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Oil’s Pipeline To America’s Schools

Jun 15, 2017
Illustration by Eben McCue

Jennifer Merritt’s first-graders at Jefferson Elementary School in Pryor, Oklahoma, were in for a treat. Sitting cross-legged on the floor, the students gathered in late November for story time with two special guests, state Rep. Tom Gann and state Sen. Marty Quinn.

Portrait of a Venetian Ambassador, Aged 59, II, 2006. By Kehinde Wiley.
Tony Powell

Artist Kehinde Wiley is known for his colorful portraits of everyday African-Americans in the style of classical European paintings. Raised in South Central Los Angeles and educated at the San Francisco Art Institute and Yale University, Wiley has lived and worked around the world.

prison bars
mikecogh / Flickr Creative Commons

A legal challenge, partly spearheaded by Oklahoma leaders, has blocked the federal government from setting limits on how much inmates and their families can be charged for in-state telephone calls.

The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2-1 decision Tuesday that the Federal Communications Commission exceeded its authority in creating a national rule that sought to cap fees on intrastate phone calls for the first time.

US Capitol building
Flickr

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee in an open hearing on Tuesday. Senators will likely ask about his recusal from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and what if anything he knew about President Trump reportedly asking former FBI Director James Comey to ease off the inquiry into onetime national security adviser Michael Flynn. Here is Sessions' prepared opening statement to the committee, annotated by NPR journalists.

Researchers fly a copter drone near Enid, Oklahoma on May 16, 2017
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, could help scientists forecast where and when thunderstorms develop, before storm even occur. Experiments are ongoing, and optimism is high.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions reads his opening statement at a public hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, June 13, 2017.
NPR

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scheduled to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee less than one week after James Comey told the committee he could not discuss openly certain information about Sessions' recusal from the investigation into Russia's election meddling last year.

Law enforcement has captured all four inmates who escaped from the Lincoln County Jail early Monday morning. United States Marshals apprehended the final escapee, 23-year-old Brian Allen Moody, in Lincoln County on Thursday.

The other three inmates, 41-year-old Sonny Baker, 31-year-old Jeremy Tyson Irvin and 27-year-old Trey Goodnight were captured on Wednesday morning.

This post was updated on June 15, 2017 at 4:40 p.m.

Original post:

Photograph used for a newspaper owned by the Oklahoma Publishing Company. Caption: "First Parking Meter"
Oklahoma Historical Society

The Oklahoma City City Council is considering replacing most of the city’s coin-operated parking meters, but losing them means losing part of the city’s history.

In this Feb. 10, 2017 photo, nurses take care of a newborn baby in Bangkok, Thailand. The Thai government is distributing prenatal vitamins containing folic acid and iron to women between the ages of 20-34.
Sakchai Lalit / AP

Research into micronutrients is beginning to show how deficiencies can impact neuropsychological functioning through the life of a patient.

Historically, studies of a shortage of macronutrients, like protein, have shown an association with a lack of cognitive ability. However, until relatively recently, there was little research into how micronutrient deficiencies impact the brain, according to Laura Murray-Kolb, a nutritional scientist at Penn State University.

Oklahoma state Capitol
elasticsoul / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Catch up with what happened this week in Oklahoma state politics.

Christmas lights still wrap the entrance to Sayre Memorial Hospital, which has been closed for five months. The nearest emergency room is now in Elk City, 14 miles away.
Dale Denwalt / The Journal Record

A commercial brokerage firm has purchased a shuttered rural Oklahoma hospital and plans to accept new patients by the end of June.

Healthcare Properties Transaction Group of Oklahoma, LLC, purchased the building and licenses of the renamed Sayre Community Hospital from the Sayre Memorial Hospital Authority on May 22. The announcement of the transaction was made on Tuesday.

The purchasing group’s CEO is Bob Hicks, according to the Journal Record’s Sarah Terry-Cobo.

cigarettes
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Two of the largest tobacco companies in the U.S. are suing Oklahoma over the state’s new cigarette fee.

Oklahoma Conservation Commission Executive Director Trey Lam stands on the bank of the Blue River in south-central Oklahoma.  He said budget cuts will result in more staff reductions at the agency.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The $6.9 billion budget signed last week by Gov. Mary Fallin delivers 5 percent cuts to most state agencies. On paper, it looks like two environmental agencies received funding boosts,  but a closer look at the numbers shows the increases aren’t what they appear.

In this screenshot taken from the live video, former FBI Director James Comey listens to questions during a hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence June 8, 2017.
NPR

Former FBI Director James Comey is testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence this week, speaking publicly for the first time since he was fired by President Trump nearly a month ago. The Senate Committee is looking into the circumstances around Comey's dismissal and how they relate to the FBI investigation of Russian interference in the U.S. Election.

Former FBI Director James Comey's opening statement for the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Thursday shows that the president wanted it publicly known that he was not under investigation.
Eric Thayer / Getty Images

Former FBI Director James Comey is testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence this week, speaking publicly for the first time since he was fired by President Trump nearly a month ago. The Senate Committee is looking into the circumstances around Comey's dismissal and how they relate to the FBI investigation of Russian interference in the U.S. Election. The White House has given conflicting messages about the reasons for Comey's firing. Sources close to Comey say the President told Comey to shut down the Russia investigation. That's a charge that the White House denies.

Meteorologist Rick Smith responds to messages on the National Weather Service Facebook account. On stormy days, the forecast office in Norman often receives messages every few minutes from people worried about tornadoes.
Nomin Ujiyediin / KGOU

When meteorologist Rick Smith was growing up in Memphis in the 1960s and '70s, he was terrified of tornadoes. When storms approached, he glued himself to the weather radio and TV, gathering as much information as he could. At night, he cowered in his parents’ bed, covering his ears to block out the sound.

“It was like this mysterious, loud monster at night that you just didn’t know exactly what it would do to you,” Smith said.

Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops calls out from the sideline in the second half of the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game against Auburn in New Orleans, Monday, Jan. 2, 2017. Oklahoma won 35-19.
Gerald Herbert / AP

The head coach of the University of Oklahoma’s football team is stepping down.

 

Bob Stoops will retire after 18 years of leading the team, and offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley will take the helm of the Sooners.

Alekza Quinonez, 10, studies reading in a summer school class at Cesar Chavez Elementary School in Oklahoma City.
Dustyn Rappe / Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma is raising the bar on its pivotal, high-stakes reading test administered to third graders, which is likely to leave more students at risk of repeating the third grade.

Twelve percent of third graders, those who scored “unsatisfactory” – the lowest level – did not meet criteria for automatic promotion in 2016.

Oklahoma State Capitol
LLudo / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

It’s been one week since state lawmakers finished the regular legislative session and passed a state budget. Here’s what’s happened this week in politics...

 

Children eat a meal at an orphanage.
Marina Kroupina / Center for Neurobehavioral Development, University of Minnesota

Making sure people across the globe have access to proper nutrition is a goal of international organizations like UNICEF and the World Health Organization.

But sometimes, simply acquiring the right nutrients isn’t enough, especially if outside factors get in the way of allowing the body to process nutrients correctly.

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