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.

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Matt Trotter / KWGS

Broken Arrow chose one of their own to lead the police department.

Acting Chief Brandon Berryhill, a 23-year veteran of the Broken Arrow Police Department, has been named chief after David Boggs’ retirement in August.

The city got around three dozen applications in a nationwide search for Boggs’ replacement. Boggs retired in August. City Manager Michael Spurgeon said Berryhill had the qualifications and character the job demands.

CDC

The Oklahoma Supreme Court should soon rule on the constitutionality of another law passed during the regular legislative session.

The justices heard arguments Tuesday in a challenge of a new impaired driving law set to take effect Nov. 1.

Four DUI attorneys are suing the state, saying Senate Bill 643 violates the single-subject rule. Attorney Brian Morton said the law's stated purpose is administrative monitoring of impaired driving offenders.

Wikipedia

Oklahoma lawmakers will take another run at protecting military training routes from wind farm encroachment.

They held an interim study Tuesday to get input on the matter.

Tinker Air Force Base Lt. Gen. Lee Levy said besides being used to make sure workhorse planes are flight-ready, the routes are also used for parachute jump training and helicopter training. Levy said wind farm towers and turbines get in the way of all those exercises, and they can obscure general aviation aircraft that drift into training routes.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The City of Tulsa’s first observance of Native American Day is in the books.

A program of songs, dances and speeches at Guthrie Green marked the occasion just a few weeks after the city council unanimously approved a resolution establishing the celebration, and it carried several meanings.

It’s a rhyme nearly everyone has heard: "In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue."

While that’s true, the larger idea it represents — that the Italian explorer discovered America — is not.

Tulsa Police have made a second arrest in the city’s 68th homicide of the year.

Dillon Rose, 25, turned himself in yesterday afternoon.

The victim, 38-year-old Jason Harris, was found around 5:15 a.m. Wednesday in the front seat of a Jeep parked on the inside shoulder of U.S. 169 near 31st Street. Harris had been shot. Passersby told Tulsa Police they saw the car sitting there as early as 3:45 a.m.

Friday's top stories:

  • Deal or no deal? House Democrats say they have a $560 million bipartisan package to fix the budget. Gov. Fallin says that's not the case.
  • Tulsa Police make a second arrest in the city's 68th homicide of 2017.
  • Sen. James Lankford is sponsoring legislation to ban abortions after 20 weeks.

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U.S. House Republicans have positioned their party to pass a tax reform bill without Democrats’ support.

They passed a budget resolution Thursday that will allow the Senate to pass the proposal with only a simple majority, similar to procedures used for recent Affordable Care Act repeal efforts.

Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin took to Twitter on Wednesday to field questions about the GOP tax plan. He pushed back against a question about the proposal being a tax hike for workers and a tax cut for the wealthy.

Lankford

Oklahoma U.S. Senator James Lankford has sponsored a bill criminalizing most abortions after 20 weeks.

The House passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act on Tuesday. It bans abortion after 20 weeks except in cases of rape, incest or where the mother’s life is endangered. Lankford said the bill catches the U.S. up with the rest of the world.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

House Minority Leader Scott Inman said Thursday there’s a bipartisan budget deal at the capitol.

Hours later, Gov. Mary Fallin said that's not the case.

The Bipartisan Oklahoma Plan Inman announced consists of a $1.50 per pack cigarette tax, a 6 cent gas tax increase, elimination of the wind sales tax exemption, a sales tax on certain services, a 5 percent gross production tax on new wells and undoing income tax cuts for wealthy Oklahomans.

Thursday's top stories:

  • The Oklahoma Health Care Authority could cut Medicaid reimbursement rates 9 percent if lawmakers can't find the agency $70 million soon.
  • In the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Oklahoma's congressional delegation is not in a rush to take action.
  • You'll soon start seeing tobacco ads in print and on TV, but they won't be selling you the products.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Oklahoma U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin has scheduled a town hall meeting for this Friday, months after canceling a similar event at the last minute.

Mullin canceled a town hall in Tahlequah in April, citing safety concerns.

"Over the past few weeks, we have seen an escalation of protesters at congressional town halls across the nation," Mullin said in a statement then, adding that his staff and the venue couldn't come to an agreement over security.

Friday's town hall will be at 10 a.m. at First Baptist Church, 201 Commercial Road.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

A body found in a Jeep parked on the inside shoulder of U.S. 169 near 31st Street early Wednesday is the victim of Tulsa's 68th murder this year.

Jason Harris, 38, was found shot to death in the front seat around 5:15 a.m. Passersby told Tulsa Police they saw the car sitting there as early as 3:45 a.m.

Officers initially found the Jeep's previous owner sold it for cash. They were able to find the owner, 29-year-old Dustin Baker, and determined he was driving at the time of the murder. Baker was arrested.

City of Broken Arrow

An ambitious plan by the City of Broken Arrow to improve its water, sewer and storm water systems means residents will be paying more soon.

City council–approved increases will show up on November bills.

"For an average household using about 7,000 gallons of water per month, they'll see an increase of about $3.75," said city spokeswoman Krista Flasch.

Tulsa Regional Chamber

The Tulsa Regional Chamber leads a group of around 100 elected officials, business leaders and other partners to Fort Worth, Texas, on an annual trip intended to give them ideas to improve Tulsa.

BOK Financial President and CEO and chamber chair-elect Steve Bradshaw said Fort Worth has put a lot of work into revitalizing its riverfront area, and the group is getting ideas for the Arkansas River from that.

okhca.org

If lawmakers don’t find $70 million dollars for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority soon, the agency will have to cut many SoonerCare reimbursement rates 9 percent.

The OHCA has been on shaky budget ground for months.

"I think we would look at the possibility of a provider rate cut in combination, maybe, with some other kinds of cost savings measures. If it's solely a provider rate cut, it translates into about 8 percent to garner $70 million in state dollars," OHCA CEO Becky Pasternik-Ikard said in July.

File Photo

You’ll soon start seeing tobacco ads in print and on TV, but they won’t be trying to sell you the products.

These are court-ordered corrective statements coming from tobacco companies after more than 11 years of litigation. They'll address how tobacco companies understated the dangers of their products and marketed them to children.

In the wake of a mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed 59 and injured more than 500, Oklahoma’s congressional delegation is not in a rush to take action.

Authorities said Stephen Paddock used a bump stock to effectively make his rifles fire like automatic weapons. Rep. Tom Cole said he wants to look at the legality of such gun modifications, but he is not in favor of doing anything to otherwise limit the number or kind of guns people can own.

Cole stopped short of saying mass shootings are a price of preserving Second Amendment rights.

Wednesday's top stories:

  • Oklahoma AG Mike Hunter joins 38 other state attorneys general in asking Congress for Medicaid funding for residential addiction treatment.
  • Members of the Oklahoma House may return to the capitol Monday to resume special session budget work.
  • Tulsa to OKC in 25 minutes? Some passenger rail proponents think it's time to jump ahead to high-speed rail.

Tulsa County Booking Photo

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said he asked a judge to order an 18-year-old man accused of killing his parents and three siblings to undergo a full mental health evaluation with a doctor chosen by prosecutors.

Kunzweiler said Tuesday after a closed-door hearing in the case of Michael Bever that Bever's attorneys have submitted a psychological report from their doctor and that the state should get to conduct its own inquiry, but Bever refused to participate.

Wikipedia

How would you like to get to Oklahoma City in 25 minutes?

Some passenger rail supporters think it’s possible with high-speed rail.

At state Sen. Kevin Matthews' interim study on passenger rail Tuesday, McGrath Construction President Jon McGrath said an elevated line could be built along I-44 to allow for trains up to 220 miles per hour. His firm specializes in railroad construction and has been involved in passenger rail projects in more than two dozen U.S. cities.

McGrath said the system would cost up to $3 billion dollars, but the state wouldn’t have to pay that.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The numbers are in, and the State Department of Education calls Oklahoma’s summer feeding program a success.

Participation in the federally funded program was up 14 percent this year. That means 1.6 million free meals went to kids between May and August. State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said it wasn’t easy with education funding cuts preventing schools from offering summer sessions, which bring kids to meals.

drug free.org

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has joined other state attorneys general in asking Congress to allow Medicaid funding for residential addiction treatment.

The Road to Recovery Act eliminates the Institutions for Mental Diseases exclusion from Medicaid. The exclusion was part of the original Medicaid legislation and is used to keep federal funding from supporting inhumane asylums.

Tuesday's top stories:

  • With tough decisions to make on a new eight-year plan, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation will focus on major corridors through 2025.
  • Former Tulsa police officer Shannon Kepler will face a fourth murder trial for the 2014 death of Jeremy Lake.
  • Economic growth continues for a 10th straight month in a nine-state region that includes Oklahoma.

OU

Oil and gas companies are feeling the pinch.

Industry experts in Oklahoma believe natural gas prices between $2.50 and $3.50 and oil prices between $45 and $55 dollars are here to stay for a decade or more.

"You have to look at the full-cycle economics and make it worth within this price range. There is no thinking about prices going higher in the future," said Oklahoma Energy Resources Board member Ronnie Irani. "If they do, great. That's icing on the cake, but you cannot afford to work in that environment."

Economic growth continued in September for a 10th straight month in a nine-state region that includes Oklahoma.

The Mid-America Business Conditions Index rose to 58.2 last month, up from 57.5 in August and 56.1 in July.

"You see it's been trending upward for about 10 months into 12 months. We're seeing it growing. That's a real good number, and I expect that to continue, as manufacturing in the region is doing well," said Creighton University economist Ernie Goss.

When it comes to local economic growth, Tulsa doesn’t fare well in a new analysis.

Financial website WalletHub's rankings of 515 U.S. cities’ economic growth consider data on things like population, job and income growth, unemployment rates, even building permit activity.

"And, unfortunately, especially when it comes to large cities, Tulsa finds itself near the bottom of these rankings," said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation took "unprecedented measures" to make its new eight-year construction plan work.

Since the 2010–2017 plan was approved, nearly $840 million has been taken from ODOT to balance state budgets.

"So, we have about 40 projects that are just sliding out of the eight-year plan, one that was in this plan" said ODOT Director and State Transportation Secretary Mike Patterson. "And that's the new routing of U.S. 70 around Madill. A project that we've all been working on at some level for many years, but we just can't keep it in there."

State officials want to put friends and loved ones of prescription drug addicts on the front lines of the battle against opioid deaths.

The key is more access to the overdose reversal drug Naloxone, which is an increasingly common tool among first responders.

There are now 19 community hubs throughout Oklahoma that offer free Naloxone kits.

Health care for Oklahoma’s poorest children will take a $49 million dollar hit because of congressional inaction.

Federal lawmakers did not reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, by a Saturday deadline. Cate Jeffries with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority said they can prolong the program if they essentially start buying on credit.

"We can continue to fund the CHIP program through state fiscal year 2018, which ends June 30, by pushing out some of our provider claim runs into the next fiscal year," Jeffries said.

A man was shot and killed in front of his family Sunday afternoon as he confronted an armed robber during a home invasion.

Tulsa Police say the home in the 9000 block of East 67th Street was 16-year-old Deonte Green's second stop during a Sunday crime spree.

Police say Green approached the man's wife and two daughters as they left the house around 12:30 p.m., pointing a gun at them and forcing them back inside. Once inside, the family's 44-year-old father confronted Green. During a struggle, Green shot him, and the man collapsed a short time later inside the house.

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