Local & Regional

Charges Filed Against Senator Shortey

Mar 16, 2017
Cleveland County Detention Center

Oklahoma prosecutors have filed child prostitution charges against a Republican state senator after police found him in a hotel room a 17-year-old boy.

Cleveland County prosecutors charged 35-year-old Ralph Shortey on Thursday with engaging in child prostitution, transporting a minor for prostitution and engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of church. An arrest warrant has been issued for him.

Remains Found in Woods in East Tulsa

Mar 16, 2017
KWGS News

Tulsa Police are back on the scene this morning after what appears to be human remains were found in a wooded are last night. An ATV rider made the discovery while riding near 150th East Avenue and Admiral.

Officers arrived on the scene and found a skull and other bones. The search was called off at dark last night.

Police believe it to be the remains of a missing man. At this point, they do not suspect foul play.

State Impact-Oklahoma

 

A nearly century-old building in Cushing will be demolished because its front facade has collapsed after it was damaged during an earthquake last year.

The Stillwater News Press reports the 1920s Cushing Lion's Den was damaged but remained standing after the 5.0 earthquake hit a few miles outside Cushing and damaged some of the city's downtown area in November.

In the local news:

  • The State Senate suspends member Ralph Shortey amid an investigation of prostitution with a teenage boy.
  • 16 state parks could be closed because of budget cuts.
  • The USS Tulsa goes for a test run in the Gulf of Mexico.

State of Oklahoma-File photo

 

The Oklahoma Senate has voted to punish a state senator who police say was found with a teenage boy in a motel room.

Police officials in the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore are still investigating the circumstances surrounding an incident last week involving Sen. Ralph Shortey and a teenager. No charges have been filed.

The Senate voted 43-0 Wednesday for a resolution that imposes a series of punishments on the Republican from Oklahoma City. The resolution accuses Shortey of "disorderly behavior."

File photo

 

 The U.S. Geological Survey reports two small earthquakes in northern Oklahoma.

A 3.2 magnitude quake was recorded Wednesday near Pawnee, about 70 miles northeast of Oklahoma City and a 3.0 magnitude quake was recorded near Watonga, about 50 miles northwest of Oklahoma City.

No injuries or damage are reported and geologists say damage is not likely in earthquakes below magnitude 4.0.

Google Street View

Media in Oklahoma City are reporting the Moore Police Department has recommended charges against Oklahoma State Senator Ralph Shortey. Shortey is not in custody.

The ultra-conservative Republican lawmaker was found last week in a Super 8 motel room at Moore with a teenage boy. The department is recommending the Cleveland County District Attorney charge Shortey will three prostitution-related counts involving a minor. It will be up to the DA to decide if charges should be filed.

Tulsa County Booking Photo

 

 Human remains found more than 24 years ago near Tulsa have been identified as a Tulsa woman who was reported missing in 2012.

The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday that a DNA analysis has determined the remains are those of Greta Riles, who would have been 23 when the remains were found.

The sheriff's office says a hunter found a human skull on the north edge of Tulsa on Dec. 9, 1992, and bones were later found in the area. The remains were eventually sent to the University of North Texas for a DNA analysis and have now been identified as Riles.

In the local news:

  • The GOP Health Plan would hit Oklahoma hard according to a new report.
  • A State Senator is being investigated by Moore Police.
  • Large crowds expected downtown for NCAA tourney and St. Patrick's parties.

Oklahoma Forest Department

 

 The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry has sent seven wildland firefighters to Woodward, Oklahoma, to fight wildfires there.

Commissioner Mike Strain said Tuesday that they'll be in Oklahoma for about three weeks.

Oklahoma Forestry Services said late Monday that more than 1,200 square miles have burned, and the fires in northwestern Oklahoma and southwestern Kansas were 63 percent contained. It said the fires have killed one person in each state and destroyed "vast acreage of rangeland," killing thousands of livestock.

Google Street View

 

 The county clerk says she is unable to determine how much financial debt the Nowata County Sheriff's Office is in because the office did not follow "proper accounting procedures."

County Clerk Chris Freeman said to commissioners Monday that she couldn't "coherently" figure out the amount because the Sheriff's Office spent money without first creating purchasing orders.

On Monday, commissioners accepted Sheriff Rick Miller's resignation and signed off on several claims for payment from the Sheriff's Office.

Duke University

 

 The Oklahoma House has passed and sent to the state Senate a bill calling for public school students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance each school day.

The bill by Republican Rep. Terry O'Donnell of Catoosa passed the House Monday on a 93-1 vote.

The bill says students "shall recite the pledge" once each day, instead of once per week as required under current state law.

The bill allows an exemption for students who do not wish to take part in saying the pledge.

Preston Doerflinger

 

Oklahoma's secretary of finance says revenue received by the state's chief operating fund was higher than the official estimate last month, but not as high as they appear.

Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger said Tuesday a change in the payment date for a higher education scholarship fund caused receipts to the general revenue fund appear to rise 8.3 percent above the estimate for February.

Collections in February totaled $248 million and total collections for the first eight months of the fiscal year are $3.1 billion, or 2 percent below the estimate.

 

An early analysis of a Republican plan to overhaul the nation's health care system shows health care could become unaffordable for many poor Oklahomans and the state could be forced to subsidize health care costs for Native Americans.

A document prepared for Republican Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press shows health officials also project the state would immediately lose $9.3 million in public health funding.

Morning Rush Hour Crash Leaves One Dead

Mar 14, 2017
Google Street View

One person is dead after being involved in a car crash on Tulsa's north side. It happened around 7:15 Tuesday morning at Apache and the Tisdale Expressway.

A car, coming off the expressway, collided with a car on Apache. Both drivers and a passenger were taken to the hospital. The driver of the car on Apache died later . The victim was ejected from the wreckage.

The crash closed Apache for several hours as Tulsa Police investigated the scene.

TU Rises Four Spots Among Nation’s Top 100 Law Schools

Mar 14, 2017
University of Tulsa

 The University of Tulsa College of Law is ranked among the nation’s best law schools for 2018 by U.S. News & World Report. TU is listed among the Top 100 law schools in the nation for the sixth consecutive year and currently ranks No. 82, according to the publication’s announcement Tuesday. The rating is based on several factors including quality, reputation, placement success and student selectivity. “U.S.

consumerreports.org

With spring on the way, it might be time to change out that smoke alarm. Not just the batteries, but the whole unit. The Metropolitan Environmental Trust Director Graham Brannin says people frequently keep those around long past the time they should be replaced.

Brannin says home fire extinguishers also have a shelf life and should be changed every few years. The MET is holding a collection event Wednesday from 9am until 1pm at the Home Depot at 41st and Sheridan. Mercury thermostats and batteries will also be collected.

 

The Cleveland County sheriff is seeking emergency funding from the county's budget board, saying that more money is needed so the county jail can meet payroll obligations next month.

Sheriff Joe Lester is requesting $135,000 in emergency funds from the Cleveland County Budget Board. Lester says the county's jail was not fully funded for the current fiscal year, and that more money is needed to keep it operational.

But some board members questioned whether the financial woes were caused by overspending.

American Bankers

 

Former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating has been appointed to the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents.

Gov. Mary Fallin announced Keating's appointment on Tuesday to the seven-member governing body of OU, Cameron University in Lawton and Rogers State University in Claremore.

Keating will serve a seven-year term and replaces outgoing Regent Max Weitzenhoffer. Keating still must be confirmed by the state Senate.

File Photo-Glock Talk

 

A bill that would allow elected county officials in Oklahoma to carry guns into courthouses has passed the state House.

The bill by Republican Rep. Bobby Cleveland goes to the Senate after passing the House on an 85-11 vote Monday.

It would allow elected officials with a valid handgun license to carry a firearm into the courthouses of the county in which the person was elected when he or she is performing official duties. It would not allow guns in courtrooms.

Oklahoma Watch

 

 The Oklahoma Senate has approved legislation to repeal the trigger for a cut in the state's individual income tax rate.

The Senate voted 39-6 for the bill on Wednesday and sent it to the House for consideration.

Legislation passed in 2014 provided a mechanism to reduce Oklahoma's top tax rate from 5 percent to 4.85 percent when tax collections increase by about $100 million annually, enough to cover the cost of the tax cut. Since then, state revenues have plummeted and the state faces a budget hole of $878 million next year.

file photo

 

The Oklahoma unemployment rate fell to 4.7 percent in January, down from 4.8 percent in December as the construction industry showed job growth.

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission said Monday that total nonfarm employment rose by 1,500 from December to January as construction added 3,900 jobs. Government added 900 jobs, the financial activities sector grew by 800 jobs and mining and logging added 700 jobs.

The leisure and hospitality sector lost 3,400 jobs.

In the local news:

  • The mayor proposes new agreements between the city and the Riverparks Authority.
  • Teach for America brings Spring Break students to Tulsa.
  • The western Oklahoma wildfires are out.

KWGS News

City will present a master lease agreement for consideration by the River Parks Authority that could consolidate property leases and strengthen and protect the long-term preservation of more than 900 acres of River Parks land for the public’s use.

KWGS News File Photo

The rains aren't enough to end the burn ban in Tulsa County. Even with the weekend rainfall, the burn ban in Tulsa County will continue. Commissioners voted to extend the outdoor burning prohibition another week based on a recommendation from fire chiefs and the Tulsa Area Emergency Management Agency. Deputy Director Joe Kralicek says the rain wasn’t enough to make much of a dent in the drought conditions.

File Photo

Sheriffs across Oklahoma say the state Department of Corrections' decision to break contracts to house state inmates with 10 county jails creates hardships for their departments.

The Oklahoman  reports that sheriffs are responding to Corrections Department Director Joe Allbaugh's announcement last week with emotions ranging from concern to near panic.

The plan is an effort to save $775,000 this fiscal year and comes as Oklahoma deals with a revenue shortfall projected to grow by $878 million next fiscal year.

GSA

 

 A hearing is to begin later this month for an Oklahoma man who's appealing the death sentence he was given after being convicted of killing an Oklahoma state trooper.

The hearing is set for March 27th in U.S. District Court in Muskogee for 55-year-old Kenneth Eugene Barrett.

The Muskogee Phoenix reports the hearing is to focus on whether Barrett's trial lawyers failed to develop mitigating circumstances during the penalty phase of his trial, resulting ineffective assistance of counsel by not having a complete assessment of Barret's mental health.

Students Come to Tulsa for Spring Break

Mar 13, 2017

It is not your typical Spring Break for 20 college students from all across the country. They are coming to Tulsa to learn about food insecurity and its affect on education.

Hannah Arnaud is with Teach for America in Tulsa. She says the students will be working with the Harvest Market on Tulsa's west side as well as Global Gardens.

These are college freshmen, sophomores and juniors. Arnaud says hopes to get them interested in Teach for America and have them to come back to Tulsa as teachers after graduation.

Spaghetti Warehouse in Tulsa to Close

Mar 13, 2017
google Street View

Tulsa’s Spaghetti Warehouse will be closing before the end of the month. The announcement was made in a news release this morning.

The company’s restaurant at 200 North Detroit will close on March 26th.

The news release did not say why the business is closing or how many staff members would be affected. Spaghetti Warehouse was one of the first eateries to open in the Brady Arts District back in the 1990s. 

Honda

   Authorities say a 10-year-old boy has died in a Tulsa hospital after an all-terrain vehicle crash in eastern Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the crash happened Sunday night in Poteau. According to a preliminary report, the boy was driving an ATV and collided with another ATV driven by a 14-year-old boy.

The highway patrol says the 10-year-old was pinned underneath his ATV, which had rolled over. He was taken to a Tulsa hospital with a head injury and was later pronounced dead.

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