Local & Regional

In the local news:

  • Oklahoma has the highest Hispanic teen birth rate in the nation.
  • The Tulsa School Board renews Deborah Gist's contract as superintendent.
  • Still no state budget deal.

Morton Health Care

The state funding shortage is now hurting child abuse and prevention programs.

Tulsa’s Morton Comprehensive Care and the Parent and Child Care Center of Tulsa will be among the agencies taking a hit.

The State Health Department is being forced to trim $3 million from its budget because lawmakers have yet to plug a budget hole.

Gist Contract Renewed as Tulsa School Super

Oct 17, 2017
TPS

The Tulsa School Board extends the contract of Tulsa School Superintendent Deborah Gist for another three years.

Under the plan, she will get around a quarter of a million dollars a year, plus bonuses. This makes her the highest paid common-education official in the state.

Superintendent Gist’s contract is essentially the same as her initial 2015-2018 contract with two updates:      

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Three weeks into special session, there is no word of progress from Oklahoma City.

Owasso state Sen. J.J. Dossett said a lack of proposals isn’t the issue.

"There's bipartisan plans out there that have been agreed to by the majority of folks in the legislature and the governor's office. It's just there's a group that's holding onto political ideology as opposed to common sense solutions," Dossett said. "So, until we can remove the political aspect of this and start thinking of Oklahomans, we're going to have a problem."

Oklahoma Congressman Markwayne Mullin focused on business Monday at a Tulsa Regional Chamber congressional forum, but he touched on national security during a Q&A with the audience.

Beginning his remarks with a focus on business, Mullin said too many small businesses are failing. Mullin said small businesses account for a majority of the state’s economic activity, but just one in three make it past two years — and even fewer make it to five years.

Mullin said Oklahoma small business owners should be mentoring up-and-coming entrepreneurs to help them succeed.

KWGS News File Photo

 

The fourth trial of a former Oklahoma police officer charged with murder in the 2014 slaying of his daughter's boyfriend is beginning its second week.

More witnesses are scheduled to take the stand Monday in the latest first-degree murder trial for 57-year-old Shannon Kepler. Three previous trials have ended in hung juries.

Kepler was a 24-year veteran of the of the Tulsa police department. He is accused in the death of 19-year-old Jeremey Lake, who had just started dating Kepler's daughter.

Strait Schedules 2nd Tulsa Concert

Oct 16, 2017
KWGS News Photo

If you are among those upset over how fast the BOK’s 10th anniversary concert sold out, there is some good news.

The BOK Center says country music star George Strait has agreed to a second Tulsa show. Actually, the second show is the day before the sold-out concert.

The tickets for the new show go on sale this Friday.

2 Dead in Skiatook Crash

Oct 16, 2017
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Two people are killed in a crash on Highway 11 near Skiatook. It happened late last night and closed the highway for several hours.

The Oklahoma Highway Patorl says killed were Roy and Cindy Roberts of Barnsdall. Their vehicle went out of control and slammed into a tree.

McCurtain Hospital

Regional hospitals are taking the brunt of forced budget cuts from the legislature. With $70-million  pulled from the Health Care Authority’s budget, that amount is trickling down to Medicaid providers like the McCurtain Regional Hospital at Idabel.

Hospital C-E-O Jahni Tapley says lawmakers are playing with the health of Oklahomans. She says hospitals like her’s can’t holdout much longer.

Review for Superintendent Gist Set for Tonight

Oct 16, 2017
KWGS NEWS/TPS 20

Tulsa School Superintendent Deborah Gist is the subject of tonight’s Tulsa School Board meeting.

The board is expected to go into an executive session to discuss the superintendent’s contract and possible renewal.

Gist, a Tulsa native,  has been the head of the TPS since the summer of 2015.

In the local news:

  • State budget cuts are crippling rural hospitals.
  • Feral Hogs are causing problems now in eastern Oklahoma.
  • Tulsa School Superintendent gets a school board review tonight.

OHP-Facebook

 

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says a 14-year-old Tuttle boy was killed when the utility vehicle he was riding in overturned near Hinton.

The boy's name was not released.

An OHP report says the boy was a passenger in a Polaris Ranger on Friday afternoon when it overturned onto its top in a gravel field.

The driver and a second passenger, both also 14, were not injured.

The report says the cause of the crash has not been determined.

Google Street View

 

 Some residents of Velma have returned to their homes after a leak in a natural gas well forced them to evacuate.

Velma Fire Chief Jay Dumas said Saturday that a buildup of pressure caused the Stephens County well head to fail, releasing toxic hydrogen sulfide gas into the air.

Firefighters who monitored the gas found lethal concentrations surrounding the site and evacuations were ordered northwest of the well. Officials say a state highway in the area was also closed for about three miles.

OG&E

 

Hundreds of central Oklahoma residents are without power following a powerful thunderstorm that brought strong winds and cooler temperatures to the area.

Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co, said Sunday that almost 2,000 customers in Oklahoma City and surrounding areas. As many as 5,000 has lost power as the storm moved through the area late Saturday.

Oklahoma Watch

Oklahomans who buy health insurance on the federal exchange will see higher premiums again when open enrollment begins Nov. 1.

Recent actions by President Donald Trump to dismantle federal health-care policies also could increase costs and reduce options in years to come, particularly for people with chronic or sudden major illness, health experts and insurers say.

Authorities are renewing an expired reward for information in the slaying of a woman whose dismembered body was found in a duffel bag in central Oklahoma.

Friday's announcement of renewal of the $10,000 reward comes on the sixth anniversary of the Oct. 13, 2011, discovery of the body of 19-year-old Carina Saunders.

Saunders' body was discovered in the duffel bag that was found in a field behind a grocery store in the Oklahoma City suburb of Bethany.

Two men were charged in Saunders' death, but the charges were dismissed. No other charges have been filed.

File photo

DALLAS (AP) — Baker Mayfield threw 59 yards to Mark Andrews for the go-ahead touchdown after Oklahoma had blown a 20-point lead, and the 12th-ranked Sooners held on to beat Texas 29-24. Mayfield's second TD throw of more than 50 yards came 68 seconds after freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger ran 8 yards to give the Longhorns their first lead.

Two Hurt in Liberty Mounds Shoot-Out

Oct 14, 2017
File photo

Two people are hurt in a shootout near 181st and South Peoria, southwest of Bixby, near the community of Liberty Mounds. The Tulsa Sheriff's Office says the two victims, both males, did not appear to have life threatening injuries.

The shooting sparked after an 18-year-old girl moved in with a male friend. That friend and the relative of the girl got into an argument and guns were pulled. The men exchanged gunfire. Both are now in the hospital.

New Owners for Harwelden

Oct 14, 2017
Arts and Humanities Council

The Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa has entered into a contract of sale with a buyer for
Harwelden Mansion. The Faulkner Family, owners of Bodean Restaurant, intends to purchase
the property. McGraw Realtors are handling the transaction for both parties. The Council has
started the process of placing a historic easement on the mansion and carriage house, and the
easement is a condition of sale. A historic preservation easement is a voluntary, perpetual legal
agreement, which permanently protects an important historic property.

KWGS News File Photo

Tulsa's emergency ambulance service has scheduled a special meeting to discuss the employment of its executive director.

Steve Williamson has led the Emergency Medical Services Authority since 1978. He recently came under fire after being named in a federal lawsuit that alleges a $20 million kickback scheme involving a Texas contractor.

The authority manages ambulance services in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The EMSA board of directors is scheduled to meet Tuesday.

Google Street View

An Oklahoma sheriff says two inmates briefly escaped to visit their girlfriends and smoke marijuana and then walked back to the jail.

Choctaw County Sheriff Terry Park tells The Oklahoman that inmates Harley Davidson and Rakeem Lennox waited for jail staff to leave the area near their room about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. He says the men then entered the booking room to steal a laundry room door key and fled.

The sheriff says they returned to the county jail on foot after midnight and could face additional charges.

He says both men were in jail for drug possession.

Authorities say an 86-year-old woman who disappeared after leaving a Kansas casino has been found dead near the state's southern border with Oklahoma.

KWCH -TV reports that Sumner County Sheriff's Capt. Mike Westmoreland says Dixie Adair may have left her car after it became stuck in mud on a rural dirt road. Her body was discovered Thursday about 200 feet from her car in the southern part of the county.

Lobbyists want Oklahoma lawmakers to take another look at “prosperity districts” as a way to help struggling rural areas.

The districts let communities band together to form effectively self-governing entities exempt from state, local and some federal regulations.

"And that's the kind of dramatic change and reset button that some communities need, but we do allow for exemptions from these baseline concepts," said Compact for America's Nick Dranais.

KGOU

The Oklahoma state capitol is closed for repairs starting at 7 p.m. Friday.

Workers are tackling an overhaul of the building’s electrical system as part of the $245 million renovation project. Manhattan Construction Project Manager Amanda Gossard said with the voltage they’re dealing with, there’s no way to safely do the work with any power on.

KWGS News File Photo

 

Tulsa's emergency ambulance service has scheduled a special meeting to discuss the employment of its executive director.

Steve Williamson has led the Emergency Medical Services Authority since 1978. He recently came under fire after being named in a federal lawsuit that alleges a $20 million kickback scheme involving a Texas contractor.

The authority manages ambulance services in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The EMSA board of directors is scheduled to meet Tuesday.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Swedish manufacturing firm Alfa Laval broke ground Thursday on an expansion of its Broken Arrow plant.

The company’s focus there is advanced welding technology for the oil and gas industry. Alfa Laval is expected to invest $15 million dollars for the first phase of the expansion. Broken Arrow Chamber President Wes Smithwick said that kind of direct foreign investment can start an economic chain reaction.

"When other companies in Sweden or Europe or even Asia, they see that, they know that we are working to grow business here and do it the right way," Smithwick said.

Google Street View

 

Authorities say an Oklahoma deputy shot and wounded a man who was trying to stab a woman in northeast Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says a Washington County deputy shot 47-year-old Corey Wesley Peoples on Thursday in a pasture near Vera, about 20 miles north of Tulsa.

Peoples was taken to a hospital in stable condition. The deputy's name hasn't been released.

The OSBI says the deputy was assisting a bondsman who was seeking Peoples for jumping bail.

In the local news:

  • The governor says lawmakers are moving too slow on a budget patch.
  • Country star Jason Aldean resumes his concert tour in Tulsa. It was his first concert since the Las Vegas shooting spree.
  • Republican Senator Lankford holds a town hall meeting in Democratic north Tulsa.

Lankford Holds Town Hall in North Tulsa

Oct 13, 2017
Lankford-Twitter

Oklahoma Senator James Lankford visits the Famous Big 10 Ballroom in north Tulsa. The ballroom was the showplace for Black artists before the civil rights movement.

The Republican Senator was greeted by Democratic state representatives from north Tulsa including State Senator Kevin Matthews and State Represntative Regina Goodwin.

During his address, Lankford  discussed the Affordable Care Act, changes to immigation law, as well as proposed changes to the U.S. tax code.

Google Street View

 

A jury has recommended the death penalty for an Oklahoma man convicted of beheading a co-worker in 2014.

Thirty-three-year-old Alton Nolen was convicted on Sept. 29 of killing 54-year-old Colleen Hufford and trying to kill another co-worker at a food processing plant in Moore, a suburb of Oklahoma City.

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