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PM NewsBrief: Jan. 13, 2023

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This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Friday, Jan. 13, 2023.

Arkansas River dam

Two Oklahoma cities and a tribal government have officially agreed to create a lake in the Arkansas River.

The mayors of Tulsa and Jenks joined Muscogee Principal Chief David Hill on Thursday in a formal agreement to build a dam in the Arkansas River. The dam will create a lake in the river from 101st to 71st streets in Tulsa.

The project will ultimately cost more than $100 million between the three governments.

Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum said the project has been a long time coming.

“People have been talking about it for over half a century, and thanks to a historic regional collaboration, we're gonna make it happen.”

Hill said the development will help the Muskogee Nation develop land near its casino on the river in south Tulsa. Jenks mayor Cory Box said the dam is the most significant economic development in his city’s history.

City of Edmond to build new City Hall

The city of Edmond has announced plans for a new City Hall building. The 44-million dollar facility will be built along Littler Avenue between First and Main Streets. The city says the current facility is too small for a population that has grown to 95-thousand. The new City Hall will also bring together three city departments that now are housed in three separate buildings. The nearly 60-thousand square foot facility will be constructed on the site of the Downtown Community Center, which will be demolished. It’s expected to open late next year.

Drought update

Drought is creeping back up in Oklahoma, and the fire danger risk is also increasing.

In central and western Oklahoma it’s been nearly a month since a quarter inch of rain fell in most areas. However, the panhandle takes the prize for the least amount of rainfall.

According to the Oklahoma Mesonet, parts of Texas County haven’t seen a quarter inch of rain for nearly 4 months.

Looking at the U.S. Drought Monitor, almost 60 percent of the state is in a drought classified as extreme. That includes nearly all of northern, central and east-central Oklahoma.

State Climatologist Gary McManus says the need for rain is dire as we are now in our driest time of the year--and with each passing day, the possibility for wildfires continues to increase.

According to the Oklahoma City Fire Department, crews have responded to nearly 100 grassfires since the start of the new year.

Oklahoma lawmaker files bill to ban public water fluoridation

Broken Arrow Senator Nathan Dahm has introduced a bill that would prohibit any public water supply in Oklahoma from adding fluoride to its drinking water.

Senate Bill 165 would ban cities, counties, schools and even some private businesses from adding fluoride to their water. Dahm says individuals who want additional fluoride can get it themselves.

However, the Oklahoma State Department of Health recommends that public water systems add fluoride to promote dental health, especially for kids.

Too much fluoride can cause cosmetic issues with teeth. And in extreme cases, it can weaken bones. But those problems start to occur when teeth regularly get thousands of times as much fluoride as is found in any Oklahoma public water supply.

Even with access to fluoride in mouthwash and toothpaste, kids’ teeth get a boost from fluoridated water. A review of public water fluoridation data compared to a report on dental problems in Oklahoma’s third-graders shows kids across the state have fewer dental problems in areas with more fluoride in the drinking water.
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