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AM NewsBrief: July 9, 2024

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Tuesday, July 9, 2024.

Statewide Charter School Board: St. Isidore’s State Contract to Stay While Lawsuit Works Through Courts

The Statewide Charter School Board gathered Monday for its first-ever meeting. One of its first decisions was to hold off acting on a State Supreme Court order to rescind the contract of St. Isidore, the nation’s first publicly funded religious school.

The St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual Charter School’s sponsorship was held by the old board - the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board. But after recent legislation disbanding that board, its contract was absorbed by the new board.

After a State Supreme Court decision in June declaring St. Isidore’s contract unconstitutional, the board was tasked with rescinding its contract. But like its predecessors, the new board also punted.

Newly elected board chair Brian Shellem explained St. Isidore filed a motion Friday asking the State Supreme Court to hold off on its order to rescind the contract until it petitions the U.S. Supreme Court, and the state attorney general has until July 22 to respond to that motion. So until the state court makes a call, the contract stays in place.

"We will see what the Supreme Court does with that. So we will be in full compliance with the order," said Shellem.

St. Isidore’s board voted last month not to open next school year while the case continues through the courts.

Oklahoma's Wheat Harvest Surpasses Expectations Despite Spring Weather Challenges

Oklahoma’s wheat harvest is officially over. Despite worrisome spring weather, experts say the crop fared well.

Millions of acres of wheat are cut in the state, and early estimates show the crop produced 30 million more bushels than last year. That’s enough wheat for at least 1.2 billion pounds of pasta.

Oklahoma’s winter wheat crop is the state’s biggest crop and it has been hampered by long-term drought over the last decade, resulting in lower and lower production.

But this year, experts from the Oklahoma Wheat Commission say the crop did well under pressure.

Although the growing season started smoothly, hail, tornadoes and other dramatic weather ushered in uncertainty in the late spring. Plus, some producers battled plant diseases.

Oklahoma Schedules Third Execution of the Year

Oklahoma’s third execution of the year is scheduled for September.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has set Emmanuel Littlejohn’s execution for Sept. 26.

In 1992, Littlejohn and another man robbed an Oklahoma City convenience store and the owner, Kenneth Meers, was killed. The men were tried and convicted of murder separately, though only Littlejohn was sentenced to death. Littlejohn maintains he was not the shooter.

Reverend Jeff Hood is an advocate for people on death row. He says it doesn’t make sense for two people to be sentenced for murder when only one shot was fired.

“The doubt and the questions are enough to where it seems absolutely absurd that the attorney general's office would still be pursuing a death sentence at this point," Hood said.

In one month a board will decide whether to recommend Littlejohn to the governor for clemency and life in prison without parole.

Clothing Giveaway To Help Tornado Victims in Sulphur

People impacted by April's tornado in Sulphur have an opportunity to get free clothes, shoes and accessories.

A nonprofit based in Florida called Save The Closet will have a mobile boutique Saturday, July 28.

The clothing giveaway runs from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Murray County Expo Center in Sulphur.

An EF-3 tornado destroyed Sulphur's historic downtown and damaged surrounding areas.

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