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AM NewsBrief: Aug. 21, 2023

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Monday, Aug. 21, 2023.

Edmond Lawmaker Resigns

An Edmond lawmaker is resigning following a guilty plea related to a DUI arrest.

Republican Rep. Ryan Martinez will vacate his seat Sept. 1.

Earlier this month, Martinez signed a plea agreement in Oklahoma County District Court for the October incident.

Last fall, police found the lawmaker intoxicated in a parking lot outside of a bar in Edmond.

Gov. Kevin Stitt had asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court to weigh in on Martinez’s status as a lawmaker in the wake of his plea agreement. The governor’s office said in court filings Martinez should give up his seat.

Stitt will likely call for a special election for his replacement.

Martinez apologized for his actions in his resignation announcement.

Train Derails In Moore

A freight train headed through Moore derailed Friday during rush hour.

Approximately 30 cars derailed near SW 34th Street, just east of Interstate 35 according to the Moore Police Department.

The cars were carrying dry bulk plastic and did not pose a danger to the public. There were no planned evacuations, no injuries, and no chemical release identified.

According to the City of Moore, as of Saturday, BNSF has cleared the train from the derailment and has made necessary repairs to the train. SW 34th, at the crossing, remains closed.

Repairs to the damage are ongoing with expected reopening by the weekend.

Oklahoma Broadband Office Seeks Input And Expansion Of Service

One in six Oklahomans, that's more than 700,000 people, have limited or no access to high speed internet.

The Oklahoma Broadband office received $382 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act. Broadband Office Executive Director Mike Sanders says how to distribute that ARPA money is a top concern.

"We hope that in September we’re going to be able to address the governing board and they’re going to have the process, the plan. Those projects are going to be announced down the road. And we really want shovels in the ground sooner than later," said Sanders.

Sanders’ comments are just a small part of the larger discussion about broadband in Oklahoma You can hear more about the issue in the latest edition of Capitol Insider. Listen at KGOU.org and wherever you get your podcasts.

OK FFA Reaches Record High Membership

A record number of Oklahoma high schoolers this year are donning a blue corduroy FFA jacket.

The Oklahoma FFA Association has reached a record-high membership this year of over 29,000 students. That’s a nearly 5% increase from last year.

The organization says that’s due in part to high schools’ growing interest in offering an agricultural science curriculum to its students.

Brent Haken is the state director for Oklahoma Career and Technology Education, which oversees the FFA program.

He says traditional farming is just part of the curriculum. It helps students learn the many different areas of agriculture including veterinary science, entomology and ag communications.

“This program is so successful because it doesn't narrow a person down to a certain interest. It's all across the scope of agriculture and reaches so many different industries and avenues that it can catch anybody," said Haken.

On the national level, the FFA reached a record-high membership of over 945-thousand students… an 11% increase from last year.

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