Local & Regional

  

In the local news:

  • Despite state budget cuts, the DHS is given credit for progress on implementing foster care revisions.
  • An infant is killed in an overnight house fire in Tulsa.
  • The investigation moves forward into reports of sexual abuse on a Bixby football player.

New Court Papers Regarding Reported Bixby Attack

Jan 10, 2018
File Photo-Google Street View

The OSBI’s investigation continues into a reported sexual assault on a Bixby Football player allegedly by other members of the squad. New court documents seem to indicate that at least some of the players have admitted to authorities of taking part in the attack.

At this point no criminal charges have been filed. The incident reportedly happened at the home of Bixby School Superintendent Kyle Wood. Wood has resigned. The attack is said to have taken place in late September, but was not reported until a month later. 

KWGS News Photo

 

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has ordered five public utilities to track savings from reductions in federal corporate income tax rates and develop a method to return that money to ratepayers.

The three-member panel took the action Tuesday after Attorney General Mike Hunter's office asked for the reduction for Oklahoma customers. The utilities involved are Oklahoma Gas & Electric, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Natural Gas, CenterPoint Energy and Arkansas Oklahoma Gas.

Baby Killed in Tulsa House Fire

Jan 10, 2018
Tulsa Fire Department

A baby girl has died from injuries suffered in an overnight house fire in Tulsa. The Tulsa Fire Department was called to a home in the 82oo block of East 33rd Street around midnight.  That is near 31st and Memorial.

The home was engulfted in flames when the first fire trucks rolled to the scene this morning. In addition to the child that was killed, an adult living at the house was injured and taken by EMSA to the hospital. No names have been released at the point.

The Tulsa Fire Department is looking for a cause of the fire.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Picture this: A huge mermaid, crafted out of vintage car and motorcycle parts and glass, strumming a guitar and overlooking Tulsa’s stretch of Route 66.

It might be the first step in drawing tourists by making Tulsa weird.

Soul City owner Amy Smith plans to install the mermaid on the 11th Street business. The Route 66 Commission invited her to tell them about it. Smith said Route 66 in Tulsa is missing attractions and oddities people are interested in.

KWGS News

Monitors overseeing improvements of Oklahoma’s foster care system tied to a 2012 settlement report the Department of Human Services is making "discernible progress." 

The child welfare experts referred to as "co-neutrals" took notice of the reduction in cases of abuse and neglect of kids in DHS care, which spokeswoman Sheree Powell said exceeded their starting baseline for the first time.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Union Public Schools will ask voters to approve a $128.6 million bond issue next month.

Voters will be asked Feb. 13 to approve a five-year series bond, not the annual bond they may be used to.

"We kind of feel like it’s best now to ask them to approve a multiyear series bond, and part of the reason why we’re doing that is we’re entering into a very aggressive building period in our district," said Superintendent Kirt Hartzler

The construction is partly to keep up with students’ participation in extracurricular activities.

Wikimedia

Will a federal change to crackdown on marijuana ordered by Attorney General Jeff Sessions impact Oklahoma’s vote on medicinal marijuana? Former Western District U-S Attorney Sandy Coats in Oklahoma believes the focus is on RECREATIONAL marijuana, not necessarily medicinal. He thinks it likely Oklahoma will pass marijuana use for medical purposes.

Governor Fallin has set a June election on medicinal marijuana use. It does not include legalizing recreational marijuana.

Google Street View

A Burlington Northern freight train has jumped the tracks in Tulsa’s Dawson area.

Several cars and the engine derailed near Dawson Road and North Fulton. The incident took place about 11 last night.

Emergency responders says no hazardous chemicals were involved.

Parking Meters Could be Extended East in Tulsa

Jan 9, 2018
KWGS News Photo

Tulsa could soon be the home of more parking meters. The city is considering expanding parking meters in the east side of downtown,  near the east leg of the IDL.  The city is also looking to extend meter time to eight at night and add Saturdays to the mix.

In the local news:

  • Discouraging stats on the mental health of Oklahomans.
  • A train derails in northeast Tulsa.
  • The White House Renominates Congress Bridenstine head NASA.

File Photo

 

A member of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission says he supports cutting rates charged by five public utilities in the state to prevent windfall profits that he says would result due to lower federal corporate tax rates.

Commissioner Bob Anthony said in a statement Monday he believes ratepayers need lower rates after the new corporate tax rates went into effect Jan. 1 and "not just IOUs to be paid later."

Bridenstine's office

 

President Donald Trump has re-nominated Republican Oklahoma Rep. Jim Bridenstine to head NASA.

A news release from the White House on Monday announced dozens of nominations, including that of Bridenstine to replace Charles F. Bolden, Jr., who resigned.

Bridenstine's original nomination expired in December when the Senate left town for the year without acting on dozens of Trump's nominees, including Bridenstine, and returned the nomination to the White House.

 

Former Baylor quarterback Zach Smith has transferred to Tulsa and will be eligible to play in 2019.

Tulsa made the announcement in a news release on Monday, the day Smith enrolled in classes.

Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery is a former Baylor offensive coordinator who recruited Smith to Baylor. Smith will sit out the upcoming season because of NCAA transfer rules and will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Oklahoma Senator James Lankford thinks Congress can come up with a fix for President Obama’s program known as DACA before President Trump pulls the plug on it in two months.

"If we need to be able to extend some access between now and then to be able to protect those individuals, that’s good, but the people who are exposed right now are people that, really, didn’t sign up again and didn’t renew in time again for DACA," Lankford told MSNBC this weekend. "Those that are in the DACA that did their renewal, they are still in protected status and will stay that way.

Catherine Scott

Looking at 42 different measures, financial website Wallet Hub ranked Oklahoma the sixth-worst state to raise a family.

"We got most of these numbers from places like the Census, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, county health rankings and aggregated them to come up with this final number, and, unfortunately, Oklahoma ranked in the bottom 10 as far as places to raise a family," said analyst Jill Gonzalez.

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Oklahoma's Republican gubernatorial candidates have mostly avoided taking a clear stance on legalizing medical marijuana while both Democratic candidates support the policy change.

The Tulsa World reports that Gov. Mary Fallin on Friday set a June 26 election for the medical marijuana legalization question. The measure is on the primary ballot instead of the November general election.

Democrats Connie Johnson and Drew Edmondson both say they support the use of medical marijuana. Johnson is a former state senator and Edmondson is a former state attorney general.

 

Officials at the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality want the public's help in selecting a design for new license plates.

The state will soon release environmental awareness specialty plates. Voting opened Monday on three possible designs and will continue through Jan. 19. Two winners will be announced Jan. 22.

The choices include the state bird, the scissor-tailed flycatcher, flying over the western plains; a grazing buffalo and a vivid sunset over a field of flowers.

File photo

 

 

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker signed an executive order declaring Martin Luther King Jr. Day a Cherokee Nation National Holiday for the first time ever. In his executive order, Chief Baker said the declaration was not only a tribute to Dr. King’s contributions to equality for all, but is a reminder that every day we can all play a part in continuing his critical work.

 

KWGS News/T-Gov

More-and-more, domestic violence is being linked to mental health issues. That news is not good for a state already ranked 49th in the nation in addressing mental health needs.

Jan Figart is with the Family Safety Center in Tulsa. She says 22% of Oklahomans, nearly one-in-four, will have some sort of mental health issues in their lifetime.       

Figart tells the 'Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women' that every county in the state is considered to have an inadequate number of mental health providers.

In the local news:

  • Propane prices are inching up in Oklahoma.
  • Cancer rates among women are up in Oklahoma.
  • State lawmakers must still balance the current year's budget.

File Photo

 

Oklahoma's treasurer says taxes collected by the state in December jumped 12 percent over the same month a year ago, indicating that Oklahoma's economy is growing.

Treasurer Ken Miller says gross receipts to the state treasury in December totaled $1 billion, up $108 million over receipts in December 2016. Miller says gross receipts for the year totaled $11.45 billion, about $668 million more than collections in 2016.

Miller says gross receipts in 2016 were higher than the same month of the prior year in all but one month.

Corey Coyle-Wikimedia

It is going to cost more this winter to heat rural Oklahoma homes. The price of propane is following oil prices and slowly inching up.

The price of a gallon of propane is just over $2 today. That is up 50-cents a gallon from this time last year. The good news is, unlike several years ago, there is plenty of propane.

The industry says the best advice is to keep your tank full.  Prices are expected to go up as the winter gets colder.

 

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is investigating a fatal shooting involving a Pottawatomie County sheriff's deputy.

The OSBI says the shooting occurred Saturday night after deputies received a report about a man attacking family members inside a residence west of Shawnee. A deputy who responded encountered a man matching a description of the suspect walking along a road carrying a baseball bat.

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Authorities in Rogers County say a 31-year-old man suffered extensive burns after he allegedly set fire to his estranged wife's house.

Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton says the incident occurred about 2 p.m. Saturday after the woman returned home and found a man under her porch with a machete. Sgt. Logan Eller says the couple is in the process of getting a divorce and she had a protective order against the man. The names of the man and woman were not made public.

KWGS Map

 

A magnitude 3.1 earthquake has shaken part of north-central Oklahoma.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake was recorded at 1:37 p.m. Sunday about 10 miles east of Hennessey in Kingfisher County. The temblor was recorded at a depth of two miles.

No damage or injuries were immediately reported. Geologists say that damage is not likely in earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 or less.

Soggy Sunday, But Dry Monday

Jan 7, 2018
NWS Graphic

Widespread rainfall will move into the region later this morning or early afternoon in association with an approaching upper level storm system and surface front. Some locally heavy rainfall will be possible across parts of far eastern Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas. Rainfall amounts in these areas may total between one half and one inch through Sunday night. Dry and mild conditions will ensue Monday and continue through the middle of the work week. Warm and breezy conditions are expected on Wednesday, and fire weather concerns may increase at that time.

World Language Classes Vanish from Many Oklahoma High Schools

Jan 7, 2018
Sherman Merchant/Jenks Public Schools

A fourth of high schools across the state have eliminated world language classes over a decade, erasing the chances for thousands of students to acquire skills that could better prepare them for college and the job market.

The number of high schools without a single world language class has nearly quadrupled, from 39 in 2006 to 149 in 2016, according to an Oklahoma Watch analysis of data collected by the state Office of Educational Quality and Accountability. That means a third of Oklahoma high schools now don’t offer a single course.

Oklahoma Game Warden-Facebook

State wildlife officials are investigating after an American bald eagle was discovered fatally shot last month along a rural road in southeast Oklahoma.

Authorities said the bird was found by a passerby on Dec. 27 near Broken Bow, a small McCurtain County town.

Game wardens determined the bird had been shot out of a nearby tree and recovered a spent rifle casing at the scene. Officials are asking anyone with information about the shooting to come forward.

file photo

Norman Lamb, a former Oklahoma state senator and the father of Republican Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, has died.

An owner at Ladusau-Evans Funeral Home confirmed Saturday that Norman Lamb died Friday in Enid at age 82. The owner didn't know the cause of death.

The elder Lamb was elected senator in 1971 and served nearly 20 years.

In 1995, he was appointed state secretary of veterans affairs by then-Gov. Frank Keating. Lamb held that position until 2011 under Keating's successor, Gov. Brad Henry.

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