Local & Regional

Margaret Hudson Closes

Aug 3, 2017
Margaret Hudson Program

The Margaret Hudson program could not overcome a $300,000 funding cut. That has forced the program to completely shut down. The program helped teen moms continue their education.

Earlier this year, programs in Tulsa were consolidated with those in Broken Arrow. That did not ease the expenses enough to overcome the short fall.

The program had operated in Tulsa County since 1968.

USGS

 

The city of Edmond says power has been restored to two electric substations after a magnitude-4.2 earthquake rattled the area.

The city announced on its Twitter page that all customers should have their electric power back. The announcement came more than an hour after the U.S. Geological Survey reported a 4.4-magnitude was detected about 4 miles east-northeast of Edmond. The USGS later revised the quake down to a magnitude 4.2.

Three lesser tremors shook the Edmond area earlier Wednesday, and two were detected in the area Tuesday night.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

A city councilor's attempt to put a pause on new dollar stores in north Tulsa looks unlikely to succeed.

District 1 Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper wants a six-month ban on new discount stores. She said they're crowding out full-service grocery stores — and, therefore, healthier food — in her community.

"With business, it's location, location, location. So, if all the key locations are taken, common sense tells you that that's going to pose a problem if a grocery store wants to come in," Hall-Harper said.

Todd Lamb-Facebook

The Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma has taken a large financial lead in the race to become the state's next governor.

Campaign reports show that with more than $2 million raised, Republican Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb has raised the most so far of the 13 candidates that have filed to run for governor next year.

Lamb says he's pleased and humbled by the support he has received. He says his campaign has more than 700 contributors.

Among the four Democrat candidates, Drew Edmondson, a former state attorney general, is leading with more than $300,200 raised so far.

 

The widow of slain Republican Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello says she intends to run for the office her husband held when he was stabbed to death at a fast food restaurant in August 2015.

Cathy Costello said Wednesday she would seek the GOP nomination for the office that's open in 2018.

She touted her experience as a business entrepreneur and the knowledge she gained working with her husband while he was commissioner.

Pinnacle Award Winners Announced

Aug 2, 2017

YWCA in partnership with the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women  announces the winners of the 2018 Women of the Year – Pinnacle Awards.

The winners are:

File photo-Studio Tulsa

 

A western Oklahoma county has lost its federally funded nutrition program for young children and pregnant women.

The Oklahoman reports that administrators of the Cordell Memorial Hospital in Washita County announced Monday it could no longer provide the Women, Infant and Children program.

The program is usually administered by county health departments. But in Washita County, Cordell Memorial has provided registered nurses and office workers to the Washita County Health Services to fill the need.

In the local news:

  • Campaign fraud charges are dropped against Oklahoma School Superintendent Joy Hofmeister and four others.
  • The Broken Arrow City Council approves a resolution opposing gaming at the new Embers Grille.
  • Programs aimed at lowering the inmate population are discussed in Tulsa.

BA Passes Grille Gaming Opposition Resolution

Aug 2, 2017
City of Broken Arrow

The Broken Arrow City Council passes a resolution in opposition to any illegal gaming at the new Embers Grille. The restaurant is inside the Broken Arrow City Limits, but it is on Indian Tribal-Town allotment land. Because of that, Broken Arrow has no control over the land. That includes public safety and water and sewer.

The resolution, passed last night, instructs the City Manager to take steps to block the plan. It also praises the Muscogee-Creek Nation, which is also opposed.

KWGS News File photo

Felony charges of illegally raising campaign money against Oklahoma's top public education official have been dismissed.

Online court records show the charges were dismissed Tuesday against Republican Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, two political consultants, a former union leader and the former head of a schools group.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa fire stations are the drop off spots for a school supply drive to help out Tulsa Public Schools teachers.

City Councilor Karen Gilbert said teachers who struggle to make ends meet often buy their own classroom supplies, and their classes are only getting bigger right now.

"We are wanting to relieve some of that stress and help our teachers with supplies in their classrooms," Gilbert said.

Mayor G.T. Bynum said the most-needed item is white board erasers.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Leaders from throughout Tulsa County are at a two-day workshop with the goal of finding ways to send fewer people to jail.

It’s a "sequential intercept mapping" workshop — a complicated way of saying elected officials and other leaders are getting together to lay out the path through the criminal justice system for people with mental illness or substance abuse disorders.

Lunchtime Heist: Tulsa Bank Robbed

Aug 1, 2017
Tulsa Police

Tulsa Police are investigating a lunchtime bank robbery in north Tulsa. A lone bandit hit the Bank of Oklahoma branch in the Springdale Shopping Center, at Pine and Lewis, just after 11 o'clock Tuesday morning.

He gave the teller a note demanding cash. He then made his escape on foot. No reports of any injuries

The suspect was described as a white male, mid 40’s, goatee, black ball cap, blue jeans, yellow shirt and white shoes.  

KWGS News photo

A former Tulsa police officer is set to go to trial a fourth time in the death of his daughter's boyfriend after a judge rejected his request to dismiss the case.

Shannon Kepler is charged with murder in the August 2014 fatal shooting of 19-year-old Jeremey Lake. Juries in three trials so far have deadlocked, leading to mistrials. Prosecutors announced last month that they would move forward with a fourth trial.

BOK To Go 'Smoke Free'

Aug 1, 2017
KWGS NEWS Photo

BOK Center will be discontinuing the use of the exterior smoking terrace and guests will no longer be permitted to leave the building and re-enter in order to smoke. This is not a health initiative but rather a security initiative. The management teams, along with security professionals, are constantly looking for ways to enhance security at the venue and this is one area that has been identified as an opportunity for improvement. 

This new policy will go into effect for every single event at the venue starting August 10, 2017. 

OETA

 

A monthly survey of business leaders suggested a drop in business conditions but still indicated the economy will pick up over the next few months in nine Midwest and Plains states.

A report released Tuesday says the Mid-America Business Conditions Index dropped to 56.1 last month from 62.3 in June. The May figure was 55.5.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says it "points to solid growth for both manufacturing and nonmanufacturing for the second half of 2017."

In the local news:

  • County leaders want an agreement on jail inmate expenses.
  • We remember former University of Tulsa President Steadman Upham.
  • The Oklahoma Health Care Authority braces for more potential cuts from the state.

Kepler Wants Charges Dropped

Aug 1, 2017
Tulsa County Booking Photo

Lawyers for former Tulsa Police officer Shannon Kepler want charges against him dropped.

He has been tried three times for the murder of his daughter’s boy friend, Jeremy Lake.  All three times the jury has come back deadlocked on a verdict.

The District Attorney wants to try him a fourth time. Kepler’s attorneys say "enough". They are asking the judge to dismiss the charges. She could rule as early as today.

Tulsa Fire

Tulsa Police are working another murder. Two people were shot overnight in a vehicle at the Westminster Apartments. That is near 51st and Memorial.

Their vehicle crashed into an apartment. The passenger was dead. Police say the driver is in critical condition.

No names have been released. Tulsa has had over 50 murders so far this year.

okhca.org

These are uncertain financial times for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.

OHCA was appropriated $70 million from the cigarette fee opponents are asking the Oklahoma Supreme Court to strike down. Oral arguments are next week.

Depending on congressional actions, OHCA could also soon be missing as much as $90 million in federal matching dollars for SoonerCare, the state's Medicaid program.

Tulsa Regional Chamber

Work called for in the Tulsa Regional Chamber's economic plan will continue through 2020.

The chamber announced Monday it's raised the $21 million dollars needed to carry out efforts called for in Tulsa's Future III.

Chamber President and CEO Mike Neal said it took about two years to raise the money from public and private investors.

"This plan enables the northeast Oklahoma region to effectively compete with peer regions across the country for jobs as well as capital investment," Neal said.

KWGS News Photo

One more week! County leaders say they’ll give the city of Tulsa that much time before finally unilaterally imposing municipal inmate rates regardless of a new jail contract agreement. It’s a dispute that’s been going on for years, and all three County Commissioners say they’ve had enough. John Smaligo’s been pushing for a flat rate that is unacceptable to the city. Despite that, Commission Chair Ron Peters says he believes he will have a compromise agreement with Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum by next week.

File photo

   The U.S. Department of Education projects Oklahoma's pre-K through 12th grade student enrollment to grow by 6 percent over the next decade, adding an additional 41,000 students to the financially-strained public school system.

The increase is a slight slowdown from the 9 percent increase the state's public school system experienced over the past decade.

Enrollment is important to funding the state's schools. The schools rely on money that's dispersed through the state aid formula on a per student basis.

AUDIO: Former TU President Steadman Upham Is Remembered

Jul 31, 2017
University of Tulsa

The University of Tulsa notified faculty and staff this morning that former University of Tulsa President Steadman Upham has died. The University sent an email to its employees this morning make the announcement: 

With heavy hearts, we have learned that former University of Tulsa President Steadman Upham died last night, July 30, 2017, from complications following a recent surgery.

Our deepest sympathies, thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Peggy; their children, Nathan and Erin; and their grandchildren, Orion and Aadrock.

In the local news:

  • A fire guts a section of downtown Wagoner.
  • A man's body is found in the woods near downtown.
  • A Tulsa woman drowns in Spring Creek.

  Dozens of Oklahoma inmates serving life in prison without parole have a shot at resentencing and possible release because of a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

But seeking a second chance won't be a speedy process.

The high court's 2016 ruling applies to inmates who received mandatory life without parole for killings committed when they were juveniles. Last year, the court made its ruling retroactive.

But so far, no Oklahoma inmates have been resentenced.

  Dozens of Oklahoma inmates serving life in prison without parole have a shot at resentencing and possible release because of a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

But seeking a second chance won't be a speedy process.

The high court's 2016 ruling applies to inmates who received mandatory life without parole for killings committed when they were juveniles. Last year, the court made its ruling retroactive.

But so far, no Oklahoma inmates have been resentenced.

Tulsa Police

 

Police say a man's body has been found in a wooded area west of downtown Tulsa, near the Arkansas River.

Police told reporters the body was found Sunday after a person walking in the woods reported smelling a foul odor shortly before noon.

Police say the man has not been identified and it isn't known how long the body had been in the woods.

The body is being sent to the state medical examiner's office to identify it and determine the cause of death.

Tulsa Woman Drowns in Spring Creek

Jul 31, 2017
KWGS News File Photo

A 28-year-old Tulsa woman drowns in Spring Creek at the Smokey Valley Campground. The woman was walking in about two feet of water when she slipped and went under into deeper water.

She was holding a toddler at the time. Others nearby rescued the child.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol identified the woman as 28-year-old Enilda Fuentes-Ramos.

Flames Destory a Section of Downtown Wagoner

Jul 31, 2017
Wagoner County Emergency Management-Heath Underwood

Fire crews are dousing hot spots in Wagoner after a Sunday afternoon fire gutted a section of the town’s historic downtown area.

The flames destroyed at least three businesses. Fire departments from Wagoner and Mayes Counties responded to the intense fire.

There have been no reports of injuries.

The state fire marshal will aid in the investigation. It appears the fire started in an apartment above one of the businesses.

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