Local & Regional

Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness

Turkey Mountain is the place to be Saturday if you ever wanted to learn more about Oklahoma’s 12 million-plus acres of forest.

Jerí Irby with Oklahoma Forestry Services says many people don’t know the state has that much forest or the forest’s economic benefit to the state.

"It adds over $2 billion to our state's economy every year, so it's important for the people of Oklahoma to know what their forests are and how they help them," Irby said.

Foresters are conservationists first, and stops along the hike will reflect that.

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State lawmakers are looking at consolidating some of Oklahoma’s 27 district attorney districts.

Suzanne McClain Atwood with the Oklahoma District Attorneys Council told lawmakers the state’s 324 prosecutors average 359 new cases a year, which is on top of cases carried over from the previous year.

Animal House

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education have approved about $74.3 million to fund the state's scholarship program in 2017-18.



 Oklahoma and two other states say they have denied a request by Russian officials to be present at polling stations during the Nov. 8 election.

The Oklahoma secretary of state's office says it received a letter in August from Russia's consulate general in Houston seeking to have one of its officers present at a voting precinct to study the "US experience in organization of voting process."

But the office denied the request, noting Oklahoma law prohibits anyone except election officials and voters from being present while voting is taking place.

2 Alarm Fire Sweeps Through Tulsa Apartments

13 hours ago
Tulsa Fire Department-Facebook.

A 2 alarm fire at the Sunset Court Apartments, just south of downtown, causes extensive damage and left people homeless.

Tulsa Fire officials says the fire broke out at the complex, near 21st and South Boston, about 7:30 last evening. 

The fire left about a dozen people homeless. No serious injuries were reported in the blaze.

The cause of the fire is under review.

This is a  KWGS News Special report looking at Oklahoma's Correction Department crisis. The prisons and full and money is in short supply. Two state questions are on the ballot next month that could add some relief.


  The Defense Department has identified a U.S. soldier from Illinois and an Army civilian employee from Oklahoma as those killed in an attack this week in Afghanistan's capital of Kabul.

The military says in a statement 26-year-old Sgt. Douglas J. Riney of Fairview, Illinois, and 40-year-old Michael G. Sauro of McAlester, Oklahoma, died in Kabul of wounds received from encountering hostile enemy forces. The statement says they died Thursday.

In the local news:

  • Home Chemists are making new drug compounds faster than the state can outlaw the synthetic drugs.
  • Oklahoma cuts education funding deeper than any other state.
  • A two-alarm fire damages a near downtown apartment complex.

A lot of money is being thrown around for TV ads on some of Oklahoma’s state questions ahead of next month’s election.

As of Monday, groups have spent just less than $3 million to air nearly 3,800 ads. Ben Wieder tracks ballot measure spending for the Center for Public Integrity. He said this sort of outlay isn’t uncommon.

"This year already, spending on ballot measures in California has topped $100 million," Wieder said. "But certainly, Oklahoma is seeing a lot of activity and seeing more activity than some of its neighbors."

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Oklahoma leads the nation in cuts to school funding, and the gap is widening. Gene Perry with the Oklahoma Policy Institute says per pupil spending has dropped nearly 27% since 2008, increasing the gap over Alabama, which is the second worst for education cuts. There is a state question on the ballot to boost school funding, but Perry says it isn’t enough. He says lawmakers must address the problem to help end the continuing crisis.

Starting in January, cash will no longer be accepted for tolls on the Creek Turnpike at the Peoria and Elm interchanges.

Oklahoma Turnpike Authority is switching to license plate scanners, so drivers who don’t have a PikePass will also be able to drive right on through the toll gates. Those drivers will be mailed an invoice in about five business days.

"It increases our safety factor at a toll booth like this, where we don't have motorists who have to stop and look for change," said OTA spokesman Jack Damrill.

Drug Agents Worried About a New Synthetic Drug

Oct 20, 2016

It is called “Pink”. It is a synthetic drug that is making its way to Oklahoma. It is a powerful drug, some say stronger than Morphine. Right now, the formula for it is illegal. But, State Narcotics Bureau Agent Mark Woodward hopes that status changes soon.

Mark Woodward: "We go back each February, with our partners at the OSBI Crime Lab to identify anything that has come up in the off session. This will be among those drugs submitted to the legislature."

KWGS News Photo


Police in Tulsa say a woman has been stabbed to death at an apartment complex on the city's north side and a "person of interest" is in custody.

Police told reporters that officers were called to Comanche Park Apartments on Wednesday morning where they found the woman.

The names of the victim and the person arrested have not been released, nor have details of the stabbing been revealed.

KWGS News File Photo


 A woman found guilty in connection with what authorities say was a fraudulent cancer treatment business she ran in Oklahoma and Arkansas has been sentenced to five years of probation.

The Tulsa World reports that 73-year-old Antonella Carpenter was sentenced by a Tulsa federal judge Tuesday. She has been ordered to serve the first year of her probation as in-home detention. Carpenter was found guilty earlier this year of 29 counts of mail, travel and wire fraud.

Stillwater Police


The attorney for a woman charged with driving her car into spectators at Oklahoma State University's homecoming parade and killing four people says he's given a judge and prosecutors a psychologist's report on a mental evaluation of the woman.

Adacia Chambers has pleaded not guilty to four counts of second-degree murder and 42 counts of assault and battery in the crash that occurred Oct. 24, 2015, in Stillwater.

Attorney Tony Coleman has previously indicated plans to raise the question of mental illness or insanity at Chambers' trial set for January.

In the local news:

  • Iron Gate wants to move.
  • Corrections Director: Oklahoma prisons are overcrowded and underfunded.
  • Higher Ed told to prepare for "flat at best" budget year,
Matt Trotter / KWGS

A downtown Tulsa soup kitchen is again planning to move, a little more than a year after a previous relocation was denied.

Iron Gate has its sights set on a vacant lot at Seventh Street and Frankfort Avenue. It currently operates out of Trinity Episcopal Church at Fifth Street and Cincinnati Avenue.

The organization has quietly raised $9 million to build a new facility with a bigger kitchen, dining room and warehouse. Executive Director Connie Cronley said Iron Gate’s current home has a dining room that seats only 127 guests.


Broken Arrow is the latest city to direct its trash to a renewable energy facility in Tulsa.

Broken Arrow has a contract with Covanta starting Dec. 1 to bring trash to the incinerator rather than a landfill. About 40,000 tons of trash will go there over the rest of this fiscal year.

City General Services Director Lee Zirk said taking trash to Covanta has a couple advantages.

"We will substantially reduce our costs by taking our refuse there. Also, it's a very sustainable way to dispose of the refuse, and it generates energy as well," Zirk said.

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State House members hold a committee meeting looking into the problems at the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. Among those testifying, before the committee, was State Correction's Director Joe Allbaugh.

He told the lawmakers some correction workers Oklahoma are paid poverty wages and that starting prison guards can qualify for Food Stamps. 

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An organization seeking to put more women in elected office in Oklahoma releases a list of endorsements for the November election. Kendra Horn is Executive Director of Sally’s List. She says the mission is to recruit, train, and help elect ‘progressive’ women to state office. Horn says although the population is more than 50% female, only 14% of Oklahoma’s legislature includes women lawmakers.

The list of endorsements for state offices includes 15 women, and it can be found online at sallyslist.org under the candidates tab.

KWGS News file photo

Campaign finance reports show the Cherokee Nation gave $6 million to the group behind a casino legalization proposal that was disqualified from the November ballot, while a dog track and horse track gave more than $1.4 million to the campaign opposing it.

Arkansas Wins in 2016 reported Monday the Cherokee Nation made up the bulk of $6.1 million in total contributions raised for its proposal to legalize casinos in Boone, Miller and Washington counties.

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An elderly man is dead after being struck by a car while pushing a shopping cart across 21st Street. Police say the 70-to-75 year-old man was crossing, mid street, just east of Sheridan. The man apparently had no identification.

He was struck by a juvenile driver just after dark. The Police Department says the teen-driver committed no driving offense and was released to his parents.

It will be up to the Medical Examiner to determine the victim's identity. 

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An elderly man is dead after being struck by a car while pushing a shopping car cart across 21st Street. Police say the 70-to-75 year-old man was crossing, mid street, just east of Sheridan. The man apparently had no identification.

He was struck by a juvenile driver just after dark. The Police Department says the teen-driver committed no driving offense and was released to his parents.

It will be up to the Medical Examiner to determine the victim's identity. 

Oklahoma County


 A new state audit finds that the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office did not pay contracts for inmate health care services even though money was available at the time payment was due.

The audit released Tuesday by State Auditor Gary Jones also found that about $900,000 was spent on vehicles for the sheriff's office even though other financial obligations had not been met.

The audit was conducted at the request of Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater, who said in March that the investigation "could result in criminal charges being filed."

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Thousands of Oklahoma corrections employees could be getting one-time stipends of nearly $1,800 as soon as next month.

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections approved the payments at its monthly meeting Tuesday.

The money will come from the $10-plus million the agency received in September after a state revenue failure earlier this year.

Under the adopted plan, each employee who has been with the agency for at least six months will receive $1,750.

In the local news:

  • The MET adjusts its mission.
  • Corrections workers will get a one-time stipend.
  • A man is dead after being hit by a car just after dark in east Tulsa.
City of Sand Springs

Local leaders in Sand Springs broke ground Tuesday on an overhaul of one of their oldest parks.

River City Park is getting a $6.3 million dollar makeover. Jeff Edwards in Sand Springs' parks department says $4.3 million came from Vision 2025, and $2 million came from philanthropist Mike Case.

"Which, you know, launched the project into a new level," Edwards said. "There's a lot of things we wouldn't have been able to achieve without that donation."

Plans include new baseball fields, a tournament soccer field, playgrounds and a large green space.

A lot has changed since 1987, the year the Metropolitan Environmental Trust was founded, but the mission of Tulsa’s main recycling group has not.

Now, that’s about to change, too.

Trustees of The M.e.t. are working on a new mission statement to show the broad range of environmental issues it's involved in.



 Landowners in Kingfisher County have filed a lawsuit against a railroad company over a chemical spill caused by a train derailment two decades ago.

The Journal Record reports that public documents indicate a railcar spilled more about 3,300 gallons of carbon tetrachloride in April 1995. The Federal Railroad Administration reported that several cars containing the hazardous materials derailed.

Gary and Geraldine Mueggenborg say Union Pacific Railroad Co. hasn't adequately remediated the spill site.

New York Jets


A memorial has been set for a former NFL defensive lineman Dennis Byrd, who was killed in a car accident in Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says Byrd died Saturday in a two-vehicle collision on Oklahoma 88 north of Claremore.

Byrd, who was 50, was pronounced dead at the scene. A 17-year-old driver and a 12-year-old passenger in Byrd's vehicle were taken in critical condition to a hospital in Tulsa.

Rogers County District Attorney Matt Ballard says the investigation is ongoing.