Local & Regional

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Authorities in northeastern Oklahoma say the death of a 52-year-old man whose body was discovered in his backyard is being investigated as a homicide.

Ottawa County Sheriff Jeremy Floyd says the body of Miles Rentfrow of Peoria was discovered by sheriff's deputies on Friday evening. Floyd says Rentfrow had lost a lot of blood and was pronounced dead at the scene.

OU Press

 

University of Oklahoma President David Boren is expected to make a full recovery after having a minor stroke minutes before the unveiling of a statue honoring former Sooners football coach Bob Stoops on Saturday.

The school sent the update in a statement Sunday. It said Boren is expected to be released from the OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City in the coming days.

The 76-year-old Boren was Oklahoma's governor and a U.S. Senator before becoming the university's president in 1994.

OFS

  

Officials say residents of a small southwestern Oklahoma town have returned to their homes after being ordered to evacuate due to a wildfire threat.

Keli Cain of the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management said Sunday that the wildfire threatened Martha, a town of about 150 people that's roughly 120 miles southwest of Oklahoma City. Cain says the fire is still burning but no longer threatens the town.

Bever Trial Begins Monday

Apr 15, 2018
KWGS News File Photo

The murder trial of Broken Arrow teenager Michael Bever will begin Monday morning in Tulsa District Court. Jury selection is slated to begin around 9 a.m.

Bever is accused of killing his parents and three siblings at their fashionable Broken Arrow home in 2015. His older brother,  Robert Bever, is already serving time for the crimes.

Security at the court house will be extremely tight during the high profile trial. Those going to the court house for other business can expect lengthy waits at the security checkpoints.

OFS

Strong winds are fueling more than two dozen wildfires burning across Oklahoma and Texas.

Authorities say one blaze in western Oklahoma is estimated to be nearly 40 miles across at its widest point.

Oklahoma Forestry Services spokeswoman Michelle Finch-Walker says 14 wildfires in the state have charred more than 572 square miles.

The largest is in Dewey County, where more than 375 square miles  have been charred. Hundreds of people have been evacuated .

Oklahoma House

A Republican Oklahoma lawmaker who faced criticism from interfaith leaders for his handling of the state House's visiting chaplain program says he is stepping down as the program's coordinator.

Rep. Chuck Strohm of Jenks said in a statement Friday that, effective immediately, he is no longer serving in the role. He did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment.

RSU-TV

University of Oklahoma president David Boren had a medical episode right before the unveiling of a statue honoring former Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops on Saturday morning and was taken away on a stretcher.

Boren, 76, is a former U.S. senator and has been the university's president since 1994. He had spoken earlier in the ceremony. The school did not immediately respond to a request for details regarding Boren's condition.

OFS

A fast-moving wildfire has forced an evacuation order for about 1,400 people in three northwest Oklahoma small towns.

Dewey County Sheriff Clay Sander said his deputies are going door-to-door in Seiling, Taloga and Putnam telling residents to leave. Sander urged people to heed the warning to leave and let firefighters protect property.

Sander said some who had earlier been evacuated from the nearby town of Vici were being allowed to return home.

Filing Period Ends for State Office

Apr 14, 2018

A dozen candidates seeking the open Oklahoma governor's seat are among hundreds of hopefuls signing up to run for office during a tumultuous second week of frustrated teachers thronging the Capitol.

Friday is the last day of a three-day filing period for offices on the ballot in November. They include governor and other statewide elected positions, all five U.S. congressional seats, all state House seats and half of the state Senate seats. Local district attorneys and judges also are running for office.

Scott Michaels

A tornado ripped through the tiny Ozark Mountain town of Mountainburg, Arkansas, injuring at least four people and causing widespread damage Friday afternoon.

Crawford County Emergency Management Director Brad Thomas said there were at least three entrapments following the twister. He said he did not know the condition of the four people hospitalized.

Video from the scene showed uprooted trees, overturned cards, damaged buildings and downed power lines.

Tulsa Public Schools

Tulsa Public Schools officials will spend the weekend coming up with a plan for students to make up time lost during the two-week teacher walkout.

It will be up to the TPS board to approve that plan Monday night, but parents will be notified as soon as possible. Superintendent Deborah Gist said a district instruction policy may help with the planning.

As Oklahoma lawmakers look for more money to fund education and other core services, some are again pointing to the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust.

TSET’s $1.1 billion in assets have been a popular target in Oklahoma’s down budget years, especially among those who criticize the trust’s spending on healthy lifestyle grants and programs. Morton Health CEO Susan Savage said dipping into those reserves is short-sighted.

"I think we need to view it as a resource for how we make Oklahomans healthier and not as a way to backfill the budget," Savage said.

drug free.org

The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office is encouraging local governments to join its lawsuit against opioid manufacturers.

Believing he can prove damages in the billions of dollars, Attorney General Mike Hunter is assembling a committee to ensure cities and counties get their share from any settlement. Hunter said his suit has another upside — joint and several liability, meaning any drug company involved can be held fully responsible for damages.

Tornado Watch for Eastern Oklahoma into Friday Night

Apr 13, 2018
National Weather Service

The National Weather Service office in Tulsa has issued a tornado watch for eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas until 10 p.m. Friday.

Threats include tennis ball–sized hail and wind gusts up to 70 miles per hour.

If there is a tornado, your best option is an underground storm shelter, storm cellar, basement or safe room designed to withstand a tornado.

OFS

 

A turkey hunter is badly burned but alive after becoming trapped overnight by a wildfire in northwestern Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Forestry Services spokeswoman Michelle-Finch Walker says the hunter was found Friday morning and taken to a burn center in serious condition.

Walker says the blaze in Dewey County has burned about 82,000 acres.

Woodward County Emergency Management Director Matt Lehenbaur says a separate fire near Woodward has burned more than 120,000 acres and forced the evacuation of about 450 people from their homes, but no injuries are reported.

OFS

 

A wildfire in northwestern Oklahoma has burned more than 120,000 acres  and forced hundreds of people to evacuate their homes.

Woodward County Emergency Management Director Matt Lehenbaur said Friday that the fire has destroyed several homes near Woodward, about 125 miles northeast of Oklahoma City.

He says no injuries have been reported.

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management reports another fire has burned more than 21,000 acres  near the town of Leedey, about 40 miles south of Woodward.

Oklahoma Watch

The state’s largest education association called on teachers Thursday to return to their classrooms after concluding that further attempts to convince lawmakers to find more money for public education would be futile.

Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest said the nearly two-week-long teacher walkout should be seen as a “victory” since it or the threat that preceded it helped secure teacher pay raises and millions in new funding for schools.

In the local news:

  • The teacher walkout is over, but not everyone is happy.
  • The Mayor will sign a zoning spacing requirement for small dollar-stores.
  • Wildfires burn across western Oklahoma.

DOC

 

Investigators say a woman's obituary helped federal agents capture her fugitive son nearly four decades after he escaped from an Oklahoma prison.

The U.S. Marshals Service says 58-year-old Stephen Michael Paris was arrested without incident Thursday at an office in Houston where he worked under a pseudonym.

The agency says investigators tracked him down after an obituary for his mother in Houston listed a son named Stephen Chavez, the same alias Paris used while living and working in the Houston area. Fingerprints confirmed his identity.

Okmulgee Police

 

The murder trial has begun for a man accused of killing and dismembering his ex-girlfriend.

The Daily Camera reports that attorneys made their opening statements Thursday morning to a jury of 16 people in the case of 33-year-old Adam Densmore, who is charged with first-degree murder, tampering with a corpse, abuse of a corpse and tampering with physical evidence in the death of Boulder resident Ashley Mead.

Densmore has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Oklahoma Forestry Service via Woodward News

Fire fighters battled major wildfires Thursday in western Oklahoma. Today could be "historic" for wildfires across Oklahoma acording to fire service experts.

A Red Flag Fire Warning has been issued for all the counties to the west of Tulsa. From Tulsa to the east there is a chance of severe weather today.

A major fire near Woodward led to some evacuation orders for that area in northwest Oklahoma. That fire was estimated at 115,000 acres and growing. 

Latest on School Closings and Reopenings

Apr 12, 2018
KWGS News File Photo

Here is the latest school closing list

State Teachers Walkout is Over

Apr 12, 2018
Oklahoma Watch

The Oklahoma Education Association announced this afternoon it is ending the walkout portion of its protest for additional education funding. OEA President Alicia Priest made the announcement in an Oklahoma City news conference.

She told reporters the OEA had achieved most of its goals and called the nearly $1-billion in new funding "historic". She still called on lawmakers to do more. Priests wants schools to continue to send smaller delegations to Oklahoma City each day to continue the lobbying effort.

file photo

A slate of bills intended to fight opioid addiction moved forward in the Oklahoma House this week.

Senate Bill 1128 requires electronic prescribing, which experts see as the most effective step the state can take in reducing the supply of the addictive painkillers. That measure, however, now calls for an e-prescribing pilot program in counties with populations of more than 200,000 to evaluate the practice.

That makes some doctors exempt.

Clifton Adcock/Oklahoma Watch

A movement continues to extend “stand your ground” protections for self-defense shootings to places of worship.

The Senate voted 42–1 on Thursday for House Bill 2632, which makes places used either part- or full-time for religious services covered by the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act.

The shooting still must be done because of reasonable fear of harm or death or to prevent a violent felony.

Wikimedia

Another day, another attempt by Oklahoma House Democrats to get a vote on a bill ending the capital gains deduction.

Rep. Cory Williams tried his luck on Thursday, saying he wants to keep the tax break for agriculture. Appropriations and Budget Chair Kevin Williams said that would make it impossible for the Oklahoma Tax Commission to certify revenue for lawmakers to spend.

That didn’t sit well with Williams.

Who's Who: Candidates File for State Office

Apr 12, 2018
Edmondson

The state office filing period is open. Click here to see who is running

Mayor Will Sign Dollar Store Spacing Measure

Apr 12, 2018

Mayor Bynum says he will sign a zoning charge that will require a mile space between so-called dollar stores in a portion of Tulsa. Some believe the proliferation of such “small box” stores like Dollar General and Family Dollar are keeping north Tulsa from attracting a full service supermarket. The mayor wants better food options for north Tulsans.               

People in north Tulsa tend to die a decade earlier than other Tulsans. Health officials fear that is because of the lack of healthy food sources.

Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma

 

Massive teacher protests at the Oklahoma state Capitol have done more than put political pressure on lawmakers: The situation has forced school districts, churches, community organizations and parents to improvise to take care of students.

The state's largest two school districts will be closed for a ninth consecutive day Thursday, matching the length of a walkout in West Virginia earlier this year that started a rebellion of teachers in some Republican-led states including Kentucky and Arizona.

In the local news:

  • The teachers walkout enters its 9th day as lawmakers look for more revenue.
  • A Tulsa Police stand-off leaves a man dead.
  • Crime victims advocate for rights at Tulsa gathering.

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