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

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.

Constance Favorite looks over a table filled with mementos in the living room of her bungalow in New Orleans — shoes, a tattered combat boot, an American flag and three photos, each of a smiling young woman. It's her daughter, Airman 1st Class Lakesha Levy.

"If our day didn't look bright, she would brighten it up with her little jokes she would tell. I'd say, 'Lakesha, you really should be a comedian,' " Favorite says.

GOP president hopful Sen. Ted Cruz at a campaign stop in Oklahoma City on August 13, 2015.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz pulled into Oklahoma City on Thursday to speak with supporters and drum up support for his campaign.

Speaking from the back of a blue pickup truck in the parking lot of the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association, the U.S. Senator from Texas laid out his plans for the White House, which include the repeal of Obamacare, defunding Planned Parenthood, a flat tax and eliminating the Internal Revenue Service, among other things. His sharpest criticisms were directed at the Obama administration’s proposal Iran nuclear deal.

Robert Hoefling performs at the Bluebonnet Bar during Norman Music Festival 8 - April 2015
Nathan Poppe / The Oklahoman

Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman ruled Tuesday he won't turn his temporary injunction that forbids the Norman Music Festival from banning guns into a permanent order.

Balkman said the legislature is the appropriate place to ban enforcement of no-gun policies at public events, according to The Oklahoman’s Jane Glenn Cannon:

creationc / Stock.XCHNG

The Oklahoma County District Court will take up the constitutionality of an Oklahoma law that restricts non-surgical abortions in a hearing on Monday. 

The law restricts medication abortions after 49 days of pregnancy. 

Governor Mary Fallin signed the bill into law last year but it was blocked by the state Supreme Court. 

Miran Rijavec Stan Dalone / Flickr.com

Financial institutions are uniting against the U.S. Senate’s six-year transportation bill, including bankers in Oklahoma.

 

Banks are required to buy stocks from the Federal Reserve in order to become members. They receive a six percent interest rate on their investment. The transportation bill would reduce that rate to one-and-a-half percent. The change offsets about $16 billion of highway spending.

 

Oklahoma Bankers Association president and CEO Roger Beverage said that would hurt consumers.

 

U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) speaking during a July 28, 2015 Students for Life rally at the U.S. Capitol.
Provided / U.S. Sen. James Lankford

Updated July 30, 12:01 p.m.

Republican U.S. Senators discussed legislation Wednesday that would block federal money from going to Planned Parenthood and send those funds to other organizations that provide healthcare services for women.

Planned Parenthood is under scrutiny after videos surfaced that allegedly show doctors talking about selling fetal tissues. The organization’s leadership says Planned Parenthood does not profit from fetal tissue donations. 

Ryan LaCroix / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

The Oklahoma Supreme Court Monday reaffirmed its decision that a Ten Commandments monument must be removed from the capitol grounds. The high court denied Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s request for a rehearing.

The state supreme court justices found nothing of merit to rehear the case. They ruled on June 30 that the monument was in violation of the state constitution’s ban on using public money for religious purposes. 

American Civil Liberties Union legal director Brady Henderson says he expected the court’s decision to reaffirm.

Robert Bever
Tulsa County Jail

Updated July 26, 2015

Few details are known about the two brothers who killed their parents and three siblings in their Broken Arrow, Oklahoma home this past week.

The Tulsa World reports that neighbors describe them as a family that keeps to themselves, and the children were rarely seen outside the house.

President Barack Obama talks with attendees of a speech in Durant, Oklahoma on July 15, 2015.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Millions of American students don’t have access to high speed internet at home, putting them at an educational disadvantage. On Wednesday, president Barack Obama began his two-day visit to Oklahoma by unveiling a new plan to bring  internet service into low income households.

The president was met with applause and introduced himself with the Choctaw greeting “Halito” at Durant High School in the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

President Obama speaking to supporters in a pipe yard in Cushing, Okla. in 2012, where the Keystone XL Pipeline connects on its way from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

President Obama travels to Oklahoma Wednesday where he will announce a new initiative to expand broadband access to homes in low-income areas.

The president will make the announcement at Durant High School in the capital of the Choctaw Nation in southeastern Oklahoma.

Obama’s ConnectHome initiative will expand broadband coverage to 275,000 low income households in 27 cities and the Choctaw Nation. The White House estimates it’ll bring broadband into the homes of nearly 200,000 low income children.

Supreme Court
Mark Fischer / Flickr

The end of June was a busy few days for both the state and federal judiciary. As the U.S. Supreme Court wound down its term, opinions in some of the widest-reaching cases came in the final few days.

But a lot of the reasons behind all of this began years ago.

Death Penalty Dispute

purple heart medal in a case
Lance Cpl. Jeffrey A. Cosola / United States Marine Corps

U.S. Rep. Steve Russell has inserted language into the National Defense Authorization Act that would award the Purple Heart to six service members who were killed in the Oklahoma City bombing.

The two soldiers, two airmen and two Marines were working as recruiters in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995.

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