Local & Regional

Scott Michaels

A tornado ripped through the tiny Ozark Mountain town of Mountainburg, Arkansas, injuring at least four people and causing widespread damage Friday afternoon.

Crawford County Emergency Management Director Brad Thomas said there were at least three entrapments following the twister. He said he did not know the condition of the four people hospitalized.

Video from the scene showed uprooted trees, overturned cards, damaged buildings and downed power lines.

Tulsa Public Schools

Tulsa Public Schools officials will spend the weekend coming up with a plan for students to make up time lost during the two-week teacher walkout.

It will be up to the TPS board to approve that plan Monday night, but parents will be notified as soon as possible. Superintendent Deborah Gist said a district instruction policy may help with the planning.

As Oklahoma lawmakers look for more money to fund education and other core services, some are again pointing to the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust.

TSET’s $1.1 billion in assets have been a popular target in Oklahoma’s down budget years, especially among those who criticize the trust’s spending on healthy lifestyle grants and programs. Morton Health CEO Susan Savage said dipping into those reserves is short-sighted.

"I think we need to view it as a resource for how we make Oklahomans healthier and not as a way to backfill the budget," Savage said.

drug free.org

The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office is encouraging local governments to join its lawsuit against opioid manufacturers.

Believing he can prove damages in the billions of dollars, Attorney General Mike Hunter is assembling a committee to ensure cities and counties get their share from any settlement. Hunter said his suit has another upside — joint and several liability, meaning any drug company involved can be held fully responsible for damages.

Tornado Watch for Eastern Oklahoma into Friday Night

Apr 13, 2018
National Weather Service

The National Weather Service office in Tulsa has issued a tornado watch for eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas until 10 p.m. Friday.

Threats include tennis ball–sized hail and wind gusts up to 70 miles per hour.

If there is a tornado, your best option is an underground storm shelter, storm cellar, basement or safe room designed to withstand a tornado.

OFS

 

A turkey hunter is badly burned but alive after becoming trapped overnight by a wildfire in northwestern Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Forestry Services spokeswoman Michelle-Finch Walker says the hunter was found Friday morning and taken to a burn center in serious condition.

Walker says the blaze in Dewey County has burned about 82,000 acres.

Woodward County Emergency Management Director Matt Lehenbaur says a separate fire near Woodward has burned more than 120,000 acres and forced the evacuation of about 450 people from their homes, but no injuries are reported.

OFS

 

A wildfire in northwestern Oklahoma has burned more than 120,000 acres  and forced hundreds of people to evacuate their homes.

Woodward County Emergency Management Director Matt Lehenbaur said Friday that the fire has destroyed several homes near Woodward, about 125 miles northeast of Oklahoma City.

He says no injuries have been reported.

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management reports another fire has burned more than 21,000 acres  near the town of Leedey, about 40 miles south of Woodward.

Oklahoma Watch

The state’s largest education association called on teachers Thursday to return to their classrooms after concluding that further attempts to convince lawmakers to find more money for public education would be futile.

Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest said the nearly two-week-long teacher walkout should be seen as a “victory” since it or the threat that preceded it helped secure teacher pay raises and millions in new funding for schools.

In the local news:

  • The teacher walkout is over, but not everyone is happy.
  • The Mayor will sign a zoning spacing requirement for small dollar-stores.
  • Wildfires burn across western Oklahoma.

DOC

 

Investigators say a woman's obituary helped federal agents capture her fugitive son nearly four decades after he escaped from an Oklahoma prison.

The U.S. Marshals Service says 58-year-old Stephen Michael Paris was arrested without incident Thursday at an office in Houston where he worked under a pseudonym.

The agency says investigators tracked him down after an obituary for his mother in Houston listed a son named Stephen Chavez, the same alias Paris used while living and working in the Houston area. Fingerprints confirmed his identity.

Okmulgee Police

 

The murder trial has begun for a man accused of killing and dismembering his ex-girlfriend.

The Daily Camera reports that attorneys made their opening statements Thursday morning to a jury of 16 people in the case of 33-year-old Adam Densmore, who is charged with first-degree murder, tampering with a corpse, abuse of a corpse and tampering with physical evidence in the death of Boulder resident Ashley Mead.

Densmore has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Oklahoma Forestry Service via Woodward News

Fire fighters battled major wildfires Thursday in western Oklahoma. Today could be "historic" for wildfires across Oklahoma acording to fire service experts.

A Red Flag Fire Warning has been issued for all the counties to the west of Tulsa. From Tulsa to the east there is a chance of severe weather today.

A major fire near Woodward led to some evacuation orders for that area in northwest Oklahoma. That fire was estimated at 115,000 acres and growing. 

Latest on School Closings and Reopenings

Apr 12, 2018
KWGS News File Photo

Here is the latest school closing list

State Teachers Walkout is Over

Apr 12, 2018
Oklahoma Watch

The Oklahoma Education Association announced this afternoon it is ending the walkout portion of its protest for additional education funding. OEA President Alicia Priest made the announcement in an Oklahoma City news conference.

She told reporters the OEA had achieved most of its goals and called the nearly $1-billion in new funding "historic". She still called on lawmakers to do more. Priests wants schools to continue to send smaller delegations to Oklahoma City each day to continue the lobbying effort.

file photo

A slate of bills intended to fight opioid addiction moved forward in the Oklahoma House this week.

Senate Bill 1128 requires electronic prescribing, which experts see as the most effective step the state can take in reducing the supply of the addictive painkillers. That measure, however, now calls for an e-prescribing pilot program in counties with populations of more than 200,000 to evaluate the practice.

That makes some doctors exempt.

Clifton Adcock/Oklahoma Watch

A movement continues to extend “stand your ground” protections for self-defense shootings to places of worship.

The Senate voted 42–1 on Thursday for House Bill 2632, which makes places used either part- or full-time for religious services covered by the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act.

The shooting still must be done because of reasonable fear of harm or death or to prevent a violent felony.

Wikimedia

Another day, another attempt by Oklahoma House Democrats to get a vote on a bill ending the capital gains deduction.

Rep. Cory Williams tried his luck on Thursday, saying he wants to keep the tax break for agriculture. Appropriations and Budget Chair Kevin Williams said that would make it impossible for the Oklahoma Tax Commission to certify revenue for lawmakers to spend.

That didn’t sit well with Williams.

Who's Who: Candidates File for State Office

Apr 12, 2018
Edmondson

The state office filing period is open. Click here to see who is running

Mayor Will Sign Dollar Store Spacing Measure

Apr 12, 2018

Mayor Bynum says he will sign a zoning charge that will require a mile space between so-called dollar stores in a portion of Tulsa. Some believe the proliferation of such “small box” stores like Dollar General and Family Dollar are keeping north Tulsa from attracting a full service supermarket. The mayor wants better food options for north Tulsans.               

People in north Tulsa tend to die a decade earlier than other Tulsans. Health officials fear that is because of the lack of healthy food sources.

Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma

 

Massive teacher protests at the Oklahoma state Capitol have done more than put political pressure on lawmakers: The situation has forced school districts, churches, community organizations and parents to improvise to take care of students.

The state's largest two school districts will be closed for a ninth consecutive day Thursday, matching the length of a walkout in West Virginia earlier this year that started a rebellion of teachers in some Republican-led states including Kentucky and Arizona.

In the local news:

  • The teachers walkout enters its 9th day as lawmakers look for more revenue.
  • A Tulsa Police stand-off leaves a man dead.
  • Crime victims advocate for rights at Tulsa gathering.

 

President Trump is nominating an Oklahoma Supreme Court justice and a Tulsa lawyer to federal judgeships.

Trump on Tuesday nominated Judge Patrick Wyrick as a U.S. district judge for the western district of Oklahoma and attorney John O'Connor as district judge for courts in the eastern, northern and western districts of the state.

Kendall Thompson

 

Oklahoma's two largest school districts will close for the ninth consecutive day because of a teacher strike, matching the length of a walkout in West Virginia earlier this year that started a rebellion of teachers in some Republican-led states.

Oklahoma City Public Schools, the state's largest district, and Tulsa Public Schools, said Wednesday that they will remain closed on Thursday. Smaller schools districts have said they will resume classes on Thursday.

State Forestry Service

 

 Oklahoma Forestry Services officials are warning of an extreme fire danger in western Oklahoma.

Fire staff officer Drew Daily says warm temperatures and low humidity are expected to create very strong burning conditions on Thursday and Friday.

Forestry services firefighters have been positioned in Woodward and Weatherford for potential deployment to any fires in the region. The U.S. Forest Service has also provided aircraft and the Oklahoma National Guard has helicopters on standby in central Oklahoma to help fight fires as needed.

Tulsa County Booking Photo

A judge declined to replace the prosecutor overseeing the case against one of two Oklahoma brothers accused of killing their parents and three siblings.

District Judge Sharon Holmes ruled Tuesday that there isn't evidence of improper behavior by Tulsa County Assistant District Attorney Sarah McAmis and that she can remain on the case against Michael Bever.

An Oklahoma House committee advanced Wednesday a controversial bill dealing with private child-placement agencies, but not without a substantial change.

Senate Bill 1140 allowed such agencies to refuse placements based on their sincerely held religious or moral beliefs. Rep. Leslie Osborn offered — and the committee accepted — an amendment making the bill apply to private agencies receiving neither federal nor state funding.

A former state lawmaker says the Oklahoma legislature may increase cigarette taxes again.

Justin Wood, the Republican representative for District 26 from 2012 to 2016, said legislative leaders have been talking about another 25 to 50 cents since a $1 cigarette tax increase passed last month.

KWGS News

Victims’ rights are highlighted at an awareness event on the Tulsa Courthouse Plaza.

Tulsa’s leading law enforcement agents address the crowd during ‘Crime Victims’ Rights Week’. District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler implores the media and citizens to focus more on victims and less on criminals. Support is also offered for Marsy’s Law, a proposed constitutional amendment to solidify the rights of crime victims.

More than two dozen local service agencies who offer resources to crime victims were represented at the awareness event.

Body Found Near Sailboat Bridge

Apr 11, 2018
KWGS News

The investigation is underway into the death of a man a Grand Lake. A man’s body was found late yesterday afternoon near the Sailboat Bridge at Grove. A woman walking her dog made the discovery.

The Grand River Dam Authority’s Police and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation are looking into the case. The man is believed to be between 25-and-30-years old. The cause of death will be determined by the State Medical Examiner’s Office.

In the local news:

  • Tulsa education marchers arrive at the state capitol.
  • Bartlesville and Sand Springs will resume school tomorrow. Other districts have yet to announce.
  • Large crowds are expected today, on the first day to file for state office election.

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