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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The Two-Way
7:15 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Looking To Escape The Deep Freeze? Head To Alaska

A man walks across a bridge in Trenton, N.J., on Saturday. More cold weather is headed his way.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 7:38 am

The National Weather Service is warning, once again, that brutally cold weather is going to be spreading across much of the nation, from the upper Midwest down to the deep South and up through the mid-Atlantic, Northeast and New England.

The Weather Service even throws an exclamation point into its forecast for this week:

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The Two-Way
5:35 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

Hospital In Texas Removes Life Support From Brain-Dead Woman

Timm Hobbs, along with his two sons, Keegan and Layton, were part of a group near John Peter Smith Hospital supporting the decision of JPS in the case of Marlise Munoz and her baby earlier this month.
Ben Noey Jr. MCT/Landov

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 9:08 am

A Fort Worth, Texas, woman who was 14 weeks pregnant when she was found unconscious and brain-dead after suffering a pulmonary embolism, has been taken off life support after a weeks-long court battle by the hospital to keep the ventilator on.

A ventilator that had kept Marlise Munoz's heart and lungs functioning for two months was switched off at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, a family attorney said.

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The Two-Way
11:54 am
Sun January 26, 2014

McCain's 'Liberal' Record Earns Him Censure From Arizona GOP

Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this week. His state's GOP leadership has censured him for his "disastrous" record.
Ruben Sprich Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sun January 26, 2014 10:09 am

Arizona Sen. John McCain has gone soft when it comes to conservative principles. That's according to his state's Republican Party, who sent the former presidential candidate a message on Saturday by voting to censure him for his 'liberal' voting record.

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The Two-Way
8:33 am
Sun January 26, 2014

5 Things To Know About The Grammy Awards Show

Jay-Z performs during his Magna Carta World Tour at Connecticut's Mohegan Sun Arena earlier this month. Jay Z has nine nominations at this year's Grammys.
Anthony Nesmith CSM /Landov

Originally published on Sun January 26, 2014 1:27 pm

The 56th annual Grammy Awards will air Sunday on CBS beginning at 8 p.m. ET. The Los Angeles Times says:

"[The] Grammy Awards show is chock-full of star-studded performances. And like every year, the performances are all about the collaborations.

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Indian Times
2:20 pm
Sat January 25, 2014

Native Americans Are The Most Stalked Group

Credit Susan Shannon

January is National Stalking Awareness Month. Stalking is a crime, and the most stalked group of people is Native Americans.

The National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center at the University of Missouri at St. Louis defines stalking as "the willful, malicious, and repeated following and harassing of another person that threatens his or her safety."

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Politics
12:10 pm
Sat January 25, 2014

Eyes On 2016, GOP Revisits The Rebranding

Mike Huckabee, left, sits with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus before Huckabee spoke at the Republican National Committee winter meeting in Washington on Thursday,
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 11:14 am

Republican Party leaders gathered in Washington this week for their annual winter meetings. They approved new rules for the 2016 presidential primaries designed to create a more orderly path to the GOP nomination — and, the party hopes, to the White House.

But this week's meeting also provided an opportunity to see how far Republicans have come in an effort begun a year ago to reach out to new voters — especially young people, minorities and women.

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Around the Nation
8:15 am
Sat January 25, 2014

String Of Oil Train Crashes Prompts Push For Safety Rules

A fireball goes up at the site of an oil train derailment in Casselton, N.D., in December.
Bruce Crummy AP

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 6:29 pm

The National Transportation Safety Board is calling for the swift enactment of tough new standards on trains carrying crude oil. And in an unprecedented move, the NTSB made its recommendations jointly with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

With the huge increase in oil shipped by train across North America, the agencies warn another major disaster could be looming.

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64% Of Oklahoma Remains In Drought
6:30 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Fallin Says Keep Up Water Conservation Practices

Credit duggar11 / Flickr.com

Gov. Mary Fallin says Oklahomans should implement water conservation practices as drought and dry conditions continue in the state.

The U.S. Drought Monitor says more than 64 percent of Oklahoma remains in a drought. Those conditions will affect water availability throughout the state, particularly in southwestern Oklahoma where sustained, exceptionally dry conditions have led to record low lake levels along the Red River.

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Former Governor "Exploring All Options"
6:20 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

The Return Of Frank Keating?

Senate Chamber
Credit Marion Doss / Flickr.com

 A spokesman for the American Bankers Association says former Okla. Gov. Frank Keating is "exploring all options" with respect to a possible run at Oklahoma's open U.S. Senate seat.

Spokesman John Hall released a statement Friday indicating Keating will "make a decision soon." Keating is the president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based American Bankers Association. Hall said Keating was not available for comment.

The 69-year-old Republican served two terms as Oklahoma's governor from 1994 to 2002.

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BancFirst Of Oklahoma City Will Take Responsiblity
5:12 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

The Bank Of Union Closed

Credit Alina Sofia / Flickr.com

Regulators have closed a small lender in Oklahoma, the second U.S. bank failure of 2014 after 24 closures last year.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Friday that it has taken over The Bank of Union. BancFirst, based in Oklahoma City, has agreed to assume Bank of Union's deposits and to buy $225.5 million of the failed bank's assets.

Bank of Union has one branch in Oklahoma City and another one about 30 miles away in El Reno, Okla. It had $331.4 million in assets and $328.8 million in deposits as of Sept. 30.

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