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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Teenager Dena Dean disappeared from Town West Shopping Center 14 years ago. The murder case is unsolved to this day. On the anniversary of her death, the Tulsa Sheriff’s Cold Case Command Post is set-up in the shopping center parking lot. It’s an annual event seeking tips on Dean’s murder or any other crimes still under investigation. Dean’s father Larry hasn’t given up hope the case will be resolved. He says while he believes there will be justice for his daughter some day, there will never be ‘closure’ for him since he will never have his daughter back.

KWGS News

A milestone is met at an airport based company that isn’t an aerospace business.

The facility on Tulsa airport land once manufactured B-24 bombers. For the past decade, the huge building has been used to make buses, mostly school buses. I-C Bus is now celebrating the 100-thousandth bus rolling off the assembly line. Plant Manager Greg Hutchison says Tulsa has been a good fit.

The first bus rolled off the line here in January 2001.

City of Tulsa

There is no decision yet on which plan, if any, to bring to voters to provide funding to improve airport and aerospace facilities in Tulsa County.

There are three different proposals being suggested. Tulsa County Commission Chairman John Smaligo says his plan is the only one that does not include a tax increase. His proposal would extend the Vision 2025 program for seven years beyond its' current expiration date.

Other plans have been offered by Tulsa City Councilors and the Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce.

 

KWGS News

A graduation ceremony is held for the Tulsa police department’s newest rookies.

The 25 police officers and two fire marshals take the oath of office today after successfully completing academy classes. Chief Chuck Jordan says they will be officers-in-training the next 16 weeks before being able to go it alone on patrol.

Jordan says these graduates will help fill positions lost over the year due to retirements and attrition. Another class of 40 is planned to start in July.

Some are dismayed no tax cuts passed the Oklahoma legislature, others are pleased. It’s a battle that will continue in the next session. Count among those pleased with the failure of tax cuts this year, David Blatt with the Oklahoma Policy Institute think tank. He says there must be a much broader debate on tax reform that doesn’t just start with the premise there must be tax cuts.

KWGS News

Tulsa

Tulsa County has a new undersheriff. The Commission meeting room at the courthouse is crowded as Chief Deputy Tim Albin takes the oath of office to become the second in command at the Sheriff’s Office. Albin has been with the office since 1989. He says things have changed a lot in the years since he began his career, with terrorism and illegal immigration, the office works more on issues that have a global perspective.

Albin replaces Brian Edwards, who retired this month, and took a job with the Grand River Dam Authority.

The Oklahoma House passes a $6.8 billion general appropriations bill to fund state government on a second try. It passed by just one vote. Today's first vote ended in failure. 

The House voted 47-47 today for the annual budget bill, falling short of the 51 votes needed for passage. Democrats who opposed the bill for not putting enough funding into education teamed up with Republicans who thought the bill spent too much.

KWGS News File Photo

Tulsa’s School Superintendent confirms he will leave when his current contract expires at the end of June in 2013. Dr. Keith Ballard says it was never his intention to stay longer than five years…and that time will be up next year.

Dr. Ballard says he’s not leaving because he’s disgruntled about anything in his job with the Tulsa district. And while he says current budget woes had nothing to do with his decision to leave,  he did blast state lawmakers and the governor over the ‘flat budget’ for education, saying that they had failed Oklahoma’s school children.

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Legislative leaders and the governor’s budget deal does not include additional funding for education. School and city leaders in Tulsa say a flat budget will be devastating. Public school funding won’t increase under the budget agreement and Union Schools Superintendent Cathy Burden says it will mean cuts impacting the quality of education. She says while the district has lost millions in state funding since 2008, the number of students continues to grow.

KWGS News

Mayor Dewey Bartlett, City Councilor Karen Gilbert and school superintendents Dr. Keith Ballard from Tulsa Public Schools, Dr. Cathy Burden from Union Public Schools and Dr. Kirby Lehman with Jenks Public Schools held a news conference today about the need for additional funding from the state level for education.

Councilor Gilbert championed a resolution in the City Council to help support education in the City of Tulsa and requested the Oklahoma Legislature to increase educational funding for elementary and secondary schools in the 2012-2013 budget.

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A federal judge hears arguments in the case of a controversial casino being constructed in Broken Arrow.

Neighbors don’t want the Red Clay Casino being built by the Kialegee Tribal Town. The attorney general has entered the case, seeking an injunction to halt construction. In arguments before Judge Greg Frizzel, state’s attorneys say the casino violates tribal compacts and doesn’t have the necessary permission from the Creek Nation.

Lawyers for the Kialegees claim they don’t need permission, and that the law prohibits local governments from vetoing tribal decisions.

In a time of cutbacks and teacher layoffs, the Jenks School District gets a gift of more than one-million dollars. The donation is announced at Jenks West Elementary. The money comes from a private fundraising effort spearheaded by parents of Jenks school children. The idea is to use the money to reduce class sizes for kindergarten through 6th grade. Danny Christner is one of those heading up the donor effort. He says this money will be used strictly for hiring more teachers to reduce class sizes, but the plan is for the private dollars fundraising to continue.

After an exhaustive investigation, authorities haven’t found anything that would have caused the mass sickness experienced at the Tulsa jail last week. Sheriff’s Sargeant Shannon Clark says no evidence of chemical or carbon monoxide poisoning has been discovered to explain what caused nearly 40 people…most of them students on a field trip…to be treated for nausea.

KWGS News File Photo

Advocates of cutting the state income tax quote polls showing a majority of Oklahomans favor the reductions. But a new poll released by the Oklahoma Advocacy Project shows the opposite is true, if it would mean less funding for schools, roads, and public safety.

David Blatt with the Oklahoma Policy Institute says the poll also shows many voters oppose paying for the cut by eliminating popular tax credit programs, as proposed by the Governor and legislative leaders.

Tulsa American Airlines union leaders urge members to vote on a ‘last best contract’ offer, but refuse to take a stand and encourage a vote up or down. Transport Workers Union negotiator John Hewitt calls it a concessionary contract, which means pay cuts and benefit losses no matter which way the vote goes.

Hewitt says, on the positive side, a yes vote would save about 13-hundred jobs in Tulsa. A no vote would give the bankruptcy court authority to terminate the current contract and the company would then impose new terms. Voting starts tomorrow and continues through Monday.

There are millions of dollars in projects going on in downtown Tulsa. Most of them are in the Brady Arts District, but next door, the Blue Dome area is seeing its’ share. Only blocks from OneOk Ballpark, a loft project that will include S and J Oyster Bar and Café on the ground floor is underway. Developer Michael Sager admits it’s been a challenge….he’s months behind on the loft work, but the restaurant should open soon. He calls it an example of how the heart of the city is being reborn.

KWGS News File photo

A meeting will be held this week to finalize plans for upgrading security and entrances to the Tulsa County Courthouse. Plans are to boost security, improve traffic flow into the Courts, and make entrances conform to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Commissioners’ Chief Deputy Mark Liotta says a meeting with contractors is planned later this week. Work should begin soon and is expected to be complete by the end of the year. The courthouse entrance renovation will cost about a million dollars.

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(A-P Washington, D.C.)-A Canadian company that wants to build the disputed Keystone XL pipeline in the U.S. has submitted a new application for the project. The route has been changed to avoid environmentally sensitive land in Nebraska.

TransCanada filed a new application today for the project to carry oil from western Canada to Nebraska and then link up with other pipelines to carry oil to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast. The southern part of the route passes through Oklahoma.

A special representative of the United Nations comes to Tulsa University to hear concerns of Native Americans. James Anaya is an independent expert designated by the U-N to report on the rights of indigenous people. He heard from a myriad of tribal leaders on issues from water rights and gaming to domestic violence and fears the Keystone Pipeline will disturb sacred grounds.

Several tribal leaders asked for a seat at the United Nations representing indigenous people. Anaya will file a report on what he’s learned with the United Nations Human Rights Council.

With the arrival of summertime heat, you’re reminded to never leave your child or pet in the car alone. Safety officials and medical professionals remind you summertime heat poses a deadly hazard to children or pets left in automobiles. Dr. Phil Barton with the children’s hospital at St. Francis says it doesn’t take 100 degree temperatures outside to pose a danger. He says cars heat up quickly even when the outside temperature is 75 or 80 degrees.

 

Interpreters who help doctors communicate with patients who don’t speak English convene in Tulsa. When it’s a life or death medical situation, communication is important. Sometimes it’s an English speaking doctor and a foreign language patient. That’s where medical interpreters come in. Louis Provenzano is President of Language Line Services…a phone network with interpreters covering more than 170 languages and dialects. He says the translators undergo about two years of training to become proficient in a language and medical terminology.

To keep Tulsa vital, organizers of a summit on the city’s future say there must be more of an effort to keep and attract young people. Members of Tulsa’s Young Professionals took part in today’s EnVision Summit to kick around ideas on how to make the region a better place to live, work, and play. One of those young professionals is Janae Castell, who says she’d like to see the city use its’ positives to become a draw for young families.

Castell mentions the Arkansas River as an asset that should be more fully developed in order to help make Tulsa shine.

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There is a month left in the legislative session and Tulsa leaders go to the state capitol to lobby for regional priorities.

There are six items on the list for action wanted by business, education and civic leaders in the area. At the top, education funding, health care expansion and transportation infrastructure dollars.

It is hoped the regional approach will work in directing more money for needs in the Tulsa area.

The Tulsa delegation heard from Governor Fallin and other state leaders.

(Tulsa, Ok)-The grandmother of a Bixby teenager meets and thanks the EMSA dispatcher who helped save her grandson’s life. Monday, Trent Morris received a 9-1-1 call from Bixby High School. A 15-year-old was in cardiac arrest. He guided a teacher through CPR and use of a defibrillator and the boy was revived. The grandmother,  Barbara Smart, says it’s critical to have those devices available in public places.

The boy has been transferred to Arkansas Children’s Hospital and will be placed on the heart transplant list.

Tulsa County’s second-in-command law enforcement officer is leaving. It’s been announced that Tulsa Undersheriff Brian Edwards will become the chief law enforcement officer at the Grand River Dam Authority in northeastern Oklahoma. His official title will be Assistant General Manager for Law Enforcement and Homeland Security. The official announcement came at the GRDA’s board meeting in Vinita. Edwards will retire April 27th. He’s been with the Tulsa Sheriff’s Office 31 years.

After citizen complaints and pressure from city councilors, the Tulsa trash board decides to allow you to choose your refuse cart size after all. The original plan was for everyone to start with the largest size and wait three months before making a change. Not a popular plan with residents or councilors like Phil Lakin, who doesn’t understand why small trash generators would have to use the large carts, even for a short amount of time.

KWGS News

(Tulsa, OK)-Charges have now been filed against the two suspects in the Good Friday shooting spree in North Tulsa. District Attorney Tim Harris’ office announced today that Jake England and Alvin Watts were each charged with three counts of 1st degree murder, two counts of shooting with intent to kill, and five counts of malicious harassment. Both men are being held in the Tulsa jail on bonds of more than 9-million dollars each. A judge is expected to set a preliminary hearing date Monday.

At times, Tulsa is still trying to overcome that image of ‘neglected stepchild’ to Oklahoma City, where the seat of state government is located. Tulsa city councilors and Tulsa area lawmakers hold an informal summit to talk about state legislation and its’ possible affect on citizens here. One of those in attendance at today’s meeting is Representative Jabar Shumate. He says Tulsa doesn’t want to lose out on opportunities, and the get together is a good start to improving collaboration.

KWGS

Protestors want bond denied for the two suspects in the Northside shootings. Outside the Tulsa Courthouse, they also call for the case to be prosecuted as a ‘hate crime’. About a dozen sign carrying demonstrators gather in the courthouse plaza to demand those arrested in the shooting spree be held without bond. Protestor Andrew Burkes also says it’s a hate crime and should be treated as such.

Suspects Jake England and Alvin Watts are being held on bonds of more than nine million dollars each. It’s not been decided whether the case will be prosecuted as a hate crime.

Pastors in North Tulsa and city leaders call on people of faith to meet and discuss ways to keep young people on the right path. The pilot project will begin with a focus on the northside. At a city hall news conference, citizens are urged to attend a May 1st meeting at Greenwood Cultural Center. The effort is not specifically a response to the tragic shootings and manhunt over Easter Weekend, but Reverend Weldon Tisdale with Friendship Church says it shows how the city can come together.

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