Local & Regional

Pipeline Protests in Tulsa

Jan 29, 2017

About 200 people turnout for a peaceful protest in Tulsa against pipeline expansion in the United States. The gathering was held at the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park in Tulsa on Saturday afternoon.

The group was opposed to both the Dakota Access Pipeline and well as the Keystone XL Pipeline. Oklahoma tribal leaders have often shown solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North Dakota with cash support and supply contributions.

Both projects had been stopped by the Obama Administration. That work was undone by President Trump last week.

Google Street View

Police have arrested a mixed martial arts fighter suspected in the shooting deaths of a laundromat manager and a customer during an apparent robbery. It happened at the Laundry Station in Del City.

The Oklahoman newspaper reports police arrested Roshaun Bernard Jones on Friday in the deaths of store manager Nekia Jackson and customer Russ Roberts. The two were found dead inside the business Monday.

Roberts is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and is jailed without bond.

Michigan Radio

The owner and finance manager of a used car lot have been sentenced to a total of six years in prison after pleading guilty last year to their roles in a 2014 bank fraud case.

Federal prosecutors say Timothy Jay Williams and Stephen L. Butz were sentenced this week. Williams was sentenced to 41 months; Butz got 31 months. They were also ordered to pay more than $1.2 million in restitution.

Prosecutors say the men they obtained a line of credit from The Bank of Union in return for granting the bank a secured interest in all used cars, proceeds and other products.

Tulsa County Booking Photo

 A man who was sentenced to 24 years in prison for causing a car crash that killed three people in 2009 has been released on bail after a judge granted his motion to withdraw his guilty plea.

District Judge James Caputo granted 27-year-old Steven Wade Jameson's request following a Friday court hearing.

Jameson had entered a blind guilty plea to three counts of first-degree manslaughter in 2011 for causing a car crash that killed Michael, Angela and James Mulanax.

Continuing Education-Arizona State Universtiy

A consumer finance site has ranked Oklahoma No. 41 of the most educated states.

The analysis by WalletHub used 11 criteria to make the findings in its 2017 Most & Least Educated States study. Factors included percentage of adults with at least a high school diploma and gender gap in educational attainment.

Massachusetts scored 80.65 of a possible 100 points to top the analysis. West Virginia finished last.

Tulsa County Booking Photo

A Tulsa jury sentences Travis Lozana to life in prison without parole  for the murder of a 14-year-old girl. Prosecutors claimed Lozana was with two other men in May of 2014 when they spotted a pick-up truck with ATVs in the bed. They decided to force the pick-up off the road and steal the ATVs.

Shots were fired in an attempt to blow-out the fires. One bullet missed and struck 14-year-old April Montano. She died a short time later. Montano and her family were returning from a weekend outing when the shooting took place

OKC Fire

Firefighters say one woman was found dead following a fire at a home northwest of downtown Oklahoma City while two other people escaped, including a woman who was alerted to the fire by a mail carrier.

Battalion Chief Benny Fulkerson says firefighters were called shortly after 9 a.m. Friday and found heavy smoke at the home. They later found the victim dead inside.

The U.S. Geological Survey says a 3.1 magnitude earthquake has been recorded near Medford in northern Oklahoma.

The quake struck at 3:51 a.m. Friday and is the third small earthquake in the area since Wednesday. A magnitude 3.4 quake was recorded near Enid on Thursday and a 2.7 magnitude temblor occurred Wednesday night near Medford.

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

 

A Tulsa Republican lawmaker accused of sexually harassing two former legislative assistants spent more than three hours meeting behind closed doors with a special state House committee investigating the allegations.

Rep. Dan Kirby said Friday he appreciated the committee giving him an opportunity to tell his side of the story, but declined further comment until the panel issues a final report. Kirby denied wrongdoing.

Jose Vega

A rally and march was  held in Tulsa Friday evening to protest President Trump’s orders to build a wall along the U-S-Mexico border.

Organizer   Jose Vega has been assured by city leaders and law enforcement that the Hispanic community here has nothing to fear, but says the march will go on to show Tulsa support for all cultures and people.

The rally and march began at the Guthrie Green and ended at Tulsa's City Hall.

TPS Plans Diversity Conversation Next Month

Jan 28, 2017
TPS

The Tulsa Public Schools announced plans for a community conversation regarding diversity in the school  district. Below is the letter of explanation from the Tulsa Education Service Center:

Dear Tulsans,

The start of the 2016-2017 school year marked the beginning of our bold journey to make Tulsa Public Schools a destination for excellence in teaching and learning.

File Photo

A representative of the Cherokee Nation has suggested Oklahoma lawmakers pursue an economically progressive agenda to achieve prosperity in the state.

"A good starting point — and it's not the solution — but a good starting point would be for the state legislature and other state leaders to start talking about raising the minimum wage," said Cherokee Nation Businesses Executive Vice President Chuck Garrett.

The tribe’s minimum wage is $9.50 an hour and all 6,500 Cherokee Nation Businesses employees make more.

Congress approved tax-deferred savings accounts in 2014 to defray disability-related expenses, but Oklahoma has no program for it yet.

Achieving A Better Life Experience — or ABLE — accounts are similar to 529 college savings plans. States must start their own programs, as the ABLE Act only authorized the accounts.

State Treasurer Ken Miller said Oklahoma hasn’t set up its program because it’s expensive.

State of Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s House budget and appropriations chair said this session is going to be about fixing the state’s finances.

Tuttle Republican Rep. Leslie Osborn said it’s clear Oklahoma has a revenue problem.

"You're not going to see near as many — they might be filed, but won't see them heard in committee — we're going to move on and not be worrying about social issue bills all day. We're going to worry about funding services," Osborn said.

File Photo-NPR

A rally and march will be held in Tulsa this evening to protest President Trump’s orders to build a wall along the U-S-Mexico border. Organizer   Jose Vega has been assured by city leaders and law enforcement that the Hispanic community here has nothing to fear, but says the march will go on to show Tulsa support for all cultures and people.

The rally and march will begin at Guthrie Green. It’s scheduled for 5 to 8 this evening.

Matt Trotter/KWGS News / KWGS

 

 A prosecutor says attorneys for a white Oklahoma police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man last year are acting unethically by listing evidence in documents that wasn't allowed in court.

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said Friday that attorneys for officer Betty Jo Shelby tried to influence public opinion by alleging in documents that a homicide detective told prosecutors they would lose any case they brought against her.

KWGS News File Photo

 

 Authorities in Tulsa are investigating after a 76-year-old man reportedly shot and killed his adult stepson.

No arrests have been made following the Thursday night shooting. Tulsa Police Sgt. Dave Walker says officers found the 54-year-old stepson dead in the backyard of the home west of downtown Tulsa.

Walker says the stepfather had blood on his face and said the stepson had beaten him. He says investigators were told that the stepfather fatally shot the stepson after the younger man charged at him with a knife.

American Indian Museum

Museum officials say construction of the American Indian Cultural Center & Museum in Oklahoma City may resume as soon as this fall after a decades-long effort to create it.

The Oklahoman reports $10.8 million has been collected in private donations.

Fundraisers say they've collected enough funds to complete and open the museum, as outlined in a 2015 state law.

Museum officials approved a plan to allow the acceptance of the donated money and give Executive Director Blake Wade authority to deposit the money in a state "completion fund."

   Workers have removed about one-fifth of the 140,000 gallons of diesel that spilled from a broken pipeline onto an Iowa farm, and authorities say all the liquid on the ground should be cleaned up by Thursday.

Iowa Department of Natural Resources spokesman Jeff Vansteenburg says 18 percent has been removed and no fuel has entered waterways.

Contaminated snow and diesel are being hauled to a Minneapolis, Minnesota facility. Contaminated soil will be excavated and taken to a landfill.

State of Oklahoma

 

A Tulsa Republican lawmaker accused of sexually harassing two former legislative assistants is reversing course and says he will appear before a closed-door state House committee investigating the allegations.

Rep. Dan Kirby told The Associated Press in a text message Thursday he will testify before the committee on Friday.

In the local news:

  • Unless things change, Oklahoma will have $2 Billion budget shortfalls by 2030.
  • Jenks students talk to the International Space Station.
  • Dan Kirby changes his mind and will now talk with the panel investigating sexual harassment allegation against him.

npr

Block grants as federal funding are catching on for the purported flexibility they offer states, but there are downsides.

While an Affordable Care Act repeal could cost more than 300,000 Oklahomans their heath insurance, Republicans' plans for Medicaid could have drastic consequences as well. They're proposing block grants or patient caps for Medicaid to cut federal spending $1 trillion over 10 years

Matt Trotter / KWGS

You've heard this before, but it's just as true today — Oklahoma is locked into a structural budget deficit. 

"Or, even simpler, we're broke," said Oklahoma Policy Institute Executive Director David Blatt at the group's fourth annual budget summit in Oklahoma City. "The structural budget deficit was already almost $700 million in 2015. Based on current policies, that will climb to $2 billion by 2030, about 15 percent of revenues."

KWGS News

Plugging a nearly $900-million budget hole is top priority for Oklahoma State Senators. Members of the leadership and area senators hold a news briefing in Tulsa to outline the 2017 legislative agenda. New Senate President Pro-Tem Mike Schulz says everything is on the table right now.

Schulz says revenue raising and cutbacks are being considered. Education, economic development, health care, and public safety are listed priorities.

Chambers Begins Life Sentence

Jan 26, 2017
Oklahoma Department of Corrections

The woman who crashed her car into a crowd of spectators at the 2015 OSU Homecoming parade has started her life prison sentence.

Adacia Chambers has been book at the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center at McLoud. She entered a plea of no-contest to Second Degree Murder Charges earlier this month.  She must serve 85% of her term before she can be considered for parole.

The crash in October of 2015 killed four people and injured over 40 others. Chambers has claimed she was mentally ill at the time. 

One Dead in Tulsa County Crash

Jan 26, 2017
File photo

A 66-year-old woman is dead following an morning crash on Highway 20. The wreck was between Highway 75 and Collinsville about 7:30 this morning.

Law enforcement reports the woman was killed when the car she was driving was hit head-on by a pick-up that had crossed the center line.

The woman was dead at the scene. The male driver of the pick-up was rushed by air ambulance to the hospital.

file photo

The number of Oklahomans who've died due to the flu this season has risen by two to bring the total to eight.

 

The Oklahoma State Department of Health on Thursday reported the latest deaths were in Craig and Pottawatomie counties and, based on previous reports, both were 65 or older. Seven of the deaths have been people 65 or older and the other was between the ages of 5 and 17.

Tulsa County has had three deaths this season while Craig, Johnston, Logan, Pottawatomie and Rogers counties have had one each.

Jenks Students Talk to Space

Jan 26, 2017
NASA

The Jenks Public Schools hosted a live NASA downlink in which students had the opportunity to interact with astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The educational question- and-answer session is took place at the Jenks Performing Arts Center on the campus of Jenks High School.

File Photo

 

President Donald Trump says it's "terrible" that convicted Army leaker Chelsea Manning "is now calling President (Barack) Obama a weak leader." But that is not what Manning said.

In an opinion piece published Thursday in The Guardian, Manning says Obama's biggest shortcoming was a tendency to compromise, because opponents would call him weak.

Manning writes, "what we need is an unapologetic progressive leader."

EMSA Board Meets In Closed Session

Jan 26, 2017
KWGS News Photo

The Emergency Medical Service Authority board meets behind closed doors for two hours at Stroud. The members discussed a federal lawsuit that accuses it and CEO Steve Williamson of accepting kickbacks.

The civil filing says up to $20-million may have been accepted through the scheme. The federal government is concerned because of possible Medicare or Medicaid fraud. The kickbacks were reportedly for ambulance service contracts over a series of years.

Two board members, Allison Peterson and Jan Slater, were appointed to oversee the litigation as it moves forward. 

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