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PM NewsBrief: Sept. 28, 2022

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This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022.

Former OKC Charter School superintendent facing felony embezzlement charges

Former Justice Alma Wilson Seeworth Academy superintendent Janet Grigg is accused of embezzling more than $250,000.

She faces three felony charges of embezzlement of public money, embezzlement of public property and concealing stolen property.

Charging documents first reported by online news outlet NonDoc echo the findings of an investigative audit released by State Auditor and Inspector General Cindy Byrd late last year.

Byrd accused Grigg of giving herself and upper level staff more than $210,000 in unapproved bonuses and spending more than $40,000 on personal expenses.

The defunct charter school was founded in 1998 as an alternative school for at-risk students. It closed in 2019 amid concerns about its finances.

Gender-affirming care for kids and teens

Oklahoma is joining the ranks of conservative states cracking down on gender-affirming care for kids and teens. Lawmakers are using pandemic relief funding as an opportunity to bring the national wedge issue to the state.

The Oklahoma Legislature is convening for a special session Wednesday to dole out hundreds of millions in American Rescue Plan funding.

A proposal laid out in House Bill 1007 would grant $40 million to OU Health for child behavioral health services. But it has a stipulation: none of it can go to gender-affirming care for minors.

OU Health has offered that care for years. A spokesperson says the new facility was never intended to offer gender-affirming services. Nonetheless, access will decrease soon.

The organization’s leadership team is planning an end to certain gender medicine services across their facilities.

It’s unclear which services that includes. Current gender-affirming services OU Health offers include medications that delay the changes that come with puberty, hormone therapies and help with legal name changes.

Texas and Florida officials have worked to ban gender-affirimg care for trans youth, and right-wing commentators such as Tucker Carlson have used their platforms to falsely accuse parents and doctors who provide that care of sexually mutiliating children.

Benjamin Cole clemency hearing

A man on death row convicted of killing his 9-month-old daughter in 2002 did not receive a recommendation of clemency Tuesday.

In a 4-1 vote, the Pardon and Parole Board did not recommend clemency for death row inmate Benjamin Cole.

Cole’s defense says executing Cole would be beneath us as a society, as his decline in both physical and mental health in recent years including a large lesion on his brain and symptoms of schizophrenia have left Cole in a state where he is not a danger to anyone.

Representatives from the Attorney General’s office say the horrific nature of his crime, his apparent lack of remorse, and history of child abuse should disqualify him from consideration of clemency.

Relatives of the victim, Brianna Cole, requested the board not recommend clemency.

While a decision about Cole’s competency is yet to be made, he is scheduled to be executed on Oct. 20.

Oklahoma City hiring event

The city of Oklahoma City is looking to interview job seekers for various departments during a hiring event next week.

The event will take place Oct. 6th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 420 W Main St. Job seekers can apply online for positions through Oct. 4 to interview at the event.

Organizers say successful applicants may get on-site conditional job offers or be placed on a hiring list.

More information can be found at OKC.gov/careers.
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