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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The Two-Way
8:13 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Slowly, Water Is Flowing Again In West Virginia

On Saturday in South Charleston, W.Va., Cathy Mabe was one of many who came to get water from a temporary filling station.
Lisa Hechesky Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 7:20 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': Ashton Marra reports from West Virginia

Relief is finally arriving for the 300,000 or so people in nine West Virginia counties who haven't been able to drink, cook or clean with their tap water for more than four days.

Officials announced at noon Monday that tests show the level of a potentially harmful chemical have fallen to the point where the water can be turned back on. But, they cautioned that the process of bringing customers back on line will take several days and has to be done systematically.

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Economy
7:32 am
Mon January 13, 2014

What Does Living In Poverty Really Mean?

Elba Salsado walks with her groceries after receiving them from a food bank in Miami.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 11:18 am

Financial writer Tim Harford, author of the new book The Undercover Economist Strikes Back, says the poverty line for a single American in 2012 was $30.52 per day. But Harford, talking with NPR's David Greene, says it's also about how people view themselves and how they're viewed by other people.


Interview Highlights

On defining and measuring poverty

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:30 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Program Assists Plaza Towers, Briarwood Elementary Students Through Therapeutic Art

Credit Art Feeds

Meg Bourne is the founder of Art Feeds, a non-profit organization based in Joplin, Missouri, which expanded to trauma therapy after an F5 tornado swept through her city in 2011. 

She remembers seeing the media coverage from Oklahoma and thinking it was all too familiar. 

“On the day of the disaster, it really resonated with us watching all these news stories because it looked exactly like Joplin and what we had experienced in Joplin, and all we could think was, ‘How do we get to those kids?’” she said.

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All Tech Considered
5:41 pm
Sun January 12, 2014

Internet In America: An On Again, Off Again Relationship

Comcast is the largest cable company and home Internet service provider in the United States. A recent survey found that many Americans give Internet service providers low marks for satisfaction.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 5:50 pm

The American Customer Satisfaction Index surveys large swaths of consumers about various industries. And in last year's survey, Americans rated Internet service providers at the very bottom for satisfaction. That puts them below the postal service, health insurance and even airlines.

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Latin America
2:13 pm
Sun January 12, 2014

Four Years After Earthquake, Many In Haiti Remain Displaced

Boys at a camp for earthquake victims look out from their shelter in Petion-ville, Haiti, outside of Port-au-Prince in November.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 10:41 am

Four years ago Sunday, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti, destroying its capital of Port-au-Prince and killing more than 200,000 people.

Today, much of Port-au-Prince looks like it did before the quake. Most of the tent camps in the city itself are gone, and streets are loaded with overcrowded buses and women selling vegetables.

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Movie Interviews
8:39 am
Sun January 12, 2014

'Osage' Hits Close To Home For Writer Tracy Letts

From left, Meryl Streep, Julianne Nicholson and Juliette Lewis star in August: Osage County.
Claire Folger The Weinstein Company

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 11:53 am

The movie August: Osage County has just opened, with its all-star cast.

Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch and more play various members of the Weston clan. They converge on their Oklahoma home when the patriarch, Beverly, who is a poet somewhat past his rhymes, goes missing.

His wife, Violet, gobbles pills, some of which are for the pain of mouth cancer and some of which are just because.

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Manager's Desk
6:00 am
Sun January 12, 2014

Legislative Coverage Plans By KGOU And StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma State Capitol
Credit Katsrcool / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma legislative session starts soon, and both KGOU and StateImpact Oklahoma plan to report on a variety of issues.

To start, KGOU covers Gov. Mary Fallin’s State of the State address, scheduled for Monday, February 3, that will outline her legislative priorities.

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The Two-Way
7:20 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon Dies At 85

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2001.
Philippe Desmazes AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 1:21 pm

Ariel Sharon, the former prime minister of Israel, has died, Shlomo Noy, the director of the Sheba Medical Center, where Sharon was being treated, said during a televised press conference.

The AP reports that during earlier statements, Sharon's son Gilad Sharon said, "He has gone. He went when he decided to go."

Haaretz reports that Sharon died Saturday after spending eight years in a coma.

He was 85.

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Wants To Avoid Appearance Of Impropriety
6:48 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

First Gentleman Will Not Practice Law Before New Commission

Credit Scott* / Flickr.com

Gov. Mary Fallin's husband says he will not practice before the new workers' compensation commission to avoid any appearance of impropriety.

First Gentleman Wade Christensen announced Friday that he will continue to represent several hundred clients whose cases are pending with the current workers' compensation court system.

But Fallin signed a bill last session to convert the current court-based system to an administrative system overseen by a three-member commission appointed by the governor.

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5:34 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Oklahoma’s Insane Opposition To Prison Reform

Lead in text: 
Decisions made in Gov. Mary Fallin's office that led to the dismantling of legislation intended to reduce Oklahoma's prison population is getting national attention.
What do you get in Oklahoma when you mix visceral disdain for President Obama, instinctual loathing for prison reform advocates, and an unrestrained fear of a Tea Party insurgency? You get the quick demise of a perfectly sensible series of laws designed to help save taxpayer money by easing the state's burgeoning prison crisis.

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