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AM NewsBrief: April 24, 2023

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Monday, April 24, 2023

Gov. Kevin Stitt Seeks Federal Aid From Tornadoes

Gov. Kevin Stitt Sunday requested an expedited major disaster declaration from the federal government following last week’s tornadoes. The governor requested a disaster declaration for McClain and Pottawatomie counties.

If the request is approved, anyone with damage may be eligible for federal assistance for housing repairs or temporary housing.

The damage done by last week’s tornadoes and severe storms is estimated to be upwards of $9 million according to the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.

According to the National Weather Service, supercells across the state produced at least 12 tornadoes and hail between 1-3 inches in diameter.

Two Inmates Die At The Oklahoma County Jail

Two inmates at the Oklahoma County Jail have died within just days.

The year’s fourth and fifth inmate deaths at the Oklahoma County Detention Center occurred in two days.

37-year-old Courtenay Doyle was found unresponsive in her cell on Friday morning and died about an hour later after being transferred to the hospital. She had been in the detention center since March on drug trafficking and possession of paraphernalia charges.

On Saturday evening, 37-year-old Frank Ramirez was also found unresponsive in his cell. Like Doyle, Ramirez died about an hour after being found in his cell and being transferred to the hospital. He had been in the detention center since August 2021 on multiple charges including robbery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery.

All jail deaths are investigated as homicides until a final determination is made.

Over 50 Oklahoma United Methodists Churches Leave Denomination

Over 50 United Methodist churches in Oklahoma voted on Saturday to leave the denomination due to disagreements over its direction.

In a special conference, requests from 55 churches to sever ties with the denomination were ratified. The move comes as the denomination banned same-sex marriage and gay clergy.

The largest United Methodist church in Oklahoma, St. Luke’s, was among those that left. The disaffiliations become permanent on May 6.

Gov. Stitt Looking To Remove McCurtain County Sheriff

Gov. Kevin Stitt is calling for the Attorney General to investigate complaints of official misconduct against McCurtain County Sheriff Kevin Clardy and to remove Clardy from office.

Clardy, county commissioner Mark Jennings and two other members of the sheriff’s office were allegedly recorded at a meeting making racist and violent remarks about journalists and Black people.

Stitt called for the four to immediately resign after hearing about the alleged remarks last week. At a news conference Friday, Stitt confirmed his office is “looking at all legal avenues” for impeachment. But he said Clardy should take the first step before the governor’s office has to intervene.

"This guy needs to do the right thing, and he needs to step down because he's only hurting himself. He's only hurting Oklahoma. I don't think he can be effective at this point, and that would be the right thing to do," Stitt said.

The sheriff’s office responded to Stitt’s and others’ calls for resignation in a statement claiming the recordings were obtained illegally and were altered. On Tuesday, Idabel mayor Craig Young called the sheriff’s statement a joke.

Jennings resigned from his office on Wednesday. In one of the recordings, he allegedly told Clardy he would run for sheriff if police could still lynch Black people.

Famous American Architect Frank Lloyd Wright House For Sale In Tulsa

A historic Tulsa home designed by a famous American architect is for sale.

Westhope, located at 3704 South Birmingham Avenue, hit the market last week with a price tag of nearly $8 million.

The more than 10,000 square foot home was designed in 1929 by Frank Lloyd Wright, who enthusiasts say is the “greatest American architect of all time.”

Listing agent Rob Allen said the home is somewhat unique among Wright’s creations.

"Frank Lloyd Wright designed and had built only a handful of this style of home where it's made up of textile cement blocks that are all the same size. This is the only one that is outside the state of California," said Allen.

The home is also different because Allen said most of Wright’s other designs were significantly smaller than the house that sits on 1.5 acres.

The current owner is Tulsa investor Stuart Price, who, according to Allen, took care to restore a floor that had been carpeted. Price also replaced and repaired the house’s windows consisting of thousands of panes of glass.

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