Local & Regional

Couth Hillbilly

Oklahoma education officials say they have voted to restore a $5,000 bonus for 730 nationally certified speech-language pathologists, audiologists and school psychologists.

A release from the Oklahoma State Board of Education says the panel approved the plan Thursday. State budget officials must still approve a $3.65 million transfer from a flexible benefit allowance for the bonus to be paid.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister says the stipend is included in a state statute, but the annual incentive has been cut the past two years.

Oklahoma voters are gearing up for another round of elections after turning out in large numbers for primary balloting that left some big wins for teachers and marijuana advocates but also saw some losses for incumbents.

Among winners in Tuesday's primary were dozens of schoolteachers campaigning for seats in the Legislature who advanced to runoff elections or won outright. They continued momentum following a walkout in April when educators demanded more funding for public education and teacher salaries.

File photo

The National Transportation Safety Board says a Texas pilot who was killed when the crop-dusting plane he was flying crashed in northwestern Oklahoma was familiar with the region.

The Enid News & Eagle reports that a preliminary report by the NTSB says the pilot, 52-year-old Rodney Sherry of Oilton, Texas, was in good spirits and accustomed to the Enid-area field where he was spraying fertilizer.

Facebook

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin will not call state lawmakers into special session to come up with regulations for medical marijuana.

Voters approved State Question 788 in Tuesday's election, with almost 57 percent in favor of legalizing medical marijuana. Leading up to the vote, the Oklahoma State Department of Health spent three months drafting emergency rules to deal with the ballot measure's implementation.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Federal officials say Oklahoma residents with medical marijuana cards will be prohibited from obtaining gun permits after voters recently approved the medical use of the drug.

State residents voted in favor of the marijuana measure Tuesday. The move puts Oklahoma gun owners in a conflict 25 other states are facing between state and federal laws governing guns and marijuana.

Federal law says it's illegal to possess both a gun and marijuana.

File Photo

It appears teachers won’t be the only Oklahoma public school employees getting a pay bump next year.

The State Board of Education has signed off on a plan to offer nationally certified speech pathologists, audiologists and psychologists $5,000 bonuses.

"This is so critical in meeting the needs of our children who are struggling readers, who are the most vulnerable in the early years that need to have those support services through our speech pathologists, audiologists and school psychologists," said State Superintendent Joy Hofmesiter.

James Gathany / CDC

West Nile virus has arrived in Tulsa County.

A sample taken from a midtown mosquito trap tested positive for the virus for the first time this season.

"It’s definitely not a public health crisis. It’s just kind of serving that reminder to wear insect repellent, whether it’s DEET or picaridin, and, hopefully, we can keep the numbers low this season," said Tulsa Health Department Environmental Health Supervisor Adam Austin.

In the local news:

  • Oklahoma falling in the latest 'Kids' Count' report.
  • Rebates could be ahead to PSO customers.
  • Tulsa's homicide rate takes a dramatic drop.

PSO Rebate Could Be Ahead

Jun 29, 2018
PSO

You could be getting some money back on your electric bill.

An administrative law judge, hearing PSO’s rate hike  request, says the utility, actually, needs to return money to its customers. $428-million to be exact. 

The judge says recent federal tax cuts have greatly benefited PSO and that utility needs to give some of that back to rate payers. 

File Photo

 

Residents in all of Oklahoma's "dry" counties have voted to go wet, but one county's results are still up in the air.

The Oklahoman reports that Beaver County is one of 14 counties that approved a proposition allowing for liquor sales by the drink in Tuesday's election. Unofficial results show Beaver County passed the measure by seven total votes, but the county still hasn't counted 10 provisional ballots.

File photo

 

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has upheld first-degree murder convictions in two unrelated cases, including a Tulsa woman sentenced to life without parole for the stabbing death of her boyfriend.

The court Thursday rejected appeals by 25-year-old Sarah Francis, who was convicted in the 2014 death of Jon Jay Smitter. An autopsy found Smitter was stabbed 57 times. Francis claimed she acted in self-defense.

THC

 

A cannabis clinic opened in Tulsa just hours after Oklahoma voters approving medical marijuana.

Tulsa Higher Care Clinic opened Wednesday morning, although it will likely be weeks before residents can apply for a license to possess marijuana for medical purposes. Voters approved medical marijuana Tuesday.

Clinic co-owner Whitney Wehmeyer told the Tulsa World that for $250, a patient gets two appointments with a doctor who could provide a recommendation to apply for a license.

A clinic for prescribing medical marijuana opened in Tulsa just hours after Oklahoma voters approved the pot measure — and before election officials had even certified the vote.

Tulsa Higher Care Clinic opened Wednesday morning, although it could be weeks before residents can apply for a license to possess marijuana for medical purposes.

Voters approved medical marijuana Tuesday.

BEAVER, Okla. (AP) — Residents in all of Oklahoma's "dry" counties have voted to go wet, but one county's results are still up in the air.

Beaver County is one of 14 counties that approved a proposition allowing for liquor sales by the drink in Tuesday's election. Unofficial results showed Beaver County passed the measure by seven total votes, but the county still hasn't counted 10 provisional ballots, the Oklahoman reported.

It could be tough to improve conditions for many young Oklahomans because there may be thousands more than we think.

Researchers estimate 93,000 Oklahomans younger than 5 years old live in hard-to-count Census tracts. That means they’re being undercounted or not counted at all.

"That’s really important, to get that accurate count, because billions of dollars in federal funding is at stake, based on the numbers that they bring up there," said Oklahoma Policy Institute's Gene Perry.

Oklahoma children are facing an uphill climb.

The state ranks 44th for kids’ well-being in the latest Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT report.

Besides ranking 44th overall, Oklahoma is in the bottom 15 for every category considered: 36th for economic security, 40th in health, 44th in family and community, and 46th in health. Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy CEO Joe Dorman said the state was climbing, then took a nosedive.

KWGS File Photo

Halfway through the year, Tulsa homicides are less than half what they were at the same time during 2017’s record year. Officer Jeanne MacKenzie says rates are also much better than in 2016, the previous record year. She says there have been 19 murders in Tulsa so far this year, compared to 46 during the same time frame last year, and 31 in 2016.

MacKenzie says the homicide solve rate is also very high this year, better than 95%. She says large, targeted enforcement efforts against gangs and guns have helped keep the homicide numbers down.

Our top local stories:

  • High heat expected across Green Country.
  • Last children leave Laura Dester.
  • The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority is created.

File Photo

 

President Trump said Wednesday he intends to nominate a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy from a list of names he first compiled during his 2016 campaign. He told reporters he had recently added five more names to the list. Here is a look at who is under consideration: 

Google Street View

The state has suspended operations at the Laura Dester shelter in Tulsa as the last of the children housed there were moved out.

The state took the action after a Tulsa federal judge ordered the facility closed. This followed allegations of neglect at the facility..

The giant Department of Human Services was order to closed the facility by June 30th. They beat the deadline by a couple of days. The DHS had asked the judge for more time. 

Oklahoma Watch

 

An Oklahoma doctor has been ordered to stand trial for second-degree murder in the deaths of five patients that are blamed on powerful painkillers and other drugs she had prescribed them.

State Attorney General Mike Hunter said a judge found probable Wednesday cause to try 58-year-old Dr. Regan Nichols of Midwest City on the five murder counts.

Nichols has pleaded not guilty.

 

The head of Oklahoma's health agency said Wednesday there's a framework in place to get the medical marijuana industry rolling in the state soon, despite concerns from Gov. Mary Fallin that a statewide vote "opens the door" for recreational use.

Sweltering Heat for Tulsa

Jun 28, 2018
National Weather Service/Owasso 411

Upper level high pressure will continue to hold over the southern plains today. Very warm temperatures and high humidity will once again result in heat index values between 105 and 110 degrees across much of eastern Oklahoma, northwest and west central Arkansas. A heat advisory will be in effect for these locations from 1 pm to 9 PM this evening. The airmass will shift a little by the weekend, resulting in slightly cooler temperatures across the area.

KWGS News-File Photo

 

Oklahoma's watchdog agency is accusing lawmakers of underfunding it in a lawsuit over the agency's budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Oklahoma Ethics Commission filed the lawsuit Tuesday asking the state Supreme Court to force the Legislature and Gov. Mary Fallin to provide appropriation from the general revenue fund so the agency can perform basic duties.

Columbia Records

 

The foundation that acquired part of Bob Dylan's archives has selected a lead architect and exhibit designer for the anticipated public center in Oklahoma dedicated to the music icon.

The George Kaiser Family Foundation has chosen Seattle-based Olson Kundig to design the Bob Dylan Center in Tulsa. It will focus on the study and appreciation of Dylan and his cultural significance.

The center will be located next to a facility dedicated to Woody Guthrie, one of Dylan's influences.

Still No Candidates for 1st District Congress

Jun 27, 2018
KWGS News File Photo

We still don’t know who will be the candidates for 1st District Congress in Tulsa. That will not be decided until after a run-off election in August.

For the Democrats, Tulsa Attorney Tim Gilpin was the top vote getter. However, political newcomer Amanda Douglas of Broken Arrow garnered enough votes to be in an August run-off.

On the other side of the political fence, it was former Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris picking up the most votes. But, he to, will face a run-off with McDonald’s franchise operator Kevin Hern. 

Still No Candidates for 1st District Congress

Jun 27, 2018
KWGS News File Photo

We still don’t know who will be the candidates for 1st District Congress in Tulsa. That will not be decided until after a run-off election in August.

For the Democrats, Tulsa Attorney Tim Gilpin was the top vote getter. However, political newcomer Amanda Douglas of Broken Arrow garnered enough votes to be in an August run-off.

On the other side of the political fence, it was former Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris picking up the most votes. But, he to, will face a run-off with McDonald’s franchise operator Kevin Hern. 

KWGS News

Former Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson picks up the Democratic nominee for Governor. He easily defeated former State Senator Connie Johnson.

However, it is still not known who Edmondson will face in November. No Republican candidate got 50% of the vote. That means there will be an August run-off to pick the party’s nominee.

The top GOP vote getter was former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett. Tulsa mortgage lender Kevin Stitt was in second place. He trailed most of the evening, but slipped ahead of  current Lt-Governor Todd Lamb as the last ballots were counted.

 

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) has worked for the past three months to develop a framework for implementing the requirements of SQ 788. Now that Oklahoma voters have approved the measure, OSDH is confident that we are ready to meet those requirements by the specified time and that the process will be handled with integrity.

A KWGS Election Recap

Jun 27, 2018

  

 

A KWGS Election recap:

Pages