Local & Regional

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.

Spring Break Means Longer Lines at TIA

Mar 13, 2017
KWGS News File Photo

Spring break officially begins for area students on Monday, March 13th and airport officials expect vacationing families to take to the skies.  Throughout the next two weeks (Oklahoma and Arkansas spring break season), passengers departing before 8 AM should arrive two hours prior to their scheduled departure time – keeping in mind the checkpoint does not open until 4:15 AM. 

In the local news:

  • Two teenagers are dead and third hospitalized following a shooting in Northwest Tulsa.
  • Governor Fallin seeks help for burned out Oklahoma ranchers.
  • Oklahoma's divorce rules could be drastically changed under legislation in the state house.

Booking Photo

 

Authorities in Tulsa say a shooting that stemmed from the breakup of two teenagers has left two people dead and a third wounded.

Police Sgt. Dave Walker says an 18-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman were killed Sunday night, and a 19-year-old woman was hospitalized.

Wikipedia

 

The governors of Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and New Mexico are seeking temporary suspension of grazing restrictions for farmers and ranchers because of wildfires.

The fires have burned more than 2,300 square miles in the four states, forcing farmers and ranchers to move their livestock.

The letter from the governors to acting Secretary of Agriculture Mike Young asks that the restrictions in the Conservation Reserve Program be lifted to provide more land for grazing.

Wikipedia

 

The governors of Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and New Mexico are seeking temporary suspension of grazing restrictions for farmers and ranchers because of wildfires.

The fires have burned more than 2,300 square miles in the four states, forcing farmers and ranchers to move their livestock.

The letter from the governors to acting Secretary of Agriculture Mike Young asks that the restrictions in the Conservation Reserve Program be lifted to provide more land for grazing.

File Photo

At least four people have been arrested after a large fight broke out inside an Oklahoma shopping mall.

Oklahoma City police spokesman Sgt. Houston Dilbeck says the agency received a call late Friday about a disturbance inside the food court at Penn Square Mall.

He says some patrons heard what they thought sounded like gunshots and called police. Dilbeck says they possibly heard the sound of a stun gun going off and called authorities, although it's unclear whether the device was fired at all.

Wikipedia

 

Chesapeake Energy Corp. has withdrawn its claim for more than $455 million against the estate of late former CEO Aubrey McClendon.

It's part of a settlement of a 2015 lawsuit in which the company alleged McClendon took trade secrets when he left Chesapeake and used the information for his new company.

An Oklahoma City probate judge approved the settlement Thursday.

Oklahoma Forestry Service

 Forestry officials say a dozen firefighters from Kentucky are in Oklahoma to help battle wildfires there.

WKYT-TV reports that while Kentucky is experiencing a below average number of fires so far, some of its firefighters are staying busy.

Chad Brothers, a firefighter from Marion, says his team brought two bulldozers and three engines to help with the Selman fire in Woodward, Oklahoma. Wildfires there have destroyed nearly 50,000 acres.

Brothers and his team arrived in Oklahoma on Friday morning. They're expecting to stay for a couple of weeks.

Tulsa County Booking Photo

A jury has convicted a suburban Tulsa woman in the fatal shooting of her ex-husband and recommended that she spend the rest of her life in prison.

The Tulsa World reports that jurors spent about two hours deliberating Friday before finding 70-year-old Judith Nix guilty of shooting her ex-husband, Kenneth Nix.

Attorneys for Judith Nix claimed their client suffered from battered woman syndrome and shot her ex-husband in self-defense after years of abuse.

NPS-Facebook

The father of an Oklahoma boy who authorities say was sexually assaulted by members of a high school wrestling team has sued the school district. The Oklahoman reports that the father alleges that his 12-year-old son sustained emotional distress and physical harm as a result of the attacked. He says lax supervision led to his son being attacked three times during a school trip.

Should State Allow Tax-Credit Donations to Public Schools?

Mar 11, 2017
Oklahoma Watch

Since 2013, Oklahoma taxpayers have been allowed to take a state income-tax credit in exchange for donations made to private schools. Now, a state lawmaker and others are wondering: Why not offer tax credits for donations to public schools?

That, in fact, is what one legislator proposed this year and a House subcommittee unanimously supported, although the bill has since gone dormant. The concept is already in place in a handful of other states, and Oklahoma already offers a little-known tax credit for donations to certain programs in public schools.

Many Tulsans Pay Police Alarm Fee, but Non-Payers Get Same Service

Mar 11, 2017
Clifton Adcock-Oklahoma Watch

Over the past 3½ years, Tulsa residents and businesses have paid more than $1 million in fees to a voluntary city program to ensure that police will be the first to respond to an intruder alarm on their property.

But because of a technical issue with the city’s 911 dispatch system, those who paid into the program have been receiving the same level of service as those who didn’t pay, an Oklahoma Watch investigation has found.

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