KGOU

News

Biologist and Cherokee Nation Administrative Liaison Pat Gwin removes white eagle corn seeds from the seed bank freezer at Cherokee Nation headquarters in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Before the Cherokee people were forced from their lands in the eastern U.S. along the Trail of Tears, the tribe grew varieties of crops now nearly lost. But at the Cherokee Nation Seed Bank in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, a vital part of the tribe’s history is kept frozen.

Deep underground on a Norwegian island in the remote arctic, the Global Seed Vault shelters seeds from around the globe, protecting them from natural disaster, nuclear catastrophe or any apocalypse that might bring humans to the brink.

Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Among the deluge of bills filed by state legislators in advance of the upcoming session are more than two dozen proposals to boost teacher pay.

Teachers, disappointed by the defeat of State Question 779, which would have generated about $550 million a year for education through a 1 percent sales tax, say they’re counting on legislators to do more than just talk.

Dragana Obradovic, left, with her colleague Christina Kramer
University of Toronto

 

War broke out in the former Yugoslavia when Dragana Obradovic was only eight years old. Her family fled the region as refugees. By the time she was in her 20s, she felt a void about her childhood in the Balkans: She was old enough to remember the war, but too young to grasp its significance. Obradovic began asking questions about her own identity.

Oklahoma state capitol
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

 

Oklahoma’s legislative session begins in a couple of weeks. Lawmakers will have to grapple with an estimated $900 million budget shortfall, low levels of education funding, and a crowded prison system, among other problems.

KGOU’s Dick Pryor spoke with eCapitol’s Shawn Ashley about the upcoming session.

INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS

On filling a $900 million budget hole:

President Trump walks down the steps of the U.S. Capitol on Friday.
Alex Wong / Getty Images

Donald Trump gave his inaugural address after being sworn in as president of the United States on Friday afternoon. NPR's politics team, with help from journalists across the newsroom, will be live-annotating his remarks.

Loading...

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Emergency Department director Dr. Robin Mantooth and Chief Operating Officer John Manfredo lead a tour of the department at Norman Regional Health System’s new hospital building in Moore on January 17, 2017.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

 

One of Oklahoma’s health information exchanges will close. Coordinated Care Oklahoma announced on Monday that the non-profit organization plans to fold.

Health information exchanges let healthcare providers share and access records across hospitals. Journal Record reporter Sarah Terry Cobo writes that Coordinated Care  as in the process of merging with a competitor called MyHealth Access Network before making its sudden decision.

Donald Trump takes the oath of office
Mark Ralston / AFP/Getty Images

Follow NPR's live blog of Inauguration Day for news highlights, analysis, photos and videos from Washington, D.C., throughout the day.

Loading...

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt testifying at a Jan. 18 confirmation hearing on his nomination as administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
C-SPAN

 

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt on Wednesday faced hours of questioning at a U.S. Senate confirmation hearing on his qualifications to run the Environmental Protection Agency. The public vetting of president-elect Donald Trump’s pick to lead the federal government’s largest environmental regulator highlighted sharp and long-standing divisions between environmentalists and industry.

The six-hour hearing in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee split largely along political lines.

Oklahoma state Sen. Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa, applauds as students are introduced in the Senate gallery in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, April 9, 2013.
Sue Ogracki / AP

Virtual charter schools would be required to track and report student attendance —something the schools aren’t currently tasked with doing — under a law proposed by an Oklahoma senator.

Oklahoma has five virtual charter schools, enrolling a combined 13,225 students. Two schools reported 100 percent attendance last year, drawing questions and criticism from education advocates.

State Asks Judge To Dismiss Liquor Association Lawsuit

Jan 17, 2017
Wine bottles in The Spirit Shop in Norman
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

The state of Oklahoma has asked for dismissal of a lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of a liquor law reform measure that was passed by voters in November.

State Question 792 passed with 65 percent of the vote, and amends the state constitution to allow wine and strong beer sales in grocery and convenience stores, permits package liquor stores to refrigerate their products and makes changes to the state’s alcohol distribution system, among other changes. Retail package stores will continue to be the only place to buy spirits.

Oklahoma Lawmaker Takes Another Shot At Vaccination Bill

Jan 16, 2017
Lacey McKay receives a flu shot at the Oklahoma City-County Health Department in Oklahoma City on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

As vaccine skeptics gain traction in the federal government, Oklahoma is again considering getting rid of the exemption that lets parents opt out.

President-elect Donald Trump has discussed creating a new commission on autism, which would look into whether vaccines play a role in its development. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., an environmental activist and avid vaccine critic, has told national media that Trump offered him the chairmanship.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt speaking about energy self-sufficiency at the Conservative Political Action Conference in March 2016.
American Conservative Union / C-SPAN

President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to run the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, walked back a legal fight to clean up rivers polluted by chicken manure after accepting tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions linked to the poultry industry, campaign and court records show.

Oklahoma state capitol
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Perhaps concerned about possible cuts in state programs and business incentives, lobbyists again have spent more on gifts for legislators and state officials in the months heading into the legislative session.

Lawmakers, elected officials and other state employees received about $60,350 in gifts from special-interest groups during the last six months of 2016, according to recently filed lobbying reports.

This is the Manager’s Minute.

Presidential Inauguration Day is Friday, January 20.

KGOU and NPR plan special coverage beginning at 9 a.m. as Donald Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States.

NPR’s Steve Inskeep and Audie Cornish will co-host from the Capitol and National Mall, with live reports, interviews, speeches and the oath of office.

At 1 p.m., inauguration coverage continues with Here & Now hosts Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson reporting on the Inaugural Luncheon and Parade.

Dubravka Ugrešić
Jerry Braun

 

Dubravka Ugresic’s books focus on what she calls “the literariness of literature.” She’s fascinated by literature and likes to play with form and style, as she did in her 1993 novel Steffie Speck in the Jaws of Life, which references authors such as Gustave Flaubert and romance novels.

She is the recipient of many awards, including the University of Oklahoma’s Neustadt International Prize for Literature.

Toby Keith performs during the American Country Countdown Awards at the Forum on Sunday, May 1, 2016 in Inglewood, Calif.
Vince Bucci / Invision/AP

Country music star Toby Keith will be among the performers at President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration concert.

Other performers added to the music lineup include 3 Doors Down and Jennifer Holliday.

Keith, a native of Moore, Oklahoma, was a registered Democrat until 2008, when he registered as an independent. In a 2015 People interview, he said he liked both Trump and Carly Fiorna, but also expressed that he admired Bernie Sanders.

Roy Diehl removes the “Open” sign from the entrance to Urban Agrarian at 1235 SW Second St. in Oklahoma City Tuesday , Jan. 10, 2017.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

 

One of the anchors of Oklahoma City’s Farmers Market District is shutting down. Urban Agrarian is a local food distribution hub. Its owner announced this Monday that he is closing the business.

Urban Agrarian owner Matt Burch worked with Oklahoma farmers to bring their products to Oklahoma City and other cities’ farmers markets. In Oklahoma City, he sold products directly to consumers and to restaurants that wanted locally-grown produce.

National Weather Service

Some roads and highways in western Oklahoma are icy and hazardous following a second round of freezing rain and ice.  Gov. Mary Fallin has issued a state of emergency for all 77 counties in the state. A complete, comprehensive list of closures can be found on the website of our severe weather partner, KOCO News.

 

Updated January 14, 2017 at 10:15 a.m.

 

Atoka Lake in southeast Oklahoma is in the middle of the state's most drought affected area.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Drought is back in Oklahoma. More than half the state now falls in the extreme drought category, and normally water-rich southeast Oklahoma is bearing the brunt of a very dry fall and winter.

Tree stumps poke above Atoka Lake’s surface, and it’s easy to see where the water line used to reach. In early 2016, lake levels were high. But now, Atoka is in the bullseye of the worst of Oklahoma’s current drought. Atoka Emergency Manager Derrick Mixon says last week’s snowstorm didn’t help much.

AP Photo / Evan Vucci

 

Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe has made up his mind on President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to be the Secretary of Defense. Inhofe is the senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, where retired General James Mattis is testifying today. He told NPR’s Morning Edition, Mattis and Trump will restore America’s military dominance.

“I don’t think anyone is going to say there has been anyone who has been a better strategist, a better Marine, than Mattis. He is the right one for this time,” Inhofe said.

Pages