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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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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StateImpact Oklahoma
7:32 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Lake Texoma Residents Say They Don’t Want To Hoard Water, But Feel Ignored

Lake Texoma's Denison Dam.
Credit Robert Nunnally / Flickr Creative Commons

Lake Texoma is really feeling the effects of the ongoing drought. Water levels have been dropping, many boat ramps lead to dirt, and some slips are grounded.

That reduces the number of people using the lake for recreation, and hurts the economy of a part of Oklahoma very much dependent on tourism.

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The Two-Way
5:54 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Pete Seeger, Folk Music Icon And Activist, Dies At 94

Pete Seeger closes out the 2011 Newport Folk Festival.
Anna Webber WireImage

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 10:00 am

  • On 'Morning Edition': A look back at Pete Seeger's life, from former NPR newscaster Paul Brown

Pete Seeger, "a tireless campaigner for his own vision of a utopia marked by peace and togetherness," died Monday at the age of 94.

As former NPR broadcaster Paul Brown adds in an appreciation he prepared for Morning Edition, Seeger's tools "were his songs, his voice, his enthusiasm and his musical instruments."

The songs he'll be long remembered for include "If I Had a Hammer," "Turn, Turn, Turn" and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone."

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Politics
2:42 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Brothers Levin Near The End Of A 32-Year Congressional Partnership

Sen. Carl Levin (left) huddles with his brother and fellow Michigan Democrat, Rep. Sandy Levin, during testimony on the automotive industry bailout in 2008.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 12:57 pm

During President Obama's speech Tuesday night, Sen. Carl Levin will be doing what he's done at every State of the Union for decades: sitting with his older brother and fellow Michigan Democrat Rep. Sandy Levin.

No two siblings in the nation's history have served longer than the 32 years the brothers Levin have been together in Congress. Both have held powerful committee chairmanships.

But this will be their last State of the Union together. Carl, who was first elected to Congress four years before his brother, has decided to retire at the end of the year.

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Coburn's Empty Senate Seat
6:17 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Corn And Keating Withdraw Names From Candidacy

Credit sboneham / Flickr.com

Former state Sen. Kenneth Corn is the latest to withdraw his name as a potential Democratic candidate for Oklahoma's U.S. Senate seat that is being vacated by Sen. Tom Coburn.

Corn said in a statement he decided not to seek public office "at this given time."

The 37-year-old from Poteau says he's particularly concerned the race for the open U.S. Senate seat will be heavily influenced by special interest groups and "power brokers from outside of Oklahoma."

Former Republican Gov. Frank Keating also announced Monday he wouldn't seek the post.

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Fire Chief Gary Bird
5:13 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Moore Fire Chief To Be At Annual State Of The Union Address

Fire Chief Gary Bird
Credit Moore Fire Department

Moore Fire Chief Gary Bird will be among the guests who sit with first lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday when President Barack Obama delivers the annual State of the Union address.

Bird and his team worked through the path of the May 2013 tornado to rescue survivors. The tornado killed 25 people and destroyed more than 1,000 homes and businesses.

Bird and his team searched every damaged home at least once for survivors, and his goal was to conduct three searches of each building.

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