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oklahoma

Before becoming the internationally recognized author of Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison grew up a precocious child in Deep Deuce, Oklahoma City. Now, a collection of his letters is available in hardback. KGOU’s Richard Bassett spoke with John Callahan, the literary executor for Ralph Ellison and one of the editors of the book. Bassett began by asking what the letters reveal about Ellison’s feelings for Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Holds Film Conference, Invests In Recruiting Projects

Nov 20, 2019
Oklahoma Film and Music Office Director Tava Sofsky, left, leads a discussion Thursday with film producer Jonathan King during the opening session of the inaugural Oklahoma Film and Music Conference.  (Photo by Steve Metzer)
(Photo by Steve Metzer)

Last week, hundreds of entertainment industry professionals attended Oklahoma's first-ever Film and Music Conference. The event's goal was to help the state's talent further develop industry skills and knowledge, as well as to encourage companies to produce projects in Oklahoma. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses how the state incentivizes production companies to film in Oklahoma and what officials are saying about Oklahoma's potential for attracting movies.

Declining ACT Scores Raise College Readiness Concerns

Nov 6, 2019
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma high school graduates’ scores on the ACT college-readiness exam declined in every subject this year, according to a report released Oct. 30.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt hand delivers hundreds of commutation certificates on Friday, November 1, 2019.
TWITTER.COM/OKLADOC

The state of Oklahoma plans to release hundreds of prisoners Monday after their sentences were reduced by the state's Pardon and Parole Board. 462 state prisoners could be sent home, which would represent the nation's largest single day commutation.

Why is there a Putnam City school district in Oklahoma but no Putnam City?

Reynolds Ford in Norman is prohibited from selling cars on Sunday under an Oklahoma state law.
Claire Donnelly / KGOU

KGOU listener John Potts noticed every auto dealership in the state is closed on Sunday, so he asked How Curious for an explanation. It turns out that Oklahoma is one of several states that forbids motor vehicle sales on Sundays.

A mysterious ball of light seems to appear and disappear on a road in far northeast Oklahoma. One listener who witnessed the so-called “spooklight” asked: Where is it coming from?

Wiley Post is seen in a 1921 mugshot.
Oklahoma History Center

Aviator Wiley Post gained global fame in the 1930s. He was known for smashing around-the-world flight records, but did he also spend time in an Oklahoma prison for a felony?

The Collapse Of A Hospital Empire — And Towns Left In The Wreckage

Sep 25, 2019
I-70 Community Hospital in Sweet Springs, Mo., is one of eight hospitals owned or managed by Miami businessman Jorge A. Perez that closed in recent years. Twelve Perez-affiliated hospitals are in bankruptcy.
Heidi de Marco / KHN

EmpowerHMS helped run an empire of rural hospitals. Now, 20 of them have either entered bankruptcy or closed their doors, including five in Oklahoma.

A woman with her land claim in 1889.
Oklahoma History Center

In 1893, an anonymous reporter from Kansas wrote about a town in northern Oklahoma  comprised entirely of women. But when he tried to go back to the site one week later, it was gone. Was this town real?

Land surveyor Aaron Morris stands with his equipment on "Magnetic Hill" near Springer, Oklahoma.
Claire Donnelly / KGOU

On a special stretch of road near Springer, Oklahoma, it feels like gravity doesn’t quite work--  when you shift a car into neutral gear, you feel like the car is rolling backwards up the hill. KGOU listener Vicki Weiss asked How Curious: Does this spot really defy gravity?

OU researcher Miranda Vesy holds a Texas horned lizard, often called a horny toad.
Claire Donnelly / KGOU

KGOU listener Gabe Denton remembers seeing horny toads all the time when he was growing up in Choctaw, but he hasn’t seen one in decades. Denton asked How Curious: What happened?

Trade War Leads To New Challenges For Oklahoma Pecan Producers

Aug 28, 2019
An Oklahoma State University orchard worker shakes a pecan tree at harvest last year. Producers say this year’s still-growing crop could be the largest in five years.
Todd Johnson / Oklahoma State University Department of Agriculture

Oklahoma’s pecan producers expect the largest crop yield in years. But trade tensions with China, the largest buyer of U.S. pecans, could make exporting the product difficult. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses the industry’s challenges in Oklahoma and how growers are attempting to reach the domestic market amid foreign tariffs. 

The question of whether to expand Medicaid and extend health insurance to thousands of Oklahomans promises to be a major topic over the next year.

The Healthcare Working Group, a bipartisan legislative committee charged with deciding whether to endorse Medicaid expansion or other policy moves, kicked off its work last week and is expected to unveil recommendations before next year’s session. Meanwhile, a signature-collecting drive is underway to put a state question on a 2020 ballot to accept expansion.

Demand For Licenses To Grow Hemp Increases In Oklahoma

Jul 17, 2019
A woman stands in a hemp field at a farm in Springfield, Colo.
AP Photo/P. Solomon Banda

The demand for licenses to grow hemp has exceeded state officials' expectations. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses  profitable aspects of the hemp industry and how Oklahoma hopes to model its certification program on states like Colorado. 

Former Epic Teachers Describe Pressure To Manipulate Enrollment

Jun 27, 2019
Epic Charter Schools' is transforming its testing site in Midwest City to a blended center that will serve students in grades 7 through 12.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

Administrators at Epic Charter Schools have been allowing, encouraging or pressuring teachers to manipulate students’ enrollment for years in order to improve employees’ bonus pay, according to at least seven former teachers.

Tom Cochrane is a professional geologist and writer who spent 25 years in Oklahoma working in the oil industry. But the former "Big Oil Insider" has since morphed into an avid environmentalist. He's written a book about his experiences called, Tornados, Rattlesnakes & Oil.

KGOU's Richard Bassett sat down with Cochrane to discuss the work.

Oklahoma Supreme Court chambers
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday a campaign to expand government health insurance for low-income residents can move forward. KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley discuss the court's decision, which came just hours after hearing oral arguments.   

The Magicicada cassini cicada species is the only member of Brood VIII, a group recently documented for the first time in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma Cicadas

A group of colorful cicadas has been documented for the first time in the state. Naturalist Robert Sanders explains what these insects are and how you can hear them.

OU Price Center for Economic and Management Research

In this episode of Capitol Insider, KGOU's Dick Pryor speaks with Dr. Robert Dauffenbach about his recent analysis of Oklahoma tax collections dating back to 1990. After adjusting for inflation and population growth, Dauffenbach found that per-capita tax collections remain below their pre-Great Recession peak.

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