KGOU

Jacob McCleland

KGOU News Director

Jacob joined the KGOU News department in March 2015; previously he spent nine years as a reporter and host at public radio station KRCU in Cape Girardeau, Mo. His stories have appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, Here & Now, Harvest Public Media and PRI’s The World. Jacob has reported on floods, disappearing languages, crop duster pilots, anvil shooters, Manuel Noriega, mule jumps and more.

He has a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Spanish from Southeast Missouri State University and a master’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Jacob warns us he won't answer the phone when the St. Louis Cardinals are playing a postseason game. Fun fact: his high school mascot is the Appleknocker.

Ways to Connect

French and Lebanese flags fly at the Oklahoma City National Memorial on Tuesday.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Religious leaders gathered in Oklahoma City on Tuesday to honor the victims of terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut.

The interfaith vigil was held under the Survivor Tree at the Oklahoma City National Memorial as La Marseillaise, the anthem of the French Republic, was sung in front of French and Lebanese flags flapping in the wind.

W. Joseph Campbell is a professor in the School of Communication at American University
American University

 

The future began 20 years ago, according to a new book by W. Joseph Campbell. In 1995, Timothy McVeigh’s truck bomb killed 168 people in Oklahoma City and sparked a debate about security. The Dayton Peace Accords ended a brutal war in the former Yugoslavia. The O.J. Simpson trial captured the imagination of a nation. Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinski began their affair that led to the President’s impeachment. And 1995 was the year the internet went mainstream.

University of Oklahoma students pose in solidarity with University of Missouri protesters on November 12, 2015.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Protests at the University of Missouri, Yale, and other college campuses are forcing universities into uncomfortable discussions about race and diversity. In March, two University of Oklahoma fraternity members were videotaped singing a racist chant on a charter bus. Over the past eight months, the atmosphere has changed on OU's campus.

About 60 University of Oklahoma students, dressed in black, line up for a photo.

In the first picture, their fists are up. They smile in the second. For the third shot, they keep straight faces.

Protests at the University of Missouri and other college campuses are forcing universities into uncomfortable discussions about race and diversity. One school got a head start.

Earlier this year, the University of Oklahoma came under intense pressure when a video showed two members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity singing a racist chant.

Now, students are comparing the reaction of their university with the recent controversies at Mizzou.

Oklahoma Democratic Party chairman Mark Hammons during a Thursday press conference.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

The Oklahoma Democratic Party filed an ethics complaint Thursday against Gov. Mary Fallin over three separate issues.

The complaint alleges the governor used private and public funds to cover an undisclosed expenses for a Paris trip with her spouse, Wade Christensen. In addition, it alleges the governor’s daughter received personal gain when she moved her trailer home onto the governor’s mansion property.

“This is the use of taxpayer property,” party chairman Mark Hammons said. “The mansion doesn’t belong to Gov. Fallin. It belongs to the people of this state.”

ACLU of Oklahoma legal director Brady Henderson during a Nov. 9, 2015 press conference, with executive director Ryan Kiesel in the background.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma brought a lawsuit against Gov. Mary Fallin Monday over delays in responding to open records requests.

Attorney Don Knight on the phone with Richard Glossip outside the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Friends and family of Richard Glossip gather around a cell phone outside the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester on September 30, straining to listen to the death row inmate’s voice over a tinny speaker. As soon as the connection is made, Glossip is cut off by an automated voice.

“Your call cannot be connected at this time…”

 

The crowd lets out a disappointed groan.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation Gary Ridley look at turnpike projects at a press conference on October 29, 2015.
Oklahoma Turnpike Authority

A new turnpike plan will cost the state of Oklahoma nearly $1 billion and add about 30 miles of new toll roads to the state’s road system.

Gov. Mary Fallin and transportation Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation Gary Ridley announced the plan at a press conference on Thursday at a press conference at the state capitol.

Jim Thorpe at New York's Polo Grounds in 1913.
Bain News Service / Library of Congress

On the first day of its fall term, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal from the Sac and Fox Nation and Jim Thorpe’s sons to move the athlete’s remains back to Oklahoma.

On Monday, the high court left a ruling in place that ordered Thorpe’s body to remain in the Pennsylvania town named after the Olympic gold medalist. His two surviving sons and the tribe had wanted to move Thorpe back to Native American land in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma death row inmate Richard Eugene Glossip
Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Updated Oct. 2, 11:54 a.m.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has granted the state's request to indefinitely stay three scheduled executions, citing the mix-up over lethal injection drugs that occurred just minutes before condemned inmate Richard Glossip was supposed to be put to death.

"Having fully considered the State's request, we find for good cuae shown, the executions set for October 7, 2015 - Benjamin Robert Cole; October 28, 2015 - John Marion Grant; and November 6, 2015 - Richard Euguene Glossip are indefinitely stayed," the court wrote.

Chesapeake Energy employees leave buildings after layoffs were reported Sept. 29, 2015.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

Updated at 3:22 p.m.

Chesapeake Energy Corporation laid off nearly 15 percent of its total workforce on Tuesday at a time when oil prices remain low.

The Oklahoman newspaper reports that Chesapeake laid off 740 total workers, including 562 in Oklahoma City. Employees will get between 13 and 52 weeks of pay and will continue to receive health insurance and job placement help.

Ryan LaCroix / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

The state will remove a Ten Commandments monument from the capitol grounds before October 12.

The Oklahoman newspaper reports that a state panel authorized the removal Tuesday of the monument, though it is unclear where it will go.

The Office of Management and Enterprise Services will be in charge of removing the monument.

GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaking to thousands gathered at the Bandshell Stage on the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds on September 25, 2015.
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Thousands of supporters streamed to the Oklahoma State Fair on Friday to hear Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump hammer the media, illegal immigrants, Iran and Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

Wearing his signature red baseball cap, Trump told the crowd the United States doesn’t win anymore, but that will change under the Trump administration.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump at a campaign stop, Sept. 3, 2015.
Michael Vadon / Flickr

 

The air conditioner hums in Fredy Valencia’s office in south Oklahoma City - a tiny covey in an church with a desk, a computer and a few worn chairs. Sitting at his computer, Valencia works on plans for a protest he is helping lead during Donald Trump’s campaign stop this Friday at the Oklahoma state fair.

“If people want to attack our community, people attack us, we’ll speak up and we’ll have something to say about it,” Valencia said.

Muscogee (Creek) Principal Chief George Tiger
muscogeenation-nsn.gov

Updated September 10, 2015 at 11:47 a.m:

The principal chief of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation says he won’t sign a resolution asking the Carter Center Democracy Program to monitor the tribe’s next election. The tribe’s National Council passed the measure at an emergency session on Tuesday with a vote of 9 to 6.

 

In a written statement, principal chief George Tiger said the tribe's election process is outlined in the Muscogee (Creek) laws and constitution. He wants to be careful about protecting the tribe's sovereignty.

Ragweed
Lou Ziska / USDA Agricultural Research Service

Higher than usual concentrations of pollen will cause problems for Oklahoma’s allergy sufferers this year.

 

Allergy season is just kicking off and Dr. Dean Atkinson, a physician at the Oklahoma Allergy and Asthma Clinic, thinks it could last for up to two months.

 

Oklahoma typically has one of the highest pollen counts in the country. The culprit: Ragweed.

“It’s everywhere,” Dr. Atkinson said. “ I mean, it will grow in every little ditch it can find and the climate’s just perfect.”

 

Death penalty opponent Sister Helen Prejean speaks at a news conference at the Oklahoma state capitol on September 3, 2015.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Death penalty opponent Sister Helen Prejean delivered over 250,000 online petition signatures to Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin on Thursday morning, requesting a 60-day stay of execution for Richard Glossip.

Glossip is scheduled to be executed on September 16.

Dr. Larry Kincheloe speaks at the EXPLORE: Oklahoma Healthcare Summit in Norman on August 13, 2015.
Jim Johnson / KGOU

 

Oklahoma City’s location as a crossroads positions the metro  as a hotbed for human trafficking activity.

According to a Department of Justice reports from 2003, Oklahoma ranked fourth in the nation for the largest number of trafficking survivors in the United States. The top states were California, New York and Texas.

The intersection of major interstate highways like I-35, I-40 and I-44 means human traffickers move sex slaves and others involved in forced labor through Oklahoma City.

Jim Marshall, chief-of-staff for Mark Costello, speaks at Costello's vigil on August 27, 2015
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Friends and colleagues of Mark Costello gathered in front of the state capitol last night to honor the late Labor Commissioner.

Friends described Costello as someone who made others feel special. He took time to know colleagues, and sent out birthday cards. Costello was known for a sense of humor that helped lighten the mood, and he famously passed out fake fifty trillion dollar bills.

State senator John Sparks, a Democrat, said Costello was dedicated to civil discourse.

Crooks and criminals in America's farm country are turning to an old crime — cattle rustling. The high price for beef and substance abuse are behind the surge in livestock theft, and that's putting some ranchers on edge.

At Susan Edmondson's farm near Henryetta, Okla., cattle started disappearing one by one last fall. At first she thought they had just wandered off. But over the winter, more and more went away, until she had lost 12 cows and 16 calves.

The culprits: teenage cattle thieves. Edmonson knew them well.

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