Local & Regional

File Photo

An Oklahoma doctor has been charged with second-degree murder in the overdose deaths of at least five patients from the powerful painkillers and other drugs she had prescribed them.

Oklahoma's attorney general announced on Friday five second-degree murder counts against Regan Nichols, whose patients died while she worked at a Midwest City clinic. A judge also issued a warrant for her arrest.

KWGS News

A study released today shows the economic impact of the non-profit arts industry on the Tulsa region. The bottom line, non-profit arts and culture organizations add $22-million-dollars to local and state government revenues, and support nearly eight-thousand jobs. Tulsa City Councilor  Phil Lakin says that’s important.

He says the arts are not only important to the quality of life of Tulsans, but also to the local economy. 

Richardson Challenges Tax Measures

Jun 23, 2017
Richardson Campaign photo

Oklahoma gubernatorial candidate Gary Richardson is moving forward with a lawsuit against the state.

The former federal prosecutor, turned politician, is challenging measures approved during the last week of the legislative that would increase funding for the state.  The Oklahoma Constitution prohibits revenue-enhancing measures in the last week of the legislative session. 

Among the items challenged is a $1.50 per pack increase in the state's cigarette tax. That measure is also being challenged by the tobacco industry.

OK-POP Moves Forward with Bonds

Jun 23, 2017
OK-Pop

The proposed OK-POP museum clears an important hurdle. The Oklahoma Bond Oversight Committee has approved the issuance of $25-million worth of bonds for the project.

The museum to Oklahoma's influence into popular culture will become part of the Brady Arts District in downtown Tulsa. It will be constructed across the street from the historic Cain's Ballroom on north Main Street. 

It will be operated by the Oklahoma Historical Society.

In the local news:

  • Reaction to the U.S. Senate's version of health care reform.
  • OK-POP gets bond approval.
  • Bridge repair work slows traffic on the Broken Arrow Expressway.

Oklahoma DOC

 

The American Civil Liberties Union is asking an Oklahoma court to release a woman serving 30 years in prison for failing to report the abuse of her two children by her boyfriend.

A lawsuit filed Thursday seeks the release of 33-year-old Tondalo Hall, who has been in prison since pleading guilty in 2006.

 

A law enforcement officer in southeastern Oklahoma fatally shot a man who authorities say was armed with a knife.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says the fatal shooting happened Wednesday in Millerton, about 175 miles southeast of Oklahoma City. According to the OSBI, a McCurtain County sheriff's deputy and a Valliant police officer responded to a domestic altercation call and encountered a man, identified as 37-year-old Daniel Francisco Valenzuela.

File Photo: Jim Inhofe

 

Oklahoma's two U.S. senators say they will review a proposal to overhaul the federal health care law but did not say whether they'd vote for the new plan released Thursday.

In a joint statement, Republican Sens. Jim Inhofe and James Lankford criticized Barack Obama's health care law, saying it's resulted in increased health insurance premiums in Oklahoma and caused insurance companies to pull out of exchanges that offer coverage.

File photo

 

Officials say Oklahoma election systems weren't targeted by the Russian government last year despite evidence saying at least 20 other states were targeted.

Oklahoma State Election Board spokesman Bryan Dean tells The Oklahoman that there weren't any attempts to access Oklahoma's election systems.

Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma City says the state's optical scan system lets Oklahoma quickly count ballots but also verify them through the state's paper ballots if needed.

Oklahoma Department of Wildlife

 

State environmental officials say elevated mercury levels in fish have been found in 14 more lakes in Oklahoma than last year.

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality plans a public meeting for Tuesday to discuss the mercury levels. The agency says a total of 54 lakes have mercury advisories — which is up 14 since the last advisory in 2016.

The advisories deal with mercury levels in fish and do not affect drinking water safety or lake recreational activities like swimming or boating.

Today's News from KWGS

Jun 22, 2017

In the local news:

  • An Oklahoma U.S. Senator warns of more Russian hacks ahead.
  • The city council considers cracking down on panhandling with a new ordinance.
  • More Blue-Green Algae is found at Grand Lake.

 

A lawyer in the Oklahoma governor's office says Gov. Mary Fallin will address a lawsuit over the constitutionality of a new drunken driving law in court.

Fallin signed the law June 8. It abolishes the appeals process for people trying to keep their licenses after being arrested for DUI and takes effect Nov. 1. Fallin later issued an order allowing an administrative hearing if the Department of Public Safety plans to take a person's license.

The lawsuit filed Monday by four attorneys alleges the new law denies a person the right to due process.

Air Guard

 

Officials say a pilot ejected from an F-16 fighter jet that caught fire and crashed during takeoff from Ellington Airport in Houston while on a training flight.

Authorities say the pilot was treated for minor injuries following the crash around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. The cause of the fiery accident is under investigation. The pilot's name wasn't immediately released.

Cracking Down on Panhandling

Jun 22, 2017
KWGS News File Photo

Mayor Bynum wants to put panhandlers to work, but the Tulsa City Council has another idea.

The council is considering making the practice illegal with much  bigger fines. Under the ordinance, it would be illegal to enter a roadway to collect or solicit funds.

The law would apply to all, including the firefighter’s "fill the boot" charity campaigns as well as church group fund raisers.  

The council discussed the proposal yesterday with Tulsa City Prosecutor Bob Garner. More discussion is planned.

Another Day... Another Tulsa Murder

Jun 22, 2017
Tulsa Police

For the third morning in a row, Tulsa Police investigate a murder. It is the 42nd homicide of the year in Tulsa.

Police are looking for 26 year-old Jose Ramon Gomezbaca. He is wanted for the overnight shooting death of his estranged wife. She was shot and killed while in a car, parked in the family driveway near 2nd and South Memorial.

The couple had two children. They were not injured in the shooting.

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee

The state's top information technology official says benefits of Oklahoma government’s IT consolidation are being obscured by federal cybersecurity regulations.

Chief Information Officer Bo Reese told a U.S. Senate committee Wednesday streamlining state agencies' online operations has saved Oklahoma $283 million, but too much time is being spent complying with thousands of pages of varying federal regulations.

File Photo

Oklahoma U.S. Senator James Lankford said Wednesday election officials across the country need to prepare for attempted hacks during the 2018 and 2020 elections.

"If they're able to engage in any state election system, alter any data or exfiltrate any data in 2018, I cannot imagine the pressure both on that state and on the federal government to be able to explain when we had two years of warning," Lankford said.

KWGS News File Photo

 

Tulsa police say a person was killed after a man randomly fired a gun into a vehicle early Wednesday.

Police say the fatal shooting happened at about 1 a.m. Wednesday following an attempted home invasion in north Tulsa. According to police, the suspect fired several shots then kicked in a door at a home.

Police say the homeowner returned fire and the man ran away. Tulsa Police Sgt. Dave Walker says the suspect then began randomly firing his gun, striking a man who was sitting in a car on North Marion Avenue.

Algae Advisory Expanded for Grand Lake

Jun 21, 2017
KWGS News Photo

The Blue-Green Algae Advisory for Grand Lake is being expanded to include the area near the Bernice State Park. The toxic algae will cause respiratory problems and hive-like rashes.

Here is the text of a GRDA News Release on the advisory expansion:

Tulsa TV Memories

A generation of Tulsans grew-up watching him and his alter-ego. Tulsa television icon Lee Woodward and his pal King Lionel, a lion hand puppet, presented the weather on KOTV in most of the 60s and 70s.  Woodward died on Monday afternoon.

'Lee and Lionel' would joke with anchors Clayton Vaughn, Bill Pitcock and sports anchor Mack Creager, often commenting on the day's events.

Prior to the the weather, Lee and Lionel hosted a late afternoon kids show that feature cartoons and Three Stooges film shorts.

Lee Woodward was 85.

In the local news:

  • 51 Oklahoma Counties and the the State Health Department are in the middle of a billing feud.
  • Tulsa remembers TV's  'Lee and Lionel'.
  • Tulsa Police looking into another murder.

US Navy

 

 The remains of a Texas sailor who died in the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor are returning home.

The Star-Telegram reports George Anderson Coke Jr.'s remains were recently identified after his family provided DNA samples for testing. Before then, his remains had been buried in a mass grave in Hawaii alongside other crewmen.

The Arlington man went into service in early 1941 and served aboard the USS Oklahoma. Nearly 430 crewmen were killed after Japanese warplanes launched torpedoes at the ship on Dec. 7, 1941.

OU

 

University of Oklahoma students will pay more for their education starting this fall under a plan approved by the OU Board of Regents.

OU spokesman Rowdy Gilbert says the board on Tuesday approved proposed 5 percent increases in tuition and fees for in-state graduate and undergraduate students.

The increases still must be approved by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

KWGS News-File photo

 

Tulsa County officials have had to shuffle funds in order to pay more than $560,000 in legal fees billed to the sheriff's office by the close of the fiscal year June 30.

The Tulsa County Budget Board voted unanimously to use $339,000 left over from the jail's May payroll and $270,000 of the county's general fund to pay the legal fees.

Sheriff Vic Regalado says the payroll surplus is the result of a yearlong effort to streamline jail operations, including reducing jail personnel costs by hiring less expensive detention officers instead of certified deputies.

File Photo-OU

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Two oil and gas companies have each paid more than $1 million for the right to drill on state-owned land in Oklahoma, the highest payouts for the state since at least 2011.

Paloma Partners IV, an operation by Houston-based Paloma Resources, has spent a total of more than $1.1 million to gain mineral rights in Kingfisher County, just northwest of Oklahoma City.

Another company won 40 acres of drilling rights in Garvin County at more than $13,000 an acre in February. And Tulsa-based Armor Energy LLC paid about $6,500 per acre in May.

State of Oklahoma-File photo

Dozens of Oklahoma counties and the state health department are working to settle a billing dispute.

In all, 51 counties now receiving their third quarterly invoices from the state have been advised not to pay. The health department’s Tina Johnson said those invoices cover record systems and related IT costs county health departments use.

"When a client comes into Pontotoc County Health Department and has been seen in Comanche County Health Department, the clerk is able to pull that information up, continue that service without interruption," Johnson said.

In the local news:

  • The internet's Airbnb will be the latest to start collecting sales taxes .
  • School Board gives initial approval to a $561-Million budget.
  • Drugs are seized in Tulsa and at Tinker.

Ree Drummond-Twitter

 

Growing up in an Oklahoma town she considered too tiny, Ree Drummond sought the bright lights of a city and headed west for Los Angeles.

She never dreamed the journey would send her back to the plains of northeast Oklahoma, to a place with even fewer lights where she's become known and built a brand as "The Pioneer Woman."

Booking an Airbnb listing in Oklahoma will get more expensive in a couple weeks.

On July first, Airbnb will start collecting the 4.5 percent state sales tax, local sales and use taxes, and local lodging taxes on bookings in Oklahoma.

Airbnb is the latest major internet company to work with the commission on the issue of online sales tax.

"So, they will remit that to the state, and that's something that we will remit back to the local communities," said Paula Ross with the Oklahoma Tax Commission. "So, it's something that's good for the state of Oklahoma."

Tulsa County Sheriff's Office

Nearly two dozen school resource officers are training in Tulsa this week.

Tulsa County Undersheriff George Brown said whether they work in public or private schools, agencies are asking a lot of school resource officers nowadays.

"They have to be effective communicators. They have to be good mentors and examples for the young children that they work with," Brown said. "They have to be part medic and part communicator and part police officer."

Pages