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PM NewsBrief: Oct. 16, 2023

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Monday, October 16, 2023.

New Effort To Decertify Union At Local Starbucks

A year after members of a Nichols Hills Starbucks voted to join Starbucks Workers United, other members are petitioning to oust the union from the store.

The National Right to Work Foundation is providing free legal representation to Amy Smith, a barista at the Nichols Hills Starbucks location who submitted a petition to the National Labor Relations Board for a vote to decertify the store’s union, which was established last year.

The Foundation says Smith’s petition has enough signatures from her coworkers to prompt a union decertification election.

A similar effort assisted by the Foundation to decertify a union Starbucks in New York was dismissed in July, with an NLRB official citing unfair labor practices on the part of the company.

Alisha Humphrey, a local Starbucks Workers Union organizer and barista, expects the NLRB to dismiss this petition as well.

Modoc Nation Files Federal Complaint Against State Of Oklahoma, Attorney General

Attorneys for the Modoc Nation say the State of Oklahoma is improperly prosecuting Indigenous people on their reservation.

They’ve filed a complaint in federal court against the state and Attorney General Gentner Drummond.

The Modoc Nation cites six cases that were brought before the local courts in Northeast Oklahoma between 2019 and 2021 that involved Native defendants who had their cases dismissed because the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals found the state lacked jurisdiction under McGirt to prosecute them.

They also claim that the Modoc Nation Reservation was never disestablished.

Lawyers for the tribal nation say Attorney General Gentner Drummond is ignoring those dismissals and ordered local DA's to prosecute cases involving Native people under the 2022 Castro-Huerta ruling.

They cite letters sent to local DA's from the Attorney General's Office.

The Modoc Nation is asking to halt prosecutions of Native people on Native land and are asking that their reservation be deemed never disestablished.

OKC Picks Nonprofit To Operate Senior Wellness Center

Oklahoma City leaders have selected a private health nonprofit to operate a new senior health and wellness center in the city’s northeast area.

Community Health Centers of Oklahoma will provide activities, recreation, health services and resources inside an about 45,000-square-foot facility catering to people ages 50 and up.

It will include things like a heated lap and therapy pool, fitness center, game room and computer area.

The center is part of capital improvements in the MAPS 3 program, which aims to improve quality of life.

This center is the third to be built through the project, with one more on the way in 2024.

The center is expected to open to members on Dec. 7.

USDA Grant Award To Butterfly Farm

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing nearly $750,000 to a butterfly farm near Bixby. It's part of the latest round of USDA grants for training, outreach and technical assistance for underserved and veteran farmers.

The Euchee Butterfly Farm’s goal is to improve the lives of Native People, plants and pollinators.

There are almost 14,000 Indigenous-owned farms in Oklahoma, according to USDA’s Agriculture Census.

But low quality land, lack of financial resources and access to information are problems for some Native farm owners or operators.

The department is funding a project providing conferences, workshops and classes to help remove barriers in accessing USDA resources through the farm’s learning center.

This announcement is part of USDA giving nearly $28 million in grants for underserved and veteran producers in 27 states.

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