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

Despite flooding and erosion on the South Canadian River, Toby Bogart hopes to rebuild his farm on the outskirts of Oklahoma City.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Toby Bogart looks out over the South Canadian River from his farm near Oklahoma City. Normally, it’s a quiet river, a good spot for fishing. But after May’s torrential rain, the river is sprawling and wild, and it’s forging a new path right through Bogart’s farm.

“The river is supposed to be 200 yards, the bed is 200 yards over there,” Bogart said. “It’s got to stop because we’re right here where there’s nothing to block it now. If we get enough rain, it’s just going to gladly eat more and just eat it up as we go.”

Sandra Massey at a press conference in Oklahoma City on June 3, 2015.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Members of the Sac and Fox tribe announced a campaign to bring the remains of athlete Jim Thorpe back to his home state of Oklahoma on Wednesday.

Thorpe was buried in 1953 in Pennsylvania after his widow reached a deal with a pair of boroughs to place his remains in a mausoleum there. The two Pennsylvania towns consolidated and renamed themselves Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.

30-day rainfall totals from Oklahoma Mesonet stations as of May 31, 2015.
Oklahoma Mesonet

No surprise here - May went down as the wettest month in Oklahoma history.

The final statewide average rainfall for May was 14.4 inches. State climatologist Gary McManus said that's nearly 9.6 inches above normal, and obliterated the 74-year-old previous record of 10.75 inches set in October 1941. The Oklahoma Climatological Survey has kept records since the 1890s.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and Oklahoma Emergency Management director Albert Ashwood meet with first responders in Purcell on May 27, 2015.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Clean-up continues across Texas and Oklahoma after days of heavy rain and flooding. In Oklahoma, May is already the wettest month on record and the rains aren’t done yet. More water means more flooding in a state where the soil is already saturated and rivers are overflowing.

Justin Nimmo walks up the muddy front steps of his rent-to-own store in Purcell, Oklahoma, a little town about 40 miles south of Oklahoma City. Inside, fans and dehumidifiers purr as they strain to dry out his showroom.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

There have been a number of weather-related deaths in Oklahoma since storms and flooding began on Friday, including a firefighter who died during a water rescue, and a 48-year-old woman who was killed after a tornado struck her home.

Nearly two years ago, a powerful tornado – the widest on record – struck the rural outskirts of Oklahoma City. Fortunately it missed heavily populated areas, but the ensuing flash flood killed 13 people in Oklahoma City, including nine Guatemalan immigrants.

Norman Forecast Office / National Weather Service

Updated 9:02 p.m. The National Weather Services says, "Strong to severe storms seem to be increasing in coverage as winds just off the surface (low level jet) is intensifying. Most of these storms are becoming severe quickly, with large hail and very heavy rainfall the primary concerns. Storms may eventually merge into one or more clusters and move north and east. Stay alert as we head into the overnight hours in case storms intensify in your area."

 

Wace Police Department Facebook Page

The same outlaw motorcycle club that was at the center of a deadly shootout in Waco, Texas has a strong foothold in Oklahoma.

The Bandidos motorcycle club has members scattered through Oklahoma, with a presence in Oklahoma City, Lawton, Shawnee, Tulsa, Elk City, Poteau and Bartlesville. Other biker gangs in some of those communities include the Mongols, the Outlaws and the Rogues, as well as several small groups.

Meteorologist Jesus Lopez demonstrates some of the weather forecasting software at the Telemundo studios in Oklahoma City.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Oklahoma’s Spanish speakers have more access to severe weather information now than they did two years ago when tornadoes ripped through Moore and other parts of the Oklahoma City metro. But despite the improvements, gaps in communication remain.

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole / Flickr

 

President Barack Obama is seeking fast track approval from Congress to negotiate the Trans Pacific Partnership. If Congress grants the president fast track authority, the 12-country trade deal can be approved with a simple up or down vote, and there are no amendments or filibusters. This issue has some Republicans siding with Obama, while Democrats are largely against it.

 

Doug Williams examines a polygraph test on his computer.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

A former Oklahoma City police officer faces federal witness tampering and mail fraud charges for teaching people how to pass the polygraph test. Doug Williams was indicted last year after an undercover sting operation and his trial begins Tuesday in the Western District of Oklahoma Federal Court.

Williams meets clients at his tiny, spartan rented basement office on Main Street in Norman, where he charges $1,000 for one-on-one training sessions.

Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Preliminary damage reports from Wednesday’s storms show multiple EF-2 tornadoes hit the metro area. The severe weather injured dozens of people and killed at least one. Residents across the state are trying to get back on their feet. 

Left-to-right: Oklahoma Watch executive editor David Fritze, attorney Michael Brooks-Jimenez, Oklahoma City school board member Gloria Torres, Oklahoma City coucilwoman Meg Salyer
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Oklahoma Watch and the University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication presented a public forum on April 16 about challenges in low-income neighborhoods in south Oklahoma City.

The Q&A forum with local leaders focused on the needs and concerns of south Oklahoma City communities and is tied to a mobile video news project, “Talk With Us: Poverty in Oklahoma City Neighborhoods.”

Southeastern and central Oklahoma will see a chance for strong winds, large hail and a possibility of tornadoes Sunday afternoon and evening.
National Weather Service

A storm system will develop over northern Texas and southern Oklahoma this afternoon and evening that could produce damaging winds and large hail, and the potential for tornadoes. 

The most likely area for severe weather this afternoon runs south and east of a line from Clinton to Ada. The strongest storms could produce baseball to softball size hail, 60 to 70 mile per hour winds and a low potential for tornadoes. The possibility for tornadoes is greatest in southwestern Oklahoma and northern Texas.

Air Force senior master sergeant Gary Kirby stood in a police lineup with Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh in 1995.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

It was supposed to be Gary Kirby’s day off when the senior airman in the United States Air Force got a call from his first sergeant. The request: Come back to Tinker Air Force Base dressed in a pair of blue jeans, a white t-shirt and white socks.

Kirby, now a senior master sergeant, showed up at the headquarters building to find a big, blue Air Force bus. He climbed on board, where he found between 40 and 50 guys --- and all of them looked like him.

Family members and friends of Oklahoma City bombing victims gathered at the Oklahoma City National Memorial to commemorate the bombing's 20th anniversary.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Updated 10:31 a.m.: Ceremony concludes as dignitaries, survivors reflect

As rain started to fall on the Oklahoma City National Memorial Sunday morning, former President Bill Clinton delivered powerful remarks that drew a standing ovation from the thousands who gathered to mark the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.

"For a whole country, you burned away all the petty squabbles in which we engage, leaving only our basic humanity. I mostly came here to thank you today," Clinton said.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

The bomb that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City killed 168 people - including 19 children. It injured hundreds more, and forever shaped the community.

April 19, 1995 started as an idyllic spring morning - clear skies, calm winds - better than most Wednesdays during the state’s usually-turbulent severe weather season. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Workers showed up to their jobs, and went about their regular routines.

That all changed at 9:02 a.m.

It's been nearly 20 years since a bomb destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in downtown Oklahoma City. The aftermath of the tragedy continues to reverberate through the city and shape the character of the state.

Friday morning at 11 a.m. KGOU will debut a new documentary called That April Morning: The Oklahoma City Bombing. We've produced this sneak peak:

U.S. Rep. Steve Russell (R-Okla.) says the United States shouldn't "accommodate" Iran in ongoing nuclear talks.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Steve Russell’s new career is a lot different than his previous one. 

The first term Congressman from Oklahoma’s fifth district is settling into his new job after spending 21 years in the Army, where he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel.

He served all over the globe, including in Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq. His unit played a key role in the search for Saddam Hussein. Russell wrote a book about it, We Got Him! A Memoir of The Hunt and Capture of Saddam Hussein.

KGOU’s Jacob McCleland spoke to Russell, a Republican, following a town hall meeting at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond on April 2, 2015.

Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Sexual assault survivors and agencies that advocate on their behalf gathered at the state capitol in Oklahoma City on Thursday to share their stories of sexual violence in Indian country.

American Indians are two and a half times more likely to experience sexual assault crimes compared to any other group, and one third of native women will be raped during her lifetime, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

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