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PM NewsBrief: July 10, 2024

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for July 10, 2024.

Oklahoma County Jail Blocks Health Inspection

The Oklahoma County jail has failed another health inspection.

The jail has failed nine health inspections in a row since the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority took over operations four years ago.

The latest failed inspection comes after jail staff refused to let the state health department inside Tuesday morning.

According to the report, the jail told inspectors they didn’t have enough staff to support the inspection process.

The same situation occurred about two weeks ago when the health department showed up for an unannounced visit.

In a letter to OSDH, Oklahoma County Assistant District Attorney Aaron Etherington claimed the health department overstepped its bounds… saying they aren’t able to show up unexpectedly. However, state law says OSDH can perform inspections without any forewarning.

Activists are calling for a criminal investigation into the jail’s leadership and for the U.S. Department of Justice to take control of the facility.

Lawsuit Filed For 2022 Oklahoma County Jail Inmate Death

Two years ago, an inmate at the Oklahoma County jail died in custody after being sick for weeks.

Now, his father is suing the Oklahoma County jail trust for the death.

James McMichael is suing the Oklahoma County jail trust and the Oklahoma County Board of Commissioners over the death of his son, Corey McMichael, who was a pretrial detainee at the jail in 2022.

According to the lawsuit, Corey started complaining of headaches and vertigo in June of 2022 while in custody, but was not taken in for treatment until weeks later.

He was admitted to the hospital after a nurse witnessed him having seizure-like activity, and later experienced respiratory failure and cardiopulmonary arrest and tested positive for pneumococcus.

He was pronounced brain dead on July 1, 2022.

The lawsuit alleges Corey’s constitutional rights to protection while in confinement were violated and jail staff showed deliberate indifference for his health and safety, resulting in his death.

His father, James, is seeking $75,000 in relief.

Walters Assembles Conservative Committee for Overhaul of Social Studies Standards

State Superintendent Ryan Walters is tapping national conservative figures to head up a committee reviewing academic standards for social studies education.

Walters is calling for a “complete overhaul” of the current standards.

Walters announced the Executive Review Committee Tuesday in a news release, saying the goal of the standards overhaul was to eliminate DEI and indoctrination and highlight American exceptionalism.

The committee features prominent conservatives, including Dennis Prager of PragerU, David Barton of the Christian Nationalist organization Wallbuilders, and the president of the Heritage Foundation, Kevin Roberts.

The Heritage Foundation is a think tank responsible for Project 2025, a movement that among other things, proposes to dismantle the U.S. Department of Education.

Standards guide schools on topics, but districts maintain authority over curriculum.

Standards are set by the state department, receive a public comment period and must get approval from the State Board of Education and the legislature.

Social studies standards are up for review next year and will likely be adopted in time for the 2025 to 26 school year.

Devon Energy Spends $5 Billion For Oil Wells, Land, Assets From Houston-Based Company

Devon Energy is Oklahoma’s second-biggest oil and gas company, and a massive acquisition makes it even bigger.

This week, Devon announced it acquired $5 billion worth of assets from Houston-based Grayson Mill Energy.

The sale includes about 500 oil wells on 307,000 acres of land - a swath about 16 times the size of Stillwater.

It’s on the Williston Oil Basin, which covers parts of the Dakotas, Montana and southern Canada.

Devon says the acquisition will bring the company’s total energy production up to three-quarters of a million barrels per day.

That builds on existing momentum - Devon jumped 93 spots on the Fortune 500 list in 2023. That makes it the 216th biggest publicly traded company in the U.S. and the second largest in Oklahoma, after ONEOK Energy.

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