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How A Drug Court Rehab Kept Its Participants’ Workers’ Comp

Oct 9, 2017
  Brandon Spurgin was working at the plant when a metal door crashed down on his head one night in 2014, damaging his spine.
Shane Bevel / Reveal

After Fred Barbee broke his ankle while working at a chicken processing plant in Arkansas, he expected time off to heal.

But he wasn’t in a normal workplace. A drug court judge in Tulsa, Oklahoma, had sent Barbee to a drug rehabilitation program called Christian Alcoholics & Addicts in Recovery, or CAAIR. The program makes men work without pay at plants owned by Simmons Foods Inc.

FILE PHOTO

Oklahoma House Minority Leader Scott Inman (D-Del City) unveiled on Thursday what he said was the largest bipartisan budget deal in nearly three decades. Later in the day, Gov. Mary Fallin announced in no uncertain terms that a deal had not been reached.

“If there’s only one person at the altar, there’s no marriage,” Fallin said.

“She invited us to the altar. We said yes. If she is having cold feet, the people of Oklahoma are in serious trouble,” Inman replied in a Tweet.

Conservative Party Leader and Prime Minister, Theresa May, addresses delegates during a speech at the Conservative Party Conference at Manchester Central, in Manchester, England, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017.
Rui Vieira / AP

Trade between Oklahoma and the United Kingdom is thriving, and it’s Karen Bell’s job to promote and enhance trade and investment.

Karen Bell is the Consul General of the United Kingdom, stationed in Houston, Texas. Oklahoma falls within the five-state area in which she works.

“The UK is already the fifth largest market for exports of goods and services from Oklahoma. And the value actually to your local economy on trade with the UK, is getting on for half a billion dollars,” Bell told KGOU’s World Views.

Students at Luther High School watch Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream Speech" before a class discussion.
Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Polls suggest this is one of the the most politically divided moments in American history. There are now tip sheets on how to survive Thanksgiving without disowning your family, and the comment sections of online news articles are full of vitriol.

Schools are not immune to the tension, but not everyone thinks that’s a bad thing.

Construction of a Chickasaw Nation casino in Terral.
Courtesy photo / Journal Record

Leaders of some Oklahoma tribes see opportunities in a court ruling this summer that could potentially open up many questions about sovereignty and jurisdiction on tribal lands.

Artist Kris Kanaly installs his contribution to Not for Sale: Graffiti Culture in Oklahoma.
Nomin Ujiyediin / KGOU

Like a lot of graffiti writers, Kris Kanaly started young. First, by doodling a tag name, “P-nut,” when he was six years old. Then, by picking up cans of spray paint in the ditch near his childhood home in Oklahoma City. He eventually settled on an alias he still uses to this day: RHAK.

It’s the name he chose to spray paint on a wall in the Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center on Sunday night. The letters are outlined in yellow, orange, blue and gray. They look like they’re stepping off the wall.

They Thought They Were Going To Rehab. They Ended Up In Chicken Plants

Oct 4, 2017
Men sent to Christian Alcoholics & Addicts in Recovery, better known as CAAIR, work full time at chicken processing plants. The hours are long, the conditions are brutal and the program keeps all the wages.
Gabriel Hongsdusit / Reveal

Here’s how the poultry industry turned drug defendants into indentured servants – and convinced the courts to go along with it.

Reveal: Does The Time Fit The Crime?

Oct 2, 2017
The number of women in U.S. prisons and jails has increased more than 700 percent since 1980. And for 25 years, Oklahoma has led the nation in locking up women. This week on Reveal, we look at the causes behind this spike.
Ben Fine / Reveal

This week on Reveal, we take a look at prisons as a part of our series And Justice for Some.

The number of women in U.S. prisons has increased more than 700 percent since 1980. And for nearly all of that time, Oklahoma has led the nation in locking up women. Reveal Senior Editor Ziva Branstetter teams up with Allison Herrera and The Frontier, an Oklahoma-based investigative news website, to find out why.

Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma is blaming the Trump administration for failing to approve an expedited plan that was projected to lower health insurance premiums and entice thousands of uninsured Oklahomans to sign up for coverage.

okhouse.gov

Although the special legislative session has been suspended, the deal-making continues. eCapitol News director Shawn Ashley says a revenue-raising package may be in the works.

 

Gov. Mary Fallin met with the House Republican Caucus on Wednesday for more than two hours. After the meeting, Fallin told eCapitol she was optimistic.

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva greets supporters after giving his testimony to a federal judge overseeing a bribery investigation in Curitiba, in Curitiba, Brazil, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017.
Denis Ferreira / AP

Corruption scandals continue to plague Brazilian presidents, past and present. Former two-term president Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva, was found guilty of taking bribes involving a luxury beachfront apartment, in connection with assisting Brazilian Petroleum giant, Petrobras, in securing government contracts. He was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years in prison. President Lula denies all charges against him and appealed the decision.

A tagged Monarch butterfly on a flowering lantana plant at the Oklahoma City.
CARE_SMC / Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

Stephanie Henson admires her colorful backyard garden in Edmond. Approaching a pink-and-white plant, she squeals and laughs and she spots some butterflies.

“Oh look, they’re itty-bitty,” she says. “Look at ’em!”

Henson doesn’t know much about gardening, but she’s doing what she can to attract butterflies, which is what conservation specialists and government officials are trying to encourage here in Oklahoma and across the country.

A planned development at the old Logan County hospital in Guthrie would be affected by a proposed end to the state’s Affordable Housing Tax Credit program.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

One bill filed during the special legislative session would end Oklahoma’s film rebate program, while another piece of legislation would eliminate the Oklahoma Affordable Housing Tax Credit.

Reports Of Drug-Exposed Newborns Surge

Sep 28, 2017
The Oklahoma Department of Human Services logged 517 reports last year of newborn infants who tested positive for controlled drugs or alcohol. The number of reported exposures has risen steadily, but it's unclear how much is due to rising drug use and how
Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma health-care professionals reported to the state a record 517 cases of newborn infants who tested positive for dangerous drugs or alcohol last year, up from 320 when officials began compiling statistics in 2013.

State officials said they couldn’t determine how much of the 62 percent increase was attributable to rising drug use among pregnant women and how much to improved reporting and testing by health care personnel.

American currency
thinkpanama / Flickr Creative Commons

Legislators aren’t the only ones who returned to the Capitol for the special session.

If it’s anything like the regular session, lobbyists will be picking up the tabs for pricey dinners and drinks during the days or weeks to come. Lobbyists spent almost half a million dollars on meals and gifts for lawmakers and other public officials during the spring session.

Photo illustration by Michael I Schiller and Ben Fine, photos by Paul Kuroda / Reveal

Oklahoma State House of Representatives

Republican and Democratic leaders blamed each other Wednesday for the ongoing budget impasse. House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, abruptly canceled an expected vote on a proposed cigarette tax increase and announced the House would adjourn until a budget deal is reached.

Storme Jones / KGOU

Civil rights leaders and advocates for the deaf rallied in downtown Oklahoma City Sunday, following the fatal police shooting of a deaf man. 

The Catholic Church beatified Oklahoma-born priest Stanley Rother on Sept. 23, 2017. More than 20,000 people attended the ceremony at the Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City.
Nomin Ujiyediin / KGOU

More than 20,000 people gathered in the Cox Convention Center on Saturday to witness the beatification of an Oklahoma-born priest.

Father Stanley Rother was born in Okarche, Okla. in 1935.  He served as a missionary in Guatemala for 13 years, introducing the people of Santiago Atitlan to farming techniques and establishing a radio station, among other services.

Ramona Roberts, a special education teacher in Jenks Public Schools, works with students Tim Foster (center), Michael Copeland (left), Elijah Sexton (bottom right) and Hunter Falconer (right). Jenks has had special education teacher vacancies in the past,
Sherman Merchant / Jenks Public Schools

Special education teachers have become so scarce that districts face fierce competition to find and keep good candidates and sometimes leave open positions unfilled.

That’s why late one night in August, Ponca City Public Schools Superintendent Shelley Arrott sprang into action when she heard the distinctive ding of her cell phone. The alert meant a job application had been submitted online to the district. She scrambled to arrange an interview the next morning for the applicant.

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