KGOU

StateImpact Oklahoma

Dr. Alayna Tackett demonstrates one of the devices she uses to measure the health effects of vaping.
Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma's health officials and legislators have been slow to take action to keep teenagers from vaping, even as more cases of lung-related injuries and deaths are reported.

A group of teachers look on as four students tell their stories of living with dyslexia during a November workshop in Tulsa.
Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

A group of parent and student activists are fighting to add resources in the classrooms of dyslexic students across the state.

A national report found that thousands of gifted and talented black and Latino students aren’t identified by educators in Oklahoma.
Flickr / Jacqui Brown

Thousands of gifted and talented minority students aren’t identified by their schools in Oklahoma, according to a report published last month.

This is the Manager’s Minute.

We have staff changes to tell you about involving KGOU and StateImpact Oklahoma.

We recently added Robby Korth to the StateImpact team, as education reporter. Robby grew up in Ardmore and Fayetteville, Arkansas and received his journalism degree from the University of Nebraska. For the last four years he’s covered higher education for The Roanoke Times in Blacksburg, Virginia, home of Virginia Tech University.

Life After Being Released In Oklahoma’s Record Commutation

Nov 14, 2019
Warren Rawls wants to stay completely sober and out of trouble so he can be in his children’s lives.
Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

Prison is not fun anymore for Warren Rawls. The 36-year-old has been in and out of prison six times, and he has decided he’s not going back. He says during a recent statewide prison lockdown he was handcuffed everywhere he went – even the shower.

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.

Ryan LaCroix / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

The federal government is seeking its slice of Oklahoma’s recent $270 million settlement with Purdue Pharmaceuticals, and the bill could be millions of dollars.

Stillwater's Boomer Dam is one of more than 4,700 in Oklahoma.
Claire Donnelly / KGOU

Oklahoma has more than 4,700 dams. At least 30 percent of these flood control structures are at the end of their 50-year design life. With climate change expected to bring more heavy precipitation, can they hold up?

Julie Jones, Gaylord College

This is the Manager’s Minute.

KGOU and StateImpact Oklahoma reporters were big winners when the names were announced in the latest Oklahoma journalism awards competition – the Society of Professional Journalists.

All told, KGOU and StateImpact reporters captured 15 of the 24 radio awards.

StateImpact earned six awards, including firsts won by Quinton Chandler, Jackie Fortier, Emily Wendler and Joe Wertz, for Government and Criminal Justice Reporting, Feature Reporting, Diversity Reporting and Special Program.

RTDNA

This is the Manager’s Minute.

It all began with an idea: do election reporting designed to serve the public more than candidates by focusing on issues important to people.

So, we brought together our public radio partners – KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU – to provide in-depth coverage of the 2018 elections and called it Oklahoma Engaged: Project Public Office.

With major funding from the Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation and the Kirkpatrick Foundation we knew we had the resources to do something special.  We did.

Clay Bennett, center, chairs the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Council.
Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Control of the state’s largest county jail could be placed under the authority of a public-private trust according to a plan considered Thursday by an Oklahoma County advisory group.

Anti-Abortion Strategy Splits Oklahoma Lawmakers

Apr 18, 2019
Anti-abortion advocates listen to speakers decry a proposed abortion trigger bill at the Oklahoma State Capitol Feb. 25, 2019. Instead, they rallied to outlaw abortion immediately, rather than waiting on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Energized by new conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court, abortion opponents believe that the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the U.S. could be overturned. If that happens, the regulation of abortion returns to the states. Some state legislatures led by liberal Democrats, such as New York, have decided to protect the right to an abortion.

With a huge freshman class and a promise for less gridlock, Oklahoma lawmakers filed more than 2,800 bills this legislative session. With a third of the session now over, the StateImpact team has an update on some bills we’re following.

Tracy Smallwood is grateful for the life she’s worked to build after leaving prison.
Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Tracy Smallwood says her life before she went to prison was just “dead time.”

Oklahoma school districts 2018- 2019. Boundaries based on information provided by the Oklahoma Department of Education.
Center for Spatial Analysis / University of Oklahoma

Oklahoma has more than 500 school districts--up to three times more than some states with similar student populations. KGOU listener Beverly Funderburk emailed How Curious and asked: “How did Oklahoma end up with so many districts?”

 

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Crews pulling in to remove drilling equipment damaged during a deadly explosion and fire at a natural gas well near Quinton, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Federal authorities cited and fined three oil and gas companies for exposing workers to dangerous hazards after a deadly explosion and fire on a drilling rig in January.

Katie Stokes

This is the Manager’s Minute.

KGOU has just ended one fiscal year, and begun another.

This has been an eventful year – we’ve added a new transmitter in Clinton, expanded our StateImpact Oklahoma team and dramatically increased our number of weekly listeners.

We’ve launched two new podcasts (How Curious and Capitol Insider) and improved our severe storms and emergency alert system. We've grown our StateImpact Oklahoma reporting and launched the Oklahoma Engaged 2018 election project.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

When the Oklahoma Legislature passed HB 1010XX in March, it was the first time lawmakers had increased state taxes in 28 years. Both the House and the Senate applauded themselves.

The governor acted swiftly to sign the bill, and at first, it seemed like a reason for school leaders to celebrate. They had been begging lawmakers to increase teacher pay for years, and it finally happened.


Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Canadian County Sheriff Chris West sits in a dimly lit office decorated with hunting trophies and law enforcement memorabilia. 

West is visibly frustrated when he says the Oklahoma Department of Corrections owes his county $88,691 for at least two years of jail costs — and he isn’t the only one complaining. The Oklahoma Sheriff’s Association says the state is shortchanging most counties for housing state prison inmates.

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