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PM NewsBrief: Nov. 16, 2022

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This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022.

Three Western Heights board members resign

Three embattled school board members at Oklahoma City’s Western Heights Public Schools are resigning after months of controversy. The resignations come after the Oklahoma Supreme Court decided last month to uphold a state takeover of the district.

Board President Robert Everman and two other members who regularly vote with Everman submitted their resignations Tuesday, The Oklahoman confirmed. The State Board of Education has been calling for Everman to resign for over a year, saying he’s a “cancer” and “scorn” on the district.

Last year, the state Board suspended Western Heights’ superintendent, installed its own and took over district operations. This came after massive losses of students and employees, financial mismanagement, retaliatory behavior to staff and parents, and the lowest academics in the state.

Everman unsuccessfully fought the takeover and tried to block the release of an audit showing incorrect reporting and over a million dollars spent in violation of the district’s bid policy. Everman says his departure isn’t due to public pressure, but rather is a result of personal health issues.

Oakland Cemetery excavation continues

Another possible victim of the Tulsa Race Massacre has been found in Oaklawn Cemetery.

A body, believed to be an adult male, found with a gunshot wound and buried in a plain casket, was exhumed from Oaklawn Cemetery.

While the identity of the person is still unknown, the remains match information in reports from 1921 and were found in the area of the cemetery where other massacre victims are believed to be buried.

These remains are the second found with a gunshot wound during the ongoing Tulsa Race Massacre graves investigation. The first were found in June 2021 and are still undergoing DNA analysis.

Twenty-six unmarked graves have been discovered during the current round of excavation which began late last month.

Senator Pro Tem re-elected

Sen. Greg Treat was re-elected as Pro Tempore during an internal Republican caucus meeting Tuesday.

The non-profit news outlet Nondoc reported he faced an unsuccessful challenge from Norman Sen. Rob Standridge.

Treat was first elected to the leadership role in 2019. He will likely serve in it for the next two years until he is term-limited out of the legislature in 2024.

Oklahoma's Senate Pro Tempore is the highest ranking member of the chamber and leads the body.

Cherokee Nation language center opens in Tahlequah

The Cherokee Nation is celebrating the opening of a new language center honoring the late master language teacher Durbin Feeling.

More than 2,000 people, including Cherokee citizens from across the country attended the grand opening of the $20 million Durbin Feeling Language Center in Tahlequah.

The 52,000 square foot facility includes an immersion school, an adult apprentice program and a translation team.

In 2019, the Council of the Cherokee Nation approved the Durbin Feeling Language Preservation Act, which provided a $16 million investment into Cherokee language efforts.

It is the largest language investment in Cherokee Nation history.
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