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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StateImpact Oklahoma
11:22 am
Thu January 23, 2014

With Keystone Pipeline Online, Analysts Expect it To Help Bust Oklahoma’s Oil Glut

A worker inspects a segment of the Keystone Pipeline before it's lowered into a trench near Stroud, Okla.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Obama administration still hasn’t decided whether to move forward with the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, which has been stuck in environmental impact study limbo for almost two years.

But the southernmost section of the controversial pipeline, which put Oklahoma in the middle of a debate about energy, environment and economics, is now operational.

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OneSix8
10:30 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Entertaining The Hours Of Your Week With German Architecture, Mexican Film, And Folk Music

An example of Bauhaus architecture, the Zeche/colliery "Zollverein" in Essen, Germany,
Credit wwwuppertal / Flickr Creative Commons

An architecture exhibition on world-wide tour stops in Bartlesville Friday, January 24. The Price Tower Arts Center opens Bauhaus Twenty-21: An Ongoing Legacy. The exhibit explores a pervasive 20th century architectural movement that originated from the internationally renowned Bauhaus School of Fine Arts in Zagreb, Germany.

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Politics and Government
9:48 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Bingman Considers Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Run

Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman addresses the chamber after his re-election to the post, January 9, 2013.
Credit Oklahoma Senate

Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman says he's considering whether to leave his Senate seat to run for a vacancy on the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

Bingman said in a statement Wednesday that he was honored to be mentioned as a potential candidate and plans to discuss with his family the possibility of entering the race.

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9:21 am
Thu January 23, 2014

VIDEO: Will Talks Yield Any Progress For Ending The Syrian War?

Lead in text: 
KGOU's "World Views" contributor Joshua Landis joined the PBS NewsHour Wednesday evening to discuss whether anything positive can come from the "Geneva II" Syrian peace talks.
Chief foreign correspondent Margaret Warner joins Gwen Ifill from Switzerland to further discuss the positions held by the opposing sides.
StateImpact Oklahoma
9:07 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Don’t (Completely) Blame the Drought For Increasing Number Of Outdoor Burn Bans

Current burn bans in Oklahoma.
Credit Oklahoma Forestry Service

11 Oklahoma counties have now issued burn bans because of high fire danger, with bans in Edmond and Oklahoma City extending indefinitely — or “until the city gets more moisture and the situation improves,” District Chief Marc Woodard told The Oklahoman:

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Oklahoma Watch
7:37 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Sex Education Varies Among Oklahoma School Districts

Credit Miraceti / Wikimedia Commons

CORRECTION: The original version of this story from Oklahoma Watch incorrectly stated that Putnam City Public Schools requires all freshman boys and girls at its three high schools who don't opt out to attend health forums about abstinence and sexually transmitted diseases. The health forums are held only at Putnam City North High School.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
6:29 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Earthquakes No Danger To Cushing Oil Hub, Energy Officials Say

A crude oil tank farm in Cushing, Okla.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Cushing oil hub is crowded with hulking oil tanks, miles of pipeline and countless pumps, compressors and other equipment used to ferry around the roughly 80 million barrels of crude stored there.

Oklahoma has experienced a swarm of earthquakes, which seismologists say might be triggered by disposal wells used by the oil and gas industry, and it’s not hard to imagine the havoc a little earth-shaking might have on the high-profile oil hub.

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It's All Politics
5:56 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Governors Gone Wild: A Recent History

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell makes a statement as his wife, Maureen, listens during a Tuesday news conference in Richmond, Va.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 11:58 pm

In the annals of corrupt governors, former Virginia GOP Gov. Bob McDonnell's place remains to be seen.

He was indicted along with his wife Tuesday for allegedly taking illegal gifts, vacations and loans while in office, but the governor says he's innocent.

Either way, in light of the allegations against McDonnell, the first governor in Virginia history to face felony charges, we thought we'd take a look back at other examples of gubernatorial bad behavior in recent decades that resulted in fines, probation or even a prison stint.

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"exploring the possibliity of running"
6:22 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Two Democrats May Run For Lankford's Seat

Representative Anastasia Pittman
Credit Oklahoma State Legislature

Two Democratic state legislators say they're considering the race for the U.S. House seat in Oklahoma City.

State Sen. Al McAffrey and Rep. Anastasia Pittman both told The Associated Press on Wednesday they are exploring the possibility of running.

The 5th District seat has been held for four years by Republican U.S. Rep. James Lankford, who said Monday he plans to run for the U.S. Senate.

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Must Be Ready By Feb. 3
5:24 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Fallin Still Working On Details Of Budget

Credit ok.gov

Republican Gov. Mary Fallin says she'll outline plans for what she calls an affordable income tax cut during next month's State of the State speech, despite a projected $170 million revenue shortfall next fiscal year.

Fallin said Wednesday the details are still being worked out, but will be included in her executive budget presented to lawmakers on Feb. 3 at the start of the legislative session.

The governor must present a balanced budget to lawmakers based on about $6.96 billion in revenues the state is expected to collect next fiscal year.

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