by the Cherokee Phoenix for those on the go who want to stay in the know. The Cherokee Phoenix Weekly is a digital newsletter that’s emailed every Wednesday. It consists of the latest news and feature stories, links to cherokeephoenix.org and space for advertising. The newsletter is also used to notify its subscribers of important breaking news and can be viewed on any mobile device. To subscribe, go to <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org" target="_blank">www.cherokeephoenix.org</a> and scroll down to the Cherokee Phoenix Weekly Digital Newsletter section on the right side of the page. To inquire about advertising on the newsletter, email <a href="mailto: phoenix-advertising@cherokee.org">phoenix-advertising@cherokee.org</a>.
BY JAMI MURPHY
Reporter
11/17/2014 08:09 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – According to a Cherokee Nation Election Commission statement, the last day register to vote in the tribe’s upcoming June 27 general election, as well as a potential July 25 run-off election, is March 31. Open for the 2015 election are the principal chief and deputy chief seats, as well as seats for Tribal Council districts 1, 3, 6, 8, 12, 13, 14 and an At-Large seat. Legislative Act 04-14 states that CN citizens who are 18 years of age or older on the date of the election may apply to be a registered voter. Also, tribal citizens who are 17 years old and can show that their birth dates are prior to the election date shall be allowed to register to vote. “Persons who have never been registered to vote before or who are not currently registered in the district of their residence and persons who are registered but who need to change their registration information may apply by filling out and mailing a Cherokee Nation Election Commission Voter Registration Application form,” the EC statement reads. According to the EC, each person who submits an application will receive a written EC response. “The response is either a Voter Identification Card listing the new voter’s precinct and district location or a letter that explains the reason or reasons the application for voter registration was not approved,” the statement reads. “Any person who has submitted a Voter Registration Application and who has not received a response within 30 days should contact the Election Commission Office.” EC officials said EC staff members are preparing for several voter outreach events and have completed events at Westville High School, Cherokee Eldercare and Sequoyah High School. “The Cherokee Nation Election Commission is reaching out to all ages of Cherokee citizens,” EC Director Connie Parnell said. “The voter registration is well-received and the office is commended on their efforts to increase voter registration for the 2015 general election.” According to EC records, there were 37,415 registered voters as of April 2011. As of Nov. 4, 2014, there were 63,236 registered voters. Officials said new voters and voters who have had name or an address changes should fill out new voter applications. EC officials said it’s important to have the most current information before the next election. They added that if a voter is registered, then the voter should verify that his or her information is correct. Voter applications are available at the EC Office located at 22116 S. Bald Hill Road in Tahlequah and at most community meetings. Applications also are available www.cherokee.org/elections. Citizens may also receive it by email or fax. For more information call 918-458-5899 or toll free at 1-800-353-2895. One can also fax 918-458-6101 or email election-commission@cherokee.org. To mail a form to the EC office use P.O. Box 1188, Tahlequah, OK 74465. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.cherokee.org/OurGovernment/Commissions/ElectionCommission.aspx" target="_blank">www.cherokee.org/OurGovernment/Commissions/ElectionCommission.aspx</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
11/14/2014 02:40 PM
CATOOSA, Okla. – On Nov. 17, the Cherokee Nation is hosting a luncheon at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa celebrating the 10 years since Oklahoma voters passed the State Question 712. The constitutional amendment allowed the state to negotiate with Oklahoma tribes to operate Las Vegas-style gaming, opening the door to a new market for tourism and hospitality in the state. Collectively, Oklahoma tribes have generated nearly $900 million since 2004. At the lunch, which starts at 11:30 a.m., Gov. Brad Henry, who served from 2003-11, will join Principal Chief Bill John Baker and other tribal, state and local officials to reflect on the economic impact of gaming in Oklahoma over the past decade. During the past 10 years, the Nation’s businesses have created more than 4,000 jobs that span gaming, hospitality, information technology, personnel services, distribution, manufacturing, telecommunications, environmental services and security and defense industries.