Local & Regional

Mild Week Ahead

Apr 22, 2018
NWS Graphic

Ongoing showers and thunderstorms associated with upper level low will continue to lift northeast into southwestern Missouri this morning. The low will shift into SW Arkansas by this evening with the possibility of additional rain showers and thunderstorm development during the day. A mild and cool week with both high and low temperatures falling short of normal for much of the week. Rain and thunder chances return by midweek with the arrival of a storm system dropping in from the north.

KWGS News

A former Omaha police officer charged with misdemeanor assault for his role in the stun gun-related death of a mentally ill Oklahoma man last year will stand trial next year.

The Omaha World-Herald reports that 27-year-old Ryan McClarty will stand trial in January for a count of third-degree assault in the June confrontation at an Omaha convenience store with 29-year-old Zachary Bearheels. Bearheels was pronounced dead after the incident.

OFS

Rainfall is aiding firefighters' efforts to contain two major wildfires in Oklahoma that have charred 550 square miles.

Forestry officials reported progress Saturday on the two largest wildfires burning in western Oklahoma as weather forecasts estimated up to 1 inch of rain could fall in the area.

Officials said the Rhea Fire in Dewey County was nearly 30 percent contained Saturday. The blaze has charred about 452 square miles. The 34 Complex fire in Woodward County is nearly 70 percent contained and has burned 97 square miles.

Ricky Rubio waited seven years for a night like this.

Rubio, who never reached the playoffs in his first six seasons with Minnesota, had 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for Utah's first playoff triple-double in 17 years to help lead the Jazz to a 115-102 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night.

"We were down by 10 ... and I just changed my mentality, trying to be more aggressive and make some shots," Rubio said. "We made a run and it helps a lot when you're making shots and it felt great."

OAB

Public Radio Tulsa was honored again this year by the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters. The OAB  presented KWGS with two of its “Outstanding Achievement in Broadcasting Awards”.

KWGS News Director John Durkee was honor for a special series that aired in 2017 focusing on the State of Journalism as it is practiced in Tulsa.

Weekend Starts Off Wet

Apr 21, 2018
NWS Graphic

Rain showers and isolated thunder will increase in coverage later this morning and early afternoon as the storm system nears the region. Heaviest rainfall will occur this afternoon and evening as the system moves through. Many locations will see at least a half inch to 1 inch of rainfall...with widespread 1 to 2 inches possible. Greater instability across southeast Oklahoma will allow for increased coverage of thunderstorms this afternoon with a few stronger storms possible, however, overall severe threat remains low.

OU

The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by five this week to 1,013.

At this time a year ago there were 857 active rigs.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes reported Friday that 820 rigs drilled for oil this week and 192 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas added eight rigs while Louisiana and New Mexico each added one.

Colorado and North Dakota each declined by two rigs while Ohio, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania dropped one apiece.

photopedia.com

A recent report shows Oklahoma was among four states nationwide to generate at least 30 percent of the electricity produced inside state borders last year.

The industry report published by the American Wind Energy Association shows that Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa and South Dakota achieved that mark for 2017.

The Oklahoman reports that Oklahoma also ranked second in the country behind Texas for its nearly 7,500 megawatts electricity generating capacity provided through wind farms.

Oklahoma Forestry Service

Authorities are investigating the possibility of arson in connection with one of two large wildfires burning in Oklahoma, a blaze that's resulted in the death of one person.

Dewey County Sheriff Clay Sander said Friday that one person has been questioned, but not arrested, about a fire that began July 12 near Vici, about 110 miles (180 kilometers) northwest of Oklahoma City.

That fire merged with a fire that began near Leedey and has burned about 452 square miles (1,171 sq. kilometers).

NIEER

The latest State of Preschool report takes a bit of the shine off Oklahoma’s pre-K program.

The annual report says Oklahoma puts quantity over quality, getting the nation’s fourth-highest proportion of four-year-olds, 73 percent, into preschool but meeting just seven of 10 heightened quality standards.

National Institute for Early Education Research CEO Steven Barnett said there are great benefits to pre-K, especially for kids in low-income families.

npr

The Oklahoma Senate defeated a measure this week to let law enforcement agencies in the state store most body camera footage for just 90 days.

Agencies would submit to their district attorneys for approval guidelines on how they would determine if videos must be kept longer. Sen. Wayne Shaw said the measure was requested by the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office.

"It costs approximately $80 a month per police officer to store that information, which, just for Tulsa County alone, is talking about almost $300,000 a year, which becomes very expensive," Shaw said.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa County officials finally broke ground Friday on the new downtown Family Justice Center.

Voters approved the facility in 2014, but it’s been delayed as officials whittled down estimated costs and sent the project back out for bid.

The new building, located at Archer Street and Elwood Avenue, will replace a deteriorating one at 315 S Gilcrease Museum Road. It will also be bigger. District Court Juvenile Division Chief Judge Doris Fransein said the extra space is needed for more than just breathing room.

American Airlines Announces Tulsa Grants

Apr 20, 2018
KWGS News

 

American Airlines is awarding $145,020.00 in grants to 13 local non-profit community organizations through its Tulsa regional giving council. 

 

The grants include:

 

In the local news:

  • Tulsa's Congressman will be the next NASA Chief.
  • Testimony begins today in the Michael Bever trial.
  • Progress is noted in Oklahoma's wildfire fight.

State of Oklahoma-File Photo

 

Scott Pruitt's penchant for travel and concerns about security were notable even before he became head of the Environmental Protection Agency, according to newly obtained records that show that as Oklahoma's attorney general he frequently traveled out-of-state for appearances before conservative groups and used an office investigator as a driver.

As Oklahoma's top prosecutor from 2011 to 2016, Pruitt was raising his profile nationally as a conservative in favor of rolling back regulation and federal authority.

OFS

   

Firefighters are hoping higher humidity and milder winds will help them fight wildfires in Oklahoma.

U.S. Forest Service spokesman Todd Schroeder said Thursday that a fire near Leedey, about 110 miles northwest of Oklahoma City, that has burned about 440 square miles is about 15 percent contained.

A 106-square-mile blaze near Woodward, about 40 miles north of Leedey, is about 45 percent contained.

 

 

KWGS File Photo

 

A jury has been picked to hear the murder case involving the younger of two brothers accused of fatally stabbing their parents and three siblings inside their Oklahoma home.

Twelve jurors and two alternates were seated Thursday for the trial of 19-year-old Michael Bever.

Bever is charged with five counts of first-degree murder and one count of assault and battery with intent to kill for his role in the July 2015 stabbings.

Opening statements are scheduled Friday in Tulsa district court.

Bridenstine's office

  

Oklahoma U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine is confirmed as the next NASA administrator.

Senate Republicans pushed Bridenstine’s nomination to a vote today, which ended 50–49 with the help of some in the party who previously opposed Bridenstine. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot announcing he would retire at the end of the month helped sway him to vote for Bridenstine.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

A Tulsa judge rules for the city in a move that could allow development on a portion of Helmerich Park land to go forward. The dispute is over plans for a sporting goods store at 71st and Riverside. Protestors sued, claiming the land was purchased for a park and intended to always be used as a park. Attorney Greg Bledsoe represents the plaintiffs. He says the ruling sets a ‘horrible’ precedent by selling land bought with taxpayer and private funds for a park, then declare what he calls public trust land abandoned to sell for private development.

#We Remember

Apr 19, 2018
OKC Memorial

Only birds in the pine trees, next to the reflecting pool, could be heard during 168 seconds of silence this morning in Oklahoma City. That was one second for each of the people killed in the Oklahoma City bombing.

It was 23-years ago today, that Timothy McVeigh lit the use of a Ryder Rental Truck that had been converted into a giant bomb and parked next to the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building. That blast killed 168 people. 20 of those killed were children in a daycare center next to the parked truck.

File photo

 

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says law enforcement officers in Tishomingo fatally shot a man who was using his vehicle to ram a patrol car.

The OSBI says two Tishomingo officers and a Johnston County deputy were responding to a family violence call Tuesday night when 39-year-old Justin Monjay rammed the patrol car.

The agency says Monjay continued to push the car backward and the two officers and the deputy opened fire. Monjay was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Oklahoma County

 

An Oklahoma man has been found not guilty by reason of insanity in the fatal stabbing of his father, who served as the state's labor commissioner at the time of his death.

Authorities say Christian Costello fatally stabbed his father, Mark Costello, in August 2015 at an Oklahoma City Braums.  On Wednesday, Oklahoma County District Judge Ray Elliott found Costello not guilty by reason of insanity and ordered that Costello be sent to the state hospital for treatment.

In the local news:

  • Wildfires burn across western Oklahoma.
  • Oklahoma remembers the Murrah bombing.
  • Jury Selection continues in the Bever murder trial.

OFS

 

Frazzled residents in a part of rural northwestern Oklahoma paralyzed by days of wind-whipped wildfires expressed fear a blaze could overrun their home Wednesday, as firefighters battling the deadly fires there and in Colorado, Kansas and New Mexico found some relief at the promise of easing of dangerous weather conditions.

Wikimedia

 

A key budget negotiator in the Oklahoma House says lawmakers are nearing a final agreement on a spending plan and are hoping to adjourn this year's legislative session three weeks early.

File photo

The Oklahoma legislature is advancing a slate of criminal justice reforms it did not take up last year.

The seven bills tackle recommendations to reduce Oklahoma's incarceration rate, like tying tiered property crime punishments to dollar values and distinguishing sentencing enhancements between violent and nonviolent criminal histories.

One of the measures, House Bill 2286, will address the fact that only about one in 10 Oklahoma prisoners are paroled.

State lawmakers appear poised to direct the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to come up with Medicaid work requirements matching those for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The Oklahoma Senate passed House Bill 2932 on a 31–11 vote Wednesday, sending it back to the House for final approval.

Adults 18 to 50 years old would have to work or participate in approved programs 20 hours a week unless they qualify for an exemption. That could affect around 8,000 Oklahomans currently qualifying for SoonerCare benefits under Medicaid's parent and caretaker eligibility.

In the local news:

  • Wildfires continues across portions of Oklahoma.
  • Jury selection continues in the Michael Bever murder trial.
  • State testing begins in the Tulsa Public Schools

Another Tulsa Jump at the Pump

Apr 18, 2018
KWGS News

Oil is up over $67 a barrel. That means our gasoline prices in Tulsa area up. Quik Trip overnight joined Kum & Go in hiking fuel prices.  Kum and Go raised its prices yesterday.

The price of regular unleaded fuel increased to $2.45 at most Tulsa area service stations.  That is a 12-cent per gallon increase.

C-SPAN

 

The Republican chairman of a Senate oversight committee is pressing the head of the Environmental Protection Agency to provide details about his use of multiple government email addresses.

Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso issued a letter asking EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to disclose all his email addresses and affirm that all were being searched in response to Freedom of Information Act requests.

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