8:33 am
Mon August 25, 2014

VIDEO: Oklahoma Native Retires As Head Of Space Command

An Oklahoma native who commanded the U.S. Air Force Space Command has retired after 38 years of service.

Gen. William Shelton was born in Tulsa and graduated from Moore High School in 1972. He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1976 with a bachelor's degree in astronautical engineering.

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Oklahoma Watch
7:41 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Common Core Opponents Turn To Oklahoma for Advice

Chase Cook Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma lawmakers and parents are serving as advisors of sorts in the ongoing  fight against the Common Core academic standards in Louisiana, Arizona and Colorado.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
6:26 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Moore Waits To Apply For FEMA's Safe Room Rebate Program

Wesley Fryer Flickr Creative Commons

After last year’s tornadoes in central Oklahoma, FEMA allocated $4 million in hazard mitigation funding for communities to safeguard against future severe weather.

The City of Moore didn’t qualify for that money because of an expired hazard mitigation plan. Moore has since updated the plan and is now eligible for future FEMA money. But it doesn’t look like officials plan on applying for that funding any time soon.

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Oklahoma Watch
7:00 am
Sun August 24, 2014

A Mental Health Mission Goes Statewide

Michael Brose, Executive Director of the Mental Health Association of Oklahoma.
Credit Angela Chambers / Oklahoma Watch

Growing up in Kansas near the Oklahoma Panhandle, Michael Brose saw firsthand the struggles of rural residents to find quality health care.

Later, in two decades as executive director of the Mental Health Association in Tulsa, Brose observed similar problems with urban residents’ access to affordable care for mental illness and substance abuse.

Today, Brose is using his experience in those two settings to carry out a new, broader mission for his advocacy organization. In April, the Mental Health Association in Tulsa renamed itself the Mental Health Association Oklahoma. That change occurred after the Mental Health Association of Central Oklahoma in Oklahoma City closed its doors.

MHA Oklahoma, based in Tulsa, is now the state’s most prominent nonprofit to focus on mental health services beyond the local level. The need is great: Oklahoma’s rate of mental illness ranks among the highest in the nation, and funding for health services is limited.

In an interview with Oklahoma Watch, Brose discussed the association’s plans for expansion; efforts to help the homeless, teens and veterans, and how to prevent suicide. The interview has been edited and condensed.

You now lead an organization for the entire state. Does that mean you will be offering your services for the mentally ill in every part of Oklahoma?

It’s a step-by-step approach. We’ve always served the Tulsa metro area. The next step is to develop systems that will primarily be targeting Oklahoma City and central Oklahoma areas that will include Norman. I spoke and met with people in Stillwater not too long ago. Ultimately, we want to serve the whole state. Before the expansion, we consulted and worked with contacts in central Oklahoma and around the state in rural areas. We’ve become a member of the United Way of Central Oklahoma, so we’re members of both United Ways (Tulsa and Central Oklahoma).

One of the most exciting things about expanding in other parts of the state is meeting people. We’re all Oklahomans and have similar needs. We’ve had this long history of this dichotomy between Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and we’re really about doing our part to break down those barriers.

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Oklahoma News
6:30 am
Sun August 24, 2014

Panel Says More Women Needed In Oklahoma Politics

Former Lt. Governor, Jari Askins.
Credit Margo Wright / Wikimedia Commons

A group of women who have held public office in Oklahoma say it is important for more women to become involved in politics.

At a meeting of the Norman Chamber of Commerce on Friday, the women set aside politics to underscore the need to add women's opinions and viewpoints to the public debate.

Former Lt. Gov. Jari Askins says state decisions that impact families need to have a female perspective.

State Rep. Leslie Osborn says there is no glass ceiling at the Legislature, but that not enough women are running for office.

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Oklahoma News
6:00 am
Sun August 24, 2014

OKC Residents Say Assault Case Erodes Trust In Police

Oklahoma City Police Car
Credit Paul L. McCord Jr. / Flickr Creative Commons

Residents of a neighborhood where an Oklahoma City officer is accused of sexually assaulting women say the allegations make them distrust police.

Investigators say 27-year-old Daniel Ken Holtzclaw raped one woman and either fondled others or forced them to expose themselves.

Police say the women were all black and between the ages of 34 and 58, but it's not clear if race played a role in the alleged crimes.

Resident Tammy Bell said Saturday the officer was "taking advantage of his shield."

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Indian Times
5:17 pm
Sat August 23, 2014

Business And Arts In Oklahoma's Indian Country

Credit Indian Country Business Summit

Doing Business With Indian Country Or U.S. Government Can Be Tricky But Not Impossible.

Providing a roadmap for doing business with tribal agencies or the federal government, including FEMA and military bases, is the purpose of the 8th annual Indian Country Business Summit taking place next week in Norman.

Denise Bowman is a counselor and conference organizer at the Tribal Government Institute, one of the sponsors of the Indian Country Business Summit. Bowman says sometimes good business is about timing.

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Election 2014
6:30 am
Sat August 23, 2014

Fifth District Congressional Run-Off Election Candidates

Candidates in Oklahoma's fifth congressional run-off races work to get their messages out and their voters to the polls. The contests pit former state senator Steve Russell against former Edmond mayor Patrice Douglas for the Republican nomination. State senator Al McAffrey and retired college professor Tom Guild square off for the Democratic nod.

First-Degree Murder
6:24 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Tulsa Police Officer's Bond Set At $825,000

Credit Jimmy Emerson, DVM /

Bond for a veteran Tulsa police officer charged in the off-duty fatal shooting of his daughter's boyfriend has been set at $825,000.

Judge Cliff Smith set Shannon Kepler's bond for a first-degree murder charge at $750,000 and $75,000 for a charge of shooting with intent to kill.

The state had asked for a bond of $1.5 million. Kepler's attorney said at the hearing that bond should be "under $50,000."

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Science and Technology
3:48 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Garber-Wellington Aquifer Being Depleted

Garber Wellington Aquifer
Credit Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality

A large, Central Oklahoma aquifer will be 50 percent depleted as early as 2049 if usage continues at the current rates, an updated study presented Tuesday to the Oklahoma Water Resources Board shows. The study on the Garber-Wellington aquifer, which lies beneath much of central Oklahoma, including Oklahoma City, Moore, Norman, Shawnee and other cities, examined the rates of water usage from 1987 through 2009. "This analysis indicates that this pumping rate ...

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