DOJ Launches Investigation Into Mental Health Services, Farmers Suffered Hard Year Due to Drought, ‘Tulsa King’ Cast Chimes in About Filming in Oklahoma: This Week’s Top News Stories

Weekly news report graphic

The following summaries are of events that took place over the past week throughout Oklahoma. Visit the link provided with each story to learn more.

Justice Department investigates Oklahoma’s mental health system and police departments’ response to mental health crises

The Justice Department said today that an investigation against the State of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, and the Oklahoma City Police Department has been launched (OKCPD).

The inquiry will look at whether Oklahoma fails to deliver community-based mental health services to persons in Oklahoma County, resulting in needless hospitalizations and police involvement. The study will also look at Oklahoma City’s procedures for dealing with persons who are facing mental health emergencies, such as the 911 call center and OKCPD.

The department informed the offices of Oklahoma’s Governor, Attorney General, Commissioner for the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, and Chief Executive Officer for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, as well as Oklahoma City’s Mayor, City Manager, Municipal Counselor, and Chief of Police, of the investigation prior to the announcement. Department officials will reach out to community organizations and members of the public as part of this inquiry to hear about their experiences with mental health services in Oklahoma County, as well as Oklahoma City and OKCPD’s response to mental health emergencies.

Source: Justice Department Launches Investigation of Oklahoma’s Mental Health Service System and Oklahoma City’s and Oklahoma Police Department’s Response to Mental Health Crises – United States Department of Justice

Oklahoma farmers suffering this year due to the economy and drought

While coping with the state’s drought and the economy this year, Oklahoma’s farmers and ranchers suffered a double blow.

The dearth of rain in many sections of the state combined with economic factors like high fertilizer and fuel costs to produce the perfect storm.

Chris Hiney, an equine extension expert at Oklahoma State University, said: ‘You have to understand the producer still has to be able to make money,’ ‘Their crop is smaller… So all they need to do to survive is increase prices.’

This year, the price of hay is three times what it usually is for farmers and ranchers. Cattle and horse care become exceedingly costly as a result.

They often have little choice except to go outside of Oklahoma, which increases the risk of fraud for customers.

Source: Oklahoma farmers face hits from drought, economy this year – KOCO

Sylvester Stallone and the actors of ‘Tulsa King’ discuss shooting in Oklahoma

This question was asked of Sylvester Stallone in an interview: Surely no project brought you to Oklahoma before ‘Tulsa King’?

The chance to portray a cowboy has never come up, according to Stallone. ‘It’s quite unlikely that a mobster would visit Oklahoma, but that’s what makes it unique. Oklahoma is a unique state. Very distinctive

The first season of ‘Tulsa King,’ a series that debuted on Paramount+ on November 13, was filmed in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa. How was the Oklahoma filming experience? The actors answered.

Source: Sylvester Stallone, ‘Tulsa King’ cast members talk about filming in Oklahoma – Tulsa World

Oklahoma celebrates 115 years of statehood

It was Oklahoma’s 115th birthday. It became the 46th state to enter the union 115 years ago.

‘They were able to communicate that information to others over the wires as soon as Oklahoma became a state. The streets of Guthrie were filled with masses of people waiting for the news, and according to living history interpreter Ian Swart from the Museum of the Great Plains, there was utter chaos for roughly thirty minutes after Oklahoma became a state.

Although Oklahoma was admitted to the Union in 1907 by Presidential Proclamation 780, it wasn’t their first attempt at statehood.

Source: 115 years of Oklahoma Statehood – ABC7

Oklahoma executes a man for the 1993 murder of girlfriend’s three-year-old son

The third of four planned executions in the United States during a two-day period took place on Thursday when an Oklahoma man was put to death for the 1993 torture and murder of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son.

Since the state started carrying out executions again in October 2021, seven persons have been put to death, including Richard Stephen Fairchild. Since 1976, Texas has executed much more individuals than any other state, while Oklahoma has carried out more executions in that period.

Following a botched execution and two drug mix-ups in the death chamber, the state Court of Criminal Appeals granted a moratorium in 2015; as a result, more than half of the 40 individuals now on death row in Oklahoma have execution dates scheduled over the next two years.

Source: Oklahoma executes man for 1993 killing of 3-year-old boy – ABC News

Oklahoma seeks a groundbreaking regulation to keep mailed pharmaceuticals protected from the cold

Soon, Oklahomans who get their prescription prescriptions by mail might have the best drug safety safeguards available anywhere. According to pharmacy specialists, Oklahoma officials on Wednesday proposed the first comprehensive regulation in the country to regulate shipping temperatures.

After the board decided to accept the rule on Wednesday, Marty Hendrick, executive director of the Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy, said: ‘This is a huge step.’ ‘A huge number of our medications are sent to patients by mail. Today, we took steps to ensure that the goods our patients in Oklahoma are getting are secure.

Extreme temperatures may weaken or destroy medications, thereby altering their dose or chemical composition and making them hazardous or useless for patients.

Source: Oklahoma proposes landmark rule to keep mailed medications safe from extreme temperatures – NBC News

Oklahoma is interested in learning more about alligators in southern part of the state

Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant and Southwestern Adventist University in Keene, Texas, will collaborate on the two-year project. Oklahoma has alligators? Neither did I. They’re in southeast Oklahoma’s 5,814-acre Red Slough Wildlife Management Area. The WMA borders Texas and southwest Arkansas on the Red River. Alligators thrive in Texas and Arkansas. Southeast Oklahoma may be their westernmost population.

Trap and tag alligators for the study project. So they may be discovered later for habitat modifications, migration, and data collection.

Determining an alligator hunting season is not part of the study endeavor, state authorities said. The research will determine population, numbers, and places. Alligators have been seen in Oklahoma’s Red and Little river systems for years. This research is unique.

Source: Oklahoma Wants More Information About Alligators – Grand View Outdoors

Oklahoma teachers’ contributions to education are honored through Teach Orange program

At the football game between Oklahoma State University and Iowa State on November 12, the Office of Educator Support and the College of Education and Human Sciences at OSU recognized Oklahoma Teachers on the field for their contributions to education.

The 10 chosen people got $500 to help their classroom, tickets to the game, and a Teach Orange t-shirt. The trio was also honored before the game at a pep rally at the ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center.

The team was motivated by the nearly 200 entries, according to Dr. Shelbie Witte, senior director of teacher education and dean of OSU’s School of Teaching, Learning, and Educational Sciences.

Source: Teach Orange initiative celebrates Oklahoma teachers’ impact on education – Oklahoma State University

New Christmas movie features cookies made by an Oklahoma resident

A recent Christmas video highlighting the woman’s baked sweets from Fairland, Oklahoma, featured her creative ability to add intricate details to cakes and cookies.

In the Great American Family Channel film ‘The Christmas…Presents,’ starring Candice Cameron Bure and filmed in Oklahoma, Devin Culver’s baked Christmas-themed cookies are shown.

The focus of the film, according to the movie’s description, is on a realtor named Maggie Larson and her family. According to the movie description from The Great American Family Channel, they are celebrating Christmas at their home with her newly bereaved brother Paul and his little daughter.

Source: Oklahoma woman’s cookies featured in Christmas movie – KSNF

CDC reports 33 more COVID-19 fatalities in Oklahoma

There have been several more COVID-19 fatalities in Oklahoma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In March 2022, OSDH made the decision to stop providing daily status updates that track daily case numbers and instead post weekly statistics every Thursday.

According to information released by the Oklahoma State Department of Health on Thursday, 1,217,825 COVID-19 infections have been verified in the state since March 2020.

Overall, there have been 6,615 more instances than there were the week before.

According to authorities, there are now 4,788 COVID-19 cases active in Oklahoma.

The number of fatalities reported in Oklahoma by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has risen by 33 from last week’s figures.

Source: CDC reports 33 additional COVID-19 deaths in Oklahoma – KFOR

Three Oklahoma City residents sentenced to more than 21 years for mail and wire fraud conspiracy

Laura R. Johnson (47), Thomas Johnson, Sr. (54), and Cheryl M. Ashley (72), all of Oklahoma City, were sentenced to more than 21 years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in a scheme to take ownership of more than a dozen real properties without the consent or knowledge of the actual owners.

A federal grand jury indicted 16 people on December 19, 2019. The grand jury added further charges on June 16, 2020. Each defendant pled guilty to mail and wire fraud conspiracy on November 17, 2020.

The defendants utilized fake papers from 2014 to 2019 to gain property titles. The defendants targeted delinquent properties subject to auction by the Oklahoma County Treasurer’s Office. By paying back taxes, the defendants withdrew the properties from auction. The defendants claimed they bought the properties at a county tax auction, but then submitted false warranty deeds to transfer them to fictional corporations and people. The plot reportedly involved false stamp tax papers and bogus mortgages.

Source: Three Oklahoma City Residents Sentenced to Serve More Than 21 Years Collectively in Federal Prison for Conspiracy to Commit Mail and Wire Fraud – Department of Justice

Snoopy has a new home at the Stafford Air & Space Museum

A unique passenger aboard Artemis 1, Snoopy, is being honored at a space exploration museum in Oklahoma.

Snoopy has reportedly been involved with NASA since the late 1950s, according to the Stafford Air & Space Museum.

General Thomas P. Stafford, his crew, and Apollo 10 took out from Cape Kennedy in May 1969 with the ‘Snoopy’ lunar module.

The module was given the moniker Snoopy by the crew because it was designed to ‘snoop around’ the moon’s surface and locate a secure landing area for the Apollo 11 mission.

In addition, a plush Snoopy attracted notice in a famous NASA photograph of General Stafford.

Source: Snoopy has a special place in space… and in an Oklahoma museum – KFOR


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