Obama Signs Texas Disaster Declaration As Death Toll In Flooding Rises

The number of people who died because of storms that have inundated parts of Texas and Oklahoma this week has hit 25 people, after search crews found a drowned truck driver whose vehicle had overturned in a culvert near Dallas.That's the word from member station KERA, where Lauren Silverman reports that a new batch of storms that hit Dallas-Fort Worth "dumped three to seven inches of rain on an already over-saturated area" Thursday night.All that water created treacherous conditions for...
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Flooding along 36th Ave. NW and Telephone Road between Indian Hills Road and SW 34th Street at the border between Norman and Moore.
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Governor Mary Fallin is asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency for federal funding to help repair damage in 16 counties caused by recent tornadoes and flooding.

Fallin said in a news release Friday that the request is to help municipalities, counties and rural electric cooperatives with infrastructure repairs, debris removal and costs associated with responding to the storms that began May 5.

U.S Drought Monitor as of May 29, 2015
U.S. Drought Monitor

Given the choice between the crippling drought of the past nearly 5 years and the ongoing threat of flooding Oklahoma farmers and ranchers are currently dealing with, Chris Kirby with the Oklahoma Wheat Commission says she’ll take the rain every time.

“I’ve heard some people say, ‘well, I don’t want to complain about the rain, because the last time I did, it quit raining for six years,” Kirby tells StateImpact.

Chancellor for Higher Education Glen Johnson
Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education approved a variety of measures during a meeting Friday with little discussion.

Among those measures was the approval of $963.4 million in state appropriations allocated by the state legislature and expected to be approved by Governor Mary Fallin.

The proposed appropriation total would represent a 2.4 percent cut from higher education's previous fiscal year.

Considering most state agencies saw larger percentage cuts, Chancellor Glen Johnson said he is thankful for what they were received.

Hofmeister's Education Goals Pushed To Next Year

3 hours ago
Joy Hofmeister, Oklahoma State Schools Superintendent
Provided

Oklahoma education had two big tickets this legislative session -- teacher pay raises and testing relief -- but bills addressing either one of those failed to make it out this legislative session.

Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said Wednesday that while interest was high to do something to alleviate mandatory testing on Oklahoma students, any measure attempting to so do “stalled out.”

She said “time ran out” for further discussions but promised that next legislative session she would “solve what couldn’t be solved” this year. 

Schlüsselbein2007 / Flickr (Creative Commons)

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker have signed a compact authorizing bulk purchases of Oklahoma hunting and fishing licenses for members of the tribe.

Under the new compact, the Cherokee Nation is expected to purchase more than 150,000 licenses from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for Oklahoma-based tribal citizens over the age of 16. The agreement is expected to generate up to $4 million for the state to be dedicated to wildlife conservation efforts.

A rendering of the pop culture museum in Tulsa.
OKPOP

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has signed a bill to approve a $25 million state bond issue to pay for the construction of a museum of popular culture in Tulsa.

The Republican governor signed the bill on Friday despite opposition from some conservative groups who argue operating museums is not a core function of state government.

The plan for the museum, nicknamed OKPOP, calls for the construction of an adjacent parking garage, which will generate revenue to help with the cost of museum operations.

Tammy Mix's sons play on the sidewalk as a drilling rig peeks above the tree line behind her Stillwater home.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma cities and counties would no longer be able to ban hydraulic fracturing - a process commonly called fracking - or other oil and gas operations within their boundaries under a bill signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin.

Fallin on Friday signed the bill that was supported by the oil and gas industry, but fiercely opposed by municipalities and environmental groups.

The number of people who died because of storms that have inundated parts of Texas and Oklahoma this week has hit 25 people, after search crews found a drowned truck driver whose vehicle had overturned in a culvert near Dallas.

That's the word from member station KERA, where Lauren Silverman reports that a new batch of storms that hit Dallas-Fort Worth "dumped three to seven inches of rain on an already over-saturated area" Thursday night.

All that water created treacherous conditions for Friday morning's commute; widespread and serious delays were reported.

The Euphronios krater, repatriated to Italy by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 2006.
Jaime Ardiles-Arce / Wikimedia Commons

Last week, 25 stolen archaeological artifacts – some dating back to the first century – were repatriated to Italy. Italy’s Division for the Protection of Cultural Heritage worked in cooperation with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit to track down and return the items, which had been sold to museums, auction houses, and private collectors throughout the United States.

Muhammad Buhari speaks at the international think tank Chatham House on February 26, 2015.
Anieduugo / Wikimedia Commons

In the mid-1980s, Muhammadu Buhari ruled Nigeria as an iron-fisted military dictator. But today, Buhari represents a transition toward democracy for the country as the first Nigerian to come to power through a democratic process.

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