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PM NewsBrief: Feb. 7, 2024

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Wednesday, February 7, 2024.

What Consolidating Higher Education Would Mean In Oklahoma

Gov. Kevin Stitt said at Monday’s State of the State address he wants to consolidate colleges and universities.

Stitt called on the State Regents to consolidate some colleges and universities, saying the state should stop subsidizing institutions with low enrollment and graduation rates.

In an email to StateImpact, office Communications Director Abegail Cave says there are two fronts for consolidation: small, publicly funded colleges and the state’s flagship universities.

For smaller colleges, Cave says it would make more sense for institutions that are relatively close to complement each other’s programs, rather than offering the same programs, and to share administrative costs.

As for the flagship universities: “It doesn’t make sense for OSU to offer a meteorology degree when OU is clearly the premier institution for that. And OU should leave Ag to OSU, as that is clearly more in their wheelhouse,” Cave said.

To be clear, the request from the governor does not currently have a policy initiative attached to it.

New Hangar Opening At Clinton Regional Airport

The Clinton Regional Airport is preparing to open its newest hangar.

The hangar replaces one that was destroyed by a tornado in October 2021.

Airport officials say they’re hopeful that the nearly $750,000 shelter will bring in some new business.

Previously, the airport has had to pass on opportunities to house larger aircraft.

The new so-called “corporate hangar” features a taller hydraulic door and other amenities to accommodate larger planes.

The box hangar was made possible due to a partnership between the Clinton Regional Airport and the Oklahoma Department of Aerospace and Aeronautics.

Officials say they have several interested parties, but so far no entity has been selected to use the space.

Comanche Nation Opposes Cobalt-Nickel Refinery Planned In Lawton

The Comanche Nation recently passed a resolution opposing a cobalt-nickel refinery set to be built in Lawton.

The Comanche Business Council unanimously voted to condemn the development in a meeting Saturday.

The Bartlesville-based company Westwin Elements announced last year it would be building the first cobalt-nickel refinery in the U.S. near Lawton.

At the meeting, some Comanche citizens and local residents voiced health and environmental concerns. The Comanche Nation is headquartered in Lawton.

Comanche Nation Chairman Mark Woommavovah had previously voiced public support for the project.

But he has since apologized for that, saying he should have consulted with other members of the tribal nation.

Citizens called for his suspension as chairman during the meeting.

OU Softball Opens New Season In Mexico

The defending national champion OU women’s softball team officially starts its season Thursday in an out of country tournament in Mexico.

The Sooners will play among six other teams in the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge.

Head Coach Patty Gasso says this season will mark the end of one of the most special classes to ever play softball.

“They have big personalities, they’re great players, they’re great young women. So, it’s going to be hard to see them go, and I’m not going to think about it. I’m just going to coach the heck out of them and try to get every ounce of softball out of them that we can,” Gasso said.

The Sooners play a doubleheader on Thursday - taking on Utah Valley at 10:30 a.m. central time and No. 9 Duke at 1 p.m.

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