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StateImpact Oklahoma

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Twenty years is a long time to live with a drug addiction, but Rachel Wachel has done it. She tends bar, has a house and a car — and calls herself a functioning addict.

Oklahoma Corporation Commission

Federal and state authorities are investigating the cause of the deadly explosion and fire at a natural gas drilling rig in southeastern Oklahoma on Monday. 

Low Pay No. 1 Reason Oklahoma Teachers Quit, Survey Says

Jan 23, 2018
Oklahoma State Department of Education

The State Department of Education surveyed thousands of former teachers about why they left the profession, and what it would take to get them back. The survey results, released Monday, suggest most quit because of low pay.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Jacob is just a few hours old when registered nurse Amy Burnett begins one of the simplest measurements to tell if a newborn is healthy — their weight.

Association of Women in Communication

This is the Manager’s Minute.

With a new year beginning, KGOU is renewing its commitment to serving you with trustworthy journalism.

Our goal is to deliver relevant, interesting, explanatory stories that tell not just what happened, but explore the why and how.

Along with our partners, we have expanded StateImpact Oklahoma to provide in-depth coverage of energy and environment, health, education, criminal justice and more.

2018 is an election year, so much of our focus will be on politics and policy.

Preschool teacher, Irene Castell, works on counting with a small group of kids.
Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Kids are scattered around the preschool classroom at Zarrow International School in Tulsa. It’s loud and chaotic, but it’s organized. Some students paint pictures; others write out the letters of the alphabet. The small group sitting around teacher Irene Castell is learning to count and compare numbers.


Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

On June 26, voters will decide if Oklahoma will become the 30th state to legalize marijuana for medical use. But regulating the new industry could prove difficult.

If State Question 788 passes, licenses will be required for each stage of marijuana cultivation, including dispensaries, commercial growers, processors, and individual medical marijuana cards.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that black infants in Oklahoma are twice as likely to die before their first birthday than white or Hispanic babies, making Oklahoma one of the worst states for black infant mortality.

Mickey Thompson, founder and director of Restore Oklahoma Now, leaves the attorney general's office after filing paperwork for State Question 795.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Mickey Thompson has a manila envelope tucked under his arm as he walks towards the Oklahoma Capitol. If the paperwork doesn’t start a fight, it almost certainly will add fuel to one.

Inside the envelope is the handiwork of about 10 people over a couple of months that could clear a path for Oklahoma voters to do something most lawmakers won’t consider: Enact broad tax hikes on oil and gas production to help fund public education.

Best Wishes for 2018!

Dec 31, 2017

This is the Manager’s Minute.

Happy New Year, everyone!

2017 was a year of growth for KGOU. We added a new transmitter in Clinton that increases our broadcast footprint to include a large part of western Oklahoma. KGOU is now broadcasting to 32 counties from nine locations around the state.

Ratings for NPR and KGOU are on the rise, and we’ve increased our number of listeners in the last 12 months. KGOU now has more than 90,000 weekly listeners in the Oklahoma City metro area.

StateImpact Oklahoma: A Look at 2018

Dec 28, 2017
StateImpact reporters preview the key health, education, energy and environment issues they'll be tracking in 2018.
StateImpact Oklahoma

2017 is wrapping up, but the growing group of reporters at StateImpact is following important  policy issues that will carry on into the new year.

Senior Reporter and Managing Editor Joe Wertz brought the StateImpact team into the studio for a preview of their coverage in the year to come. Here are some excerpts from the conversation:

Health

Joe Wertz: Give me the big picture for the new year.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A group led by a long-time energy industry leader wants Oklahoma voters to approve an increase in taxes on oil and gas production to help fund public education.

Currently, taxes on oil and gas production are discounted for the first three years making the effective tax rate somewhere around 3.2 percent. Mickey Thompson with Restore Oklahoma Now on Wednesday filed the paperwork for State Question 795 to increase that rate to 7 percent across-the-board.

And The Rest / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

When Moore Public School Superintendent Robert Romines asked some of his high school students what the district could do better, they told him they needed more help with mental health.

“I was a bit shocked,” Romines says.

More and more of Oklahoma’s teenagers are dealing with mental illness, and the increase has caught a few school administrators off guard.

Volunteer firefighters Christie Smith and David Thompson cool down after extinguishing a hotspot that flared east of Noble, Okla., in 2012. Scientists expect the risk of wildfire to increase as climate change-fueled droughts occur more frequently.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A new report from hundreds of experts and more than a dozen federal agencies is stark: Humans are likely responsible for the warmest period in modern civilization.

The consequences of this warming vary regionally, but scientists and researchers forecast significant effects in Oklahoma and other southern plains states.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Education leaders in Oklahoma say Gov. Mary Fallin’s executive order on school consolidation oversimplified a very complicated issue.

The November 21 order directs school districts that don’t spend at least 60 percent of their budget on instruction to consolidate administrative staff with other districts. A strict interpretation of this rule would force most Oklahoma school districts to cut an administrator, or a support staff person, and then find a way to split that cost with a neighboring district.

StateImpact Oklahoma

This is the Manager’s Minute.

We hope you’ve noticed a new voice on KGOU over the last couple of weeks. Jackie Fortier joined the StateImpact Oklahoma reporting team in mid-November.

StateImpact is a collaboration between Oklahoma’s public radio stations (KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU) and for six years now has been delivering in-depth, enterprise reporting on policies affecting everyday Oklahomans.

Senior reporter and editor Joe Wertz focuses on energy and environment stories, Emily Wendler on education, and Jackie Fortier will lead StateImpact’s health reporting.

Hugh Pickens / hughpickens.com

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s plan to spray chemicals and biological agents in simulated terrorist attacks at an abandoned school has alarmed residents and caused a stir on both sides of the Oklahoma-Kansas border.

New Shows, New Times

Nov 10, 2017
ebay

This is the Manager’s Minute.

From time to time, circumstances require us to change our programming schedule…and this is one of those times.

To the Point is going podcast-only, so in its 2:00 p.m. time slot we’re adding Fresh Air Monday through Thursday.

Science Friday will continue to air Fridays from 1:00 to 3:00, and Fresh Air will repeat at 7:00 on weeknights.

Current Conversations is going on hiatus, so we’re adding an extra half hour of All Things Considered Monday evenings from 6:30 to 7:00.

Calumet Public Schools Superintendent Keith Weldon stands in an old garage that he now uses for an agriculture program. Weldon worries if lawmakers take some of his local funding, he would have to scale back the popular program.
Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

The wind blows strong and steady in Calumet, a small town about 40 miles west of Oklahoma City.

It’s the wind that’s prompted companies to build turbines here. A natural gas company also built a plant nearby.

Stormwater engineer Bill Robison snaps a photo of a flood-prone house the city is trying to buy from its homeowner.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

In the aftermath of devastating hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, communities across the U.S. are rethinking ways to control flooding and reduce hazards that could be worsened by urbanization and climate change.

Writing such plans is a complex, politically challenging process, but one city in Oklahoma has emerged as a national model for creating a flood-control program that works.

Bill Robison pulls over and parks his city-issued car on a tree-lined street in east Tulsa.

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