Local & Regional

Matt Trotter / KWGS

At his inaugural address Thursday, Tulsa Regional Chamber 2018 Chair Steve Bradshaw said northeast Oklahoma needs to focus on education funding, "new economy" jobs and direct flights.

Those are the things the BOK Financial Corporation president and CEO thinks will see the Tulsa region "soaring ahead" during 2018.

Bradshaw said underfunded schools are the single largest barrier to attracting new businesses to the region and to encouraging existing ones to invest more in it.

Bradshaw encouraged northeast Oklahomans to meet that challenge aggressively.

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Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine’s nomination to lead NASA is again moving forward.

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation again approved the nomination Thursday on a 14–13 party line vote. 

Bridenstine's nomination was returned to the White House at the end of 2017 after stalling in the Senate, and it was resubmitted. He was not at the hearing.

Tulsa Misses Amazon's Top 20

Jan 18, 2018
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The city of Tulsa comes up short in its quest to become the second home of Amazon. The firm released its top 20 list and Tulsa was not on it.

Mayor Bynum tells KWGS, despite that, the bid signaled a new era for Tulsa in economic development. He says Tulsa will continue to target large corporations interested in relocation. He says the days of fighting the the suburbs over a new shopping center are gone.

Oklahoma City was not on the list either. Austin, Texas was. Over 230 cities bid on the headquarters and its 50-thousand jobs.

Daniel Paquet/Wikimedia

Tulsa County now leads the state in the number of deaths and hospitalizations from flu. According to Jamie Dukes with the State Health Department, the most patients with influenza are reported in the two most populous counties…Oklahoma and Tulsa. Here in Tulsa County, 338 people have been hospitalized since flu season began in September, and the county is now reporting ten deaths. All the deaths statewide are in the age group 50 and older.

Dukes says nearly 15-hundred people have been hospitalized since flu season began. She reminds Oklahomans it’s NOT too late to get a shot

Marietta Fire

 

Authorities in southern Oklahoma say a 13-year-old boy died while trying to help his paralyzed father escape from a mobile home fire.

Love County Sheriff Marty Grisham says the father also died in the Wednesday morning blaze. Authorities tell The Daily Ardmoreite that the fire was ruled accidental and that space heaters may be to blame.

Grisham says the boy was trying to help his father escape from the blaze but they both succumbed to smoke inhalation.

Bartlesville Police

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is being called in to handle the investigation of a police shooting at Bartlesville.

The shooting took place last night as officers were attempting to serve a drug search warrant at a home in the 1600 block of South Maple.

Police say as officers were questioning a man at the home, his mother started shooting from the next room. Officers returned the fire.

In the local news:

  • The DHS requests over $2 Billion in budget funding.
  • 2 Bartlesville Police Officers and a woman are injured in an exchange of gun fire.
  • A contractor is being called in to help with Tulsa's rash of waterline breaks. 

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More than a half dozen school districts in Oklahoma and one in Texas have closed for at least a day because of a flu outbreak.

In Oklahoma, the Cleveland and Union City schools both closed for a day earlier this week, while the Morris, Quinton, Swink, Hugo and Valliant districts are closed until next week.

The Bonham Independent School District in Texas is also closed until next week.

KWGS News file photo

 

A Republican state senator has filed a bill to take leftover campaign funds from some state lawmakers who resign, in order to offset the cost of special elections to replace them.

The bill by Sen. Ron Sharp of Shawnee would send the resigning lawmaker's remaining campaign funds to the state election board in order to help pay for the election to replace the lawmaker. The bill would not apply to campaign funds of a lawmaker who dies in office.

Temple Beats Tulsa

Jan 18, 2018

 

Quinton Rose scored 19 points with four 3-pointers, Josh Brown hit the winning basket with 28 seconds left, and Temple beat Tulsa 59-58 on Wednesday night.

Temple closed to 58-57 on Obi Enechionyia's 3 with 1:24 to go and Brown's layup off of J.P. Moorman II's offensive rebound put the Owls up 59-58. Shizz Alston Jr. stole the ball on Tulsa's final possession.

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With Oklahoma’s prisons bursting at the seams, why aren’t more nonviolent offenders being considered for parole?

The Pardon and Parole Board granted early release in about one-third of the 2,458 cases it reviewed last year, which was an increase. Executive Director DeLynn Fudge said many more inmates are choosing not to be even considered for parole.

"Almost 4,800 people are waiving their parole, and we can’t parole them if we don’t see them," Fudge said.

Many inmates waive parole for one to three years in order to get out of prison on regular release.

KWGS News

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services told lawmakers Wednesday it needs a $2.5 billion budget next year.

The 4 percent increase would come largely from state appropriations to DHS climbing from $684 million to $749 million.

"This is sort of the sum total of, really, not necessarily advancing the cause. It’s sort of getting us back to where we were once upon a time not too long ago," said DHS Director Ed Lake.

City of Tulsa

The city of Tulsa is bringing in a contractor to help address the rash of waterline breaks. The cold weather is catching the blame for breaks all over town. Eric Parker heads up the city’s efforts to fix the breaks.

City crews will work on some of the smaller breaks, while a contractor handles the big ones.  Parker says yesterday’s break at 21st and Peoria is one of those big ones.

Parker says new pipe will be installed and then the road will be resurfaced. It expects that to take, at least, a couple of weeks.

AirHogs

 

 

Officials at a northern Oklahoma air force base are asking the public to keep recreational drones away from aircraft after a near collision on a training flight.

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It appears the Oklahoma Multi County Grand Jury is looking into the reports of sexual assault on a Bixby Football player, allegedly by other team members.

Grand Jury proceedings are done behind closed doors and witnesses are instructed not to discuss the case. Members of the Bixby football team were spotted entering the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office this morning in Oklahoma City, where the Grand Jury meets.

At issue is why did it take school officials nearly a month to report the incident.

KFOR-TV

 

A former Oklahoma City mayor has been reappointed to the board of a local charter school after resigning following his anti-gay comments during a public affairs TV show.

Kirk Humphreys had also resigned from the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents after he compared gay people to pedophiles during a local TV show that aired on KFOR-TV in December.

The university sponsors John Rex Elementary School and had appointed Humphreys to the charter school's board. He resigned from that post in the wake of his comments.

Wikimedia

 

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says it is looking into a potential threat against a state lawmaker who says he discovered a tracking device beneath his pickup truck.

The Oklahoman reports Republican Rep. Mark McBride of Moore says he found the contraption beneath the driver's side of his pickup Dec. 4.

As first reported by online news site NonDoc, McBride reported the device to Moore police and filed a lawsuit alleging invasion of privacy and trespass in Oklahoma County District Court in an effort to identify who was responsible.

In the local news:

  • The bitter cold hangs with us at least one more day.
  • The DOC officially asks for a $1.5 billion budget.
  • A waterline break causes the street to buckle near Woodward Park.

  Two of Oklahoma's largest oil and natural gas industry trade groups say they support a plan to increase the state's energy production tax as part of a broad tax plan to help fund a teacher pay raise and stabilize state revenues.

The Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association and the Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association both announced Tuesday they were backing the plan unveiled last week by a group of state business and civic leaders.

Busted Water Line Causes Tulsa Street to Buckle

Jan 17, 2018
City of Tulsa

Tulsa city crews are working again today on that massive waterline break near Woodward Park.

The 16-inch line caused water to bubble-up from under the street. The cold caused the pavement to turn into an impromptu ice-rink. The road eventually buckled from the collapse.

Crews will replace the busted line and then begin the process of repairing the roadway. If you can, you should avoid the area around 21st and Peoria. The break was apparently caused by the cold conditions.

South Tulsa Fire Takes a Life

Jan 17, 2018

Tulsa Fire Fighters say a woman was killed in a spectacular overnight fire. The blaze was in south Tulsa in the 1700 block of South 56th Street.

Fire Captain Stan May says it was a difficult fire to fight because of the extremely cold weather that caused water to freeze almost as soon as it came out of the fire hoses, and ice that caused slippery footing. The fire department says the home was filled with items that made it difficult to navigate.

The woman killed was 56-years old. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services asked lawmakers Tuesday for $197 million for fiscal year 2019.

The agency's first priority is maintaining current service levels. That will take $40 million. Commissioner Terri White said that number could end up being less if Congress fully reauthorizes the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

"Because you gave us the responsibility for Medicaid for behavioral health for kids, if they do not reauthorize CHIP, it is a $12.2 million dollar hit to us," White said.

Morris Schools Closed for Rest of the Week

Jan 16, 2018
Google Street View

It is not slick roads or even the extreme cold that is closing the Morris School District for the rest of the week.

In a statement on social media, the Okmulgee County School District announced it is closing until Monday because of the flu. About 30% of the student body was absent today with flu like symptoms.  That number was 20% yesterday.

Crews are disinfecting the schools buildings now. They plan to resume school on Monday.

Tulsa's Oldest Elephant Enters Hospice

Jan 16, 2018
Tulsa Zoo

The Tulsa Zoo’s oldest elephant, Gunda, is experiencing a natural decline in health because of her advanced age. After thoughtful deliberation, animal care and veterinary staff are initiating hospice care, to ensure Gunda is comfortable as staff monitors her quality of life.

The longest resident of the Tulsa Zoo, Gunda celebrated her 67th birthday last November, making her among the oldest elephants in human care. She is the Tulsa Zoo’s first elephant, arriving in 1954.

State Senate

The head of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections goes before a house-and-senate committee to justify his request for a $1.5 billion budget. That is over a billion dollars more than the current budget.

Director Joe Allbaugh says Oklahoma must have new prisons because we are out of space. He says the prison system is at 112% of capacity. He says if you take away the rented beds, that number goes to 151%.                 

In the local news:

  • Bitter cold closes many school districts.
  • An arrest is made in the QT murder.
  • Tulsa honors Dr. King.

 

Police in a southwest Oklahoma town are investigating after a young girl was killed by a pet dog at her home over the weekend.

Duncan police say officers were dispatched to the home around 3 p.m. Sunday on reports that a girl was being attacked.

Police Chief Dan Ford says by the time officers arrived, the dog had dragged the girl out in the yard and was attacking her. As the police approached, the dog charged one of the officers, who fatally shot the animal.

Police have not released the name or age of the girl.

Cherokee Nation

 

Cherokee Nation leaders are marking Martin Luther King Jr. Day by acknowledging the tribe needs to come to terms with its treatment of former slaves, known as Freedmen.

The tribe — one of the country's largest — recognized the King holiday for the first time Monday with participation in a parade and a visit to the Martin Luther King Community Center in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

Bitter Cold Settles Over Green Country

Jan 16, 2018
Cathy Jones Tuomala

Bitterly cold weather has settled over northeast Oklahoma. The snow north and east of Tulsa and the bitterly cold this morning has closed a lot of schools. The Tulsa Public School district called off classes,  not because of the roads, but the bitter cold. 

 

PETOSKEY, Mich. (AP) — A northern Michigan woman facing charges in the 2016 death of her infant daughter was convicted nearly seven years ago after her daughter died while taking a bath with her in Oklahoma.

The Petoskey News-Review reports the Lisa Rae Bryan's first child was less than 2 months old when she died in Tulsa, Okalahoma, in 2010. Bryan was convicted of second-degree manslaughter the following year.

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