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Capital City: Stitt to announce regents pick

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Gov. elect Kevin Stitt arrives to the Blue Room before the inauguration ceremony of new Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt at the Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoma
Gov. elect Kevin Stitt arrives to the Blue Room before the inauguration ceremony of new Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt at the Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoma

Good Friday morning. Short and sweet today ... 

First up -- Gov. Kevin Stitt is expected to announce one of his appointments to the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents later today. Stitt has said he wants to bring diversity to the board. 

“There is not an African American at this time on that board and that would be something I would certainly look for,” Stitt said last month

The university has drawn criticism following two recent racist incidents, including a social media post of a student in blackface.

The Black Student Association and the Legislative Black Caucus have called on OU to seek more multicultural faculty, staff and administrators.

Those same groups also have said diversity is needed on the Board of Regents.

“We need someone who can relate to the issues of the students in that position, and particularly the students of color,” said Sen. George Young, D-Oklahoma City, chairman of the Black Caucus.

STADIUM PITCHED AS MAPS PROJECT -- A 10,000-seat multi-purpose arena is being pitched to be part of a MAPS 4 ballot, with backers including the owners of the Energy FC.

The proposal was submitted Thursday to Mayor David Holt and suggests the stadium would be built in the downtown area with an estimated cost of $65 million to $80 million for construction and $6 million to $12 million for site acquisition.

The group also proposes the city work with Fields and Futures — a nonprofit founded by OKC Energy FC Partner Tim McLaughlin, which is dedicated to keeping youth in school by refurbishing athletic programs and facilities in Oklahoma City public schools — to add up to 10 soccer fields to Wheeler Park to be used for tournaments that attract visitors to our region, youth development, league play, and engagement events between professional athletes and the community.

FIRST LADY TO VISIT TULSA ... First lady Melania Trump will visit an elementary school in Tulsa on Monday, according to a White House news release.

The stop in Tulsa is expected to be at “an award-winning elementary school that focuses on incorporating character education throughout its curriculum” as part of a trip promoting Trump’s initiative “Be Best,” the release said.

The initiative includes the well-being of children, online safety and opioid abuse, according to the release.

“Whether it is social media and technology or drug and alcohol abuse, children in our country and around the world are faced with many challenges,” Trump said in a news release. “Through Be Best I will continue to shine a spotlight on the well-being programs that provide children the tools and skills required for emotional, social and physical well-being and promote successful organizations, programs, and people who are helping children overcome some of the issues they face while growing up in the modern world.”

ICYMI -- Bethany's newest councilwoman ... From her seat at the far end of the Bethany City Council bench, Amanda Sandoval could see that nearly half of the audience in the city hall chamber included her family, friends and members of the local Hispanic community.

The importance of her Feb. 12 election to the council had finally set in.

“This is what we were working for, this is all we wanted,” said Sandoval, who was administered her oath at her first council meeting last week.

“We wanted a lot of diversity and to be able to motivate people in the community to come out.”

Here's my story on Sandoval's election

Thanks for reading. Got questions, suggestions or complaints? Email me at bfelder@oklahoman.com. 

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Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›

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