The Two-Way
9:45 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Weekly Jobless Claims Dip; Will Unemployment Rate Do The Same?

The scene at a Hiring Our Heroes job fair for veterans last month in Washington, D.C.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 9:48 am

There were 331,000 first-time claims filed for unemployment insurance last week, down 20,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

That's yet another report showing that claims remain in a range where they've been running since late 2011. What does that indicate? As we've said before:

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Tornado
9:44 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Texas, Oklahoma Top Nation's Tornado Numbers

The May 19, 2013 tornado that hit parts of Edmond, Okla.
Credit Mike Prendergast / SkyWatcherMedia.com

Texas and Oklahoma led the nation in the number of tornadoes last year. Oklahoma's 79 was well above the state's average of 57.

Greg Carbin, the warning coordination meteorologist with the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, told the Tulsa World newspaper the national total of 898 tornadoes was well below normal, which is about 1,000.

Florida, Kansas and Texas typically each have more tornadoes per year than Oklahoma. Texas had 81 last year.

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The Edge
8:50 am
Thu February 6, 2014

How To Watch All Of The Games: Step 1, Prove Yourself Worthy

Rebecca Torr of New Zealand competed Thursday in the women's slopestyle qualification at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Mike Ehrmann Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 1:14 pm

Now that the Winter Games have begun, it's time to remind fans in the U.S. about how to watch them.

As NPR TV critic Eric Deggans said earlier this week:

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StateImpact Oklahoma
8:17 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Mining Companies Might Find It’s Not Impossible To Raise Taxes In Oklahoma

Piles of crushed limestone along railroad tracks near Mill Creek, Okla.
Credit Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Last week, StateImpact reported on what the passage of State Question 640 in 1992 did to tax policy in Oklahoma.

“You need to have a supermajority in the House and the Senate and the governor has to sign it,” Alexander Holmes, a Regent’s Professor of Economics at the University of Oklahoma, said. “I’m still betting that if you reduce the taxes, you can never make them go up again.”

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Rep. Jason Nelson Withdraws
6:18 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

One Republican Down, Two Left In Race For Speaker Of The House

Rep. Jason Nelson
Credit Oklahoma State House of Representatives

A Republican House member from Oklahoma City says he's withdrawing from the race to become the next speaker of the House.

Rep. Jason Nelson said Wednesday he is no longer in the running to replace T.W. Shannon as the next speaker. Shannon resigned from his position on Tuesday to focus his attention on his race for the U.S. Senate.

Nelson's withdrawal leaves Republican Reps. Jeff Hickman of Dacoma and Mike Jackson of Enid in the race for one of the most powerful positions in state government.

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Judge Rejects Probation Request
4:59 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Police Captain Sentenced To Four Years In Prison

Credit Del City Police Department

A former Oklahoma police captain convicted of manslaughter in the shooting death of a teenager has been sentenced to four years in prison.

District Judge Donald Deason sentenced former Del City Police Capt. Randy Trent Harrison on Wednesday. Jurors had recommended the four-year sentence and Deason rejected a defense request for probation.

An Oklahoma County jury convicted Harrison for the March 14, 2012, shooting death of Dane Scott Jr. Scott was shot in the back following a high-speed chase that began when Harrison tried to pull over Scott's car.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
3:57 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

How Oklahoma’s Grassland Will Help U.S. Farmers And Foresters React To Climate Change

In an experimental pasture at the Grazinglands Research Laboratory near El Reno, Okla., ecologist Brian Northup collects samples to describe availability and quality of forage.
Credit Stephen Ausmus / U.S. Department of Agriculture

The federal government will use a grassland laboratory near El Reno to research the regional effects of climate change for U.S. farmers, ranchers and foresters, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday.

The Grazinglands Research Laboratory was picked to be one of the country’s seven “climate hubs,” where federal and state agencies, university scientists and other researchers will generate data to help landowners “adapt and adjust their resource management,” federal officials said in a statement.

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Here & Now
2:32 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Explains New ‘Climate Hubs’

Credit The Italian Voice / Flickr Creative Commons

The Obama administration is proposing today to create seven regional “climate hubs” with the goal of helping farmers and rural communities combat the most serious effects of climate change: drought, floods, pests and fires.

The move is taking place by executive action and will not go to Congress for approval. The hubs will represent a broad swath of the country’s rural regions and will include Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon and New Mexico.

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Business and Economy
1:28 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Unemployment Rises In 64 Of 77 Oklahoma Counties

Credit Kate Hiscock / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission reports that the jobless rate rose in 64 of the state's 77 counties from November to December.

The commission said Wednesday that the highest rates are in southeastern Oklahoma where Latimer County has a 9.2 percent jobless figure, McCurtain County an 8.2 percent rate and Hughes County is at 8.1 percent.

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Oklahoma News
12:12 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

ODOT: Fix To Cleveland County Bridge May Take Months

Credit J. Stephen Conn / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation says a damaged bridge in Cleveland County will likely remain closed for several months, creating commuting nightmares for residents of Purcell and Lexington.

The James C. Nance bridge over the Canadian River connecting Lexington to Purcell was closed last week after the discovery of several cracks in the truss beams.

Department officials told the Oklahoma Transportation Commission this week that the repairs could take several months.

The closure isn't welcome news to many residents of Purcell and Lexington.

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