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AM NewsBrief: Sept. 19, 2022

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This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Monday, Sept. 19, 2022.

Monkeypox vaccine eligibility expands

Oklahoma health officials are expanding eligibility for monkeypox vaccines. The shot will be available for new groups on Monday.

The State Department of Health is continuing its monkeypox vaccine rollout. It is already available to those who have possibly been exposed and to men who have sex with men. As for the new groups who qualify starting Monday, they include health workers who work in urgent care or emergency rooms, who screen for STIs, or work in labs that deal with monkeypox. It also includes anyone with HIV, sex workers, and women who have sex with men who also have sex with other men.

There have been outbreaks of monkeypox in the US in the past, and it usually presented similarly to smallpox. However, this recent outbreak has presented mostly as a sexually transmitted infection, appearing similar to herpes. 

Officials in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported 33 cases of the virus in Oklahoma as of Friday. 

Clemency hearing dates

The Oklahoma parole board is juggling a number of clemency hearing dates for death row prisoners. Chairman Scott Williams said at the board’s regular meeting last week he doesn’t see a reason why the board can’t do two clemency hearings - which usually include testimony from the condemned and family members of victims - in one day.

The board is still debating a clemency hearing date for Richard Glossip, a man with high profile supporters who say he’s innocent.

Glossip is scheduled for execution in early December. According to state policy, his clemency hearing must be held by November 17th. If the board suggests clemency for Glossip, the governor will have the final say. Most recently the governor rejected the board’s suggestion of clemency for James Coddington, who was executed last month.

Oklahoma contractor charged with multiple counts of felony embezzlement

An Oklahoma contractor is being charged with embezzlement for stealing from customers.

Oklahoma contractor Michael Hanson is being charged with 24 counts of felony embezzlement for charging customers for concrete or fencing work he never completed.

The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Unit has been investigating Hanson since last November and allege he has used his company, Leader Construction LLC, to steal more than $175,000 from 25 people across multiple counties.

Investigators also allege Hanson’s pattern of embezzlement through the use of his company may violate the Oklahoma Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which comes with a minimum sentence of 10 years.

Tribal languages summit

As part of an ongoing effort to revitalize Indigenous languages, Representatives from four government agencies will convene a Native Language Summit in Oklahoma City next month.

The Speaking Sovereignty Summit will be hosted by the Bureau of Indian Education. Attendees will discuss how to develop and mentor educators who will teach the next generation of speakers. They will also discuss how Native communities can support new language learners.

Last year, during the White House Tribal Nations Summit, the Department of the Interior, Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture and Education launched a multi-agency effort to promote and preserve Native languages. They also signed an agreement that would strengthen the Native American Languages Act that was passed in 1990.

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