Alvin Trusty / Flickr

Oklahoma Schools Condensing Schedule to Save Money, Attract Teachers

For a lot of schools in Oklahoma, juggling flat budgets with increasing costs means a bumpy road ahead for district superintendents. And getting teachers to work for the meager starting salary is also a struggle. So how do they make it work? Some districts in Oklahoma pay teachers in time – four days a week, instead of five. Ask a kid from Asher Public Schools—where they’ve been doing it for five years—and they’ll tell you it’s the best. But for parents—there are a lot of questions. Of course...
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OKC Police car.
Paul L. McCord Jr. / Flickr.com

Oklahoma City police say an officer has fatally shot a man who threatened the officer with a handgun.

Sgt. Gary Knight says the suspect was killed around 2 a.m. Monday morning following a search through a residential area. A homeowner had reported a burglary to police and the officer found the suspect in another person's backyard.

Knight says the suspect pointed the pistol at the officer before the officer shot the suspect, who died at the scene. Their identities haven't been released.

No other injuries were reported.

Ryan LaCroix / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

The Oklahoma Supreme Court's decision to order a Ten Commandments monument removed from the state Capitol grounds has so angered conservatives in the Legislature that some Republicans are calling for justices to be impeached. Others want to amend the Bill of Rights in the 108-year-old state constitution.

The outcry immediately followed the court's 7-2 decision Tuesday that the monument violates the Oklahoma constitution's ban on using public property to benefit a religion.

Rodeo bullfighter Rowdy Moon runs in to the rodeo ring after a cowboy is thrown by a bucking bull.
Brian Seifferlein / Harvest Public Media

Rodeo season is getting into full swing and at most rodeos, bull riding is the main event. But when the bull ride ends, the work begins for rodeo bullfighters, and a young bullfighter is making a name in the business by putting himself in the middle of the action.

At bull riding time at the Plum Creek Rodeo in Lexington, Neb., the rodeo corral is under the lights and the sun is a ripe orange in the west. Rowdy Moon bounces on the balls of his feet like a boxer waiting for the match to start.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

It's Independence Day. Let's take a break from parades, patriotic songs and pyrotechnics to think about the Declaration of Independence, which was adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.

By the end of June, This year, Matt Plenge’s Kahoka, Mo., farm has received close to four times its normal rainfall.
Abby Wendle / Harvest Public Media

Driving down a two-lane highway in rural Missouri, Matt Plenge squinted at a patch of gray clouds hanging low over his farm fields in the distance.

“Does it look hazy up there?” he asked. “We only had a 20 percent chance today. We shouldn't get any rain.”

Plenge, like most farmers, always keeps one eye on the weather. But this spring, it’s been his primary and constant concern.

“It seems like it rains for three or four days and after it rains, we get one day of sunshine,” Plenge said. “And then it rains again.”

The seal of the Cherokee Nation
Cherokee Nation

A recount supervised by the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court has finalized the candidates in a runoff election.

The Cherokee Nation Election Commission on Friday announced the results of the Thursday recount, with Wanda Hatfield and Betsy Swimmer advancing to a July 25 runoff for an at-large tribal councilor position. The final results show Hatfield with 1,057 votes and Swimmer with 763.

Shane Jett, who came in third, finished 50 votes behind Swimmer. The general election results were certified Monday and Jett requested the recount on Wednesday.

Culex pipiens (the common house mosquito) is a species of blood-feeding mosquito of the family Culicidae. It is a vector of some diseases, such as Japanese encephalitis, meningitis, and urticaria. In the US, it can spread West Nile virus.
Wikimedia Commons

The Oklahoma State Department of Health says a third case of West Nile virus this year has been confirmed in the state.

The department says a resident of Ellis County in western Oklahoma has contracted the virus. The person's name and gender were not released. The department said Thursday that the person is between 18- and 50-years-old.

Two other confirmed cases were reported in June in McIntosh and Okfuskee counties in the eastern half of the state.

U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) / Flickr

Last week the National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security released a bulletin listing the July 4 holiday weekend as a possible target for terrorist attacks.

health insurance cards and dollar bills
Lindsey Whelchel / Oklahoma Watch

Two private health insurance companies participating in the Affordable Care Act market in Oklahoma are expected to leave the program next year, while another big insurer wants in.

The shuffle, which would occur on Jan. 1, illustrates the rapid evolution of the “Obamacare” health insurance marketplace as it approaches its third year of operation. Some insurers are finding it difficult to make a profit on Affordable Care Act policies, while others see an opportunity that could pay off big over time.

Cheryl Hooper sells TNT Fireworks from her stand near Route 66 and Westminster Road in Arcadia.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Fireworks stands popped up across more rural parts of the metro weeks ago ahead of the Independence Day holiday, and Oklahoma's climate, some calendar luck, and easing of fireworks laws in other states should a $695 million dollar nationwide industry continue to boom (and yes, of course, that bad pun was intended). Sales have steadily grown since 1998, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association.

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