Associated Press

Oklahoma Senate

 

A state senator who wants to undo some of the changes to Oklahoma's drug laws that were approved by voters in November is soliciting input from the public.

Republican Sen. Ralph Shortey is hosting a public forum at the Oklahoma City Community College to discuss his plans.

File Photo

 

Some Oklahoma lawmakers are seeking to make a permanent exception to the state's requirement for third-grade students to be reading proficient before moving on to the next grade.

The Oklahoman reports that currently, Oklahoma's Reading Sufficiency Act requires students in the third grade to score proficient on the state reading test in order to go into fourth grade. A temporary exception was approved in 2014, allowing students to move on anyway if a committee of teachers and parents of the student approve promotion.

 

A warm front brought record high temperatures across Oklahoma, including near 100 degrees in southwest Oklahoma that tied a nearly century old record.

The National Weather Service says the high in Mangum on Saturday reached 99 degrees to tie a record set Feb. 24, 1918, in Arapaho as the highest February temperature ever in Oklahoma.

Much cooler temperatures are forecast through Tuesday. There is a 90% chance of rain tonight and a 70% chance on Tuesday.

Kathy Taylor

 

The U.S. Navy's new littoral class combat ship the USS Tulsa has been christened.

Former Tulsa mayor and ship sponsor Kathy Taylor joined current Mayor G.T. Bynum and other Tulsans in christening the ship on Saturday at Austal USA's facilities in Mobile, Alabama. It was Taylor who broke a bottle of champagne on the hull of the warship.

The Tulsa is expected to be launched next month, and commissioned in 2018.

Oklahoma City Fire

 

Oklahoma City firefighters believe they are making progress in controlling a grass fire on the city's southeast side, but the fire is not out and residents are asked to leave their homes.

Battalion Chief Benny Fulkerson says no injuries have been reported and no homes have been burned, although some outbuildings have burned. He said helicopters are being used to drop water on the flames.

Fulkerson said 60 to 70 Oklahoma City firefighters have been joined by about firefighters from about a dozen nearby departments to help fight the fire.

 

  A federal report shows Oklahoma had more children abused or neglected by foster parents in 2015 than any state in the nation.

The report released in January by the Children's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows 150 cases of child abuse or neglect by Oklahoma foster parents during the year.

Oklahoma Department of Human Services spokeswoman Sheree Powell told The Oklahoman that the number is too high and efforts are being made to bring it down.

Cameron Felts

Kevin Durant scored 34 points in his return to Oklahoma City, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Thunder 130-114 in a chippy game Saturday night.

It was Durant's first game back since he left the Thunder after eight seasons in Oklahoma City to join the rival Warriors as a free agent last summer.

The crowd booed him loudly during pregame warmups, starter introductions and whenever he touched the ball.

KWGS News file photo

An Oklahoma Indian tribe wants to return to its ancestral Georgia home, and bring a casino with it.

It's the latest twist in the effort to legalize gaming in Georgia.

WSB-TV reports a lawyer for the United Keetoowah band of the Cherokee said an Indian casino will help a native Georgia people struggling to survive.

The Keetoowah band was driven from Georgia during the Trail of Tears in the 1830s.

The impoverished tribe's executive director hopes for a fruitful homecoming. Anile Locust says she would like to see her people flourish in her lifetime.

File Photo

Lingering frustration with a series of state court decisions has prompted members of the Oklahoma Legislature to file a series of bills that would reshape how Oklahoma judges are selected and who is eligible to serve on the bench.

In recent years, state courts have overturned several tough anti-abortion bills that were overwhelmingly approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed into law by Republican Gov. Mary Fallin. The Oklahoma Supreme Court also overturned a sweeping rewrite of the state's civil justice code.

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Anti-abortion activists in Tulsa are calling on the federal government to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood.

About two-dozen residents gathered Saturday in front of a Planned Parenthood clinic to voice support for ending the funding. The Tulsa demonstration was among rallies staged all around the country.

Protesters held signs that read, "God Loves Babies" and "Time to Repent" as cars passed, some honking and waving out the windows.

Across the street, about a dozen Planned Parenthood supporters staged a counter-protest.

Gov. Mary Fallin has named a career prosecutor as the new district attorney for three south-central Oklahoma counties.

Fallin says Paul Smith of Seminole was appointed Friday as district attorney for Seminole, Hughes and Pontotoc counties. He replaces Chris Ross, who retired on Jan. 1, and will serve out the remainder of Ross's term, which expires in January 2019.

NWS-Norman Twitter

Hundreds of the nation's top meteorologists and disaster recovery experts will converge on Oklahoma City next week for the sixth-annual tornado summit, even though much of the discussion is likely to have more to do with temblors, not twisters.

The previous five years, forecasters and first responders assembled in the gut of Tornado Alley to talk about the natural disasters taking place above ground. Below the surface, thousands of earthquakes were rattling the state.

The oil and gas industry continued a slow recovery this week, as the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by 12 to 741.

Oklahoma, however, is among eight states with no change in their numbers.

A year ago, 541 rigs were active.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday 591 rigs sought oil and 149 explored for natural gas this week. One was listed as miscellaneous.

Texas increased by seven rigs, New Mexico was up by four rigs, Louisiana and West Virginia each gained two and Pennsylvania was up one.

In a video released by the Norman Police Department, Amelia Molitor said she rejected Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon's advances before Mixon punched her and broke bones in her face.

Mixon punched Molitor at a Norman restaurant in July 2014 and broke her jaw and cheekbone. He was suspended for a year. Mixon entered an Alford plea, acknowledging there was likely enough evidence to convict him of misdemeanor assault while still asserting innocence.

File photo

 

A former McClain County jail administrator has pleaded guilty to violating the civil rights of an inmate who died while in custody.

 Online court records show Wayne Barnes pleaded guilty Thursday as part of a plea agreement in which prosecutors will recommend a sentence of to up to 51 months in prison. 

 Barnes faced up to life in prison if convicted. A sentencing date wasn't set.

 

 

The National Weather Service in Tulsa has issued a Red Flag

Warning, which is in effect from 11 AM this morning to 7 PM CST

this evening. The Fire Weather Watch is no longer in effect.

 

* AFFECTED AREA...In Arkansas, Benton, Carroll, Washington,

Madison, Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian counties. In

Oklahoma, Pushmataha, Choctaw, Osage, Washington, Nowata,

Craig, Ottawa, Pawnee, Tulsa, Rogers, Mayes, Delaware, Creek,

Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Wagoner, Cherokee, Adair, Muskogee,

State of Oklahoma-File Photo

  Gov. Mary Fallin has named Oklahoma Solicitor General Patrick Wyrick to a vacancy on the state Supreme Court.

Fallin named the 35-year-old Wyrick to the state's highest court Thursday. He's the two-term governor's first appointment to the nine-member court and replaces Justice Steven Taylor, who retired from the bench last year.

Tulsa International Airport

 

An airport tower in Tulsa, a waterway rehabilitation in eastern Oklahoma and several highway projects are among nearly $1.3 billion worth of transportation projects that Gov. Mary Fallin has submitted to the Trump administration for consideration as part of a national infrastructure improvement plan.

Fallin's office released a list on Thursday of seven "shovel-ready" projects in Oklahoma that have been submitted to the president's office and the White House National Trade Council from the National Governor's Association.

File Photo

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin's proposal to add the state's 4.5 percent sales tax to various services currently excluded from the tax would generate an additional $769 million for cities and counties and about $934 million for the state, according to documents obtained by The Oklahoman through the Open Records Act.

The list of items that would be added to the tax rolls include doctor visits, legal fees, funeral services, insurance purchases, cable television, utility bills, child care, nursing home services and homebuilding services.

Fire danger into the weekend for Southern High Plains 

Forecasters say the Southern High Plains will have elevated fire danger conditions Friday and Saturday before a cold front approaches and brings higher humidity levels.

Footloose

   

A small Oklahoma town is echoing the story line of '80s movie "Footloose" by canceling a Valentine's Day dance because of an arcane city ordinance enforcing a strict moral code.

The organizer canceled the dance in Henryetta because it would have taken place 300 feet from a church, in violation of an ordinance that forbids dancing within 500 feet of a place of worship.

USDA

 

 Former chicken farmers in five states have filed a federal lawsuit accusing giant poultry processing companies of treating the farmers who raise the chickens like indentured servants and colluding to fix prices paid to them.

The farmers located in Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas allege that the contract grower system created by Tyson Foods, Pilgrim's Pride, Perdue Farms, Koch Foods, and Sanderson Farms pushed them deep into debt.

They are seeking class action status for the suit filed in federal court in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

KWGS News photo

 

While hundreds of anti-abortion activists descended on the state Capitol for a rally, a Republican-led House committee failed to pass an anti-abortion bill in a move that surprised its chairman.

The Public Health Committee voted 4-4 Wednesday on the bill to prohibit abortions based on the diagnosis of a fetal abnormality in a signal that some GOP lawmakers could be growing weary of anti-abortion bills getting tied up in court. Three Republicans joined a Democrat to vote against the bill.

Tulsa County Booking Photo

 

The second murder trial of a former Tulsa police officer in the shooting death of his daughter's boyfriend is being delayed after the judge said she was "blindsided" that she wasn't told about possible evidence in the case being wrongly released to a witness.

Judge Sharon Holmes halted jury selection Wednesday and ordered both sides to return to court Thursday in the trial of Shannon Kepler, who has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the 2014 shooting death of 19-year-old Jeremey Lake, the boyfriend of Kepler's daughter, Lisa Kepler.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — While hundreds of anti-abortion activists descended on the Oklahoma Capitol for a rally on Wednesday, a GOP-led House committee failed to pass an anti-abortion bill in a move that could signal a shift in priorities for Republican lawmakers in a deep-red state.

State Impact-Oklahoma

 

 Oklahoma state Treasurer Ken Miller says the state's 20-month string of shrinking revenue collections ended last month.

Receipts to the state treasury in January totaled about $990 million, $5.1 million more than January 2016. Miller says the increase was driven largely by increasing oil and natural gas revenue.

 

 A lawsuit accuses Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, President Donald Trump's pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency, of violating the state open records law by not providing access to emails and other official documents for up to two years.

Wisconsin-based advocacy group the Center for Media and Democracy filed the lawsuit Tuesday in state court in Oklahoma City.

Okmulgee County

 

 Authorities are investigating what deputies say is an apparent murder-suicide that left four dead in northeastern Oklahoma.

The Okmulgee County Sheriff's Office says in a statement that the agency received a call Tuesday morning "reporting the deaths of several family members" at a home in Morris.

Deputies discovered the bodies of a man, a woman and two children inside the home.

The sheriff's office says it appears there was some kind of disturbance that resulted in an "apparent triple murder and suicide."

  

The Senate has confirmed school choice activist Betsy DeVos as Education secretary, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie.

The Senate historian says it was the first time a vice president had to break a tie on a Cabinet nomination.

Two Republicans joined Democrats Tuesday to vote to derail DeVos' nomination. Democrats cited her lack of public school experience and financial interests in organizations pushing charter schools. DeVos has said she would divest herself from those organizations.

Tyson Foods

 

Tyson Foods says it's being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, likely in connection over lawsuits alleging that the poultry company and others engaged in price fixing activities.

The Springdale, Arkansas company says in a regulatory filing that it received a subpoena from the SEC on Jan. 20. It says it is cooperating with the investigation, which is in an "early stage."

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