Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Investigators Accuse Former Oklahoma Health Department Lawyer Of Emailing Herself Threats

The former lawyer for the Oklahoma State Department of Health faces felony charges accusing her of sending herself threatening emails related to Oklahoma’s recently adopted medical marijuana rules. Oklahoma County prosecutors filed three separate charges Tuesday against Julie Ezell. The criminal complaint accuses Ezell of sending threats to her own government email account earlier this month and reporting the threats to health department investigators. Ezell did not respond to requests for...

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Kateleigh Mills / KOSU

Oklahoma Women Find Common Ground In Unease With Political Parties And Education Issues

Women are a key constituency for both of Oklahoma’s major political parties, and an increasing number of women are running for office. But data suggest a majority of Oklahoma women are disappointed with both major political parties. About 55 percent of women who responded to a political attitudes survey commissioned on behalf of stations for the Oklahoma Engaged project viewed the Democratic party unfavorably compared to about 60 percent for Republicans. That trend is reversed for men, who...

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'I Am Grateful That I Had You In My Life': An Aunt And Niece Reflect On Good Times, Hard Times

The StoryCorps mobile booth was in Oklahoma City in early 2018, and we're bringing you some of the stories that were recorded here. Locally recorded stories will air Wednesdays during Morning Edition and All Things Considered on KOSU. When thirty-seven-old Waneta Black was born with Down Syndrome, her aunt Lisa Shahan-Austin knew she was something special. Waneta and Lisa came to the StoryCorps Mobile Booth in Oklahoma City and reflected on the ways they have helped each other through some...

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Updated at 5:18 p.m. ET

A day after his much-criticized news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Trump attempted some damage control Tuesday, saying "I accept" the findings of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential campaign.

But he again repeated his claim that there was no collusion between his presidential campaign and Russia and suggested that others may have interfered in the election.

Updated at 4:34 p.m. ET

Charges accusing a woman of trying to build bridges between the Russian government and American political leaders via the National Rifle Association have delivered a breakthrough in understanding one aspect of the attack on the 2016 election: "infiltration."

Given the attitude with which President Trump has greeted all news of the Russian interference in the 2016 election, his performance in Helsinki on Monday should have come as no surprise.

And yet there was surprise — even shock — when the president of the United States stood onstage alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin and accepted the former KGB officer's denials regarding that interference.

Updated at 7:19 p.m. ET

Many Republicans harshly criticized President Trump's performance Monday at a news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which Trump said Putin's denial that Moscow interfered with the 2016 election is "strong and powerful" — despite U.S. intelligence findings to the contrary.

Updated at 5:01 p.m. ET

Just hours after President Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and held a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart that stunned many political observers in the U.S., federal prosecutors on Monday unsealed a criminal complaint alleging that a Russian graduate student living in the D.C. area conspired to act as an agent of Russia without registering, as required, under U.S. law.

Sinclair Broadcast Group's push to buy Tribune Media hit a new snag on Monday, as Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said he has "serious concerns" about the $3.9 billion deal. Pai said a plan to divest some stations might not satisfy federal laws because it wouldn't go far enough.

"The evidence we've received suggests that certain station divestitures that have been proposed to the FCC would allow Sinclair to control those stations in practice, even if not in name, in violation of the law," Pai said in a statement.

The University of Georgia recently released a study showing that an estimated 111 million metric tons of plastic garbage will pile up around the world by 2030. Plastic waste that could be recycled ends up in the oceans and in landfills, and there are plastics that can’t be recycled at all.

Every day, Dr. Walter Koroshetz, 65, takes a pill as part of his effort to help keep his brain healthy and sharp.

The pill is his blood pressure medication. And Koroshetz, who directs the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, says controlling high blood pressure helps him reduce his risk of dementia.

He also keeps his blood pressure down by exercising and paying attention to his weight and diet. "I'm a believer," he says.

Updated at 7:13 p.m. ET

President Trump's effort to reset relations with Russia backfired at home after he failed to side with the U.S. intelligence community over Moscow's interference in the 2016 election. The president's equivocation drew bipartisan condemnation, capping a week in which Trump alienated allies and cozied up to adversaries.

Trump himself declared his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday in Helsinki a success, in what he called the "proud tradition of bold American diplomacy."

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Education News

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

On the night of the primary elections, Ainsley Hoover was at a small watch party at the Chili’s restaurant in Enid. She had helped her friend, a fellow teacher, campaign for House District 41,  and they were anxiously awaiting the results.

Hoover, who was also tracking the vote totals for House District 40 with hopes the incumbent in that seat would lose, says she didn’t use to be political. When Hoover did vote, it was usually in the presidential election.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling Wednesday that will reverberate through America's schools for years.

In Janus v. AFSCME, a 5-4 court majority overturned precedent, saying that public sector unions, like those that represent law enforcement, state employees, and, of course, teachers, can no longer collect what are known as agency fees from nonmembers.

When the Oklahoma Legislature passed House Bill 1010xx in March, it was the first time lawmakers had increased state taxes in 28 years. Both the House and the Senate applauded themselves.

The governor acted swiftly to sign the bill, and at first, it seemed like a reason for school leaders to celebrate. They had been begging lawmakers to increase teacher pay for years, and it finally happened.

But the excitement quickly faded.

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KOSU's Michael Cross talks about political news in Oklahoma with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican political consultant Neva Hill.
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