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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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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Music Interviews
4:51 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

Sam Cooke And The Song That 'Almost Scared Him'

Sam Cooke in 1964, performing on the ABC variety show Shindig! just a few months before his death that December.
ABC Photo Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 5:45 pm

Fifty years ago this week, Sam Cooke strolled into a recording studio, put on a pair of headphones, and laid down the tracks for one of the most important songs of the civil rights era.

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The New And The Next
4:17 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

How A Halftime Show Wardrobe Malfunction Changed The Internet

Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake performing at Super Bowl XXXVIII, the infamous wardrobe malfunction mere moments away.
John Zich John Zich/Corbis

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 5:45 pm

The online magazine Ozy covers people, places and trends on the horizon. Co-founder Carlos Watson joins All Things Considered regularly to tell us about the site's latest feature stories.

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The Two-Way
2:20 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

Punxsutawney Phil Vs. The Farmers' Almanac: Whom Do You Trust?

Turns out that Phil's only 39 percent accurate, about the same as The Farmers' Almanac and its rival, The Old Farmer's Almanac.
Keith Srakocic AP

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 9:16 am

Punxsutawney Phil, the weather forecasting groundhog, will be rudely rustled from his winter slumber Sunday morning to answer the question of the day: shadow or no shadow? Six more weeks of winter or an early spring?

Why this fascination with Phil? Well, scientifically speaking, long-range forecasting is at best a crapshoot.

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Parallels
10:26 am
Sat February 1, 2014

What Comes Next In Syria?

A Syrian man walks through debris following an alleged air strike by Syrian government forces on Friday in the northern city of Aleppo. Nearly 1,900 people have been killed in Syria since peace talks opened in Switzerland on Jan. 22, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Mohammed Al-Khatieb AFP/Getty Images

For eight days, the Syrian regime and an opposition delegation sat face-to-face, but were not on speaking terms in Room 16 of the Palais des Nations in the sprawling complex of United Nations headquarters in Geneva.

Round one demonstrated the bitter divide with no breakthrough on the core issues of a political transition or access to humanitarian aid.

So what comes next?

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Energy
7:06 am
Sat February 1, 2014

State Dept. Delivers Unwelcome News For Keystone Opponents

A protest of the Keystone XL pipeline last March along its proposed route near Bradshaw, Nebraska.
NH AP

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 10:45 pm

The U.S. Department of State says Canada's production of tar sands crude, which has a bigger greenhouse gas footprint than other types of oil, is unlikely to be affected by the controversial Keystone XL pipeline proposal.

That assessment came Friday as part of a massive environmental review by the State Department — the analysis fills 11 volumes.

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Five Oil And Gas Companies Pledge Land
6:15 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Lesser Prairie Chicken Gets 1.5 Million Acres

Credit USDAgov / Flickr.com

Five oil and gas companies have pledged to give 1.5 million acres of land in five states toward conservation of lesser prairie chicken habitat.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says in a statement Friday this represents the first enrollment in a broad state initiative that aims to engage ranchers, landowners and the oil and gas industry in a sweeping conservation effort designed to prevent the chicken from being federally protected as a threatened species.

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Study Says No Major Environmental Concerns
4:13 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Fallin Calls For Approval of Keystone XL Pipeline

Oil Pipeline Pumping Station
Credit shannonpatrick17 / Flickr.com

Gov. Mary Fallin is calling on the Obama Administration to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Fallin renewed calls to approve the project Friday after the State Department released a study raising no major environmental objections to the project. The crude oil pipeline would run through Cushing and connect oil reserves in Canada to markets throughout the United States, ending on the Gulf Coast.

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The Two-Way
2:33 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

U.S. Issues Keystone XL Pipeline Environmental Review

Pipefitters work on construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline's southern portion outside Tulsa, Okla., last January.
PR Newswire

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 4:11 pm

The State Department says that production of Canadian tar-sand crude, which has a bigger greenhouse gas footprint than other types of oil, is unlikely to be increased if the Keystone XL pipeline goes ahead — and therefore would do little to contribute to climate change.

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World Views
1:28 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Criticism And Contradiction Cloud State Of The Union’s Foreign Policy

President Obama delivers his 2014 State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress Tuesday, January 28, 2014.
Credit The White House / YouTube

President Obama’s international outlook remains heavily oriented toward decreasing the U.S. military presence in the Middle East. In his State of the Union address, the president promised to declare an end to the 12-year war in Afghanistan.

Joshua Landis, the author of Syria Comment and the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, says President Obama’s address “claimed big successes” in a September Syria chemical weapons deal and a November interim agreement with Iran halting uranium enrichment programs in exchange for lifted sanctions.

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