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AM NewsBrief: Feb. 19. 2024

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Monday, Feb. 19, 2024.

Number Of Domestic Homicides Down, According To Report

The number of domestic homicides is down, per a report from Oklahoma’s Attorney General. But rates are still higher than pre-pandemic levels.

One hundred five people were killed in domestic violence incidents in Oklahoma in 2022. That’s down from 114 the year before.

The tallies are annually counted and released by the Attorney General’s Office. And though they’re trending down, this year’s total is still higher than the 90 Oklahoma averaged between 2011 and 2018.

Oklahoma’s Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board has a few recommendations in its annual report. The board suggests the state Legislature make more funding available for victim services and make sentences for domestic violence charges more stringent.

Cherokee Nation Major Crimes Act

The Cherokee Nation is seeking to change federal law so the tribal nation’s Freedmen will be part of the tribe under the Major Crimes Act.

Freedmen descendants are people whose ancestors were enslaved by Oklahoma’s five largest tribes, and currently the Cherokee Nation is the only one to grant them full rights as tribal citizens.

The Major Crimes Act is a federal law that controls criminal jurisdiction of tribal citizens on tribal lands. Historically, the 1885 law has only included citizens who have “Indian blood.” This means a Cherokee citizen who is of Freedmen ancestry is tried in a state court instead of a tribal one.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. is pushing for change.

“We will not rest until the United States and its backward laws on Cherokee freedmen descendants catches up with order of equality here in the Cherokee Nation, said Hoskin Jr.

What will ultimately happen for these Cherokee citizens is up to Congress.

USDA Rural Business Grants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it is doling out $2 million in grants to Oklahoma rural businesses, municipalities and the Cherokee Nation. Business grant opportunities are open again through the end of the month.

Twelve projects from Harper to Pittsburg County were funded with USDA Rural Business Development Grants through its office of rural development.

The federal program promotes jobs and economic growth. Kenneth Corn, Oklahoma rural development director, says the state is home to entrepreneurs who are “challenging the status quo that rural Oklahoma is in decline.”

Grant money can be used for business growth, to create incubators and more. For instance in Guthrie, the Logan County Economic Development Council used a $65,000 grant to buy coffee-roasting equipment to expand a business.

Oklahoma’s State Office of Rural Development is taking grant applications until Feb. 28.

OU Women's Softball Weekend Victory

OU women’s softball extended their NCAA record win streak to 62 games after winning all five contests in the Cowgirl Challenge over the weekend.

The Sooners scored 36 total runs and allowed only one run through the tournament.

OU will play in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic on Friday in a doubleheader against Mississippi State at 7:30 p.m. and Wisconsin at 10 p.m.

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