Local & Regional

File Photo

The Oklahoma House failed Monday to pass a $1.50 per pack cigarette increase that was a big part of Republican budget plans.

Rep. Leslie Osborn tried to encourage her colleagues to vote yes on House Bill 2372, saying it would help the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, OSU Medical Authority, local health departments and others potentially facing severe cuts.

Betty Shelby Takes the Stand

May 15, 2017
Tulsa Police

Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby took the stand Monday in her own defense.

Shelby, who is white, is being tried on a first-degree manslaughter charge in the death of Terence Crutcher, who was unarmed and black.

Shelby’s attorneys called her to the stand around 11:30 Monday morning, asking her about her training and career. Shelby said she’s pulled her gun dozens of times in her 10 years as a police officer and sheriff’s deputy but never fired because the person at gunpoint always followed her orders.

66 Homes Damaged by Owasso Tornado

May 15, 2017
Rogers County

There is no dollar figure just yet, but officials in Rogers County say last Thursday afternoon's tornado near Owasso caused a lot of damage. The Rogers County Emergency Management Agency has wrapped up its review and found 66 homes, in the area, sustained damage.

The tornado touched down near 106th Street North and 161 East Avenue about 2 p.m. on Thursday. The National Weather Service says it was an E-F 1 tornado. It had winds of about 100 miles an hour. There were no injuries.

Tom Cole

 Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma is joining with Republican leaders who are urging President Donald Trump to avoid appointing a politician to replace fired FBI Director James Comey.  Cole said in an editorial released Monday that the next leader of the agency should be "completely divorced from partisan politics."  Some other GOP leaders have urged Trump to do the same, including South Carolina Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.  Among the 14 candidates under consideration for the top FBI post are former Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan and Sen.

Swimmer's Body Recovered from Lake Eufaula

May 15, 2017
Google Street View

A body is pulled from the water of Lake Eufaula on Monday morning. A 24-year-old man was found about 18-hours after he went missing.

Officials say the man had been drinking when he decided Sunday afternoon to go for a swim. When he didn't come back friends became searching for him. They then called authorities.

The body was recovered near the Eufaula Cove Marina just after day break on Monday.

NPR

 

Two earthquakes recorded in Oklahoma by the U.S. Geological Survey bring to a dozen the number of temblors recorded in the state during the weekend.

A 2.9 magnitude quake was recorded at 2:24 a.m. Sunday near Red Rock in northern Oklahoma and a 2.5 quake was recorded at 4:22 a.m. near Seiling in northern Oklahoma.

They come after 10 quakes on Saturday, including a 4.2 magnitude temblor near Waynoka. The others were magnitude 3.1 or less.

No injuries or damage have been reported.

State of Oklahoma-File photo

 

A stalemate in the Oklahoma Legislature over how to fill an $878 million hole in next year's state budget and Gov. Mary Fallin's vow to veto any spending plan that includes dramatic cuts to vital public services is making the possibility of a special budget-writing legislative session more likely.

Crash Killed Oakhurst Teen

May 15, 2017
Google Street View

A Sunday afternoon motorcycle crash kills at 18-year-old from Oakhurst. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the crash happened just before 5 p.m. in the 6300 Block of West Avery Drive.

The patrol says Cobie Tyner was killed when his 2007 Kawasaki motorcycle collided head on with a passenger car. The OHP says Tyner was dead at the scene.  The patrol says speed was a factor in the crash.

The driver of the car suffered minor injuries and was treated and released.

In the local news:

  • The Tulsa School Board takes up school consolidation.
  • Week 2 of the Betty Shelby trial begins.
  • Lawmakers resume working on a new state budget.

Week Two Begins in Shelby Trial

May 15, 2017
Tulsa Police

Testimony resumes this morning in the Betty Shelby Manslaughter Trial. This is the second week of the trial. Shelby is a White Tulsa Police officer. She is accused of killing unarmed Black man Terrance Crutcher last September.

Shelby has said in the past, she believed Crutcher was going for a gun when she fired. No gun was found. Crutcher did have illegal drugs in his system at the time. Shelby's attorneys claim this explains Crutcher's erratic behavior. 

The trial is expected to last the rest of the week.

TPS

Some $12-million in the hole, the Tulsa School Board will consider shutting down three elementary schools. The students would be transferred to what is now the Clinton Middle School. The Clinton students would be shifted to Webster High School. Webster, in turn, would become a combined Junior and Senior High.

The schools are all low enrollment schools on Tulsa's west side. The budget shortfall is brought on by cuts in state funding. 

Heritage Law

A mild winter and wet spring in Oklahoma this year means a higher population of ticks and the sometimes deadly illnesses they can carry.

The  Oklahoma State Department of Health has issued a warning alerting Oklahomans to the high number of ticks and risk of disease.

Oklahoma ranks among the states with the highest rates of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis and tularemia, and May through August are the months when ticks are most active.

State of Oklahoma

A stalemate in the Oklahoma Legislature over how to fill an $878 million hole in next year's state budget and Gov. Mary Fallin's vow to veto any spending plan that includes dramatic cuts to vital public services is making the possibility of a special budget-writing legislative session more likely.

KWGS News

Couple arrested in connection with Oklahoma infant's death

Police in Tulsa have arrested a man and a woman on felony warrants in connection with the death of a five-month-old Rogers County infant early this year.

28-year-old Raymond Vickers and 28-year-old Cheyenna Bates were arrested on Friday night.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

An Oklahoma prison inmate has been charged with first-degree manslaughter in the death of his cellmate.

The Oklahoman reports that 40-year-old Rodney Harty was charged on Wednesday in Cleveland County District Court in the January death of 44-year-old Erick Shane Kitchell. Online court records don't indicate whether Harty is represented by an attorney.

KWGS News Photo

No injuries were reported after a small aircraft made an emergency landing on a highway in eastern Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the aircraft landed on a small stretch of U.S. Highway 64 near Muskogee at about 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Witnesses say the Piper PA-28-140 came over some trees and nosed down on the highway, coming to rest just off the highway.

Lt. Kera Philippi says two people on board the aircraft were not injured. They were not immediately identified.

Ponca Tribe

The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska has renamed the state's Homestead Trail to Chief Standing Bear Trail after gaining ownership of the sliver of land the tribe refers to as the "Ponca Trail of Tears."

Nearly 200 people were present Thursday for the deed signing to the nearly 20-mile trail stretching from Beatrice to Barneston. The celebration consisted of a drum circle, traditional dancers and victory songs.

In 1877, U.S. soldiers forced over 700 Ponca members to march nearly 280 miles from their homeland along the Niobrara River to a reservation in Oklahoma.

KWGS News File photo

A man convicted of kidnapping and killing a Tulsa postal worker in 1983 is now in an Oklahoma jail after serving time in a federal prison.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons says Bobby Eugene Moffitt was released from custody on May 10 and was then booked into the Tulsa County Jail.

The 57-year-old was convicted of kidnapping and killing Charles Stone in 1983.

Moffitt pleaded guilty to robbery with a firearm and first-degree murder in 1986. He was sentenced to 15 years on the robbery charge and life in prison on the murder charge.

KWGS File photo

An Oklahoma Senate budget committee has killed legislation that would authorize a major expansion of tribal gambling in Oklahoma to help fill a projected $878 million hole in next year's state budget.

Members of the Senate Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget voted 22 to 16 Friday against the measure.

The measure was unveiled Monday by Republican legislative leaders as part of a package to raise about $400 million in revenue to balance the state's budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs

A new autopsy report from the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office confirms that a man who was a patient at a state-run veterans' home died after choking on a two-foot plastic trash bag.

70-year-old Leonard Smith was a dementia patient living in a special-needs unit at the Oklahoma Veterans Center in Talihina.

On Jan. 31, Smith choked to death after being given food, fluids and medication. A medical provider later found that Smith had a plastic bag lodged deep in his throat.

NWS-Tulsa

Forecasters say a tornado that hit near Owasso on Thursday had a preliminary ranking of EF1 with wind speeds of 90 mph to 100 mph.

The National Weather Service in Tulsa says more surveys are underway  to determine whether any other twisters struck the state a day earlier.

Trees were downed and some homes sustained roof damage in Owasso, where the EF1 tornado hit. Storm spotters also reported tornadoes in Perkins and Ramona in Oklahoma and near Oologah..

File photo

An Oklahoma police sergeant testified he felt "disrespected" by the way a prosecutor announced a manslaughter charge against a white Oklahoma officer who killed an unarmed black man.

Sgt. Dave Walker testified Friday during the manslaughter trial of Tulsa Officer Betty Jo Shelby, who fatally shot 40-year-old Terrence Crutcher in September.

File photo

The full Oklahoma Senate signed off on a plan Friday to give the State Board of Education $60 million from the Rainy Day Fund.

Sen. Kay Floyd asked Sen. Kim David whether there’s a problem with that plan.

"Do we have $60 million in the Rainy Day Fund right now?" Floyd said.

"By the time that this appropriation is made, the money will be in the Rainy Day Fund," David said.

"Do we know how much is in the Rainy Day Fund right now?" Floyd said.

File photo

With tensions over the budget increasing at the capitol, Oklahoma lawmakers will take up a new proposal to cap itemized deductions.

Like House Bill 2347, House Bill 2403 caps them at $17,000. HB2403, however, exempts charitable contributions.

"So, if a blessed individual donates $100,000 to a charity, they will be able to get the full amount of that deduction on their state return," said Oklahoma Tax Commission Director Tony Mastin.

KWGS News

 

The supervisor of a white Oklahoma police officer who shot an unarmed black man told her to say nothing about the incident because he knew the shooting would be racially explosive.

Tulsa police Cpl. Wyett Poth testified Thursday about his directions to Officer Betty Jo Shelby after the shooting of Terence Crutcher. He said he walked up to Shelby at the shooting scene to make sure she knew she had the right to say nothing.

The testimony came in the second day of Shelby's manslaughter trial for the Sept. 16 shooting.

 

Internet retailer Amazon has confirmed that it's building a sorting center in Oklahoma City.

The Oklahoman reports that work is underway on the $3 million, 300,000-square-foot facility.

Amazon spokeswoman Ashley Robinson says customers in Oklahoma should notice improved delivery times once the center opens. She says the company hopes to have the center open before the holiday season.

The company has not yet started hiring employees to operate the center.

In the local news:

  • A tornado with 100 mph winds causes damage at Owasso.
  • More testimony in the Officer Betty Shelby manslaughter trial.
  • There will be delays in reopening Riverside Drive at The Gathering Place.

Facebook

 

A police chief and an officer in an eastern Oklahoma town have resigned, citing pushback they say they faced after the recent arrest of a city councilor's son.

Vian Officer Lindsey Green and Police Chief Ted Johnson resigned this week.

Johnson says he and Green weren't told they'd be fired, but he feared they might be for going against the council "like I did."

Green arrested Joshua Smith on May 2 for driving without a license after confirming his license had been revoked. Smith was released 45 minutes later.

 

A police chief and an officer in an eastern Oklahoma town have resigned, citing pushback they say they faced after the recent arrest of a city councilor's son.

Vian Officer Lindsey Green and Police Chief Ted Johnson resigned this week.

Johnson says he and Green weren't told they'd be fired, but he feared they might be for going against the council "like I did."

Green arrested Joshua Smith on May 2 for driving without a license after confirming his license had been revoked. Smith was released 45 minutes later.

KWGS News

   

Strong storms spawned one tornado, and possibly two in Oklahoma, and threaten parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas. The storms stretched from northeast Texas through the mid-Atlantic states to the North Carolina coast.

The National Weather Service said a tornado touched down in the Tulsa suburb of Owasso Thursday and a possible tornado struck near Perkins, about 45 miles northeast of Oklahoma City.

Damage was reported to roofs and trees, but there are no reports of injuries.

Pages