The Two-Way
8:58 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Hundreds Fleeing South Sudan's Fighting Drown In Nile River

Civilians who fled the recent fighting stack their belongings up outside the gate of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan compound, in the provincial capital of Bentiu, west of Malakal, on Sunday.
Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin AP

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 4:34 pm

At least 200 refugees, mostly women and children, have drowned in South Sudan after a ferry sank as they were trying to cross the Nile River to escape fighting near the northern town of Malakal.

Army spokesman Col. Philip Aguer said the group was in an "overloaded" boat. The New York Times, which places the number of dead at between 200 and 300, reports that it is the worst such ferry accident to date as tens of thousands of residents have sought refuge.

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State Capitol
8:43 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Pardon, Parole Board Hopes To Move Clemency Hearings To McAlester

The Pardon and Parole Board hopes a new Department of Corrections executive director will be receptive to their request to move clemency hearings to the Oklahoma State Penitentiary.

Interim Executive Director Tracy George reported Monday she recently had discussed the idea of moving the hearings from the Kate Barnard Community Corrections Center in Oklahoma City to the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. Death row inmates are housed and executed at the maximum security facility in McAlester.

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The Two-Way
6:51 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Congress Poised To Pass $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill

Jonathan Ernst Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 7:24 am

The House is expected to vote Wednesday on a $1.1 trillion spending bill that would fund the federal government into October and bring to an end, for now at least, the bitter partisan battles that have led to one government shutdown and threatened to push the U.S. into defaulting on its bills.

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Shots - Health News
6:28 am
Tue January 14, 2014

California Hospital Workers Pitch Obamacare To ER Patients

O'Connor Hospital in San Jose, Calif., is encouraging uninsured patients to sign up for coverage in the emergency room.
Sarah Varney for NPR

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 10:10 am

Angela Felan is sitting in the ER waiting room at O'Connor Hospital in San Jose, Calif. A blue surgical mask covers her nose and mouth, and a sweatshirt is pulled snug over her head.

She first came into the emergency room a few days ago with what she thought was bronchitis. The doctor prescribed an inhaler that cost her $56.

Felan, 31, works part time in retail and hasn't had insurance for at least a decade because she hasn't been able to afford it. "Unfortunately even not having insurance is just as expensive," she says.

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Two Death Row Inmates Exhausted All Appeals
6:20 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Attorney General Pruitt Wants Execution Dates Set

Credit Flickr.com

Attorney General Scott Pruitt is seeking execution dates for two Oklahoma death row inmates who have exhausted their state and federal appeals.

Pruitt's office on Monday asked the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to set execution dates for 46-year-old Charles Warner and 38-year-old Clayton Lockett.

Warner received the death penalty for the 1997 killing in Oklahoma City of 11-month-old Adriana Waller, the daughter of Warner's girlfriend.

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Houser Would Have Been 100 Years Old This Year
4:09 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Allan Houser Art Work To Be On Display Across Oklahoma

Credit cliff1066 / Flickr.com

Statues, paintings and other artwork from famed Chiricahua Apache artist Allan Houser will be on display across the state this year, including five monumental-sized sculptures that are being installed at the state Capitol this week.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
2:52 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Most County Commissioners Expected To Support Rock And Gravel Tax Proposal

An Oklahoma gravel pit.
Credit photoFlounder / Flickr Creative Commons

Lawmakers in limestone-rich south-central Oklahoma have, for years, pushed for a new tax on companies mining for rock and sand.

Those efforts have failed, but the fight will be revived in the 2014 legislative session. Johnston County Commissioners have formally endorsed an organization that will lobby for a tax on sand, silica, gravel and other aggregates, The Oklahoman‘s Adam Wilmoth reports:

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Indian Times
2:16 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Review Of Last Week’s Top Stories In Oklahoma’s Indian Country

Credit Susan Shannon

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma has been selected as one of the first five organizations in the nation to test a new anti-poverty program to improve life in chronically poor areas. The tribe will create a “Promise Zone” in an economically challenged area in southeastern Oklahoma and use community groups, businesses and schools to focus on specific education and economic development goals.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
1:33 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Accidents Rising, But State Law On Digging Near Pipelines Unenforced And ‘Riddled’ With Exemptions

Signs warn excavators to call before digging near underground pipelines, but many entities are exempted from such rules. And no state agency has the authority to punish those who cause digging-related pipeline accidents.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Most pipeline accidents in Oklahoma are caused by digging, and the state’s rate of digging-related pipeline accidents — which have resulted in eight deaths and 10 injuries — is on the rise.

But Oklahoma’s pipeline law is “riddled with exemptions and lacks an enforcement mechanism,” which could mean intervention from the federal government, The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies reports:

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StateImpact Oklahoma
12:46 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Oklahoma’s ‘Slow But Steady’ Transition To CNG-Powered Government Vehicles

Gov. Mary Fallin at a March 2013 press conference in the parking lot of the capitol, which marked the delivery of CNG-powered Dodge Ram pickups for the state's fleet.
Credit Provided / Gov. Mary Fallin's Office

“Oklahomans talk a good game when it comes to compressed natural-gas powered vehicles,” the Tulsa World‘s Randy Krehbiel writes.

Gov. Mary Fallin has been particularly aggressive in pursuing CNG vehicles, and joined with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper in a well-publicized effort to pressure major car manufacturers to make more CNG-powered models.

So how much progress are Oklahoma governments making on converting fleets to CNG vehicles?

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