Local & Regional

KWGS News

 

A state audit of the inmate trust accounts at the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office during the previous administration shows the records were so poorly managed that auditors could not determine whether more than $188,000 was embezzled or misappropriated.

The aroma of gasoline and fried food hovering around the Tulsa fairgrounds right now can mean only one thing: The Chili Bowl is back in town.

Drivers have a practice session tonight, and races start tomorrow. The field this year is the biggest in the event's history, growing by about 50 cars from last year to 375.

Former NASCAR driver Tony Stewart is in charge of building the quarter-mile dirt track inside the River Spirit Expo Center. He said midget racing's lack of strict rules is why the Chili Bowl keeps growing.

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A severe winter storm may rain ice down on Tulsa starting Friday, but fair weather is in the forecast for the next few days.

"This is the time to take advantage of the several days we have to get you, your family, everybody ready to ride out this event and not be out if you don't have to," said Tulsa Area Emergency Manager Roger Jolliff.

Besides reviewing your family emergency plan, Jolliff said you should make sure your car is ready by topping off your fuel tank, making sure it's in good working order and preparing an emergency kit to stash in it.

NWS Tulsa

 

A week of weather extremes is expected in Oklahoma, with forecasters predicting unseasonably warm temperatures early in the week followed by the possibility of a "significant winter weather event" heading into the weekend.

The National Weather Service in Tulsa says windy, warm weather is expected, then thunderstorms and winter weather could move in. Forecasters say there's still quite a bit of uncertainty about the forecast but that there is the potential for "damaging ice accumulations," Friday through Sunday, especially north of Interstate 44 in northeast Oklahoma.

DHS Review By State House Committee

Jan 9, 2017
KWGS News/State of Oklahoma

The giant Oklahoma Department of Human Services goes before the State House Budget Committee today for  a performance review. DHS Director Ed Lake outlined programs for the lawmakers, including an update on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP or Food Stamps.

Authorities in Stephens County say a duck hunter has drowned while trying to save his dog. Sheriff Wayne McKinney told The Duncan Banner that the victim was duck hunting when he tried to rescue his dog after it got into trouble in icy water while retrieving a duck Saturday near Duncan. The victim's name hasn't been released.

 

State of Oklahoma

 

More than 500 Oklahoma state employees received pay raises last year despite the state facing a $1.3 billion budget shortfall.

Information obtained by The Oklahoman from the state Office of Management and Enterprise shows 554 raises totaling just more than $5 million.

OG&E

 

This morning's forecast focus continues to be on the likelihood of a significant winter storm affecting parts of the region late this week and into the weekend, with less eventful, if not totally quiet, weather preceding it. Details on the situation will come later in this discussion, but the bottom line is the medium range models continue to support the potential for a prolonged period of freezing rain affecting at least a portion of eastern Oklahoma beginning Friday, as well as heavy rain and flooding from southeast Oklahoma into western Arkansas.

 

 The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says an Ottawa County sheriff's deputy fatally shot a man who pointed a gun at officers.

The OSBI says 42-year-old Travis Edward Baker was dead at the scene of the shooting Saturday near Fairland.

The agency says Baker was suspected of stealing several cars and breaking into homes earlier Saturday and when officers spotted him, he led them on a vehicle chase before stopping and running into a wooded area.

Stillwater Police

 

 An Oklahoma woman who drove into a crowd of spectators at Oklahoma State University's 2015 homecoming parade, killing four people and injuring dozens of others, is set to stand trial on murder charges.

Adacia Chambers is charged with 42 counts of assault and battery and four counts of second-degree murder, which carries a maximum life sentence.

Prosecutors say she sped up before slamming into the parade-goers.

In the local news:

  • The health care benefits of PAs in rural Oklahoma.
  • A warm-up and then an ice storm ahead for Oklahoma this week.
  • The trial of Adacia Chambers is set for tomorrow.

Heads-Up: Another Winter Storm a Week Away... Read NWS Statement

Jan 8, 2017
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An impactful winter storm affecting parts of eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas is looking increasingly likely in the Friday and Saturday time frame.

First off, one detail that we have moderate confidence on at this point is that snow is the least likely precipitation type during the critical part of this event. The cold air will be quite shallow, leading to the potential for either freezing rain or sleet as a winter precipitation type. Which one of those types is dominant in a certain area will depend on the storm track.

OHP-Facebook

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says two Texas residents have been killed in a crash in Greer County.

A preliminary report says Kenedy, Texas, residents Emily Monson and Shaylene Monson died Friday afternoon west of the town of Granite.

Two young children traveling with them were treated and released from local hospitals.

The patrol report says the driver, Emily Monson, struck from behind a semitrailer that was making a right turn into a private drive.

They were pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the semitrailer wasn't injured.

File Photo

 

The state's top law enforcement agency has arrested an Oklahoma man in connection with a Blaine County homicide.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said 35-year-old Alan Dale Brower was taken into custody late Friday after he was arrested at a relative's home in Watonga.

Brower was booked in the Blaine County jail on complaints of first-degree murder, second-degree burglary and possession of a controlled dangerous substance.

The OSBI said Brower was living with the victim, 30-year-old Karlie Pierce, along with three children.

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 Oklahoma's tax on gasoline and diesel fuel has remained untouched since 1987 and is among the lowest in the nation. That is making it a tempting target for state lawmakers desperate for revenue amid a third straight year of budget declines.

Several Republican legislators said last week they expect proposals will be unveiled once the session begins in February to increase the state's gasoline and diesel taxes of 17 cents and 14 cents, respectively.

Education Bills Emerge: Teacher Pay, History Exams, 4-Day Weeks

Jan 8, 2017
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Lawmakers will take another stab at increasing teacher salaries, will attempt to stymie four-day school weeks and try to eliminate the end-of-year exam in U.S. history.

With the filing deadline on Jan. 19, bills have been streaming in, including many related to common education. Additional bills could surface later because of exceptions to the deadline and shell bills whose language is often replaced mid-session.

Oklahoma's Prison Mortality Rates Among Highest in Nation

Jan 8, 2017
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Oklahoma has among the highest prisoner mortality rates and homicide rates in the nation, according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics on Thursday.

The data, which examined deaths of both federal and state prisoners between 2001 and 2014, showed that Oklahoma ranked sixth in the nation in prisoner mortality rates, second in accidental death rates and second in the rate of prisoner deaths from homicide.

The rates reflect 1,071 total state and federal prisoner deaths, 25 accidental deaths and 43 homicide deaths during that period.

Fires Blamed on Cold

Jan 7, 2017

The bitter cold may have been responsible for a series of overnight fires in the area:

  • One blaze heavily damaged a home near 71st and South Yale. The fire department got the call around 11:30 last night.
  • A home, just northwest of Tulsa, was destroyed by fire last night. The fire was near 53rd Street North just into Osage County.
  • A barn near Sapulpa burned overnight. Animals inside were killed.

O-Dot Issues Winter Road Update

Jan 7, 2017
KWGS News File Photo

Patchy fog across portions of south-central Oklahoma is limiting visibility for motorists and potentially can form patches of ice on roads and bridges. Combined with remaining slick and hazardous areas from Friday's snow, motorists are advised to reduce speed and plan extra time to reach destinations this morning.

Justice Department

60-year-old Jeffrey A. Stevens of East Lyme, Connecticut entered a guilty plea to five counts of Interstate Communications with the Intent to Injure.

Danny C. Williams, Sr., United States Attorney for the Northern District said, “Jeffrey Stevens used the internet to intentionally disseminate threats to kill in order to impact the professional responsibilities and duties of those involved in the prosecution of the Terrance Crutcher case.  This type of criminal conduct will not be tolerated.”

KWGS File photo

 An American Indian tribe's plan to build a $25 million casino in the Oklahoma Panhandle — which is hundreds of miles from its headquarters — has prompted a state senator to question whether tribal gambling should be allowed in areas that have no historical tribal connections.

The Shawnee Tribe is proposing a 42,000-square-foot casino near Guymon, located 366 miles away from the tribe's headquarters in Miami (my-AM'-uh). Supporters say the proposed Golden Mesa Casino will draw visitors from the Texas Panhandle, New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas and create 175 jobs.

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Democratic and Republican lawmakers are planning to pass legislation in Oklahoma to comply with a federal law involving identification cards.

The Tulsa World reports that two Democratic senators — John Sparks of Norman and Kay Floyd of Oklahoma City — announced legislation in November to comply with the REAL ID Act. President George W. Bush signed the act into law as an anti-terrorism measure in 2005.

Republican Rep. Jon Echols, the House majority flood leader, says he expects similar legislation to pass the House.

Oklahoma finance officials say overall revenue collections to the state treasury are continuing on a downward slide.

Oklahoma Treasurer Ken Miller reported Friday that annual gross receipts to the treasury in 2016 shrank by 7.4 percent compared to the previous year.

Miller says gross receipts last month totaled $901 million, which is a decrease of more than $47 million, or 5 percent, from December 2015.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Proposed zoning code changes that could affect Iron Gate soup kitchen have been nixed, at least until their court case is resolved.

The change explicitly classified soup kitchens and other nonprofits under governmental and social services, a determination previously made by the city when it came to Iron Gate.

Iron Gate has appealed that classification in court. Attorney Lou Reynolds accused the city of trying to move the goal posts on them.

pixabay.com

Tulsa's city council will consider proposals to increase batch limits on coffee roasters in the zoning code.

They would increase the limit for roasters in areas zoned commercial use from 3 kilograms to 45 and in industrial areas from 35 to 45.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education asked state lawmakers Friday for $958 million in funding next year.

Chancellor Glen Johnson said they understand the state is in another difficult budget situation, but he had a strong message for the House budget committee.

"Higher education needs to be a funding priority. There's nobody else. There's no other game in town," Johnson said. "If we're going to meet those job needs that they tell us are going to be coming to in 2020, nobody else can do that but higher education."

Tulsa County Booking Photo

  A Tulsa man convicted in the fatal shootings of four women in 2013 has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Cedric Poore was sentenced Friday to four life sentences for the killings of 23-year-old twins Rebeika Powell and Kayetie Melchor, 33-year-old Misty Nunley and 55-year-old Julie Jackson. 

The sentencing comes a week after Poore was convicted of four counts of felony murder.

Poore's brother, James Poore, was previously convicted in the case and sentenced to life in prison.

A Deal for Chambers in OSU Crash?

Jan 6, 2017
Stillwater Police

A plea deal may be in the works for the woman accused of crashing into a group of 2015 OSU football homecoming parade spectators. The crash left four people dead and many more injured.

While the Tulsa attorney for Adacia Chambers says he is preparing for the start of trial next week, The 'Oklahoman' is reporting that a plea bargain may be agreed upon just prior to the start of jury selection next Tuesday. The newspaper did not name a source for its story.

Unverstiy of Oklahoma

 

Joe Mixon, the star Oklahoma running back who was suspended for the 2014 season after punching a woman in the face, will enter the NFL draft.

ESPN and other outlets reported the decision Thursday.

Mixon's lawyers released video last month of him breaking Oklahoma student Amelia Molitor's jaw and cheekbone in July 2014, and heavy criticism of Mixon and Sooners coach Bob Stoops followed. Mixon gave a tearful public apology a week later.

Wikipedia

 

DRUMMOND, Okla. (AP) — Authorities are investigating after several steel windmills were reported stolen in three northwest Oklahoma counties.

Oklahoma City TV station KOCO reports that the windmill thefts were reported in Alfalfa, Garfield and Major counties over the past few weeks. Garfield County Sheriff Jerry Niles says that although windmills can be collector items, he thinks they were stolen for scrap metal.

The windmills can be as tall as 30 feet, so the sheriff says there's likely more than one person involved in the theft.

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