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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ODOT

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.

Facebook

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.

USFWS

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.

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