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AM NewsBrief: Sept. 6, 2022

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This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022.

Officials recommend boiling water in areas around Lake Eufaula State Park and Checotah in rural eastern Oklahoma

Leaky pipes caused some disruptions for water customers around Lake Eufaula heading into the holiday weekend and officials are still recommending caution.

After relying on the 230,000 gallons in their water tower, McIntosh County’s Rural Water District #9 ran out of water. So did the City of Checotah and areas around the lake. 

Officials found and repaired large leaks to get the system back up and running, but residents may still experience lower water pressures than normal as the pipes refill. The Rural Water District recommends that its customers boil their water just to be safe after such a major disruption to the system.

The district plans to submit water samples for testing this week and should know for sure whether the water is safe to drink by Friday.

Oklahoma’s electricity prices climbing faster than any other state

From last June to this June, electricity prices surged by 49% across all sectors and by 31% for residential customers, outpacing increases in any other state.

The average increase nationally was significantly lower, at 14%. Oklahomans saw their prices surge from about 7 cents per kilowatt hour to nearly 11 cents.

But while the rate of increase is notable, Oklahoma’s electricity prices are still ranked 18th-most affordable in the country. Though, last June, Oklahoma was ranked first.

Last year, 45% of Oklahoma’s in-state electricity was generated from renewable resources - the vast majority of which came from wind energy. That same year, for the first time, wind energy provided the largest share of Oklahoma’s net energy generation, and natural gas slipped to the second-largest source.

OKC Apple union

Employees at one of Oklahoma’s two Apple stores have filed a petition to join a union.

Bloomberg reports employees of the Apple store in Oklahoma City’s Penn Square Mall filed a petition to join the Communications Workers of America union.

According to the CWA, about 70% of the store’s eligible workers signed up.

An Apple store in Maryland was the first to unionize in June, joining the Apple Coalition of Organized Retail Employees.

This follows a recent resurgence of the labor movement across the country and in the state, particularly in the retail and service industries. Several Starbucks locations petitioned for unions and won their elections in Oklahoma earlier this year.

Court rules Osage Nation disestablished

An Oklahoma district court judge rules the Osage Nation's reservation was disestablished, which would mean the tribe has limited jurisdiction in court cases inside its boundaries. But an appeal is likely.

The case involves Dustin Phillips, a Cherokee citizen who was charged with kidnapping and violating a protective order in Skiatook in 2019. He argued that following the McGirt decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, the state of Oklahoma lacked jurisdiction to try him.

Citing two Congressional Acts from 1906, District Judge Stuart Tate says the reservation no longer exists, and Phillips was correctly tried by the state.

This is the second time a court has ruled the reservation was disestablished, but the previous decision was prior to the 2020 Supreme Court decision that upheld the boundaries of the Muscogee Nation.

The court hearing to determine the status of the case for appeal is set for Thursday. Osage Nation can’t directly appeal but Phillips and his attorneys could. Osage Nation attorneys says it would be the next step in getting their reservation back.

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