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

Despite a budget shortfall of approximately $1.3 billion, some Oklahoma state employees received a pay increase during the current fiscal year. The Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services provided documents to The Oklahoman which show 554 state employees received raises of at least $5,000.

Suzette Grillot and Joshua Landis talk about the Syrian cease-fire that was brokered by Russia and Turkey.

Then Suzette talks with Chad Post, the publisher and director of Open Letter Books, a non-profit literary, translation press housed at the University of Rochester in New York. He’s also the managing editor of Three Percent, a blog that promotes literature in translation.

Chad Post
Chad Post

 

A world of literary tradition remains outside the grasp of many American readers because few works are translated into English. Chad Post, the publisher of the University of Rochester’s Open Letter press, works to increase access to international literature by translating and publishing ten books each year.

An anti-Syrian government fighter, left, looks at a Syrian soldier, right, as he leaves the last besieged rebel-held neighborhood of Al-Waer in Homs province, Syria, Monday, Sept. 26, 2016.
SANA via AP

 

A cease-fire backed by Russia and Turkey is falling apart in Syria, and that leaves few good options for rebels in that country who are fighting against president Bashar al-Assad

Joshua Landis, the head of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, told KGOU’s World Views that Assad intends to take back all Syrian land currently held by rebels. Meanwhile, Turkey’s involvement in the cease-fire is an indication that country will no longer back the rebels.

Tiffany Batdorf is the business improvement district chief executive for Oklahoma City’s Adventure District.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

 

Oklahoma City’s Adventure District is home to some big attractions, such as the zoo, Remington Park, the National Softball Hall of Fame and Science Museum Oklahoma. But development has been slow in the area, and some residents and business owners are voicing their displeasure.

National Weather Service

A winter storm that blanketed much of Oklahoma with snow during the overnight hours has led schools and businesses across the region to close for Friday.

 

The University of Oklahoma's Norman campus and Health Sciences Center campus in Oklahoma City announced they would close for the day, as well as many schools district such as Oklahoma City, Moore and Norman.

 

Preston Doerflinger, Oklahoma's secretary of finance, speaks during a news conference in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016.
Sue Ogracki / AP

Oklahoma’s state government will face a budget hole of about $869 million in the upcoming fiscal year, a 12.6 percent decrease from the current year, according to figures released Tuesday by Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger.

Updated December 22, 9:49 a.m.

The State Board of Equalization formally certified a $6 billion budget estimate Wednesday for Fiscal Year 2018, which is $868 million below the $6.8 billion allocated for the current fiscal year.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and Oklahoma Secretary of State Michael Hunter address the media after the state's electors cast their on Dec. 19, 2016.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

All seven of Oklahoma’s electors voted at the state Capitol Monday in favor of Donald Trump. The Republican president-elect won 65 percent of the popular vote in Oklahoma and carried every county in the state.

David Oldham, an elector from Tulsa, said he took his role seriously. He examined news reports to determine whether he thought Trump could serve as president, including Russian hacking allegations. He said there’s no proof Trump was involved in the hacks.

Oklahoma Supreme Court chambers
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

An Oklahoma state law that requires doctors at abortion clinics to have hospital admitting privileges was struck down Tuesday by the state’s highest court. The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled the law places an undue burden on a woman’s access to abortion, and violates the state constitution’s single subject rule.

University of Central Oklahoma student Raul Reyes.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

 

University of Central Oklahoma student Raul Reyes sits at a piano in the practice room of the School of Music, his fingers gliding across the keys as he plays “Yolanda,” by Cuban composer Pablo Milanés.

“This song is very popular, but I don’t know if it is very popular here in the States,” Reyes said. “It’s slow, soft music. This song is really famous in Cuba, and probably in South America.”

House Republican Conference

Oklahoma’s junior U.S. senator released a list today of what he considers 100 wasteful uses of government dollars.

Republican James Lankford’s “Federal Fumbles” report outlines what he says are inefficient grants and programs, as well as rules and regulations that Lankford says hurt businesses and consumers.

This is Lankford’s second report on what he considers wasteful spending through inefficient grants, programs, and regulations. He released a similar document last year.

Southwest 29th Street in Oklahoma City.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Customers can smell the bread before they enter Ramiro Padilla’s Mexican bakery and restaurant along Southwest 29th Street in largely-Hispanic south Oklahoma City.

In 2007, the Oklahoma legislature passed a law to crack down on undocumented residents. At the time, Padilla says the Hispanic community panicked. In his neighborhood, the streets were empty.

Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Updated Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Oklahoma City police say the suspect in a shooting Tuesday at the Will Rogers World Airport was a former employee at Southwest Airlines, and resigned his position in April 2015.

Police allege 45-year-old Lloyd Dean Buie shot and killed Michael Winchester on Tuesday shortly before 1:00 p.m. in the airport parking lot. Winchester was leaving work when Buie allegedly shot him with a rifle from a range of approximately 50 yards.

Winchester also worked at Southwest Airlines.

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 is asking a judge to order Gov. Mary Fallin’s office to immediately fulfill two Open Records Act requests.

The nursing home advocacy group A Perfect Cause, and the newspaper The Oklahoma Observer, both requested documents in 2014. The governor’s office still has not complied with the request.

ACLU legal director Brady Henderson called the slow response one of the most serious cases of lack of transparency in the state.

A supporter of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at the Oklahoma Republican Party's watch party at Main Event in Oklahoma City
Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

There were few surprises at the national level as Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly chose Republican nominee Donald Trump to become the 45th president of the United States.

People gather for the Fiesta de las Americas in Oklahoma City on Oct. 1, 2016.
Josh Robinson / Oklahoma Engaged

 

Pete White drives slowly through his old neighborhood in south Oklahoma City. The 78-year-old Oklahoma City councilman has lived in the area his entire life.

 

“This is the house I grew up in right here,” White said as he drove through a tree lined neighborhood of modest homes.

 

Dep. Sheriff Red Edgman, Dep. Sheriff Dave Harlan, Sheriff Orin Johnston and Henry Troup break up a still near Purcell, Oklahoma in 1933.
Purman Wilson Collection / Oklahoma Historical Society

 

Oklahomans are considering some of the biggest changes to the state’s liquor laws since the end of prohibition. If approved, State Question 792 would amend the state constitution and alter a system with roots planted during the days of Indian Territory.

Wine bottles in The Spirit Shop in Norman
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

“There he is!” Bryan Kerr said with a laugh, as he greeted a customer at his liquor store in Moore. ”You’re always showing up at exactly the right time.”

The customer navigated through rows of bottles at Moore Liquor, while Kerr slipped outside. He took a few steps to an adjoining storefront to another business he owns: Party Moore.

“A lot of people mistake it for like a Party Galaxy or Party City. It is not that,” Kerr said as he cracked open the store’s door. “It is a party store that is exclusively built for parties that have alcohol in them.”

Officer Betty Shelby
Tulsa County Jail

The attorney for the Tulsa police officer who killed an unarmed African American man says she had “auditory exclusion” at the time of the shooting.

Attorney Scott Wood told The Tulsa World that officer Betty Shelby has no recollection of fellow officer Tyler Turnbough saying that he was ready to use his Taser on Terence Crutcher. She also did not hear the arrival of other officers’ cars or their sirens.

Justin Zagaruyka and his son talk to the press during Surgeon General Vivek Murthy's visit to Oklahoma City on May 17, 2016.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

 

Justin Zagaruyka’s problems with substance abuse began early. He started smoking marijuana when he was 11 or 12. Within a couple years, he was using methamphetamine. He kicked meth four years later, but then he started drinking heavily. Soon, he was taking opiates.

“I’d go use the opiates because it would sober me up a little bit, you know, when I’d get too drunk. So I would go snort a lortab or a roxy and then I would be back up and ready to go and I could drink more,” Zagaruyka said.

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