Local & Regional

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Debate in the Oklahoma House over a plan to expand beer and wine sales in Oklahoma turned testy when a legislator opposed to it said it will disproportionally affect Native Americans.

The plan calls for a statewide vote on proposed constitutional changes needed to allow wine and strong beer sales in grocery and convenience stores.

During debate Thursday on the bill, Republican Rep. Todd Russ of Cordell said Native Americans process alcohol differently than other races and are "predisposed to alcoholism."

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TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A Tulsa County deputy has testified that he saw a now-former volunteer deputy apparently sleeping shortly before shooting and killing an unarmed man during an undercover gun-sale sting.

Deputy Ricardo Vaca testified Thursday in the second-degree manslaughter trial of 74-year-old Robert Bates. Bates has pleaded not guilty in the April 2015 shooting death of Eric Harris and said he thought he was pulling his stun gun when he pulled his revolver and shot Harris while deputies were subduing him.

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — University of Oklahoma President David Boren was flanked by teachers, students and other education supporters as he helped deliver more than 300,000 signatures of Oklahoma voters in support of placing a penny sales tax on the November ballot.

Boren and supporters of the tax increase for public education delivered the signatures Thursday to the Secretary of State's office.

In the local news:

  • A small plane turns Memorial Drive into a Rush Hour landing strip.
  • Petitions are turned in calling for a Education Sales Tax Vote.
  • The Robert Bates Manslaughter trial continues in Tulsa District Court.
KWGS News

A small plane plays chicken with rush hour traffic in Bixby.  The Cessna had a problems in flight and the pilot made emergency landing at 121st and South Memorial Drive. The south bound plane set down in the north bound lanes.

Witnesses say the pilot took advantage of the stop light which had halted traffic. The plane did take out a traffic sign in front of the Auto Zone at the Town and Country Shopping Center. The pilot was not injured.

Bixby Police and Fire pushed the plane into a parking lot between the shopping center and a Quik-Trip.

KWGS News File Photo

The Tulsa County deputy who led an undercover operation that ended with the shooting death of the unarmed suspect by a former volunteer deputy testified that he was turning away when the fatal shot was fired.

Deputy Lance Ramsey testified Thursday in the second-degree manslaughter trial of ex-volunteer Robert Bates.

Bates has pleaded not guilty in the April 2015 shooting death of Eric Harris. Bates has said he thought he was pulling his stun gun when he pulled his revolver and shot Harris while other deputies were subduing him following an undercover gun-sale sting.

A reworked plan for a CVS pharmacy at 15th Street and Utica Avenue won approval by Tulsa’s planning commission.

The commission denied store plans in December because it fell short of a small-area plan calling for mixed-use developments, increased density and pedestrian friendliness. Neighborhood residents also had complaints about the store’s appearance.

Attorney Lou Reynolds represents the developers and said they’ve made changes such as including a street-front door, moving the drive-thru and adding sidewalk-facing lighting.

Four criminal justice reform bills are Gov. Mary Fallin’s signature away from becoming law.

"It's common-sense reform that the district attorneys, working with other people in law enforcement, came up with over the summer on the governor's criminal justice steering committee. They've been well vetted," said Sen. Greg Treat, an author on three of the bills.

TU President Retiring Again at the End of 2016

Apr 21, 2016
University of Tulsa

University of Tulsa President Steadman Upham will retire at the end of 2016 after a four-year second tenure.

Upham was first hired as TU president in 2004. He was previously president and CEO of Claremont Graduate University in Southern California.

When he retired in June 2012, former Southern Methodist University Lyle School of Engineering Dean Geoffrey Orsak replaced him.

Orsak was fired after 74 days, and TU's trustees called on Upham to return.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — More than a dozen candidates who filed for political office in Oklahoma last week have officially withdrawn their names from consideration, including an Oklahoma City attorney who planned to run for U.S. Senate.

Attorney Steve Perry filed as a Democrat to run against Republican Sen. James Lankford, but acknowledges he changed his registration to independent several months ago, making him ineligible to run as a Democrat. Perry says he's content that another Democrat challenged Lankford.

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