Oklahoma

Recent Articles

For the Children:    Honoring the Real Superheroes

Oklahoma-As we prepare for our upcoming banquet, it is my privilege to recognize the folks who the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) will honor the evening of August 10th at our Heroes Ball!  We announced the winners just this past weekend, but I would like to go into further details about why each one of these individuals and organizations are “heroes” for Oklahoma kids. Our first honorees, receiving the SONIC Commitment Award, are Pastor Craig Groeschel and his wife Amy Groeschel of Life.Church. Craig and Amy are being recognized for their work to encourage Oklahomans to become foster or adoptive parents. Largely because of their efforts and the strong message they sent to their congregation, Oklahoma met its goal of recruiting more than 1,000 foster families last year. Our next honorees will receive the Steven A. Novick Award for Dedication.  If you have not heard of him, Steven was the attorney who won a landmark lawsuit which uncovered significant shortcomings within Oklahoma’s child welfare system, ultimately leading to major reforms and the creation of OICA.  The recipients this year are the television stations KFOR, KTUL and KSWO, each one of which devoted significant air time to the AdoptOkKids program that helps children in foster care find adoptive families. Continue Reading →

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OICA Announces Award Winners to be Recognized at Aug. 10 Heroes Ball  

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy’s (OICA) has announced the winners of three awards that will be presented at the OICA Heroes Ball on August 10 at the Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City. Each award winner was chosen by the OICA Board of Directors for their outstanding contribution to children’s well-being in Oklahoma. The winners of the Kate Barnard Perseverance Award are Jasmine and Melvin Moran, the creators of the Jasmine Moran Childen’s Museum in Seminole, Oklahoma. Their museum has inspired and educated countless children since its opening in 1993. The award is named after Oklahoma’s first female elected official, who worked to end child labor and the mistreatment of Native children. Continue Reading →

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The Drexel Fund Awards $400,000 Grant to Cristo Rey Oklahoma City Catholic High School

Oklahoma- Cristo Rey Oklahoma City Catholic High School today announced it is the recipient of a $400,000 grant from The Drexel Fund to support the school’s start-up and operating costs. The Drexel Fund is a national venture philanthropy fund that invests and partners in the growth of high-quality, financially sustainable faith-based networks and other private schools to create transformational outcomes for all students and families. Cristo Rey OKC is a private, college-preparatory Catholic school that will open its doors to its first class of incoming freshmen in Fall of 2018. The school is part of the national Cristo Rey network known for its unique educational model exclusively serving children in low-income families. All schools focus on a combination of rigorous academics and “real world” work experience.  100 percent of Cristo Rey students receive financial aid as part of a corporate work-study program, funded by local businesses, where students work one day a week at the partner company for the entire year. Continue Reading →

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July 4, Fireworks, Shows, Parades, and God

It started with a suggestion in June, followed by a meeting on July 2, and finally a formal signing on July 4, 1776.  From that moment on, the cry would go up around the world that the colonies of the North American Continent, all thirteen of them, had declared independence from Great Britain.  Like any country, Britain would not take kindly to losing the colonies.  In fact, no country in the history of the world has ever simply said, “Sure, go ahead and leave us and take all the investments we made into your area with you.”  No, instead the greatest empire in the world set out to reclaim the colonies and force them back into the British realm.  The rest of the story, you know as the United States won independence in the war that followed.  To this day, we still hear our friends across the pond in England wish us a “Happy Traitor’s Day.”  Naturally, this is done more in good humor now that we are friends so many years after the revolution. The founding fathers were by no means blind to the fact that they were setting in motion something that would be celebrated for years, and perhaps forever.  John Adams wrote to his wife of the importance of the entire event that officially started on July 2 and ended on July 4.  He sent his letter on July 3, 1776 that included the following statement:

“The second day of July 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” Continue Reading →

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Thrifty Bird Brings Walmart Markdowns To Email

A few months ago a friend of mine shared a new business he has running with me called Thrifty Bird (Thriftybird.com).   He signed me up with my permission and I started to receive daily emails at roughly 3 a.m. each morning.  By the time I would stumble out of bed, I could pull my Thrifty Bird email and see all the latest mark downs at my local Walmart stores. Now I’m sure that a lot of folks are thinking, “Big deal, I can see the sales paper or go see the mark downs myself.”  Yes, that’s one way of doing business, but then you miss the bigger picture.  Thrifty Bird does something that sale papers cannot do.  It captures daily mark downs.  Did you know that Walmart marks prices down daily on many items?  With such a large inventory, they have clearance items, stock reduction items, and even outdated items – think digital copies free with a purchased DVD or Blu-ray that have expired.  These items do not always make the local sales paper because the item or items may be exclusive to one or a few stores.  Let’s say that all the Walmart stores nationwide sell out of a “Top Notch” television sets – don’t worry, there is no such thing to my knowledge as “Top Notch” – but the store in Texarkana, Texas still has three units on the shelf.  The main Walmart sales paper- which goes nationwide – is not going to advertise that those “Top Notch” televisions are about to be marked down.  You cannot have people in Dallas running to a store, searching for a “Top Notch” and then not finding one!  So, “Top Notch” never makes the main sale paper.  If you happen to go into Walmart in Texarkana, Texas, then you find “Top Notch” televisions have been marked down from $300 to $75 and they only have three of them left.  Because you happened to go into the store, you lucked out and got a “Top Notch” television for a great price.  But, what if you don’t go to the store that day?  You miss out and there’s no “Top Notch” television in your future.  Enter Thrifty Bird! Thrifty Bird will send you an email with your selected store – in this case Texarkana, Texas – and you’ll see a post that says something like this:  “Top Notch” Television set, 3 in stock, Reg. price $300, marked down $75 in electronics row 33”.  Now you know how many sets are there, what the mark down price is, and where to find the television once you get to the store.  You’ve received your email early in the day – remember, they just marked it down around midnight – and you can quickly run to the Texarkana, Texas Walmart and buy your set.  Thrifty Bird brings you the clearance or reduced prices before anyone else gets them…. well, before anyone other than other Thrifty Bird uses. Continue Reading →

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Youth Programs Can Lead to Future Careers

 

Oklahoma-I had the great pleasure last week of visiting a summer youth program at Bridgestone Intermediate School in western Oklahoma City.  This group of about thirty students in the 5th and 6th grade was a joy to meet with, and many of them were already expressing an interest in politics. They asked me to share my story with them: how I became a state legislator, a gubernatorial candidate and now the director of OICA. As I related that story, I realized that many of my lifelong passions developed when I was only slightly older than them. My interest in politics really started in earnest when I served as a page for Senator Ray Giles as a high school student.  From that experience, I knew I wanted to dedicate myself to a career path of helping shape policy and working in the best interest of my fellow Oklahomans. I had this experience thanks to a 4-H award which I won my junior year.  I had joined 4-H when I was the same age as the Bridgestone students I met last week, and I experienced many wonderful leadership development opportunities which not only took me outside the town limits of Rush Springs, but all across the United States. Continue Reading →

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Four States News Expands Social Media Reach

The Four States News (FSN) is proud to announce we have added additional Facebook Groups online. The FSN is a “Community Journalism site.”  We focus on events in communities such as church happenings, school events, and other issues often not covered by mainstream media.  We are not looking to cover the latest wreck or the latest Congressional issues.  Instead of a broad focus, we might focus on a Congressional leader who visits the four states area, or we might focus on the impact someone had on others who happened to pass away from injuries of a wreck.  We want stories based on what’s important to you and your community.  Anyone can write that a great citizen passed away at a certain age and left behind a list of relatives, but we want to know and share how that great citizen changed his family, his or her friends, and touched the lives of those she may have known.  Community Journalism is driven by two factors – contributors or people taking time to write something and submit it, and the community’s desire to know more, understand what’s happening on a deeper or more “hometown” level. We also recognize that we can not possibly cover all the stories.  In our area we have several outstanding, online publications.  You may have seen Texarkana Today or Jeff Easterling’s outstanding Texarkana FYI  .   You have also likely seen the long-standing, now-online also publication for the Texarkana Gazette .   It also seems like new publications are popping up daily like the new  ArkLaTex Post. Because we focus not just on Texarkana, but on the surrounding area of the four states, we thought it was time to allow those areas to have a reference point for articles directly related to them and to share articles.  These new groups will allow people to easily share post from any news outlet with links back to the original publication.  Together we can share news not only published from FSN, but also from any major or minor publication touching on important events or happenings. Currently we have Four States News Community Post  our first set up to allow sharing of news from around the Texas and Arkansas.  We have just added Oklahoma Four States News Community Post  and Louisiana Four States News Community Post. Continue Reading →

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Oklahoma Ranks 36th in National Ranking of Child Well-Being

State makes modest gains and policy improvements during a difficult legislative session

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma falls below the national average in several areas of child well-being, placing the state at 36th in the nation, according to the 2017 KIDS COUNT® Data Book released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Despite seeing modest improvements, advocates say the state needs to do more. Download the complete Oklahoma rankings here. “A ranking of 36th place out of 50 is not good enough for our children and not good enough for Oklahoma,” said Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) CEO Joe Dorman. “Our mediocre outcomes reflect mediocre investments made in the services that children rely on, like public education and health. Continue Reading →

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Nursing Home Advocates Praise Decision to Delay Managed Care Implementation

Oklahoma-The Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) acted today to cancel the Request for Proposal (RFP) for SoonerHealth+, the fully capitated (sic), statewide model of care coordination (often called “managed care”) that has been in development for Oklahoma Medicaid’s aged, blind and disabled (ABD) population. The plan represented a partial privatization of the Medicaid system. A diverse coalition of health care providers, including nursing homes, hospitals, mental health professionals, and both the Oklahoma State University and University of Oklahoma medical centers had expressed concerns about the plan. Health care experts determined that the state plan may have been in conflict with federal rules and regulations, which could have resulted in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds. (Watch: News9: Oklahoma medical centers at risk of losing $650 million in federal funds)

The OHCA announced that the state would not move forward with the Medicaid privatization plan today, saying “the decision was made in the best interest of the state due to the uncertainty surrounding both federal and state funding.”

The Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers (OAHCP), which represents the state’s nursing homes, praised the decision. Continue Reading →

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OICA Accepting Nominations for “People’s Choice” Award for Child Advocates

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) will be accepting nominations through June 23 for the 2017 “People’s Choice Award” for an individual or organization that has made a significant and positive impact on behalf of child wellbeing in Oklahoma. Nominations can be submitted online at the following URL: https://hero-oica.nationbuilder.com/nominate. After the nominations are collected, Oklahomans will have a chance to vote online for the final winner. The award will be presented at the OICA Heroes Ball, to be held on August 10th at the Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City. OICA CEO Joe Dorman encouraged Oklahomans to nominate exceptional individuals, companies or groups. Continue Reading →

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