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PM NewsBrief: Oct. 10, 2022

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Monday, Oct. 10, 2022.

Alumni gather at old Northeast High School to honor 1970 student activism

A group of alumni from the former Northeast High School in Oklahoma City returned to their alma mater this weekend to remember their old school and the activism many engaged in more than 50 years ago.

'70s music classics blared as alumni gathered in the new Northeast Legacy Plaza in front of Classen School of Advanced Studies at Northeast in Oklahoma City.

Terry Fife was a student at a newly integrated Northeast in 1970. She says back then there was pushback from people opposed to white and Black kids going to school together in OKC.

"In essence, many of them wanted to see this fail. And so we began to realize that, wow, we need to make an investment in, you know, supporting integration, supporting public schools."

That year, OKC voters were tasked with passing a tax increase to continue funding Oklahoma City Public Schools. Fife says she was told if it didn’t pass, it’s unlikely that she and her classmates would be able to finish out the school year.

So, students organized. Headlines from the time say as many as 400 marched to the state capitol calling on voters to support the increase, which ultimately passed.

Alum Brenda Loggins says she hopes modern students take that history of their building to heart.

"We want to encourage you to be aware of the issues that you have and to know that you have power. You have a voice."

Today, Northeast is no more. Its name disappeared when its building was taken over by Classen SAS a few years ago.

Fife says, a newly dedicated monument and plaza named for the old Northeast is a good first step. Still, there’s a wound in the community around the school in losing the old name and Vikings mascot.

"But we also want to make sure that we support the school. We are big public school supporters. It was public school is is such an American institution. And it's like one of our most brilliant ideas," said Fife.

And so a small group of both Black and white alumni reenacted their march from 50 years ago – maybe walking a bit slower. But still just as determined to fight for their school and their community.

OG&E customers will soon see higher prices on their energy bills

OG&E points to rising natural gas prices as the reason for the recent price increase. Beginning this month, customers will see an increase of 7.4% on fuel charges. That adds up to a little under $10 more each month for the average customer.

The company says the rate hike is to recover fuel costs incurred in August that haven’t yet been collected from customers. It plans to spread out that cost increase over the next 2 years.

OG&E says things could change, though. While unlikely, if fuel costs decrease, it’ll refund customers the amount that was over-collected and reduce fuel costs in monthly bills.

Oklahoma farmers and ranchers will soon see more drought relief money

Governor Kevin Stitt has approved $20 million to help farmers and ranchers who have suffered crop and livestock loss during the drought.

Josh Emerson is a livestock producer in McIntosh County, and says the drought relief funds will especially help farmers and ranchers with water supply.

“Some runoff… I’ve got probably 20 to 25 ponds, and I would say eight of them are dry and several others will be dry in a few weeks if we don’t get some runoff.”

The Oklahoma Emergency Drought Commission will decide how to disperse the relief funds to farmers and ranchers.

If the commission allocates the money similar to the cost-share share program it recently approved, Emerson says he and other ranchers will be happy to get a percentage of their drought project paid off.

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