Associated Press

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Oklahoma State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister says the issue of teachers' salaries should have been addressed by the Legislature, rather than a ballot issue that seeks a tax increase to fund the pay bump.

But speaking Wednesday in Owasso, Hofmeister said she'll keep fighting for a $5,000 across-the-board pay raise, saying that Oklahoma's teacher shortage is fueled by "low, uncompetitive" salaries.

Muskogee Police

 

When riots erupted two years ago in Ferguson, Missouri, some of the tension in the black community was blamed on the use of court fines and fees that burdened many low-income people with debts they could not pay.

Since then, some states have reduced fines for traffic tickets and offered amnesty to indigent offenders with large debts.

But Oklahoma lawmakers went the other direction. They increased dozens of fees covering all criminal and traffic offenses, hoping to more than double the share of state revenue harvested from the same source five years ago.

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U.S. Geological Survey researchers say they're upgrading the strength of an Oklahoma earthquake that struck over the weekend to a 5.8 magnitude, making it the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in the state.

USGS research geophysicist Daniel McNamara said Wednesday the previous strongest recorded quake in Oklahoma — a 5.6-magnitude temblor in 2011 — also is being upgraded to a 5.7-magnitude quake.

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The Poteau City Council has approved funding to add gates to a railroad crossing where a woman and three children died last month after they were struck by a train.

The council voted Tuesday night to pay its share for the gates at the railroad crossing. Fort Smith, Arkansas, television station KHBS reports that the total cost of the project is about $350,000, and the city will kick in 10 percent. The remainder will be paid by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the Kansas City Southern Railway Company.

DHS

Child welfare experts who are monitoring implementation of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services' plan to improve its foster care system have agreed to extend the timeline to fully implement proposed changes.

  DHS settled a class-action lawsuit in 2012 that alleged the agency victimized foster children and agreed to make improvements in the system. The settlement agreement established an ambitious five-year plan known as the Pinnacle Plan to increase the number of foster families and caseworkers, reducing caseworker workloads and cut the rate of abuse.

Oklahomans for Health- Faceboook

Attorneys for medical marijuana supporters allege in a lawsuit that Republican Attorney General Scott Pruitt rewrote a proposed ballot question to mislead and confuse voters into thinking they were voting to fully legalize marijuana in the state.
  The lawsuit was filed Tuesday with the state Supreme Court on behalf of Oklahomans for Health, a group that gathered enough signatures to have the question placed before voters.
  Attorney David Slane, who filed the lawsuit, accuses Pruitt of being biased against the proposal and rewriting the question to confuse voters.

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The for-profit college chain ITT Educational Services is shutting down its campuses days after the U.S. Department of Education banned it from enrolling new students who use federal financial aid.

The company, which operates vocational schools, announced "with profound regret" in a statement Tuesday that it is ending academic operations at all of its more than 130 campuses across 38 states., including Tulsa.

The company, based in Carmel, Indiana, says its move will have an impact on hundreds of thousands of students and alumni as well as more than 8,000 employees.

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The 37 wastewater disposal wells to be shut down in north-central Oklahoma, where a 5.6 magnitude earthquake struck this weekend, are just a fraction of the state's total number.

Oklahoma Corporation Commission spokesman Matt Skinner says the wells are among about 4,200 across the state. They're also among the about 700 in a 15,000-square-mile "Area of Interest" created by the commission to address earthquakes in the area near Pawnee.

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Several Oklahoma lawmakers must repay their campaigns after violating a new ethics rule regarding how the donations can be used.

Among the uses prohibited by the rule that applies to elections held after Jan. 1, 2015 are the purchase of tickets to University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State football games, concert tickets, home mortgage payments, vacations, country club dues and gasoline.

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 An Oklahoma City man has been arrested after a Texas Panhandle traffic stop yielded $1 million in methamphetamine.

Carson County jail records show 20-year-old Ernesto Ayala was being held Monday on a charge of felony possession of a controlled substance.

The Texas Department of Public Safety says one of its troopers stopped Ayala on Saturday for a traffic violation near Conway, about 20 miles east of Amarillo.

The trooper discovered several plastic-wrapped packages of methamphetamine weighing more than 12 pounds concealed inside the panels of Ayala's car.

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Tulsa police have identified two people who were killed in separate incidents last week.

Tulsa police Sgt. Dave Walker says 25-year-old Brianna Dean died Friday after she was struck by a car. Police have arrested 26-year-old Brittany Payne Wright on a first-degree murder complaint in the case, and she remains in the Tulsa County jail without bond.

In a separate case, 26-year-old Alton Young was shot to death late Thursday, and he died the next day at a Tulsa hospital. No arrests have been made in the case.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says a 73-year-old Tahlequah man has been killed in a two-vehicle collision on Highway 28 in Mayes County. The OHP says John Matthews died in the crash Sunday near Pensacola. An OHP report says Matthews was westbound when the car he was driving crossed the center line and collided with an eastbound sport utility vehicle. The driver of the SUV and six passengers were treated and released in good condition.

Wagoner Fire-Facebook

Firefighters in Wagoner say a man has died in an apartment fire on the city's east side.

Fire Chief Kelly Grooms told reporters the fire was reported shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday and the man was found inside the apartment.

The man's name was not immediately released.

Grooms says the man's wife was able to escape the flames and there were no other injuries.

Grooms said the cause of the fire was not immediately known.

Oklahoma Department of Tourism

Three children and two adults were injured when a boat caught fire on Bluestem Lake in northeast Oklahoma.

State Troopers say five adults and seven children between the ages of 1 and 9 were on board the vessel when it caught fire late Sunday afternoon.

Of the five who were injured, two of the children and one adult were airlifted to a Tulsa hospital.

The Highway Patrol says fumes in the engine caused the boat to ignite because it wasn't properly ventilated.

OPMX

 State, local and federal officials have resumed assessing damage in north-central Oklahoma after a magnitude 5.6 earthquake struck near Pawnee, just south of the Kansas state line.

Pawnee County Emergency Management Director Mark Randell said Sunday that emergency officials and the U.S. Geological Survey are examining the area and finding only minor to moderate damage.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation inspected roads and 180 bridges within a 30-mile radius of the epicenter and says all were found to be safe.

OU

The 37 wastewater disposal wells to be shut down in north-central Oklahoma, where a 5.6 magnitude earthquake struck this weekend, are just a fraction of the state's total number.
There are about 4,200 total wells across the state and about 700 in a 15,000-square-mile "Area of Interest" created by the commission to address earthquakes in the area that includes the epicenter of Saturday's temblor near Pawnee.

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — D'Angelo Brewer ran for 164 yards and three touchdowns to help Tulsa roll over San Jose State 45-10 in the season opener for both teams Saturday night. Dane Evans threw for 198 yards and a TD, Keevan Lucas had 112 yards receiving, and James Flanders added 82 yards rushing for Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane held a 512-287 edge in total yards, and a 305-53 lead in rushing.

OCC

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission is requiring the shutdown of 37 wastewater disposal wells in the area around the epicenter of a magnitude 5.6 earthquake.

The mandate comes after the Saturday morning earthquake near Pawnee and includes 514 square miles under commission jurisdiction.

Commission spokesman Matt Skinner says another 211 square miles in Osage County is under Environmental Protection Agency jurisdiction and the EPA will decide what action to take there.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has declared a state of emergency in Pawnee County after a magnitude 5.6 earthquake struck northwest of Pawnee.

The earthquake struck at 7:02 a.m. Saturday and was felt throughout the Midwestern United States, although no severe damage or serious injuries were reported.

The quake ties a 2011 earthquake for the strongest earthquake in recorded state history.

Fallin's order allows state agencies to make emergency purchases for disaster relief and is the first step toward asking for federal assistance, if necessary.

 A recently released report says Oklahoma has the eighth-highest adult obesity rate in the nation.

A report from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says almost 34 percent of adults in the state are obese.

Louisiana is ranked number one, while West Virginia, Mississippi and Alabama tied for second place. Arkansas is ranked number six.

The rankings are based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

 The Cherokee Nation says it plans to purchase Sequoyah's Cabin and the more than 200 surrounding acres from the Oklahoma Historical Society.

Sequoyah is one of the most well-known Cherokee historical figures, having developed the Cherokee syllabary, or alphabet.

Sequoyah was born in Tennessee about 1778 and migrated to what is now Oklahoma in about 1818. The one-room log cabin was built in 1829.

The cabin and surrounding acres were bought by the historical society in 1936 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965.

State of Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma's two-term Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones says he is strongly considering running for state treasurer in 2018.

The Republican from Cache said Friday he hasn't made a final decision, but plans to do so after the 2016 general election.

Both Jones and Oklahoma Treasurer Ken Miller are term-limited in 2018.

Jones is a cattle rancher, a certified public accountant and the former chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party. He was elected in 2010 as part of a Republican sweep of every statewide elected office on the ballot.

Brookdale

 

Tulsa investigators are looking for answers after the body of an assisted-living center resident was found on a bus.

The Tulsa World reports that 84-year-old Mary Schlecht was found dead Sunday evening inside a bus that was parked in the Brookdale Tulsa Midtown facility's lot.

 

 Leaders from some of Oklahoma's churches, nonprofits and Native American tribes are among those calling for changes to the state's payday loan industry that they say preys on low-income residents and keeps them trapped in a cycle of debt.

The nonprofit group Voices Organized for Civic Engagement held a news conference Thursday also urging Oklahomans to support proposed federal rules that would impose new restrictions on the industry.

State of Oklahoma

 

 No special session of the Oklahoma Legislature will be held after Gov. Mary Fallin was unable to reach agreement with lawmakers on a plan for a teacher pay raise and the redistribution of $140 million in surplus revenue to targeted agencies.

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An Oklahoma congressional candidate who demanded a recount after he lost a primary runoff election by just 40 votes has dropped his fight.

Oklahoma election officials say Democrat Tom Guild asked that the recount be stopped Wednesday after he lost three votes during a partial recount in his party's runoff for Oklahoma's 5th Congressional District.

That means former state Sen. Al McAffrey will be the Democrat running in the heavily Republican district in November.

Muskogee Police

 

An Oklahoma police department is investigating after an officer used pepper spray to subdue an 84-year-old woman in her home.

Footage from a police body camera shows an officer using the spray after Geneva Smith cursed at officers and refused orders to get down. Officers had kicked in her door looking for her son.

The video was released by the Muskogee Police Department. Spokesman Sgt. Ty Pickering says at least eight officers are part of an internal investigation into the Aug. 7 incident. All have returned to duty.

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 Figures from a survey of supply managers in nine Midwest and Plains states have risen slightly but still suggest slow or no economic growth ahead.

A report issued Thursday says the Mid-American Business Conditions index inched up to 47.8 in August from 47.6 in July.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says he expects the regional economy to underperform the national economy because of the region's heavy dependence on manufacturers linked to the weak sectors of agriculture and energy.

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AAA expects 411,000 Oklahomans to travel this Labor Day 

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The AAA says about 411,000 Oklahomans are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home this Labor Day weekend. That's the highest number of Labor Day travelers in the state in eight years.

AAA Oklahoma spokesman Chuck Mai says more than 95 percent of Oklahoma travelers will drive to their holiday destinations this year.

KWGS News

 

A state investigation into reported misconduct within the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office will soon be handed off to prosecutors.

Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Jessica Brown says the report will be forwarded to the Okmulgee County District Attorney's Office for review and possible charges.

The Tulsa World reports that the OSBI had been waiting on the outcome of former Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz's indictment on two misdemeanor charges.

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