StateImpact Oklahoma
1:28 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Oil Boom Keeping Western Oklahoma Towns Afloat Amid Worsening Drought

Credit Al Jazeera English / Flickr Creative Commons

Drought and agriculture don’t mix very well. So after three years of intense drought, you might expect rural western Oklahoma communities — where fortunes have traditionally hinged on the condition of wheat crops — to be dying on the vine.

But no. As The Journal Record‘s Brian Brus reports, many of these towns are adapting to a new economy with a little help from the oil and gas industry.

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11:17 am
Mon February 10, 2014

As Drug Deaths Rise, Millions of Narcotic Prescriptions Filled

Lead in text: 
Leading the list of Prescription Monitoring Program prescriptions and overdose contributors are three popular pharmaceuticals: hydrocodone, an opiod painkiller sold under the brand names Lortab, Vicodin, Vicoprofen, Norco and Tussionex; oxycodone, another opiod painkiller sold as OxyContin and Percoset, and alprazolam, an anti-anxiety drug marketed as Xanax.
Oklahoma pharmacies filled nearly 10 million prescriptions for narcotic painkillers and other controlled dangerous substances last year, according to newly obtained state data. Those prescriptions - an average of 68 per patient, including refills - contained 597 million doses of painkillers, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, steroids and other controlled pharmaceuticals tracked by the state's Prescription Monitoring Program.
State Capitol
11:04 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Hickman Replaces Shannon As House Speaker

State Rep. Jeff Hickman (R-Fairview) at Gov. Mary Fallin's State of the State address - February 3, 2014.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The 72 Republicans in the Oklahoma House of Representatives have selected 40-year-old state Rep. Jeff Hickman of Fairview as the next speaker of the House, one of the most powerful positions in state government.

The Republican caucus met behind closed doors Monday morning and selected Hickman via secret ballot.

The speaker's post was vacated last week when T.W. Shannon stepped down to focus on his race for the U.S. Senate.

Hickman previously served as speaker pro tem, the No. 2 spot in the House, and lost the speaker's race against Shannon by a razor-thin margin.

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State Capitol
9:31 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Republicans Voting On Next Oklahoma House Speaker

Credit LLudo / Flickr Creative Commons

The 72-member House Republican caucus is meeting behind closed doors to select the new Speaker of the House.

The House caucus is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. Monday and will cast secret ballots to determine the winner.

Reps. Jeff Hickman of Fairview and Mike Jackson of Enid are vying for the post, one of the most powerful positions in state government. The speaker helps divvy up the state's $7 billion budget and helps shape the policy debate in the Legislature.

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The Edge
7:56 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Germany's Hoefl-Riesch Wins Women's Super-Combined Skiing

Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch during the slalom run of the women's alpine skiing super-combined event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
Stefano Rellandini Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 10:47 am

As always, if you're among those who don't want to know who's won what until NBC-TV's primetime show is on the air, stop reading now. For those who do like to know what's happening, here's a quick look at the medals already awarded today and some of what's coming later on:

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:30 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Fallin Introduces Storm Shelter Plan Amid Lawsuit From Shelter Advocacy Group

Governor Mary Fallin tours the Plaza Elementary School site days after the May 20 Moore tornado
Credit The National Guard

In her State of the State address last week, Gov. Mary Fallin discussed her plan to build storm shelters in schools across the state. The speech came the same day a school shelter advocacy group filed a lawsuit against the governor for not promptly responding to its open records request. Fallin’s apparent change of course is not unusual, but its timing has raised some eyebrows.   

When Danni Legg entered the Governor’s office last week, she was looking for answers.

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Shots - Health News
2:22 am
Mon February 10, 2014

New Heat Treatment Has Changed Lives For Some With Severe Asthma

Virginia Rady, 28, holds her old nebulizer at her home in Dallas. Rady was diagnosed with chronic persistent asthma at age 2. She underwent a series of three outpatient surgeries between December 2012 and February 2013 for a procedure known as bronchial thermoplasty. She says the procedure has changed her life, allowing her to remove her nebulizer from her bedside.
Brandon Thibodeaux for NPR

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 7:58 am

If you've ever tried to drink something through one of those little red coffee stirrers instead of a full-sized straw, you know what it's like to breathe with asthma.

Twenty-five million Americans have been diagnosed with asthma. And for 10 percent of them, medications like inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta agonists aren't enough to keep them out of the hospital.

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Environment
5:01 pm
Sun February 9, 2014

Kansas Mayor Says Sustainability Is About Community, Not Politics

The community of Greensburg, Kan., was hit hard by an F5 tornado in 2007. The event inspired one resident to run for mayor.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 12:36 pm

In Washington, the debate over what to do about climate change is split largely down party lines. But it hasn't always been that way.

Republican Sen. John McCain campaigned on the issue in his presidential runs. "Climate change is real," he said in 2007. "The Earth is warming, and it is the result of greenhouse gas emissions."

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Energy
9:49 am
Sun February 9, 2014

Oil, Gas Drilling Seems To Make The Earth Slip And Go Boom

Infrastructure used for oil and gas may be making more earthquakes. In Texas, there 10 times the number of earthquakes now than a few years ago.
Mark Rogers AP

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 4:21 pm

There's been a surge in earthquakes in the U.S. over the last few years. In Texas, there are 10 times the number of earthquakes now than just a few years ago.

Scientists say it's likely linked to the boom in oil and gas activity, meaning that people who never felt the ground shake are starting to.

Here's how Pat Jones of Snyder, Texas, describes the earthquake that struck her town in 2010: "It just sounded like some car hit the back of our house. We got up and checked around and we didn't see anything or hear anything else."

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Earthquake
10:06 pm
Sat February 8, 2014

Earthquake Rattles Residents Near Langston

Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

READ: StateImpact's Oklahoma Earthquake Coverage

The U.S. Geological Survey says a 4.4-magnitude earthquake has shaken central Oklahoma, but there are no reports of damage or injuries.

The quake was reported around 8:15 p.m. Saturday and struck about five miles south-southwest of the town of Langston. The USGS reports it had a depth of more than two miles.

Geologists say earthquakes that are 2.5 to 3.0 in magnitude are generally the smallest felt by humans.

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