Local & Regional

KWGS News

Senators from Maine and Oklahoma are calling on their colleagues to consider ways to ease the regulatory burden on small community banks.

Sens. Angus King, a Maine independent, and James Lankford, an Oklahoma Republican, say small banks and credit unions are saddled with increasingly high compliance costs that are the result of outdated rules. They have asked the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee to hold hearings on a proposal they believe would bring relief.

State of Oklahoma

Talks have broken down yet again between Oklahoma lawmakers meeting for a rare weekend session to find ways to close a nearly $880 million budget hole.

Legislators are bound by the state's constitution to pass revenue-raising measures by Sunday or be forced to call a special session to complete work on the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

One sticking point during Saturday's negotiations was a proposal by Democrats to increase the gross production tax on oil and natural gas wells from its current 2 percent level up to as much as 5 percent on a sliding scale.

OKC Fire

Oklahoma City's fire chief is set to become the next U.S. fire administrator at the Federal Emergency Management Agency

. President Donald Trump announced his intent Thursday to appoint Keith Bryant to the post. Bryant has served as fire chief for the Oklahoma City Fire Department since 2005.

Williams Companies

The Williams Companies announced that Stephen W. Bergstrom has been elected Chairman of the Board, effective immediately. Mr. Bergstrom will replace Dr. Kathleen B. Cooper who will become Chair of the Board’s Nominating and Governance Committee. Dr. Cooper has served on the Williams Board since 2006.

Nowata Police Dashcam

A civil rights lawsuit filed against an Oklahoma police chief and two state investigators is part of a nearly six-year legal fight with a police lieutenant who was twice fired amid excessive force allegations.

The Tulsa World reports Owasso Lt. Mike Denton was fired in 2011 and in 2015 for using excessive force with suspects. He was reinstated in both instances.

Commerce Schools

Three students have been injured at an end of school celebration in northeastern Oklahoma after winds topping 50 mph carried an inflatable play area through the air.

The Miami News-Record reports that five eighth-graders were inside an inflatable at a Commerce Middle School party Wednesday when the play area lifted from the ground and struck a tree.

Superintendent Jim Haynes says four students were taken to a local hospital. Two students were released without injuries, and two students required further medical attention.

Storms Knock Out Power to Many

May 20, 2017
PSO

Crews from the Public Service Company of Oklahoma are working around the clock to get all the power restored. Severe thunderstorms knocked out service to thousands of customers across the region last night and early this morning.

Some of the outages were quick fixes, like flipping a breaker at a transformer. Other problems were more complex and had to wait until the rain ended.

You may click on the Severe Weather tab on our homepage to get the latest on power restoration.

Oklahoma lawmakers start approval of a compromise bill to allow expanded long-lateral drilling in the state.

Senate Bill 867, The Oklahoma Energy and Jobs Act, allows horizontal wells more than a mile long in non-shale formations, where they are currently prohibited. Rep. Kevin Calvey said there are two benefits.

File Photo

Though they were not allowed to read it Wednesday night, the jury that found Betty Shelby not guilty had the letter explaining their verdict entered into the trial record.

Jurors believe Shelby acted according to her training when she shot Terence Crutcher on Sept. 16. The jury foreman, who wrote the letter, says the jury thought Crutcher could have been subdued with a Taser before he reached his SUV.

Tulsa Police

Betty Shelby was acquitted of manslaughter late Wednesday night in the shooting death of Terence Crutcher, and Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan talked about her future on Thursday morning.

"I know there's going to be questions about Officer Shelby's employment. That is being analyzed right now, as we speak, by city human resources, as well as police human resources and the legal department," Jordan said. "And there should be some result come out of that in the very near future."

The very near future is today.

U.S.G.S. Photo

 

 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded nearly $5 million to the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma for continued cleanup efforts of the Tar Creek Superfund site.

The tribe will use the money to continue cleaning up contaminated soils on tribal lands.

State of Oklahoma

 

Gov. Mary Fallin has appointed Kory Slade Kirkland to a vacant district judge's seat in Caddo and Grady counties.

Kirkland, of Chickasha, has been in private practice since 2011 and serves as a municipal judge for the cities of Chickasha and Amber. Before that he worked as an assistant district attorney for Grady, Caddo, Stephens and Jefferson counties.

In the local news:

  • Storms cause damage at Muskogee and Wagoner overnight.
  • The Police Chief speaks out following Officer Shelby verdict.
  • The legislature looks for a budget plan.

More Storms Today

May 19, 2017
KWGS News File Photo

The National Weather Service says another round of severe weather will be possible this afternoon and evening across northeastern Oklahoma.

Thunderstorms are expected to fire along a cold front later in the day. The storms could become strong to severe late this afternoon. The severe weather would continue into the evening hours.

Strong winds and large hail will be the primary threat, but there also will be a chance for isolated tornadoes.

Storms Cause Damage at Wagoner and Muskogee

May 19, 2017
KWGS News Photo

It will be a day of picking up and assessment after strong storms caused damage overnight at both Muskogee and Wagoner.

Officials speculate the damage may have been caused by tornadoes. The Whispering Pines Apartments at Muskogee sustained heavy damage.

The corridor of Highway 69 at Highway 51 saw damage at Wagoner. A service station sustained damage and a car was flipped over.

PSO and ONG both report scattered power outages this morning. More strong to severe storms are possible today.

File photo/Case.edu

Budget shortfalls have hurt Oklahoma’s credit rating, but a tapped rainy day fund may not do more damage to it.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

After a contentious manslaughter trial of one of their own, Tulsa’s police chief acknowledged there are questions about Shelby’s future with the department.

"That is being analyzed right now, as we speak, by city human resources as well as police human resources and the legal department," Jordan said Thursday at a news conference with Mayor G.T. Bynum. "And there should be some result come out of that in the very near future."

Shelby has been on leave since fatally shooting Terence Crutcher on Sept. 16.

Facebook

The family of an unarmed black man killed by a white Oklahoma police officer has called on Tulsa city leadership to block the officer from returning to her job.

The comments came Thursday after a jury acquitted Tulsa officer Betty Shelby the night before on a manslaughter charge. Shelby said she fired out of fear Sept. 16 when she killed Terence Crutcher. He was holding his hands above his head when he was shot. Shelby has been on unpaid leave. Police have not publicly discussed her future with the department.

File photo

Officials say a tornado has touched down in a rural area of southwestern Oklahoma with no injuries or damage reported.

Jackson County Emergency Management Director Wayne Cain says the tornado touched down Thursday afternoon near the town of Duke, about 130 miles (209 kilometers) southwest of Oklahoma City.

Cain said no injuries or damage are reported.

Woman Killed in Apartment Mugging

May 18, 2017
KWGS News-File photo

Tulsa Police say a 64-year-old woman is dead after being shot during a mugging this morning east Tulsa. Officers say Vennie Blalock just got out of her car at the Saw Mill Apartments when she was approached by two men who tried to robber her. One man was armed and Blalock was shot once in the forehead. She was dead at the scene.

The apartment complex is near 36th South and 129th East Avenue. Police used dogs to hunt for the suspect, but lost the scent in the complex

SPC

 

 Forecasters are predicting a tornado outbreak in parts of the Southern Plains on Thursday, the latest in a stormy week that has raked the country's midsection and left two people dead.

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, is classifying Thursday's storm chances as high risk in parts of Oklahoma and Kansas — the most severe risk category. The forecast bull's-eye of the storm includes Wichita, Kansas, and rural areas of southern Kansas and western Oklahoma.

In the Local News:

This morning's newscast focuses exclusively on the Betty Shelby acquittal, while the news capsule looks at some of the other top local stories.

Wikipedia

 

The annual winter wheat harvest has begun in southwest Oklahoma, but this year's cutting has seen a mixed start.

The Oklahoman reports that high humidity Tuesday prevented growers from getting mature wheat cut and hauled to elevators. Severe weather forecasts for hail and rain this week could damage crops further and prevent combines from operating in muddy fields.

Earlier this month, the Oklahoma Grain and Feed Association received predictions that said about 3.1 million acres of wheat will be harvested in the state this year.

OK.gov

 

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections says five prison guards were injured when they were attacked by inmates at the Cimarron Correctional Facility in northern Oklahoma.

DOC spokesman Mark Myers says several inmates attacked a guard who used pepper spray on an inmate who refused to obey orders Tuesday night. He says other guards responded and were attacked before the inmates were subdued with pepper spray.

KWGS News

 

Demonstrators blocked a main road in downtown Tulsa for a short period of time after a police officer was found not guilty of manslaughter in the shooting of an unarmed black man.

Earlier, a protest had dispersed but some demonstrators gathered later a short distance away from the courthouse where the trial of officer Betty Jo Shelby had been held.

Verdict Reaction

May 17, 2017
KWGS File Photo

Mayor Bynum: 

Betty Shelby Ruled Not Guilty

May 17, 2017
Tulsa Police

A jury on Wednesday acquitted a white Oklahoma police officer who says she fired out of fear last year when she killed an unarmed black man.

The family of Terence Crutcher burst into tears and expressed outrage after jurors found Tulsa officer Betty Jo Shelby not guilty of first-degree manslaughter in the Sept. 16 shooting. About 100 demonstrators later gathered outside the courthouse and some briefly blocked a main street.

Governor's Office

Oklahoma Baptist Relief teams are helping victims of the Elk City tornado this week. Deployment Coordinator Dave Carr says a shelter is set up at the First Baptist Church in Elk City with a feeding station and chainsaw teams are helping clear debris and downed trees. He says chaplains always accompany the teams to help meet spiritual needs of the victims.

Other teams are still helping clear damage from straight line winds in the Oklahoma City area, and aiding farmers who lost fences in the Northwestern Oklahoma wildfires earlier this spring.

Collins Liquor

 

The Oklahoma Senate has approved legislation allowing retail package liquor stores to sell alcohol on Sunday on a county-option basis.

The Senate voted 26-14 for the bill on Wednesday and sent it to the House.

Oklahoma currently prohibits retail package liquor stores from selling alcohol on Sunday.

Additional Charges Filed Against Sapulpa Teacher

May 17, 2017
Facebook

That Sapulpa 2nd Grade teacher, charged with bringing drugs into her classroom, is now facing additional charges.

Creek County Prosecutors added a charge of Child Neglect to Megan Sloan's court case portfolio. She is already charged with bringing drugs and syringes into her class.

She is also suspected of taking Field Trip money to help pay for her assumed drug habit along with pawning school district owned iPads.

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