Corn, Okla., Mayor Barbara Nurnberg outside city hall in January 2016.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Budget Crisis Could Leave Small Towns With Big Infrastructure Problems ‘Dead In The Water’

It costs a lot of money to clean, transport and dispose of water. Big cities can spread the cost of multi-million dollar sewer or treatment projects across thousands of customers. But many small Oklahoma towns don’t have that option, and often rely on a state-funded grant program that’s being squeezed by budget cuts. Crumbling Infrastructure Tiny Corn, Oklahoma, has a big problem. A proper town needs a reliable sewer system, but the lagoon that’s supposed to hold the town’s wastewater has hol...
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The Price Tower in downtown Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

Just 20 miles south of the Oklahoma-Kansas border lies a structure that can’t be missed. The tower draws crowds from around the world and has given a little city a big name.

Bartlesville’s Price Tower is an anomaly. In an oil and gas town filled with short red­, orange­-and-brown ­brick buildings, its 19 ­stories stand tall with green patina copper and cantilevered floors.

Oklahoma Geological Survey seismologists and representatives from the Corporation Commission lead a public meeting on earthquakes held in March 2015 in Medford, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A former research seismologist with the Oklahoma Geological Survey says agency leaders and other state officials fostered a culture of hesitation and reluctance to act on science suggesting the state’s earthquake boom was linked to oil and gas activities.

The heart of the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan is now on hold, after the Supreme Court granted a stay request that blocks the EPA from moving ahead with rules that would lower carbon emissions from the nation's power plants.

The case is scheduled to be argued in June, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. But a decision could be long in coming, particularly if the case winds up in the Supreme Court — meaning that the rules' fate might not be determined before a new presidential administration comes into power in 2017.

Chesapeake Energy's Losses Rattle Oklahoma Economy

Feb 9, 2016

The Oklahoma company Chesapeake Energy’s stock value plummeted Monday. Over the past year, the stock is down more than 90 percent.

Chesapeake is the second-largest natural gas extractor in the U.S. and a major employer in Oklahoma. Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks with Brian Hardzinski of KGOU in Oklahoma City about how Chesapeake Energy’s struggles are affecting Oklahoma’s economy.

KGOU listener Keith Gaddie and his bulldog, Georgia.
Keith Gaddie

It’s Mardi Gras - a day of indulgence, parades, zydeco, and a celebration of all things New Orleans during annual Carnival celebrations that originate with the Christian period between Epiphany and Lent.

KGOU (and our listeners) celebrated the season Sunday afternoon with The Weekend Bluesannual “Mardi Party” featuring music from the Crescent City and beyond.

Preston Doerflinger, Office of State Finance director, during a November 2011 tax credit task force meeting.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

State agencies will be dealing with even deeper cuts this fiscal year, on top of 3 percent reductions caused by Oklahoma’s revenue failure late in 2015.

On Monday, Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger sent an email to agencies saying the cuts would double starting in March, eCapitol’s Shawn Ashley reports:

Poet Valzhyna Mort reading at the 2015 Neustadt Festival opening night, October 21, 2015.
Tyler Christian / World Literature Today (Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

Valzhyna Mort grew up in Belarus as the Soviet Union collapsed, and she’s spent her entire career using poetry to dispel misconceptions and bring her country out of Russia’s shadow.

“A great myth was that it was a really big reading nation, and I don’t know if it was really true, in terms of how much reading was done,” Mort told KGOU’s World Views. “But it’s certainly true that every household had a library. No matter what your parents did, how educated they were, you had a library.”

University of Oklahoma president David Boren
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

University of Oklahoma president David Boren is recommending a 3 percent pay cut for himself, and OU vice presidents and deans for the upcoming fiscal year.

Boren said Monday the administrators affected by the pay cut have asked that the savings be used for need-based scholarships for students.

The corporate campus of Chesapeake Energy in Oklahoma City.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Chesapeake Energy says bankruptcy isn’t on the table despite Monday’s free fall of its stock price.

The Oklahoma City-based oil and natural gas giant’s stock dropped 50 percent at one point during Monday morning trading due to media reports it hired restructuring attorneys.

Oklahoma Watch executive editor David Fritze, Oklahoma Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services commissioner Terri White, and Oklahoma Health Care Authority CEO Nico Gomez.
Patrick Roberts / KGOU

At the Oklahoma Watch-Out public forum last month, two prominent state health officials described the impact the state budget crisis and the oil-and-gas downturn could have on residents' physical and mental health.

As the Legislature prepares to assemble in February, the state’s two primary agencies that deal with health care for the impoverished and the mentally ill are bracing for cuts to services. At the same time, losses of jobs threaten to strain physical and emotional health for families at all income levels.

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