Local & Regional

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U.S. Geological Survey researchers say they're upgrading the strength of an Oklahoma earthquake that struck over the weekend to a 5.8 magnitude, making it the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in the state.

USGS research geophysicist Daniel McNamara said Wednesday the previous strongest recorded quake in Oklahoma — a 5.6-magnitude temblor in 2011 — also is being upgraded to a 5.7-magnitude quake.

Broken Arrow Police

The older Bever brother admitted guilt in killing five of his family members last year in Broken Arrow.

Robert Bever, 19, entered guilty pleas during arraignment this afternoon in Tulsa District Court.

April, David, 12-year-old Daniel, 7-year-old Christopher and 5-year-old Victoria Bever were found stabbed to death July 22, 2015. A 13-year-old sister survived the attack, and a 2-year-old was unharmed.

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The latest unemployment statistics in Oklahoma show the state with a larger number of people out of work percentage-wise than the nation.   Lynn Gray with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission says it’s been a long time since that happened. The last time was in 1990, more than 25 years ago.

The state’s unemployment rate from July is five percent, one-tenth of a point higher than the national rate of 4.9%. Gray says it’s the continuing slump in the oil and gas industry that’s the major factor in the rising rate.

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The Poteau City Council has approved funding to add gates to a railroad crossing where a woman and three children died last month after they were struck by a train.

The council voted Tuesday night to pay its share for the gates at the railroad crossing. Fort Smith, Arkansas, television station KHBS reports that the total cost of the project is about $350,000, and the city will kick in 10 percent. The remainder will be paid by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the Kansas City Southern Railway Company.


Child welfare experts who are monitoring implementation of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services' plan to improve its foster care system have agreed to extend the timeline to fully implement proposed changes.

  DHS settled a class-action lawsuit in 2012 that alleged the agency victimized foster children and agreed to make improvements in the system. The settlement agreement established an ambitious five-year plan known as the Pinnacle Plan to increase the number of foster families and caseworkers, reducing caseworker workloads and cut the rate of abuse.

Oklahomans for Health- Faceboook

Attorneys for medical marijuana supporters allege in a lawsuit that Republican Attorney General Scott Pruitt rewrote a proposed ballot question to mislead and confuse voters into thinking they were voting to fully legalize marijuana in the state.
  The lawsuit was filed Tuesday with the state Supreme Court on behalf of Oklahomans for Health, a group that gathered enough signatures to have the question placed before voters.
  Attorney David Slane, who filed the lawsuit, accuses Pruitt of being biased against the proposal and rewriting the question to confuse voters.

KWGS News Follow-Up: EPA Takes Action in Osage County

Sep 7, 2016
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Federal regulators have shut down 17 wastewater disposal wells in the Osage Nation of northeastern Oklahoma following a weekend earthquake that matched the state's strongest on record.

  Because the wells are located on tribal land, Oklahoma regulators have no jurisdiction over oil- and gas-producing facilities in the region. Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Matt Skinner told The Associated Press that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notified the state Tuesday that 17 wells were ordered closed.

In the local news:

  • Oklahoma Revenue has missed the mark again for the 18th month in a row.
  • TPS will tighten security at extra-curricular  events following last week's shooting at McLain High School.
  • A new report is critical of Oklahoma's health care delivery system.
Broken Arrow Schools

Broadway star and Broken Arrow alumna Kristin Chenoweth was nothing but smiles as she walked through her childhood elementary school with a sizeable monetary donation and more than 400 cookies for current students. 

While home for her third master class at the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center, Chenoweth presented a $20,000 check from the Kristin Chenoweth Arts and Education Fund to Broken Arrow Public Schools' fine arts programs.


New health care rankings are in, and Oklahoma is still near the bottom.

WalletHub crunched the numbers to come up with scores for health care costs, health care access and health outcomes. Overall, they rank Oklahoma health care 44th out of the 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Out of those three broad measures, Oklahoma scored the worst on health outcomes, ranking 47th.

Oklahoma Historical Society

The home site of one of history’s most famous Cherokees is going to his tribe.

Cherokee Nation is buying Sequoyah’s Cabin near Sallisaw from the Oklahoma Historical Society.

Sequoyah is credited with developing the written Cherokee alphabet, which was completed in the 1820s. Cherokee Nation Chief of Staff Chuck Hoskin said that caused literacy rates to soar.

"We've always been firm and great believers in education, and this syllabary only enhanced that and gave our people an opportunity not only to survive, but to thrive in modern civilization," Hoskin said.

Another Miss! Tax Revenue Comes Up Short

Sep 6, 2016


Gross Receipts to the Treasury continued their downward trajectory for an 18th consecutive month in August as unemployment figures released late in the month show Oklahoma’s jobless numbers exceed the national rate for the first time in 13 years.

Courtesy Tulsa County

A major step is taken toward start of construction of the new Family Justice Center. Tulsa County Commissioners approve opening negotiations with Manhattan Construction as project manager for the center. Commission Chief Deputy Michael Willis says they’re a little behind schedule, but should still be on track for a ground breaking in the spring.

Once a contract is signed with Manhattan, the company will work with architects to finalize plans for the Justice Center.

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The for-profit college chain ITT Educational Services is shutting down its campuses days after the U.S. Department of Education banned it from enrolling new students who use federal financial aid.

The company, which operates vocational schools, announced "with profound regret" in a statement Tuesday that it is ending academic operations at all of its more than 130 campuses across 38 states., including Tulsa.

The company, based in Carmel, Indiana, says its move will have an impact on hundreds of thousands of students and alumni as well as more than 8,000 employees.

USGS map


The 37 wastewater disposal wells to be shut down in north-central Oklahoma, where a 5.6 magnitude earthquake struck this weekend, are just a fraction of the state's total number.

Oklahoma Corporation Commission spokesman Matt Skinner says the wells are among about 4,200 across the state. They're also among the about 700 in a 15,000-square-mile "Area of Interest" created by the commission to address earthquakes in the area near Pawnee.

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Several Oklahoma lawmakers must repay their campaigns after violating a new ethics rule regarding how the donations can be used.

Among the uses prohibited by the rule that applies to elections held after Jan. 1, 2015 are the purchase of tickets to University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State football games, concert tickets, home mortgage payments, vacations, country club dues and gasoline.

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 An Oklahoma City man has been arrested after a Texas Panhandle traffic stop yielded $1 million in methamphetamine.

Carson County jail records show 20-year-old Ernesto Ayala was being held Monday on a charge of felony possession of a controlled substance.

The Texas Department of Public Safety says one of its troopers stopped Ayala on Saturday for a traffic violation near Conway, about 20 miles east of Amarillo.

The trooper discovered several plastic-wrapped packages of methamphetamine weighing more than 12 pounds concealed inside the panels of Ayala's car.

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Tulsa police have identified two people who were killed in separate incidents last week.

Tulsa police Sgt. Dave Walker says 25-year-old Brianna Dean died Friday after she was struck by a car. Police have arrested 26-year-old Brittany Payne Wright on a first-degree murder complaint in the case, and she remains in the Tulsa County jail without bond.

In a separate case, 26-year-old Alton Young was shot to death late Thursday, and he died the next day at a Tulsa hospital. No arrests have been made in the case.

In the local news:

  • Tribal land becomes an issue in shutting down waste water wells following Saturday's quake.
  • Despite getting money back the Department of Public Safety will still be short.
  • Rafting on the River.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says a 73-year-old Tahlequah man has been killed in a two-vehicle collision on Highway 28 in Mayes County. The OHP says John Matthews died in the crash Sunday near Pensacola. An OHP report says Matthews was westbound when the car he was driving crossed the center line and collided with an eastbound sport utility vehicle. The driver of the SUV and six passengers were treated and released in good condition.

Great Raft Race

Tulsa's Great Raft Race got underway at 9 a.m. on Monday from the River park at Sand Springs.  This year's race along the Arkansas River featured an entry from the Montereau Retirement Community. Five of the rafters are over 80 years old.

Center Wellness Director Kristen Schooley is tasked with keeping residents active and engaged, and she likes to think outside the box.

Wagoner Fire-Facebook

Firefighters in Wagoner say a man has died in an apartment fire on the city's east side.

Fire Chief Kelly Grooms told reporters the fire was reported shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday and the man was found inside the apartment.

The man's name was not immediately released.

Grooms says the man's wife was able to escape the flames and there were no other injuries.

Grooms said the cause of the fire was not immediately known.

Oklahoma Department of Tourism

Three children and two adults were injured when a boat caught fire on Bluestem Lake in northeast Oklahoma.

State Troopers say five adults and seven children between the ages of 1 and 9 were on board the vessel when it caught fire late Sunday afternoon.

Of the five who were injured, two of the children and one adult were airlifted to a Tulsa hospital.

The Highway Patrol says fumes in the engine caused the boat to ignite because it wasn't properly ventilated.


 State, local and federal officials have resumed assessing damage in north-central Oklahoma after a magnitude 5.6 earthquake struck near Pawnee, just south of the Kansas state line.

Pawnee County Emergency Management Director Mark Randell said Sunday that emergency officials and the U.S. Geological Survey are examining the area and finding only minor to moderate damage.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation inspected roads and 180 bridges within a 30-mile radius of the epicenter and says all were found to be safe.


The 37 wastewater disposal wells to be shut down in north-central Oklahoma, where a 5.6 magnitude earthquake struck this weekend, are just a fraction of the state's total number.
There are about 4,200 total wells across the state and about 700 in a 15,000-square-mile "Area of Interest" created by the commission to address earthquakes in the area that includes the epicenter of Saturday's temblor near Pawnee.

Tulsa Public Schools

We are deeply concerned and saddened by the senseless act of violence that took place during the football game at McLain High School on Friday evening. Our students need and deserve to feel safe in their schools and communities, and we are committed to doing all that we can to make this aspiration a reality. During Friday’s game, a 9th grade student from McLain shot and wounded an 8th grade student, also from McLain. The victim was transported to the hospital by EMSA and is in good condition at this time.

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — D'Angelo Brewer ran for 164 yards and three touchdowns to help Tulsa roll over San Jose State 45-10 in the season opener for both teams Saturday night. Dane Evans threw for 198 yards and a TD, Keevan Lucas had 112 yards receiving, and James Flanders added 82 yards rushing for Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane held a 512-287 edge in total yards, and a 305-53 lead in rushing.


The Oklahoma Corporation Commission is requiring the shutdown of 37 wastewater disposal wells in the area around the epicenter of a magnitude 5.6 earthquake.

The mandate comes after the Saturday morning earthquake near Pawnee and includes 514 square miles under commission jurisdiction.

Commission spokesman Matt Skinner says another 211 square miles in Osage County is under Environmental Protection Agency jurisdiction and the EPA will decide what action to take there.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has declared a state of emergency in Pawnee County after a magnitude 5.6 earthquake struck northwest of Pawnee.

The earthquake struck at 7:02 a.m. Saturday and was felt throughout the Midwestern United States, although no severe damage or serious injuries were reported.

The quake ties a 2011 earthquake for the strongest earthquake in recorded state history.

Fallin's order allows state agencies to make emergency purchases for disaster relief and is the first step toward asking for federal assistance, if necessary.