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

Oklahoma state capitol
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has chosen the state’s secretary of state to fill the vacant attorney general office.

Fallin picked Mike Hunter to be the state’s next attorney general. The post was vacated last week when former AG Scott Pruitt was sworn in to become the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Hunter was the first assistant attorney general under Pruitt between June 2015 and October 2016. He left the AG’s office when Fallin selected him to be secretary of state.

World Views: February 17, 2017

Feb 17, 2017

Suzette Grillot and Joshua Landis talk about the future of the two-state solution in Israel.

Then Suzette speaks with Nadim Shehadi, director of the Fares Center for Easter Mediterranean Studies at Tufts University. They discuss Lebanon's relative stability in a region that is engulfed in conflict.

cigarettes
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

 

Health care providers are lining up behind a proposal to increase Oklahoma’s sales tax on cigarettes by $1.50. The proposal is also attracting the supports of child advocacy groups.

Oklahoma state capitol
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

The Oklahoma House of Representatives took a step toward becoming Real ID compliant Thursday. The House voted 78 to 18 to approve the measure that allows the state to produce identification that meets federal security guidelines under the federal 2005 Real ID Act. Oklahomans must use a Real ID-compliant identification or passport by January 2018 to board a commercial airline flight, or by June of this year to enter federal facilities.

State Rep. Leslie Osborn, R-Mustang, authored the bill. She says compliance is way overdue.

Hidden Figures star Taraji P. Henson and mathematician Rudy Horne.
Rudy Horne

 

The movie Hidden Figures is about Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson - African American women who worked as “human computers” for NASA in the early days of the space race. They helped launch John Glenn into orbit and played a role in the moon landing.

Math is all over the place in the movie. In this scene, Katherine Johnson, played by Taraji P. Henson, calculates where Glenn’s spacecraft will land when he returns to Earth.

Bambi bucket helping to gain control over this massive grass fire.
Oklahoma City Fire Department

Emergency management officials have issued an evacuation order for a Sunday afternoon wildfire that has burned 877 acres in south-southeast Oklahoma City.

The fire isolated south of Southeast 134th and Southeast 149th between Air Depot and Midwest Boulevard. The fire is moving to the south.

Oklahoma City Emergency Management is asking residents south of Southeast 149th Southeast 179th or Indian Hills Road, and from Sooner Road to Midwest Boulevard, to leave the area. Officials request people leave to the south and then go to the east or west.

 

The Oklahoma legislature could make big changes to the state sales taxes this session in an attempt to balance an estimated $870 million budget shortfall and provide a pay raise to teachers.

In her state of the state speech on Monday, Governor Mary Fallin proposed a pair of tax cuts, coupled with an expansion of the state’s sales tax system that would raise Oklahoma’s tax revenue by $1.1 billion.

Suzette Grillot and Rebecca Cruise talk about ongoing protests in Romania.

Then, Suzette interviews Orville Schell about China's relationship with the world. Schell is an award-winning journalist and former dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at University of California-Berkeley.

Schell: U.S. And Chinese Cooperation Essential For The World

Feb 10, 2017
Orvville Schell
The Asia Society

 

As a college student, China was something of a forbidden land for Orville Schell. He was mystified by the Chinese language, but found it difficult to find a good language course in the United States.

“It was a bit of a terra incognita,” Schell said. “I think the very fact that I couldn't go there was most interesting to me.”

Patrick Wyrick, state solicitor general, gestures as he speaks during an Oklahoma Supreme Court hearing in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, June 21, 2011.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has picked her state’s solicitor general to serve as the newest member of the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

Patrick Wyrick, 35, has been the solicitor general in the state attorney general’s office since 2011. He will succeed Steven Taylor, who is retiring.

Wyrick will serve as a justice from Oklahoma’s 2nd Judicial District, which encompasses much of southeastern Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin at her 2017 State of the State address on Feb. 6, 2017.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

 

Coming into Mary Fallin’s 7th state of the state address as governor of Oklahoma, there was one big question: How will the state deal with another revenue shortfall, and not cut funding to agencies that provide services. The state faces an estimated $870  million budget gap in the upcoming fiscal year. That comes after clawing out a 1.3 billion dollar deficit last year.

Fallin hinted last week she would present a series of changes to the sales tax system. On Tuesday, she outlined her plan.

Sparq Natural Gas CEO Norman Herrera fills a pickup truck with compressed natural gas in front of the Oklahoma Environmental Management Authority office in El Reno Friday.
Mark Hancock / Journal Record

 

 

El Reno installed a compressed natural gas station for its refuse fleet. It’s part of a larger trend of municipalities relying on the fuel for its services.

The Journal Record’s Sarah Terry Cobo writes Oklahoma Environmental Management Authority owner David Griesel says the dispensers save time and money.

Suzette Grillot and Rebecca Cruise talk about President Trump's executive order that pauses the resettlement of refugees in the United States and bans travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Then, Suzette talks with John Harris about sustainable development and informal communities in Africa.

State Rep. Dan Kirby, R-Tulsa, on the floor of the Oklahoma House of Representatives at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, March 2, 2015.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

A state representative from Tulsa has announced he will resign his seat after a House committee recommended his expulsion amid sexual harassment allegations.

Rep. Dan Kirby, a Republican, submitted his resignation on Saturday.

At question were two separate incidents. One involved a lawsuit brought against the House of Representatives by Hollie Bishop, who worked for Kirby as a legislative assistant. She claimed she was fired in November 2015 after she reported sexual harassment. Former House Speaker Jeff Hickman reached a settlement with Bishop’s attorneys.

U.S. Rep. Steve Russell during a Feb. 3 House Oversight and Government Reform hearing.
Congressman Steve Russell / Facebook

Members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation have largely been supportive of President Donald Trump’s executive order that temporarily bans travel of certain foreign nationals to the United States.

 

Norman, Oklahoma residents Elika Bahrevar and Amir Arshadi on Jan. 29, 2017.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

 

Amir Arshadi and Elika Bahrevar met a decade ago, when they were engineering students at a university in Iran. Later, they both came to the United States for grad school.

“We were still boyfriend and girlfriend at the time, and we got married in Cleveland,” Amir says while laughing.

“We were students so we couldn’t afford to have a wedding,” Elika chuckles.

 

Moving to a rural Oklahoma town can be hard selling point for the state’s tribes, especially for high-demand, skilled professions like doctors and chefs.

The Journal Record newspaper released a special issue this week, Building Bridges, that looks at the tribal impact on Oklahoma’s economy. As part of the issue, reporter Catherine Sweeny noted that tribal healthcare facilities have to compete with metropolitan areas to attract doctors.

Suzette Grillot talks to Rebecca Cruise about British Prime Minister Theresa May's speech outlining Brexit. And as we continue our month-long series on international literature, Suzette talks to University of Toronto literature professor Dragana Obradovic about experiencing war as a child.

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:

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