Local & Regional

In the local news:

  • Enjoy today,  for tomorrow we freeze.
  • The state revamps the A-F grade system for Oklahoma schools.
  • OK-POP officially gets a home.

Oklahoma County Sheriff

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The case of a Tulsa dentist charged in the death of the 19-month-old son of a woman he was in a relationship with has been ordered to go to trial.

Oklahoma County Special Judge Larry Shaw found enough evidence for 35-year-old Bert Franklin's case to proceed. Franklin is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Lincoln Von Henry Lewis and has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors say Franklin caused fatal head injuries to Lincoln on July 16 at the Oklahoma City home of the child's mother. Lincoln died two days later.

KWGS News

Though it won’t open for almost three more years, OKPOP’s collection continues to grow.

Museum staff have been in touch with Steven and Charlene Ripley, who Leon Russell asked to take care of his personal archive. Before he died in November, Russell said he wanted it all to go to OKPOP.

The collection includes 2,500 master recordings, equipment, instruments and personal effects.

"In fact, we just got contact this morning from Jan Bridges, Leon's widow, that she wants his show piano that he toured with to come to OKPOP," said OKPOP Director Jeff Moore.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The long-awaited Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture has a home.

OKPOP will be at 422 N Main St. in downtown Tulsa, right across the street from the historic Cain’s Ballroom.

"We had other locations, but this was the right location that would not only bring that excitement to us, but add that special quality of history and to help make this sustainable," said Oklahoma Historical Society Executive Director Bob Blackburn.

Tulsa County Sheriff

30-year-old Kristan Ridick  is now in custody and her infant daughter is safe. This after a disturbance late this morning at a home near 4700 West 23rd, near Berryhill.

The Tulsa County Sheriff's office says Ridick kicked in the door of  the child's paternal grandmother's home. She reportedly assaulted the caregiver and took the baby. The grandmother had emergency guardianship of the child.

KWGS News

A Tulsa police officer charged with manslaughter will be back in court on Feb. 1 for formal arraignment.

A judge set the new arraignment date after Betty Shelby’s attorney asked for more time to file motions. Assistant D.A. Kevin Gray says such a request isn’t unusual. After Shelby’s attorneys file motions in January, Gray has two weeks to respond, then the arraignment will be held.

Mayor Appoints Community Policing Commission

Dec 15, 2016
Tulsa Police

Mayor G.T. Bynum announced the creation of the Tulsa Commission on Community Policing today. The Commission will be charged with providing recommendations to City leaders in 90 days regarding community policing strategies that could be implemented in Tulsa. The recommendations will be due by March 15, 2017 - Mayor Bynum’s 100th day in office.

Mary Fallin

 

  

Gov. Mary Fallin says early projections are that Oklahoma will have a hole in next year's state budget of as much as $600 million, or nearly 10 percent of state spending on the current year's budget.

Fallin said Wednesday she expects a projected shortfall of between $500 million to $600 million when the State Board of Equalization meets next week to certify available revenues. The governor says that figure includes about $245 million in one-time sources of money that were spent on this year's budget.

In the local news:

  • Ice and snow could be headed to Tulsa this weekend.
  • Officer Betty Shelby due in court this morning.
  • State lawmakers will face another multi-million dollar budget hole.

City of Tulsa authorities, boards and commissions under former Mayor Dewey Bartlett were criticized for being too male, too white, and too focused on midtown and downtown.

"You know, I have, I think, over 400 of these to make over the next four years, but our initial group does a much better job from a diversification standpoint," said Mayor G.T. Bynum about his first 52 nominations submitted this week.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The Tulsa region should benefit from recently passed federal legislation known as the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation — or WINN — Act.

The bill directs the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prioritize certain studies. Tulsa County's levees are covered by WINN Act funding for an Arkansas River flood risk management study in Tulsa and west Tulsa.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa’s city council isn’t quite ready to commit money to a parks consolidation study.

The group leading the charge, Tulsa’s Leadership Vision, wants $40,000 from the city for the final phase. Several councilors say they haven’t heard about the first two phases and need to before moving ahead.

Councilor Anna America said consolidating the city and county systems seems like a no-brainer.

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The Oklahoma Supreme Court wants more information on the battle over State Question 788, which would legalize and regulate medical marijuana. The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma’s Legal Director Brady Henderson says the order is a standard part of the legal process.

With medical marijuana now legally regulated in 28 states, Henderson says backers of 788 remain confident legal precedents will allow a vote in Oklahoma. If all issues over the ballot title are resolved, he expects a statewide vote on the marijuana issue no later than 2018.

File Photo

 

Recent data from a task force shows Oklahoma's prison population will increase by 25 percent during the next decade if no state legislative action is taken.

According to the Oklahoma Justice Reform Task Force, Oklahoma's current prison population greatly exceeds capacity and three more prisons will need to be built or contracted to handle the projected growth.

Tulsa Turns Icy

Dec 14, 2016
ODOT Traffic Camera

Light freezing drizzle quickly turned Tulsa's elevated roads into ice rinks late Wednesday morning. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation was called out to treat the expressway when temperatures dropped to 28 degrees and the drizzle started sticking to the roadways.

Bridges and overpasses were the worst, especially on I-244 west of Sheridan. Numerous wrecks were reported, including one involving two ambulances.

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Weather Advisory.

 

 The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Oklahoma's cotton crop is rebounding from several years of drought.

Oklahoma Cotton Council executive director Harvey Schroeder tells The Journal Record the state has benefited from timely rains and a warm September.

The state's 2016 production total was 565,000 bales, 51 percent higher than production in 2015. The 2016 production is on target for the USDA's November estimates.

Farmers harvested only 70,000 acres during the state's record low in 2011. Oklahoma's record high was 5.29 million acres in 1955.

 

The Oklahoma Board of Health has approved new requirements for hospitals, nursing homes, restaurants and public schools to post signs inside public restrooms directing pregnant women where to receive services as part of an effort to reduce abortions in the state.

The provision mandating the signs was tucked into a measure the Legislature passed this year that requires the state to develop informational material "for the purpose of achieving an abortion-free society."

File Photo

 

An Oklahoma couple has been arrested in what a police officer calls the worst case of child abuse he's seen.

Police arrested 25-year-old Kevin Fowler and 24-year-old Aislyn Miller on Friday at an urgent care center in Owasso on complaints of abusing their twin 9-month-old infants.

Police told reporters that nurses described the children as looking like skeletons and said a maggot crawled out of one child's wound. The other hand an infection from hair being wrapped around a finger and not removed. Police also say nurses found human waste in one infant's ear.

KWGS Map

Police in a small town in northern Oklahoma say they've arrested a 13-year-old girl accused of plotting a mass shooting at a high school.

The Tonkawa Police Department says investigators executed a search warrant Sunday at the girl's home and seized weapons, ammunition and "personal writings" from the teen. The girl was charged as a juvenile with threats to perform acts of violence and is now being held in a youth detention center.

In the local news:

  • The Broken Arrow Schools promise continuity, but are still not discussing the sudden resignation of its superintendent.
  • The Oklahoma Supreme Court tosses out another state abortion law.
  • Four students are hurt in a school bus crash.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Broken Arrow leaders say their public schools have stable leadership despite last week's sudden departure of Superintendent Jarod Mendenhall.

Interim Superintendent Janet Dunlop said she will carry on with the district mantra of 100 percent literacy, engagement and graduation.

State of Oklahoma-File photo

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has thrown out a law requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have hospital admitting privileges.

The court on Tuesday said 2014's Senate Bill 1848 violates the U.S. Constitution by creating an undue burden on a woman's access to abortion. The court also said the law violates the Oklahoma Constitution by including more than one subject in the measure.

Besides the provision on admitting privileges, the law directs the state health board to create several abortion-related rules.

School Bus Crash; Students Hurt at Blue Jacket

Dec 13, 2016
Craig County Emergency Management

Four students are injured in a Green Country school bus crash. It happened near Blue Jacket in Craig County. 15 students were on the bus according to Highway Patrol Trooper Dwight Durant.

 It appears the bus driver may have had a coughing episode prior to losing control of the bus. It went off the rural roadway and crashed into a tree.

Two students were taken by ambulance to medical facilities. Two other students were transported by private car.

For the most part the injuries are minor.  One student did receive a broken leg.

 

 The Oklahoma Supreme Court has approved the issuance of $480 million in bonds to fund construction of several turnpikes across the state.

The state's highest court affirmed the validity of the bond issue Tuesday in a petition where justices unanimously overruled objections by an Oklahoma City attorney who had protested their issuance.

The Drought (in some form) is Back

Dec 13, 2016
U.S. Drought Monitor

86 percent of Oklahoma is in some sort of drought condition. That word  is from the U.S. Drought Monitor. The latest map shows the Tulsa area in abnormally dry conditions.

The lack of substantial rainfall, coupled with a warmer than normal November has left the ground without a lot of moisture. Gusty winds and dry vegetation could lead to a wild fire threat later this week.

In December of last year, Oklahoma experienced wide spread flooding.

Where is Sam Puckett?

Dec 13, 2016
Tulsa Police

It has been over a month since 29-year-old Samantha Puckett has been seen. Tulsa Police now believe she may be endangered. 

She was last seen on Nov. 7. Her family says they have had no contact with her. They say that is very unusual.

She is 5'8'', about 150 lbs with blonde hair. You are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 918-596-COPS with any information.

Oklahoma will force hospitals, nursing homes, restaurants and public schools to post signs inside public restrooms directing pregnant women where to receive services as part of an effort to reduce the number of abortions.

The State Board of Health on Tuesday will consider regulations for the signs, which were tucked into a law passed this year. The signs are expected to cost more than $2.3 million to implement.

The law requires the signs to be posted by January 2018.

In the local news:

  • The Tulsa Sheriff's Office is looking at outsourcing courthouse security.
  • Broken Arrow Schools will hold a news conference later today.
  • Senator Lankford would support a review of alleged Russian election hacking

KWGS News File Photo

Tulsa County will find out whether private security firms can provide armed courthouse guards cheaper than the sheriff’s office can.

Bids for armed security services will be accepted until Jan 20. Sheriff Vic Regalado said he’ll probably look at outsourcing other auxiliary jobs deputies currently do, like being hospital guards.

"We would be able to redirect our resources that we currently have to give to those parts of the sheriff's office and put them to other places that we truly need them at," Regalado said.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa County commissioners gave a warm welcome to G.T. Bynum on Monday as he attended their meeting for the first time as mayor.

They presented him with a sculpture of a handshake, and Chair Karen Keith said the board of county commissioners is optimistic about working with Bynum.

"This new administration just has a whole different attitude about working with their other government partners throughout the county and the region," Keith said. "It's just an absolute new day. We are very excited."

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