Following Oklahoma's 2013 Tornadoes, Where Does Federal Aid Really Go?

Debris filled the streets in Moore, Okla. on May 20, 2013.
State Farm Flickr Creative Commons

After a string of deadly tornados hit Oklahoma in the spring of last year, President Obama signed a federal disaster declaration that paved the way for up to $257 million in aid.

One year later, about one half of that funding has been spent.  The Oklahoma Tornado Project teamed up with Oklahoma Watch to track where all the money went. 

Following huge disasters, there’s always a potential for things to go wrong. In New Orleans, former mayor Ray Nagin was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison for taking bribes from contractors rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. And in New Jersey, there’s been criticism that some Sandy aid money has gone to less needy areas.

So we wanted to look into Oklahoma’s post-storm recovery. State Department of Emergency Management Director Albert Ashwood – who has worked closely with FEMA – says outright fraud is less common than it used to be. 

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Motion Filed Friday In Federal Court
6:23 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Interior Department Sides With Cherokee Freedmen

Interior Secretary Sally Jewel
Credit U.S. Department of the Interior

The Department of the Interior says certain descendants of black slaves once owned by some members of the Cherokee Nation should be afforded tribal citizenship rights.

The Tahlequah Daily Press reports that U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell filed the motion Friday in federal court in the longstanding case between the descendants, known as freedmen, and the Cherokees.

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Prompted By Baby Veronica Lawsuit
5:02 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Tribal Leaders Demand Investigation Into Adoption And Child Welfare Systems

Credit Seattle Municipal Archives / Flickr.com

Native American organizations are asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the treatment of American Indian and Alaska Native children in the private adoption and public child welfare systems.

Tribal leaders delivered a letter Monday to DOJ Attorney General for Civil Rights Jocelyn Samuels demanding the investigation.

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State Of The State
4:35 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Fallin Proposes Income Tax Cut, Discusses Education In Annual Address

Gov. Mary Fallin delivers the 2014 State of the State address as Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb and House Speaker T.W. Shannon (R-Lawton) look on.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin is proposing a .25 percent reduction in Oklahoma's income tax rate.

Fallin made the proposal Monday while delivering her State of the State address at the start of the 2014 Oklahoma Legislature.

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State Capitol
8:44 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Five Things To Watch In The 2014 Oklahoma Legislative Session

The legislative session kicks off at noon Monday.
Credit Katsrcool / Flickr Creative Commons

KGOU's Kurt Gwartney leads a panel of legislative observers in a discussion of the 2014 legislative session.

The first Monday in February means the parking lots are full surrounding the domed building at the intersection of NE 23rd Street and Lincoln Blvd. in Oklahoma City. Here are five things political scientists and state capitol reporters expect to see between now and the end of May.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:30 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Safe Schools 101 Corrects Misinformation, Trains Professionals For Shelter Builds

FEMA Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator Wayne Rickard assesses Northmoor Elementary School during a Safe Schools 101 session.
Credit Christopher Mardorf / FEMA

Ever since a series of deadly tornadoes rattled the state in May, destroying two elementary schools, the idea of building safe rooms has become much more prominent. After all, according to one study released shortly after the storms, more than 60% of Oklahoma’s schools have no shelter at all. Now the Department of Emergency Management is taking steps to fix that. 

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Shots - Health News
7:17 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Most Teens Aren't Active Enough, And It's Not Always Their Fault

The CDC would be happy with these guys, who were playing in Birmingham, Ala., in July 2013. Teenage boys say basketball is their favorite activity.
Mark Almond AL.COM /Landov

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 6:43 am

Sure, you think, my kid's on a football team. That takes care of his exercise needs, right? Probably not.

"There are these bursts of activity," says Jim Sallis, a professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego. "But if you think about it, one hour of playing football out on the field means that the vast majority of that time is spent standing around waiting for the next play."

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Remembrances
6:14 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman: An 'Uncanny' Actor Of Stage And Screen

Hoffman (left) and Eddie Marsan, in a scene from the film God's Pocket, released in January.
Lance Acord AP

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 1:53 pm

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead on Sunday in his Manhattan apartment. He was 46.

Hoffman was steeped in his profession — in film, on stage, in the spotlight and behind the scenes.

In 2005, he won the Oscar for best actor for his portrayal of Truman Capote. The movie focuses on Capote's interviews with two murderers on death row for his nonfiction novel In Cold Blood.

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The Two-Way
1:21 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Oscar-Winner, Found Dead At 46

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 6:51 am

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who won a best actor Oscar for the title role in the 2005 film Capote, was found dead in his Manhattan apartment at the age of 46.

A New York Police Department spokesman tells NPR that authorities are "investigating Hoffman's death as a possible drug overdose."

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Indian Times
10:07 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture In Native America

Credit Tim Evanson / Flickr.com

Skateboarding is most often associated with teenaged, white urban dwellers, but a new exhibit is providing a different picture of the sport.

The traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian is called “Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture In Native America” and will open February 8th at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History in Norman

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Indian Times
9:45 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Chief Of Osage Nation Impeached

Credit Susan Shannon

Osage Principal Chief John Red Eagle was removed from office last week.

According to senior reporter Benny Polacca (Hopi/Pima/Havasupai/Tohono O’odham) of the Osage News, the problems started last summer.

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