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The Needed Connection of Arkansas High to Arkansas Stadium

Texarkana, AR- Anyone who has ever attended Arkansas High and had to walk from the school to the stadium or from the stadium to the school knows the dangers faced by a student.  While students are fortunate to have a stadium so close to the main high school campus, they are also hindered by no direct, safe route to walk to the stadium. Nix Creek effectively blocks any direct access to the stadium for students.  The best students can do is walk down Nix Creek trail and then cross the bridge on 18th street where they are exposed to traffic from both directions.  During game nights this traffic can range anywhere from a few cars to hundreds of cars flooding up and down the street. Continue Reading →

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OICA Praises Sen. Griffin for Legislation Addressing Social Problems

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) CEO Joe Dorman today thanked State Senator AJ Griffin for introducing a measure that would enhance partnerships between the Department of Human Services and the state’s non-profit and private sectors. The bill aims at tackling problems associated with poverty, incarceration and mental health outcomes.  
 Senate Bill 748 implements a “pay for success” model that has already been adopted in other states. Under that model, private companies would raise capital to design and fund new programs. Non-profits like OICA aid in the implementation of these new programs before state government, after evaluating their success, can then agree to fund them.  “Everyone wants to support programs that successfully reduce incarceration rates, reduce poverty and deliver better mental health outcomes,” said Dorman. Continue Reading →

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Rep. Ratcliffe encourages constituents to utilize his office’s casework resources, supports enhancing services for veterans

WASHINGTON – Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) supported the passage of legislation this week to enhance services for veterans seeking assistance with compensation claims. The WINGMAN Act (H.R. 512) passed the U.S. House without opposition and was sent to the U.S. Senate.  The WINGMAN Act would boost the ability of caseworkers in Rep. Ratcliffe’s local offices to serve veterans in need throughout Texas’ 4th District. Specifically, it allows caseworkers to access the critical information they need to assist veterans by stripping away bureaucratic roadblocks imposed by the federal government.  “I’ve been very pleased with incredible work my staff has done to serve veterans throughout our communities. With more than 63,000 veterans in Texas’ 4th District, this is no easy task, and I’m glad my colleagues in the U.S. House have joined me in passing legislation to streamline this important job as much as possible.” Ratcliffe said. Continue Reading →

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For the Children – Is Your Glass Half-Full?

I try to be a “glass half-full” kind of person, but there are times when parts of your world can wear you down.  We all experience this to some extent, but it is how you deal with these situations that determines the outcome and impact on your own life and those around you. Far too many children in Oklahoma experience negative circumstances which can change the course of their entire lives. The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy asked Dr. Jennifer Hays-Grudo serve as the keynote speaker on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) for our annual KIDS COUNT Conference.  Dr. Hays-Grudo discussed the results of studies across the United States with children 17 and under and the trauma associated with their childhood.  Not surprisingly, of the categories tested, Oklahoma ranked at the top with the highest percentage of children experiencing childhood trauma that followed them into adulthood. You can view slides from her presentation at www.oica.org/conference for more details. We face a generational cycle of trauma which simply will not be fixed overnight.  Our 2016 KIDS COUNT Data Book showed slight improvement from recently collected statistics, so we must not backtrack.  There is far more work needed to continue solutions within the Oklahoma State Capitol and the various agencies, as well as neighborhoods and communities. Continue Reading →

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The 2016 KIDS COUNT Data Book

As we approach the 2017 legislative session, many Oklahomans are concerned about which direction the state will move.  The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) released the 2016 KIDS COUNT data book last week showing areas of progress and slippage for kids.  This publication, found at oica.org for your review, provides statistical analysis of 16 key factors relating to children’s well-being in our state and the nation.  The good news is Oklahoma moved up two spots to 37th in the nation compared to our last review from the 2014 publication. 
From Annie E. Casey Foundation’s (AECF) website – KIDS COUNT is a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation to track the well-being of children in the United States. By providing high-quality data and trend analysis through its KIDS COUNT Data Center, the Foundation seeks to enrich local, state and national discussions concerning ways to secure better futures for all children — and to raise the visibility of children’s issues through a nonpartisan, evidence-based lens. In addition to including data from the most trusted national resources, the KIDS COUNT Data Center draws from more than 50 KIDS COUNT state organizations that provide state and local data, as well publications providing insights into trends affecting child and family well-being. Through its National KIDS COUNT Project, the Foundation develops and distributes reports on important well-being issues. Much of the data from these nationally recognized publications, including the KIDS COUNT Data Book, are featured on the KIDS COUNT Data Center. Continue Reading →

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Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy Update

Oklahoma – I hope each of you have had the happiest of holidays!  There were many complaints regarding 2016, but I am thankful for many of the personal and professional changes in my life and look forward to the great opportunities we will see in the New Year.  I was fortunate to see family and friends over the break.  I was especially delighted with the Christmas gift from my mother.  When I opened it, I found a pair of brand new work gloves.  While this might not seem like much, I immediately knew the significance.  I recognized the brand as the same type my father used before he passed away.  This was the last pair of gloves he bought and was not able to use. This led to my resolution for 2017 – keep fighting for better opportunities for kids in Oklahoma.  My dad worked in construction his entire adult life before he became severely injured in a truck accident soon after I was born. Even with this slowing him, he still did what work he could around our home and by helping our neighbors.  He even attended small engine classes at the local career technology center to learn more about how to repair lawn mowers so he could tinker in his garage.  There are not many days when I do not think of him and what he did to help others, and that certainly helped shape me as a person. Continue Reading →

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Oklahoma’s Changing Legislature and Children Needs

Oklahoma-The battle to improve the circumstances of Oklahoma’s children is largely fought in the Legislature, where lawmakers will  appropriate funds and create policies which impact education, health, foster care and other areas that directly effect kids.  Regardless of one’s political preferences, successful advocacy hinges on understanding the political environment at our State Capitol.  Today, that environment is driven by two main forces: the increase in numbers of the Republican policymakers and  legislative turnover created by term limits.  In the State House, Republicans gained four seats, meaning they now control that chamber with a supermajority of 75 members, compared to 26 elected Democrats. In the Senate, Republicans held onto 42 of the 48 seats. Continue Reading →

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Rep. Ratcliffe to host Open House in Texarkana

Texarkana, TX.  Rep. Ratcliffe will host an open house in Texarkana hosting Texarkana on Thursday, August 25th at 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.   The open house is open to the public and will be held at Texarkana College Library in the Perot Leadership Museum. The college is located at 2500 North Robinson Road in Texarkana, Texas.  The public is encouraged to attend this open house and discuss current issues and concerns with Rep. Ratcliffe.  

 

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Large Steel Beam Flips Truck Near Smithville

Smithville, OK.  A convoy of trucks traveling on U.S. 259 and Oklahoma Highway 4 near Smithville lost one truck this afternoon in a turn.  According to witness reports, the truck was traveling north toward Broken Bow when it appeared to take a curve too wide.  A large beam, about ninety feet long, managed to pull the truck over into a ditch.  Once in the ditch the truck flipped upside down. Continue Reading →

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Texarkana, Texas to Participate in City Hall Selfie Day

 

Texarkana, TX.  “Selfie” is a new term to some and an old, or at least a few years old, to others.  The term “Selfie” means to take a picture of yourself.  This is usually accomplished by holding your self phone out, smiling, and clicking the picture.  Once taken, the selfie can be sent to friends, modified for various social media programs, or simply added to your social media site so someone will know what you look like when they click on your online profile. Continue Reading →

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