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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Oklahoma has the first flu death of the year. Tulsa County still leads in the number of flu related hospitalizations this season with 11, but the first flu death occurred in Johnston County in southern Oklahoma in the past week. Kaitlin Snider with the Tulsa Health Department says we’re just reaching the height of the flu season so it isn’t too late to get a shot.

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The bitter cold and taste of winter precipitation put the state in the deep freeze, but Tulsa Area Emergency Manager Roger Joliffe says it could have been worse. He says the lack of significant snow and freezing rain and quick work clearing slick spots kept crashes down.

Joliffe says it did give people a chance to test how they would respond to a more significant winter event. He reminds Tulsa area citizens major winter storms are more likely to occur in January, February, or even March. 

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A Tulsa police officer charged with manslaughter will be back in court on Feb. 1 for formal arraignment.

A judge set the new arraignment date after Betty Shelby’s attorney asked for more time to file motions. Assistant D.A. Kevin Gray says such a request isn’t unusual. After Shelby’s attorneys file motions in January, Gray has two weeks to respond, then the arraignment will be held.

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The Oklahoma Supreme Court wants more information on the battle over State Question 788, which would legalize and regulate medical marijuana. The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma’s Legal Director Brady Henderson says the order is a standard part of the legal process.

With medical marijuana now legally regulated in 28 states, Henderson says backers of 788 remain confident legal precedents will allow a vote in Oklahoma. If all issues over the ballot title are resolved, he expects a statewide vote on the marijuana issue no later than 2018.

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There have already been cases of carbon monoxide poisonings in Tulsa this year, even though the first bitter cold weather has just arrived. Joe Ringer with EMSA in Tulsa says when homeowners first fire up the heater, it’s a dangerous time if there’s a leak. He says a working CO detector is a good idea to help keep the family safe. He also recommends having a professional check out your heating system.

Symptoms of CO poisoning are nausea, headaches, dizziness, and eventually unconsciousness. He says if they appear, get outside and call 911.

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Green is one of the colors of Christmas, and you’re being encouraged to ’go green’ as in environmentally friendly when buying gifts this year. The Metropolitan Environmental Trust’s Lauran Drummond says the 2016 top ten green gift list is out.

The list includes a $25 donation to Up With Trees where the group will plant a tree in your gift recipient’s honor, a reusable water bottle, and a recycled Stupid Sock Creatures kit. The gift list can be viewed at METrecycle.com.

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City Hall, family and friends say "thank you" to Jack Henderson at his final Tulsa City Council meeting. After 14 years on the city’s governing board, Henderson is leaving, defeated in his last bid for re-election. He hasn’t decided for sure what he will do next, but says he intends to remain involved in the community.

Henderson is the longest serving African-American in the history of Tulsa city government. He will be replaced in District One by Vanessa Hall-Harper who defeated him in the November 8th election.

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The cash-strapped Oklahoma Highway Patrol, to save money, is limiting daily driving by Troopers. Starting this week, OHP officers can drive no more than 100 miles per day. OHP Trooper Dwight Durant says in Tulsa County they’ll still be able to patrol during heavy traffic times, but after that daily operations will likely be impacted.

Durant says troopers will remain focused on public safety, and there will be some leeway in emergency situations. A hiring freeze is already implemented at the Patrol, and Trooper furloughs are being considered. 

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A rally will be held Wednesday in support of Tulsa’s minority communities who feel they’re under attack in the current political climate. The rally will be held at 11am at Liberator’s Park on the Jewish Federation’s Zarrow campus. Tulsa Jewish Federation Director Drew Diamond says it’s in response to the increase in hate speech and harassment across the country. He says it’s a call to action for those who truly believe in the Golden Rule.

The rally is sponsored by the Coalition for the American Dream and the Tulsa Committee for Compassion.

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Tulsa County leaders will kick in some money for a park system master plan, but not without some controversy over possible consolidation. County Commissioners, in a split vote, agree to participate in funding a study, but there are concerns a park consolidation would benefit the city of Tulsa at the expense of the county. Private funds have been contributed, and chairman of Tulsa’s Leadership Vision, John O’Conner believes it’s important to finish the master plan. He says it could save troubled parks and help the area’s lifestyle image and economy.

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John 3:16 Thanksgiving food basket giveaway is underway. This year, the non-profit received enough donated turkeys for the baskets, but Pastor Steve Whitaker says they still need canned goods for all the trimmings. Things like green beans, dressing mix, cranberries, and other holiday goodies are still requested to fill all the baskets.

The basket giveaways continue through Wednesday afternoon. Free meals at John 3:16’s shelter will be Tuesday evening through Sunday evening.

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Ground is broken for a new Osage Nation Casino and Hotel in north Tulsa.

A prayer in the Osage language is said during groundbreaking ceremonies on 36th Street North next to the existing casino. Byron Bighorse is CEO of Osage Casinos, and he says the project will help spur development in an area of North Tulsa seeking growth.

The new casino features 15-hundred state-of-the-art electronic gaming machines, a sports bar and restaurant, and full service brew pub. The hotel has 126 guest rooms. The project should be finished in 18 months.

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It’s the time of year when people order gifts online or through the mail and have them delivered. Unfortunately, it’s also a time of year when ‘porch pirates’ drive through neighborhoods and steal them. Tulsa Police Officer Leland Ashley says the package thefts do increase in the holiday season.

He suggests having a trusted neighbor pick up your package or having it delivered at a time when you know someone is home. Or even have it held at the delivery company office until you can pick it up yourself.

Thousands line the parade route. Planes leading colored smoke trails fly above Tulsa’s annual Veteran’s Day Parade. This year’s theme was ‘Strong then, strong now…honoring female veterans’. Brenda Baker is Senior Vice Commandant of Marine Corps League Albert E. Schwab Detachment #857. With women taking on an increasing role in the military, things are a lot different from when she was in during Vietnam. She says although she was in charge of the armory for the Security unit, she wasn’t even allowed to  carry a gun.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.’

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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