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PM NewsBrief: Oct. 26, 2023

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Thursday, October 26, 2023.

Michelin Ending Tire Production At Ardmore Plant

A major employer in south-central Oklahoma will be shutting down its tire production operations in the next two years.

Michelin announced the plans for its Ardmore Plant on Thursday.

About 1,400 people will be losing their jobs because of the winddown.

That doesn't include contractors or other businesses that will also be impacted by the loss of production.

The Ardmore tire factory has been a major employer in the region for decades, opening its doors in 1970.

Michelin says in a news release that the Ardmore plant isn’t equipped to evolve with market demands for tires. The company will be moving production to other passenger-tire plants across the continent.

The winddown will be complete by the end of 2025. Some rubber-mixing operations are expected to continue.

Another Resignation At State Department Of Education

Another State Department of Education employee is resigning due to claims of mismanagement and negligence directed at State Superintendent Ryan Walters.

Pamela Gordon-Smith worked as the department’s Grant Development and Compliance Program Manager before resigning this week.

In her resignation letter obtained by the Tulsa World, she says she is genuinely excited about Walters’ direction for Oklahoma education and shares his values, but mismanagement has been plaguing her ability to do her job.

In the letter, she references not being given access to necessary platforms, saying she can’t see, submit or interact with grant reporting.

She says Walters has delayed providing approvals and necessary signatures, which impedes her department and others.

She also alleges she’s requested several meetings with Walters, who denied each request. She questions if his physical presence isn’t required to lead, why his position and salary exist.

Walters’ office provided a response: “Accountability to taxpayers is at the very center of everything Ryan Walters does at OSDE.”

Military Family Clinic Opens In OKC

A mental health clinic for post-9/11 veterans and their families is now available in Oklahoma City.

The Oklahoman reports the Steven A. Cohen Veterans Network opened a military family clinic in Oklahoma City this week.

It’s the 24th of its kind in the country and the second in Oklahoma after the organization opened a clinic in Lawton in 2021.

The clinic is operated by Red Rock Behavioral Health Services and provides mental health counseling to post-9/11 service members and their families regardless of their discharge status or role in service.

The state is partnering with the organization to cover the cost of counseling sessions for patients with or without insurance.

Oklahoma AG Takes Stand Against Massachusetts' Pig Welfare Law

Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond is taking action against a new pig welfare law in Massachusetts.

Drummond says it would have negative impacts on the state’s pork producers.

The law bans other states from selling or shipping pork to the state if they do not meet Massachusetts hog-housing requirements.

The Massachusetts law requires most uncooked pork sold in the state to come from pigs raised in enough space to lay down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely.

Oklahoma is part of a 13-state coalition arguing the new law is unconstitutional. In a court filing, Drummond says it would have negative impacts on the pork industry and raise pork prices.
According to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, the state is ranked ninth in the nation for hog production.

The move comes after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Proposition 12, a similar pig welfare law in California earlier this year.


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