Local & Regional

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  A proposed 1 percent sales tax increase to fund public education and teacher pay raises is among three state questions on the November ballot thanks to the initiative-petition process.

Oklahoma's average teacher salary in the 2014-2015 school year was $45,317, which ranks 48th among the 50 states and District of Columbia.

 

The average price of gasoline in the U.S. has dropped four cents over the past two weeks to $2.25 for regular grade.

Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday it's the first time the price dropped in 11 weeks. Part of the reason is seasonally lower gasoline demand.

The Lundberg Survey found the average price of midgrade gasoline was $2.54 a gallon while premium was $2.75.

The highest average price for regular gas in the contiguous U.S. was $2.78 in San Francisco. The lowest was $1.95 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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Tulsa police have released the names of a man who was fatally shot and the officers who opened fire.

Police said Sunday that 58-year-old William Frost Jr. was shot by officers Jim Brill and Lance Bond.

Brill and Bond are on paid leave pending an investigation. The officer believed to have fired the fatal shot was not identified.

Police have said Frost refused the officers' orders to drop a knife he was carrying and was shot with a stun gun before the officers opened fire when he became aggressive.

Lawsuits Possible Over Oklahoma Quakes

Oct 24, 2016
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Weitz & Luxenberg today announced that it will hold a community meeting in Pawnee on October 29 to speak with residents who have been affected by earthquakes induced by corporate waste disposal practices and discuss current litigation against the companies responsible.

Oklahoma authorities say two law enforcement officers are being treated for injuries that aren't life-threatening after they were shot responding to a call.

Lincoln County Sheriff Charlie Dougherty told Oklahoma City TV station KOKH that someone fired at the two Wellston officers about 6:30 p.m. Sunday, hitting one officer in the foot and the other in the leg.

Two people fled the scene in the Wellston area, which is about 35 miles northeast of Oklahoma City, but one person was quickly taken into custody.

In the local news:

  • Legal action is considered regarding Oklahoma's earthquake swarms.
  • A manhunt is underway following the death of two people and two officers shot in Central Oklahoma.
  • With the election two-weeks away,  there is little doubt how Oklahoma will vote in the White House Sweepstakes.
OSSAA website

University of Tulsa:

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Tulsa beat Tulane 50-27 yesterday, with Dan Evans throwing for 236 yards and three touchdowns for the Golden Hurricane. James Flounders also rushed for 190 yards and a pair of touchdowns while Josh Atkinson had 142 yards receiving with a score.

OU Sooners:

KWGS News

 Oklahoma voters will decide seven separate state questions when they head to the voting booths on Nov. 8, including a major overhaul of the state's laws regulating alcohol sales, many of which haven't been updated since the Prohibition era.

Four state questions dealing with alcohol sales, farming and ranching restrictions, the death penalty and the use of public funds for religious purposes all were placed on the ballot as a result of resolutions passed by the Legislature.

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Several earthquakes have been recorded in northwest Oklahoma during the past two days, including one of magnitude 4.0.

No injuries or significant damage have been reported.

The U.S. Geological Survey reports a 4.0 and 3.5 magnitude quakes Friday afternoon near Fairview, about 100 miles northwest of Oklahoma City, and a 3.7 magnitude temblor near Helena, about 75 miles of northwest Oklahoma City.

Three other quakes of magnitude 2.6-2.8 were recorded Friday night and Saturday morning in northwestern and in central Oklahoma.

OU

The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by 14 this week to 553.

A year ago, 787 rigs were active. Depressed energy prices have sharply curtailed oil and gas exploration.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday that 443 rigs sought oil and 108 explored for natural gas this week. Two were listed as miscellaneous.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas gained 10 rigs, Wyoming increased by three, New Mexico was up two and Alaska and Utah added one apiece.

Man Shot to Death By Tulsa Police

Oct 22, 2016
KWGS News

A man is shot to death by Tulsa Police on Friday afternoon near 3rd and South Utica. Police say the man was 58-years-old and had been approaching people on the sidewalk while holding a knife.

When officers arrived, the man was instructed to put down the knife. The man did not comply. After several attempts officers used a taser on the man. Some witnesses say he pulled out the taser dart. He was then shot and killed.  The two officers who fired their service weapons have been placed on leave while the case is investigated.

University of Tulsa

 Tulsa football players will honor former NFL defensive lineman Dennis Byrd during their game this weekend against Tulane.

Byrd was killed last weekend in a car wreck in Oklahoma. Byrd played football at the University of Tulsa, then went on to the New York Jets before his career was ended by a neck injury.

Tulsa officials say players will wear stickers on their helmets Saturday that say "BYRD 48", in reference to the number on Byrd's college jersey. There will also be a moment of silence before the game begins and Tulsa's team flag will be at half-staff.

Road Work Ahead

Oct 22, 2016

Here is a list of next week's road projects from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation:

SH-11 narrows near Sheridan Rd. Monday

Drivers can expect various lane closures on east and westbound SH-11 near Sheridan Rd. from 9 a.m to 4 p.m. Monday and daily through Friday as part of an ongoing bridge rehabilitation project.

 

Ongoing Projects:

 

US-169/Bird Creek widening project

NYC Mayor Offers Tulsa Praise

Oct 22, 2016
City of Tulsa

Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City, invited Tulsa's Mayor to Gracie Mansion in New York to thank him for showing the way for peaceful demonstrations in the difficult hours after the police involved shooting of Terrance Crutcher. Mayors Bartlett and de Blasio met yesterday.

Crutcher, a Black man, was shot and killed by a White Tulsa Police Officer in September. Crutcher was unarmed, but toxicology reports say he did have PCP in his system.  The officer is facing 1st Degree Manslaughter charges.

Cherokees Take Aid to Standing Rock

Oct 22, 2016
Cherokee Nation

A delegation from the Cherokee Nation hand delivered a $10,000 check to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe this week to help with attorney fees and other costs to keep out the Dakota Access Pipeline which threatens the tribe’s sovereignty, resources and water supply.

Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness

Turkey Mountain is the place to be Saturday if you ever wanted to learn more about Oklahoma’s 12 million-plus acres of forest.

Jerí Irby with Oklahoma Forestry Services says many people don’t know the state has that much forest or the forest’s economic benefit to the state.

"It adds over $2 billion to our state's economy every year, so it's important for the people of Oklahoma to know what their forests are and how they help them," Irby said.

Foresters are conservationists first, and stops along the hike will reflect that.

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State lawmakers are looking at consolidating some of Oklahoma’s 27 district attorney districts.

Suzanne McClain Atwood with the Oklahoma District Attorneys Council told lawmakers the state’s 324 prosecutors average 359 new cases a year, which is on top of cases carried over from the previous year.

Animal House

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education have approved about $74.3 million to fund the state's scholarship program in 2017-18.

KWGS News

 

 Oklahoma and two other states say they have denied a request by Russian officials to be present at polling stations during the Nov. 8 election.

The Oklahoma secretary of state's office says it received a letter in August from Russia's consulate general in Houston seeking to have one of its officers present at a voting precinct to study the "US experience in organization of voting process."

But the office denied the request, noting Oklahoma law prohibits anyone except election officials and voters from being present while voting is taking place.

2 Alarm Fire Sweeps Through Tulsa Apartments

Oct 21, 2016
Tulsa Fire Department-Facebook.

A 2 alarm fire at the Sunset Court Apartments, just south of downtown, causes extensive damage and left people homeless.

Tulsa Fire officials says the fire broke out at the complex, near 21st and South Boston, about 7:30 last evening. 

The fire left about a dozen people homeless. No serious injuries were reported in the blaze.

The cause of the fire is under review.

This is a  KWGS News Special report looking at Oklahoma's Correction Department crisis. The prisons and full and money is in short supply. Two state questions are on the ballot next month that could add some relief.

 

  The Defense Department has identified a U.S. soldier from Illinois and an Army civilian employee from Oklahoma as those killed in an attack this week in Afghanistan's capital of Kabul.

The military says in a statement 26-year-old Sgt. Douglas J. Riney of Fairview, Illinois, and 40-year-old Michael G. Sauro of McAlester, Oklahoma, died in Kabul of wounds received from encountering hostile enemy forces. The statement says they died Thursday.

In the local news:

  • Home Chemists are making new drug compounds faster than the state can outlaw the synthetic drugs.
  • Oklahoma cuts education funding deeper than any other state.
  • A two-alarm fire damages a near downtown apartment complex.

A lot of money is being thrown around for TV ads on some of Oklahoma’s state questions ahead of next month’s election.

As of Monday, groups have spent just less than $3 million to air nearly 3,800 ads. Ben Wieder tracks ballot measure spending for the Center for Public Integrity. He said this sort of outlay isn’t uncommon.

"This year already, spending on ballot measures in California has topped $100 million," Wieder said. "But certainly, Oklahoma is seeing a lot of activity and seeing more activity than some of its neighbors."

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Oklahoma leads the nation in cuts to school funding, and the gap is widening. Gene Perry with the Oklahoma Policy Institute says per pupil spending has dropped nearly 27% since 2008, increasing the gap over Alabama, which is the second worst for education cuts. There is a state question on the ballot to boost school funding, but Perry says it isn’t enough. He says lawmakers must address the problem to help end the continuing crisis.

Starting in January, cash will no longer be accepted for tolls on the Creek Turnpike at the Peoria and Elm interchanges.

Oklahoma Turnpike Authority is switching to license plate scanners, so drivers who don’t have a PikePass will also be able to drive right on through the toll gates. Those drivers will be mailed an invoice in about five business days.

"It increases our safety factor at a toll booth like this, where we don't have motorists who have to stop and look for change," said OTA spokesman Jack Damrill.

Drug Agents Worried About a New Synthetic Drug

Oct 20, 2016

It is called “Pink”. It is a synthetic drug that is making its way to Oklahoma. It is a powerful drug, some say stronger than Morphine. Right now, the formula for it is illegal. But, State Narcotics Bureau Agent Mark Woodward hopes that status changes soon.

Mark Woodward: "We go back each February, with our partners at the OSBI Crime Lab to identify anything that has come up in the off session. This will be among those drugs submitted to the legislature."

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Police in Tulsa say a woman has been stabbed to death at an apartment complex on the city's north side and a "person of interest" is in custody.

Police told reporters that officers were called to Comanche Park Apartments on Wednesday morning where they found the woman.

The names of the victim and the person arrested have not been released, nor have details of the stabbing been revealed.

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 A woman found guilty in connection with what authorities say was a fraudulent cancer treatment business she ran in Oklahoma and Arkansas has been sentenced to five years of probation.

The Tulsa World reports that 73-year-old Antonella Carpenter was sentenced by a Tulsa federal judge Tuesday. She has been ordered to serve the first year of her probation as in-home detention. Carpenter was found guilty earlier this year of 29 counts of mail, travel and wire fraud.

Stillwater Police

 

The attorney for a woman charged with driving her car into spectators at Oklahoma State University's homecoming parade and killing four people says he's given a judge and prosecutors a psychologist's report on a mental evaluation of the woman.

Adacia Chambers has pleaded not guilty to four counts of second-degree murder and 42 counts of assault and battery in the crash that occurred Oct. 24, 2015, in Stillwater.

Attorney Tony Coleman has previously indicated plans to raise the question of mental illness or insanity at Chambers' trial set for January.

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