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AM NewsBrief: Aug. 22, 2023

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023.

New Pardon and Parole Board Member

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has appointed a new member to the Pardon and Parole Board following the resignation of two members last week.

Retired judge Robert E Reavis II is the newest member of the state’s Pardon and Parole Board. Throughout his career, Reavis was a judge advocate for the U.S. Marine Corps, a defense attorney, a prosecutor, and an associate district judge. He retired in 2018 and is replacing Richard Smothermon, who had been on the board since July 2021.

Last April, Smothermon recused himself from voting in the clemency hearing for death row inmate Richard Glossip because his wife was the prosecutor in Glossip’s retrial.

Cathy Stocker, who resigned at the same time as Smothermon, will be replaced by former district attorney Kevin Buchanan. He was appointed by Gov. Kevin Stitt.

Tulsa Ports Authority Approves New Sewer Plant In Inola

The Tulsa Ports Authority has approved a plan to construct a new wastewater treatment facility in Inola that can support both the town and its fledgling river port.

Tulsa Ports ordered initial studies for an Inola wastewater treatment plant back in January. At the time, the project was expected to cost around $30 million. Now that Tulsa Ports has approved an engineering firm’s plan, it expects the project could cost up to $118 million, according to a report from the Tulsa World.

The new treatment plant will support Inola’s municipal sewer needs and the port’s anticipated industrial wastewater requirements. Tulsa Ports announced the arrival of a $1 billion solar panel manufacturing facility in May and hopes to attract more businesses to the area.

But Inola’s current sewers may not be able to handle that growth. Since 2018, the existing wastewater treatment plant has been under orders to deal with chronic violations.

The project has received tens of millions of dollars in federal, state and tribal funds

New McGirt Trial

Jimcy McGirt, the man at the center of the landmark Supreme Court ruling, will have a new day in federal court next month.

A federal judge has set McGirt’s new trial to begin On Sept. 11.

Earlier this year, federal appeals judges ruled McGirt’s conviction should be overturned because his 2020 jury was wrongly limited in how to weigh inconsistent witness testimony from 1997. The court says in its order while the jury could have still found McGirt guilty, the judges were unsure they would have.

In 2020, the US Supreme Court ruled McGirt was wrongly tried in state court because his sexual assault crimes were committed on the established Muscogee Nation reservation and McGirt is Native American.

The McGirt decision reaffirmed several reservations in eastern Oklahoma. It set the precedent that crimes involving Native American defendants on reservations must be tried by the federal government or tribal prosecutors.

Norman Introduces New Rideshare Program

The city of Norman has introduced a new rideshare program.

Norman On-Demand aims to provide transportation to residents and University of Oklahoma students outside of normal public transportation hours. The service will run late at night and on Sundays.

The city says they'll have five cars, including wheelchair-accessible options.

Those needing a ride can book one using an app on their phone.

Oklahoma City Bridge To Be Featured On U.S. Stamp

An Oklahoma landmark will be featured in a new set of stamps from the U.S. Postal Service.

Oklahoma City’s Skydance Bridge will be part of a new stamp series that highlights four U.S. bridges, showcasing a blend of contemporary and historical designs.

The stamps will be available nationwide on Aug. 24.

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