Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

State Employees Group To File Lawsuit Against Oklahoma Health Department

The largest group representing state government workers is preparing to sue the Oklahoma State Department of Health for $3 million on behalf of 161 former employees laid off during a financial crisis. In November 2017, health department officials reported a sudden budget shortfall that led to the layoffs of nearly 200 employees and an emergency infusion from lawmakers of $30 million to help the agency stay solvent. A six-month investigation by a grand jury into financial mismanagement ended...

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'I'll Just Keep Praying With You': An Unconditional Friendship Despite Spiritual Differences

Amy Brewer and Kathryn Furr are best friends, going through thick and thin together. But they have differences. Amy is an atheist and Kat is a Christian. They came to the StoryCorps mobile booth to talk about what they’ve learned from each other. This story was produced for KOSU by Rachel Hubbard and Dustin Drew, with interviews recorded at the StoryCorps mobile booth in Oklahoma City in early 2018. Locally recorded stories air Wednesdays during Morning Edition and All Things Considered on...

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Hazel O'Neil

Enacting Change: One Young Voter At A Time

Brenna Sawney, an 18-year-old senior at Sallisaw High School in eastern Oklahoma, is battling the stereotype that young people don’t care enough to vote. “There are a lot of people who think that the younger generation is lazy and don’t care about what happens in the world,” she said. “It’s frustrating because I’m not one of those people.” Sawney’s trying to change that stereotype in several different ways. She’s attended public school her entire life in Sequoyah County, one of the poorest...

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Amy Brewer and Kathryn Furr are best friends, going through thick and thin together. But they have differences. Amy is an atheist and Kat is a Christian. They came to the StoryCorps mobile booth to talk about what they’ve learned from each other.

This story was produced for KOSU by Rachel Hubbard and Dustin Drew, with interviews recorded at the StoryCorps mobile booth in Oklahoma City in early 2018. Locally recorded stories air Wednesdays during Morning Edition and All Things Considered on KOSU.

Rural Americans are profoundly worried about the opioid crisis and their local economies and many are hoping government can help, according to a new poll from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Starting Wednesday, the sale of recreational marijuana begins in Canada following a law passed over the summer.

The law says anyone in Canada over the age of 18 is allowed to possess marijuana, provided it's less than 30 grams — just over an ounce. Canadians can also grow up to four marijuana plants in their home and buy from a provincially regulated retailer.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

As the 2018 election season hits a fever pitch in Oklahoma, residents across the state are scrutinizing the credentials of the candidates. And with November 6 just three weeks away, some new political concerns are coming to light.

When Oklahoma’s public radio stations started the Oklahoma Engaged series this spring, there was one big issue center stage in Oklahoma: education.

While education is still a crucial issue, other topics are percolating. In Northeastern Oklahoma, it is again the issue of water quality.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

The largest group representing state government workers is preparing to sue the Oklahoma State Department of Health for $3 million on behalf of 161 former employees laid off during a financial crisis.

In November 2017, health department officials reported a sudden budget shortfall that led to the layoffs of nearly 200 employees and an emergency infusion from lawmakers of $30 million to help the agency stay solvent.

AP Photo

In a video released this week, Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren backed up her long contested claim that she has Native American ancestry, with results from a DNA test and a telling of her family’s story.

President Trump has long taunted Warren’s claims of native ancestry and nicknamed her Pocahontas. At a July rally in Montana, Trump challenged Warren to use genetic testing to prove her claim.

The price of beer could rise sharply this century, and it has nothing to do with trends in craft brewing. Instead, a new study says beer prices could double, on average, because of the price of malted barley, a key ingredient in the world's favorite alcoholic drink.

By projecting heat and drought trends over the coming decades, a team of researchers in China, the U.K. and the U.S. found that barley production could be sharply affected by the shifting climate. And that means some parts of the world would very likely be forced to pay much more for a beer.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Scott Eisen/Getty Images

The DNA test that Sen. Elizabeth Warren took, which showed she has Native American ancestry is "completely irrelevant to the process" of determining her tribal identity, the Cherokee Secretary of State told NPR's Morning Edition.

Chuck Hoskin was also critical of President Trump, saying he "should not be calling her 'Pocahontas,' but "should be looking into the needs of Indian country are because the needs are there."

Headlines for Tuesday, October 16, 2018:

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Education News

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Public school teachers are watching closely as Oklahoma gubernatorial candidates promote and debate their plans for improving health care, tax policy and education.

Alberto Morejon is one of them.

Morejon is an 8th-grade teacher at Stillwater Public Schools largely credited with organizing the teacher walkout in April. He now runs a Facebook page with nearly 80,000 followers, many of them Oklahoma educators.

Hazel O'Neil

Andrea Brawdy, a special education teacher at James Griffith Intermediate School in Choctaw, Oklahoma, just received the first pay raise of her 12-year teaching career: $414 more per month.

Getting this raise was no small feat. Even after teachers around the state demanded a substantial pay increase, they still left their classrooms to take part in a two-week long teacher walkout at the Capitol building this April. They wanted to bring attention to their demands: better pay, better benefits, and better treatment of teachers.

This question came up again and again Tuesday during an at-times heated hearing of the Senate's education committee: Does the law allow schools to use federal money to arm teachers?

The federal money in question comes from Title IV of the big, k-12 federal education law known as The Every Student Succeeds Act. It's a billion-dollar pot intended for what the law calls "student support and academic enrichment."

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