StateImpact Oklahoma | KGOU
KGOU

StateImpact Oklahoma

Members of the Washita-Custer County Treatment Court during a community service event in 2019.
Courtesy of the Washita-Custer County Treatment Court

Sarah Morrow misses the routine and structure drug court provided.

“It’s just something to look forward to everyday,” Morrow said.

Morrow has asthma which means she could have a harder time recovering if she catches Covid-19 – the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

How The University Of Oklahoma Moved Its Classes Online

Mar 27, 2020
The University of Oklahoma campus. The Norman campus is empty because students have moved all their in-person classes to the web.
Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

As the COVID-19 pandemic has halted businesses, public events and K-12 schools, Oklahoma’s higher education institutions have turned to virtual schooling for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester.

Oklahoma Schools Will Close For Rest Of Semester, Moving Classes Online

Mar 25, 2020
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister address the media during a press conference March 12 about COVID-19 and the potential for school closures.
Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma schools will remain shuttered for the spring 2020 semester to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.

Roger Mills County Jail Control Room
Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

During a viral pandemic jail administrators want fewer prisoners, not more.

To help, some district courts are issuing orders to decrease their county jail populations in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Shawnee Public Schools custodian Lavonne Harris wipes down a door knob at the district’s central office.
Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

Lysol is Lavonne Harris’ most powerful weapon against pandemic.

The custodian for Shawnee Public Schools is wielding the disinfectant inside her district’s school board room to fight off the novel coronavirus that’s infected hundreds of thousands worldwide.

This stuff will “kill all the germs,” she says.

A sign outside the Sterling High School gymnasium warns people that teachers may be armed.
Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

A bill considered by the state legislature would change training requirements for armed teachers, paving the way for more guns in schools.

Jason Page and Paul Mullaney inside the state Capitol in 2018.
Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Low pay is at the center of Oklahoma’s struggle to keep its prison employees.

Six-year veteran corrections officer Paul Mullaney quit over pay and working conditions just months after lawmakers approved a $2.00 raise for prison employees. He worked in the mental health unit of Joseph Harp Correctional Center in Lexington.

The extra money wasn’t enough to keep him.

Engineering student Duncan Martin touches noses with Sophie, a member of Pete's Pet Posse. The therapy dogs can be found around the Oklahoma State University campus.
Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

With 80 percent of college students reporting anxiety or depression, schools have to find a way to help students.

Pardon and Parole Board members have drastically increased the number of recommendations for commutations and paroles in the last year.
Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

A popular desire for reform led lawmakers to push the release of hundreds of people from Oklahoma prisons in a record commutation last year. The climactic event was born from a series of reforms that have moved Oklahoma away from the number one spot for incarceration. But that progress might be temporary.

KGOU

This is the Manager’s Minute.

Recently, we had to say so long to StateImpact Oklahoma health reporter Jackie Fortier. She left after a little over two years at StateImpact to take a job at the NPR station in Pasadena, California.

During her time with us, Jackie achieved national recognition for covering the opioid trial in Cleveland County.

It’s a testament to Jackie, and the quality of reporting at StateImpact, that she went directly from here to the number two media market in the U.S.

$13 Million In Limbo While Stitt, Tribes Battle

Feb 13, 2020

Compacted tribes are sending their gaming money to the state of Oklahoma where it will be held while courts decide on tribal-gaming compacts.

Libby Osburn teaches a gifted and talented class at Cherokee Elementary School in Tahlequah.
Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

Most states don't discover gifted Native American students but Oklahoma has been able to buck that trend.

The Journalist's Job

Feb 2, 2020

This is the Manager’s Minute.

News reporting is messy. Getting facts right, connecting dots and writing an interesting, accurate story on a strict deadline is not easy.

But, the work journalists do is essential to a functioning democracy. We’re obligated to ask tough questions, push for answers and hold public officials and powerful institutions accountable.

Whoever is in power at the time doesn’t often like it when we ask them questions they don’t want to answer, about topics they’d rather not discuss, or expose them for hiding the truth.

Issues To Watch During Oklahoma’s 2020 Legislative Session

Jan 31, 2020

When the legislative session begins Monday, state lawmakers will have more than 4,500 pieces of legislation they can consider. StateImpact reporters have been combing through the bills and have this preview.

Robin Wertz interviews dozens of prisoners to determine who would be a good fit at the Oklahoma City Exodus House.
Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

The outside world was overwhelming when Robin Wertz was released from prison in 2007. Today, she helps others who are having that same experience as the site director of Exodus House, a transitional housing unit that helps people get back on their feet.

State’s attorney Brad Beckworth presents information in the opening statements during the Oklahoma v. Purdue Pharma opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Tuesday, May 28, 2019.
Chris Landsberger / Oklahoman

The legal fight over who is responsible, and who should pay for the national opioid crisis that has killed thousands of Americans will likely take years.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

People just released from prison could save themselves a lot of time and frustration if they talk to Robert Scott, the director of justice services at HOPE Community Services – a nonprofit that partners with the state to help people with behavioral health challenges.

Oklahoma Lags Behind Country In Monetary Support For Higher Education

Jan 8, 2020
University of Oklahoma students walk to and from class at the school’s campus in Norman.
Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

As state funding for higher education has risen across the country, Oklahoma has been one of five states that’s seen a decline in the last five years.

Happy New Year 2020!

Dec 29, 2019
KGOU - Dick Pryor

This is the Manager’s Minute.

With the new year beginning, we want to introduce you to a new local host who will be welcoming you every weekday during Morning Edition.

He’s Nyk Daniels, a recent graduate of the University of Oklahoma. Nyk started at KGOU as a student in our Practicum class and was a student employee production assistant before joining our professional staff as Morning Edition host in mid-December.

Erika Buzzard Wright embraces a supporter during a press conference about the future of the four-day school week at the Oklahoma State Capitol.
Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

The fate of the four-day school week, used by dozens of rural districts in Oklahoma, is up in the air.

Pages