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

City of Tulsa

Tulsa residents will vote on a handful of sales tax measures in April — if city officials can reach an agreement in time to get them on the ballot.

Public safety, transportation, the river and economic development will each have at least one ballot measure spelling out the sales tax rate and term and how revenues will be spent. Senior Assistant City Attorney Mark Swiney said they’re trying to avoid the specter of logrolling.

Tulsa Transit

The City of Tulsa’s new zoning code is officially in effect, and the Transportation Advisory Board is grateful.

Board member Jamie Jamieson said it came in the nick of time.

"Because it is conducive to increasing our density as a city, our accessibility with an aging population, and a number of other things — its affordability, I mean, its fiscal viability," Jamieson said.

The Transportation Advisory Board heard in its latest meeting how the zoning code update will affect plans for a bus rapid transit route on Peoria Avenue.

File Photo

Oklahoma builders expect to hire more workers this year, but not a lot of them.

The Associated General Contractors of America found 56 percent of firms doing most of their work here expect their headcount to go up 25 percent or less.

"One factor that appears to be affecting hiring plans is the continued shortage of qualified workers," said AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson.

KWGS News photo

Things will be a little different for sports fans and concertgoers at the BOK Center this year.

There are now walk-through metal detectors at each entrance, and bags must be no larger than 13 by 15 by 6 inches. BOK Center General Manager Jeff Nickler said the changes aren’t in response to anything that’s happened there.

"With all the incidents recently worldwide, it would be irresponsible for us not to consider enhanced safety procedures," Nickler said. "These new procedures will get us on pace with every professional sports venue in the country."

KWGS News

Thunderstorms, blizzards, flooding — Oklahoma saw them all last month, and the cost of responding to them is adding up for the department of transportation.

"Our storm-related activities has cost the agency $1.6 million during the month of December," said ODOT Director Mike Patterson. "The bulk of that, $1.4 million, has come in since Christmas Day."

ODOT sent crews out to treat slick roads and help motorists navigate highways with lanes closed because of ice and snow. They’re also assessing damage caused by ice storms and heavy rain.

ODOT

The state’s revenue failure means the Oklahoma Department of Transportation will lose money for a fund supported by personal income taxes.

The Rebuilding Oklahoma Access and Driver Safety — or ROADS — fund was set up in 2005. Each year, it typically receives the same funding as the previous year plus about $60 million, up to a cap of $575 million.

ODOT expects to cut $13 million from the fund, which Director Mike Patterson said will likely delay new projects.

Residents of the Choteau Bend area are rescued from rising floodwaters.

Mayes County Emergency Management officials used boats to get several residents out of their homes. John Janzen said now is the time to think about evacuating.

"I'm not saying you have to evacuate right this minute, but you need to be making plans for it. Don't wait until the water goes completely over your only exit route and then be stuck at your home," Janzen said.

Janzen said they may be called on for more water rescues as waters continue to rise.

File photo

One full calendar year down, about two to go until the opening of A Gathering Place for Tulsa.

Director Jeff Stava said 2016 will be a busy year behind the construction fences.

"A lot of things will start to take shape," Stava said. "It'll just further enhance and focus, kind of, the different features. You'll start to really see that on the site."

In 2016, features and buildings that are currently in the early stages should have finished exteriors. There will also be two tree planting cycles and most work to sculpt the park's topography should be finished.

Grand River Dam Authority

The Grand River Dam Authority is letting out more water than initially planned at Pensacola and Kerr dams.

GRDA’s Justin Alberty said despite the flows being 20 to 40 percent higher than first expected, downstream evacuations are not mandatory.

"We're still releasing over 220,000 [cubic feet per second] at both sites, at both Pensacola Dam and Kerr Dam," Alberty said. "We'll reassess that working with the corps. The [U.S. Army] Corps of Engineers, of course, will run their model."

Our top local stories this morning:

  • An evacuation warning remains in place as the Grand River Dam Authority increases discharges at Pensacola and Kerr dams.
  • The Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association praises the agreement ending an oil export ban.
  • Tulsa streets are in relatively good shape after a weekend of rain, sleet and snow.

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