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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KWGS News

Record early voting and high turnouts in the last two Presidential elections prompt optimism for lots of ballot casting Tuesday. While races for President always bring out voters, Tulsa County Election Board Secretary Patty Bryant says the top of the ballot race isn’t the only issue of interest. She mentions the seven state questions and some local and county races that have prompted lots of discussion. Bryant hopes for 75% turnout or better.

The early voting ended Saturday, but polls are open from 7am to 7pm Tuesday , and if you are in line at 7pm, you will be allowed to vote.

KWGS News

Tulsa students attend a Mayor’s Police and Community Coalition forum with members of law enforcement. In these sometimes turbulent times, Coalition Member Hannibal Johnson says it’s a way for young people and officers to better understand each other.

Well over 100 students and chaperones from Tulsa high schools and dozens of police officers attended the youth forum at the Education Service Center.

KWGS News

The parking lot is jammed and the lines are long as early voting gets underway in Tulsa. As early in-person absentee balloting begins in Oklahoma, people wait outside the Tulsa County Election Board. The people in line have a variety of reasons for casting a ballot early, everything from I don’t have the time next Tuesday to I want to get it out of the way to make sure may vote counts and nothing last minute keeps me from voting. The issues with the most interest seem to be the Presidential race and the seven state questions.

KWGS News

With only a few days before the Presidential election, a study is out showing Oklahoma as the least politically engaged state in the union. The Wallethub report used seven key indicators of political engagement. Of the seven, Oklahoma ranked last or next to last in three. Wallethub Analyst Jill Gonzalez says indicators ranged from the percentage of registered voters compared to how many actually voted to total political contributions per adult population.

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It’s still early, but Tulsa County has more cases of hospitalizations because of flu than any other county in the state. No deaths, but there are now 14 cases of flu reported in Oklahoma since the flu season began October 2nd. Tulsa County leads the state with three hospitalizations reported. Kaitlin Snider with the Tulsa Health Department says getting a vaccine is the best way to try and avoid the influenza virus.

Last year was a fairly mild season in Oklahoma. Health experts are hoping for the same this year.

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State Question 792, a measure to allow strong beer and wine to be sold in grocery and convenience stores gets support by Tulsa young professionals. TYPRO’s Adam Doverspike says modernizing liquor laws will help draw young professionals back to Tulsa and other Oklahoma cities.

Doverspike believes passage of 792 would signal to the rest of the country ‘we are a business  friendly-state that appeals to a young and diverse workforce.’

KWGS News Photo

A street rehabilitation project going on between 81st and 91st on South Sheridan will improve traffic flow and drainage. In the meantime though, City Field Engineering Manager Britt Vance says there will be inconvenience for motorists.

There will be one northbound lane open for access by a fire station in the area, but southbound traffic will be blocked for the duration of the project. It’s scheduled to be finished in March.

KWGS News

A new company is chosen to provide medical care for Tulsa jail inmates. Oklahoma City based Turn Key Medical will be the new provider. A special selection committee made the recommendation, and County leaders approved. Purchasing Director Linda Dorrell says it isn’t only about the money, it’s about providing the best care for inmates, but the county will save money with the Turn Key contract, a little over $300,000 a year. Also more medical staff will be provided.

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Oklahoma leads the nation in cuts to school funding, and the gap is widening. Gene Perry with the Oklahoma Policy Institute says per pupil spending has dropped nearly 27% since 2008, increasing the gap over Alabama, which is the second worst for education cuts. There is a state question on the ballot to boost school funding, but Perry says it isn’t enough. He says lawmakers must address the problem to help end the continuing crisis.

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An organization seeking to put more women in elected office in Oklahoma releases a list of endorsements for the November election. Kendra Horn is Executive Director of Sally’s List. She says the mission is to recruit, train, and help elect ‘progressive’ women to state office. Horn says although the population is more than 50% female, only 14% of Oklahoma’s legislature includes women lawmakers.

The list of endorsements for state offices includes 15 women, and it can be found online at sallyslist.org under the candidates tab.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Preliminary figures are in, and more than a million people attended this year’s Tulsa State Fair. Concession and ride totals are also higher. Numbers aren’t yet official, but Expo Square CEO Mark Andrus says everything looks really good…including the attendance which he pegs at 1,206,000. The total is slightly higher than last year, making this year one of the best attended fairs ever.

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Oklahoma’s two largest cities do poorly in the latest rankings of cities working to protect the environment. Wallethub Analyst Jill Gonzalez says Tulsa and Oklahoma City were near the top of the list of those named as LEAST GREEN metropolitan areas. Only Baton Rouge did worse.

Gonzalez says Wallethub looked at 20 key indicators of sustainability ranging from greenhouse gas emissions to the number of smart-energy policies and initiatives.

October is National Energy Awareness Month.

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Tulsa’s on the way to a record number of homicides this year. With only two and a half months left, the city is about a dozen away from the 2009 record of 71 murders. Homicide Sergeant Dave Walker says it is unusual to have this number of killings…when there doesn’t seem to be a common thread. He points to three murders on one day this week as an example. Two people intervene when a female bartender is harassed, and they’re shot to death. A man trying to sell a car in east Tulsa is shot in head after getting into an altercation with another man.

KWGS News Photo

Only 18 arrests over 11 days during the Tulsa State Fair. Pretty good numbers, according to Sheriff Vic Regalado, who says there were not any serious incidents on the fairgrounds this year. He does say there were 145 lost children reported, but the I.D. wristband campaign helped find them. That program will continue in future years.

National Hurricane Center

Members of the Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief team are joining those of several other states to help out along the Hurricane Matthew battered East Coast. Oklahoma State Director Sam Porter says the primary job will be feeding victims and emergency workers. He says Oklahomans and teams from nine other states will be preparing 300,000 meals a day beginning on Tuesday.

Porter says they’re anticipating millions of displaced victims and thousands of relief and recovery workers that will need to be fed.

youtube.com and OMEGLE

Clown crime is a phenomenon across the country right now, and there have been incidents in Tulsa. Police Officer Jeanne MacKenzie says a facebook post from someone in a scary clown outfit threatened some students and a man in a red fright wig, with a clown suit and makeup, assaulted a man out walking his dog near 81st and Yale early Thursday morning. She says the time of year, October and the Halloween season, may have something to do with all the incidents across the country since it’s so easy to get clown costumes now.

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Supreme Court has thrown out another state law that would put new restrictions on abortion providers.

In a unanimous opinion handed down Tuesday, all nine justices agreed that the statute adopted by the Legislature last year "contains different and unrelated purposes" in violation of the Oklahoma constitution's requirement that legislation cover a single subject.

The law encompasses four abortion-related topics: minors and parental consent; tissue preservation; inspection of clinics; and legal liability for abortion providers.

KWGS News File Photo

The deadline to register to vote in the November general election is approaching. It’s Friday, October 14th. Tulsa County Election Board Secretary Patty Bryant says the ballot includes the Presidential race, federal, state, county, and local races…and seven state questions.

You may register at the Election Board, or you can get the forms online or at any tag agency in the county.

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A 2016 voter guide will let people know who is running for state and federal office in Oklahoma and help explain the seven state questions. One of eight organizations contributing to the guide is the League of Women Voters, and Spokeswoman Mandy Winton says the exact language of the state questions is included and then explained to help people better understand exactly what the state question would mean.

The guides have been published in various newspapers across the state, are available in many libraries, and can be downloaded from okvoterguide.com.

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Getting vaccinated is the single best way to prevent flu according to medical professionals…and the Tulsa Health Department will offer shots starting next week. Times and locations are listed on the Health Department website or by calling 918-582-WELL. The shots are available on a walk-in basis.

Kaitlin Snider with the Health Department says the cost of the shot is $25, but children and adults over age 65 without insurance who qualify may get the vaccinations free.

Tulsa state fair

For the first time in four and a half decades, there’s a new ride vendor on the midway at the Tulsa State Fair. Marketing Supervisor for the fair, Sarah Thompson, says an Indiana company replaces locally based Murphy Brothers, the company that had the ride vendor contract the past 45 years.

Of the 60 rides provided by North American, at least a dozen are new to  the Tulsa Fair. Others are the same or similar to last year’s rides. The midway is open until 11pm most nights during the fair run and until midnight on Friday and Saturday.

KWGS News photo

The Sheriff says his office is prepared to keep everyone attending the Tulsa State Fair safe. With as many as 100-thousand people on the fairgrounds at the busiest times, safety is a big job for deputies. With the depletion of the reserve deputy program, and concerns about terrorism and possible civil unrest, Sheriff Vic Regalado says some changes are in place to ensure safety. With fewer reserve deputies, the gap will be filled by full-time deputies. He says safety will not suffer on the fairgrounds.

Oklahoma-DOC

A delay in approving new execution procedures means no lethal injections in Oklahoma for at least two years since the last execution. Opponents of the death penalty are glad to see the delay, but want the larger question of should the state still be implementing executions at all answered. Brady Henderson is Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma. He says a hiatus in executions should help opponents get the word out about why the death penalty should be eliminated in Oklahoma.

Right to farm, or right to harm? You’ll hear a lot both pro and con on State Question 777 between now and November. Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Tom Buchanan’s organization wholeheartedly supports 777. He says it’s a proactive measure to head off unnecessary regulations that would hurt farmers, ranchers, and consumers.

Former Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson is a spokesman for those opposing 777. He believes it would give farming and ranching operations, including those of large corporations, carte blanche to pollute and use harmful practices.

Tulsa County Sheriff

Three bids are received for the buildout of what could become an area wide dispatch center for the Tulsa Sheriff’s Office. The center is a subject of some controversy because it was a pet project of former Sheriff Glanz. Director of Governmental Affairs for the Sheriff’s Office, Terry Simonson, says current Sheriff Vic Regalado hasn’t made a final decision on what to do with the empty building, although planning for the dispatch center is farther along than the training center aspect.

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Recent events show the need for those living in eastern Oklahoma to have an earthquake plan. Most of the big quakes have been in central and western parts of the state, but the newly discovered fault line in the Pawnee area indicates larger magnitude shakers could occur in eastern Oklahoma. Tulsa Emergency Manager Roger Joliffe says look to California for tips. Strap tall bookcases to the wall, don’t leave things lying loose on top of high shelves, and take other precautions Californians have been taking for years.

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The latest unemployment statistics in Oklahoma show the state with a larger number of people out of work percentage-wise than the nation.   Lynn Gray with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission says it’s been a long time since that happened. The last time was in 1990, more than 25 years ago.

The state’s unemployment rate from July is five percent, one-tenth of a point higher than the national rate of 4.9%. Gray says it’s the continuing slump in the oil and gas industry that’s the major factor in the rising rate.

Courtesy Tulsa County

A major step is taken toward start of construction of the new Family Justice Center. Tulsa County Commissioners approve opening negotiations with Manhattan Construction as project manager for the center. Commission Chief Deputy Michael Willis says they’re a little behind schedule, but should still be on track for a ground breaking in the spring.

Once a contract is signed with Manhattan, the company will work with architects to finalize plans for the Justice Center.

KWGS

The day after Labor Day, work begins on one of the busiest intersections in Broken Arrow. Some lanes will be closed, but Krista Flasch with the city of Broken Arrow says the improvements at Aspen (145th East Avenue) and Kenosha (71st Street) are badly needed. The intersection hasn’t been upgraded to meet increased traffic in years.

Only a single lane of traffic in all four directions will be open and no left turns will be allowed. The work should take about 45 days. You are asked to plan extra time or use an alternate route.

National Geographic

Two months into the typical season, the first cases of West Nile virus are reported in humans in Tulsa County. While Zika is getting most of the publicity nationwide, West Nile remains a much bigger threat in Oklahoma and this area of the state. Kaitlin Snider is with the Tulsa Health Department and she says while there are no cases of Zika being spread by native mosquitoes in Oklahoma, the same isn’t true for West Nile. For the past several years mosquitoes in the state have infected people with cases of West Nile virus.

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