EDITORIAL: Helping our neighbors

·2 min read

Aug. 27—THUMBS UP to a McAlester group who raised money to help someone battling cancer.

The Masons of McAlester Lodge #9 sponsored a dinner and pie auction with funds benefiting Steffanee Edwards, who is battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. The funds raised go toward her medical bills and expenses from travel to Houston's M.D. Anderson's Cancer Center for treatment.

The Lodge raised more than $13,000 to help Steffanee and we hope it helps her to a quick recovery.

Our community has proven time and again that it will lend a hand in helping their neighbors — this being just another in a string of examples.

Angel's Diner provided food for the event and The Disabled American Veterans were among several who helped make it happen.

We applaud everyone in our community looking out for others.

----THUMBS UP to Pittsburg County commissioners for starting to hammer out some details related to reclaiming operation of the Expo Center.

They passed measures this week that included a fee schedule, a temporary rental agreement form, and approved a contract for testing and inspection of the fire alarm system and sprinkler system at the Expo.

A contract for the fire alarm and sprinkler system is obviously important for public safety. The fee schedule and rental form helps in start to rent out the facility for activities and puts regulations in place.

Commissioners told us they're also working on repairs to the facility, ordered chairs and tables, and others things.

It's progress since the commissioners terminated a 2001 lease agreement with the city of McAlester and gave the city until Aug. 15 to vacate the premises.

Commissioners also recently hired a facility maintenance director for the Expo.

We look forward to seeing more progress in the coming weeks.

----THUMBS UP to Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma for announcing new COVID-relief programs for tribal members.

The tribe received $944 million dollars from the federal government through the American Rescue Plan Act earlier this year and recently announced plans to distribute those funds.

Tribal council members voted to approve the expenditure of $627,154,677 of that money toward the COVID-19 relief funds. The remaining $317,271,274 will be used per U.S. Treasury guidelines for COVID-19 response and mitigation efforts, technology, infrastructure, and public health.

Choctaw Nation tribal members aged 55 and older, and those aged 18-54 with a disability are eligible to receive a $200 monthly grocery allowance for the month in which they apply and for every subsequent month thereafter through August 2023.

On Sept. 1, all Choctaw Nation tribal members nationwide can apply for economic impact recovery programs.

More details on the programs are available on the tribe's website and social media accounts.

The funds distributed through these programs will help our community recover as COVID-19 continues its resurgence.

—McAlester News-Capital Editorial Board

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