Marshall Stewart

Reporter & All Things Considered anchor

Marshall Stewart comes to KWGS after more than 30 years in radio news. He’s been an anchor, editor, producer, and reporter with a focus on government stories. He’s the recipient of numerous state awards and a 2006 Edward R. Murrow national award.

The Air Force veteran is a Ponca City native and Oklahoma State University alum and the proud father of three children and granddad to three granddaughters.

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A Tulsa judge rules for the city in a move that could allow development on a portion of Helmerich Park land to go forward. The dispute is over plans for a sporting goods store at 71st and Riverside. Protestors sued, claiming the land was purchased for a park and intended to always be used as a park. Attorney Greg Bledsoe represents the plaintiffs. He says the ruling sets a ‘horrible’ precedent by selling land bought with taxpayer and private funds for a park, then declare what he calls public trust land abandoned to sell for private development.

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Tulsa County law enforcement officials want state lawmakers to pass a measure allowing use of a new technology called Rapid DNA. Director of Government Affairs, Terry Simonson, says it would mean taking a DNA swab of a suspect at booking and results could be returned within 90 minutes.

KWGS News

Victims’ rights are highlighted at an awareness event on the Tulsa Courthouse Plaza.

Tulsa’s leading law enforcement agents address the crowd during ‘Crime Victims’ Rights Week’. District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler implores the media and citizens to focus more on victims and less on criminals. Support is also offered for Marsy’s Law, a proposed constitutional amendment to solidify the rights of crime victims.

More than two dozen local service agencies who offer resources to crime victims were represented at the awareness event.

OSHD

Someone returning to Tulsa recently from an international trip contracted measles…and the City-County Health Department is alerting people of possible exposure. Leanne Stephens with the Health Department says measles is very contagious, and can linger for as long as a couple of hours after the carrier has left the area.

The Health Department has all the pertinent information about where and when possible exposures may have occurred. Anyone concerned or with questions may call the Department’s measles hotline at 918-595-4500.

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Health officials say almost twice as many Oklahomans have died from influenza this season than any previous season on record.

The Oklahoma Department of Health said Thursday that 253 people have died from the virus since the flu season began on Sept. 1 — the most fatalities since the agency began tracking the illness in 2009. The previous record death toll of 130 was recorded a year ago.

KWGS News

A veteran’s group working to solve food insecurity in rural and under-served areas is honored by Tulsa County leaders. Honor Capital is on a mission to help end food deserts through a program called Hub and Spoke. Jim Allen is President of Honor Capital, a veteran’s owned organization. He says Hub and Spoke partners grocery stores with mobile units to bring fresh, nutritious food to areas where it isn’t easy to find or where transportation is lacking.

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After a couple of starts and stops finding a location, bids are finally opened for a new Tulsa County Family Justice Center. Five bids were received, all under $30-million, below the estimated cost of around $39-million. Current Justice Center Director Justin Jones says alternatives were included within the bids, so a committee will determine the lowest and best.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, a bid should be awarded next week, and construction will begin in mid-April. Construction time is estimated at about 18 months. 

TPD

Homeland Security, Oklahoma Alcohol Beverage Law Enforcement, and the Tulsa Police Financial Crimes Unit are working to halt a fake ID factory. At least 100 false ID’s have been intercepted in the past several months, some bound for Oklahoma students. Corporal Matt Rose with TPD says at least one has been confiscated at a downtown Tulsa bar. He says it’s difficult to tell the real from the fake.

The ID’s are being ordered online and then mailed to high school and college students in Oklahoma and elsewhere.

Iron Gate

It’s been difficult for Iron Gate to find a larger location to move its’ soup kitchen from Trinity Episcopal Church. Tulsa County leaders have now signed off on an agreement to lease land near the jail to Iron Gate. Commissioner John Smaligo opposed the deal though. He doesn’t like the 99-year term of the lease, and has other fears, including what he says is the possibility the site could eventually become a marijuana dispensary.

KWGS News

A former Assistant Attorney General and member of the State Board of Education will run for the District One Congressional seat. Democrat Tim Gilpin made the official announcement today.

Gilpin cites his time on the Oklahoma Board of Education when he opposed policies of former Superintendent Janet Baressi, a stand that prompted Governor Fallin to ask him to resign. He refused to do so. Several Republicans have announced for the Congressional post, which incumbent Jim Bridenstine is leaving. The filing time is in April.

KWGS News

It’s well known Oklahoma incarcerates the highest percentage of females in the nation. During this Women’s History Month, OU-Tulsa and Poetic Justice team up to present ‘Grey Matter’, a documentary exploring the subject. Megan Hickey is the Director of the film. Poetic Justice is a program to let women behind bars write about their feelings. She interviewed women at Mabel Basset prison and focused on their writings. On a panel after the film was former inmate, Sophia Carbajal.

KWGS News File Photo

After almost two decades in the public eye, Tulsa County Commission Chairman John Smaligo is calling it quits. He’ll resign April 2nd to become CEO of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Oklahoma. ABC is the country’s leading commercial construction trade group with 70 chapters nationwide.

Smaligo began his public career in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and is now in his third term as a county commissioner. Since the term isn’t up until January, an interim will fill the position until a new commissioner is elected and takes over in 2019.

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Hospitalizations and deaths from the flu in Oklahoma continue in March. The latest stats show more than 43-hundred hospitalizations and 228 deaths in this record year. Jamie Dukes with the State Health Department says the older population is the most vulnerable. The most recent deaths are all in the age group 50 years and older. Oklahoma has reported only one pediatric death and none under age four.

KWGS News

Rural health care is becoming more difficult in Oklahoma with closing hospitals and a lack of doctors. Clinical Nurse Specialists could help bridge the gap, but not unless the law is changed. Lori Ormsby is immediate past president of the Oklahoma CNS Association. She says a law to allow CNS nurses a full scope of practice is bogged down in the legislature. It passed the house in the last session, but stalled in the senate.

Daniel Paquet/Wikimedia

Since the beginning of flu season, 173 people in Oklahoma have now died and nearly four-thousand have been hospitalized. If there is any good news, it’s that it appears the peak has been reached and the number of cases is slowly declining. Type A virus was more prevalent in the early part of the season. Now it appears Type B is the larger threat. Tony Sellars is with the State Health Department. He says the hardest hit population continues to be people age 65 and older. There is an extra strength dose of vaccine that the elderly can take.

TPD

The Tulsa Police Department (TPD) has fully implemented the body-worn camera system for all police field officers and posted the body-worn camera policy online; two recommendations made by the Tulsa Commission on Community Policing.

“Implementing body-worn cameras is an important step in fostering relationships throughout the community while providing efficiencies within the police department,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “I’m proud of the officers for embracing this new technology for the betterment of our city.”

KWGS News

Several hundred Edison Preparatory students stage a walkout protest over what they see as increasing problems at the school.

The students gathered at the football field, holding signs and chanting as some teachers and parents watched. The kids are upset over the high turnover rate of teachers and what they perceive as less than satisfactory replacements and perceived deteriorating conditions at the school.  

Areas for the protest were designated and school officials say the protesting students will not be marked absent.

KWGS News

The ribbon is cut on a company expansion bringing 250 new jobs to Tulsa.

DISH, a company that provides TV services, officially opens a new sales center in Tulsa. Sean Ayers is General Manager of Direct Sales in Tulsa. He says the city, state, and business community provided help to make the decision to expand here easier.

Some new employees have been hired, but more are needed. Positions include frontline sales, human resources, management, training, and customer retention.

KWGS News

The way to San Jose is now a straight shot from Tulsa. The Silicon Valley town is one of two new non-stop destinations from Tulsa announced by Frontier Airlines. Frontier Director Louie Ligon says the reception of earlier announced non-stops from Tulsa helped with the decision to add more. The second non-stop announced this week is east to Dulles Airport in Washington DC.

nasa.gov

A spectacular lunar event will loom large in the sky tomorrow morning. It’s a super blue blood moon featuring a total eclipse. Super because it’s close to the earth, blue because it’s the second full moon this month, and Tulsa Planetarium Director Bob Ferguson explains why it’s also called a blood moon…volcanic ash and other items in the Earth’s atmosphere will make the moon appear orange-red.

The moon will be visible west-northwest of Tulsa. The eclipse begins at 5:48 with eclipse totality to begin at 6:52am. The moon will set just before 7:30.

KWGS News

The number of flu hospitalizations and deaths jump in Oklahoma over the past week as the peak season continues. The State Health Department’s Jamie Dukes says there’s always a delay in getting numbers to the state offices, but reported fatalities in the past week are up by nearly 30. Total flu deaths in Oklahoma have now reached 74 , an increase of 29 in reporting in just the past week.

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Along with several other groups, the Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers, endorses a new plan to solve the state’s budget crisis. The Association’s CEO Nico Gomez says ‘Step Up Oklahoma’ could keep long term care facilities from closing and halt cuts to services.

Gomez says Oklahoma nursing homes have seen over $93-million dollars in state and federal budget cuts since 2010. Other organizations announcing support for Step Up this week include the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy and Oklahoma Tomorrow.

Daniel Paquet/Wikimedia

Tulsa County now leads the state in the number of deaths and hospitalizations from flu. According to Jamie Dukes with the State Health Department, the most patients with influenza are reported in the two most populous counties…Oklahoma and Tulsa. Here in Tulsa County, 338 people have been hospitalized since flu season began in September, and the county is now reporting ten deaths. All the deaths statewide are in the age group 50 and older.

Dukes says nearly 15-hundred people have been hospitalized since flu season began. She reminds Oklahomans it’s NOT too late to get a shot

KWGS News

Even in the extreme cold, people line the parade route for Tulsa’s 39th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade. Carmen Pettie is the event organizer. She says there are 300 or more entries in the parade and hundreds of participants. Hundreds more, if not thousands, line the parade route to watch, even in the freezing cold weather.

Pettie says the Tulsa Parade is the third largest in the country and the largest in the region. The theme this year is ’50 years later and the dream still lives’. 

Flu cases continue unabated across the nation and in Oklahoma. The latest statistics show more than one-thousand people hospitalized in Oklahoma with 22 deaths attributed to the flu. State Health Department Spokeswoman Jamie Dukes says even though the vaccine isn’t 100% sure, getting a shot is still the best action to take.

She says although the flu is striking across the entire age spectrum, all the fatalities in Oklahoma have been in the 50-and-older age group. Of the 1,020 hospitalizations, 225 are in Tulsa County.

Wikimedia

Will a federal change to crackdown on marijuana ordered by Attorney General Jeff Sessions impact Oklahoma’s vote on medicinal marijuana? Former Western District U-S Attorney Sandy Coats in Oklahoma believes the focus is on RECREATIONAL marijuana, not necessarily medicinal. He thinks it likely Oklahoma will pass marijuana use for medical purposes.

Governor Fallin has set a June election on medicinal marijuana use. It does not include legalizing recreational marijuana.

Wikipedia

Another death from flu is reported in Oklahoma. It isn’t in Tulsa County, but several more hospitalizations occurred here in the last week. Jamie Dukes with the State Health Department says we’re in peak flu season, with hundreds of cases of hospitalizations across Oklahoma. 120 of those are in Tulsa County.

Since September 1st, more than 600 people have been hospitalized in Oklahoma with the flu and 13 have died. All the fatalities have been in the population age 50 and older. Dukes says it isn’t too late to get a shot since flu season can run well into the spring in Oklahoma.

KWGS News File Photo

Retirements, resignations, and for various other reasons, the Tulsa Sheriff’s Office has been understaffed for some time. This week, for the first time in three years, seven applicants have been sworn in to become full-fledged deputies. Sheriff Vic Regalado says while the seven were promoted this week, it will be a while before they begin field work. They must finish CLEET law enforcement training and other training first. It will likely be six months before they see the field.

KWGS News File Photo

Tulsa is only one murder away from tying the homicide record of 82. It was set only last year. Releasing a report this week, homicide detectives say 73 of the 81 killings have been solved. It's a very respectable 91% solve rate, but down from last year's rate of 97% solved. Police say there's no one thing leading to the the high number of homicides this year like gang warfare or battles between drug dealers. It's more a matter of someone introducing a gun or weapon into an argument, fight, or robbery that turns many disputes deadly.

Daniel Paquet/Wikimedia

The weekly statistics are out, and another person has died from flu in Oklahoma. It brings the season total to ten, with one more fatality reported this past week. Statewide, 121 more patients were hospitalized with flu symptoms, bringing the total this year to 425. Counties with the most hospitalizations are those  with the largest populations. Oklahoma County reports 120 cases, Tulsa County reports 88. Two people have died from flu in the Tulsa area. Most of the state's fatalities are in the age range 50 and older.

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