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

Tulsa Regional Chamber

Officials in each of Oklahoma’s three public education systems say the state of education is poorly funded.

At their state of education forum, leaders with the Tulsa Regional Chamber said students going on summer break will come back to drastically different schools as new cuts take effect. Tulsa Superintendent Deborah Gist said on top of that, decades of underfunding have left Oklahomans unaware of what they don’t have but should in K–12 schools.

Tulsa Transit

Tulsa Transit is rolling out a few new pieces of tech soon.

A driver assistance system called mobile eye will be live within the next month.

"It will be giving them a series of beeps for things like you're following too closely, you're going over into the other lane, there's a pedestrian nearby," said Tulsa Transit Assistant General Manager Debbie Ruggles. "We did some testing and found that with the presence of those beeps, our driver performance was much better."

Tulsa city councilors are going to Dallas to get ideas about future Arkansas River development.

Councilor Phil Lakin is behind the trip, and an REI outdoor goods store is on the itinerary.

"This is a way to just better look into the possibilities for restaurants and other commercial uses that could or could not be located along the river," Lakin said. "Before we decide — if we ever have to decide anything — we better be sure we know what the good and the bad is."

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa’s celebration marking the end of slavery in the U.S. is growing again.

After concerts at Guthrie Green the past two years, new events and new partners are joining Tulsa’s Juneteenth events this year. City Councilor Jack Henderson said it will help bring Tulsa together.

"And I'm excited about the Greenwood Chamber, the Jazz Hall of Fame, Guthrie Green and all of the rest of them that have said, 'Enough is enough. Let's pull this off. Let's come together, and let's unify this city once and for all,'" Henderson said.

KWGS News

City councilors began work in earnest on finalizing Tulsa’s budget for next fiscal year.

It’s practically flat, but with revenue projections lagging millions of dollars behind, dozens of vacant positions will be eliminated. Public safety proponent Karen Gilbert objected to a proposal to cut 15 9-1-1 operator positions.

"It doesn't look good that we just passed a public safety tax adding more 9-1-1 dispatchers, and here we are taking away dispatcher positions," Gilbert said.

City Finance Director Mike Kier told Gilbert those positions are all currently vacant.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The Bama Companies is expanding its north Tulsa facility because of the success of McDonald’s all-day breakfast.

Bama is spending $33 million on a 50,000 square foot hotcake manufacturing plant. That will translate to around 55 new jobs.

"Typically, 80 percent of the new jobs in a community come from existing companies, so it's very, very important to help companies grow here and to really see those companies thrive," said Tulsa Regional Chamber Executive Vice President and COO Justin McLaughlin.

American Lung Association

Tulsa gets an F from the American Lung Association for ozone pollution and is ranked the 18th-most polluted metro area in the U.S.

The rankings, however, include 2012, the area’s second-worst ozone season ever. That year saw 21 alert days, more than 2013, 2014 and 2015 combined. The rankings also have a stricter standard than the Environmental Protection Agency.

Tulsa consistently has ozone levels just below the federal limit, though that presents its own problem when it comes to paying for projects to improve local air quality.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

An Oklahoma House member makes good on his promise to attempt fixing the state’s forcible sodomy law.

In late March, the Court of Criminal Appeals ruled a 2014 Tulsa case of a 17-year-old boy forcing a severely drunk 16-year-old girl to perform oral sex was correctly dismissed. The court said the law was written in such a way it doesn’t apply to intoxicated victims.

Rep. Scott Biggs said last week he would change his victim notification bill. He presented the amended bill in conference committee Wednesday.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

ImpactTulsa and the Tulsa Regional Chamber say the coming loss of 667 local school jobs will mean more than $33 million in lost wages.

Those jobs represent the total number 15 area districts plan on losing next school year. Chamber President Mike Neal said that will cause the loss of 340 non-school jobs and a $4.2 million drop in state and local sales taxes.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The former reserve deputy convicted of second-degree manslaughter in the death of an unarmed man is staying in jail.

Robert Bates asked to be released on bond until sentencing in four weeks. He fatally shot Eric Harris last April during an undercover gun buy.

Harris family attorney Dan Smolen said Oklahoma law doesn't allow bail for felonies when a gun is present.

"There's not a lot to debate with respect to what the statute says, and so I think for the court to do anything otherwise would have been giving special treatment to Mr. Bates," Smolen said.

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