Local & Regional

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MUSKOGEEE, Okla. (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld the conviction and 12-year prison sentence of a former Choctaw Nation construction director.

A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a motion for a mistrial Tuesday sought by Jason Merida, who was convicted in November 2014 on two counts each of theft and tax fraud and one count each of conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit bribery.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

District officials break ground for a new Union elementary school that will eventually accommodate 1,000 students in rapidly growing east Tulsa.

Superintendent Kirt Hartzler said the district has desperately needed the new school but couldn’t find land within its boundaries.

Courtesy OCCA

Oklahoma’s budget crisis will affect work to plug abandoned oil wells in the immediate future.

Oklahoma Corporation Commission spokesman Matt Skinner said last year’s revenue failures and this year’s appropriations have taken away about $2 million dollars for that work.

"There will be a continued delay in the plugging of certain classifications of abandoned wells that may otherwise get plugged more quickly," Skinner said. "Those are classifications where they're not a direct threat to health and human safety."

Public Radio Tulsa

Though he’s five months from taking office, Tulsa mayor-elect G.T. Bynum has named two key members of his administration.

"There were a couple people that as soon as we knew that we'd won the election, I wanted to approach about coming to work in the administration, people who are amongst the most effective folks I've ever met in public service," Bynum said.

Former policy adviser to Sens. Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn, Michael Junk served as Bynum’s campaign manager. Junk will be Bynum's deputy mayor.

Tulsa County Sheriff

The first Tulsa County Sheriff’s reserve deputy under a revamped program has entered the final stage of training. The program has been reworked by new Sheriff Vic Regalado after problems came to light following the shooting of an unarmed suspect by former reserve Robert Bates. Reserve Mike Leitch has now become the first to finish required field training under the new standards. Sheriff Regalado has increased training hours for all reserves, and made several other changes.

Four other reserves could potentially finish training and return to active duty over the next six weeks.

In today's news:

  • Tulsa County leaders move ahead on Family Justice Center.
  • Mayor Dewey Bartlett is overseas to act as Tulsa's aviation industry booster.
  • A mobile collection from a vast black history museum stops in Tulsa.

FORT TOWSON, Okla. (AP) — Authorities say a 16-year-old boy from Hugo has drowned in Lake Raymond Gary in southeastern Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the drowning was reported Sunday afternoon near Fort Towson in Choctaw County. A preliminary report says the teenager was with family members at the swim beach when he jumped off the dock to try to retrieve a child's flotation device.

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STIGLER, Okla. (AP) — The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is looking into an officer-involved shooting in which a man was injured after allegedly driving away in a police vehicle and threatening law enforcement officers.

The OSBI said Monday that Mickey Richardson is in the Haskell County jail facing complaints including public intoxication, grand larceny and assault and battery on a police officer. It was not immediately clear if he is represented by an attorney.

KWGS News-File photo

WAGONER, Okla. (AP) — Body-worn camera footage shows that a man who was killed last month by a Wagoner police officer after a high-speed pursuit was unarmed.

Officer Robert Reynolds fatally shot 25-year-old Andrew Henson on June 7 after Henson rammed the officer's car several times during the chase.

Video recorded by two officer-worn body cameras shows Henson turn toward the officer with both arms extended after getting out of his car. Henson yelled a racial slur before Reynolds fired five times. Both the officer and victim were white.

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Gasoline prices continue to fall in Oklahoma and across the nation.

AAA Oklahoma says the statewide average price for gasoline slid to $2 a gallon in Oklahoma on Monday for the first time since May 16. AAA Oklahoma spokesman Chuck Mai says prices in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metro areas are even lower.

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