Local & Regional

Passenger Rail Plan Back on Track?

Jun 22, 2018

The derailed Tulsa to Oklahoma City passenger rail service plan may soon be rolling again. Line operator WATCO is seeking proposals for running a route between Sapulpa and Del City.

A plan to start the service four years ago fail through went an Iowa operator backed out of the Eastern Flyer project. The routes would only get as close as Sapulpa and Del City. WATCO does not have the rights to track into Tulsa or Oklahoma City.

The proposals are during July 27th.

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Incoming OU president Jim Gallogly says the school is losing $36 million a year with the Norman campus almost $1 billion in debt. He says lay-offs may be necessary to right the ship. However, Gallogly says tuition hikes at OU are not an option.

Meanwhile, OSU spokesman Gary Shutt said Thursday that the university's bonded indebtedness totals $809 million.

Gallogly said on Tuesday that the University of Oklahoma needs to "put our house in order" before asking the state for more money.

Bixby Gets Hearing on WindCatcher

Jun 22, 2018
City of Bixby

An administrative law judge for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission will hear Bixby’s complaints about the PSO WindCatcher project next week. A hearing is set for next Thursday in Oklahoma City.

Residents are upset over the power lines from the massive wind energy project crossing their properties. The city hired outside legal council earlier this week.

WindCatcher would bring power from wind farms in western Oklahoma, 380 miles to a power plant at Jenks.  The multi-billion dollar project has been in the works for over a year. 

File photo

 

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says a bridge over Lake Texoma has been closed following a deadly collision that sent a tractor-trailer truck careening into the reservoir that straddles the border with Texas.

Troopers say the collision occurred shortly before 2 p.m. Thursday on a U.S. Highway 70 bridge that connects Bryan and Marshall counties. Troopers say one vehicle was burning on the bridge, and the truck fell off the bridge and is submerged in the lake.

KWGS News

 

Early, in-person absentee voting has begun at county election boards across Oklahoma ahead of Tuesday's statewide primary election.

The three-day early voting period is from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

In addition to polls being open at each of the state's 77 county election board offices, several of the state's larger counties have opened second satellite voting locations. Those include Cleveland, Comanche, Osage, Rogers and Tulsa counties.

KWGS News

Tulsa Public Schools holds another job fair for teachers, and turnout is good. Coy Nesbitt is Director of Talent Services with TPS. He says the district still needs about 150 teachers in all subject areas, with the highest needs in pre-K through 6th elementary grades, and special education. Those with certifications and those without are encouraged to apply. Nesbitt says the district can help those seeking emergency certification. A meet and greet and then interviews are scheduled. If more career fairs are needed they will be held in time to hopefully fill all positions.

Major Lay-Offs Ahead at Tulsa's PennWell

Jun 21, 2018
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The new owner of Tulsa’s PennWell Corporation will slash the staff. About 100 employees were told today their jobs would be ending in August.

London-based Clarion Events purchased PennWell earlier this year. PennWell is a media marketing and publishing company.

PennWell says it will provide the dismissed workers with ‘Career Transition Services’.

PennWell can trace its roots back to Tulsa’s oil boom days and is the publisher of the Oil and Gas Journal.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

   

States will be able to force shoppers to pay sales tax when they make online purchases under a Supreme Court decision Thursday that will leave shoppers with lighter wallets but is a big win for states.

The ruling could mean great things for the City of Tulsa. Mayor Bynum tells KWGS, the ruling will bring Tulsa into the modern age. Sales Tax is the city's major source of revenue. Sales Tax collections have declined over the years as more people shift to online shopping. 

KWGS News File Photo

 

 

Early, in-person absentee voting has begun at county election boards across Oklahoma ahead of Tuesday's statewide primary election.

The three-day early voting period is from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

In addition to polls being open at each of the state's 77 county election board offices, several of the state's larger counties have opened second satellite voting locations. Those include Cleveland, Comanche, Osage, Rogers and Tulsa counties.

In the local news:

  • Law enforcement cracks down on gun violence.
  • Tulsa may get make spray paint illegal for minors to purchase.
  • A roadside bomb is found in southern Oklahoma.

Suit Filed In Pot Forum Ejection

Jun 21, 2018
KWGS News File Photo

A lawsuit is filed against Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton for assault. The founder of ‘Oklahomans for Health’ Chip Paul filed the suit.

Cell phone video shows Paul being physically ejected from a community forum on medical marijuana by the sheriff.

The suit was filed yesterday in Rogers County District Court.

Forum attendee Ashley Mullen-Lowry captured Facebook live video of the incident. Walton says he believes the situation was orchestrated to cause disruption.

Facebook

 

The United States' largest black denomination has convened its annual meeting in Oklahoma City, and its leaders are denouncing the separation of immigrant children from families at the border.

The Rev. Jerry Young, who is president of the National Baptist Convention USA, criticized U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' use of scripture to justify the policy, saying Wednesday that it was out of context.

File Photo: Jim Inhofe

 

A senior Republican senator is defending the embattled Environmental Protection Agency administrator, calling ethics allegations against Scott Pruitt "outrageous" and "lies."

Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe's comments were some of the strongest on Pruitt's behalf by a member of Congress amid months of federal ethics investigations.

The probes are examining allegations that Pruitt misused his office to get perks for himself and his family, as well as scrutinizing his first-class travel and high security costs.

KWGS News

 

Authorities say an improvised incendiary bomb was found beside a busy interstate highway in southern Oklahoma.

In a statement posted on its Facebook page, the Garvin County Sheriff's Office said a state highway mowing crew found the item about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. It was found beside an Interstate 35 exit ramp about 4 miles (6 kilometers) northwest of Pauls Valley and about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Oklahoma City.

KWGS News

Getting violent criminals who use guns off the streets is the focus of Operation Alpha. Results of the joint law enforcement effort were announced during a news conference at the office of Northern District U-S Attorney Trent Shores. He says the operation ran for two months. He says 174 felony arrests were made and 106 guns seized in the 60 days from mid-April to mid-June.  

 

Candidates supported by billionaire investor Carl Icahn have won control of the board of directors of Oklahoma City-based SandRidge Energy, Inc.

The company said in a news release after Tuesday's voting by shareholders that Icahn-supported candidates won four of the seven seats, two incumbent members won re-election, and one vote was too close to call.

Nominees for the seventh seat withdrew and the board agreed to add one seat, selecting one person supported by Icahn and one supported by the incumbent board, giving Icahn supporters five of the eight positions.

KWGS News Photo

 

A Muskogee County jail inmate has died at a hospital after suffering an undisclosed medical issue.

The county sheriff's office says 35-year-old Floyd Patterson III of Muskogee died Monday, shortly after arriving at the hospital.

Sheriff Rob Frazier said the death is being investigated by the sheriff's office.

Patterson was arrested Sunday on a charge of public intoxication.

File photo

 

The University of Oklahoma's incoming president says the school is losing $36 million a year as expenses continue to outpace revenue.

 Jim Gallogly met with the university's Board of Regents in Oklahoma City on Tuesday. He'll become the university's 14th president July 1.

Gallogly says total debt is nearly $1 billion at the Norman campus, and debt service costs are almost $70 million a year.

Council Considers Tulsa Spray Paint Crack Down

Jun 20, 2018
KWGS News/TGov

The Tulsa City Council is considering an ordinance tightening the laws around spray paint. The proposal is from District Six Councilor Connie Dotson.

She wants the ordinance to crack down on teenagers huffing the paint fumes for a cheap high. She also says the ordinance will cut down on some of the graffiti, especially in her East Tulsa district.

The fine would be up to $200. It would make it illegal for a minor to buy spray paint from a Tulsa merchant, and/or be in possession of it. The law would not apply to school projects or tasks supervised by an adult guardian.  

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The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals declines to remove the Rogers County District Attorney from the rape case against four Bixby High School students. The boys’ attorneys say there is a conflict of interest.

The Rogers County DA was assigned the case with the Tulsa County District Attorney recused himself from the case.

The boys are accused of raping a fellow team-mate. The attorneys have called it “rough housing”. 

Suspect Arrested in Tulsa Fatal Home Invasion

Jun 20, 2018
Tulsa County Booking Photo

A man is arrested in connection with the murder of an elderly man last week in a Tulsa home invasion. 20-year-old Rick Davision was taken into custody last night for the murder of 80-year old James Rosenlieb.  

Rosenlieb was shot and killed when he confronted a burglar inside his home early in the morning in south Tulsa.

The Police say Davison had been working as a tree trimmer at the man’s home near the Farm Shopping Center. 

In the local news:

  • An Oklahoma child advocate speaks out about America's border crisis.
  • Report: GOP Candidate Kevin Stitt wants to be Governor, but has never voted in an Oklahoma Governor's election.
  • A suspect is arrested in a fatal Tulsa home invasion.

Rogers County Sheriff

The head of 'Oklahomans for Health' may take legal action against the Rogers County Sheriff. Chip Paul was forcefully removed from a meeting on Medical Marijuana hosted by the Sheriff’s office.

Paul denies he was distruptive at the meeting.

The ACLU says the sheriff used government force to silence political speech. Here is the ACLU statement:

Political Newcomer in Governor’s Race Has Scarce Voting Record

Jun 20, 2018
Oklahoma Watch

  Republican businessman Kevin Stitt, who has pitched his gubernatorial campaign on his outsider status, has voted in just eight elections since 2000, according to Oklahoma voter history records.

None of those elections included the race for governor.

Stitt, who founded a Tulsa-based mortgage company, is among the frontrunners in the GOP primary, along with Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb and Mick Cornett, a former Oklahoma City mayor. The crowded Republican field attracted 10 candidates, including Tulsa attorney Gary Richardson and State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones.

OHP-Facebook

 

Authorities say one man was killed when a small plane crashed in northwest Oklahoma.

An Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper and Enid Emergency Management Director Mike Honigsberg said the pilot of the crop dusting plane died in the crash about 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Honigsberg said the plane crashed into a wheat field just northwest of Enid, 75 miles (121 kilometers) northwest of Oklahoma City.

The man's name has not been released.

 

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has approved a $64 million rate cut in utility bills proposed by Oklahoma's largest electric utility.

StateImpact-Oklahoma

The Environmental Protection Agency has approved the first state permit program for disposal of toxic ash from coal plants, a switch from federal oversight that the coal industry had sought.

The coal ash can contain toxins such as arsenic and chromium and contaminate ground water. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt had delayed implementation of a 2015 federal rule that set tighter guidelines for waste from coal plants. The first state permit program went to Oklahoma.

The Environmental Protection Agency has approved the first state permit program for disposal of toxic ash from coal plants, a switch from federal oversight that the coal industry had sought.

The coal ash can contain toxins such as arsenic and chromium and contaminate ground water. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt had delayed implementation of a 2015 federal rule that set tighter guidelines for waste from coal plants. The first state permit program went to Oklahoma.

Google Street View

 

A prosecutor has cleared two people who fatally shot a man who wounded three after opening fire at an Oklahoma City restaurant.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater announced Monday that Juan Carlos Nazario and Bryan Whittle were justified in their actions and would not face charges. Neither could immediately be reached for comment.

O-Dot

 

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin says she expects to call lawmakers back to the Capitol for a special session if Oklahoma voters approve a state question next week to allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Fallin on Monday expressed reservations about State Question 788 and said the Legislature would need to establish a legal framework for regulating the use of medical marijuana if the measure passes.

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