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PM NewsBrief: Nov. 14, 2022

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This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Monday, Nov. 14, 2022.

More money coming for drought relief

More farmers and ranchers across Oklahoma will soon be able to apply for drought relief through their local conservation office.

The Oklahoma Emergency Drought Commission put an additional $12 million toward the existing Emergency Drought Cost-Share Program.

In a meeting, the commission updated the type of drought projects that qualify for relief including water well drilling, pond cleanouts, and cover crop planting to control soil erosion.

Applications for drought relief funds are open across all conservation districts but are set to close later this month.This is the second time the commission has allocated drought relief funds from its original $23 million budget this year.

This is the second time the commission has allocated drought relief funds from its original $23 million budget this year.

Western Oklahoma e. Coli cases

Some areas of western Oklahoma are experiencing an uptick in illnesses caused by e. Coli and other bacteria.

Those bacteria can cause symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, fever and muscle aches. That’s what some people in Hydro and the surrounding towns started experiencing a few weeks ago.

The state Health Department says it’s working with local partners to pinpoint the source of the sickness.

Officials are conducting an electronic survey about residents’ recent illnesses and activities so they can look for patterns. The Health Department is working with the University of Oklahoma to monitor wastewater for clues to the origin of the bacteria.

Last year, e. Coli was detected in Hydro’s drinking water four times. But the state Department of Environmental Quality says it hasn’t found any evidence that drinking water is responsible for the current outbreak.

Still, the state Health Department told KFOR-TV last week they recommend residents boil their water as a precaution.

Tulsa Race Massacre mass graves update

The search for Race Massacre burials turns up a skull with a bullet wound.

The Tulsa World reports a forensic anthropologist at Oaklawn Cemetery discovered the wound in the remains of what is believed to have been an adult male.

According to a news release, no definitive information on race or potential relation to the 1921 Race Massacre has been established.

The remains are one of four sets exhumed from 26 burials uncovered since excavations began on Oct. 26 with work continuing for at least another week depending on weather conditions.

Republican dominance continues in Oklahoma elections

It was a good election for Democrats overall nationally, but in Oklahoma, Republicans continued to dominate.

In the latest edition of Capitol Insider, KGOU General Manager Dick Pryor and Quorum Call’s Shawn Ashley talked with political scientist and author Dr. Allyson Shortle about how Oklahoma became so solidly red within the past couple of decades.

"Jim Inhofe is a masterful strategist who essentially orchestrated the Republican takeover of this state," said Shortle. "Also we have to just look at where we are in terms of the public opinion and what values Oklahomans share. A lot of those values are religious values. They’re moral, traditionalist values. And as such, with the polarization nationally speaking, we have seen the turn of religious conservatives into the Republican Party, solidifying in that base."

You can hear the full conversation on the latest Capitol Insider and on the Capitol Insider podcast.

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