Jacob McCleland

Jacob McCleland 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.

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.

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. 

Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

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.

Obama checked off some of the accomplishments under his administration --- like private sector job growth, a stronger housing market and more insured Americans. That, he said, is the good news.

“But I also made it clear when I came into office, even as we’re trying to make sure the entire economy recovers, we also have to pay attention to those communities that all too often have been neglected and fallen behind,” Obama said. “And as part of that, I said, ‘We’re going to do better by our First Americans. We’re going to do better.’”

Math teacher Sherry Read's classroom is a total mess. The students are gone for the summer, and light fixtures dangle from the ceiling. The floor has a layer of dust. Down the hallway, workers make a racket while they renovate the school, which dates back to the 1890s. They're working in what has become an archaeological site.

Members of the Sac and Fox tribe announced a campaign to bring the remains of athlete Jim Thorpe back to his home state of Oklahoma on Wednesday.

Thorpe was buried in 1953 in Pennsylvania after his widow reached a deal with a pair of boroughs to place his remains in a mausoleum there. The two Pennsylvania towns consolidated and renamed themselves Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.

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It was supposed to be Gary Kirby’s day off when the senior airman in the United States Air Force got a call from his first sergeant. The request: Come back to Tinker Air Force Base dressed in a pair of blue jeans, a white t-shirt and white socks.

Kirby, now a senior master sergeant, showed up at the headquarters building to find a big, blue Air Force bus. He climbed on board, where he found between 40 and 50 guys --- and all of them looked like him.

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