Local & Regional

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Once declared a public nuisance, the Tulsa Club is on its way back. The Tulsa-based Ross Group is pumping $16-million into the project along with tax credits and abatements.

The art-deco building has been an illegal refuge for the homeless in recent years after closing a quarter of a century ago. It has been the scene of numerous fires. 

The group’s Steven Watts says the first eight floors will become a 97 room Hilton-brand hotel. The remaining floors will be used as a ballroom and event space.

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Once declared a public nuisance, the Tulsa Club is on its way back. The Tulsa-based Ross Group is pumping $16-million into the project along with tax credits and abatements.

The group’s Steven Watts says the first eight floors will become a 97 room hotel. The remaining floors will be used as a ballroom and event space.

The building is 90 years old. Work should be finished in late 2018.

In the local news:

  • REAL ID heads to the Governor.
  • Revitalization is underway at the old Tulsa Club.
  • No surprise. Oklahoma's all Republican delegation in Washington liked the President's speech.

KWGS News Photo

 

 A 32-year-old man has been charged in the death and dismemberment of a Colorado woman.

Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett says Adam Densmore was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder, tampering with a deceased human body, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse.

State of Oklahoma

 

 An image of Woody Guthrie lit up the Oklahoma Capitol, but the state doesn't want the unauthorized artwork coming back.

Oklahoma City artist Jack Fowler says he projected an image of the folk singer Monday night onto tarps covering construction work in an effort to get people to "shake up the powers that be." Guthrie was born in Okemah, Oklahoma, and influenced singers including Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.

 

 The chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court has granted an emergency motion that gives Oklahoma's new attorney general more time to produce thousands of documents detailing the relationship that new Environmental Protection Agency leader Scott Pruitt had with energy companies.

In an order late Tuesday, Chief Justice Douglas Combs granted Attorney General Mike Hunter's request for an emergency stay.

Hunter had argued that complying with a lower court's request to produce thousands of documents by Friday amounted to a "Herculean task."

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A highly respected brewery clears what is likely to be its biggest hurdle toward setting up shop at 18th Street and Boston Avenue.

American Solera is currently set up in west Tulsa, but founder Chase Healey is eyeing 108 E 18th St. for a new taproom. Microbreweries are considered "low-impact manufacturing and industry" uses under the zoning code. That area is zoned commercial.

Healey said the brewing process involves an all-electric system and doesn’t produce any unpleasant fumes.

File photo

Oklahoma Senators are working on a plan to move the state to a floating fuel tax.

Sen. Eddie Fields said the idea comes from Michigan and Georgia, but his Senate Bill 499 has a slight difference.

"In Georgia, the governor has his or her ability to change the mechanics of that. I've taken that language out of our Senate bill to take the governor out of that equation, so this would just be basically something with the tax commission," Fields said.

Department of Public Safety

Oklahoma’s decade-long opposition to implementing provisions of the federal REAL ID Act appears to be over.

State senators approved the fast-tracked compliance bill on a 35 to 11 vote, sending it to the governor’s desk for Mary Fallin’s signature. Sen. David Holt led presentation of House Bill 1845 on the floor.

 

Recent surveys indicate that teachers at Tulsa Public Schools are leaving their jobs because of low pay. 

Two surveys were conducted by the school district to find the reasons behind educators resigning. One of the surveys was conducted last year of teachers who left, and the other was a survey of current staff.

Fifty-two percent of teachers who left said their main reason was a need for a higher salary. The second most-popular response was that the teachers were moving to another city or wanted a job closer to home.

PSO Gives Grant to Philbrook

Feb 28, 2017
Philbrook

At a time when federal funding of the arts is expected to be cut, AEP-PSO gives $25,000 to Philbrook. The money is to be used to help fund the ‘MyMuseum’ project that serves children.

The program  offers free art supplies to children ages 3-13.

Now in its ninth year, Philbrook MyMuseum has served over 30,000 children and this important funding will enable the museum to continue offering free kits to kids through 2018.

Deputy Dies From Crash Injuries

Feb 28, 2017

Funeral services are pending for a Craig County Deputy.

23-year-old Sean Cookson has died from injuries suffered in a car crash in Cherokee County last week.

He was in route to a special training class when he crashed on Highway 82 north of Tahlequah.

 

 A purse believed to belong to a woman missing for more than a month has been found in a wooded area near McAlester.

Police Det. Preston Rodgers told the McAlester News-Capital that 40-year-old Holly Marie Cantrell's identification and other items were in the purse that was found by a hunter. Rodgers said a search of the area uncovered nothing else believed to be related to Cantrell.

The purse was found at Cardinal Point Recreation Area at Lake Eufaula, about 10 miles north of McAlester.

In the local news:

  • A school consolidation study passes a state senate committee.
  • Gasoline prices jump 15 cents in Tulsa.
  • School leftovers could be given to Oklahoma food banks.

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A $15.3 million federal loan has been approved to help expand broadband in a rural portion of Oklahoma.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture loan is to Southern Plains Cable, LLC to build a fiber-optic broadband network in a 55-square-mile area that includes Anadarko, Verden and Chickasha.

Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Roger Glendenning announced the loan Monday and said it will help provide high-speed internet service to the rural area of south-central Oklahoma.

 

   Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt occasionally used private email to communicate with staff while serving as Oklahoma's attorney general, despite telling Congress that he always used a state email account for government business.

Pruitt emails obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request show exchanges where the Republican used a private account hosted by Apple. Pruitt's use of private email, which is not illegal for officials in Oklahoma, was first reported by Oklahoma City Fox television station KOKH.

Brad Gibson

 

 A Republican state senator criticized opponents of a vaccination bill who distributed what he described as "disgusting" literature that targeted the bill's author, a doctor and state senator from Oklahoma City.

Sen. Adam Pugh of Edmond ultimately voted against the bill Monday, but not before chastising opponents for distributing the flyers that likened the author, Sen. Irvin Yen, to notorious dictators, including Adolph Hitler and Pol Pot. Pugh said those who distributed the flyers were not acting in a Christian manner of treating people with respect.

OSSAA

An Oklahoma Senate panel rejected a proposal Monday to let charter school students participate in extracurricular activities at the public school they would otherwise attend.

Shawnee Republican Ron Sharp said allowing that would be unfair to schools.

"It would have an unfunded mandate, because you have to provide uniforms. You have to have extra coaches," Sharp said.

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The State Department of Education could be told to take a look at a new form of school district consolidation.

The Oklahoma Senate Education Committee passed a bill Monday directing the education department to study administrative services. By Dec. 1, 2018, there would be a list of districts recommended for Regional Education Administrative Districts.

Senate Bill 514 author Gary Stanislawski said the biggest change with READs would be a single administration for several districts.

Oklahoma Senate

 

Two-term Republican state senator David Holt says he plans to run for Oklahoma City's open mayor's seat in 2018.

Holt announced Monday he plans to seek the seat held for 14 years by current Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, who said last week he wouldn't run for re-election.

An attorney, Holt served for five years as Cornett's chief of staff before being elected to the Oklahoma Senate in 2010.

A member of the Osage Nation, Holt wrote the book "Big League City: Oklahoma City's Rise to the NBA" about the city's revitalization under Cornett's leadership.

KWGS News File Photo

 

The filing period begins Monday for an Oklahoma House seat that opened up following the resignation of state Rep. Dan Kirby.

The filing period runs until Wednesday in the House District 75 contest. The winner replaces Kirby, a Republican from Tulsa who resigned after a House committee recommended he be expelled following an investigation into sexual harassment claims.

The special primary election is set for May 9 and a special general election will be held July 11. If no primary is needed, the general election will be May 9.

File photo

Tulsa County is under a burn ban this week. It prohibits most outdoor burning except gas and electric grilling over a non-flammable surface. Welding is also allowed, again on a non-flammable surface. Area Emergency Manager Roger Joliffe says the ban will be re-visited later this week and County Commissioners will decide next Monday whether to extend or end the ban.

Rain is expected this week, but Joliffe says it likely won’t be enough to make a difference in the drought conditions.

Tulsa's Jay Cronley Dead at 73

Feb 27, 2017
JayCronley.com

Longtime Tulsa World and Tulsa Tribune columnist Jay Cronley has died. In addition to his newspaper columns, Cronley wrote numerous novels. Several of his books were made into successful comedy movies, including "Funny Farm," "Let It Ride," and "Hold Up."

In one of the worst-guarded secrets in Tulsa media, he was also the Tulsa World sports department's "Picker." He also wrote about horse racing for ESPN.

In the local news:

  • The cash-strapped state needs a new medical lab.
  • An environmental group comes out against a proposed 'wind tax'.
  • Tulsa gasoline is the cheapest in the nation.

 

At least seven measures that would authorize a pay raise for Oklahoma public school teachers are pending in the state Legislature, but lawmakers have not found a way to pay for them.

The Tulsa World reports that Oklahoma will be last in teacher pay this year unless one of the bills passes with enough funding to pay for it.

The National Education Association says that Oklahoma ranked 42nd in teacher pay in 2007 with an average $43,551, which includes health, life and retirement benefits.

 

An Oklahoma pipeline company says it will reimburse north-central Iowa agencies for expenses they incurred while responding to a diesel pipeline spill near Hanlontown last month.

The Mason City Globe Gazette reports that Magellan Midstream Partners is making the offer. Worth County Auditor Jackie Backhaus is tallying up local agencies' expenses and plans to have the total ready by Monday. Sheriff Dan Fank says his department logged 240 hours at the site while maintaining road blocks and manning an operations center, and that 140 of those hours must be paid as overtime.

Collins Liquor

 

 Legislation in the Oklahoma Senate would allow voters in the state's 77 counties decide whether liquor can be sold in the counties on Sunday.

The Oklahoman reports that the bill would allow votes decide on a county-by-county basis whether liquor stores can open between noon and midnight on Sundays, beginning in 2018. Liquor stores are currently required to close on Sundays.

The bill would allow county commissioners to schedule elections, or residents could start petition efforts to get a measure on the ballot.

KWGS News File Photo

 

The average price of a gallon of regular-grade gasoline rose 2 cents nationally during the past two weeks, to $2.33.

Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday that the slight rise was due to small increases in crude oil and wholesale gas prices.

Lundberg says she expects modest increases in the near-term.

The national average is up 56 cents per gallon over the price a year ago.

Gas in Los Angeles was the highest in the contiguous United States at an average of $2.94 a gallon Friday. The lowest average was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at $2.02 per gallon.

Spotter Network

 

Nearly 200 storm chasers are paying tribute to the late actor Bill Paxton by spelling out his initials using GPS coordinates on a map depicting the heart of Tornado Alley.

The effort coordinated Sunday by Spotter Network spelled out "BP" to honor the leading man in the disaster movie "Twister," which inspired a generation of storm chasers.

John Wetter, the nonprofit's president, says storm chasers have spelled out the initials of fellow chasers four or five times before but never a non-chaser.

Helmet Hut

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield has been arrested and charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest in Fayetteville. Mayfield, a Heisman Trophy finalist last year, was booked into the Washington County Jail after first walking, then running away and being tackled by an officer following an altercation near Fayetteville's Dickson Street early Saturday, according to police. Oklahoma spokesman Michael Houck said the school is aware of the incident and pursuing details.

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