Local & Regional

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The Tulsa County District Attorney's Office will not charge a Tulsa County Sheriff's deputy in connection with a motorcycle crash that killed an 18 year old.

Cobie Tyner’s parents allege an illegal U-turn by Deputy Andrew Titsworth caused their son to swerve into an oncoming car on May 14.

An Oklahoma Highway Patrol report of the crash says Tyner was speeding on Avery Drive near Chandler Park. It adds Tyner's vision was obscured, but what obscured it is listed as "unknown."

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Monday was the first day for Tulsa Public Schools, and a third-grade class at Marshall Elementary had Superintendent Deborah Gist as their teacher.

Gist wasn't the only administrator teaching.

"We had almost 40 administrators from the district office out in classrooms across the city. It was our commitment to make sure every student in Tulsa had a certified teacher in their classroom for the first day of school," Gist said.

Gage Skidmore

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A federal jury in Las Vegas is deliberating again in the retrial of four men accused of wielding assault weapons against federal agents in a 2014 standoff near the Nevada ranch of anti-government figure Cliven Bundy.

Jurors returned to work Monday after spending a little more than two days last week going over five weeks of evidence in the case against Idaho defendants Scott Drexler, Eric Parker and Steven Stewart, and Ricky Lovelien of Montana and Oklahoma.

Northern Oklahoma College

New rankings say 4,500 student Northern Oklahoma College is the eighth-best community college in the U.S.

WalletHub's analysis of 728 institutions is based on factors such as tuition and fees, education outcomes, and starting salaries after graduation. NOC President Cheryl Evans said the rankings recognize things the college does well.

Former Oklahoma Republican U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts says a Nazi rally in Charlottesville was a "right now moment" for President Trump, and neither Trump nor congressional Republicans handled it correctly.

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Did you see it? Most Americans at least took a glance at the total solar eclipse. In Oklahoma there was about 90% coverage. We have been able to predict eclipses, their exact paths, and timing for many years. But Tulsa Planetarium Director Bob Ferguson says the Mayan Civilization was able to predict eclipses hundreds of years ago working with just sticks and stones and their primitive science.

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Police in Tulsa are investigating the stabbing death of a 56-year-old woman whose body was discovered inside her apartment.

The victim's body was found lying on the floor on Saturday by a friend who told police she had tried to contact her since Thursday without success. The victim's name was not immediately released.

Tulsa Police Department investigators say the circumstances of the case are unusual. The apartment did not appear to have been ransacked but there were signs of a small struggle. Detective Dave Walker says officials believe the incident could be drug-related.

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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — In a heinous case on the Navajo Nation, an 11-year-old girl was lured into a van, sexually assaulted and killed. The tribe did not seek to have the man who recently admitted to killing her put to death.

American Indian tribes for decades have been able to tell federal prosecutors if they want a death sentence considered for certain crimes on their land. Nearly all have rejected that option.

Tribes and legal experts say the decision goes back to culture and tradition, past treatment of American Indians and fairness in the justice system.

Oklahoma County

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Authorities say that an inmate found dead in a cell at the Oklahoma County Jail may have taken his own life.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is leading an investigation into the death of the inmate, who was found unresponsive Friday night in a cell on the jail's medical floor. He was discovered alone in the cell and his death is being investigated as a possible suicide.

Spokesperson Mark Opgrande of the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office says sheriff's detectives are assisting OSBI agents in the investigation.

EDMOND, Okla. (AP) — A convicted sex offender who molested his niece when she was 7 years old moved in next door to his victim nearly a dozen years after he was sent to prison for the crime.

Outraged, the Oklahoma woman, now 21, called lawmakers, the police and advocacy groups to plead with them to take action. Danyelle Dyer soon discovered that what Harold Dwayne English did in June is perfectly legal in the state — as well as in 44 others that don’t specifically bar sex offenders from living near their victims, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Oklahoma Lottery

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — For a decade, computer programmer Eddie Tipton reliably showed up for work at the central Iowa office of the Multi-State Lottery Association and earned the confidence of his co-workers, a team of technicians entrusted to build computers used to randomly pick numbers for some of the most popular lottery games in the U.S.

Little did they know that while they worked to uphold the integrity of lotteries, Tipton had secretly installed software that allowed him to pick winning numbers and was collecting money from jackpots in multiple states.

Monday's top stories:

  • A solar eclipse that will be visible across the continental United States will dim the skies in Tulsa around lunchtime.
  • National Severe Storms Laboratory researchers are in Nebraska to study the eclipse's effects on the weather.
  • It's the first day of school for nearly 40,000 kids going to Tulsa Public Schools.

16-Year-Old Bystander Shot Inside Tulsa QT

Aug 20, 2017

Tulsa Police say they have excellent video of the whole thing. A SUV pulls into the parking lot of the I-244 and Sheridan Quik Trip and started firing shots at a man inside the store. The bullets missed the man but struck a 16-year-old girl in the arm. She was taken to the hospital and is expected to recover.

The man being shot at pulled his own weapon and started firing back. He ran out of the back door of the QT and continued firing at the SUV. The man then left the store before police arrived.

High Heat is Back

Aug 20, 2017
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Forecasters have issued heat advisories for much of Oklahoma and southern Arkansas this weekend as temperatures in both states are expected to approach 100 degrees and above.

The National Weather Service says the advisories are in effect until Sunday evening.

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A Payne County judge has distributed $100,000 in insurance money to victims of a 2015 homecoming parade crash at Oklahoma State University that killed four people and injured dozens more.

Associate District Judge Stephen Kistler was tasked with deciding how to divide the money from Adacia Chambers' car insurance policy.

Mary Fallin

Gov. Mary Fallin has asked the federal government to declare Tulsa a disaster area because of tornadoes and other severe weather seen there since Aug. 5.

Fallin directed her request Friday to the U.S. Small Business Administration. If her request is granted, the SBA will make low-interest disaster loans to business owners, homeowners and renters for repair or replacement of storm-damaged property. Counties contiguous to Tulsa County, including Wagoner and Rogers counties, also would be eligible for aid.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa city councilors are sending voters a ballot measure in November that would let municipal employees participate in city political campaigns.

"Out employees at the City of Tulsa are being treated in an inferior way to other citizens here in Tulsa, other Oklahomans and other public employees, and they deserve better," said Mayor G.T. Bynum, who has pushed for the proposed charter amendment.

Tulsa Housing Authority

The waiting list for public housing in Tulsa is now closed and will be purged on Sept. 29.

Those actions are part of the process to change from a centralized waiting list to individual lists for all 13 properties owned by the Tulsa Housing Authority.

"We will still be working from the waiting list that we currently have, we're just not accepting new people onto that list," said THA President Aaron Darden. "So, we'll house as many people as we can up until that point."

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An Oklahoma man has been indicted in the death of a woman whose remains were discovered in a river in the northeast part of the state almost 30 years ago.

The state's multicounty grand jury charged 55-year-old James Ray Vogel of Muskogee with first-degree murder in the 1988 death of 31-year-old Jeanette Ellen Coleman.

Vogel was arrested Friday and is being held in the Cherokee County jail. Attorney information for Vogel isn't available.

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Oklahoma's unemployment rate edged up to 4.4 percent in July, slightly higher than the 4.3 percent of each of the previous four months.

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission reported Friday that the sharpest decline was in the manufacturing industry, which lost 1,400 jobs.

The commission says an increase in total employment of 242 was offset by an overall decline of 5,445 in the number of jobless, while the number in the total labor force fell by 5,200.

The national unemployment rate fell from 4.4 percent in June to 4.3 percent in July.

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An attorney for a man accused of attempting to detonate what he believed was an explosives-laden van outside an Oklahoma City bank wants a hearing to determine whether he is competent to be tried on a federal charge.

The request was filed Thursday, one day after the family of 23-year-old Jerry Drake Varnell released a statement saying Varnell is a paranoid schizophrenic who has experienced "schizophrenic delusional episodes."

Bank Robberies Keep Law Enforcement Busy

Aug 18, 2017
Tulsa Police

Two bank robberies in northeast Oklahoma are keeping police in two cities very busy.

The Bank of America at Pine and MLK was robbed by a woman, who claimed she had a bomb. In reality, the device turned out to be a cell phone with some wires hanging out.

Over in Cushing, the Bank of the West was robbed by a man. He made good his escape. There were no injuries.

In both cases, police are looking for suspects.

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The Oklahoma City school board will consider a resolution that could lead to a lawsuit against the leaders of Oklahoma's Legislature over school funding.

School Superintendent Aurora Lora and board member Mark Mann said Thursday the resolution will be presented to the board next week.

A draft of the resolution says it authorizes school attorneys to interview law firms to pursue a lawsuit against House Speaker Charles McCall and Senate President Pro Tem Mike Schulz for alleged failure to adequately fund public education.

In the local news:

  • Broken Arrow's Mayor praises the tribal police raid on Embers Grille.
  • Two bank robberies keep police busy in Tulsa and Cushing.
  • The first two cases of humans with West Nile this season are confirmed in Tulsa County.

Coding Dojo

Tulsa’s tech community should get a boost with the opening of a new coding school.

Coding Dojo teaches students three programming languages in roughly three months, even if they don’t have a background in computers. Coding Dojo’s Jay Patel said nationwide, there’s big demand for developers but a low supply of them.

"There's a need for some of these postsecondary vocational schools that can fill that gap and help individuals who don't have a traditional tech background to break into that industry," Patel said.

Woman Robs Tulsa Bank; Claimed to have Bomb

Aug 17, 2017
TPD

Tulsa Police are searching for a female bank robber. The woman entered the Bank of America at Pine and Martin Luther King, late this morning, and demanded cash from the teller.

The woman told the teller she had a bomb. The teller complied with the request and the bandit fled. She left the device behind for the Tulsa Police Bomb Squad.

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The Cherokee Nation is urging a federal judge to allow a tribal lawsuit against distributors and retailers of opioid medications to be litigated in the tribe's own court.

Cherokee Nation Attorney General Todd Hembree filed written arguments Wednesday in the tribe's lawsuit alleging the companies have contributed to "an epidemic of prescription opioid abuse" among the tribe's citizens.

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Health officials say more than a half-dozen cases of West Nile virus have been reported in Oklahoma so far this year.

The Oklahoma Department of Health says the cases have been confirmed in Cleveland, Muskogee, Oklahoma and Tulsa counties. According to health officials, most people are infected with the virus from June through September, with the number of infections peaking in mid-August. The illness is transmitted to people by infected mosquitoes.

Blue Dome Gets New Lights

Aug 17, 2017
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A project to replace and add pedestrian lights along 16 blocks in the downtown Blue Dome District is scheduled to begin Friday, Aug. 18. The project is scheduled for completion in summer 2018.

“The lights will serve to better identify the Blue Dome District, as well as represent the historic Blue Dome, which gives the district its name,” said Tom Baker, Downtown Coordinating Council Manager.

The project consists of work along the following streets:

● First, Second and Third streets between South Detroit Avenue and South Greenwood Avenue

 

The family of a man accused of attempting to detonate what he believed was an explosives-laden van outside an Oklahoma bank says he is a paranoid schizophrenic and that the FBI knew it.

Clifford and Melonie Varnell, of Sayre, Oklahoma, issued a statement late Tuesday that questions the tactics undercover FBI agents used to arrest 23-year-old Jerry Drake Varnell.

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