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PM NewsBrief: Dec. 28, 2022

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022.

Oklahoma Poet Laureate

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt is naming a new State Poet Laureate.

Jay Snider is a poet from Cyrill, Oklahoma who writes about the American West and the cowboy way of life. Snider’s been featured at cowboy poetry gatherings across the country and was recognized in 2008 as the Cowboy Poet of the Year by the Academy of Western Artists.

Here he is performing his poem, ‘Pearly Gates.’

“Ya see, I’m not accustomed to gates so grand ‘round our ranch. We merely make do. They’re not real neat or fancy-made, most got a broken rail or two. So I wonder, when I make it there to that gate so grand and fine, will the good lord let me ride on through or send me ‘round to one like mine?”

Oklahoma’s poet laureates perform all over the state, and organizations and schools can get funding from the Oklahoma Arts Council to bring Snider to their communities.

Southwest flight cancellations, delays cause travel headaches for thousands

Flight delays and cancellations have left thousands stranded across the country, including here in Oklahoma City. The vast majority of cancellations and delays have come from Southwest Airlines.

According to FlightAware.com, the airline canceled more than 2,500 flights as of Tuesday morning. Southwest said severe weather this past weekend forced the airline to make substantial unprecedented changes to its flight schedule. CEO Bob Jordan says the airline is working to get back on track.

“We're doing everything we can to return to a normal operation," said Jordan. "With our large fleet of airplanes and flight crews out of position in dozens of locations, and after days of trying to operate as much of our full schedule across the busy holiday weekend, we reached a decision point to significantly reduce our flying to catch up. Our plan for the next few days is to fly a reduced schedule and reposition our people and planes, and we're optimistic to be back on track before next week.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation called out Southwest Airlines on Twitter, saying they are responsible for taking care of the customer, and that the airline needs to make good on its promise to travelers.

Omnibus bill

The omnibus package signed by President Biden includes some stipulations that will make getting lunch easier for students in Oklahoma.

One provision enshrines a permanent nationwide benefit for lunch over the summer months. Executive Director of Hunger Free Oklahoma Chris Bernard said qualified families can get up to $120 per summer through the program.

Another change is the doing away of a congregate setting requirement for rural areas. Previously, parents had to transport their children to a place with other people to get free meals over the summer.

A third provision would see stolen federal nutrition benefits known as SNAP replaced. Bernard said “SNAP skimming” is becoming more common in Oklahoma and the omnibus would replace two months of benefits up to two times a year. Biden signed the omnibus bill last week.

Edmond Tree Recycling

The City of Edmond is offering a recycling option to their residents for live Christmas trees.

Residents can drop off trees at Mitch Park now until the end of January. Christmas tree lots and other businesses can also drop off trees for processing. The trees will be turned into mulch.

Residents are asked to remove all tree stands, nails and ornaments.

The mulch will be available to residents to pick up at no cost.
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