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PM NewsBrief: Aug. 7, 2023

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Monday, August 7, 2023.

Will Rogers World Airport Parking Rates Increase Next Month

It will soon cost more to park at Will Rogers World Airport.

The Oklahoma City Airport Trust and City Council passed a resolution that increases parking rates.

Hourly parking will be $2 an hour, up from a dollar. And the first hour will no longer be free.

Rates will also increase for long-term, covered parking and the parking garage.

Airport officials say the increases are needed to fund several improvement projects.

The new rates are set to take effect Sept. 1.

Norman Legislators React To ACCESS Approval

State lawmakers who represent Norman are not happy the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority’s ACCESS Oklahoma Plan is supposed to move forward.

The state Supreme Court approved the ACCESS project and its $500 million bond package last Tuesday.

ACCESS Oklahoma is a 15-year, $5 billion dollar turnpike project, which will build three new toll roads in the metro area.

Norman residents have advocated against the project since its announcement in February 2022.

Their representatives at the state Capitol responded to the decision in a news release by expressing their disappointment in the ruling.

The four legislators encouraged Norman residents to remain hopeful in state Auditor Cyndi Byrd’s audit of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority. They also want oversight reforms.

OKC Animal Shelter Closes Two Days Due To Staffing

Oklahoma City’s animal shelter is temporarily closing for two days a week due to staffing capacity issues.

The shelter says starting next Sunday, the facility will be closed Sundays and Mondays until recently hired staff go through onboarding.

The shelter’s hours for the rest of the week will remain the same.

Shelter officials say they will re-evaluate opening back to seven days a week once staffing levels stabilize.

Food-Borne Microbe Uptick

The Oklahoma State Department of Health is investigating a food-borne parasite that’s infecting more Oklahomans than usual this summer. It’s part of a nationwide uptick in cyclospora related illness.

Cyclospora is a type of microbe that can infect people via contaminated water or food, especially berries, fresh herbs and leafy greens. The main symptom is watery diarrhea that lasts more than a week.

Normally, cases in the U.S. pick up in the summertime. But this year, they started showing up earlier, and most of the country has seen more than normal.

That includes Oklahoma, where the State Health Department has launched an investigation into cyclospora-related illness.

A spokesperson says most of the state’s cases have been in Northeastern Oklahoma.

The investigation has identified romaine lettuce as a possible culprit, but the Health Department isn’t recommending Oklahomans avoid any specific foods right now.

This illness is still pretty uncommon — despite the uptick, Oklahoma has only reported between 11 and 30 cases this year, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

U.S. Supreme Court Denies Stay In Tulsa Traffic Case

The U.S. Supreme Court will no longer allow Tulsa a stay to enforce traffic laws in municipal courts while it weighs an appeal to the high profile City of Tulsa v. Hooper case.

Tulsa is asking the Supreme Court to hear an appeal of a federal case related to a traffic ticket.

The city says they should be allowed to enforce the ticket for Justin Hooper, a Choctaw citizen pulled over for speeding.

While they wait, they won’t be able to charge him in municipal court, though Hooper - and all Native people on reservation land - can be charged for crimes in tribal or federal court.

For his part, Hooper says he wants to be held accountable. He just doesn’t want any confusion about who should be holding him to account.

“Nobody's getting away with anything, and I don't believe that I should even get away with speeding. I don't I don't believe in lawlessness or anything like that. I just believe that people need to be in the right jurisdiction,” Hooper said.

Tribal leaders issued statements after the stay was denied saying it's time for city leaders and tribal nations to work together.

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