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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Tulsa Jail

While the Tulsa jail still has problems, Sheriff Vic Regalado is hopeful new pods opened this week specifically for those with mental health issues will help. He says the facility includes programs, counseling, and mental health professionals to help inmates get back on the right track.

At any one time, up to 40% of Tulsa County jail inmates are prescribed psychotropic drugs. Several of those inmates will be candidates for the new mental health pods.

Wikipedia

Add two to the number of fatalities from flu in Tulsa County this season. The latest report from the Oklahoma Department of Health shows a total of 22 deaths from flu in Tulsa. Oklahoma County has recorded 13 deaths. The Health Department’s Jamie Dukes says flu cases can be seen through May, so it isn’t too late to get a shot and take other precautions.

Statewide, 92 people have died of complications from flu so far this season. More than 530 have been hospitalized in Tulsa County alone.

KWGS News

A special primary to replace resigned Tulsa State Representative Dan Kirby is set May 9th, but you may apply now for an absentee ballot. County Election Board Secretary Patty Bryant says there will also be in-person absentee voting opportunities. The Thursday, Friday, and Saturday before the May 9th election will be early absentee voting, but the early in-person is allowed only at the Election Board on North Denver Avenue. You can apply for a  mail-in ballot now by going on-line. The general election is in July.

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This is committee deadline week, and several bills aimed at reforming criminal justice laws in the state remain active. Chairman of Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform, Kris Steele, says passing the measures could reduce prison populations and save a lot of money…about $2-billion which Steele says could be spent to help fill the state budget hole.

An earlier measure that would have rolled back several changes passed by voters in November failed to get a committee hearing in the senate. Steele calls that a positive step.

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If highway 75 between the Creek Turnpike and downtown Tulsa is on your daily route, you might make alternate plans. Starting today, six miles of highway 75, north and south bound will be resurfaced. Kenna Mitchell, with ODOT, says there will be slowdowns and lane closures. The project covers 75 from just south of I-244 to just north of the Creek Turnpike.

The resurfacing will take several weeks, so traffic flow will be impacted until sometime this summer.

corcohighways.org

If highway 75 between the Creek Turnpike and downtown Tulsa is on your daily route, you might make alternate plans. Starting Monday, six miles of highway 75, north and south bound will be resurfaced. Kenna Mitchell, with ODOT, says there will be slowdowns and lane closures. The project covers 75 from just south of I-244 to just north of the Creek Turnpike.

The resurfacing will take several weeks, so traffic flow will be impacted until sometime this summer.

State of Oklahoma

Parents, children, and non-profit groups will be at the state capitol in May to advocate for child well-being issues. Joe Dorman heads up the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy. He says the priority is to straighten out the state budget mess. A contemplated further 14.5% cut threatens the most vulnerable, according to Dorman. He says attendees at the day in May will lobby for bills deemed ‘kid friendly’ and against those deemed harmful.

Dorman says Oklahomans of all ages are invited to attend the Advocacy Day at the state capitol on May 10th.

myoutdoorslife.com

The rain on Sunday has us out of the fire for now…the burn ban in Tulsa County has been lifted. It means it’s legally okay to grill or conduct controlled burns outside for the first time in several weeks. However, Tulsa Area Emergency Manager Roger Joliffe still urges caution. He says vegetation is still dry enough to allow wildfires to spread rapidly.

OPMX

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma blasts a house bill, calling it a blatant attempt to resurrect a Ten Commandments Monument on public land…despite a clear ruling stating its’ unconstitutionality. Allie Shinn is Director of External Affairs of the Oklahoma ACLU.

KWGS News

Law Enforcement Special Operations teams from across Oklahoma come to Tulsa for an annual competition. In the picture, a team from the Edmond police department takes a turn on the obstacle course at the Tulsa Police Academy. Nine departments from across the state are competing. Captain Mike Eckert is Commander of the Tulsa Special Operations team, he says the events help members work as a team in a stressful situation, but have a little fun at the same time. Prizes are awarded for winners in various events.

KWGS Photo

The Trump federal budget, as proposed, would amount to a double hit to Oklahoma, given state budget woes. It’s the word from the Oklahoma Policy Institute’s David Blatt, who says the cuts would hurt programs that help many people.

Blatt says without changes, the budget would entail enormous cuts to health, human services, education, infrastructure, and law enforcement.

KWGS News Photo

Kansas, Baylor, SMU, University of Southern Cal, and Michigan State are among the teams playing 1st and 2nd rounds of NCAA Basketball Regionals in Tulsa. Among the dark horses in the field at the BOK Center, the New Mexico State Aggies. The team faces Baylor in the first round, but long-time Aggie fan Neil Dailey from Las Cruces is optimistic. He’s also a fan of the BOK Center but not our cool March weather. Dailey is just one of many fans from other states and from across Oklahoma attending the playoffs.

There are still tickets left for the games, which run through Sunday.

consumerreports.org

With spring on the way, it might be time to change out that smoke alarm. Not just the batteries, but the whole unit. The Metropolitan Environmental Trust Director Graham Brannin says people frequently keep those around long past the time they should be replaced.

Brannin says home fire extinguishers also have a shelf life and should be changed every few years. The MET is holding a collection event Wednesday from 9am until 1pm at the Home Depot at 41st and Sheridan. Mercury thermostats and batteries will also be collected.

KWGS News File Photo

The rains aren't enough to end the burn ban in Tulsa County. Even with the weekend rainfall, the burn ban in Tulsa County will continue. Commissioners voted to extend the outdoor burning prohibition another week based on a recommendation from fire chiefs and the Tulsa Area Emergency Management Agency. Deputy Director Joe Kralicek says the rain wasn’t enough to make much of a dent in the drought conditions.

KWGS News

Three more Tulsa County residents die of flu related illness in the past week, bringing the season total to 16, nearly three times the number of any other county in the state. Kaitlin Snider with the Tulsa Health Department says it is the older population that seems to be most vulnerable. There is a potent vaccine available for people age 65 and older which is supposed to provide more protection, and it is available at health department clinics.

Statewide, 56 people have died of the flu and nearly 19-hundred have been hospitalized…more than 400 of those in Tulsa County.

Jarrod Wyatt

The Tulsa Zoo opens a new ‘family den’, but it’s not for the animals, it’s for the people visiting. Lindsay Hutchison is V-P of Philanthropy and Community Engagement at the Zoo. She says the St. John Family Den is a nursing and quiet space for zoo visitors, something the zoo hasn’t had before and something unique to the region.

The Family den is located in the former Amazon Outpost gift shop between the Rainforest and The Grill.

KWGS News Photo

Opponents line up at the state capitol against two measures they claim are designed to ‘scare’ those who peacefully protest against oil and gas pipelines. The Director of Oklahoma Bold, Mekasi Camp-Horinek, says a new climate in Washington emboldens those who propose what he calls these type of unconstitutional laws.

The bills, if passed, would greatly increase trespass fines and jail time for protesting on what is termed ‘critical infrastructure’ land. Opponents say they are really aimed at discouraging free speech and civil resistance.

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You’ll have to delay outdoor burning for another week. Tulsa County officials have extended the burn ban for another week because of the dry conditions. Deputy Director of the Tulsa Area Emergency Management Agency, Joe Kralicek, says for the most part you should not burn outdoors, but some exceptions are allowed, if you are cautious.

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Eleven more people die of flu-related illness in Oklahoma in the past week, three of those in Tulsa County, which continues to lead the state. Oklahoma Health Department’s Jamie Dukes says the great majority of those hospitalized are in the elderly population, age 65 and up.

Nearly 17-hundred people have been hospitalized statewide, including 391 in Tulsa County, which leads all other counties in flu fatalities and the number of flu-related hospitalizations. 48 Oklahomans have died of the flu since the season officially began October 2nd.

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Tulsa County leaders take action to allow spending of Vision surplus funds on infrastructure projects in unincorporated areas. Commission and Vision Authority Chairman Ron Peters says with funds now  allocated to all city of Tulsa and suburbs projects, a declaration is a necessary step for county projects to go forward. With a surplus now officially declared, the first one-and-a-half million of a total of more than $19-million will go for road projects. Other projects will be chosen from a list until the money runs out.

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Tulsa County is under a burn ban this week. It prohibits most outdoor burning except gas and electric grilling over a non-flammable surface. Welding is also allowed, again on a non-flammable surface. Area Emergency Manager Roger Joliffe says the ban will be re-visited later this week and County Commissioners will decide next Monday whether to extend or end the ban.

Rain is expected this week, but Joliffe says it likely won’t be enough to make a difference in the drought conditions.

KWGS News

Several community and political leaders come together to officially announce creation of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot Centennial Commission. One of the speakers was U-S Senator James Lankford, who said Tulsa will be a focus of international attention in 2021, the 100th anniversary of the riot. He says it’s fair to ask how far have we come and where are we going.

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Nine more Oklahomans die of flu related complications in the past week, including one more in Tulsa County, which continues to lead the state with 10. Jamie Dukes with the Oklahoma Health Department says Tulsa County also leads in the number of hospitalizations with 338.                                     

Overall, 37 Oklahomans have died of flu during this season, and more than 14-hundred have been hospitalized. Most of the deaths have been in the age group 65 years old and older. Dukes says it’s NOT too late to get a shot.

KWGS News File Photo

The Tulsa Sheriff’s Office will hire private, armed security guards to staff courthouse entrances. The County Commissioners today okayed Sheriff   Vic Regalado’s request to hire armed private guards from Praetoria Security to takeover courthouse entrances from deputies. They will staff the metal detectors and portable wands and check bags at all public entrances.

He says the change will free up deputies for other duties and save his office about $80-thousand a year. The target date for the switchover is March 1st

naval-technology.com

One of the Navy’s newest ships, the USS Tulsa, will be officially christened tomorrow. Tulsa native and Navy Lt. Travis Nicks and his family will be on hand in Mobile, Alabama for the ceremony. He says the naming of a ship for a person or place is one of the highest honors the Navy can give.

The USS Tulsa is a state-of-the-art Littoral LCS-16 combat ship. Former Mayor Kathy Taylor and her family are sponsors of the ship, and she will get to break a bottle of champagne on the bow, carrying out the official christening.

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The number of flu deaths in Oklahoma more than doubles in the past week. Of the 12 latest fatalities in the state, five are in Tulsa County. It brings the total statewide this season to 23, with eight total in Tulsa County. That leads the state. Jamie Dukes with the Oklahoma Health Department says it is just now hitting the high point of the flu season, and it’s not too late to get a shot. Health departments across the state still have plenty of the vaccine.

The number of hospitalizations has reached 827 statewide, with 189 in Tulsa County. That also leads the state.

KWGS News

Applicants show up for a Tulsa Public Schools job fair. Despite financial woes, the district still needs teachers. A steady stream of hopefuls show up at the Education Service Center to fill out applications and sit for interviews to work in the Tulsa school system.

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Three more Oklahomans have died from the flu in the past week. Of the eleven total deaths reported statewide this season, ten have been people age 65 or older. The Oklahoma Health Department’s Jamie Dukes says that is a vulnerable population, as well as the very young, and those with existing health conditions.

Tulsa County leads the state in the number of deaths with three and the number of hospitalizations with 135. There were 95 more hospitalizations across the state in the past week, for a total of 584 since the season began.

KWGS News

A judge denies a motion to dismiss a manslaughter charge against Tulsa police officer Betty Jo Shelby. After denying the motion and another for a new preliminary hearing, Judge Doug Drummond set a trial date of May 8th. Shelby is charged with first degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Terence Crutcher in September. Her attorney is Shannon McMurray, who says she is convinced a jury will find Shelby ‘not guilty’.

District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler denies charging Shelby was a ‘rush to judgement’, and says he is following what the law calls for in this case.

KWGS News

People have many questions about the future of health care insurance in Oklahoma and across the nation. The State Insurance Commissioner is holding town hall forums across the state. Mike Rhoads is Deputy Commissioner. He says it’s a survey on what people would like to see in place of the Affordable Care Act. Some aspects, like not refusing those with a pre-existing condition and allowing kids up to age 26 to stay on your family policy, will likely stay the same.

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