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PM NewsBrief: Sept. 19, 2022

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This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Monday, Sept. 19, 2022.

Drought Update

Fall officially starts Thursday, but you wouldn’t know it from the above average temperatures.

The hot weather and little rain chances have increased drought even further around the state.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, almost half of the state is experiencing a level 3 extreme drought. Just over three percent is in a level 4 drought-the highest category.

It’s been a very hot and dry year. Just for comparison, this time a year ago about half of the state was not under any level drought.

Hot and dry conditions are expected for much of this week as summer comes to close.

Oklahoma contractor charged with multiple counts of felony embezzlement

An Oklahoma contractor is being charged with embezzlement for stealing from customers.

Oklahoma contractor Michael Hanson is being charged with 24 counts of felony embezzlement for charging customers for concrete or fencing work he never completed.

The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Unit has been investigating Hanson since last November and allege he has used his company, Leader Construction LLC, to steal more than $175,000 from 25 people across multiple counties.

Investigators also allege Hanson’s pattern of embezzlement through the use of his company may violate the Oklahoma Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which comes with a minimum sentence of 10 years.

Tribal languages summit

As part of an ongoing effort to revitalize Indigenous languages, Representatives from four government agencies will convene a Native Language Summit in Oklahoma City next month.

The Speaking Sovereignty Summit will be hosted by the Bureau of Indian Education. Attendees will discuss how to develop and mentor educators who will teach the next generation of speakers. They will also discuss how Native communities can support new language learners.

Last year, during the White House Tribal Nations Summit, the Department of the Interior, Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture and Education launched a multi-agency effort to promote and preserve Native languages. They also signed an agreement that would strengthen the Native American Languages Act that was passed in 1990.

Clemency hearing dates

The Oklahoma parole board is juggling a number of clemency hearing dates for death row prisoners. Chairman Scott Williams said at the board’s regular meeting (this/last week) he doesn’t see a reason why the board can’t do two clemency hearings - which usually include testimony from the condemned and family members of victims - in one day.

The board is still debating a clemency hearing date for Richard Glossip, a man with high profile supporters who say he’s innocent.

Glossip is scheduled for execution in early December. According to state policy, his clemency hearing must be held by November 17th. If the board suggests clemency for Glossip, the governor will have the final say. Most recently the governor rejected the board’s suggestion of clemency for James Coddington, who was executed last month.

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