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An Oklahoma Senate panel rejected a proposal Monday to let charter school students participate in extracurricular activities at the public school they would otherwise attend.

Shawnee Republican Ron Sharp said allowing that would be unfair to schools.

"It would have an unfunded mandate, because you have to provide uniforms. You have to have extra coaches," Sharp said.

File photo

The State Department of Education could be told to take a look at a new form of school district consolidation.

The Oklahoma Senate Education Committee passed a bill Monday directing the education department to study administrative services. By Dec. 1, 2018, there would be a list of districts recommended for Regional Education Administrative Districts.

Senate Bill 514 author Gary Stanislawski said the biggest change with READs would be a single administration for several districts.

Oklahoma Senate

 

Two-term Republican state senator David Holt says he plans to run for Oklahoma City's open mayor's seat in 2018.

Holt announced Monday he plans to seek the seat held for 14 years by current Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, who said last week he wouldn't run for re-election.

An attorney, Holt served for five years as Cornett's chief of staff before being elected to the Oklahoma Senate in 2010.

A member of the Osage Nation, Holt wrote the book "Big League City: Oklahoma City's Rise to the NBA" about the city's revitalization under Cornett's leadership.

KWGS News File Photo

 

The filing period begins Monday for an Oklahoma House seat that opened up following the resignation of state Rep. Dan Kirby.

The filing period runs until Wednesday in the House District 75 contest. The winner replaces Kirby, a Republican from Tulsa who resigned after a House committee recommended he be expelled following an investigation into sexual harassment claims.

The special primary election is set for May 9 and a special general election will be held July 11. If no primary is needed, the general election will be May 9.

File photo

Tulsa County is under a burn ban this week. It prohibits most outdoor burning except gas and electric grilling over a non-flammable surface. Welding is also allowed, again on a non-flammable surface. Area Emergency Manager Roger Joliffe says the ban will be re-visited later this week and County Commissioners will decide next Monday whether to extend or end the ban.

Rain is expected this week, but Joliffe says it likely won’t be enough to make a difference in the drought conditions.

Tulsa's Jay Cronley Dead at 73

8 hours ago
JayCronley.com

Long time Tulsa World and Tribune columnist Jay Cronley has died. In addition to his newspaper columns, Cronley wrote numerous novels. Several of his books were made into successful comedy movies, including ‘Funny Farm’, ‘Let it Ride’ and ‘Hold Up’.

In one of the worst guarded secrets in Tulsa media, he was the Tulsa World sports department's ‘Picker’.  He also wrote about horse racing for ESPN.

In the local news:

  • The cash-strapped state needs a new medical lab.
  • An environmental group comes out against a proposed 'wind tax'.
  • Tulsa gasoline is the cheapest in the nation.

 

At least seven measures that would authorize a pay raise for Oklahoma public school teachers are pending in the state Legislature, but lawmakers have not found a way to pay for them.

The Tulsa World reports that Oklahoma will be last in teacher pay this year unless one of the bills passes with enough funding to pay for it.

The National Education Association says that Oklahoma ranked 42nd in teacher pay in 2007 with an average $43,551, which includes health, life and retirement benefits.

 

An Oklahoma pipeline company says it will reimburse north-central Iowa agencies for expenses they incurred while responding to a diesel pipeline spill near Hanlontown last month.

The Mason City Globe Gazette reports that Magellan Midstream Partners is making the offer. Worth County Auditor Jackie Backhaus is tallying up local agencies' expenses and plans to have the total ready by Monday. Sheriff Dan Fank says his department logged 240 hours at the site while maintaining road blocks and manning an operations center, and that 140 of those hours must be paid as overtime.

Collins Liquor

 

 Legislation in the Oklahoma Senate would allow voters in the state's 77 counties decide whether liquor can be sold in the counties on Sunday.

The Oklahoman reports that the bill would allow votes decide on a county-by-county basis whether liquor stores can open between noon and midnight on Sundays, beginning in 2018. Liquor stores are currently required to close on Sundays.

The bill would allow county commissioners to schedule elections, or residents could start petition efforts to get a measure on the ballot.

KWGS News File Photo

 

The average price of a gallon of regular-grade gasoline rose 2 cents nationally during the past two weeks, to $2.33.

Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday that the slight rise was due to small increases in crude oil and wholesale gas prices.

Lundberg says she expects modest increases in the near-term.

The national average is up 56 cents per gallon over the price a year ago.

Gas in Los Angeles was the highest in the contiguous United States at an average of $2.94 a gallon Friday. The lowest average was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at $2.02 per gallon.

Spotter Network

 

Nearly 200 storm chasers are paying tribute to the late actor Bill Paxton by spelling out his initials using GPS coordinates on a map depicting the heart of Tornado Alley.

The effort coordinated Sunday by Spotter Network spelled out "BP" to honor the leading man in the disaster movie "Twister," which inspired a generation of storm chasers.

John Wetter, the nonprofit's president, says storm chasers have spelled out the initials of fellow chasers four or five times before but never a non-chaser.

Helmet Hut

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:

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