Local & Regional

 

Oklahoma's former lead seismologist says he felt pressured by an official at the University of Oklahoma to not link the state's surge in earthquakes to oil and gas production.

The Tulsa World reports that Austin Holland's sworn testimony came in a lawsuit filed by a resident against two oil companies for damages sustained during an earthquake in 2011. The quake also was felt in Illinois, Kansas, Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas.

University President David Boren and the former dean of university's Earth and Energy College deny Holland was pressured by the school.

Mayor Creates Task Force to Review Street Work

Nov 15, 2017
KWGS News File Photo

  

Mayor G.T. Bynum announced members of the City of Tulsa’s streets taskforce that will reevaluate Tulsa’s overall approach to street construction, with a focus on improving the speed and efficiency of individual projects. The taskforce will be led by former State Secretary of Transportation Gary Ridley.

Comprised of local business owners and residents, the taskforce will meet regularly with plans to release a report by spring 2018.

Facebook

 

Charges have been filed against a 25-year-old man who livestreamed part of a 2½-hour police chase in Oklahoma.

Cleveland County District Court records show eight charges were filed Monday against Brenton James Hager of Oklahoma City. That includes three felony counts including assault on a police officer with a dangerous weapon, endangering others while eluding and unauthorized use of a vehicle. He was also charged with five misdemeanors.

Bond was set at $100,000. Court documents list no defense attorney for Hager.

In the local news:

  • Lawmakers look for the elusive budget fix.
  • A Tulsa County Democrat picks up a former Republican seat.
  • Charter changes are approved by Tulsa voters.

KWGS News File Photo

 

Oklahoma's legislative leaders are unveiling bills to cut funding to most state agencies and use cash reserves to finish plugging a budget hole after lawmakers failed to pass a broad package of tax increases.

A series of bills were introduced Tuesday in House and Senate budget committees. The bills would impose cuts of about 2.5 percent to most agencies to make up for expected revenue lost from an unconstitutional cigarette tax passed in May.

Charter Changes Approved

Nov 15, 2017
KWGS News File Photo

Tulsa voters appoved a series of tweaks to the Tulsa City Charter during balloting on Tuesday. 

All seven measures on the ballot overwhelmingly passed with over 64% of the yes vote.

Most of the measures where minor charges. The biggest was a policy charge that would allow Tulsa city employees to actively campaign, during off hours, for candidates or issues.

Freeman campaign

 

Democrats have added another win in the deep-red Oklahoma Legislature, continuing the minority party's string of success and chipping away at the Republican Party's hold on state government.

The previously GOP-held House seat and two Senate seats on the ballot Tuesday were all in mostly Republican districts around Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

But Democrat Allison Ikley-Freeman eked out a win over Republican Brian O'Hara in Senate District 37, picking up the seat that represents parts of Sand Springs, Jenks and west Tulsa.

State of Oklahoma

If the Oklahoma legislature wraps up special session in this seventh week, it will likely be because lawmakers settle on cuts and one-time spending to partially fill a $215 million budget hole.

The latest proposal from Oklahoma City is using $106 million in one-time funds and cutting most state agency budgets by 2.4 percent. The idea is to find money instate agencies deemed nonessential and funnel those funds to agencies providing core services, like public safety, health and education.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Working in fits and starts Tuesday, Oklahoma House and Senate budget committees passed a plan to mitigate a $215 million budget hole by using one-time funds and making nearly across-the-board cuts to state agencies.

House Bill 1019 mitigates steep cuts facing health and social service agencies by cutting most agency budgets 2.44 percent. Some are cut less, and few are held harmless. Rainy day, carryover and agency revolving funds will be tapped for a total of roughly $106 million.

3 Hurt in Tulsa Auto-Ped Crash

Nov 14, 2017
Google Street View

Three people are hospitalized after being struck this morning in Tulsa traffic. The trio was at a bus stop at 19th and South Utica, near St. John’s Medical Center when a small pick-up went out of control and hit the group.

A teenage girl, her mother and stepfather were all injured and taken to the hospital. We do not know the extent of their injuries.

Tulsa Police investigated the crash.

 

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has joined more than 40 other state attorneys general in asking Congress to repeal a law they say is "a step backward" in attempts to prevent opioid addiction and overdose deaths.

A letter signed Monday by 44 state attorneys general asks Congress to repeal the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act. The law requires the Drug Enforcement Administration to show cause before it denies, revokes or suspends a registration for a controlled substance act violation.

KWGS News

 

Police in Tulsa have arrested two people accused of driving a stolen SUV through three stores and stealing almost a dozen AR-15 rifles.

Investigators allege 43-year-old Anthony Martinez and 37-year-old Shannon Fryman drove through an exterior wall and two interior walls to reach a firearms store early Friday.

A probable cause affidavit says they were in the store for about a minute and loaded at least 11 rifles and five boxes of ammunition into the SUV.

In the local news:

  • Two Tulsa aviation firms announce expansion projects.
  • Voters head to the polls in special elections today.
  • Two inmates die at a Tulsa Half-Way House.

CCA

   

An investigation is underway following the deaths of two inmates at a Tulsa halfway house in three days.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections spokesman Matt Elliott says one inmate, 47-year-old David Walden, died on Friday. The second, 54-year-old Richard Eubanks, died Sunday.

Both were inmates of the Tulsa Transitional Center, a 390-bed halfway house in downtown Tulsa. Elliott says prison officials can't say whether the deaths were linked or where they occurred.

KWGS News File Photo

 

The Tulsa Zoo says a male African lion that has been on exhibit at the zoo since 2004 has died.

The zoo announced Monday that Kofi died during the weekend while surrounded by his caregivers. Kofi would have turned 19 years old later this month.

The zoo's animal care and veterinary staff had been monitoring Kofi since he was diagnosed with chronic end-stage renal disease. Kidney failure is a common cause of death in older members of the cat family, including domestic house cats.

KWGS News File Photo

 

The recent success of Democrats in deep-red Oklahoma amid continuing state budget problems will be put to a further test Tuesday in special elections for three previously Republican-held state legislative seats.

The races are in suburban districts in Oklahoma City and Tulsa where Republicans have nearly 2-to-1 registration advantages, but come at a time of voter frustration over years of state budget shortfalls and recent scandals that have led to the resignation of Republican incumbents.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The North American maintenance division of German carrier Lufthansa marked the opening of its Tulsa workshop expansion on Monday.

Lufthansa Technik Component Services, or LTCS, has opened a 115,000 square foot component shop, doubling the size of its Tulsa facility. When LTCS Tulsa opened, it had five employees. Now, it has nearly 300.

"And I think that says a lot about the confidence in the workforce that we have here and that Tulsa's a great place to do business and to grow over the long term," said Mayor G.T. Bynum.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa-based Nordam finalized a move Monday to boost its operations in the Asia-Pacific region.

Nordam and China Airlines are teaming up to build a maintenance and repair facility in Taipei, Taiwan. Nordam Vice-Chairman T. Hastings Siegfried said it’s rare for an engineering firm to strike this sort of partnership with a large carrier, but it’s a good opportunity.

Tulsa County

In the near future you will see a bison herd grazing in LaFortune Park. They will look real from a distance, but the herd will be made up of lifesize sculptures donated by NatureWorks. The herd will include bulls, cows, calves, and yearlings, some 25 to 30 sculpted animals in total.

Tulsa County Parks Director Richard Bales says taxpayers won’t be out anything except for the donation of a portion of parkland near the picnic area off Yale Avenue. The process of placing the sculptures will take 15 to 18 months.

 

 A national effort is launching that aims to help low-income defendants get out of jail by bailing them out as their criminal cases progress through the courts.

The Bail Project grew out of an effort in New York called the Bronx Freedom Fund, which paid bail for people who otherwise would be jailed. Robin Steinberg is running the project and says millions of dollars has been raised. The goal is to have a $16 million fund in five years that pays bail in 40 cities across the country and is able to get about 160,000 people out of jail.

OKC Police

 

Police say two people are dead and another is injured after a shooting in southwest Oklahoma City.

Police say the shooting happened late Sunday. According to police, officers found 15-year-old Erica Bradberry dead in the yard of the home and two other male victims suffering from gunshot wounds.

Oklahoma City police say one of those victims, 26-year-old Giovanny Portugal, died at a hospital, while the other person underwent surgery and is expected to survive.

Wikipedia

 

A federal grant of more than $16 million is expected to increase the number of charter schools in Oklahoma over the next several years.

The Oklahoman reports that the state in September was awarded the U.S. Department of Education's Expanding Opportunity Through Quality Charter Schools Program grant. The grant will be used to fund nearly 25 new charter schools.

In the local news:

  • Unconstitutional legislation is costing Oklahoma millions in court and lost opportunities.
  • A Bixby home is destroyed by fire.
  • Lawmakers head back to work today in search of a budget agreement.

File photo

 

Bad laws! Passed legislation, that even the non-legal scholar understands as unconstitutional, is costing this state millions in court. Dollars, many will tell you, we don't have to spend. Oklahoma has supplied material for late night comics and internet ridicule.

 

The Oklahoma Department of Health shifted some federal funds into programs the money was never intended to fund and now faces a $30 million shortfall that could grow if the agency has to repay the federal government.

The Oklahoman reports that state audits dating back to 2015 pointed out problems with the Health Department's handling of federal money.

An audit of federal funds that year found the agency was not reconciling expenditures with the Office of Management and Enterprise Services in a timely manner, with as much as six months lag time on monthly reports.

Teen Injured in Riverside Drive Crash

Nov 13, 2017

A teenager steps off the curb near 97th and Riverside Drive, only to be hit by oncoming traffic. It happened last night about 6:30.

Officials say the 18-year-old is in critical condition this morning. No names have been released. Police say the driver was not cited as the teen was not in a crosswalk.

KWGS News Photo

 

Police in Muskogee are searching for a suspect in the shooting death of a 25-year-old man.

Investigators say that the victim, identified as Brett Doty, was shot and killed inside a vehicle.

Officers say they were called to the scene Friday night and found Doty with a gunshot wound to the neck. The victim was unresponsive and was pronounced dead after emergency responders transported him to a local hospital.

The shooting remains under investigation and police say they do not have a suspect in custody.

Bixby Fire

A Bixby home goes up in flames on Sunday afternoon. Fire fighters say the home near 111th and South Memorial was destroyed. However, Bixby Fire Officials say there were no injuries.

It appears the fire started in the back of the house and then spread to the attic.

Tulsa RV Fire Leaves Man in Criticial Condition

Nov 12, 2017
Google Street View

A man remains in critical condition at the Hillcrest Hospital burn unit. This follows a Saturday afternoon fire in the man’s recreational vehicle. The RV was parked at the Mingo RV Park in north Tulsa, near the Tulsa International Airport.

When fire fighters arrived at the Independence and Mingo road location, they found the man, without a pulse, inside the burning trailer. Medics were able to revive the man and he was taken to the hospital by EMSA.

The Tulsa Fire Department says the blaze started in-or-near the kitchen of the RV.

FIle Photo

Two former Oklahoma death row inmates and their attorneys have settled wrongful conviction lawsuits against the state for a total of $3.15 million.

Records obtained by The Oklahoman through an Open Records request show Yancy Douglas settled his lawsuit in August for $1 million and Paris Powell settled in September for $2.15 million.

The two men were convicted in the 1993 fatal shooting of 14-year-old Shauna Farrow in Oklahoma City.

Pages