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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Congress
9:38 am
Tue January 7, 2014

VIDEO: Coburn On Emergency Unemployment Insurance

Senate Democrats are scratching for votes to pass a White House-backed bill that would renew unemployment benefits that lapsed last month for the long-term jobless.

Speaking on Fox & Friends Tuesday morning, U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) says states that have cut the benefits back have lowered their unemployment rate and increased job formation.

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Business and Economy
8:40 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Treasurer: Oklahoma Economy Continues To Improve

State Treasurer Ken Miller
Credit State of Oklahoma

State finance officials say Oklahoma's economy is continuing to grow, but the pace appears to have slowed in 2013.

State Treasurer Ken Miller released figures on Monday that show overall gross collections to the state treasury in 2013 increased by 3.2 percent over the previous year.

Miller says all major sources of revenue saw improvement in 2013, although not as robust as growth during the previous few years.

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State Capitol
7:01 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Group Unveils Satan Statue Design For Oklahoma

Monday the New York-based Satanic Temple unveiled their design for a proposed monument on the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol.
Credit The Satanic Temple / Facebook

A group has unveiled designs for a 7-foot-tall statue of Satan that it wants at the Oklahoma state Capitol.

The New York-based Satanic Temple released an artist's rendering of the monument Monday. A spokesman says the group has formally submitted its application to a panel that oversees the Capitol grounds.

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Shots - Health News
6:02 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Health Care Costs Grew More Slowly Than The Economy In 2012

NPR

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 3:55 pm

Health care spending grew at a record slow pace for the fourth straight year in 2012, according to a new government report. But the federal officials who compiled the report disagree with their bosses in the Obama administration about why.

The annual report from the actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, published in the journal Health Affairs, found total U.S. health spending totaled $2.8 trillion in 2012, or $8,915 per person.

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Fire In Second Floor Apartment
6:36 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Baby Dropped To Arms Of Police Officer From Burning Building

Credit Thomas's Pics / Flickr.com

A Tulsa police officer caught a baby that was dropped to him from the second floor of a burning apartment complex.

Officer Alan Franks was among several officers leaving a morning meeting when they saw the apartments in east Tulsa on fire.

The mother of the baby told the Tulsa World that she was screaming for help when she dropped the child to Franks. Franks said he was nervous and "was just thinking don't drop the baby."

The child was not injured and the mother and her boyfriend escaped the flames.

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Sponsored By The Oklahoma City Thunder
4:59 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Black History Heroes Challenge Contest

Credit RMTip21 / Flickr.com

The Oklahoma City Thunder is launching its sixth annual Black History Heroes Challenge.

The contest, which commemorates Black History Month, will remain open through Feb. 7.

Students throughout Oklahoma in kindergarten through 12th grade can enter the contest by submitting an essay or visual arts piece portraying an outstanding individual in black history or an African-American who has impacted their life. Entrants are encouraged to employ creativity in their entries, including photography, music, video, art or writing.

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Oklahoma Voices
3:44 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Native American Code Talkers Receive Congressional Gold Medal

Credit PhotosNormandie / Flickr.com

During Native American Heritage Month last November, Congress bestowed the Congressional Gold Medal, its highest civilian honor, to American Indians who used their native languages to outwit the enemy and protect American battlefield secrets during World Wars I and II.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
2:31 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Oklahoma House Speaker Wants To Make Horizontal Drilling Tax Break Permanent

A rig hand on a Triad Energy horizontal drilling operation near Alva, Okla. Company CEO Mike McDonald says he likely wouldn't have drilled the well with out a tax break Oklahoma's House Speaker has proposed making permanent.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon will author legislation to make permanent an oil and gas industry tax break for horizontal drilling.

The incentive lowers gross production taxes from 7 percent to 1 percent for the first 48 months of production, and was installed in the ’90s to encourage the then-experimental type of drilling. Now days, most oil and gas wells in Oklahoma are horizontally drilled, and critics say the incentives are unnecessary.

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The Two-Way
1:16 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Boeing Delivers Record Number Of Jetliners In 2013

A Boeing 787-9 lands after its first flight on September 17, 2013 at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington. The aircraft maker delivered 65 of the new jetliners last year.
Stephen Brashear Getty Images

Boeing delivered a record 648 commercial jetliners last year, including 65 of its newest 787s and also had a record backlog of 5,080 unfulfilled orders.

The 2013 deliveries were expected to keep Boeing in the No. 1 slot for the second year, nudging out rival Airbus, which is expecting to report 620 deliveries.

"The Boeing team performed extremely well in 2013," CEO Ray Conner said.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
11:46 am
Mon January 6, 2014

How Train Accidents Involving Northern Plains Crude Affect Oklahoma’s Oil Industry

A series of explosive train accidents has renewed concern about the safety of transporting crude oil by rail, especially the type of crude extracted from the Northern Plains.

The most recent accident was the the fiery crash that occurred on Dec. 30 in North Dakota. No one was injured, but dramatic fireballs erupted when the train with more than 100 cars collided with another train carrying grain in the small town of Casselton.

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