Local & Regional

KWGS File photo

 

Oklahoma lawmakers have approved a bill to close a legal loophole that allows sex offenders to live near their victims.

Senate Bill 1221 passed unanimously Monday and would prohibit an offender from loitering within 1,000 feet of a victim's home or living within 2,000 feet of them. A similar bill is pending in the House.

State of Oklahoma

 

Oklahoma Secretary of State Dave Lopez is resigning from Gov. Mary Fallin's cabinet, saying he needs to focus more on his "personal and business endeavors."

Fallin's office confirmed Tuesday that Lopez plans to stay on the job until March 30.

As secretary of state, Lopez served as a top adviser to Fallin on policy and legislative issues. In January he took over the additional responsibilities on Fallin's cabinet as secretary of education and workforce development.

Lopez submitted his letter of resignation to Fallin's office last week.

File Photo-Google Street View

 

Attorneys for four ex-high school football players charged in Oklahoma with sexually assaulting a former teammate want the prosecutor trying the case removed because they say his office has close ties with the accuser's family.

Court paperwork filed Tuesday seeks to disqualify Matt Ballard and other prosecutors in his office on grounds the relationships jeopardize the Bixby High School students' chance of a fair trial.

Cache High School students got their representative’s thoughts on planned teacher walkouts during a visit to the capitol.

Rep. Jeff Coody said the $10,000 raise for teachers and raises for state employees that educators are demanding will cost roughly one-third of what the legislature appropriates each year, so he has an unfavorable view of their planned April 2 walkouts.

"Honestly, it’s akin to extortion. It’s probably not doable, and you all are going to suffer as a result of it," Coody told the students Monday.

Catholic Online

A bill allowing private child-placement agencies receiving state funds to object to placements violating their religious beliefs passed the Oklahoma Senate on Tuesday.

Opponents of Senate Bill 1140 say it opens the door to potential foster or adoptive parents being rejected because of their race or sexual orientation. Bill author Sen. Greg Treat said only the latter is possible.

Leo Varadkar

The prime minister of Ireland has visited members of a Native American tribe in Oklahoma to thank them for a gift sent 171 years ago.

Members of the Choctaw Nation collected $170 in 1847 and sent it to Dublin to help feed the Irish during a potato famine. The money would be worth about $4,400 today.

Prime Minister Leo Varadkar met with tribal members on Monday in the southern Oklahoma city of Durant as part of a weeklong trip to the U.S. He said the gift is a sacred memory and bond.

Twitter

 

Oklahoma's revenue collections for February were $294.2 million, $2 million below the monthly estimate but $46 million more than was collected in February 2017.

State Office of Management and Services Director Denise Northrup said Tuesday that the state's economy is still recovering from several years of a downturn that led to budget shortfalls and funding cuts to state agencies.

OPPRS

 

The head of an Oklahoma agency that manages $2.5 billion in pension funds for municipal police officers has been fired after allegations of embezzlement.

The board for the Oklahoma Police Pension and Retirement System voted 10-1 on Monday to terminate Director Steven Snyder. Board members have appointed Sean Ruark as interim executive director until they find a permanent replacement.

Food Bank Preps for Teacher Walk Out

Mar 13, 2018
Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma

What about the kids?

With so many students on free and reduced school breakfasts-and-lunches in Tulsa, there is a real concern about what the children will do if the schools are closed in a teacher walk-out. In the Tulsa Public Schools there are over 28,000 children on free or reduced meal programs. 

The Director of the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma is Eileen Bradshaw.  She says they plan to fill the void.

In the local news:

  • The Oklahoma Senate approves a plan to trim 43,000 from the Medicaid rolls.
  • More school board approve of a teacher walkout.
  • Iron Gate looks at yet another site for its soup kitchen.

State of Oklahoma

 

A Republican from northwest Oklahoma City has been picked by his GOP colleagues to serve as the next leader of the Oklahoma Senate.

Sen. Greg Treat was elected Senate President Pro Tempore-designate by acclamation after several potential opponents withdrew from consideration.

Treat was elected in a special election in 2011 has served in the Senate's No. 2 spot as majority floor leader for the last two legislative sessions. He will replace Sen. Mike Schulz, who is term-limited.

File photo

 

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is renewing a $5,000 reward in hopes of finding new clues in a 2012 slaying.

The agency announced the cash offer Monday in the case of Floyd Marvin Osborne Jr. Investigators say the 28-year-old man was found in a house in Okemah with multiple stab wounds and was taken to Creek Nation Community Hospital, where he later died. Okemah police requested the state agency's help in the investigation.

OSBI offered the same cash reward in November, which has since expired, per state law.

KWGS Map

 

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says an Oklahoma sheriff has been arrested after pulling a gun during a confrontation with his daughter's boyfriend.

OSBI said in a news release Monday that Major County Sheriff Steven Randolph was booked into jail in neighboring Blaine County, about 70 miles northwest of Oklahoma City.

More School Boards Vote to Back Teachers

Mar 13, 2018
KWGS News File Photo

More school boards are voting not to take punitive action against district teachers who may walk off the job next month.

In addition, to the Tulsa Public Schools, Bartlesville, Broken Arrow, Owasso, Sapulpa and Union have joined the list of schools.

Teachers are set to walk out on April 2nd if they don’t receive a sizable pay increase.

The Oklahoma Senate approved a plan Monday to lower the income cutoff for adults to receive SoonerCare benefits, a move that would see 43,000 people lose coverage.

Sen. John Sparks asked Senate Bill 1030 author Senator Josh Brecheen whether he thought Oklahomans were working just long enough to stash away some money before quitting to claim Medicaid benefits.

Opponents are going all-in to stop a measure allowing private agencies in Oklahoma to deny placements.

Senate Bill 1140 would let private agencies receiving state funding refuse to participate in foster care or adoption placements based on their written religious or moral convictions. Freedom Oklahoma is launching a statewide campaign against the bill with ACLU Oklahoma as a partner. Executive Director Troy Stevenson said states with similar laws have seen a drop off in adoptions.

 

Oklahoma investigators say two people are dead and another injured after an apparent slaying-suicide.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says that Baylie Goodwin told police that her husband, Jerry Leonard II, fatally shot a man who had gone to her home to pick her up Saturday. OSBI officials haven't released the name of the man found dead at the couple's residence near Wewoka.

Investigators say Goodwin was also shot in her thigh and flown to OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City for treatment.

Wikimedia

 

Oklahoma lawmakers are looking into giving teachers pay raises or bonuses without raising taxes by tapping into $2.4 billion in trust funds managed by the Commissioners of the Land Office.

Discussions of pay raises and bonuses come as the state's teachers are threatening to strike if $6,000 pay raises and additional funding for education aren't approved by April 1.

About $1.7 billion of the land office's funds is held in trust for common schools. Lawmakers are a seeking a way to use those funds annually without violating the Oklahoma Constitution.

Zac Carp-Facebook

 

A second wrongful death lawsuit has been filed over a natural gas rig explosion in Oklahoma that killed five workers.

Betty Jo Cunningham of Seminole, Oklahoma, filed the lawsuit Friday. Cunningham is the widow of Roger Cunningham, one of three Oklahoma men killed in the Jan. 22 explosion. The lawsuit names Red Mountain Energy, Red Mountain Operating, Patterson-UTI Drilling and Patterson-UTI Energy.

The widow of Parker Waldridge, also of Oklahoma, filed a similar lawsuit a week earlier.

In the local news:

  • Teachers begin a work slow-down in Tulsa.
  • State workers will join educators if a walkout takes place next month.
  • A window is shot out at a Tulsa QT following a domestic dispute over child custody.

Fuss Over Child Leads to Gun Play

Mar 12, 2018
Google Street View

Shots ring out in the parking lot of the Admiral and Delaware Quik Trip near the TU Campus.

A domestic dispute over child custody issues erupted in gun fire just after midnight. Five shots were fired.

No one was hit, but the store’s plate glass window was shattered. Tulsa Poilice are looking for a suspect in the case.

A state appeals court has ruled that an antitrust lawsuit against an Oklahoma City-based oil and natural gas company can be heard in state court.

The Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals last week reversed a trial court's earlier ruling that dismissed the state proceedings against Chesapeake Energy Corp. and agreed with the company the lawsuit should go to federal court.

The Oklahoman reports that the appeal court's reversal means the case will be sent back to trial court. A parallel case is ongoing in Oklahoma City federal court.

Work Slow Down in TPS Begins Today

Mar 12, 2018
File photo

Today begins 'phase one' of the teacher protest over wages in the state. Educators will begin “working to contract” today in the Tulsa Public Schools. That means they will only work the seven hours and 50-minutes for which they are compensated.

It is part of a protest over low wages. Teachers have not had a pay hike in over a decade and are the lowest paid in the nation. 

'Phase two' is a teacher walkout set for April 2nd, if lawmakers don't approve a pay hike. Teachers want $10,000 over three years.

KWGS News File Photo

 

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says a 42-year old Miami man has been killed in a single-vehicle wreck in Ottawa County.

The patrol says in a preliminary report that Toby S. Foust was killed early Sunday morning.

Troopers say Foust was traveling westbound when his pickup ran off the road, overcorrected and ran off the road again. The report says Foust was ejected from his vehicle as it rolled three times and came to rest on its wheels.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The patrol said Foust wasn't wearing a seatbelt.

Thunder Tops Spurs

Mar 11, 2018
Cameron Felts

Russell Westbrook scored 21 points and posted his 19th triple-double of the season to help the Oklahoma City Thunder defeat the San Antonio Spurs 104-94. Westbrook had 12 rebounds and 10 assists in the 98th triple-double of his career. Oklahoma City improved to 6-3 since the All-Star break. Rudy Gay and Davis Bertans each scored 14 points for the Spurs. LaMarcus Aldridge has held to 11 points on 5-for-16 shooting.

Magellan MidStream

A Tekamah, Nebraska man is suing an Oklahoma pipeline company, which he accused of failing to properly repair an anhydrous ammonia pipeline, causing a deadly leak in 2016.

Payne County

A 42-year-old Stillwater bail agent has been acquitted of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of one of her clients last year.

The Oklahoman reports that Payne County jurors found Chasity Dawn Carey not guilty on Friday in the Aug. 9 death of 38-year-old client Brandon James Williams.

Carey testified she shot Williams in self-defense as she and her son attempted to take Williams back into custody. She told jurors she was afraid Williams was going to shoot her son and that he tried to grab her gun before fleeing out her office window.

Fire Weather Returns

Mar 11, 2018
NWS Graphic

An elevated fire weather danger is forecast across much of eastern Oklahoma and west central Arkansas. Gusty north to northwest winds, between 20 and 30 mph, and lower humidity behind a cold front will elevate the fire spread potential. In the wake of cool high pressure that will be in place through the middle of next week, strong south winds and warmer temperatures will yield elevated to near critical fire weather conditions to close out the upcoming work week.

OHP-Facebook

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says three people have died in a pair of separate car crashes.

Troopers are still investigating what caused the wreck that killed 20-year-old Altus resident Dewayne Eric Skaggs late Friday south of Roosevelt in Kiowa County. Skaggs was pronounced dead at the scene from his injuries. A 17-year-old unidentified passenger was uninjured.

Earlier Friday evening, two people were killed in Okfuskee County near Weleetka. The patrol says 39-year-old Cindy Norton and 37-year-old Eric Norton, both from Dustin, were killed.

OPEA

State employees plan to join Oklahoma teachers in walking off the job next month if lawmakers don't give them a pay raise.

The Oklahoma Public Employees Association decided Saturday that state workers will strike if more than $213 million in pay raises aren't approved by April 2.

The decision by the employees group comes after the Oklahoma Education Association, the state's largest teacher's organization, announced plans for a work stoppage April 2 if lawmakers don't approve a $6,000 pay raise by April 1.

Pages