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PM NewsBrief: June 26, 2024

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for June 26, 2024.

McCurtain County Hospital Loses Funding

A hospital in southeastern Oklahoma has lost its funding after a recent state Supreme Court decision.

Turns out, an antiquated law determined the ruling.

Two years ago McCurtain County voters approved a measure to raise the lodging tax on hotels and Airbnbs.

The tax funds the county hospital and a planned new hospital building.

However, Oklahoma’s Supreme Court recently ruled the county failed to strictly adhere to a century-old law. It requires ballot proposals be published in a local newspaper for four weeks before the election.

Instead, the county educated voters through radio advertisements, social media, town halls and other means.

Hospital CEO Brian Whitfield is disappointed.

“If anyone felt that this was an opportunity to simply sit back and watch the hospital’s demise… you should’ve packed a sack lunch because we’re going to be out on the field for a long time today,” Whitfield said.

Whitfield said the hospital is the sole healthcare provider within a 60-mile radius.

Tulsa Detention Officer Charged In Juvenile Center Case

A second detention officer at the Tulsa County Family Center for Juvenile Justice has been charged with sexual assault.

The charges come as allegations of widespread abuse at the center persist.

An arrest warrant was issued Tuesday for Dquan Doyle, who prosecutors have accused of showing lewd pictures to a young woman detained at the center.

He’s also accused of inappropriate touching, letting her use his phone and giving vape pens in exchange for sexual acts.

Detainees also told investigators Doyle provided gummies and THC pens in the center after health concerns surfaced in July 2023.

Doyle is charged roughly nine weeks after prosecutors accused detention officer Jonathan Hines of similar behavior.

The officers are two of more than 20 defendants named in a federal class-action lawsuit alleging county employees either directly abused detained youth or neglected to stop the abuse.

Oklahoma City Working To Preserve History Of Black Communities

Oklahoma City is seeking Black voices for a new oral storytelling project.

OKC Arts received a grant to capture the oral history of Black neighborhoods.

Prior to Oklahoma’s statehood in 1907, several predominantly Black communities were established in the Oklahoma City metro area.

Following urbanization, redlining and Jim Crow laws, many of these communities were destroyed

Now, Oklahoma City is working to preserve their memory.

The city wants voices like former Councilmember Willa Johnson who spoke for a sit down interview in 2015 about her neighborhood, Walnut Grove.

“That was an area where there was a lot of oil wells. The river was called greasy, and the reason they called it greasy was because there was always a black film floating on top,” Johnson said.

The project is a collaboration with OSU’s Oklahoma Oral History Department and the Oklahoma Black Museum and Performing Arts Center.

Cherokee Nation Breaks Ground On New Wilma P. Mankiller Capitol Park

A new park is coming to Tahlequah thanks to the Cherokee Nation.

The park is named in honor of the Cherokee Nation’s first female principal chief.

Principal Chief Wilma P. Mankiller Capitol Park will be across the street from the Cherokee Nation’s tribal capitol complex.

The 15-acre plot will feature an array of activities and multi-purpose spaces.

The park is part of lands set aside under the Cherokee Nation’s Park, Wildlands, Fishing and Hunting Reserve Act, aimed at reviving and utilizing Cherokee-owned land for cultural purposes.

Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. says the goal of the park is to be a “gem of our parks system” that lives up to his predecessor’s legacy.

It is set to be complete next fall.

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