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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State Capitol
4:58 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Oklahoma State Agencies Seek More Than $1.1 Billion Spending Increase

Credit Katsrcool / Flickr Creative Commons

At least 37 state agencies hope to spend more than an additional $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2015, according to budget requests submitted to the Office of Management and Enterprises Services.

The agencies will be asking Gov. Mary Fallin and the Legislature to provide the bulk of that money, $806.0 million, the requests show.

The remainder would come from state revolving funds, $41.2 million, and the federal government, $277.2 million, the requests indicate.

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4:18 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

As Quakes Shake Oklahoma, Scientists Eye Oil And Gas Industry

Lead in text: 
Oklahoma has never been known as earthquake country, with a yearly average of about 50 tremors, almost all of them minor. But in the past three years, the state has had thousands of quakes. This year has been the most active, with more than 2,600 so far, including 87 last week.
OKLAHOMA CITY - Mary Catherine Sexton has been rattled enough. This fall her neighborhood in the northeastern part of this city has been shaken by dozens of minor earthquakes. "We would just have little trembles all the time," she said.
StateImpact Oklahoma
3:15 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Former Creek County Refinery Site Added To Superfund Priority List

A map from the EPA shows the location of the 125-acre Wilcox Oil Company Superfund site near Bristow, Okla.
Credit Environmental Protection Agency

A site near Bristow, abandoned decades ago by a pair of oil refiners, has been added to the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of most hazardous national cleanup priorities.

The EPA on Dec. 12 added the Wilcox Oil Company site to the Superfund National Priorities List, a federal program that investigates and directs cleanup efforts at the country’s “most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites.”

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Politics and Government
11:54 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Oklahoma Senator Coburn Joins Group To Abolish Ethanol Mandate

U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.)
Credit Medill DC / Flickr.com

U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn is joining with a bipartisan group of senators to eliminate the mandate for blending corn ethanol into gasoline refined and consumed in the United States.

The Oklahoma Republican announced Thursday he was joining with California Democrat Dianne Feinstein and other co-sponsors on The Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2013.

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Shots - Health News
11:15 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Scientists Turn To The Crowd In Quest For New Antibiotics

Yes, you could do this at home. Growing bacteria you find in a pile of dirt or a local pond might reveal the next big antibiotic.
Charlotte Raymond Science Source

Could you dig up the next antibiotic in your backyard? Two scientists would like you and, if they're lucky, millions of other people to give it a try.

The researchers hope that lots of do-it-yourself scientists around the world can come up with the next big idea for much-needed drugs.

There are plenty of precedents. Many blockbuster antibiotics were found in soil, where many bacteria produce chemicals to keep rivals out of their territory.

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Wind Energy
8:46 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Garfield County To Get New Wind Farm

A wind turbine near Calumet, Okla.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Plans are underway for a new wind farm in Garfield County.

The Enid News & Eagle reports that TradeWind Energy has filed a permit to build 29 turbines at a wind farm in Breckinridge. A spokeswoman for the company says the wind farm will generate 98.8 megawatts, or enough power for 40,000 Oklahoma homes.

TradeWind also handled the land and permit acquisition for another wind farm near Hunter that opened in September.

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OneSix8
8:32 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Entertaining The Hours Of Your Week: Holiday Sights And Sounds

Credit DC Central Kitchen

Holiday music accompanies us as we walk city streets throughout the month of December, in every shop and restaurant. The sounds of the season may well be your favorite soundtrack at home, too.

The UCO Jazz lab plays tribute to the season in their “Holidays at Home” concert this December 12 through the 14.

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State Capitol
8:08 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Tests For Office? Legislative Study To Examine County Official Training

Credit KellyK / Flickr Creative Commons

Elected officials, including state legislators, would have to pass a test indicating their basic knowledge of the office they hold under a plan being proposed by a state lawmaker.

Claremore Republican Rep. Marty Quinn is hosting an interim study Thursday to discuss his idea of improving training requirements for elected county officials, including testing requirements.

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Best Music Of 2013
8:03 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Heavy Rotation: Public Radio's Songs Of 2013

British songwriter Laura Mvula was a favorite on public radio stations around the country.
Larry Hirshowitz KCRW

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 10:15 am

This audio is no longer available.

Our friends in the public radio system are some of the most open-minded listeners we know. Each month, our Heavy Rotation series brings you free downloads of what our fellow programmers and producers are experiencing on repeat.

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The Two-Way
7:53 am
Thu December 12, 2013

It's 'Not Great,' But Budget Deal Is Expected To Pass In The House

Jonathan Ernst Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 5:44 pm

The House is expected to vote Thursday on the bipartisan deal that would set spending levels for the next two years, replace many of the indiscriminate "sequester" budget cuts and, in theory at least, take off the table one of the most partisan of the many partisan issues that have contributed to the gridlock in Washington.

NPR's Tamara Keith tells our Newscast desk that passage is expected but not certain. She adds that:

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