Local & Regional

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Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield has been arrested and charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest in Fayetteville. Mayfield, a Heisman Trophy finalist last year, was booked into the Washington County Jail after first walking, then running away and being tackled by an officer following an altercation near Fayetteville's Dickson Street early Saturday, according to police. Oklahoma spokesman Michael Houck said the school is aware of the incident and pursuing details.

Tulsa County Booking Photo

 A Tulsa-area mother was arrested after police found her passed out behind the front seats of a truck filled with drugs and exposed needles and her 2-month-old infant left unsupervised in the cold vehicle.

Police discovered the infant in a truck parked outside a home improvement store late Friday. The back window was open, exposing the child to near-freezing temperatures.

A 10-day burn ban is in effect in a northeast Oklahoma county as the chance for wildfire outbreaks continue throughout much of the area.

Emergency managers in Tulsa County approved a resolution by commissioners on Friday after consulting with area fire departments about the risk for wildfire danger. The ban ends March 6.

Oklahoma's drought has lasted several years. Save for a handful of counties in the very southwestern part of the state, most of the state is in some state of drought.

OHP

 

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is investigating after two people died in a Washita County crash.

A preliminary report from the agency says the driver, 34-year-old Rhonda R. Hulett, and her passenger, 46-year-old James Deffenbaugh, died in the crash late Friday about 15 miles east of Cordell.

The patrol says Hulett was traveling southbound on State Highway 54 when her vehicle failed to stop at a stop sign and struck a second vehicle that was traveling westbound.

file photo

 Two brothers have been indicted in federal court for allegedly conspiring to counterfeit money and maintaining a marijuana growing operation out of an Oklahoma City home.

Federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment on Friday against 33-year-old Daniel Timothy Johnson and 31-year-old Benjamin Lee Johnson. Prosecutors announced additional charges against Daniel Johnson, including possessing a firearm and ammunition after a prior felony conviction.

file photo

Forecasters say some areas in northeast Oklahoma will again see weekend lows in the mid-20s as a winter blast continues to move through the state.

After several days of unseasonably warm weather and highs in the 70s and upper 80s, the cold front moved into the state on Friday, sending temperatures plummeting.

Forecasters say eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas could also see chances for thunderstorms beginning Sunday through Tuesday.

The strongest of the storms are expected to hit Tuesday and may pack damaging winds and large hail.

 Oklahoma's new attorney general says he needs more time to comply with a judge's order to release thousands of documents related to the relationship that new Environmental Protection Agency leader Scott Pruitt had with energy companies during his tenure as Oklahoma's top lawyer.

In a motion filed Thursday with the Oklahoma Supreme Court, Pruitt's successor Mike Hunter says providing all the emails and documents requested by the Center for Media and Democracy in the next ten days would amount to a "nearly Herculean task."

 The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has issued a new order limiting future increases in the volume of oil and natural gas wastewater injected into the ground in an effort to reduce the number of earthquakes in the state.

The commission's Oil and Gas Conservation Division issued the directive Friday for 654 disposal wells in a wide swath of northern Oklahoma.

State of Oklahoma

A Republican state senator from Oklahoma City is being investigated for possible ethics violations for not reporting campaign contributions during his last two election cycles.

State Sen. Kyle Loveless confirmed Friday that he was cooperating with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission investigation and vowed to resolve any issues that are uncovered.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said he has offered to work with the Ethics Commission because the alleged violations are potential felonies.

KWGS News Map

 The Perry Board of Education has suspended teaching certificates of a teacher and principal accused of failing to report alleged child abuse.

The Oklahoman reports State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister brought Miller and Sullins' certificates before the board.

Upper Elementary principal Kenda Miller and fifth-grade math teacher Jeffrey Sullins are charged with failure to promptly report child abuse or neglect.

The charges came after 85-year-old teaching assistant Arnold Cowen was accused of inappropriately touching girls.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Oklahoma lawmakers are being asked to approve an expansion of a law allowing certain county officials to hire outside counsel.

House Bill 2231 was unanimously approved by a House committee. It would let sheriffs hire an independent attorney to assist deputies involved in shootings. Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office attorney Terry Simonson said it can be difficult for deputies immediately after a shooting.

Impact Tulsa

Tulsa-area students are doing better at third-grade reading and at continuing their education after high school.

A new report from Impact Tulsa shows from 2015 to 2016, Hispanic third-graders gained about a quarter school year in reading proficiency and low-income students nearly three weeks. Meanwhile, postsecondary enrollment climbed from 63 percent among 2013 grads to 67 percent among 2014 grads, with nonwhite student enrollment going from 56 to 65 percent.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The City of Broken Arrow intends to tear down the house where five family members were murdered in July 2015.

"Our purpose — the city's purpose — for the first responders, for the neighborhood, is to make this property go away. It's doubtful that anybody would buy it, but we want to make sure nobody does," said Councilor Mike Lester.

Lester is leading the effort to turn the Bever family home into a symbol of healing for neighbors and for first responders, like Broken Arrow Police Sgt. Stephen Garrett.

KWGS News

Several community and political leaders come together to officially announce creation of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot Centennial Commission. One of the speakers was U-S Senator James Lankford, who said Tulsa will be a focus of international attention in 2021, the 100th anniversary of the riot. He says it’s fair to ask how far have we come and where are we going.

Another Day of Possible Wildfires

Feb 24, 2017
Cowed Fire Dept

Another day of wildfires will be possible across northeast Oklahoma. Forecasters say the threat will not be as great as yesterday, but the potential for a quick moving fire is still possible.

Yesterday afternoon, National Guard helicopters dropped water on a huge fire near Coweta. That blaze forced some people to flee their homes. However, officials say no homes were damaged.

The fire was brought under control around 6 p.m. last night. Over 400 acres burned in that blaze.

Gas Well Blows Near Coweta

Feb 24, 2017
Tulsa Fire

Authorities say four people were injured when a private natural gas well exploded in eastern Oklahoma.

Wagoner County Emergency Manager Heath Underwood says the explosion happened Thursday night as contract workers were repairing a gas line near Wagoner, about 125 miles northeast of Oklahoma City.

Underwood says three workers were critically injured and two of them were flown from the scene by air ambulance.

The gas line had been damaged by a truck earlier in the day.

In the local news:

  • A proposal clears a state senate committee to relocate an Oklahoma Veterans' Home.
  • The state school board is briefed on the revenue shortage.
  • A gas well explosion injures four in Wagoner County.

KWGS NEWS/TPS 20

 

The Trump White House has ended a directive issued during Barack Obama's presidency that told public schools to let transgender students use bathrooms and locker rooms of their chosen gender.

Tulsa School Superintendent Deborah Gist issued the following statement regarding restrooms and immigration:

Ben Fenwick-Oklahoma Watch

 

 The director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections says the agency is imposing a hiring freeze to help cut costs as a result of a state revenue failure.

Director Joe Allbaugh said Thursday that the hiring freeze is the first of many possible changes in order to cut spending by about $3 million by the June 30 end of the state's fiscal year.

Allbaugh says there are 348 vacant positions that will go unfilled during the freeze. He says the freeze does not include correctional officers, probation and parole officers, medical professionals and food service workers.

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 Authorities say a northeast Oklahoma police chief fatally shot a man who had shot and killed his estranged wife and opened fire on officers.

 

The Osage County Sheriff's Office says Kenneth Ray Robertson died at a hospital Thursday after being shot earlier in the day by Fairfax Police Chief David Bradley.

A news release from the sheriff's office says Robertson went into a business in downtown Fairfax about 8 a.m. Thursday and shot Teresa Robertson, his estranged wife. Teresa Robertson ran from the building and collapsed outside where she was found dead.

Oklahoma’s new school assessment and accountability system got its first approval by lawmakers Thursday.

State and federal law changes led to the overhaul, which involved a months-long study for the State Department of Education by a 95 member task force. The State Board of Education approved the new system in December.

Several House Democrats debated against the system, which preserves the school report cards derided by educators. Minority Leader Scott Inman said federal law doesn’t require them.

A once-prosperous section of Tulsa that became the site of one of the worst race riots in American history is attempting to remake itself again after decades of neglect.

 

Black leaders want to bring 100 new companies to the former Black Wall Street in north Tulsa by 2021, the 100th anniversary of its fall.

The initiative seeks to recapture the entrepreneurial spirit that helped make it one of the country's most affluent black areas.

OETA

 

 A Tulsa jury has awarded an insurance company and its CEO $4.3 million in a defamation case.

The Oklahoman reports former state legislator and former First Trinity director Wayne Pettigrew left First Trinity Financial Corp. in 2013 and issued a news release calling for investigation of the company and its CEO related to stock purchases.

Last week a jury found Pettigrew defamed the company and its CEO, Gregg Zahn. The jury also found Pettigrew breached his fiduciary duties to the company.

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Nine more Oklahomans die of flu related complications in the past week, including one more in Tulsa County, which continues to lead the state with 10. Jamie Dukes with the Oklahoma Health Department says Tulsa County also leads in the number of hospitalizations with 338.                                     

Overall, 37 Oklahomans have died of flu during this season, and more than 14-hundred have been hospitalized. Most of the deaths have been in the age group 65 years old and older. Dukes says it’s NOT too late to get a shot.

KWGS News

Tulsa elementary students crowd into the auditorium at Will Rogers College High School. They are there to learn and show off their skills in a partnership with the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra.

For more than 30 years, Carnegie Hall Link Up has paired orchestras with students in grades 3-5 to explore orchestral repertoire and fundamental musical skills, including creative work and composition, through a hands-on music curriculum. Tulsa Symphony became a Link Up partner in the 2015-16 season.

In the local news:

  • A senate committee approves REAL ID.
  • Pruitt's emails show a cozy relationship with fossil fuel.
  • Repeal of the ACA is making low income health care providers nervous.

Red Flag Fire Warning for Tulsa Region

Feb 23, 2017

 

The National Weather Service in Tulsa has issued a Red Flag Warning, which is in effect from 11 AM this morning to 7 PM CST this evening. The Fire Weather Watch is no longer in effect.

 

* AFFECTED AREA...IN Oklahoma, Osage, Washington, Pawnee, Tulsa, Creek, Okfuskee, and Okmulgee counties.

 

* WIND...South winds 15 to 25 miles an hour with gusts to 35 miles an hour.

 

* HUMIDITY...Around 25 percent.

 

* TEMPERATURE...Highs in the mid 80s.

 

Oklahoma City

 

 The mayor of Oklahoma's largest city says he will not seek re-election in 2018.

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett announced Wednesday that he will not run for re-election after serving about 14 years in office. He did not say what his future plans are.

Cornett had served three years on the City Council when was elected mayor in 2004 in a special election to fill the unexpired term of Mayor Kirk Humphries. Cornett had previously spent about 20 years as an Oklahoma City television sports and news anchor.

 

A court has ruled that a man from Syria who says he was tortured in his home country after converting to Christianity has no legal recourse against an Oklahoma church that published his name and baptism online.

The former Muslim is identified in the lawsuit only as "John Doe." He says that after his baptism in 2012 he returned to Syria and was kidnapped and tortured by radical Muslims. He claims he escaped by killing a relative who aided his captors.

KWGS News File Photo

 

 An Oklahoma Senate committee has approved legislation to repeal the trigger for a cut in the state's individual income tax rate.

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday voted 32-4 for the bill and sent it to the full Senate for a vote.

Legislation passed in 2014 provided a mechanism to reduce Oklahoma's top tax rate from 5 percent to 4.85 percent when tax collections increase by about $100 million annually, enough to cover the cost of the tax cut. Since then, state revenues have plummeted and the state faces a budget hole of $878 million next year.

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