Matt Trotter


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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KWGS News File photo

Major work is happening on bridges over the south leg of the Inner Dispersal Loop throughout the weekend.

With the deck being taken off the Main Street bridge over the IDL, south and westbound lanes are closed now until 7 a.m. Saturday. Then, north and eastbound lanes will close until 10 p.m. Sunday.

More major work is in store after this weekend.


Work continues to make more than $1.5 million worth of repairs needed to re-illuminate Tulsa highways.

City councilors formed a task force earlier this year to keep tabs on the efforts. Streets and Stormwater Director Terry Ball said all lights along the Gilcrease Expressway should be back on within two weeks, even though work has slowed from copper thefts and other mishaps.

The Tulsa Regional Chamber takes local teachers on a road trip.

They didn’t go far — just down Highway 169 to Cancer Treatment Centers of America. The visit was part of the chamber’s Road Trip for Teachers program, which shows them opportunities and challenges in seven high-growth industries. The chamber’s Kuma Roberts said there are two main goals.

Cherokee Nation Welcome Center

Cherokee Nation is the first tribe in Oklahoma to join an online network aimed at helping foster children.

The tribe has joined CarePortal, a network that partners with churches. Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said churches will receive alerts when foster children in Cherokee County have needs.

"For example, if it's something as simple as needing a new change of clothes for a toddler, I mean, we can have the faith-based community step up and get that resource to the child," Hoskin said.

Nine churches have signed up for alerts so far.

A coalition of business and community leaders in Oklahoma is calling on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Supporters launched the Reasons to Reform campaign Tuesday as part of a national effort to encourage Congress to work toward simplifying citizenship guidelines and creation of a guest worker program.

Republican state Sen. Brian Crain, whose Tulsa district includes a large Hispanic population, says the nation's immigration system is broken.


There’s been a delay in the lawsuit to halt sale of land at 71st Street and Riverside for a development anchored by outdoor retailer REI.

The lawsuit was filed nearly a year ago. Attorneys for both sides agreed to push the suit’s first hearing, which was set for Tuesday, back to Oct. 11 so talks can continue.

The lawsuit asks for a temporary halt in the process of the Tulsa Public Facilities Authority selling 12 acres of Helmerich Park to a Dallas-based developer.


The Oklahoma Department of Transportation will likely ask lawmakers next year to consider several ideas to bolster funding in the face of declining fuel tax revenue.

Director Mike Patterson said the state’s political climate has given ODOT an odd funding mix.

"With a lack of desire, I guess, to increase taxes, you can see why the legislature made the decision that they did back in 2005 and didn't raise taxes but provided us a portion of income tax," Patterson said.

File Photo

Tobacco sales to minors in Oklahoma have more than doubled over the past four years. That could be problematic for hundreds in need of substance abuse services.

Statewide, the noncompliance rate with laws against underage tobacco sales is 14.1 percent. Four years ago, it was 6.8. Jeff Dismukes with Oklahoma Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services said if noncompliance goes above 20 percent, the state could lose up to 40 percent of its federal funding for substance abuse services.

KWGS News Photo

Tulsa Police worry undercover prostitution investigations will be hampered by a new state massage licensing law.

When the law goes into effect next month, Tulsa’s massage ordinance will be invalidated. The 4-year-old ordinance requires businesses to be licensed, keep a customer log and make sure its employees are licensed. Police said it helps them go after businesses serving as fronts for prostitution.


Signatures to get a state question about medical marijuana on the November ballot are due in three weeks, and the group behind the initiative is going to pay signature gatherers if they succeed.

Oklahomans for Health is offering $1 per pair of signatures. It currently has 30,000 to 50,000 of the necessary 86,000 signatures. Board member Frank Grove said interest should pick up in the last few weeks of the campaign.


A bird whose habitat is prized by Oklahoma wind, gas and oil companies comes off the federal threatened and endangered species list.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s delisting of the lesser prairie chicken is in response to a Texas court ruling last year that said the agency didn’t allow enough time to see whether state-level conservation plans were working before giving the birds "threatened" status.

Service biologist Clay Nichols said they aren’t walking away from the lesser prairie chicken.

KWGS Listener

Tulsa residents hit hardest by last week’s storms will have tree limbs and other green waste picked up for free starting Monday.

The free pickups will cover 53 square miles of the city south of 41st Street and east of the Arkansas River. Crews will work about 10 hours a day, six days a week, but stormwater maintenance manager Roy Teeters said be patient, because it will take awhile to get to everyone.

"We're estimating right now that it's going to take somewhere between 45 and 60 days to go through the whole area," Teeters said.

Tulsa Public Schools moves to punish fewer students with suspensions in the upcoming school year.

The school board approved Monday changes to the district's Behavior Response Plan that will encourage alternative punishments for minor infractions.

"There were a number of occasions where suspension was being used for things like truancy and cutting class," said Deputy Superintendent Paula Shannon. "We want to keep kids in school, not out of school."

KWGS News Photo

Tulsa earns high marks as a city good for first-time home buyers.

New rankings from WalletHub put Tulsa at seventh-best for first-time home buyers among America’s 62 largest cities and 42nd among 300 cities.

Analyst Jill Gonzalez said Tulsa did very well when it comes to affordability, a measure that includes cost of living, housing prices, and the costs of homeowner’s insurance and property taxes.

Joshua Doubek

Hydraulic fracturing — commonly shortened to "fracking' — was first used in Oklahoma nearly 70 years ago.

Now, a new study from Johns Hopkins researchers has linked the practice to an increased risk of asthma attacks.

Study leader Sara Rasmussen says Pennsylvanians living near bigger or larger numbers of fracked natural gas wells are up to four times likelier to have asthma attacks than those living farther away.

Google Street View

It will cost anywhere from $85 million to $200 million to fix damage from a fire earlier this month at Grand River Dam Authority’s main power plant.

The fire started July 1 after a lightning strike knocked out the cooling pumps for one of the coal-fired units.

"At that point, it's like your car overheating, or you're losing all your oil or losing all your coolant fluid," said GRDA spokesman Justin Alberty. "Things got overheated. It led to a fire inside the unit two turbine generator, which led to some structure fire on the roof."

The fire burned for several hours.

Today's top stories:

  • Several factors likely played into more than 90,000 homes and businesses losing power during yesterday's storm.
  • A former Tulsa oral surgeon whose filthy clinics led to thousands of patients being tested for HIV and hepatitis is sentenced in a money laundering case.
  • OKPOP faces competition for prime downtown real estate.
Bureau of Land Management

If you’re looking for a horse or burro, you can adopt one from the Bureau of Land Management this weekend.

An adoption event is Friday from noon to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon at the Craig County Fairgrounds in Vinita. Be aware, however — they aren’t your typical horses and burros.

"The animals are wild. They're very — you know, a lot of people really enjoy gentling them and training them," said the BLM's Crystal Cowan.

Periodically removing wild animals from their herds is part of the agency’s duties.

The University of Tulsa hosts a teacher workshop that’s part of a National Security Agency–funded program to help address a critical cybersecurity worker shortage.

Math department chair Bill Coberly said cybersecurity is no longer a foreign concept.

"Most of us have experiences with failures of cybersecurity on a scale from personal to the government to international terrorism, so the whole subject pervades our experience in our society nowadays," Coberly said.

Google Maps

A proposal made last month would put the Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture next to ONEOK Field, but someone else wants to build there, too.

A developer wants to build a nine-story, mixed-use office complex on a 1 acre parcel owned by the Tulsa Development Authority. Oklahoma Historical Society Director Bob Blackburn said if TDA picks the commercial building, it’s not the end of the long-awaited OKPOP.

Thursday's top stories:

  • A new partnership lets Tulsa Public Schools high school students ride Tulsa Transit buses for free on weekdays.
  • The City of Tulsa is hosting several workshops to gather public comments on land use along the future Peoria Avenue rapid bus route.
  • State oil and gas regulators turn their attention to a town 30 miles south of downtown Oklahoma City after a cluster of quakes there.
City of Tulsa

The Environmental Protection Agency is awarding the City of Tulsa $300,000 to help clean up an old industrial site city officials want on the market.

The money is in addition to $600,000 the city already has to clean up the Evans-Fintube site north of downtown. Previous estimates put the total cleanup cost at more than $2 million.

Tulsa Transit

With the wheels turning on a future Peoria Avenue rapid bus route, the City of Tulsa will look at how to use land around the stations.

Public comments will go toward recommending policies on development around stations. Tulsa Transit’s Debbie Ruggles said the big deal is the rapid bus route has more permanent stations than ordinary routes.

"So we're looking for opportunities around those major stations to get the kind of business development and growth that we see at some of the other transit agencies across the nation," Ruggles said.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa Public Schools’ 8,500 high school students can ride Tulsa Transit buses for free starting Aug. 1.

Through a partnership called TPS Rides, students just need their school ID to ride for free any weekday.

"Our students are busy people, they have active lives, and we want to encourage them to be able to be active throughout our community," said TPS Superintendent Deborah Gist. "Mobility is really key, and this is something that so many people in the community have been promoting."

Wednesday's top stories:

  • Union Public Schools leaders and students break ground on a new elementary school in east Tulsa.
  • The first Tulsa County Sheriff's reserve deputy under a revamped program enters the final stage of training.
  • Mayor-elect G.T. Bynum picks two top staffers.
Matt Trotter / KWGS

District officials break ground for a new Union elementary school that will eventually accommodate 1,000 students in rapidly growing east Tulsa.

Superintendent Kirt Hartzler said the district has desperately needed the new school but couldn’t find land within its boundaries.

Courtesy OCCA

Oklahoma’s budget crisis will affect work to plug abandoned oil wells in the immediate future.

Oklahoma Corporation Commission spokesman Matt Skinner said last year’s revenue failures and this year’s appropriations have taken away about $2 million dollars for that work.

"There will be a continued delay in the plugging of certain classifications of abandoned wells that may otherwise get plugged more quickly," Skinner said. "Those are classifications where they're not a direct threat to health and human safety."

Public Radio Tulsa

Though he’s five months from taking office, Tulsa mayor-elect G.T. Bynum has named two key members of his administration.

"There were a couple people that as soon as we knew that we'd won the election, I wanted to approach about coming to work in the administration, people who are amongst the most effective folks I've ever met in public service," Bynum said.

Former policy adviser to Sens. Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn, Michael Junk served as Bynum’s campaign manager. Junk will be Bynum's deputy mayor.

In today's news:

  • Tulsa County leaders move ahead on Family Justice Center.
  • Mayor Dewey Bartlett is overseas to act as Tulsa's aviation industry booster.
  • A mobile collection from a vast black history museum stops in Tulsa.
Matt Trotter / KWGS

A mobile exhibit featuring black history artifacts dating from slavery to present day is in Tulsa this week.

Around 150 pieces of the Black History 101 Mobile Museum’s 5,000 artifact collection are on display at the Greenwood Cultural Center through Saturday. Museum founder Khalid El-Hakim said there are important civil rights figures other than Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Junior and Malcolm X.