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PM NewsBrief: Nov. 18, 2022

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This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Friday, Nov. 18, 2022.

Oklahoma breaks emergency certified teacher record

Oklahoma broke its annual record for emergency teaching certifications, and there’s still one more month to go. Nearly 3,700 emergency certified educators will be in Oklahoma classrooms.

The Oklahoma State Board of Education met Thursday and approved the latest batch of certifications. As of now, this year’s emergency certification list totals 3,690, which is 74 more educators than all of last year. And the biggest share of those certifications went to elementary education, which made up nearly a thousand of them.

Emergency certifications last for one year and can be renewed twice. They’re for educators who haven’t yet met the state’s teaching qualifications but who do hold a bachelor’s degree.

This school year started with a record number of teaching vacancies, in part fueled by the nearly 2,000 teachers who retired this summer. Districts hope the legislature’s move this spring to offer nearly $28,000 in new teacher incentives will help bridge the ever-widening gap.

Richard Glossip execution update

Death Row inmate Richard Glossip’s second of his two appeals to his sentence was denied Thursday.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals denied Richard Glossip’s second request for a new evidentiary hearing, following last week’s decision to deny Glossip’s first request and his claim of factual innocence.

These challenges came after an investigative report by law firm Reed Smith found letters suggesting Justin Sneed, the man who carried out the murder of motel owner Barry Van Trese in 1997, wanted to recant his statement that Glossip had paid him to commit the crime.

Now that both challenges have been denied by the court, Glossip will be executed on February 16 unless clemency is recommended by the Pardon and Parole Board and granted by Governor Stitt.

DOJ investigation into state, OKC, OKCPD

Oklahoma leaders are under federal investigation. Their alleged failure to provide mental health care resources could be a civil rights violation.

CS: The Department of Justice announced Thursday it’s investigating state officials, as well as the Oklahoma City government and its police department. The area doesn’t have enough community-based mental health services, and it doesn’t have enough resources for mental-health related 911 calls. The DOJ release says that could cause unnecessary admissions to psychiatric hospitals and interactions with police.

The Department will investigate whether those unnecessary admissions and police calls constitute rights violations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and whether it violates civil protections regarding law enforcement conduct authorized in the 1994 Crime Bill.

The Crystal Bridge Conservatory reopens

The Crystal Bridge Conservatory at the Myriad Botanical Gardens reopens today following extensive renovations.

The $11 million overhaul began April of last year. The renovations include new flooring, pathways, plants and a cascading waterfall.

The grand reopening for the conservatory continues through the weekend.

COVID-19 update

33 more COVID-19 fatalities bring Oklahoma’s Provisional Death Count to 17-thousand-201.

In its weekly update, the Health Department reports more than 32-hundred new positive tests for the Coronavirus since November Tenth. The number of active cases is up to nearly 48-hundred.

The agency also reports 138 COVID-19 patients in Oklahoma hospital beds including 25 in intensive care and ten children.

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