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AM NewsBrief: Jan. 24, 2023

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023.

Winter Weather

Oklahomans are preparing for the first winter storm of the season. According to the National Weather Service in Norman, heavy wet snow is expected throughout today.

The Weather Service says precipitation will likely start as rain and then change to a mix of rain and snow before changing over completely to snow later today in the metro before ending late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

Total accumulations could range from about 2 inches across west and northwest parts of the Oklahoma City area to as much as four inches across parts of Norman and Moore.

It appears the heaviest snowfall is forecast to be along and south of I-40. Some could see about 4 to 6 inches of snowfall with bands of heavier amounts possible, depending on the storm's specific track.

Pardon and Parole Board New Members

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board has replaced two of its five members this month.

Earlier this month, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals appointed Richard A. Miller to the Pardon and Parole Board to replace Larry Morris, whose term expired this month.

Late last week, Gov. Kevin Stitt appointed Calvin Prince to replace Scott Williams, who had served on the board for less than two years. This follows a string of recent changes to the board’s membership, including former Chairman Adam Luck resigning last year at the request of Gov. Stitt, noting they had differing opinions on the death penalty.

The Pardon and Parole Board votes on whether to recommend Gov. Stitt grant clemency to death row inmates, of which there are 10 scheduled to be executed over the rest of the year.

Swadley's Update

Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond announced in a tweet on Monday that his office would be working with the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigations in the Swadley’s Foggy Bottom scandal.

The case, which involves allegations of fraud involving millions of taxpayer funds through a contract with the state Department of Tourism and Recreation, has been ongoing since early last year.

The restaurant chain is currently in a lawsuit with the state of Oklahoma, and is being further investigated for numerous safety violations.

According to the press release following Attorney General Drummond’s tweet, his mission for the investigation and top priority as Attorney General is to “end the culture of corruption and scandal.”

OTA Expansion Denied Near Lake Thunderbird

The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority will have to reroute part of their proposed expansion project close to Lake Thunderbird.

According to a report from KFOR, the OTA released an update saying the U.S. the Bureau of Reclamation will not allow the turnpike to cross their land close to the lake and the Norman dam.

The bureau cited Congressionally authorized purposes for the land, saying the agency’s turnpike plan did not meet the land’s intended purposes.

The OTA says it will now go back to the drawing board and gather information to make adjustments to the South Extension part of the ACCESS project.

Guymon Shooting

A food processing plant in the Oklahoma panhandle is under the microscope after it called the police on one of its workers.

On Jan. 9, Guymon police shot and killed Chiewelthap Mariar, a Sudanese refugee working at Seaboard Foods, after he was reportedly fired. News reports say the call was for a disgruntled employee.

Cellphone video from another employee shows Mariar pacing around with what a reporter for The Guardian said was a box cutter in the moments before police shot him. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says Guymon police tried to use a taser on Mariar but shot him after he advanced on them with a knife.

The United Food and Commercial Workers union has called for a federal investigation into the shooting, arguing the police didn’t take sufficient measures to protect Mariar and the other workers.

The worker who filmed the video told The Guardian police made Mariar out to be a threat when he wasn’t, and claims the company fired him after he filmed the incident. OSBI is investigating the shooting.

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