Local & Regional

Update: Repair Work at 21st and South Peoria

Jan 20, 2018
City of Tulsa

With water service restored after an older 16-inch waterline broke earlier this week on East 21st Street at South Peoria Avenue, work has begun to repair damage to the street and install a new 16-inch waterline. The streets have been swept to remove mud that accumulated when the waterline break caused flooding.

KWGS News

Two people are dead after a head on crash in southeast Broken Arrow. The wreck happened about 5:30 on Friday afternoon. It was near the intersection of 101st South and 193rd East Avenue.

Officials say one vehicle crossed the center line and slammed into the other. A 51-year-old woman and a 17-year-old boy were killed in the crash. 

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Draft rules from the Department of Environmental Quality would allow Oklahoma cities to bolster their drinking water sources with treated wastewater.

Water Quality Division Manager Shellie Chard said cities in Australia have been doing that for years, but American cities so far are only reusing wastewater in industrial and agricultural settings.

"It’s just been in the last few years because of our last drought of record that we really started thinking about what could we do to ensure water supplies moving forward," Chard said.

Tulsa didn’t make Amazon’s 20 city short list for its second headquarters, and neither did Day 1, Oklahoma.

The Day 1 team, part of Tulsa-based Civic Ninjas, proposed Amazon be a partner in building from the ground up a 50 square mile city somewhere in a 600 square mile zone halfway between Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

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According to an analysis from Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform, felony filings are down 26 percent since provisions of State Question 780 took effect July 1.

Over the past six months, prosecutors across the state have filed about 6,000 misdemeanor drug possession cases and 3,700 misdemeanor property crime cases. SQ780, which voters approved in 2016, reclassified most low-level drug and property offenses as misdemeanors.

ACLU Oklahoma Smart Justice Campaign Manager Nicole McAfee said that change has more impact than you might imagine.

 

Prosecutors in Oklahoma have charged a 13-year-old boy with first-degree murder in the crossbow killing of a 10-year-old friend.

The death happened last fall in Chandler. Authorities say 10-year-old Austin Almanza was fatally struck by an arrow, which traveled through his body and then pierced his 8-year-old brother in the arm.

Prosecutors charged the 13-year-old boy as an adult, making him one of the youngest ever in Oklahoma to be charged as an adult with first-degree murder.

Google Street View

 

Oklahoma's auditor is requesting that a court order him to release a 2011 audit concerning alleged unlawful contracting in the cleanup of the Environmental Protection Agency's heavily polluted Tar Creek Superfund site.

The Tulsa World reports that Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones conducted the audit into unlawful contracting practices of the Lead-Impacted Communities Relocation Trust at the request of former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.

Google Street View

The state’s multi-county grand jury wraps up its work for the month with no indictments. The jury has been, among other things, looking into reports of sexual assault on a Bixby Football player allegedly by other team members. The grand jury is expected to continue its probe next month.

Several members of the football squad were spotted at the grand jury meeting in Oklahoma City. Grand juries meet in secret.

The time line of the assault and why it took so long to report to authorities are expected to be the focus of the grand jury’s investigation.

In the local news:

  • Tulsa doesn't make the Amazon cut; Mayor Bynum reacts to the news.
  • The multi-county Grand Jury wraps up monthly work with no indictments.
  • Congressman Bridenstine's NASA nomination moves forward.

Jim Bridenstine's Office

 

President Donald Trump's nominee to lead NASA has faced contentious Senate confirmation hearings over his past comments dismissing man-made causes for global warming, and now U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine is touting his relationship with Bill Nye "The Science Guy."

The Republican from Oklahoma announced Thursday that Nye will accompany him to Trump's Jan. 30 State of the Union address.

Jim Bridenstine's Office

 

President Donald Trump's nominee to lead NASA has faced contentious Senate confirmation hearings over his past comments dismissing man-made causes for global warming, and now U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine is touting his relationship with Bill Nye "The Science Guy."

The Republican from Oklahoma announced Thursday that Nye will accompany him to Trump's Jan. 30 State of the Union address.

Beryl Ford Collection

 

A paper cup allegedly used by Elvis Presley six decades ago in Oklahoma is up for auction, and bids have already surpassed $1,200.

North Carolina resident Wade Jones is a collector of all things Elvis. He tells the Tulsa World that the crumpled blue-and-white Dixie cup was snagged by a fan in April 1956, after Elvis performed at the Tulsa Fairgrounds Pavilion.

Wikipedia

 

The head of an Oklahoma wind power trade group flatly denied a state lawmaker's suggestion to police that someone connected to the industry put a tracking device on his truck to spy on him.

Oklahoma Wind Coalition Executive Director Mark Yates said in a statement Thursday that wind industry representatives are not involved in spying on Republican Rep. Mark McBride of Moore.

Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness

Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area is getting much bigger.

River Parks Authority accepted donations Thursday of 222 acres from the George Kaiser Family Foundation and 198 acres from the City of Tulsa. The city-county authority has one more hoop to jump through.

"There’s one technicality that has to happen yet. When the River Parks Authority receives property, it has to be approved by both the city and the county," said River Parks Authority Executive Director Matt Meyer. "So, we have to run the traps there, but I’m confident that will be approved."

Matt Trotter / KWGS

At his inaugural address Thursday, Tulsa Regional Chamber 2018 Chair Steve Bradshaw said northeast Oklahoma needs to focus on education funding, "new economy" jobs and direct flights.

Those are the things the BOK Financial Corporation president and CEO thinks will see the Tulsa region "soaring ahead" during 2018.

Bradshaw said underfunded schools are the single largest barrier to attracting new businesses to the region and to encouraging existing ones to invest more in it.

Bradshaw encouraged northeast Oklahomans to meet that challenge aggressively.

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Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine’s nomination to lead NASA is again moving forward.

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation again approved the nomination Thursday on a 14–13 party line vote. 

Bridenstine's nomination was returned to the White House at the end of 2017 after stalling in the Senate, and it was resubmitted. He was not at the hearing.

Tulsa Misses Amazon's Top 20

Jan 18, 2018
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The city of Tulsa comes up short in its quest to become the second home of Amazon. The firm released its top 20 list and Tulsa was not on it.

Mayor Bynum tells KWGS, despite that, the bid signaled a new era for Tulsa in economic development. He says Tulsa will continue to target large corporations interested in relocation. He says the days of fighting the the suburbs over a new shopping center are gone.

Oklahoma City was not on the list either. Austin, Texas was. Over 230 cities bid on the headquarters and its 50-thousand jobs.

Daniel Paquet/Wikimedia

Tulsa County now leads the state in the number of deaths and hospitalizations from flu. According to Jamie Dukes with the State Health Department, the most patients with influenza are reported in the two most populous counties…Oklahoma and Tulsa. Here in Tulsa County, 338 people have been hospitalized since flu season began in September, and the county is now reporting ten deaths. All the deaths statewide are in the age group 50 and older.

Dukes says nearly 15-hundred people have been hospitalized since flu season began. She reminds Oklahomans it’s NOT too late to get a shot

Marietta Fire

 

Authorities in southern Oklahoma say a 13-year-old boy died while trying to help his paralyzed father escape from a mobile home fire.

Love County Sheriff Marty Grisham says the father also died in the Wednesday morning blaze. Authorities tell The Daily Ardmoreite that the fire was ruled accidental and that space heaters may be to blame.

Grisham says the boy was trying to help his father escape from the blaze but they both succumbed to smoke inhalation.

Bartlesville Police

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is being called in to handle the investigation of a police shooting at Bartlesville.

The shooting took place last night as officers were attempting to serve a drug search warrant at a home in the 1600 block of South Maple.

Police say as officers were questioning a man at the home, his mother started shooting from the next room. Officers returned the fire.

In the local news:

  • The DHS requests over $2 Billion in budget funding.
  • 2 Bartlesville Police Officers and a woman are injured in an exchange of gun fire.
  • A contractor is being called in to help with Tulsa's rash of waterline breaks. 

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More than a half dozen school districts in Oklahoma and one in Texas have closed for at least a day because of a flu outbreak.

In Oklahoma, the Cleveland and Union City schools both closed for a day earlier this week, while the Morris, Quinton, Swink, Hugo and Valliant districts are closed until next week.

The Bonham Independent School District in Texas is also closed until next week.

KWGS News file photo

 

A Republican state senator has filed a bill to take leftover campaign funds from some state lawmakers who resign, in order to offset the cost of special elections to replace them.

The bill by Sen. Ron Sharp of Shawnee would send the resigning lawmaker's remaining campaign funds to the state election board in order to help pay for the election to replace the lawmaker. The bill would not apply to campaign funds of a lawmaker who dies in office.

Temple Beats Tulsa

Jan 18, 2018

 

Quinton Rose scored 19 points with four 3-pointers, Josh Brown hit the winning basket with 28 seconds left, and Temple beat Tulsa 59-58 on Wednesday night.

Temple closed to 58-57 on Obi Enechionyia's 3 with 1:24 to go and Brown's layup off of J.P. Moorman II's offensive rebound put the Owls up 59-58. Shizz Alston Jr. stole the ball on Tulsa's final possession.

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With Oklahoma’s prisons bursting at the seams, why aren’t more nonviolent offenders being considered for parole?

The Pardon and Parole Board granted early release in about one-third of the 2,458 cases it reviewed last year, which was an increase. Executive Director DeLynn Fudge said many more inmates are choosing not to be even considered for parole.

"Almost 4,800 people are waiving their parole, and we can’t parole them if we don’t see them," Fudge said.

Many inmates waive parole for one to three years in order to get out of prison on regular release.

KWGS News

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services told lawmakers Wednesday it needs a $2.5 billion budget next year.

The 4 percent increase would come largely from state appropriations to DHS climbing from $684 million to $749 million.

"This is sort of the sum total of, really, not necessarily advancing the cause. It’s sort of getting us back to where we were once upon a time not too long ago," said DHS Director Ed Lake.

City of Tulsa

The city of Tulsa is bringing in a contractor to help address the rash of waterline breaks. The cold weather is catching the blame for breaks all over town. Eric Parker heads up the city’s efforts to fix the breaks.

City crews will work on some of the smaller breaks, while a contractor handles the big ones.  Parker says yesterday’s break at 21st and Peoria is one of those big ones.

Parker says new pipe will be installed and then the road will be resurfaced. It expects that to take, at least, a couple of weeks.

AirHogs

 

 

Officials at a northern Oklahoma air force base are asking the public to keep recreational drones away from aircraft after a near collision on a training flight.

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It appears the Oklahoma Multi County Grand Jury is looking into the reports of sexual assault on a Bixby Football player, allegedly by other team members.

Grand Jury proceedings are done behind closed doors and witnesses are instructed not to discuss the case. Members of the Bixby football team were spotted entering the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office this morning in Oklahoma City, where the Grand Jury meets.

At issue is why did it take school officials nearly a month to report the incident.

KFOR-TV

 

A former Oklahoma City mayor has been reappointed to the board of a local charter school after resigning following his anti-gay comments during a public affairs TV show.

Kirk Humphreys had also resigned from the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents after he compared gay people to pedophiles during a local TV show that aired on KFOR-TV in December.

The university sponsors John Rex Elementary School and had appointed Humphreys to the charter school's board. He resigned from that post in the wake of his comments.

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