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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Drought
3:38 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Frustrations And Rumors Bubble To The Surface As Lake Texoma Waters Retreat

Credit The Italian Voice / Flickr Creative Commons

Lake Texoma’s level was about 609 feetlast week, down from 612 feet two months ago. The lake can only be used for hydropower until levels drop to 590 feet.

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Shots - Health News
2:25 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Preventive Medical Care Can Come With Unexpected Costs

Insurers still charge copays for some contraceptives.
Laura Garca iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 3:42 pm

Preventive health care services are supposed to be covered under the Affordable Care Act so that people don't have to pay out of pocket to get recommended screening tests. But some people are discovering that these supposedly free services can be costly.

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Oklahoma News
2:18 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Hearing Delayed In Case Over Oklahoma Veterans' Deaths

Claremore Veterans Center
Credit ok.gov/odva / Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs

The preliminary hearing has again been delayed for a former physician assistant charged in the deaths of two patients at the Claremore Veterans Center.

Kenneth Adams was due in court Tuesday for a preliminary hearing, but the case has been delayed until March 11-12.

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U.S. House
1:29 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Iraq War Vet To Seek GOP Nod In Oklahoma 5th District

State Sen. Steve Russell, joined by fellow senators, voices his concerns with a hard cap tort reform bill - April 5, 2011.
Credit Provided / Oklahoma Senate

A retired Army lieutenant colonel who served in the Oklahoma state Senate is the latest Republican to join the race for the U.S. House seat being vacated by two-term Republican Rep. James Lankford.

Steve Russell told The Associated Press Tuesday that he's "definitely in" the race.

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Native American
12:49 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Osage Nation Chief Red Eagle Removed From Office

Former Osage Nation Principal Chief John Red Eagle.
Credit Provided / Osage Nation

The Osage Nation has been removed its Principal Chief from office.

The Tulsa World reports the Osage Nation Congress voted this morning to remove John Red Eagle after a trial sustained five of the six counts he was being tried on.

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U.S. House
11:10 am
Tue January 21, 2014

GOP Corporation Commissioner Enters U.S. House Race

Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas served as Edmond's mayor from 2009-2011.
Credit Commissioner Patrice Douglas / Facebook

Republican Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas says she's running for the open U.S. House seat being vacated by two-term Rep. James Lankford.

Douglas says she's "thrilled with the opportunity" to run for the seat representing Oklahoma's 5th Congressional District. The 51-year-old said she wants to "take a business sense to Washington."

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The Two-Way
8:38 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Hunt Is On For At Least One 'Black Widow' In Sochi

Police in Sochi have distributed leaflets as they search for Ruzanna Ibragimova, an alleged "black widow" who may be intending to set off a suicide bomb at the site of next month's Winter Olympics.
Natalya Vasilyeva AP

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 10:22 am

Is there already one or more "black widow" in or near Sochi, Russia, who might be determined to set off a suicide bomb at the site of next month's Winter Olympics?

NPR's Corey Flintoff reports from Moscow that Russian security forces are said to be looking for "Ruzanna Ibragimova, the 22-year-old widow of an Islamist militant who was killed by security forces."

He tells our Newscast Desk that according to Russian news outlets:

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State Capitol
8:00 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Oklahoma Budget Briefings To Focus On Cuts

Credit ana branca / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma legislators will begin budget briefings with various state agencies amid projections they will have about $170 million less to spend on state programs this year.

Members of House and Senate budget subcommittees will begin hearing presentations on Tuesday at the state Capitol.

State Sen. Kim David chairs the subcommittee that oversees funding for health and human services. She and her counterpart on the House subcommittee will meet with officials from nearly a dozen state agencies over the next two days.

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Oklahoma News
7:07 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Aging Black Rhino Dies At OKC Zoo

Marsha "paints" a picture at the Oklahoma City Zoo. The aging black rhinoceros died Sunday during a medical examination.
Credit Oklahoma City Zoo

The Oklahoma City Zoo says an aging black rhinoceros died during a medical exam.

The zoo says 32-year-old Marsha had become lethargic with a decreased appetite, so staff members decided to perform an exam. The zoo says Marsha died during the examination Sunday morning.

Preliminary reports from a necropsy indicate that Marsha likely fell ill because of age-related issues. The zoo says the combined median age of male and female black rhinos is 17.8 years.

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Code Switch
6:55 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Poll Focuses On Views From A Wide Array Of Latino Americans

Walter Olivares

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 11:14 am

You've probably heard a lot about "the Latino voter" or the way companies are trying to win over "the Latino consumer."

It's a cliché to point out that Latinos, like every other ethnic group, are not monolithic. But let's say it one more time, anyway: Latinos are not monolithic.

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