Members of the group Stop the Plains All American Pipeline say they’re coming together at the Norman City Complex Wednesday  at 4:30 to protest what they say is a clear cut example of environmental racism.

Organizers from the group will attend a City of Norman Board of Adjustment meeting where one Cleveland County resident Stephen Ellis is appealing a decision to grant Plains All American permits for a stream crossing east of the Lake Thunderbird dam. Ellis says the City of Norman signed off on the permits even though they were incomplete.

Organizers from the #NoPlainsPipeline group say that because the pipeline was re­routed to cross through Indian Country, as well as lower­income areas in North East Cleveland County, this is an environmental injustice. Members of several federally­recognized Oklahoma tribes will be impacted by the project. That list includes the Absentee Shawnee, Citizen Potawatomi, Kickapoo, Sac and Fox, and Chickasaw nations. Some tribal members have pointed out that Plains All American failed to consult their Tribal Councils, which they note is a violation of federal law.

In the recent weeks and months, members of the #NoPlainsPipeline group say they have attempted to halt construction on the Plains All American Red River II Pipeline using protests, town hall gatherings, petitions, and by coordinating legal actions. Organizers say members of the public planning to attend the Aug. 24 meeting city hall should arrive by 4 p.m. to ensure seating is available.

Free concert in Noble

The Oklahoma Travelers, Larry and Barbara Brown, Gerald and Joyce Swanson and Ron Miller, will perform from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Noble Senior Citizens Center, at 77th and Maguire. The group will perform gospel music. Attendees are encouraged to bring their favorite dish to share with others.

Attorney General Pruitt approves sales and consumption for brewers

OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Scott Pruitt on Tuesday announced his office has reviewed SB 424 and has issued an official opinion at the request of the Oklahoma ABLE Commission:

“As promised, my office has completed its legal review and analysis of SB 424 and has issued an official opinion in response to the ABLE Commission’s request. Interpreting the law is never about picking winners or losers. This opinion upholds the original intent of the legislature, which was to permit craft brewers to sell high-point beer for consumption both on and off their premises. I am confident this opinion provides certainty to regulators, businesses, and the people of Oklahoma.”

Gov. Fallin releases statement on anniversary of labor commissioner slaying

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin today released the following statement on the one-year anniversary of the killing of former Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello:

“My thoughts and prayers go out today to the family and friends of Mark Costello, as well as employees of the Department of Labor. Mark passed away from us too early in life. Mark was a dedicated public servant and a devoted husband and father. Before he entered public service, he was an entrepreneur who guided several businesses to success.”

DHS Developmental Disabilities Council to put on statewide Conference

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services Developmental Disabilities Council and Oklahoma People First will sponsor the annual statewide Oklahoma People First Conference Oct. 14-16 at the DoubleTree Warren Place, 6110 S. Yale Avenue in Tulsa.

The conference includes educational sessions, a statewide meeting, election of new officers and an awards banquet. This year, Commissioner Thomas Hicks, Chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, will be a keynote speaker. Hicks was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve on the commission through 2017.

Hicks also served as a special assistant and legislative assistant in the Office of Congressional Relations and Office of Personnel Management during the Clinton Administration. His speech will begin at 11 a.m. Sunday, October 16 and is free and open to the public.

Another component of the conference will be the Expressions Gallery, showcasing the talent and artwork of people with developmental disabilities.

“The Expressions Gallery first began in 2012,” said Jenifer Randle, Youth Advocacy & Training Coordinator for the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council. “We sponsor a contest and ask entrants to show us their artwork. They may submit up to five works of arts, and can include painting, drawing, sculpture, pottery, photography, and quilting.”

The Selection Committee will choose the winning pieces, and those will be on display at the conference.

“Our goal is to showcase the works of Oklahomans who have a disability. Every year there are some really great pieces of art, so we hope the public will come by and see the work from some very talented artists,” Randle said.

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Former KD’s Southern Cuisine re-opening as Legacy Grill

Hal Smith Restaurants today announced the upcoming opening of Legacy Grill. Legacy Grill’s menu will feature favorites from Kd’s Southern Cuisine, which previously occupied the space, as well as new and updated dining choices.

The new grill will focus on celebrating Oklahomans and their unique contributions. Guests will be surrounded by images and memorabilia of more than 200 notable Oklahomans, from astronauts and actors, to civil rights activists and civic leaders, to sports stars and singers, and many more.

Many of these pieces will be on loan from the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, one of the state’s leading institutions for preserving and recognizing the contributions of Oklahomans to society.

“Being founded and headquartered here in central Oklahoma, we’ve wanted to introduce a concept like this for a long time,” said Hal Smith, the restaurant group’s founder and CEO. “Whether guests are old friends or are dining with us for the first time, we think they’ll enjoy our combination of upscale comfort food, top-notch service and a fun, engaging atmosphere.”

Sen. Anastasia Pittman elected National Vice-Chair of Native American legislative caucus

OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Anastasia Pittman was recently elected to serve as the National Vice-Chair of the National Caucus of Native American State Legislators (NCNASL) in Chicago, IL. 

Pittman, D-Oklahoma City, is a member of the Seminole Nation, as well as the former Secretary and past Chairman of the Native American Caucus in Oklahoma. She currently serves as the NCNASL Education Committee Chair and is the past Vice-Chair of the Health Committee. Pittman has also served for the past four years on the national Quad Caucus, which is a convening of Asian Pacific American, Black, Native American and Hispanic caucuses of state legislators.

“I want to support the Chairman, Senator John McCoy from Washington, as well as the goals and objectives of NCNASL,” said Pittman. “By creating a ‘gathering of voices,’ we can foster communication among Native American legislators, both past and present. While developing opportunities to support the sustainability of state and tribal relations, we can also promote partnerships, cooperation and dialogue to move our economic and civic engagement efforts forward.”

Pittman was elected Vice-Chair on Friday, August 12 in Chicago, Illinois, during the annual NCNASL meeting, which was held in conjunction with the National Conference of State Legislators that met earlier in the week. She brings to NCNASL a strong background in education and the ability to create policy and curricula with a focus on diversity and inclusion on state and national levels.

“It’s an honor to have Oklahoma State Senator Anastasia Pittman serve as the Vice-Chair of the National Caucus of Native American State Legislators,” said Maryland Delegate Talmadge Branch, who served as NCNASL Chair for the past two years. “Senator Pittman’s leadership experience with the Oklahoma Native American Caucus and as the NCNASL Education Policy Committee Chair demonstrates her support to improve outcomes for Indian Country. Her commitment guides her vision in Oklahoma and will continue to do the same on a national scope for the next two years as the Vice-Chair of NCNASL.”

One of the goals Pittman noted in her platform was to create a “common ground” database for research, training, best practices and educational services for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian state legislators, stating the importance of working together to increase awareness of Native American inherent sovereignty, cultures and traditions throughout the United States. The caucuses’ guiding principles are steered by recommendations in the areas of education, health, juvenile justice and secure families policies.

The NCNASL was founded in 1992 by former Oklahoma State Senator and Principal Chief E. Kelly Haney of the Seminole Nation and was revitalized in 2005.

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