Special Report: Auditing The Disaster Aid For 2013 Tornadoes And Storms

Federal public-assistance funds are paying for the rebuilding of Plaza Towers Elementary School, in which seven children died in the May 20, 2013, tornado. The school is expected to open next month.
Clifton Adcock Oklahoma Watch

The tornadoes and storms that devastated Oklahoma and killed 34 last year triggered the release of tens of millions of dollars in federal and state aid that will keep flowing for years.

To date, the federal government has approved up to $257 million in disaster assistance of various kinds to help re build damage and help victims of the winds and flooding that struck between May 18 and June 2, 2013, and to mitigate future risks.

The state has contributed an additional $10.5 million, and private insurers are paying about $1.1 billion. Charities also have pumped in aid.

The relief aid stemming from Disaster No. 4117, as it is called by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is arriving through several channels, heading ultimately to state and local agencies, contractors, businesses and individuals.

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All Tech Considered
1:55 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Government Tech Problems: Blame The People Or The Process?

HealthCare.gov's failures are prompting a closer look at the federal government's out-of-date technology.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 2:37 pm

Thanks to epic problems with HealthCare.gov's rollout, the federal government's out-of-date technology processes have received more attention than most of us could have expected. The main doorway for millions of Americans to get health insurance was unusable for two months, but that screw-up is just one in a long line of government IT failures.

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Code Switch
1:15 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

States May Recognize Same-Sex Marriages, But Navajo Nation Won't

The Navajo Nation prohibits marriage between persons of the same sex, and critics are now challenging that ban.
dbking/flickr

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 4:13 pm

The Navajo Nation has prohibited same-sex marriage since 2005, when the Diné Marriage Act was passed. Now, critics are challenging that ban.

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Business and Economy
12:48 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Criticizes OSHA Digital Reporting

Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello
Credit Provided / Oklahoma Department of Labor/ok.gov

Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello testified Thursday before the U.S. Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration  against a proposed federal regulation made by OSHA.

The proposal would require U.S. businesses to electronically submit workplace injury and illness reports to OSHA so the information could be posted online.

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Washington
11:38 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Oklahoma Senator Coburn Testifies About Government Waste

U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) testifies before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Thursday.
Credit U.S. House of Representatives / Library of Congress

U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) testified Thursday morning before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

He discussed his annual oversight report during the "Waste in Government: What's Being Done?" hearing chaired by California Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)

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State Capitol
10:02 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Lawmaker Authors Bill For More Monuments In Oklahoma

State Rep. John Bennett (R-Sallisaw)
Credit Provided / Oklahoma House of Representatives

An eastern Oklahoma legislator is pushing a bill that would allow for more Ten Commandments monuments on public grounds and buildings.

The bill filed this week by Sallisaw Republican Rep. John Bennett authorizes schools, cities and counties to display monuments or memorials dedicated to "historical documents."

The bill specifically references the Ten Commandments, U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights and Magna Carta, among others.

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Health
8:55 am
Thu January 9, 2014

License Hearing For Tulsa Dentist Postponed

The offices of Tulsa Oral Surgeon W. Scott Harrington.
Credit KWGS News

A January licensure hearing for a Tulsa oral surgeon accused of keeping filthy office conditions has been postponed at least until April because an investigation of his practices is still ongoing.

Oklahoma Board of Dentistry Executive Director Susan Rogers says the continuation was agreed to by her office and attorneys for Dr. W. Scott Harrington, whose two Tulsa-area clinics were shuttered last March.

Rogers says depositions of up to 40 patients, clinic employees and other witnesses are causing the delay.

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OneSix8
8:30 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Entertaining The Hours Of Your Week: Taking You Back In Time

Credit Earls37a / Flickr Creative Commons

A Medieval celebration, folk tradition and “legends” from the past offer some authentic “escapes” in this week's OneSix8.

A feast fit for a king is provided at the Medieval Midwinter Ball this Saturday beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The University of Oklahoma’s Molly Shi Boren Ballroom in the Oklahoma Memorial Union will be decorated in the royal purple and gold of the Middle Ages, inviting people of all ages to celebrate at this bright colored ball.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
7:40 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Texas To Blame For Oklahoma’s Biggest Haze Pollution Problem

Meers area resident Bill Cunningham looks for haze over the Wichita Mountains from the top of Mt. Scott.
Credit Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Federal regulators are forcing Oklahoma’s largest utility companies to lower emissions at their coal fired power plants or shut them down. The goal of the EPA’s Regional Haze Rule is to clear the air on federal lands like national parks and refuges.

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Shots - Health News
5:42 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Legal Loopholes Leave Some Kids Without Dental Insurance

Kamora Cyprian got her teeth cleaned at a free health care event in the Los Angeles Sports Arena in September 2012.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 9:21 am

If you think buying health insurance under the Affordable Care Act has been complicated, just wait. Buying dental coverage on the health exchanges, it turns out, is even more confusing.

Dental coverage for children is one of the benefits that must be offered under the law. But, it turns out, a loophole in the law means that — in most states — families don't actually have to buy that coverage.

These rules are so confusing that they even tripped me up.

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New Anti-Poverty Program
6:37 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Choctaw Nation To Be One Of Five "Promise Zones"

Choctaw Elder
Credit Choctaw Nation

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma has been selected as one of the first five organizations to test a new anti-poverty program to improve life in chronically poor areas.

The Oklahoman reports 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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