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. 

Read more
State Capitol
5:22 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Oklahoma Senator Seeks Bill Of Rights Monument

A Republican state senator from Enid is filing a bill authorizing a monument of the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution to be placed on the Capitol grounds.

Sen. Patrick Anderson announced on Friday his plans to introduce the bill during the legislative session that begins in February.

The bill calls for the privately funded monument to be placed at the Capitol, and Anderson says more than two dozen legislators already have signed on as co-authors.

Read more
The Two-Way
4:53 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

2 Students Injured, Suspected Shooter Dead At Colo. High School

Senior Jenni Meyers, center, is hugged by her sister Mary as they leave a church with their mother Julie after they were reunited after a shooting at nearby Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo.
Brennan Linsley AP

Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 5:04 am

A student armed with a shotgun apparently killed himself after opening fire at a Colorado high school, wounding two fellow students, police said Friday.

Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said the armed student entered the school and said he was looking for a specific teacher, calling him by name through the hallways. Robinson said another student confronted the gunman and then was shot.

"The teacher began to understand that he was being looked at [and] exited the school," Robinson said.

Read more
Education
4:14 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Oklahoma Schools To Lose $40 Million In Tax Exemption

Credit comedy_nose / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma Tax Commission says Oklahoma public schools stand to lose about $40 million this year because of new tax exemptions that have primarily benefited telecommunications companies, utilities and railroads.

Passed by Oklahoma voters in 2012, State Question 766 extended the intangible property tax exemption that locally assessed companies enjoyed previously to centrally assessed corporations.

Read more
World Views
3:22 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Oklahoma Native Reflects On Iraq And Interrogation On Anniversary Of Saddam Hussein’s Capture

Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez and Amb. L. Paul Bremer speak to the media during a press conference at the Iraqi Forum in Baghdad, covering the capture of Saddam Hussein - December 13, 2003.
Credit Staff Sgt. Steven Pearsall, USAF / U.S. Navy / Wikimedia Commons

Listen to Suzette Grillot's conversation with Eric Maddox

Ten years ago Friday, hundreds of interrogations and months of intelligence work paid off for Eric Maddox when his fellow U.S. Army soldiers pulled deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein from the now-infamous underground “spider hole” near his hometown of Tikrit.

More than a decade after the start of the conflict, and nearly two years after the final withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, Maddox says once Hussein was apprehended, the U.S. had no idea how to rebuild the country.

Read more
Indian Times
3:00 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

A Look Back: Buffy Sainte-Marie In Oklahoma

Credit Buffy Sainte-Marie

This week we re-visit an interview with Buffy Sainte-Marie, singer, songwriter, and a member of the Cree Nation.

In the 1960’s she, all alone, toured North America’s colleges, reservations and concert halls. She came after the beatniks and before the hippies. She was met with enthusiasm by audiences and record executives who were expecting an Indian princess in fringes but were instead entertained and educated by a dose of Native American reality in the flesh.  

Read more
World Views
1:18 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Amid Celebration, Subtle Reminders Of Mandela’s Controversial Legacy

The statue of Nelson Mandela outside the site of the South African Embassy, Washington, D.C.
Credit Ted Eytan / Flickr Creative Commons

It's been just over a week since former South African President Nelson Mandela passed away at the age of 95. A memorial service Tuesday drew leaders from across the globe, and the inspirational statesman will be buried Sunday in a private ceremony in his beloved boyhood village of Qunu.

Joshua Landis, the Director of the University of Oklahoma's Center for Middle East Studies, says within two weeks of Mandela's release from a 27-year prison term in 1990, he traveled to the Middle East to embrace Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Read more
StateImpact Oklahoma
12:12 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Kerr-McGee Was Wrong to Dump Polluted Sites Into Spinoff Company, Judge Rules

Credit neillharmer / Flickr Creative Commons

Kerr-McGee, former Oklahoma-based oil and gas company, was sold to Houston-based Anadarko Petroleum in 2006. But not before Kerr-McGee transferred polluted sites in more than 20 states to a spin-off company, Tronox Ltd.

Read more
World Views
11:02 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Time’s ‘Person Of The Year’ Reinforces Sea Change In Papacy And Catholic Church

Credit Time.com

In only his first year, Pope Francis was selected by Time magazine's editors as the person who had the greatest impact on the world, for good or bad, during 2013.

Time Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs said Pope Francis had changed the tone, the perception and focus of one of the world's largest institutions in an extraordinary way.

Rebecca Cruise, the Assistant Dean of the University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies, tells KGOU’s World Views host Suzette Grillot the enthusiasm created by Pope Francis is palpable.

Read more
Transportation
9:35 am
Fri December 13, 2013

New Access From I-40 To Downtown OKC Opens Friday

A new exit opens Friday afternoon providing better access to and from downtown Oklahoma CIty.
Credit Oklahoma Department of Transportation

The Oklahoma Dept. of Transportation plans to open a new exit and entrance on the I-40 Crosstown through Oklahoma City in time for Friday’s rush hour. The new connection provides improved access to downtown Oklahoma City.

The new exit will open access to Virginia Ave. and Klein Ave. for eastbound traffic on I-40, eventually extending to the new Oklahoma City Blvd.

The project also gives drivers on westbound I-40 access to an on-ramp from the Oklahoma City Blvd. at Klein Ave. and Virginia Ave.

Read more
Drunk Driving
9:14 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Tipsy Tow Program Works To Keep Oklahoma Drivers Safe

Credit timo_w2s / Flickr Creative Commons

AAA Oklahoma is offering a free ride home and tow service for people who may consume too much alcohol to safely drive over the holiday season.

The service is available from 6 p.m. Friday until 4 a.m. on Jan 2. The service is available in Shawnee, Bartlesville, Enid, Muskogee, Ardmore, Tahlequah, Lawton and the metro areas of Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

AAA Oklahoma spokesman Chuck Mai says the company received nearly 200 calls for the service during the holidays last year and hope the number goes up this year.

Read more

Pages