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AM NewsBrief: Nov. 2, 2022

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This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022.

Early voting begins today

Early voting for the General Election begins today in Oklahoma.

Voters can cast in-person absentee ballots at early voting locations today through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

No excuse is needed to cast an in-person absentee ballot, but voters should be prepared to show proof of identity when they check in with election workers.

Early voting locations and sample ballots can be found on the State Election Board website.

State Supreme Court Justices

Oklahoma voters don’t get to choose who gets to become a state supreme court justice, but they do get to decide who remains one. November’s ballot will include retention votes for those serving the state’s highest court.

On the federal level, Supreme Court appointments are for life, but not in Oklahoma. Each of the justices face a retention vote, which means they can be removed from the bench.

Four of them are up for retention vote this year: Justices Dana Kuehn, James R. Winchester, Douglas L. Combs and Dustin P. Rowe.

Four of the state’s nine Supreme Court seats are geography based; the justice represents a district. Kuehn represents the Tulsa area, and Winchester represents southwest Oklahoma. Both Combs and Rowe are at-large members, which means they represent the whole state.

The positions are technically nonpartisan. On the federal level, the president has full authority to choose their justices, but here, a judicial nominating commission gives the governor a list of candidates. Gov. Kevin Stitt appointed Kuehn and Rowe. Winchester was a Frank Keating appointment, and Combs a Brad Henry appointment.

You'll find more about this and several other races on the Nov. 8 General Election ballot in our online Voter Guide.

Health Department allows hospitals to make changes amid rise in RSV cases

Oklahoma has released a plan to help hospitals with rising respiratory cases in kids.

The State Health Department Health Department is allowing facilities to temporarily change bed designations from adult to pediatric to expand access.

The agency says the number of RSV cases continues to climb with the largest pediatric hospitals reporting bed occupancy of at least 80%.

Children under two are most at risk, with symptoms including congestion, runny nose, fever, cough and breathing problems.

City of Norman seeks new Diversity Officer

The city of Norman is looking for a new diversity and equity officer.

According to a report from The Norman Transcript, Cinthya Allen, the city’s first diversity officer, has resigned.

Allen’s statement of resignation did not indicate a reason for her departure.

She joined the city of Norman last year after the council authorized the position following a recommendation by the Human Rights Commission.

The city has posted the position on its website.

Family, friends mourn loss of Tulsa photographer Gaylord Oscar Herron

Family and friends are mourning the loss of an artist who came up in a golden age of the Tulsa arts scene, photographer Gaylord Oscar Herron.

A lot of Tulsans know him as G. Oscar—that's the name of his former bike shop near downtown Tulsa. But, even more know him for the 1975 book Vagabond-what he described as a semi-autobiographical work with photos, poems, drawings and quotes from the bible about Cain and Abel.

Vagabond is what drew Tulsa photographer Western Doughty to Herron.

"Most artists have this moment they think I might as well just throw my camera away because it was that great to me," said Doughty.

Herron was born in 1942 and grew up in North Tulsa, attending Will Rogers High School with musicians Elvin Bishop and Leon Russell. A military veteran, he began taking photos while serving in Korea. When he returned to Tulsa, he became a reporter, working for the Tulsa Tribune and later television station KOTV. Lyndsey Kuykendall was working with Herron on a new book called Iconoclast when he died last week. She says Herron lived during a time when Tulsa was experiencing a renaissance in art, music and comedy.

"Vagabond shows Tulsa in a way that no one else has ever shown it. And it strikes a chord that no one else has ever struck quite like Gaylord was able to," Kuykendall said.

Herron was able to capture part of Tulsa's golden age-the people, the art deco buildings, the scene and all the beauty that is magic city in his signature sepia style -that's what photographers like Doughty and others say they will remember him for.

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