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PM NewsBrief: Nov. 8, 2022

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This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.

Tornado moves Southeast Oklahoma polling place

Tornado damage to a Baptist church in Idabel will mean some McCurtain County voters will change where they cast their ballots.

Voters who normally vote at Trinity Baptist Church in Idabel will now cast their ballots at Calvary Missionary Baptist Church down the road.

Trinity was heavily damaged in a weekend tornado that was part of a system which injured dozens and killed at least two people in Southeast Oklahoma and nearby areas of Arkansas and Texas.

The destruction at the church meant it couldn’t host a polling place, but the Calvary Missionary Baptist Church a half mile away didn’t suffer near the damage and election officials ruled it could host voters.

EMBARK free rides to the polls

EMBARK is offering free rides to Oklahoma residents needing assistance getting to and from their local polling place. Rides will be offered free of charge today and will include fixed routes around Oklahoma City in the metro, as well as paratransit services and the Oklahoma City Street Car. For more information on bus schedules and routes visit EMBARKok.com or call 405-235-7433.

Oklahoma Turnpike Authority responds to allegations of modifying public meeting agendas

Some after-the-fact public meeting agenda changes by the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and found during a lawsuit appear to be routine. It’s the latest turn in a legal maze surrounding the construction of the $5 billion ACCESS Oklahoma turnpike project.

Attorneys representing residents impacted by the turnpike project accused the OTA of altering January and February meeting agendas after the meetings took place. They based their claims on metadata showing timestamps with modifications.

The OTA says those modifications, though, were added signatures and supplemental information, and didn’t change the fundamental information contained in either agenda.

But the lawsuit will continue. Lawyers representing more than 150 people in the path of turnpike still allege Open Meeting Act violations with how the OTA announced the project, like using unclear agenda wording and having few resources available on route locations before the project was approved.

Today is Election Day

Oklahoma voters are heading to the polls today to decide who will represent them in many state, federal and local offices.

Oklahoma voters will decide on a litany of statewide races including for Governor, state superintendent and many more.

In addition, every single spot representing Oklahomans in Congress, including all five in the House and both Senate seats are up for grabs.

Some local propositions may appear on your ballot as well as some races that are closer to home - for judges, prosecutors and a handful of state lawmakers.

Not on the ballot this year are nearly 70% of the state’s legislative seats due to a lack of contested races.

Polls are open until 7 p.m. tonight. Those in line before polls close are still allowed to cast their vote.

Join KGOU and NPR tonight beginning at 7 for live special coverage of election results as they roll in. We’ll also have full coverage of local election results at KGOU.org and tomorrow on Morning Edition.

University of Oklahoma announces new initiative to address state’s shortage of aviation professionals

OU announced a new initiative to address the state’s shortage of aviation professionals on Monday.

At a press conference at the Max Westheimer Airport, representatives from the University of Oklahoma and the state government announced plans to expand the School of Aviation Studies.

Gov. Kevin Stitt says the expansion will help the school, recognized by FLYING Magazine as the country’s best university-based aviation program, prepare students for the workforce.

"Being number one, you’re gonna have tons of more kids coming here and wanting to be pilots," said Stitt.

The expansion plans include increasing enrollment numbers and spending $10 million over three years to replace and add on to the school’s aircraft fleet. The university also plans to raise $30 million over the next five years to improve facilities and put toward student scholarships.
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