Local & Regional

Car Crash Closes Collinsville Cafe

1 minute ago
Collinsville Fire Department

The chicken fried steak will not be dished-up today at the Silver Dollar Café in Collinsville.

A car went out of control and crashed into the restaurant yesterday. That caused the roof to collapse. The business was closed at the time.

Only the driver of the car was injured.

EMSA and CEO Named in Kickback Allegation

43 minutes ago
KWGS File Photo

Tulsa’s Emergency Medical Services Authority and its CEO are named in a federal civil complaint. The action was filed in Texas and accuses EMSA and its CEO Steve Williamson of benefiting from a kickback scheme.

EMSA says it tries to abide by the rules and that the allegations in no way reflect on the quality of care to patients. 

KWGS News/State of Oklahoma

A Tulsa Republican legislator accused of sexual harassment by two former legislative assistants says he won't cooperate with a state House committee looking into the allegations and the use of government funds to settle with one of his accusers. Rep. Dan Kirby says he has serious concerns about the secretive nature of the panel, which met again Monday to investigate allegations of sexual harassment against him and a second lawmaker.

OSU

 

The president of Oklahoma State University has apologized after a white student posted an image of herself on social media in blackface.

OSU President Burns Hargis says he met Monday with black student leaders who expressed frustration and concern over the racially insensitive post. The image was posted six days after a group of OSU students took a similar picture in which some students appeared in blackface on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

In the local news:

  • There is a RED FLAG FIRE WARNING for the Tulsa area.
  • An arrest is made in a Sapulpa double homicide.
  • Kick Back allegations are leveled at EMSA and its CEO.

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A state senate panel is going over the books of Oklahoma’s nonappropriated agencies this week.

The Oklahoma Medical Board is among the agencies with budgets made up of fees they charge — licenses in the medical board’s case. Director Lyle Kelsey said that’s been enough so far.

"We try to operate it as a business would. We try to spend less than we make so that we do have some in reserves," Kelsey said. "We carry enough for lawsuits and legal actions and prosecutions, hiring of doctors to be expert witnesses and so on."

Margaret Hudson Program

The nonprofit helping pregnant teens finish high school is trying to deal with a loss of more than $700,000 in funding since last year.

Margaret Hudson Program Director Betina Tillman said the biggest impact will be to child care and health services, including students’ ability to visit with nurses.

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The Sheriff’s Office takes bids on providing private armed security at the Tulsa Courthouse. A handful of bids are received from companies that want to take over armed security at courthouse entrances. Sheriff Vic Regalado says it doesn’t necessarily mean the posts now manned by deputies will go private. It will depend on whether adequate security can be provided by the private sector at a lower cost.  

State of Oklahoma-File Photo

 

 An Oklahoma lawmaker who's been the subject of a sexual harassment complaint and a subsequent settlement by the House says he doesn't intend to testify before a special House committee looking into the matter.

In a statement released on Monday, state Rep. Dan Kirby says he has serious concerns about the secretive nature of the panel, which is meeting behind closed doors to investigate allegations of sexual harassment against him and another legislator.

File photo

The average price of a gallon of regular-grade gasoline fell just over 1 cent nationally during the past two weeks, to $2.36. Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday that the drop mostly results from a dip in crude oil costs. Lundberg says the current price is 46 cents a gallon above what it was a year ago.

The report shows Tulsa with the cheapest gasoline in the nation at $2.05 per gallon. Many stations are charging less.

 

DHS Wants Additional $42-Million

Jan 23, 2017

The giant Oklahoma Department of Human Services say it is going to near over $42-million to finish out the last six-months of this year. Representative Pat Ownbey heads the committee that oversees the DHS.

He is not surprised by the request. But, Ownbey says the request would be hard to fulfill with Oklahoma's cash crisis.              

The state is facing a $900-million shortfall. The DHS says without it, programs will be cut and employees furloughed.

Double Homicide at Sapulpa Business

Jan 23, 2017
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Two people are dead after being shot to death last night at a small convenience store and gas station in Sapulpa. No names have been released.

The OSBI has been called in to aid the Sapulpa Police Department in its investigation. The business is a Main and Burnham in Sapulpa.

Police believe robbery may have been the motive for the double homicide. 

Investigators believe the victims were a customer and a clerk. No suspects have been identified, but authorities say they are reviewing surveillance video from the store.

File photo

 

 More than $56 million worth of school bond issues will be on Tulsa-area ballots next month.

Voters will decide Feb. 14 on the packages for Union, Jenks and Skiatook Public Schools.

Union Public Schools proposes a $26 million bond package to ensure the next phase of construction at the district's new elementary school.

Skiatook Public Schools has a near-$20 million bond package to finish the second phase of construction at Skiatook Elementary and provide funding for a technology initiative for students, among other projects.

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 A Church of Scientology-backed drug rehabilitation program in southeastern Oklahoma where four clients died continues to operate because of a loophole in a state law.

Under Stacy's Law, Narconon Arrowhead lost its state certification for a medical detox facility in McAlester in 2013 and subsequently closed.

But The Oklahoman newspaper reports that the loophole lets the facility continue to operate its drug rehabilitation program certified not as an inpatient treatment program, but as a halfway house.

In the Local News:

  • The DHS says it needs over $42-million in additional funding.
  • Two people are killed at a Sapulpa gas station.
  • Rallies are held for women's rights in Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

Bills to Boost Teacher Salaries Pour Into Capitol

Jan 22, 2017
KWGS File photo

Among the deluge of bills filed by state legislators in advance of the upcoming session are more than two dozen proposals to boost teacher pay.

Teachers, disappointed by the defeat of State Question 779, which would have generated about $550 million a year for education through a 1 percent sales tax, say they’re counting on legislators to do more than just talk.

OKC Fire Department-Facebook

Oklahoma City police are investigating after firefighters discovered a body in a burning car on the city's northwest side.

Oklahoma City firefighters responded to a car fire early Saturday morning and found one person dead inside the burning vehicle.

Authorities have not released the name of the person and said the investigation was ongoing Saturday.

OSU

Members of an Oklahoma State University fraternity have suspended social events for the academic year after the death of a member by alcohol poisoning last year.

The Oklahoman newspaper reports that the Sigma Chi fraternity put themselves on social probation.

Twenty-year-old Brandon Matthew Cavazos of Bedford, Texas, was found unresponsive Nov. 12 in his bedroom at the fraternity house. The state medical examiner determined he died from alcohol poisoning. The death was ruled accidental.

A school spokesman says OSU has yet to take disciplinary action.

KWGS

Women in Oklahoma's two largest cities joined hundreds of thousands more in cities around the world to send President Donald Trump a message that his agenda won't go unchecked over the next four years.

Organizers estimated at least 5,000 protesters marched at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City on Saturday and hundreds more in Tulsa— just two of some 600 cities around the world holding similar demonstrations. In Oklahoma City, protesters held signs that read "Unite Together" and "You Can't Comb Over Misogyny."

A 17-year-old pedestrian trying to run across an Oklahoma highway has died of his injuries.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says in a preliminary report that the unidentified teenage male died Friday at an emergency center in Wichita, Kansas.

The patrol report says the pedestrian was trying to run across the highway near the town of Hooker Thursday morning.

The patrol says the 35-year-old driver was uninjured.

A federal appeals court says lending companies operated by Native American tribes are subject to investigation by a government regulator.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Friday rejected a claim by three tribes that their lending companies were protected by tribal sovereignty from investigation by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

A three-judge panel of the court said Congress did not exclude tribes from the bureau's enforcement authority.

Oklahoma State Capitol

 Some familiar topics like abortion and firearms are among those in the more than 2,200 bills and resolutions filed by Oklahoma House and Senate members ahead of the 2017 legislative session that begins Feb. 6.

The 2,242 bills and resolutions filed by this week's deadline is about average for the first session of a Legislature in Oklahoma. There were 2,091 filed in 2015 and 2,466 introduced in 2013.

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 A man who was involved in a police chase that seriously injured an Oologah officer has been sentenced to life in prison.

Cesar Rios was sentenced Friday to four life sentences after pleading guilty last fall to multiple charges, including shooting with intent to kill. The 25-year-old Rios will be 62 when he is eligible for parole.

Prosecutors say Rios was a passenger in a vehicle that led officers on a pursuit in May 2015. Prosecutors say someone inside the vehicle fired shots at a police car, striking Oologah officer Charles Neill, causing his squad car to roll over.

TravelOk

Authorities say a human skull found more than a year ago in Pittsburg County belonged to a Broken Arrow man who was wanted on lewd molestation charges.

The Tulsa World reports the state medical examiner's office has identified the skull as belonging to Russell Ray Wilson. The skull was found in December 2015 in the Turkey Flat area of Arrowhead State Park.

A report from the medical examiner says Wilson died from a gunshot wound, but examiners were unable to determine whether his death was a homicide or suicide.

Catholic Online

For the first time in state history, nonwhite students collectively make up the majority of total enrollment in Oklahoma public schools.

The Oklahoman reports that enrollment data released Thursday shows nonwhite students now account for 50.6 percent of the total enrollment. Nearly 700,000 students attend Oklahoma public schools.

President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans’ goal of repealing the Affordable Care Act could cost Oklahoma big.

Doing away with premium tax credits and Medicaid expansion would mean a $140 billion drop in federal health care spending in 2019. Sara Collins with the Commonwealth Fund said Oklahoma’s share of that loss is $4.2 billion.

"This would have the effect of reducing state economic output by about $13 billion over five years," Collins said.

Thousands of jobs could also be lost.

Oklahoma Watch

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has expanded eligibility for its Rural Development loans to another 100 square miles of Osage and Tulsa Counties.

"We have no down payment requirements on any of our single-family programs. They are fixed rate. Terms are 33 years on our direct program and 30 years on the guarantee," said Oklahoma Single Family Housing Program Director Tommy Earls.

Oklahoma lawmakers were told not to propose teacher pay raises without a plan to fund them.

State Senator David Holt wants to raise teacher pay $10-thousand dollars over four years, and he’s filed a dozen bills with funding ideas.

"Things I've proposed include the expansion of the applicability of the sales tax, include looking at nonappropriated agencies and what they pay to the state," Holt said. "It includes tax credits. It includes apportioning new revenue growth to teacher pay."

Google Street View

 

 

Officials in an eastern Oklahoma town are investigating after many residents temporarily lost water service this week.

The loss of service happened in the Muskogee County town of Boynton, about 100 miles east of Oklahoma City. The town's water operator, Travis Wilson, says officials initially thought that there was a major leak after he discovered Sunday that the town's water tower was empty.

Wilson estimates that the town lost nearly 140,000 gallons of water per day before the main valve was closed.

   

Officials say one person has died in an oil tank battery explosion west of Waukomis in Garfield County.

The explosion occurred Wednesday evening. The Enid News and Eagle reports that Garfield County Sheriff Jerry Niles says the victim was at the site at the time. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission's oil and gas division has been contacted to investigate.

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