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AM NewsBrief: Jan. 13, 2023

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Friday, Jan. 13, 2023.

Oklahoma executes Scott Eizember, the eighth death row inmate to be killed since the state resumed capital punishment

Oklahoma’s first execution of 2023 was carried out yesterday.

62-year-old Scott Eizember was executed by lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester on Thursday, 20 years after he killed husband and wife A.J. and Patsy Cantrell.

The execution follows the Department of Corrections reversing its decision to not allow Eizember’s clergy of record, Reverend Jeff Hood, from accompanying him to the execution chamber, avoiding the execution potentially being postponed due to the lawsuit filed by Eizember and Hood earlier this week.

The state has ten more executions scheduled for the rest of this year.

Federal government proposes new regulations to strengthen the Osage Mineral Estate

The Bureau of Indian Affairs is proposing new rules to protect a massive collection of oil and gas rights belonging to the Osage Nation after decades of criticism that the US has mismanaged their estate.

The last time the BIA updated the protections of the Osage Nation's Mineral Estate was in 1974.

According to a statement released on Thursday, the federal agency will weigh increasing the amount of money oil and gas producers put up in the form of bonds, which they say would better protect the Osage Nation when companies default. It will also consider detailed requirements for how oil and gas produced from the mineral estate is measured.

Assistant Secretary of the Interior Bryan Newland says the federal government has a fiduciary and trust responsibility to the Osage Nation and the department will be consulting with the tribal nation about these and other proposed revisions in the near future.

In addition to in person consultation, the BIA will accept written testimony about the potential rule changes until March 17th

As dry conditions persists, the risk for wildfires increases

In central and western Oklahoma it’s been nearly a month since a quarter inch of rain fell in most areas. However, the panhandle takes the prize for the least amount of rainfall. According to the Oklahoma Mesonet, parts of Texas county haven’t seen a quarter inch of rain for nearly 4 months. Looking at the U.S. Drought Monitor, almost 60 percent of the state is in a drought classified as extreme. That includes nearly all of northern, central and east-central Oklahoma. State Climatologist Gary McManus says the need for rain is dire as we are now in our driest time of the year--and with each passing day, the possibility for wildfires continues to increase. According to the Oklahoma City Fire Department, crews have responded to nearly 100 grassfires since the start of the new year.

Oklahoma lawmaker files bill to ban public water fluoridation

Broken Arrow Senator Nathan Dahm has introduced a bill that would prohibit any public water supply in Oklahoma from adding fluoride to its drinking water.

Senate Bill 165 would ban cities, counties, schools and even some private businesses from adding fluoride to their water. Dahm says individuals who want additional fluoride can get it themselves.

However, the Oklahoma State Department of Health recommends that public water systems add fluoride to promote dental health, especially for kids.

Too much fluoride can cause cosmetic issues with teeth. And in extreme cases, it can weaken bones. But those problems start to occur when teeth regularly get thousands of times as much fluoride as is found in any Oklahoma public water supply.

Even with access to fluoride in mouthwash and toothpaste, kids’ teeth get a boost from fluoridated water. A review of public water fluoridation data compared to a report on dental problems in Oklahoma’s third-graders shows kids across the state have fewer dental problems in areas with more fluoride in the drinking water.

City of Edmond to build new City Hall

The city of Edmond has announced plans for a new City Hall building. The 44-million dollar facility will be built along Littler Avenue between First and Main Streets. The city says the current facility is too small for a population that has grown to 95-thousand. The new City Hall will also bring together three city departments that now are housed in three separate buildings. The nearly 60-thousand square foot facility will be constructed on the site of the Downtown Community Center, which will be demolished. It’s expected to open late next year.

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