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PM NewsBrief: Dec. 13, 2023

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Wednesday, December 13, 2023.

Proposed Oklahoma County Jail Site Near Airport Is Out

The Federal Aviation Administration has denied a request from Oklahoma County to build a new jail on land near Will Rogers World Airport.

In a letter to the Oklahoma City Director of Airports, the manager of the FAA’s district office for airports in Oklahoma and Arkansas, Glenn Boles, said the proposed jail location near the Will Rogers World Airport could put the airport’s federal funding at risk, as the necessary rezoning would violate the terms of a grant that is responsible for a majority of the airport’s federal funds.

Additionally, the proposed jail location could interfere with a potential third runway already approved by the FAA.

The county wanted to buy the city-owned 192 acres near Southwest 54th Street and South Newcastle Road, north of the airport.

The Board of County Commissioners met in executive session on Wednesday morning to discuss other possible locations for the new jail and narrowed the list down to three options.

Deevers Wins Senate District 32 Seat

Southwest Oklahoma voters have selected a new Senator.

Republican Dusty Deevers will be the new state senator of Senate District 32, representing much of Lawton, Cameron University and Fort Sill.

Voters chose between Deevers and Democrat Larry Bush to replace John Michael Montgomery.

Montgomery resigned in July to become President & C-E-O at the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce.

OSU Adding Polytech Program To Tulsa Offerings

Oklahoma State University is launching OSU Polytech, an initiative to improve STEM education access and workforce development in Tulsa.

OSU officials say the project is an extension of the university’s existing programs.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said employers need skilled workers.

But barriers related to accessibility in rural areas and poverty prevent some from entering into the workforce.

“That is a significant amount of the workforce that's out of the workforce, and that is a drain on the state and it's certainly a drain on the Cherokee Nation at times,” Hoskin said.

OSU has worked with the Cherokee Nation, and Hoskin says the Nation supports the project.

Through the initiative, OSU is working with companies to train workers to help boost the state’s workforce.

OSU Polytech has four focuses; a STEM curriculum, industry-aligned education programs, flexible learning opportunities and real-world experiences.

Oklahoma Receives Federal Grant For Transportation Improvements

Rural and tribal communities in Oklahoma will receive a federal grant for transportation needs.

The money aims to help people with disabilities and seniors get to where they need to go.

The Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program is funding 18 projects across the U.S. this year that focus on safety, accessibility and connectivity in rural areas.

More than $360,000 from the bipartisan infrastructure law will go toward expanding microtransit services to rural and tribal communities in Oklahoma by offering shared curb-to-curb on-demand rides.

Mitch Landrieu is president Biden’s senior advisor and helped implement the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

“It's about making sure that they have transit options through providing ADA accessible vans. In other words, they're going to go pick people up and bring them to where they need to be," Landrieu said.

He said this project will expand accessibility for seniors and people with disabilities.


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