Associated Press

Serge Melki

 

Oklahoma lawmakers will convene rare Friday sessions as protesting school teachers continue to fill the state Capitol and demand more funding for public education.

Republican leaders of the state House and Senate said Thursday they will meet Friday to consider legislation to raise more money. Lawmakers traditionally don't meet on Fridays during legislative sessions.

File photo

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has upheld the murder and kidnapping convictions and life sentence of a Tulsa man in the death of a Talala man.

The court on Thursday rejected appeals by 30-year-old Vernon Leemountel Smith, who was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. The appeals included insufficient evidence, improper hearsay testimony, prosecutorial misconduct and that the jury should have been instructed to consider lesser offenses, such as second-degree murder.

Oklahoma Historical Society

 

A second Oklahoma tribe is suing manufacturers and distributors of opioids, and large pharmacies for their alleged part in an overdose epidemic.

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation filed their lawsuit in U.S. District Court for Oklahoma's northern district on Tuesday. The lawsuit alleges the companies engage in marketing campaigns that aren't truthful about the risks of using opioids. It alleges that the defendants' misconduct "has led to an epidemic of prescription drug abuse."

ICOC

 

 An Oklahoma City man has been arrested and charged with threatening to blow up a mosque.

Online court records show that 54-year-old Larry Dewayne Hornsby was charged Tuesday with making the threat on March 24 at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City.

Court records don't list an attorney for Hornsby. Jail records show he remains in custody on $20,000 bond.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations' state chapter says Hornsby entered the mosque, threatened to "blow up this building" and left. It says he was identified through surveillance footage.

C-SPAN

 

 The White House says President Donald Trump is not OK with recent revelations involving embattled Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt.

The statement from spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders came as Pruitt spoke in a series of interviews with Fox News and other conservative media, attempting to shore up his eroding position.

Pruitt is denying he knew about big raises given to two of his closest aides while insisting he did nothing wrong in renting a bargain-priced condo tied to an energy lobbyist.

Walkout Day #4

Apr 5, 2018
OEA

Some say teachers in Oklahoma risk losing public support the longer their walkout goes.

The protests, and some school closures, will continue for a fourth straight day Thursday amid a movement in red states from West Virginia to Kentucky to Arizona to press for more money in classrooms.

Oklahoma Republicans passed a tax hike for hundreds of millions of new dollars for public schools and teacher pay raises. But educators marched on the Capitol anyway, bringing with them pent-up frustration after years of budget cuts, swelling class sizes and a decade without a raise.

Okmulgee Police

 

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says its agents are investigating the fatal shooting of a man by police at a motel in Okmulgee.

The OSBI says officers were called to investigate a disturbance at the motel at about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday and found a man threatening to kill himself while holding a knife to his throat.

The agency says in a news release that the man was told to drop the knife, but instead advanced toward the officers and was shot. He later died at a hospital in the town.

File Photo-Google Street View

 

 

A prosecutor with the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office requests a judge sentence four former high school football players as adults in a sexual assault case, if they are found guilty.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew Adams requested a pretrial hearing Tuesday so a judge can consider possible adult sentences for the Bixby High School students. The students are accused in a 16-year-old's September rape at the former superintendent's home. They've pleaded not guilty to second-degree rape by instrumentation.

EPA

 

 The embattled head of the Environmental Protection Agency got a measured gesture of support from President Donald Trump but also a warning from the White House about the ethical questions surrounding his travel spending and ties to lobbyists.

Scott Pruitt has come under scrutiny for his use of a Capitol Hill condo owned by the wife of a prominent Washington lobbyist whose firm represents fossil fuel companies.

On Tuesday, The Atlantic reported that Pruitt had bypassed the White House to give big raises to two young aides he brought with him from Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

 

 

Many schools will remain closed for a second day in Oklahoma Tuesday as teachers rally for higher pay and education funding in a rebellion that has hit several Republican-led states across the country.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed legislation last week granting 15 to 18 percent higher salaries to teachers. But some educators — who haven't seen a pay increase in 10 years — say that isn't good enough and walked out.

Gilcrease Museum

 

Initial work on a $65 million museum renovation in Tulsa will examine how to enhance visitors' experiences.

The Gilcrease Museum overhaul won't begin for at least two years, but preliminary plans include an interpretive master plan and feasibility study.

The Gilcrease National Advisory Board has endorsed the museum entering into an agreement with Gallagher & Associates for the study.

OETA

 

A report says a business conditions index for nine Midwest and Plains states has surged again — a sign of continued improvement in regional economic conditions.

The report released Monday says the Mid-America Business Conditions Index hit 62.1 in March, compared with 59.7 in February. The January figure was 57.3.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says 20 percent of the survey participants reported rapidly expanding economic growth in their areas.

DelTaco

 

A North Texas company has recalled nearly 4 tons of raw beef wrongly produced and packaged without federal inspection.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the recall involves PFP Enterprises, operating as Texas Meat Packers of Fort Worth.

The recall involves 7,146 pounds  of various-weight beef for tacos and fajitas produced March 23 and March 24. The lack of inspection was discovered Friday.

The USDA had no confirmed reports of anyone getting sick. The products should be thrown away or returned to the point of purchase.

KWGS News File Photo

 

Authorities say a Tulsa, Oklahoma, man shot and killed his estranged wife and daughter and wounded his son before killing himself.

The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office said Monday officers responded to the home of 45-year-old Eric Widger Sr. on Sunday night after his wounded 18-year-old son called the police. They found Widger, his estranged wife, Melisa Widger, and their 20-year-old daughter, Nichol "Nikki" Widger dead.

 

 

The son is recovering at a hospital and police say he's not a suspect.

Kendall Thompson

5:45 p.m.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin says the state's leaders can't neglect other parts of the state's budget in looking for more money for education.

Fallin's comments came Monday, the day thousands of teachers rallied at the state Capitol seeking increased spending for the classroom. Kentucky teachers led a demonstration in Frankfort in a separate event.

Fallin said the corrections and health and human services also need more money. She praised the GOP-led Legislature's for approving part of teachers' demands that included pay raises.

NPR

 

Nearly 150 Oklahoma law enforcement agencies have yet to comply with the governor's order to report the number of their untested rape kits — six weeks after an extended deadline expired.

The state Attorney General's Office says more than 280 agencies have reported 7,125 untested rape kits. Eleven sheriff's offices and 136 police departments haven't responded.

Gov. Mary Fallin signed an executive order last year creating a task force to determine the number of untested rape kits in Oklahoma and make recommendations based on the findings.

File photo

   

Thousands of Oklahoma teachers are descending on the state Capitol to demand lawmakers approve more funding for education just days after the Legislature did just that.

Gov. Mary Fallin signed legislation last week increasing taxes on cigarettes, fuel and oil and gas production to provide teachers with raises of about $6,100, or 15 to 18 percent.

The Oklahoma walkout Monday was inspired by West Virginia teachers who won a 5 percent raise after going on strike. Arizona teachers are now considering a strike over their demands for a 20 percent salary increase.

File photo

The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. decreased by two this week to 993.

That exceeds the 824 rigs that were active this time a year ago.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes reported Thursday that 797 rigs drilled for oil this week and 194 for gas. Two were listed as miscellaneous.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Pennsylvania increased by two rigs and Louisiana and Oklahoma each gained one.

Texas lost three rigs and New Mexico, Ohio and West Virginia each decreased by one.

Armyhistory.org

Authorities in Oklahoma say a man accused of stealing Purple Heart medals and other items worth $250,000 has been taken into custody in Virginia.

Authorities say 49-year-old Jonathan Bartlett Robertson was apprehended Saturday in Richmond, Virginia, following an hour-long pursuit. Officials say Robertson was driving a vehicle that had been reported stolen in Shawnee, Oklahoma.

KWGS News File Photo

An Oklahoma official faces counterfeiting charges and an audit into the use of a petty cash fund.

The Claremore Daily Progress reports that the charges filed Thursday against Rogers County Court Clerk Kimberly Henry come after allegations she purchased soft drinks for her office with a counterfeit $20 bill. District records show Henry also tried depositing the bill.

Claremore Police say employees of a Sonic Drive-In notified them of the bill.

Records show a county employee detected the bill while balancing receipts and brought it to Henry, who took the bill.

Denver coach Michael Malone said before the game that Paul Millsap was improving, but it wouldn't be fair to expect the veteran forward to be as good as he was before a left wrist sprain cost him 44 games.

Millsap was actually better on Friday night.

He scored a season-high 36 points to help the Nuggets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 126-125 in overtime.

Millsap made 13 of 18 field goals and grabbed nine rebounds.

Stillwater Police

Investigators have identified a man who was fatally shot by police in Stillwater earlier this week.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said Friday that 31-year-old William John Dominguez was shot and killed Wednesday night after he refused to put down a gun and knife. Investigators released Dominguez's name after family members in California were notified of his death.

CLAREMORE, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma official faces counterfeiting charges and an audit into the use of a petty cash fund.

The Claremore Daily Progress reports that the charges filed Thursday against Rogers County Court Clerk Kimberly Henry come after allegations she purchased soft drinks for her office with a counterfeit $20 bill. District records show Henry also tried depositing the bill.

Claremore Police say employees of a Sonic Drive-In notified them of the bill.

EPA

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the Environmental Protection Agency paid just $50 a night to stay in a Capitol Hill condominium linked to a prominent Washington lobbyist whose firm represents a roster of fossil fuel companies.

DOC

 

Oklahoma prison officials say an inmate serving sentences for multiple felony convictions has walked away from a minimum-security prison in Muskogee County.

The Department of Corrections says 32-year-old Nathan Harmon disappeared Thursday from the Jess Dunn Correctional Center in Taft.

Officials say Harmon allegedly stole a Muskogee police officer's personal pickup truck after leaving the prison. No weapons were reported taken in the theft.

 

New data figures show Oklahoma's teen birth rate remained second-highest in the country for the third year in a row in 2016.

The Oklahoma Department of Health and the National Center for Health Statistics say the state's rate of about 33 births per 1,000 females ages 15-19 was second only to Arkansas.

The figures do show Oklahoma's teen birth rate dropped by nearly 30 percent from 2012 to 2016.

KWGS News File Photo

 

Oklahoma prison officials say an inmate who walked away from a prison in Muskogee County has been found and is back in custody.

The state Department of Corrections says 52-year-old Todd Hicks was arrested by Okmulgee County sheriff's deputies around 8 a.m. Thursday at a mobile home park outside of Okmulgee.

Officials say Hicks walked away from the Jess Dunn Correctional Center in Taft on March 8. The prison is a minimum-security facility that houses about 1,130 inmates.

KWGS News

 

The Oklahoma State Department of Health says it's helping investigate a nationwide salmonella outbreak that's linked to a stimulant-like plant called kratom.

Officials say a total of 91 people in 36 states, including four cases in Oklahoma, have been linked to the outbreak.

Health officials say the outbreak is associated with kratom, a plant native to Southeast Asia that's consumed for its stimulant effects and as an opioid substitute. It may be brewed in a tea, chewed, smoked or ingested in capsules.

file photo

 

The Oklahoma Board of Corrections will ask state lawmakers for nearly $9 million to get through the next three months.

The Oklahoman reports that the board voted unanimously Tuesday to request the funds after Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh warned of the department's financial struggle.

The Corrections Department has an annual budget of nearly $500 million and its projected shortfall is a small percentage. But Allbaugh says the department still needs the $8.75 million.

File photo

 

The Oklahoma Board of Health has named a former top official of the state attorney general's office to lead the Department of Health.

The board Wednesday named former First Assistant Attorney General Tom Bates as interim health commissioner. Bates will be paid $189,000 a year as interim commissioner, the same salary as the former interim commissioner.

Bates is the department's fourth leader in the past six months. Former Commissioner Terry Cline resigned in October amid questions about a $30 million budget shortfall at the agency.

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