Affirmed Affordable Care Act to improve Indian health care
WASHINGTON, Okla. – The Supreme Court on June 28 affirmed the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, also called Obama Care, in a 5-4 ruling that makes the Indian Health Care Improvement Act permanent.
“This is an important step for health care in Indian Country; the permanence of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act has been affirmed and NCAI will stay focused on working with all members of Congress to uphold the trust responsibility to tribes,” National Congress of American Indians President Jefferson Keel said. NCAI is the nation’s oldest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native advocacy organization. “Moving forward, we are focused on improving health care for Indian Country, while ensuring the Indian Health Care Improvement Act remains protected and implemented as enacted.”
According to a NCAI press release, the affirmation of the ACA and subsequent permanence of the IHCIA authorizes nearly 2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives who are served by the Indian Health Service to have daily health care.
“The IHCIA authorizes new programs within the IHS to ensure the service is more equipped to meet its mission to raise the health status of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level,” the release states.
It also states that with regards to the effects this act will have on Native Americans, several things will take place, including the expanded authorities for long-term care services, home health care, assisted living and community-based care and new authorities for the provision of dialysis services.
The release states that the passage of this act represents a 14-year long effort by NCAI, tribal leaders and advocates to make permanent the legislative commitment by the federal government to deliver health care for American Indian and Alaska Natives.
MUSKOGEE, Okla. – The Jack C. Montgomery Veteran Affairs Medical Center will hold its annual creative arts competition on Feb. 2-3 for enrolled veterans.
The competition includes 51 categories in the visual arts division this year that range from oil painting to leatherwork to paint-by-number kits. In addition, there are 100 categories in the performing arts pertaining to all aspects of music, dance, drama, and creative writing.
Nationwide, VA medical facilities use the creative arts as one form of rehabilitative treatment to help veterans recover from and cope with physical and emotional disabilities. Each year, veterans treated at VA facilities compete in a local creative arts competition.
A national selection committee chooses first, second and third place winners among all of the entries. Select winners will be invited to attend the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival, which will be held Oct. 12-19 at the Durham VA Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.
For registration information, call Deborah Moreno at 918-577-4014. For information about the National Veterans Creative Arts Competition and other VA special events, visit VA’s Adaptive Sports website: <a href="http://www.va.gov/adaptivesports/" target="_blank">http://www.va.gov/adaptivesports/</a>.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</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.