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Advocates say Oklahoma has lost much of the progress made over recent years to reduce infant deaths.

Oklahoma ranks 47th in the United States for infant deaths, according to The Oklahoman , which reported that, on average, 7.7 of every 1,000 babies born in the state die before their first birthday.

KWGS News File Photo

The Oklahoma Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments today—over whether a petition to overturn new state taxes is legal. 

A group called Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite is circulating a petition to overturn HB1010xx—a nearly $430 million dollar tax package that lawmakers passed this year. If the anti-tax group gets enough petition signatures—the issue will go to a vote of the people, likely in November. 

Two different groups, however, have filed legal challenges to this petition—claiming it is unconstitutional. 

Booking photo

An Oklahoma appeals court has ordered some documents unsealed in the case of a former Oklahoma City police officer convicted of rape.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals ruling Friday comes after ex-officer Daniel Holtzclaw's attorneys asked that the documents be unsealed. The order would unseal redacted versions of the motion to unseal the documents, the state's response and Holtzclaw's attorneys' response to the state reply. Also to be unsealed would be Holtzclaw's attorneys' objection to a lower court finding of fact and conclusions of law.

The U.S. Geological Survey says a 4.4 magnitude earthquake shook parts of northern Oklahoma and neighboring Kansas.

Geologists say the earthquake was recorded at 8:59 a.m. Saturday about 16 miles  east of Cherokee,  The earthquake was recorded at a depth of five miles.

News outlets in Wichita, Kansas, which is about 75 miles northeast of the earthquake's epicenter, reported feeling the quake. Some residents more than 100 miles north of Wichita in Manhattan, Kansas, also reported feeling tremors. No injuries or damage was reported.

OKC Police

Police in Oklahoma City have arrested a 36-year-old man after investigators found a body buried in a shallow grave and covered with tires in the backyard of his home.

Authorities say Jimmy Vongphakdy was arrested on a first-degree murder complaint. Oklahoma County court records do not indicate whether Vongphakdy is represented by an attorney who can speak on his behalf.

Court documents filed Friday indicate that police received a tip on Wednesday about a body inside a residence on the city's northwest side that had been moved and buried in the backyard.

A Steamer for Tulsa Tough

Jun 10, 2018
Tulsa Tough

Hot and humid weather will continue today, with heat index values climbing into the 100 to 103 degree range across parts of northeast Oklahoma this afternoon. Hot and humid weather will continue Monday, with afternoon heat index values approaching 105 across parts of northeast Oklahoma. A weak cold front will approach the area late Monday into Tuesday, bringing increasing chances of showers and thunderstorms. Instability will be sufficient for a few severe thunderstorms to be possible.

High Heat Will Make 'Tulsa Tough' Even Tougher

Jun 9, 2018
NWS Graphic

Isolated thunderstorms will be possible this afternoon across parts of northwest Arkansas and far eastern Oklahoma. Severe weather is not expected. Heat index values will climb to near 100 degrees across parts of northeast Oklahoma this afternoon. A weak cold front will move south into the area early next week bringing an increasing chance for showers and thunderstorms.

File photo

An Oklahoma man already serving time for murder has pleaded guilty to using contraband cellphones to run a large-scale meth ring from his maximum-security prison cell.

35-year-old Slint Tate's Thursday plea agreement with federal prosecutors calls for serving 20 years after his state sentence. Tate likely won't serve more time because he's currently serving life without parole.

OU

The University of Oklahoma has returned donations made by a retired professor accused of sexual harassment and banned him from working on campus more than two years after the school first investigated him.

Tulsa Jail

Oklahoma now has the highest incarceration rate in the U.S., according to a recent study.

The Prison Policy Initiative released its "States of Incarceration: The Global Context 2018" study last month. The nonprofit's data figures account for state prisons, local jails, federal prisoners and other systems of confinement, the Tulsa World reported .

Amazon Coming to Tulsa

Jun 9, 2018
City of Tulsa

Amazon announced plans late Friday to open its second Oklahoma fulfillment center in Tulsa, which will create 1,500 full-time jobs with opportunities for employees to engage with robotics technology. The company recently announced an upcoming fulfillment center in South Oklahoma City. Amazon currently operates a sortation center in Oklahoma City, where it employs hundreds of associates.

KWGS News

TULSA, Okla. – Gathering Place announces it officially opens on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, kicking off with 100 Days of Opening Celebration festivities.

A riverfront public park designed to be a place for all Tulsans from all walks of life to enjoy together, Gathering Place’s initial 100 Days of Opening Celebration will provide dynamic, culturally relevant programming activities for the entire community. These one-of-a-kind events and activities include an opening day performance by legendary hip-hop/neo soul band The Roots.

In the Local News:

  • Tulsa looks for replacement teachers.
  • The opening date will be announced today for the Gathering Place.
  • The first case of West Nile this year, is found in a Oklahoma mosquito.

Oklahoma Suicide Rate Up 36 Percent Since 1999

Jun 8, 2018

 

Suicide rates are on the rise in Oklahoma and nearly every state, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Between 1999 and 2016, suicide rates increased significantly in 44 states. Oklahoma is one of 25 states that saw rates climb more than 30 percent.

Factors contributing to the increases include social and economic problems, access to lethal means like medications and firearms among people at risk, and poor coping skills, researchers say.

Auto Loan Daily

 

Heavy thunderstorms dropped more than 3 inches of rain in parts of central Oklahoma that left motorists stranded on freeways and surface streets.

The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings Thursday after the storms knocked out power to thousands of homes and businesses in Oklahoma City and surrounding communities.

No injuries were reported.

OU

 

Dozens of people speaking against a former University of Oklahoma professor accused of sexual harassment have composed a letter standing by their stories.

About 30 people signed a statement Wednesday accusing John Scamehorn of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior while he had access to drama school events as a university donor. The 64-year-old has denied wrongdoing.

Quapaw Tribe

 

A former Quapaw tribal officer has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after an undercover police sting in northeast Oklahoma revealed his involvement in a child sex crime.

Thomas Mathews was sentenced Wednesday in Tulsa federal court after pleading guilty to attempted enticement of a minor. He must also register as a sex offender and serve seven years' probation.

A Tulsa County Murder Suspect is Dead

Jun 7, 2018
Tulsa County Booking Photo

The Tulsa sheriff’s office says 56-year-old Darius Hatfield committed suicide while behind bars. He was found earlier in the week in his jail cell. He had wrapped a bed sheet around his neck. When found, he was rushed to the hospital. However, the sheriff’s office now says Hatfield has died. He was being held for the shooting death of his girl friend west of Pratville late last month following an argument. 

KWGS News

The prospect of a teacher raise hasn’t stopped the educator drain across the state or in Tulsa. A teacher career fair at Will Rogers College High brought out several hopefuls….some already certified and some seeking certification.

Teachers are needed in most disciplines, but there is a great need in math, science, and English. Information about job positions is available on the TPS website.

In the local news:

  • Tulsa Police say sex-offenders are faking homelessness.
  • A replica of the Vietnam Memorial goes on display at the former Oklahoma Military Academy--- now RSU in Claremore.
  • A federal judge tells DHS to move the kids out of the Larua Dester Shelter by the end of the month

Carlos Campani-Wikimedia

 

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter says the state has reached an $8.5 million settlement with Volkswagen over allegations the German car manufacturer skirted federal emissions standards.

A lawsuit filed by the state in 2016 alleged Volkswagen violated the Oklahoma Consumer Protection Act by installing software in diesel vehicles to cheat laboratory emissions and meet U.S. standards. With the systems deactivated, the vehicles emitted up to 40 times the amount of allowable nitrogen oxide.

Federal Grant Will Pay for Bridge Repair

Jun 7, 2018
File photo

A federal grant will mean road construction ahead on I-44 in Tulsa.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is getting a $ 45-million grant to redo the bridges and overpasses  at I-44 and Highway 75.

O-Dot was suprised by the grant announcement. There is no word as to when the work could begin.

EPA

 

President Donald Trump is standing by his embattled Environmental Protection Agency chief, even as the scandals and federal investigations continue to mount.

Speaking at a hurricane preparedness briefing Wednesday, the president lavished praise on EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

"EPA is doing really, really well," Trump told Pruitt. "And you know, somebody has to say that about you a little bit."

Trump added that "people are really impressed with the job that's being done at the EPA. Thank you very much, Scott."

Dester Deadline Set for June 30th

Jun 7, 2018
Google Street View

Shut it down! Federal Judge Gregory Fizzell tell the Oklahoma Department of Human Services it must find alternate locations for children staying at the Laura Dester Shelter in Tulsa.

The judge took the action after a monitoring group complained children at the facility were being neglected.

The DHS had requested the deadline be extended to Labor Day.  The center is located west of Memorial of East Pine Street.

Google Street View

 

Authorities say a woman has died after she was kicked in the chest by a horse at Will Rogers Downs racetrack near Claremore.

42-year-old Jennifer Peterson of Beggs died Tuesday night at a Claremore hospital where she was taken.

The station reports that Peterson was helping load the horse into a trailer when she was kicked about 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Officials with the Rogers County Sheriff's Department did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

A leading preservationist is in Bartlesville to develop a long-term conservation plan for Frank Lloyd Wright’s only skyscraper.

Architect Gunny Harboe and his team of engineers and consultants will have a plan late this year to keep Price Tower in tip-top shape. Harboe said unlike many Wright projects, Price Tower with its hotel and restaurant is still a living, working building.

KWGS News

June 6th marks the 20th  anniversary of the unsolved murder of 16 year old Dena Dean. The Dean Family will commemorate the anniversary by holding a vigil to remember their daughter and pray for justice. Members of TCSO’s Cold Case Task Force will be there to staff a Command Post and speak with anyone who wants to stop by and offer potential leads on the case.

Today through Friday, Task Force members are answering a Tip Line where callers can speak with them directly: 918-388-7686.

Tulsa Tough Can Be Tough on the Paramedics

Jun 6, 2018
Tulsa Tough

EMSA will be on stand-by for this weekend’s grueling Tulsa Tough Bike Event. Temperatures are expected to be hot and the crowds thick.

EMSA will be patrolling the race route and ready to respond. But, don’t worry about an ambulance blocking your view. The paramedics will be on bicycles too.

EMSA will have seven bikes rolling during the race. The bikes are outfitted with first responder equipment. That includes the supplies needed to start an IV for anyone overcome by the heat. 

KWGS News photo

Tulsa has a growing problem with homeless sex offenders. They are not really homeless, but file that way to side-step living restrictions. Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan says, in some cases, the homeless men are then preying on homeless women.

24 men were recently arrested in a sweep of homeless encampments and areas of town. The crackdown was called 'Operation: Hide and Seek'. It was conducted with the U.S. Marshal's Service and the Tulsa County District Attorney's office.

KWGS News

  

Long before Rogers State University,  the school on the hill at Claremore, was the Oklahoma Military Academy. This weekend, the OMA alumni association will gather. The reunion coincides with a replica of the Vietnam War Memorial going on display at the school. 

The “Wall that Heals” is a three-quarter replica of the Washington, D.C. memorial.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

11 a.m. – Opening ceremony at The Wall That Heals site at RSU. 

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