Local & Regional

LOCKHART, Texas (AP) — Authorities say it appears no one survived the crash of a hot air balloon with at least 16 people aboard.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford said caught fire before crashing into a pasture shortly after 7:40 a.m. Saturday near Lockhart, about 30 miles south of Austin.

The Caldwell County Sheriff's Office said in a statement that investigators are determining the number of victims and their identities.

The FAA is investigating, Lunsford said.

Oklahoma Forestry Services

 Federal prosecutors say two companies have paid nearly $1.4 million to settle claims over a 2011 fire at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Oklahoma.

Acting U.S. Attorney Mark Yancey announced Friday that Bell Contracting Inc. and Redlands Contracting LLC settled claims over allegations that the companies negligently caused the fire that burned more than 40 square miles on the refuge.

In reaching the settlement, Bell and Redlands did not admit liability.

Deason campaign photo

 

Oklahoma County District Judge Donald Deason has died following a brief illness. Deason, the county's presiding judge, was 63.

County Court Clerk Rick Warren said Friday that Deason died Thursday following a brief illness. Warren says Deason was at his home in Edmond when he died and his body was discovered by his wife.

KWGS News File Photo

Forecasters say thunderstorms are expected throughout the day in parts of Oklahoma, and some could be severe.

The National Weather Service in Norman says the storms could bring wind gusts of up to 60 mph along with heavy rainfall and frequent lightning. The storms are predicted to persist through Saturday.

Multiple vehicle crashes were reported around the Oklahoma City area as the storms moved in Friday morning. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported several crashes on Interstate 40 in the area, including a rollover crash that has blocked traffic.

Cherokee Nation Welcome Center

 

The former director of the Cherokee Nation Foundation in Oklahoma has been charged with nine counts of embezzlement.

The Muskogee Phoenix reports that Cherokee Nation prosecutors filed the charges against 46-year-old Kimberlie Gilliland in Cherokee Nation District Court Thursday. It is unclear if Gilliland has an attorney.

Gilliland is accused of using funds from the foundation for personal reasons, including vacations to California, computers, food, a Tulsa parking ticket and an online master's degree.

New Leaders Tabbed for Tulsa Schools

6 hours ago
Tulsa Public Schools

Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah A. Gist has made recommendations for two key leadership positions: chief of schools and chief learning officer. The recommendations of Errick Greene as chief of schools and Devin Fletcher as chief learning officer will be included on the agenda at the Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education meeting on August 1. The board is expected to approve both candidates during that meeting.

Free Breakfast and Lunch Expanded in TPS

6 hours ago

All students enrolled in the elementary grades at Tulsa Public Schools will be eligible to receive breakfast and lunch free of charge during the 2016-2017 school year through the USDA's Community Eligibility Provision. Parents and guardians of elementary level students will no longer need to complete free and reduced meal applications in order for children to participate in the School Breakfast and National School Lunch program.

Calls Renewed for African American Commission

Jul 29, 2016
KWGS News File Photo

More protests outside Tulsa’s City Hall…. Calling for an African-American Affairs Commission.

The mayor has proposed such a commission, but it has not moved off center.

The city already has separate Hispanic, Indian and Women Commissions.

Crash Knocks Out Tulsa Power

Jul 29, 2016
KWGS News

The power is coming back on near I-44 and Harvard.

A power pole snapped overnight in traffic crash near 48th and South Harvard. Harvard was shut down for awhile overnight while lines were repaired.

The roadway reopened about 4 a.m. 

State of Oklahoma

 

Gov. Mary Fallin's suggestion that lawmakers return for a special session to consider ways to increase teacher salaries is facing bipartisan criticism from legislators and even some teachers who call the idea short-sighted.

Fallin mentioned the possibility of a special session after state finance officials confirmed the state had $140.8 million available after the fiscal year that ended June 30.

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