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AM NewsBrief: May 11, 2023

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Thursday, May 11, 2023.

OKC Settles Lawsuit Over Stolen Water

Oklahoma City and the city’s Water Utilities Trust have reached a settlement in their suit against an oil company for stealing water and harming protected lands at the Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge.

The City filed a lawsuit saying Revolution Resources and contractor Select Energy Services had built water lines from the North Canadian River to a drilling site at the Wiley Post Airport in Bethany, even though the city had rejected their permit application. The city says the companies damaged the Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge and took water intended for emergency drought relief last summer.

In the original suit, the city requested compensation for at least $75,000 worth of damages. A judge refused Revolution’s request to dismiss the suit and have the city reimburse the company’s legal fees.

Revolution offered to settle last month. The Oklahoma City Council voted unanimously to approve the settlement for almost $250,000.

Texoma Food Banks See Surge Following SNAP Cuts

Food banks are getting busier because of February cuts to SNAP benefits as the pandemic waned. The impacts are being felt now in the Texoma area.

Executive Director of Lawton Food Bank, Mac Lechel says cuts caused a huge increase in demand for her organization’s services.

“They were drastic cuts to families' SNAP benefits. Our numbers they nearly doubled just from that one month difference from having SNAP to not having SNAP.”

And Lawton’s not the only area feeling the impact. Southwest Community Action Group in Altus says their clients have tripled, and Food and Resource Center of South Central Oklahoma in Ardmore says they’re seeing 10 new clients a day and people who had been using SNAP benefits are coming back.

Hannah McKenzie Act Advances Through The Legislature

A bill aims to regulate opioid substitution treatment programs is advancing through the Legislature.

Republican Rep. Rick West’s House Bill 2686 passed its fourth reading unanimously on Wednesday.

The Hannah McKenzie Act would require opioid substitution treatment programs to comply with federal requirements, including providing drug abuse testing services that are directly observed by an employee of the treatment program.

Hannah McKenzie was a young woman from West’s district who died of a methadone overdose in 2017. Methadone is a common drug used in opioid substitution treatment programs to treat opioid dependency, but it can be fatal if taken in improper amounts.

Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt Named Dean of OKC University School of Law

Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt can add another job title to his resume: Dean of the Oklahoma City University School of Law.

The new role doesn't mean he'll be giving up public office. Oklahoma City's strong city manager form of government means the mayor and city council members can have outside employment.

Holt is an alum of the college's law school. He had been working at the investment firm Hall Capital for the previous nine years.

His first day in the new role will be July 1.


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