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AM NewsBrief: June 12, 2024

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Wednesday, June 12, 2024.

Oklahoma Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Edmond Public Schools Over Library Book Dispute

The state’s highest court unanimously ruled that the state Department of Education overstepped its authority by trying to force Edmond Public Schools to remove “The Kite Runner” and “The Glass Castle” from library shelves.

The Court affirmed that local school boards, not the state, decide which books are included in school libraries.

The Education Department had demanded the removal of these books due to their sexual content and threatened to downgrade Edmond’s accreditation.

Edmond Public Schools praised the Court’s decision, while State Superintendent Ryan Walters criticized it, maintaining the books were inappropriate and accused the school district of “peddling porn” by keeping the books in its high school libraries.

State Senate to Convene Special Session for Gov. Stitt's Nominee

The State Senate plans to gavel into special session today at noon.

Gov. Stitt called for the special session to take up his nomination of Mike Holder to the Board of Regents for A&M colleges.

But Senate leaders say they will gavel out immediately as Holder’s nomination will still have to go through the committee process before getting a floor vote.

Holder, a former OSU coach and athletic director, was nominated after the Senate voted down Stitt’s original nominee last month.

Proposed Norman Entertainment District Remains Uncertain After Lengthy Council Meeting

Will the City of Norman commit upwards of $600 million to build a new entertainment district that includes an arena for the OU basketball team? That was the main issue at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

Despite the Norman City Council meeting stretching late into the night, very little got decided. There will be a vote of the people, but the date of that vote wasn’t set. Whether this vote will actually be binding is, at best, unclear.

Citizens got plenty of time to make their opinions known — on if the city is taking on too much of a burden for the entertainment district, if a new arena is needed, on if there should be a survey of residents in addition to a vote, and if the questions in that survey would be skewed somehow.

One thing is clear: A new entertainment district and basketball arena in Norman is far from certain to happen.

OU Health Completes States’ First Liver Transplant To Treat Aggressive Bile Duct Cancer

OU Health has completed Oklahoma's first liver transparent to treat an aggressive form of bile duct cancer. The new service could provide options for some patients who will no longer have to leave the state to receive care.

The type of cancer this transplant treats spreads along the bile duct and can move into the liver. Less than 10% of people survive five years beyond their diagnosis.

The patient OU Health treated with a liver transplant went in for a CT scan three months after her procedure and was free from cancer.

Dr. Narendra Battula, a transplant surgeon at OU Health, says he’s glad OU Health is providing other Oklahomans with this option.

“I think it's a serious disease, and time is of essence, and I think they should be served better at their local hospitals," said Battula.

He says the successful transplant is a great achievement for the cancer center.

DeadCenter Film Festival Highlights Indigenous Stories

The deadCenter film festival kicked off over the weekend. Many of the films were Indigenous-centered, with one covering a prominent tribal issue right here in Oklahoma.

“Meet Me at The Creek,” directed by Cherokee and Kiowa filmmaker Loren Waters, documents the work of Cherokee elder Rebecca Jim, who lives alongside the infamous Tar Creek Superfund site.

Jim strives to bring awareness to the toxic metals that pollute the water in hopes it may one day be clean again.

The film tells the story of this fight and its link with the Indigenous communities surrounding the area, who have lived alongside the creek for decades.

Waters wants her documentary to let people know there is still hope.

"It gives people an opportunity to see a piece of Oklahoma and what people are working on that’s two hours away but is still just as important because everything is connected," said Walters.

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