Local & Regional

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A Tulsa teacher who was launched into the spotlight last year after panhandling for money to buy school supplies is back on the streets to advocate for teachers and collect supplies.

The Tulsa World reports that Teresa Danks began panhandling by Interstate 44 on the one-year mark from the first time she hit the streets July 19, 2017. She has since left her position teaching third grade at Grimes Elementary School because she felt uncertain the teacher pay raises would stick.

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The Oklahoma unemployment rate fell slightly in June.

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission said Friday that the jobless rate fell from 4 percent in May to 3.9 percent in June.

The commission reported that the number of people with jobs rose by 5,805 while the number of jobless declined by 1,641.

St-Gregory's

SHAWNEE, Okla. (AP) — Investors have paid more than $10 million in bids for assets involving oil and natural gas wells owned by the bankrupt St. Gregory's University in central Oklahoma as part of a court-ordered auction.

The Oklahoman reports that bidders this week paid more than $10.2 million for minerals, royalties, overriding royalties and working interests involving nearly 1,700 properties the Shawnee university owned in 10 states.

The leader of Tulsa’s understaffed 911 center says things are improving.

Tulsa 911 Director Terry O’Malley said citizen complaints about long waits on the phone and rude dispatchers come down to inadequate staffing. At its worst in 2016, 40 percent of 911 calls were answered within 10 seconds. The national standard is 90 percent.

So, the 911 center made some changes.

"What I’m seeing is we’re keeping people, they appear to be happier, they’re doing a better job, and we’re just going to continue with what we’re doing," O'Malley said.

Groups fighting hunger are paying attention as the U.S. House and Senate reconcile their different versions of the new farm bill.

Hunger Free Oklahoma estimates up to 97,000 Oklahomans could be subject to heightened work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program proposed in the House version.

The House farm bill proposes making the work requirements apply to adults up to 59 years old — 10 years longer than current work requirements — and to parents of children 6 or older, who are currently exempt.

In the local news:

  • More feared dead in Branson boating accident.
  • A green light for a new Tulsa Pedestrian Bridge.
  • The A.G. Voices concerns over health department and medical marijuana rules.

Carmelo is Gone

Jul 20, 2018

Carmelo Anthony is done in Oklahoma City. The veteran NBA forward and a 2022 protected first-round pick were sent to Atlanta in exchange for guard Dennis Schroder and Mike Muscala. Anthony is expected to be waived, leaving him a free agent. As part of the trade, the Thunder will send Muscala to the Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia's Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot will go to Oklahoma City and the 76ers' Justin Anderson will be sent to Atlanta.

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Oklahoma prison officials say two inmates who walked away from a prison in southwestern Oklahoma have been recaptured.

State Department of Correction spokesman Matt Elliott says 29-year-old Jody Elmore and 32-year-old Chad Adams were found Thursday in a rural area of Jackson County. Elliott says the inmates were taken to the Jackson County Jail in Altus, about 23 miles (37 kilometers) from the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in Granite where they had been incarcerated.

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Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater says he's asked state investigators to expand their criminal probe surrounding the former top attorney for the Health Department who wrote the state's new medical marijuana rules.

Prater confirmed late Thursday he learned of a text exchange between attorney Julia Ezell and the State Board of Pharmacy's Executive Director Chelsea Church. In the exchange, Church appears to offer Ezell a job at the agency in return for favorable rules on medical marijuana.

Excessive Heat Warning for Tulsa

Jul 20, 2018
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The National Weather Service in Tulsa has issued an Excessive Heat Warning, which is in effect from noon today to 9 PM CDT this evening. The Heat Advisory is no longer in effect. HEAT INDEX VALUES...From 105 to 110 with potential for values near 115 degrees. TEMPERATURE...High temperatures in the upper 90s to around 108. Impacts...The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will create a dangerous situation in which heat illnesses are possible. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside.

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Leaders in the Oklahoma House and Senate have named a 13-member working group of legislators to recommend regulations for the new medical marijuana industry in the state.

The nine Republicans and four Democrats plan to convene a series of public meetings on medical marijuana beginning next week.

The authors of medical marijuana State Question 788, approved by 57 percent of voters last month, required the state to have a system for licensing applications for patients and dispensaries up and running within 30 days of passage.

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GRANITE, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma prison officials say two inmates who walked away from a prison in southwestern Oklahoma have been recaptured.

State Department of Correction spokesman Matt Elliott says 29-year-old Jody Elmore and 32-year-old Chad Adams were found Thursday in a rural area of Jackson County. Elliott says the inmates were taken to the Jackson County Jail in Altus, about 23 miles from the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in Granite where they had been incarcerated.

Tulsa County Sheriff

A Tulsa man accused of running a fake veteran’s charity is in jail.

Jeff McDougal, 43, faces 18 felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses on behalf of American Oklahomans of Green Country. The Oklahoma attorney general’s office found many of McDougal’s victims thought they were giving to the legitimate Green Country Veterans Association.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said Thursday he’s received word the state board of health will hold a special meeting to follow his advice on medical marijuana rules.

That will include undoing controversial, last-minute changes that attracted two lawsuits. The board amended proposed Oklahoma State Department of Health rules in order to ban the sale of smokable marijuana and to require pharmacists in dispensaries, which Hunter said they didn’t have authority to do.

Moving Forward with New Pedestrian Bridge

Jul 19, 2018
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The Tulsa River Parks Authority approved an agreement today that would allow the City of Tulsa, River Parks and the Gathering Place to move forward in partnership with the construction of an iconic pedestrian bridge over the Arkansas River. 

 

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Oklahoma prison officials say they are searching for a pair of inmates who walked away from a southwestern Oklahoma prison.

The inmates are among three who walked away Wednesday morning from the Oklahoma State Reformatory in Granite.

A state game warden captured one inmate, 22-year-old Jon Elliot, shortly after Elliot walked away. He is serving a four-year sentence for conspiracy to commit grand larceny out of Le Flore County.

The search continues for the other two: 29-year-old Jody Elmore and 32-year-old Chad Adams.

Lincoln County

 

Authorities say a malnourished 15-year-old Oklahoma boy who survived by eating sticks, leaves and grass has been found living in a barn, and four members of his family have been arrested for child neglect.

The Oklahoman reported Thursday that Lincoln County assistant District Attorney Adam Panter said the boy weighed 80 pounds (36 kilograms) July 12, when he was found sharing the barn with goats, rabbits and chickens.

The teen is hospitalized.

The boy's name and condition haven't been released. Panter says he could have died without medical attention.

In the local news:

  • Dangerous heat is in the forecast.
  • The city council bans juveniles from buying  spray paint.
  • The AG issues an opinion on medical marijuana rules.

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A Tulsa man is behind bars this morning for shooting his ex-girlfriend.

53-year-old Greg Trombley was arrested at a home just northwest of 91st and South Yale. Authorities say called police to tell them about the shooting and was waiting for officers.

The woman was 60-years old. Her name has not been released by homicide detectives. 

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Central Oklahoma authorities say three people have been injured in an explosion and fire at a saltwater disposal well.

Kingfisher County emergency management officials say the explosion occurred shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday at a saltwater disposal well south of Oklahoma Highway 33. The wells are used to dispose of wastewater from oil and natural gas operations.

Officials say those injured have been taken to a local hospital for treatment, but their conditions were not immediately available.

HOT !

Jul 19, 2018
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The hottest temperatures of the year so far will occur today, with afternoon highs ranging from 95 to 105. Heat index values will climb into the 105 to 110 degree range across the area this afternoon. Even hotter temperatures are expected Friday, but humidity levels will be lower than today. Afternoon heat index values will still approach 110 in some places Friday afternoon however. A weak cold front will push through the area by Saturday bringing somewhat cooler conditions, although heat index values will likely still exceed 105 in some places this weekend into early next week.

Tulsa city councilors approved a ban on spray paint sales to and possession by minors in Tulsa with a couple changes.

The council voted 5–2 for the ordinance, with Councilors Ben Kimbro and Vanessa Hall-Harper opposed.

A provision adopted from Oklahoma City's similar ordinance protects store clerks from prosecution if they ask for an underage paint buyer’s ID and are shown a convincing fake.

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Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter says the state's Board of Health overstepped its authority with several of the emergency rules it adopted last week for medical marijuana.

In a letter Wednesday to Interim Commissioner of Health Tom Bates, Hunter specifically cites last-minute changes that prohibit the sale of smokable marijuana and require a pharmacist at every dispensary.

KWGS News

With temperatures expected to be the highest of the summer this week, a donation of fans to the Tulsa Salvation Army is arriving just in time. The box fans come from Westlake ACE Hardware. The Salvation Army’s Major Mark Gilliam thanked the company for helping those in need. He says the donated fans come just in time for the dangerously hot temperatures. The Salvation Army’s supply of fans is being rapidly depleted due to the heat wave we’ve already seen in recent weeks.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

 

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections says there is an air conditioning outage at one of its prisons.

The department says a chiller malfunctioned Tuesday at the Lexington Assessment and Reception Center in Lexington, causing outages in several areas of the prison.

Officials are using fans to circulate air in the administration and medical offices, the visiting room, mailroom and three inmate housing units.

A replacement part is expected to arrive Wednesday and the department says repairs will begin immediately.

In the local news:

  • A new program is underway to bring more food to more hungry Tulsa kids.
  • The State Health Department's attorney resigns after allegedly sending herself threating emails.
  • The debate continues in Tulsa over the Robert E. Lee name. 

DA Steps Down From Assault Case

Jul 18, 2018
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The Rogers County District Attorney will not represent Sheriff Scott Walton in a civil lawsuit. Matt Ballard recused himself from the case yesterday.

Walton is accused of assaulting a medical marijuana supporter at a forum when he physically removed him from the event.

Chip Paul, the founder of ‘Oklahomans for Health’, filed a lawsuit against Walton for assault. Walton has claimed Paul was being disruptive. That is an allegation Paul denies.

What's in a Name? Apparently, a Lot

Jul 18, 2018
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The controversy around the name Robert E. Lee continues in Tulsa. Another meeting was held last night to gather input on five proposed new names for the Tulsa Elementary School.

The names are Abraham Lincoln, Woody Guthrie, Clara Luper, Maple Ridge and Council Oak. Tulsa had a Lincoln Elementary in the past. It was closed in 1990 due to decreasing enrollment and became part of the Cherry Street shopping district at 15th and Peoria.

The School Board is expected to again take up the re-naming issue early next month. Lee’s name tied to the Civil War and slavery. 

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The U.S. Geological Survey says a 3.1 magnitude earthquake has been recorded in central Oklahoma.

The USGS says the temblor was recorded at 3:38 p.m. Tuesday about 3 miles (5 kilometers) east of Edmond, or about 15 miles (24 kilometers) north of Oklahoma City. The earthquake was recorded at a depth of about 4 miles (6.3 kilometers).

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. Geologists say damage is not likely in earthquakes below magnitude 4.0.

 

The chaplain of a minimum security prison for women has resigned after he was accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a female inmate.

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections says Chaplain Don Dickerson resigned Tuesday after his arrest last week on a complaint of rape by instrumentation.

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