Special Report: Auditing The Disaster Aid For 2013 Tornadoes And Storms

Federal public-assistance funds are paying for the rebuilding of Plaza Towers Elementary School, in which seven children died in the May 20, 2013, tornado. The school is expected to open next month.
Clifton Adcock Oklahoma Watch

The tornadoes and storms that devastated Oklahoma and killed 34 last year triggered the release of tens of millions of dollars in federal and state aid that will keep flowing for years.

To date, the federal government has approved up to $257 million in disaster assistance of various kinds to help re build damage and help victims of the winds and flooding that struck between May 18 and June 2, 2013, and to mitigate future risks.

The state has contributed an additional $10.5 million, and private insurers are paying about $1.1 billion. Charities also have pumped in aid.

The relief aid stemming from Disaster No. 4117, as it is called by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is arriving through several channels, heading ultimately to state and local agencies, contractors, businesses and individuals.

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The Two-Way
8:01 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Decrying Washington Stalemate, Obama Calls For 'Year Of Action'

A woman bundled against the cold walks past the U.S. Capitol dome prior to President Obama's State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 1:00 pm

With the country slowly digging itself out of recession, some of his legislative priorities buried under Washington's partisanship and his approval ratings at some of their lowest levels, President Obama called for "a year of action" during his fifth State of the Union address on Tuesday.

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Eric McCray's First Time In Political Arena
6:20 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Oklahoma City Businessman Plans Run For Senate

Credit DonkeyHotey / Flickr.com

A Republican Oklahoma City businessman says he plans to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Tom Coburn.

Eric McCray told The Associated Press on Tuesday he's running to "bring a message to Washington."

The 33-year-old contractor for McCray and Sons Heat & Air says this is the first time he's run for office.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
3:27 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Deal Struck to Avoid New Border Dispute Between Oklahoma And Texas

Credit James Rintamaki / Flickr Creative Commons

Determining exactly where the border between Oklahoma and Texas is along the Red River has been a touchy subject for more than a century.

And when it was discovered that one of the pumps that provides water to the North Texas Municipal Water District was actually it Oklahoma, it was shut down, as Texas Gov. Rick Perry called for negotiations.

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The Fresh Air Interview
2:17 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Pete Seeger Remembers Guthrie, Hopping Trains And Sharing Songs

Pete Seeger.
Joe Kohen WireImage

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 1:48 pm

Pete Seeger believed songs were a way of binding people to a cause. He popularized "This Land is Your Land" and "We Shall Overcome" and wrote "If I Had a Hammer." In 1940s, he co-founded The Weavers, who surprised everyone, including themselves, when they became the first group to bring folk music to the pop charts — until they were black listed. Seeger refused to answer questions about his politics when he appeared before House Un-American Activities committee in 1955.

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U.S. Senate
12:43 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

UPDATE: Oklahoma Speaker Formally Announces Senate Candidacy

Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon (R-Lawton) speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.
Credit Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Updated January 29, 2014 at 1:48 p.m.

Oklahoma's Republican House Speaker T.W. Shannon officially kicked off his U.S. Senate campign at the Tulsa Historical Society Wednesday morning, criticizing Washington for what he says is a failure to effectively address the national debt.

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Shots - Health News
11:50 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Key Senate Republicans Offer Their Plan To Replace Obamacare

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., is one of the sponsors of a Republican proposal to rewrite the Affordable Care Act.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 8:41 am

Republicans have offered a wide array of proposals to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act since it became law in 2010. But few have come with the pedigree of the plan just unveiled by a trio of senior Senate Republicans.

The Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility and Empowerment Act, or CARE for short, is a proposal being floated by Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C., Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Tom Coburn, R-Okla.

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It's All Politics
10:19 am
Tue January 28, 2014

5 Things To Expect In Obama's State Of The Union Address

President Obama gestures to Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner before giving his 2013 State of the Union address.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 1:35 pm

As President Obama prepares to deliver his State of the Union speech Tuesday evening, he does it against a backdrop of some of the lowest voter-approval ratings of his presidency, with a divided Congress that has largely stalled his second-term agenda and with Washington's collective focus starting to shift toward the midterm elections and beyond.

Here are five things to expect from the president in his fifth State of the Union speech:

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9:03 am
Tue January 28, 2014

More Signs Point To U.S. Senate Run By Shannon

Lead in text: 
Video crews in Lawton and removal of framed photos from the state Capitol all increase speculation that state House Speaker T.W. Shannon (R-Lawton) may want to fill U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn's soon-to-be vacant seat.
The Journal-Record reports House Speaker T.W. Shannon is doing things that make it more likely he will run for U.S. Tom Coburn's seat. Shannon, according to a source, spent the weekend in Lawton shooting footage for a TV commercial. Members of Shannon's staff were also seen taking framed photos of the Speaker out of the state Capitol.
Corrections
8:58 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Oklahoma Won't Review Execution Drugs Despite Inmate Complaints

The main gate at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., home of the state's death row.
Credit duggar11 / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma officials say they have no plans to review the state's execution protocol after two inmates given lethal injections this month made complaints as the drugs began to flow through their bodies.

Michael Lee Wilson, who was executed Jan. 9, said he felt his "whole body burning" within 20 seconds of receiving the injection. Kenneth Eugene Hogan, who was executed Thursday, complained of a metallic taste in his mouth after his injection.

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State Dept. of Education
8:21 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Former State Education Board Member Enters Oklahoma Superintendent Race

Joy Hofmeister
Credit Joy Hofmeister

A Republican businesswoman from Tulsa says she will take on State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi in the GOP primary in June.

Joy Hofmeister officially announced her candidacy Monday at the Tulsa Press Club.

An appointee of Gov. Mary Fallin to the State Board of Education, Hofmeister resigned her post last year to explore a potential run against Barresi. At least 20 Republican legislators have publicly endorsed Hofmeister's campaign.

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