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PM NewsBrief: July 29, 2022

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Friday, July 29, 2022

New information in Swadley’s Foggy Bottom Kitchen lawsuit

The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department filed an amended petition in its lawsuit against Swadley’s Foggy Bottom Kitchen, in which the department paid $13 million to renovate and run restaurants in different state parks.

The petition alleges Swadley’s overcharged the state for several items, submitted invoices for equipment that was never delivered, and failed to produce financial documents.

In a counterclaim, Swadley’s denies the allegations and says the state’s claims against them are misleading.

Following the resignation of Tourism Director Jerry Winchester, the Tourism Department’s CFO Katherine Nichols also stepped down citing personal reasons earlier this month.

Study finds Oklahoma women face declining living conditions

A new study from researchers at Oklahoma State University reveals women in Oklahoma face worse health care, access to affordable childcare and equal pay than anywhere else in the U.S.

Researchers at OSU’s Spears School of Business were commissioned by the nonprofit United Women’s Empowerment to conduct the study. The results paint a dire picture of the issues Oklahoma women face.

Despite women in Oklahoma having higher levels of education than men, white women earn just under 75 cents for every dollar earned by a man, which is 6 cents lower than the national average. Oklahoma’s women of color are paid even less: Black women make 58 cents for every dollar earned by men, and Latina women earn just 50 cents.

And it’s getting worse — even though the gender pay gap has recently shrunk nationally, Oklahoma’s has continued to grow. The report says if this continues, women won’t be paid equally until 2076. Oklahoma women also have a marked lack of access to affordable childcare and quality healthcare.

There was one bright spot in the report: In 2019, there was a record number of women elected to the state legislature. But, there’s a caveat — Oklahoma’s Legislature has only about 2/3rds the number of women elected as compared to the national average.

Drought conditions worsen in Oklahoma

Darker shades of colors indicating more severe drought are showing back up on the latest U.S. Drought Monitor Map.

Drought conditions in Oklahoma have increased significantly. Nearly 92 percent of the state is in severe drought or worse, up from 57 percent the prior week.

A large swath of southeastern Oklahoma is experiencing extreme drought. So far, none of the state is under the highest level of drought, but that could change if more rain doesn’t come.

The extended outlook from the Climate Prediction Center forecasts below average for rain chances in Oklahoma.

Norman launches flood reporting tool

The City of Norman has launched a new tool to help speed up the process of reporting flood damage.

The new online portal allows residents to upload photos and other information about flood destruction. The city says this will be easier and faster than reporting damage by phone.

The damage form can be found at NormanOK.gov.

Progress being made on Mooreland wildfire

Progress is being made on a wildfire still burning in Northwestern Oklahoma.

Forestry officials say the fire near Mooreland is now 60-percent contained. The blaze has burned around 20-thousand acres since it began Monday afternoon.


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