Local & Regional

City of Tulsa

City officials set the timeline for more than $500 million worth of economic development projects in the Vision sales tax package voters approved last April.

"In the first five years, we believe that 80 percent of the projects can be completed and funded," said Mayor G.T. Bynum.

The renewed sales tax became effective Jan. 1. The city expects its first check including it from the Oklahoma Tax Commission in April.

File Photo

Smoking is bad for your health, but it’s also bad for your wallet.

An analysis of smoking costs in the U.S. by WalletHub puts the annual cost per smoker in Oklahoma at $25,627 dollars. That figure includes the cost of cigarettes, health care costs, and income lost from missing work for smoking-related illness.

There are some costs to smoking you may not have heard of.

C-SPAN

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt faced tough questions Wednesday from Senate Democrats in his confirmation hearing as potential head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

During his opening statement, Pruitt said the climate is changing — a departure from President-elect Donald Trump's claims climate change is "a hoax." Pruitt later sparred with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders over the cause of climate change.

npr

In a new poll, nearly 70% of Americans say Donald Trump’s use of Twitter to comment on just about everything from policy to personal viewpoints is a bad idea. Chrysta Castaneda is a communications expert and she agrees the President-Elect should be more judicious with his tweets. She says it isn’t the most effective way to communicate policy.

89% of Democrats give ‘Trump Tweets’ a thumbs down, but even 47% of Republicans say tweets aren’t a good communication idea for a President.

Boundary Changes Ahead at BA

Jan 18, 2017

The Broken Arrow School Board moves forward with a plan to make changes to school boundary lines. It is an effort to elevate over crowding at certain schools.

The changes will impact about 1,000 students in the district. Parents can seek to have their children transferred if they are unhappy with the changes that go into effect in the fall.

The board also accepted the resignation of the district's Chief Financial Officer Dwayne Thompson. He is the third B.A. District leader to recently resign.

File photo

 

The latest figures from the State Election Board show the number of registered Republicans and independents in Oklahoma is continuing to grow at the expense of Democrats.

Voter registration statistics released Tuesday show registered Republicans increased to 989,358 and now make up 45.8 percent of the electorate, compared to 44.5 percent last year. The number of registered independents also increased, rising to 316,109 and rose from 13.5 percent of the electorate in 2016 to 14.6 percent this year.

State of Oklahoma

 

Two Democratic state lawmakers say they won't participate in a closed meeting of a House panel investigating sexual harassment claims against two representatives.

Rep. Steve Kouplen said he would not attend Tuesday's meeting of the Special Investigation Committee because participants are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement and Rep. David Perryman said last week he won't sign the agreement.

State of Oklahoma

 

When President-elect Donald Trump's choice to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency first took office as Oklahoma's attorney general, he disbanded the unit responsible for protecting the state's natural resources. Instead, Scott Pruitt reassigned his staff to focus on filing lawsuits against the federal agency he's now selected to lead.

In the local news:

  • Lawmakers may crack down on 350% APR payday loans in Oklahoma.
  • Oklahoma A.G. Scott Pruitt will go before a senate committee today to become the new head of the EPA.
  • Broken Arrow Schools will tweak district boundary lines. It will impact about 1,000 students.

Oklahoma Conservation Commission

Oklahoma will get $2.8 million from the federal government this year to reclaim abandoned coal mines, but the program may not last much longer.

Grants from the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement are funded by a fee on coal producers. The Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Fund is currently authorized by Congress only until 2021.

A state senator is proposing reforms for Oklahoma’s payday lenders.

Sen. Kevin Matthews has filed a bill that would institute a 24-hour waiting period between a borrower paying off their payday loans and a lender giving them a new one. It would also limit borrowers to 90 days of indebtedness a year with a 365-day waiting period between a borrower’s final loan being paid off and a lender being able to give them a new one.

Tulsa County Sheriff

A day to educate the community about the high pressure job of law enforcement is deemed a success by the Tulsa Sheriff. Elected officials, community leaders, and members of the media recently received a hands-on lesson on how law officers respond in emergency situations, like the use of deadly force instances. Tulsa Sheriff Vic Regalado calls the education day a success, although he wishes the weather had been better. The winter storm forced many to cancel. Regalado anticipates holding more of the community education days in the future.

KWGS News File Photo

 

Two Democratic state lawmakers say they won't participate in a closed meeting of a House panel that's investigating sexual harassment allegations against one of them and a Republican lawmaker.

Democratic Rep. Steve Kouplen of Beggs, a member of the Special Investigation Committee, says in a statement he will not attend Tuesday's meeting because participants are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

KWGS News File Photo

 

Two Democratic state lawmakers say they won't participate in a closed meeting of a House panel that's investigating sexual harassment allegations against one of them and a Republican lawmaker.

Democratic Rep. Steve Kouplen of Beggs, a member of the Special Investigation Committee, says in a statement he will not attend Tuesday's meeting because participants are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Cherokee Nation.

After two years and 4,000 hours of studying the Cherokee language, the Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program graduated its first two students on Saturday.

Cody Vann, of the Greasy community near Stilwell, and Don Dugger, of the Sour John community near Gore, each received a gorget, a Pendleton blanket and a certificate during a special graduation ceremony at the Cherokee Heritage Center in Tahlequah.

File photo

 

Oklahoma emergency management officials say hospitals have reported 65 injuries — most of them falls — in connection with the icy weather that struck the state over the weekend.

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management says hospitals reported treating 50 patients for falls, six for cuts and nine for injuries suffered in traffic wrecks.

Road Work Worries in Tulsa

Jan 17, 2017

Road repair work is causing some head aches for drivers and shop owners.

The work is at the base of Shadow Mountain at 61st and Sheridan Road and at 41st and Harvard Avenue.

That is where waterline and street improvement projects are underway.

File Photo

 

Police say 12 people have been arrested during a protest at the Valero refinery in Memphis.

Memphis police spokesman Louis Brownlee says protesters used 55-gallon drums to block the south Memphis refinery's truck loading entrance on Monday afternoon.

Brownlee says several protesters handcuffed themselves to the barrels and refused to leave. Those arrested face charges including disorderly conduct and obstruction of a highway or passageway.

KWGS News Photo

 

Tulsa police are investigating after three people were found shot to death at a home on the city's north side.

Sgt. Dave Walker says officers responding to reports of a shooting at about 2 a.m. Monday found 28-year-old Thomas Lee Brown and his mother — 52-year-old Cara Brown — dead of apparent gunshot wounds. Police say a man was also found dead of apparent gunshot wound. His name hasn't been released.

Police say the home had apparently been rummaged through or ransacked before police arrived. Police speculate the murders may have been drug related.

KWGS News File Photo

 

   Wagoner County authorities say a second person of interest has been identified in the death of a 15-year-old boy whose burning body was found near Wagoner.

Sheriff Chris Elliott told reporters Monday that investigators have contacted the man, but said there have been no arrests for the death of Brennan Davis of Okay.

Davis' body was found on fire last Wednesday in the Jackson Bay area near Fort Gibson Lake and his body was identified by the state medical examiner's office using dental records.

Elliott says Davis had been shot several times.

In the local news:

  • A tourism tax is being debated among city and hotel operators.
  • Tulsa Sales Tax Revenue misses the mark.
  • Utility companies say the power is coming back on from the weekend ice storm

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa Transit has two big projects to plan and complete in order to accommodate its transition to a fleet fully powered by compressed natural gas and its introduction of bus rapid transit service.

The current fueling system has two compressors to supply individual stations, but only one can run on the incoming gas line.

Tourism officials are working to set up a citywide special taxing district that will raise money to market Tulsa to potential visitors.

Tourism improvement districts were authorized by a state law that took effect Nov. 1, and VisitTulsa President Ray Hoyt aims to have Tulsa’s established by April.

"It's only hotels and not restaurants or anybody else, and the goal is that assessment is on occupied rooms. The hoteliers, like a business improvement district, have to agree to it — 50 plus one percent," Hoyt said.

Tulsa Remembers Dr. King

Jan 16, 2017
KWGS News

Tulsa pauses to remember the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  The highlight of a weekend of activities is the annual MLK Day Parade in Tulsa.  

PSO

The lights stayed on, for all but an unfortunate few, during the weekend ice storm. The Public Service Company of Oklahoma is exhaling, now that the storm has shifted to the east of its service area. 

PSO’s Stan Whiteford says the utility’s on going tree-trimming program paid dividends. The program trims tree limbs away from power lines every four years.

He says the 2007 ice storm was much worse because of heavier freezing rain and that PSO had just started the tree-trimming program when that storm hit.

KWGS News-File Photo

Wagoner County authorities say a man has been arrested after a teenager's body was found on fire near Wagoner.

The man was arrested for obstruction of justice Sunday after the body of 15-year-old Brennan Davis of Okay was found burning near the Jackson Bay area near Fort Gibson Lake.

Online records show the man is being held in the Wagoner County jail, but formal charges are not listed.

Davis' burning body was found Wednesday and was later identified by the state medical examiner's office using dental records.

3 Dead in Tulsa Shooting

Jan 16, 2017
KWGS News Photo

Three people are found dead overnight in a home near 29th Street North and Boston Avenue. Tulsa Police say two men and a woman were shot to death.

Police were alerted to the crime scene after neighbors reported hearing an argument just before 2 a.m. The home had been ransacked.

No names have been released and no suspects are in custody.

In the local news:

  • Experts say it will take pay hikes to stop Oklahoma's Teacher Brain-Drain.
  • Three people murdered in a Tulsa home.
  • Tulsa looks ahead on this MLK day

Betsy DeVos, who is President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for education secretary, has given millions in campaign contributions to politicians across the country.

Some of that fiscal muscle trickled into Oklahoma during the last election cycle through a pro-school-choice “Super PAC” that, notably, opposed so-called “teachers’ caucus” candidates in many instances. (The caucus arose out of many educators’ frustration over what they view as low education funding levels and teacher pay.)

Tulsa Home Destroyed By Fire

Jan 15, 2017
Tulsa Fire

No one is hurt in an overnight house fire in south Tulsa. The blaze was reported in a home near 51st Street and Delaware.

Fire officials are searching for the cause. The home was destroyed.

No one was at home at the time of the blaze.

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