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PM NewsBrief: Nov. 6, 2023

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Monday, November 6, 2023.

Clemency Hearing Wednesday For Death Row Inmate Phillip Hancock

A clemency hearing for an Oklahoma death row inmate is scheduled for later this week.

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board will examine Phillip Hancock's case on Wednesday morning.

Board members will decide whether to recommend clemency to Gov. Kevin Stitt.

Hancock was convicted of shooting and killing two men in April 2001.

His execution date is scheduled for Nov. 30.

Recent Rain Improves Wheat Crop

Slow soaking rain in recent weeks have provided some relief for Oklahoma’s wheat crop.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that approximately 75% of next year's wheat has been planted in Oklahoma.

Experts say the recent moisture is expected to sustain forage growth and improve prospects for fall grazing.

Small grains specialist Amanda Silva says producers statewide face a range of scenarios based on rainfall amounts during the past couple of months.

"In some situations producers decided to plant a little bit earlier than they would just to take advantage of the moisture that they had available," said Silva. "Some other parts of the state it was just really dry and they haven’t even started yet."

Producers say the rain has increased subsoil moisture and is improving prospects for the winter wheat crop compared to previous drought years.

Oklahoma Conservation Department's 'Gar Week' Gets Underway

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is hosting its second annual ‘Gar Week’ this week on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Sarah Southerland, who runs the ODWC’s account, says many people think of gar as a nuisance.

"They take these large, long-lived species, and then just dump them on the bank, ‘cause there’s a misconception there," Southerland said.

But she says last year’s event achieved the Department’s goal of teaching people about this native apex predator and changing some Oklahomans’ minds about it.

"What's most important are the people who message us like, ‘Oh, I thought they were trash fish. Now, I don't think that.’ And we got an outpouring of that," Southerland said.

Gar Week starts Monday and runs through Sunday, with educational theme days, quizzes and giveaways to be found on the Department’s social media feed.

VA Clinic In Vinita

The Cherokee Nation and Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System have agreed to provide a clinic inside the tribe’s Vinita Health Center for area veterans.

Cherokee Nation will be providing 1,300 sq. ft. of leased space for the VA clinic, which is set to open in 2024.

The clinic will serve both Native and non-Native veterans in Eastern Oklahoma.

Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. credits his father, former Vinita Mayor Chuck Hoskin, and local VA leadership for the project.

A local clinic was set to close after expansions were announced in the region.

The facility will include a waiting area, exam rooms and work areas.

VA officials will also work with the Vinita Health Center on lab and x-ray services.


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