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AM NewsBrief: Feb. 7, 2024

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024.

Lawmakers Look To Limit Virtual School Days

Oklahoma lawmakers are considering limiting virtual school days in the state. State Capitol Reporter Lionel Ramos (Rah-moes) reports on a bill heard in the Senate Education Committee Tuesday.

Sen. Kristen Thompson’s SB 1768 would limit schools from taking virtual days unless they are faced with inclement weather, staffing shortages, or building maintenance issues.

She says schools are “abusing” virtual days.

"We've got schools that have 50, 30, 32, 39, 30, 32, 34 virtual days built in. And we know that in-person learning with our teachers is what's best," said Thompson.

Democrats in the committee say they worry the bill would stifle innovative uses of technology and circumvent the local control of school boards.

Thompson says that while the decision is up to school boards and administrators, not everyone feels represented by their district leadership.

The bill passed its committee hearing with a 9-2 party-line vote and now moves on to the full Senate.

Comanche Nation Opposes Cobalt-Nickel Refinery Planned In Lawton

The Comanche Nation recently passed a resolution opposing a cobalt-nickel refinery being built in Lawton.

The Comanche Business Council unanimously voted to condemn the development in a meeting Saturday.

The Bartlesville-based company Westwin Elements announced it would be building the first cobalt-nickel refinery in the U.S. near Lawton last year.

At the meeting, some Comanche citizens and local residents voiced health and environmental concerns. The Comanche Nation is headquartered in Lawton.

Comanche Nation Chairman Mark Woommavovah had previously voiced public support for the project. But he has since apologized for that, saying he should have consulted with other members of the tribal nation. Citizens called for his suspension as chairman during the meeting.

Cherokee Nation Heirloom Seeds

The Cherokee Nation is taking applications for a limited supply of heirloom seeds.

Tribal citizens interested in growing traditional Cherokee crops and plants can request seed packages through the Nation's online portal.

Seeds available this year include multiple types of corn, gourds and beans as well as seeds for pumpkin, Trail of Tears beads and tobacco. There are also seeds available for 14 types of native plants.

Last year, the Cherokee Nation distributed more than 95-hundred packages of traditional seeds.

Oklahoma Country Superstar Toby Keith Dies At 62

Oklahoma country music superstar Toby Keith died Monday at the age of 62. The singer had been battling stomach cancer.

Toby Keith’s music career spanned more than four decades, from local honky-tonk bar gigs with his band Easy Money to stadiums across the country.

He sold more than 40 million albums and charted 20 number one country hits including, "How Do You Like Me Now?!" and "Should've Been a Cowboy."

While much will be made about his music career, the country star continues to have a big impact through his foundation and O-K Kids Korral, which provides no-cost housing for pediatric cancer patients and their families, while receiving treatment.

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