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AM NewsBrief: Nov. 16, 2022

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This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022.

Three Western Heights board members resign

Three embattled school board members at Oklahoma City’s Western Heights Public Schools are resigning after months of controversy. The resignations come after the Oklahoma Supreme Court decided last month to uphold a state takeover of the district.

Board President Robert Everman and two other members who regularly vote with Everman submitted their resignations Tuesday, The Oklahoman confirmed. The State Board of Education has been calling for Everman to resign for over a year, saying he’s a “cancer” and “scorn” on the district.

Last year, the state Board suspended Western Heights’ superintendent, installed its own and took over district operations. This came after massive losses of students and employees, financial mismanagement, retaliatory behavior to staff and parents, and the lowest academics in the state.

Everman unsuccessfully fought the takeover and tried to block the release of an audit showing incorrect reporting and over a million dollars spent in violation of the district’s bid policy. Everman says his departure isn’t due to public pressure, but rather is a result of personal health issues.

Cherokee Nation language center opens in Tahlequah

The Cherokee Nation is celebrating the opening of a new language center honoring the late master language teacher Durbin Feeling.

More than 2,000 people, including Cherokee citizens from across the country attended the grand opening of the $20 million Durbin Feeling Language Center in Tahlequah.

The 52,000 square foot facility includes an immersion school, an adult apprentice program and a translation team.

In 2019, the Council of the Cherokee Nation approved the Durbin Feeling Language Preservation Act, which provided a $16 million investment into Cherokee language efforts.

It is the largest language investment in Cherokee Nation history.

Senator Pro Tem re-elected

Sen. Greg Treat was re-elected as Pro Tempore during an internal Republican caucus meeting Tuesday.

The non-profit news outlet Nondoc reported he faced an unsuccessful challenge from Norman Sen. Rob Standridge.

Treat was first elected to the leadership role in 2019. He will likely serve in it for the next two years until he is term-limited out of the legislature in 2024.

Oklahoma's Senate Pro Tempore is the highest ranking member of the chamber and leads the body.

State Election Board certifies results

The State Election Board has certified the results from the November 8th General Election.

The board held a public meeting yesterday at the State Capitol to certify the results for state and federal elections.

Local and county election results were certified by county election boards last Friday.

Candidates had until 5 p.m. last Friday to file a contest of election, however, officials with the State Election Board say no contests were filed by either state or federal candidates.

Construction to begin on Tulsa VA hospital

Construction is set to begin on a new Veterans Affairs hospital in Tulsa next year.

The new VA facility is part of an expansion project at the OSU Medical Center.

It will provide more access and increase specialty services for veterans in the state. The hospital expects to offer nuclear medicine, a 34-bed medical and surgery ward and possibly even robotic surgery.

Construction is slated to begin in February 2023 with opening expected in 2025.

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