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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U.S. House
5:15 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Another Runner For Lankford's Seat

Credit Oklahoma State Legislature

Republican state Sen. Clark Jolley says he's running for the 5th District U.S. House seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. James Lankford.

Jolley told The Associated Press on Thursday ahead of a formal announcement that he's running to be a "strong conservative voice in Washington." He gets to keep his state Senate seat since he's in the middle of a four-year term.

Jolley announced his bid at a press conference in Oklahoma City.

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U.S. Senate
1:45 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Oklahoma First District Rep. Bridenstine Mum On Senate Run

U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Tulsa) speaks to attendees Wednesday at a congressional forum in Broken Arrow.
Credit Matt Trotter / KWGS Public Radio Tulsa

U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla. 01) visited Broken Arrow Wednesday amid buzz over who will run for U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn's seat, but the congressman did not make any announcements.

The visit was for a congressional forum hosted by the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce. Bridenstine said the visit is part of his efforts to regularly get in touch with constituents. 

Bridenstine is, however, looking at his options.

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State Capitol
12:33 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Fallin Announces New Oklahoma Energy Savings Program

Gov. Mary Fallin announces the "20%x2020" energy plan Wednesday in Oklahoma City.
Credit Governor Mary Fallin / Facebook

Gov. Mary Fallin has announced a new statewide energy savings program intended to reduce energy use in state buildings.

Fallin said Wednesday that the program called 20 percent by 2020 (20%x2020) seeks to reduce energy use in state agency buildings by 20 percent by the year 2020.

Under the program, each agency will designate energy managers who will identify and implement ways to reduce energy use within their agencies.

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The Two-Way
11:39 am
Thu January 23, 2014

In Ukraine, Protesters Warn They'll Go 'On The Attack'

A protester walks pass burning tires in central Kiev, Ukraine, on Thursday.
Sergei Grits AP

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 7:24 pm

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has less than 24 hours to agree to hold early elections and lift anti-protest laws or the tens of thousands of demonstrators who have been in the streets of Kiev for days will go "on the attack," a leader of the opposition says.

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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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