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AM NewsBrief: Dec. 12, 2023

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023.

OKC Residents To Vote On New Arena

Downtown Oklahoma City has experienced a renaissance over the past few decades — thanks in no small part to the economic impact of gaining a professional NBA team, the Thunder. The team's future in OKC may hang in the balance as residents vote whether to build a new, nearly $1 billion arena for the team.

The Paycom Center currently hosts the Thunder, but is one of the smallest arenas in the NBA, and more than two decades old.

Today, voters in Oklahoma City face a choice: approve a 1% sales tax to build a new, roughly $900 million facility that proponents of the measure say will keep the team in OKC through 2050, or face the possibility of losing the team to another city.

The Thunder’s ownership group is pledging to kick in only about $50 million toward a new arena, which is a much smaller piece of the pie than other owners have paid for their arenas.

Victims Identified From Sunday Plane Crash

Two people killed in a plane crash in Oklahoma City Sunday have been identified.

Employers have confirmed that Megan and Barrett Ellis—a married couple—were the crash victims.

Megan Ellis was the executive director of the Sooner Nation Collective and Barrett Ellis was an attorney for the University of Oklahoma Foundation.

Fire officials say the single-engine plane went down near Wilshire Boulevard and Council Road shortly before 10:30 Sunday morning.

The F-A-A and N-T-S-B are investigating what caused the crash.

Tulsa School Board Selects Ebony Johnson As District’s Permanent Superintendent

The Tulsa Board of Education has chosen to keep its interim superintendent as permanent hire, despite State Superintendent Ryan Walters calling for a national search.

The school board Monday night voted 4-2 to hire Ebony Johnson through June 2026.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. — along with hundreds of Tulsans who signed a community letter—urged the school board to hire Johnson as its permanent superintendent.

Warrant Clearance Event In Oklahoma County

An event which has helped hundreds of people in Oklahoma County avoid going to jail is returning on Dec. 15. This will be the county’s third warrant clearance of the year.

People in Oklahoma County with outstanding traffic, cost, or misdemeanor warrants can get help sorting out their legal matters without having to worry about being arrested.

At the event, public defenders and other county representatives will be available to help people schedule court dates, pay fees, or set up payment plans so their warrants can be cleared.

Other services from the Employment and Education Ministries, the Diversion Hub, and other organizations will also be available.

This event will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday at the north end of the Oklahoma County Election Board building.

You can check to see if you have a warrant on the Oklahoma County Sheriff's website.

16 Candidates File To Appear On Oklahoma’s Presidential Primary Ballot

Sixteen candidates have filed to appear on Oklahoma’s presidential primary ballot in the March 2024 vote.

Filing for the presidential election ended last Wednesday. Two candidates will run as Libertarians in the first primary election since the party’s formal recognition in 2016.

There are eight Republican candidates. Those include front runners former President Donald Trump, former UN ambassador Nikki Haley and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Others include former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

Five Democrats also filed. Those include President Joe Biden, Minnesota Representative Dean Phillips, and author Marianne Williamson.

The Oklahoma primary will be on March 5.

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