Gov. Mary Fallin meets with cabinet secretaries and emergency management officials at the state Capitol Tuesday to discuss May storm damage.
GovMaryFallin / Twitter

Storm Damage Could Top $150 Million, Oklahoma Death Toll Rises To 6

Damage from May’s severe storms could exceed $150 million. Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management Director Albert Ashwood and Gov. Mary Fallin met Tuesday and updated reporters and the public on the progress of the recovery and assessments in 70 counties that have reported storm-related damage. Fallin has declared a state of emergency in all 77 Oklahoma counties, and $13 million in infrastructure damage to roads, bridges, and other facilities has already been recorded. During a...
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The Supreme Court this morning ruled in favor of a young Muslim woman after Abercrombie & Fitch refused to hire her for wearing a head scarf. The court also threw out the conviction of a Pennsylvania man, Anthony Elonis, who was prosecuted for making threats on Facebook.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks with Emily Bazelon, staff writer at New York Times Magazine and Truman Capote Fellow for Creative Writing and Law at Yale Law School, about the impact of these decisions.

Tulsa County Sheriff's reserve deputy Robert Bates enters the Tulsa County Jail Tuesday.
Matt Trotter / KWGS Public Radio Tulsa

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation announced Monday morning it's opened an investigation into allegations of misconduct in the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office.

The move comes nearly two months after the shooting of a restrained suspect by a volunteer deputy. Eric Harris died when Robert Bates shot him after reportedly confusing his service revolver with his stun gun.

The memorial to the seven children who died May 20, 2013 at Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore.
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Oklahomans are now finally starting to dry out after May brought as much as two feet of rain to some parts of the state. The tornadoes and flooding that have killed dozens in this state and its southern neighbor last month were a reminder of how cruel May can be when warming temperatures and moist Gulf air collide over the nation's midsection.

Updated at 1:30 p.m. ET

The Supreme Court has ruled 8-1 in favor of a young Muslim woman who was denied a job at Abercrombie & Fitch because she wore a headscarf.

Samantha Elauf had applied for the sales job in Tulsa, Okla., in 2008 and was recommended for hire by an interviewer. But Abercrombie has a "look policy" that bars the wearing of caps by its salespeople.

Wesley Fryer / Flickr

New legislation would give Oklahoma’s judges more discretion in sentencing certain nonviolent offenders. In some cases they will be able to depart from a mandatory minimum sentence. Previously, judges had no say in how long an offender would be behind bars.

Prisons across Oklahoma are over capacity and understaffed. That’s one of the reasons former state Representative Kris Steele introduced prison reform legislation back in 2012. Both the state House and Senate passed the measure but it was never fully funded, so most aspects of the bill went unimplemented.

30-day rainfall totals from Oklahoma Mesonet stations as of May 31, 2015.
Oklahoma Mesonet

No surprise here - May went down as the wettest month in Oklahoma history.

The final statewide average rainfall for May was 14.4 inches. State climatologist Gary McManus said that's nearly 9.6 inches above normal, and obliterated the 74-year-old previous record of 10.75 inches set in October 1941. The Oklahoma Climatological Survey has kept records since the 1890s.

We've come a long way since 1975, when a newspaper in Midland, Texas, featured an advertisement about a personal pocket computer wizard that had the broad mathematical abilities of a slide rule: a Sharp calculator.

But, are we smarter now that technology has put a lot more than a slide rule into our pockets? Or are we so dependent on technology to do things for us that we are losing the ability to make our own magic, mentally, socially and politically?

Verna Morales, left, and her daughter, Aliah Morales, sit in front of their old transitional apartment at Pearl’s Hope, a homeless shelter in Tulsa.  Aliah Morales has been homeless for three years and her mother has been homeless for six years. The two c
Nate Robson / Oklahoma Watch

A resilient economy and low unemployment have done little to stem the tide of students who are finding themselves homeless in Oklahoma.

Despite a five-year oil and gas boom and falling jobless rates, growing numbers of youths are finding themselves without a bedroom to call their own – a trend seen across the nation.

Oklahoma Capitol Building
ana branca / Flickr Creative Commons

Bond rating agencies will not be fond of Oklahoma’s fiscal year 2016 budget, State Bond Advisor Jim Joseph told the Council on Bond Oversight.

“This budget will not be something the rating agencies will like because of the way is was balanced with one time money,” Joseph said Thursday during a meeting of the council.

 

Joseph pointed out the budget uses a variety of one-time funding sources, including $150 million from the Constitutional Reserve or Rainy Day Fund and $125.2 million from agency revolving fund accounts.

 

First Place Awards for StateImpact Oklahoma from the Oklahoma Chapter of the Society for Professional Jouranlists 2015
KGOU

May 31, 2015

This is from the Manager’s Desk.   

In its four-year history, StateImpact Oklahoma has received many awards and this last year is no exception.

In the RTDNA Murrow Awards for Region 6, StateImpact was recognized for stories about the relationship of earthquakes to disposal wells.

The Oklahoma Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists presented nine awards to StateImpact.

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