Associated Press

Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma

 

Massive teacher protests at the Oklahoma state Capitol have done more than put political pressure on lawmakers: The situation has forced school districts, churches, community organizations and parents to improvise to take care of students.

The state's largest two school districts will be closed for a ninth consecutive day Thursday, matching the length of a walkout in West Virginia earlier this year that started a rebellion of teachers in some Republican-led states including Kentucky and Arizona.

 

President Trump is nominating an Oklahoma Supreme Court justice and a Tulsa lawyer to federal judgeships.

Trump on Tuesday nominated Judge Patrick Wyrick as a U.S. district judge for the western district of Oklahoma and attorney John O'Connor as district judge for courts in the eastern, northern and western districts of the state.

Kendall Thompson

 

Oklahoma's two largest school districts will close for the ninth consecutive day because of a teacher strike, matching the length of a walkout in West Virginia earlier this year that started a rebellion of teachers in some Republican-led states.

Oklahoma City Public Schools, the state's largest district, and Tulsa Public Schools, said Wednesday that they will remain closed on Thursday. Smaller schools districts have said they will resume classes on Thursday.

State Forestry Service

 

 Oklahoma Forestry Services officials are warning of an extreme fire danger in western Oklahoma.

Fire staff officer Drew Daily says warm temperatures and low humidity are expected to create very strong burning conditions on Thursday and Friday.

Forestry services firefighters have been positioned in Woodward and Weatherford for potential deployment to any fires in the region. The U.S. Forest Service has also provided aircraft and the Oklahoma National Guard has helicopters on standby in central Oklahoma to help fight fires as needed.

Tulsa County Booking Photo

A judge declined to replace the prosecutor overseeing the case against one of two Oklahoma brothers accused of killing their parents and three siblings.

District Judge Sharon Holmes ruled Tuesday that there isn't evidence of improper behavior by Tulsa County Assistant District Attorney Sarah McAmis and that she can remain on the case against Michael Bever.

Perry Public Schools

 

A former Oklahoma math teacher has been sentenced to five years' probation for not reporting child abuse by a teacher's aide.

The Oklahoman reports that 52-year-old Jeffrey Sullins was sentenced Monday after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor count of failing to promptly report child abuse or neglect.

Sullins resigned in June from Upper Elementary School in Perry, where 86-year-old Arnold Cowen molested girls while working as an aide. Cowen is serving 10 years in prison after pleading guilty last month to molesting 10 girls.

 

One of the nation's top rating agencies is giving Oklahoma a "credit positive" report after the Legislature approved an estimated $523 million in tax increases.

The report by Moody's Investor Services comes five months after it issued a "credit negative" warning as lawmakers at the time were unable to close a $215 million hole in the state budget. The reports don't affect the state's credit rating.

Moody's said passing tax increases shows that under certain circumstances — in this case a teacher strike — state lawmakers can reach consensus on fiscal challenges.

 

Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy is announcing plans to lay off 9 percent of its workforce, totaling about 300 of its approximately 3,400 employees.

The company did not provide a definite date for the layoffs that were announced Tuesday, saying they "will occur in the weeks ahead."

A statement from Devon spokesman John Porretto says the job cuts will involve all parts of the company.

 

 

 

Oklahoma's largest school districts will remain closed Wednesday for an eighth consecutive day amid ongoing teacher protests for more classroom funding.

Oklahoma City and Tulsa schools announced class cancellations Tuesday as teachers continue to march at the state Capitol. Jenks, Broken Arrow and Union also announced they would be closed Wednesday.

Owasso Public Schools announced last week it would be closed April 9–13.

OKC Thunder

 

For the Oklahoma City Thunder, clinching night was reminiscent of their season.

Really bad start.

Really good finish.

Paul George scored 27 points, Russell Westbrook got his 25th triple-double of the season and the Thunder ran wild in the fourth quarter on the way to wrapping up a Western Conference playoff berth with a 115-93 win over the Miami Heat on Monday night.

U.S.G.S. Photo

 

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has reversed course and released a 2011 state audit into the cleanup of the Tar Creek Superfund site in northeastern Oklahoma that suggested the job cost taxpayers five times as much as it should have.

Hunter released two separate Tar Creek audits on Monday after being sued late last year by a Washington based public watchdog group the Campaign for Accountability.

Hunter says both he and federal authorities looked into the allegations raised in the audits and found "no prosecutable evidence of criminal activity."

OEA

 

Oklahoma's two largest school districts say they are canceling classes for the seventh consecutive day as a walkout by teachers demanding more funding for public education continues.

Oklahoma City Public Schools, the state's largest school district, and Tulsa Public Schools said Monday they will remain closed on Tuesday, extending the second week of the statewide teacher walkout.

State Impact

 

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has directed a wastewater disposal well to reduce its volume of injection after more than a dozen earthquakes rattled part of northwest Oklahoma since Friday.

The U.S. Geological Survey recorded three quakes Monday, including one near Covington now rated magnitude 4.5 after a preliminary rating of 4.3. Magnitude 3.3 and 2.8 quakes were also recorded Monday in the area about 55 miles north of Oklahoma City.

OEA

Oklahoma's two largest school districts say they are canceling classes for the seventh consecutive day as a walkout by teachers demanding more funding for public education continues.

Oklahoma City Public Schools, the state's largest school district, and Tulsa Public Schools said Monday they will remain closed on Tuesday, extending the second week of the statewide teacher walkout.

Many Oklahoma school districts have been shuttered since April 2 when thousands of teachers traveled to the state Capitol demanding that lawmakers appropriate more tax dollars for classroom needs.

AG Office

 

Several new and expanded probes are underway into Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt's conduct.

EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins is now conducting at least five investigative audits related to Pruitt, including a previously undisclosed probe into outsized spending and alleged timesheet abuse by his swollen security detail. The Associated Press reported Friday that the 20-member team providing day-and-night protection for Pruitt had racked up expenses approaching $3 million in his first year.

Oklahoma City Community COllege

 

Oklahoma's education department is extending the time period for students to take standardized tests as the state's teacher walkout enters its second week.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education announced Monday that the testing window will be extended by one week for grades 3 through 8 general assessments and grade 11 science assessments.

The testing period began April 2, but tens of thousands of students have been out of class since then because of the teacher walkout that began the same day.

Facebook

 

A 7-year-old is excited she has a textbook that was used by country singer Blake Shelton, but her mom is embarrassed the book is nearly than 40 years old.

Marley Parker saw that "The Voice" star had written his name in "Look Away (Keys to Reading)" in 1982. However, her mother did not share her daughter's enthusiasm. Shelly Bryan Parker wrote on Facebook that she was embarrassed.

The former teacher was critical that the textbook was still in use and she voiced support for teachers who are demanding more funding for Oklahoma schools.

KWGS Map

 

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says a 47-year-old man has been arrested for the shooting death of his 13-year-old son.

The OSBI says Tony Rutherford was arrested Saturday. Rutherford was booked into the Delaware County Jail for first-degree murder. Court records don't indicate if Rutherford has an attorney.

Investigators say Delaware County sheriff's deputies found the boy dead from a gunshot wound inside a pickup truck shortly before 2 a.m. Officials have not released the boy's name.

File photo

 

Oklahoma lawmakers are slated to return to the state Capitol amid a second week of massive teacher demonstrations for more classroom money.

Leaders of Oklahoma's largest teacher's union said protests would continue Monday unless lawmakers approve a repeal of a capital gains tax exemption and the governor vetoes a repeal of a proposed lodging tax.

Google Street View

The U.S. Geological Survey reports that Oklahoma recorded a magnitude 4.6 earthquake that was also felt in Kansas and Missouri.

It was one of four earthquakes in northwest Oklahoma on Saturday morning.

Garfield County Emergency Management Director Mike Honigsberg says there are no reports of injury or serious damage following the quakes.

The Oklahoma City Thunder adopted a simple mantra for Saturday's game against the Houston Rockets with their playoff fate still up in the air.

"We just better not lose," Paul George said.

For one night at least, it worked.

George and Russell Westbrook each scored 24 points, and Oklahoma City snapped Houston's 20-game home winning streak with a 108-102 victory.

The Thunder were down one with about seven minutes left before scoring the next 11 points.

OEA

Oklahoma teachers plan to continue massive demonstrations at the state Capitol to keep the pressure on lawmakers to find more money for public education.

Classes were canceled at some of the state's largest school districts last week and will remain closed Monday as thousands of educators, students and their supporters keep up the protest.

Educators in Oklahoma — among the lowest-paid in the nation — have joined a rebellion in several Republican-led states. A strike by West Virginia teachers inspired the movement, which also spread to Kentucky and Arizona.

KWGS News photo

A judge will hear testimonies after an internal police report found that an Oklahoma detective "grossly mishandled" evidence while investigating a quintuple death case.

Former Broken Arrow Police Detective Gayla Adcock resigned this year during an investigation over her actions when a hard drive with potentially significant evidence was lost on her watch.

State of Oklahoma

Embattled Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt met with President Donald Trump on Friday to lay out his case for why he should remain in his post amid a stream of questions about his ethical standing.

OEA

Oklahoma lawmakers approved an additional $40 million for public schools Friday, but the head of the state's largest teacher's union said it was going to take more than that to end a walkout that has led to five straight days of school closures.

Two bills approved by the state Senate — one taxing certain internet sales and another expanding tribal gambling — will be sent to Gov. Mary Fallin, who will decide whether to sign the revenue-raising plans into law.

EPA

 

President Donald Trump is praising Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Scott Pruitt as "a good man" who has done "a terrific job" but says he's looking into a series of critical stories that suggests Pruitt may have abused his power.

Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on Thursday that Pruitt has done "an incredible job. He's been very courageous."

But Trump also says that he'll "take a look at" the reports and "make that determination."

File photo

 

The U.S. Geological Survey has recorded two earthquakes in northwestern Oklahoma, the largest with a preliminary magnitude of 3.7.

The USGS reports the larger quake struck at 10:07 a.m. Friday near Covington, two minutes after a magnitude 3.1 quake was recorded in the same area about 56 miles northwest of Oklahoma City.

An emergency management official has not returned a phone call seeking comment, but geologists say damage is not likely in quakes below magnitude 4.0.

OKC Zoo

 

The Oklahoma City Zoo says an 18-year-old African lioness that mysteriously sprouted a mane last year has died.

The zoo says the lioness, named Bridget, was euthanized Wednesday after a veterinary team determined she was likely suffering from heart failure or infection. The zoo says Bridget had been lethargic, not eating and appeared to be in pain.

Last month, the zoo said Bridget appeared to be in good health after lab results explained why she had grown a mane, which is usually only seen on male lions.

Google Street View

 

A watchdog group is suing the Environmental Protection Agency seeking the release of records involving an investigative audit into the cleanup of the Tar Creek Superfund site in northeastern Oklahoma that the state's attorney general wants to keep secret.

The Campaign for Accountability filed the federal lawsuit Thursday in Washington. The group says EPA administrator Scott Pruitt tried to cover up a report suggesting criminal wrongdoing while he was Oklahoma's attorney general.

OEA

 

A teachers strike in Oklahoma stretched into a fifth day on Friday, and a state union leader said he doesn't think pending proposals to increase revenue are enough to stop the walkout from extending into next week.

The Senate was expected to consider separate proposals Friday to expand tribal gambling and tax certain internet sales that are expected to generate roughly $40 million annually.

But Oklahoma Education Association Executive Director David Duvall says he doesn't think those are enough to keep teachers from walking out again next week.

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