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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Workers' Compensation
5:59 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Oklahoma Supreme Court Upholds Workers' Comp. Law

Credit Ronny Richert / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has rejected a constitutional challenge to the state's new workers' compensation law.

The court handed down the ruling Monday, just one week after justices heard oral arguments in a lawsuit challenging the law.

House Speaker T.W. Shannon (R-Lawton) authored the measure that changes the state's workers' compensation system to an administrative one.

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Europe
5:23 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

The Shipping Forecast: From Britain's Seas Into Its Soul

Fisherman Teddy Head tells a story to a group of children while mending his nets in Hastings in 1952. The fishermen of Hastings are tightknit; fathers, brothers and sons work together in rugged boats no more than about 30 feet long. Some families in Hastings have worked this way for centuries.
Fred Morley Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 1:29 pm

It is a bizarre nightly ritual that is deeply embedded in the British way of life.

You switch off the TV, lock up the house, slip into bed, turn on your radio, and begin to listen to a mantra, delivered by a soothing, soporific voice.

"Viking, North Utsire, South Utsire, Forties, Cromarty, Forth, Tyne, Dogger ...." says the voice.

You are aware — vaguely — that these delicious words are names, and that those names refer to big blocks of sea around your island nation, stretching all the way up to Iceland and down to North Africa.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
4:08 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Teague To OK Oil Industry: Merging Energy And Environment Offices A ‘Huge Advantage’

Col. Michael Teague, Secretary of Energy and the Environment
Credit Oklahoma Governor's Office

When Gov. Mary Fallin appointed former Corps of Engineers Tulsa District Commander Michael Teague as the first secretary of the combined departments of energy and environment in August, some environmentalists scoffed.

The Sierra Club said combining the offices was a “disservice” to the state.

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All Tech Considered
2:58 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Exploring Economic Inequality From The Heart Of The Tech Boom

Last Monday, protesters blocked a bus that transports San Francisco Google employees to Silicon Valley.
Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez Courtesy of San Francisco Bay Guardian

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 8:19 am

This week, we're exploring the San Francisco Bay Area and the way income inequality is affecting the region. Check out the other pieces of the week, aggregated on this page.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
8:21 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Moore Resident Restores Christmas To Tornado Survivors

Kim Rollins sits with some of the donated ornaments she has acquired over the past few weeks.
Credit Kate Carlton

After any major disaster, people need food, clothing, housing and furniture.  But when you’ve lost everything you own, there are likely many more, less essential items, farther down your list.  Nearly seven months after the Moore tornado, city resident Kim Rollins seeks to fill one of those needs in time for the holiday season. 

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The Salt
6:58 am
Mon December 16, 2013

When Craft Beer Goes Global: A Kansas City Brewery's Tale

Boulevard Brewing's lineup includes seven year-round beers, five seasonal beers and 13 beers in its Smokestack series.
Frank Morris KCUR

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 7:07 am

Kansas City residents are proud of their barbecue, their Chiefs football, their national champion soccer team and Boulevard Brewing, a local brewery that has built up quite a local following since its launch in the late 1980s.

"It's our thing. You know, like la cosa nostra, it's our thing," says Char O'Hara, a Kansas City, Mo., resident who, like thousands of other local 20-somethings, grew up with Boulevard.

But soon, it will be a Belgian thing, too. Any day now, Belgian beer maker Duvel is expected to finalize its purchase of the Kansas City brewery.

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The Two-Way
5:59 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Joan Fontaine, 'Coolly Beautiful' Oscar Winner, Dies

Actress Joan Fontaine in 1944.
Dan Grossi AP

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 6:50 am

She was a "patrician blond ... who rose to stardom as a haunted second wife" in Hitchcock's Rebecca and "the coolly beautiful 1940s actress who won an Academy Award for her role in Alfred Hitchcock's Suspicion."

Joan Fontaine died Sunday at the age of 96.

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Code Switch
5:37 pm
Sun December 15, 2013

Zoinks! Tracing The History Of 'Zombie' From Haiti To The CDC

A still from the 1943 film I Walked With A Zombie.
RKO The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 9:14 am

Each week, we take a look at a word or phrase that's caught our attention, whether for its history, usage, etymology, or just because it has an interesting story. You can see past "Word Watch" entries here.

"Who doesn't like zombies?"

That was the subject line of an email blast that landed in my inbox recently from a major online retailer as it announced it was "bringing their Black Friday deals back to life."

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The Two-Way
1:21 pm
Sun December 15, 2013

Peter O'Toole, Star Of 'Lawrence Of Arabia,' Dies

Actor Peter O'Toole performed on stage and on film in many leading roles, and began his acting career in the 1950s when he was serving in the Navy. He died on Dec. 14 at the age of 81.
David Montgomery Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 9:05 am

Peter O'Toole, the legendary Hollywood star made famous by his leading role in 1962's Lawrence of Arabia, died on Saturday, his agent Steve Kenis said.

O'Toole went on to be recognized as one of the premiere actors of his generation. He was nominated for eight Oscars, but never won until he was given an honorary honor in 2003.

O'Toole was born in Ireland and grew up in Leeds, Yorkshire. O'Toole honed his acting chops in the London theater, before he beat out Marlon Brando and Albert Finney for the role of Lawrence of Arabia.

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Sunday Puzzle
8:24 am
Sun December 15, 2013

When Push Comes To Shove

NPR

Originally published on Sun December 15, 2013 2:04 pm

On-air challenge: Every answer is a five-letter word. You'll be given a clue for the word. Besides giving you a direct hint to the answer, the clue will also contain the answer in consecutive letters. For example, given "push over hard," you would say "shove."

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