Matt Trotter

Reporter

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN. 

He has a master's degree from Arizona State University, where he spent a semester on the first reporting staff of Cronkite News Service's Washington, D.C., bureau. As a grad student, he won awards for multimedia journalism and in-depth TV reporting.

Matt is from Southern California, so he's slowly following Route 66 across the United States. He would have made it Chicago by now, but he's not a fan of long drives.

Ways to Connect

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Oklahoma State Department of Health says you should throw out Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal because of a salmonella outbreak.

That’s for 15.3- and 23-ounce packages of the cereal with "best if used by" dates prior to June 14, 2019.

If the cereal was stored in separate containers, wash them with warm, soapy water.

Symptoms of salmonellosis usually appear six to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. They may include diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, muscle aches, nausea and sometimes vomiting.

Cherokee Nation Marshalls have recovered the body of an 18-year-old who disappeared Thursday night at Lake Tenkiller.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said Cody Hancock of Muskogee surfaced after jumping off a 15-foot cliff just before 8 p.m. but then started struggling and went under.

Other swimmers couldn’t bring him up, and a search for Hancock was called off when it got too dark.

Hancock's body was found at 8:24 a.m., 11 feet underwater on a rock cliff ledge near where he was last seen.

Tulsa International Airport

Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia, D.C. — all are markets the Tulsa Regional Chamber is pushing major airlines to offer direct routes for this year.

Chamber President and CEO Mike Neal said there have been several meetings with airlines this year about new routes.

"The three prime ones are LAX, New York and Washington Reagan National. I think probably one that would maybe most likely to come first would be Philadelphia," Neal said.

State of Oklahoma-File Photo

With a party-line vote, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee moved Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Patrick Wyrick closer to a federal bench.

The American Bar Association has not yet issued a recommendation on whether Wyrick is qualified to be a judge for the Western District of Oklahoma, a practice standard for all judicial nominees. Chairman and Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley said he doesn’t need it.

Oklahoma Watch

The trial is next year, but a big fight is happening now in Oklahoma’s lawsuit blaming several drug companies for the state’s opioid epidemic.

Purdue Pharma wants the case moved from state to federal court and lumped in with many others around the country. Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has filed to keep the case here and requested an emergency hearing but said until the issue is decided, the case will effectively be on hold.

It’s taking longer than anticipated to set up a citywide special taxing district to lure more tourists to Tulsa.

April 2017 was the original target for the tourism improvement district. Initial plans called for a 2.5 percent room tax on hotels with 50 rooms or more. That revenue would go toward marketing efforts like advertisements or conference attendance to boost tourism.

Before it goes to the city council for approval, the proposal needs support from a simple majority of those affected, which is around 100.

Cherokee Nation

Starting Aug. 2, Oklahoma school districts will be allowed to transfer surplus land to tribal housing authorities.

So far, those transactions could only happen with local governments or a state university.

"There are some school districts that had come to us over the years saying, 'We have surplus land, and the highest and best use of that would be affordable housing in our area,' and this just breaks down a barrier to accomplishing that," said Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr.

C-SPAN

Expensive travel; sending aides to find lotion, snacks and a Trump Hotel mattress; and giving some employees big raises while seemingly retaliating against others — Scott Pruitt’s conduct as EPA administrator is being noticed by Oklahoma U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe.

"Every day, something new comes up. So, I’ve kind of taken the position that if that doesn’t stop, I’m going to be forced to be in a position where I’m going to say, 'Well, Scott, you’re not doing your job,' Inhofe told conservative radio host Laura Ingraham.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The Oklahoma Department of Labor recognized Tulsa’s pioneering craft brewery Wednesday not for its beer, but for its way of doing business. 

Marshall Brewing Company received the Mark Costello Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence, created by and renamed after the late Commissioner Costello. The award recognizes Oklahomans for expanding job opportunities in the state.

Wikipedia

Oklahoma officially ranks last in summer lunch participation for 2017, the same spot it held in 2016.

That’s according to the Food Research and Action Center’s review of programs to feed low-income kids last year in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report shows fewer than one in 20 kids eligible for free and reduced-price lunches received summer meals.

The ranking seems not to square with state figures released last fall saying participation was up 14 percent from 2016. FRAC’s report, however, looks only at July.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Health officials want military members and veterans in Oklahoma to listen to former smokers in a national stop-smoking campaign.

Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Executive Director John Woods said the state’s 32,000 active-duty personnel and 280,000 veterans smoke at a much higher rate than other Oklahomans.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

A program to help food entrepreneurs in Tulsa is growing and making a new home in Mother Road Market.

Although the market won't open until at least August, Kitchen 66's area within it is ready for business. Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation Director of Food Innovation Adele Beasley said 2,800 square feet of commercial kitchen space is just one of the perks for up-and-coming restaurateurs, caterers, food trucks and packaged product makers.

A new analysis says there are problems with Medicaid work requirements in states like Oklahoma that didn’t expand the program.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Judy Solomon said the people who would be affected by work requirements face a lot of barriers to meeting them.

"Such as a lack of transportation, living in a rural part of the state, not having, you know, skills or training, and often having health conditions that may not rise to the level of a disability but interfere with work," Solomon said.

Tulsa Sheriff's Office

The Tulsa County Sheriff is on track to hire outside counsel as it fights a federal civil rights lawsuit.

Suha Elqutt accuses deputies of making her remove her hijab in public in order to enter the courthouse in April. Sheriff Vic Regalado said the issues in the case are outside the purview of the district attorney’s office.

"Oftentimes, depending on the complexity of the case, there’s a mutual agreement between the district attorney’s office and the sheriff’s office to hire outside counsel on several different cases," Regalado said.

File photo

The Oklahoma Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in two cases related to teacher pay raise bills.

Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite wants a referendum on the ballot overturning House Bill 1010XX, a special session tax bill the pay raise bill is contingent upon. Attorney Blake Sonne said the state constitution doesn’t allow veto referenda on laws necessary for the public peace, health or safety.

"House Bill 1010 was a revenue-raising measure specifically passed in extraordinary circumstances to fund a state crisis in public education," Sonne said.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

A leading preservationist is in Bartlesville to develop a long-term conservation plan for Frank Lloyd Wright’s only skyscraper.

Architect Gunny Harboe and his team of engineers and consultants will have a plan late this year to keep Price Tower in tip-top shape. Harboe said unlike many Wright projects, Price Tower with its hotel and restaurant is still a living, working building.

The City of Tulsa released on Tuesday its plan to make Tulsa a unified, equitable city for all residents.

Resilient Tulsa aims to make Tulsa an inclusive city and make Tulsans healthy, prosperous people, no matter where they live. The plan is part of Tulsa's involvement in the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities. North America Manager Otis Rolley said Tulsa showed character in acknowledging the overarching reason for needing improvement.

File photo

The June 26 primaries are just three weeks away, and several local races will be on the ballot.

The League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Tulsa is hosting seven nonpartisan candidate forums for local contests starting Tuesday.

"It’s for the district attorney race, and then we have five district races for the House of Representatives and the Tulsa County Commissioner race for District 1," said League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Tulsa Board of Trustees Vice President Lynn Staggs.

The Tulsa Regional Chamber has joined the "SQ 788 is NOT Medical" coalition of organizations opposing a ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana in Oklahoma.

"This bill comes across, really, as more or a recreational marijuana bill and one that really ties the hands of employers as well as putting employers at severe risk of liability," said Tulsa Regional Chamber President and CEO Mike Neal.

Members of "SQ 788 is NOT Medical" include the Tulsa County Medical Society, Oklahoma Hospital Association and the Catholic Conference of Oklahoma.

When Peoria Avenue bus rapid transit service Aero launches next year, Tulsa Transit will fund it entirely through Vision Tulsa money.

The mayor’s office hoped Tulsa Transit would use some of its $7.5 million general fund budget for bus rapid transit operations. General Manager Ted Rieck said voters renewed the Vision sales tax for BRT and other specific projects, so those should be kept separate from other Tulsa Transit services.

Members of the Oklahoma Commission on Opioid Abuse will recess over the summer but plan to meet again in the fall and ask lawmakers to extend the commission.

The commission is due to sunset in July but has a "wind down" period of a few months. Its focus will shift to lessening demand for opioids, including asking insurance companies to cover alternative pain treatments, especially for patients with high deductibles or chronic injuries.

Commission member Dr. Layne Subera said a woman he knows lost her insurance and needs back surgery.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

In time for this weekend’s Tulsa Pride Festival, Fourth Street from Elgin Avenue to Lansing Avenue has a new name.

Oklahomans for Equality Program Director Jose Vega worked with the City of Tulsa and Tulsa's Young Professionals to get the Pride Street designation recognizing the LGBTQ community. Vega said it’s a sign of progress for a community where "I thought I’d never see the day" is a common phrase.

Oklahoma Watch

Several new laws intended to combat opioid addiction in Oklahoma go live Nov. 1, but there are some things to clear up before then.

Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Director John Scully said he’s not sure about the new law requiring pain management clinic owners to register with his agency.

"The bottom line is there’s really no mechanism out there right now where we could automatically determine where these pain management clinics are located and how to locate them," Scully said.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

A mural of a homeless veteran now looms over a Tulsa Arts District alley.

The grizzled man depicted on the side of 11 E Matthew B. Brady Street pushes against the wind a shopping cart filled with items representing causes of his homelessness, including mental illness, addiction and childhood trauma.

"So really, when you think about homelessness, we’re not just talking about it as a separate issue. It’s really, for me, talking about, 'But for fortune, there go I. These things could happen to anybody," said artist and Army Veteran Josh Butts.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Work has begun on a memorial park dedicated to victims of the Bever family murders and first responders to the crime scene.

Broken Arrow Police Cpl. Stephen Garrett was among the first on the scene in July 2015 and is president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 190, which donated money toward buying 709 Magnolia Court. Garrett said with Robert and Michael Bever’s trials over, the park will help the community heal.

"We look forward to witnessing the transformation that’s going to occur here, and we like to see something positive come out of such a tragedy," Garrett said.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections opened a new, almost 3,000 square foot dog kennel Tuesday at its medium-security women’s prison.

It’s for the Guardian Angels Program, which teaches women at the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center to train dogs for adoption or work as service animals. Participants learn job skills ahead of release.

Lankford's office

Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake recently described daily activities and revelations from the Trump White House as "moral vandalism," and Oklahoma Senator James Lankford seems to agree.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa police can now drop off people they arrest for public intoxication at the Tulsa Sobering Center instead of taking them to jail.

According to the City of Tulsa, more than half of people booked into the city jail are there for public intoxication. At the sobering center, they’ll have a place to rest, get a meal, and be referred to addiction treatment. Clients will not face charges or have a recorded arrest.

Deputy Police Chief Jonathan Brooks said the facility puts Tulsa on the map.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The Tulsa Regional Chamber expects more projects — and jobs — in the near future.

The chamber is optimistic about projects from out-of-state and international companies in targeted industries: advanced manufacturing, aerospace, health care, logistics and information technology.

Chamber Senior Vice President of Economic Development Brien Thorstenberg said Tulsa is holding its own competing for projects against cities like Dallas, Austin and Atlanta because they don’t have the capacity for much more development or many more people.

File photo

The state’s leading motorist group says lawmakers missed a chance to make Oklahoma’s kids safer in cars.

House Bill 3026 would have required kids under 14 to wear a seatbelt, closing a hole in state law where once kids grow out of booster seats or turn 8, they can sit in the back seat without buckling up. AAA Oklahoma’s Mark Madeja said the bill stalled after passing the House.

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