Today, December 23, 2019, President Donald J. Trump issued a Memorandum on Addressing Legal and Societal Barriers to Women’s Global Development and Prosperity. The Memorandum directs the development of action plans, consistent with the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, signed by the President in early February.
The City of Pocatello has released the following notice:
“PLEASE TAKE NOTICE THAT the Historic Preservation Commission meeting that would typically fall on Wednesday, January 1, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. has been canceled due it being a federal holiday. The next meeting will be Wednesday, January 15 at 6:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of City Hall, 911 N. 7th Avenue, Pocatello, Idaho.”
On Friday, December 20, 2019, President Donald J. Trump signed S. 256, the “Esther Martinez Native American Languages Programs Reauthorization Act,” which reauthorizes and modifies a grant program to preserve and maintain Native American languages.
According to the Congressional Research Service, in a post on govtrack.us, the “Esther Martinez Native American Languages Programs Reauthorization Act,” “revises a grant program administered by the Administration for Native Americans at the Department of Health and Human Services to preserve Native American languages. The minimum number of enrollees in educational programs funded by grants is reduced from 10 to 5 enrollees in Native American language nests, which provide instruction through the use of a Native American language for children under the age of 7 and their parents. For survival schools, which are programs striving for fluency in a Native American language and proficiency in other academic fields, the minimum number of enrollees is reduced from 15 to 10. The bill increases the maximum duration of grants.”
Join the Union Taproom, 313 Whiskey Room, and The Yellowstone Restaurant on New Year’s Eve this year for music, food, and fun! Henry Gonzales will be playing rock’n country and classic rock in the Union Taproom from 9pm to Midnight!
On Friday, December 20, 2019, President Donald J. Trump signed into law H.R. 2333, the “Support for Suicide Prevention Coordinators Act.” The Act requires the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study of the suicide prevention coordinators within the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The signing of this legislation is another step forward in the Trump Administration’s focus on addressing the high rate of suicides among veterans. In early March, President Trump issued an Executive Order on a National Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End Suicide. In that order, Trump stated he was, “issuing a national call to action to improve the quality of life of our Nation’s veterans — many of whom have risked their lives to protect our freedom while deployed, often multiple times, to areas of prolonged conflict.”
Further, the Executive Order established a Veteran Wellness, Empowerment, and Suicide Prevention Task Force. Trump stated, “To reduce the veteran suicide rate, the Federal Government must work side-by-side with partners from State, local, territorial, and tribal governments — as well as private and non-profit entities — to provide our veterans with the services they need. At the same time, the Federal Government must advance our understanding of the underlying causal factors of veteran suicide. Our collective efforts must begin with the common understanding that suicide is preventable and prevention requires more than intervention at the point of crisis. The Federal Government, academia, employers, members of faith-based and other community, non-governmental, and non-profit organizations, first responders, and the veteran community must all work together to foster cultures in which veterans and their families can thrive.”
To read the full text of the Executive Order, see:
Federal overspending cedes strength, forgoes the ability to put full resources behind new ideas and essentially resigns our nation to a system of cobbling by, moving from one federal funding deadline to another without a focus on the bigger picture. The strength of our nation is far too important not only to Americans, but also to world stability to accept this outcome. I joined a bipartisan group of my fellow Senators in introducing S. 2765, the Bipartisan Congressional Budget Reform Act, that would fix the federal government’s broken budget process.
The Bipartisan Congressional Budget Reform Act includes the following reforms:
Move the budget resolution to a two-year cycle, while maintaining annual appropriations;
Require more involvement from Senate spending and taxing committees, including by requiring detailed spending and revenue plans to better inform budget development;
Focus on fiscal sustainability by requiring the budget resolution to establish a debt-to-GDP target backed by a deficit-reducing special reconciliation process to promote adherence to the budget plan;
Create a mechanism within the regular budget process to end the brinksmanship surrounding the statutory debt limit by conforming the limit to levels called for in the budget resolution;
Establish an optional new bipartisan budget pathway through which the budget would set a glideslope of deficit reduction that includes health care, revenue levels, and appropriations and tax expenditures. Such bipartisan budgets would require the support of at least 60 Senators, including at least 15 members of the minority party, and would be considered in the Senate under expedited procedures jointly agreed to by the Majority and Minority Leaders;
Provide a more orderly, deliberative process for Senate consideration of budget resolutions that preserves the ability of senators on both sides of the aisle to offer amendments;
Enhance fiscal transparency by requiring that up-to-date tabulations of congressional budget action be publicly posted and that information on the interest effects of authorizing and revenue legislation be included in cost estimates prepared by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The legislation also supports transparency efforts underway at CBO; and
Require CBO and the Government Accountability Office to regularly review and report to Congress on portfolios of federal spending to help lawmakers make more informed budgetary decisions.
The Senate Budget Committee, on which I serve, advanced this legislation by a bipartisan 15-6 vote. Additional outreach and discussions will continue to build further bipartisan support to pave the way for the full Senate’s consideration of this legislation.
I am not letting up in this effort to improve our nation’s fiscal future, security and stability. I joined in recommending budget reforms as an original member of the President’s Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and have backed efforts to reign in federal spending and put hard protections in place to curb future overspending. The importance of addressing our unsustainable national debt remains as critical, if not more so, today.
Americans are rightly concerned with partisan politics inhibiting real legislative work that needs to be done. The fact that 20 of my Senate colleagues—Republican, Democratic and Independent—are in agreement on these needed reforms should not be lost in the noise. This bipartisan legislation will reform our broken budget process by outlining a more deliberative, transparent process for managing our nation’s finances. This is exactly what our nation needs, and I commend Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) and committee member Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) for their leadership on this front. I will keep working with my colleagues in Congress and the Administration to push this and other necessary policy changes over the finish line. We cannot afford to do otherwise.
On Friday, December 20, in a ceremony held at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, President Donald J. Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (S.1790), officially inaugurating the United States Space Force.
The Space Force becomes the 6th branch of the U.S. Military, the first created since 1947 when the U. S. Air Force was established.
Although discussion of an independent Space Force started as early as 2001, the idea began moving forward rapidly when, in March, 2018, President Trump first spoke publicly about it.
According to the Air Force Times, it will take about 18 months for the Space Force to be fully up and running, including the addition of a four-star general representing the Space Force to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Outlining the steps to be undertaken to make the Space Force fully operational, Meghann Myers, writing in the Air Force Times, said, “For now, the 16,000 active-duty airmen and civilians who work at Air Force Space Command will be assigned to the Space Force, but nothing else will change. Uniforms, a rank structure, training and education are all to be determined, and for the foreseeable future, Space Force will continue to be manned by airmen, wearing, Air Force uniforms, subject to that service’s fitness program, personnel system and so on.
Meanwhile, U.S Space Command, which stood up in August, will continue to exist as a combatant command, similar to Cyber Command, Special Operations Command and others.”
At the December 19 meeting of the Pocatello City Council, Item 11 on the agenda concerned a decision to adopt a resolution affirming the City’s consent to the resettling of refugees in Pocatello and authorizing the Mayor to sign a letter to the US State Department consenting to such refugee resettling.
After Mayor Brian Blad announced the item, City Council President Jim Johnston noted that Larry Gebhardt, President, Bridges Idaho, was in attendance, and asked that he provide additional information with respect to the request for the consent letter. Following several minutes of questions from the City Council, Councilwoman Linda Leeuwrik made a motion to approve the request, and it was unanimously approved by the Council.
To see the full meeting of the Pocatello City Council, view the video, below:
Last evening the AF Sharps hosted Sing Choirs of Angels at the Stephens Performing Arts Center, Jensen Hall. The two-hour performance provided an opportunity for local residents to experience the incredible musical and performance talent that resides in Southeast Idaho.
The show saw many families in attendance, with young children throughout the audience.
The evening opened with Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad welcoming everyone and introducing emcee Michael Farnes. Throughout the evening, Farnes kept the audience engaged with his unique blend of humor and interesting facts about the performers.
The AF Sharps, which began as a Sweet Adeline’s chorus in the 1980’s, and now boasts a mixed chorus of 58 members, started the show. Led by Dan Bowman and accompanied by his son, David Bowman, they performed several pieces, including Messiah, Rise Up Shepherd, and Wasn’t That a Mighty Day. The vocal performances were outstanding.
Next, the Willow Wind Trio, with Linda Rankin on flute, Karen Bechtel on cello, and Joyce Weaver on harp performed several pieces, all arranged by Joyce Weaver, ranging from Away in a Manger to Deck the Halls and Angels We Have Heard on High.
Soprano Jordan Bowman followed the Willow Wind Trio performing pieces from Mozart. Her incredible voice resonated throughout Jensen Hall.
For the second half of the evening’s performance, Jordan Bowman sang and David Bowman accompanied her on the piano as the Angel Dancers, of the Kimi Taylor Ballet Academy, performed twice, the second time with the young dancers in beautifully Christmas-themed costumes.
Before the evening ended with the AF Sharps second appearance, the audience was treated to the powerful vocals of Pocatello’s Konni Kendell, and an outstanding piano Christmas medley performed by David Bowman.
Following the show, refreshments were available for those attending, ranging from pizza for the kids to desserts and a variety of appetizers.
Having lived and enjoyed performances in New York City and San Francisco, I have to admit that I was not expecting to see such incredible talent when I made the move to Idaho. After attending Sing Choirs of Angels, though, it has become clear to me that you don’t have to reside in a large city to experience exceptional musical and performance talent.
Southeast Idaho, and Pocatello in particular, can be justifiably proud of the phenomenal level of talent that we have access to. And, unlike shows in big cities, performances here are accessible to everyone, thanks to generous donations from supporters such as Bingham Memorial Hospital and Idaho Central Credit Union, both of whom are Patron Angel sponsors of this program.
The AF Sharps and the other performers presenting last night are a must for anyone who loves good music. I’m already looking forward to what they have in store for us next year.
John Crowder is the publisher of the Pocatello-Chubbuck Observer.