Local & Regional

In Tulsa news this morning:

  • Grand jurors convene to begin an investigation of the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office.
  • Gov. Mary Fallin issues order to allow the state's full-time guardsmen to carry weapons.
  • City councilors are working on a Vision renewal, but what if they just let the sales tax expire in Tulsa?   
City of Tulsa

Tulsa city councilors are trying to come up with a Vision sales tax renewal package, but what if they just let the tax expire?

Tulsa resident George McFarlin said when Vision expires at the end of next year, don’t renew it, and let the city’s sales tax fall to 7.917 percent.

"City taxpayers will have more money to spend, which is a problem for the city as you see your sales tax collections atrophy, flat line," McFarlin said. "They're not growing like the suburban cities."

He believes it would give Tulsa a competitive advantage over its neighbors.

KWGS File Photo

Attorneys begin work on a Tulsa ordinance to spell out how the city will handle offenses under Oklahoma’s new ban on texting behind the wheel.

City Prosecutor Bob Garner said the local penalty should mirror the state law. That would be a $100 fine.

"For those that want to fight it, then they can come in and plead 'not guilty,' and they'll be entitled to their day in court," Garner said. "And the city must prove they are guilty of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt."

KWGS News File photo

Shutting down Riverside Drive for two years wasn’t a flippant decision.

The road is getting major improvements while the Gathering Place is built. City Engineer Paul Zachary compares it to an upcoming total closure on Apache Street.

"We're raising the road there right at 7 feet or 8 feet, and that closure's going to be a five- or six-month closure just on its own," Zachary said. "And it's not going to be complete until October of next year, so a total closure is not just due to the park. It's due to the realignment and the work adjacent to it."

File Photo

A brief feud between Tulsa city councilors and Mayor Dewey Bartlett appears to be over.

Councilors passed a resolution last week stating their goals for a Vision sales tax renewal after several expressed frustration over Bartlett’s level of participation. Bartlett says the public shouldn’t worry — that’s just how government works sometimes.

"We have different views, and there's nothing wrong with that," Bartlett said. "If we don't get personal on it and don't criticize improperly, then we have the ability to get along and just have a discussion."

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Grand jurors assemble this morning to begin an investigation of the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office.

"This is a win for the county of Tulsa," said Marq Lewis, organizer of We The People Oklahoma, the activist group that began the petition drive calling for the grand jury. "This is a win for the citizens. I mean, hope. Anything is possible. This is what we have done. This is what we kept pushing our message for."

The petition lists 20 areas of interest, including discrepancies in volunteer deputies' training records.


Sand Springs moves ahead with plans for a Vision sales tax extension, but for now a proposed low-water dam and other aspects of river development are on the back burner.

"We continue to be supportive of river development, but it looks like that project itself has gone into some troubled waters," said Police Chief Mike Carter.

Carter said public safety was always the priority, and it will be the major focus of the tax initiative. Economic development building on the momentum of growth at the River West complex will also be a part of it.

National Geographic

The latest stats on West Nile in Oklahoma are in, and while half a dozen cases of infection in humans are reported, none so far are in Tulsa County.

Tulsa Health Department spokeswoman Kaitlin Snider said it's important to take precautions to see that trend continue.

"Unfortunately for some, it can cause a severe neurologic disease, and we just don't know who's going to be in that unlucky group," Snider said.

Snider said get rid of any standing water where mosquitos may breed and wear a spray or product with DEET, especially during early morning hours and at dusk.

Tulsa Preservation Commission

A Tulsa apartment building just outside of downtown is among four new properties in Oklahoma added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Elizabeth Manor was designed by architect Arthur Atkinson and built in 1925. It's located at 1820 S Boulder Ave.

The Tulsa Preservation Commission describes the building's style as Late Gothic Revival and Collegiate Gothic. It originally contained six units. It's been converted into office space.

File photo

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma attorney general is arguing in a court filing that a lawsuit challenging the state's use of its Unclaimed Property Fund should be dismissed.

In a motion to dismiss filed Thursday in Oklahoma County District Court, Assistant Solicitor General Jared Haines argues that state laws governing the fund are constitutional and that the lawsuit is without merit.