Backlog of Cases
7:13 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Negotiations On New Medical Examiner’s Office Still Underway

Oklahoma State Medical Examiner's Office
Credit Oklahoma State Medical Examiner's Office

Amy Elliot, chief administrative officer for the Medical Examiner’s Office, told members of the Board of Medicolegal Investigations Thursday her agency is still undergoing negotiations with the University of Central Oklahoma for a new state-of-the-art facility to be housed within the campus. 

The Medical Examiner’s Office has been dealing with backlogs of death cases and cramped, deteriorating facilities for years.

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Politics and Government
7:03 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Who Hires, Fires Workers Compensation Commission Staff Ambiguous’

Oklahoma Workers Compensation Commission
Credit Oklahoma Workers Compensation Commission

Exactly who is responsible for hiring and firing Workers Compensation Commission employees may be a matter for the Attorney General’s Office to consider and the Legislature to fix.

That’s because provisions in the law regarding employment at the agency “…are ambiguous and susceptible to more than one interpretation,” a senior assistant attorney general told the commissioners Wednesday.

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Paperwork In Federal Court
6:46 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Oklahoma Inmates Urge Their Lawsuit Go Forward

Clayton Lockett was executed on April 29, 2014 in an Oklahoma execution that has been called "botched."
Credit Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Oklahoma death row inmates who have sued to block their executions under existing lethal injection protocols want a federal judge to allow their lawsuit to move forward.

Attorneys for the inmates filed paperwork in federal court Wednesday opposing the state's request to put the lawsuit on hold.

The Oklahoma Attorney General's Office has asked that the case be stayed, arguing that drugs and procedures used to execute a death row inmate in a botched lethal injection in April do not risk violating the constitutional rights of other death row inmates.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
6:38 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Third Salt Fork River Fish-Kill In Three Years Fits Mysterious Pattern

For the third year in a row, a large-scale fish-kill has been reported on the Salt Fork River in north-central Oklahoma.

“Hundreds and maybe thousands” of catfish, carp, buffalo and other bottom-feeding fish were likely killed, says Skylar McElhaney, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.

The cause of these fish-kills is mysterious, but a pattern is emerging.

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Open Records Act
5:45 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Judge Rules Gov. Mary Fallin Can Withhold Documents From News Organizations

Credit facebook

An Oklahoma County judge has rejected a request to reconsider a ruling that says Gov. Mary Fallin has the legal right to withhold documents requested by news organizations under Oklahoma's Open Records Act.

Quinton Gentry, a clerk for District Judge Barbara Swinton, says the judge Thursday denied a reconsideration motion filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma.

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Consumer Spending Report
4:26 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Oklahoma Consumers Spend $600 More On Energy And Gas Than Other Americans

Credit futureatlas.com / Flickr.com

New government data shows that consumer spending in Oklahoma soared nearly 16 percent from 2009 to 2012.

The figures come from a new report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis that for the first time reveals consumer spending on a state-by-state basis.

In Oklahoma, per-person spending was $31,391 in 2012, compared to $27,154 in 2009 when the recession ended. Only North Dakota clocked a higher gain, at 28 percent during the same period.

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World Views
2:47 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Preschool, Parents, Incentives: The New Face Of Educational Development In Africa

Children at the Bakau Primary School, The Gambia - March 12, 2013
Tina_Sauwens Flickr Creative Commons

Traditionally, educational development work in Africa has focused on building schools and training teachers.

They’ve been successful in many African countries, but University of Oklahoma economist Moussa Blimpo says they’re not enough.

“In the past 20 years, what you see, and what has been celebrated, is the growth of access to education,” Blimpo says. “A lot of kids are getting to school. More than before. But they're not necessarily learning, and the learning outcomes are extremely poor.”

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Oklahoma News
8:53 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Lawton Council Eyes Water Line From Texas

The Lake Ellsworth dam near Lawton
duggar11 Flickr Creative Commons

Members of the Lawton City Council say they're interested in a proposal that could bring needed water from Texas to Oklahoma.

The city's public works director says Lawton has received less rainfall than average since 2010. Lawton is currently able to use about 53 percent of water from its sources that include Lake Ellsworth and Waurika Lake. The director says without more rain, the city would likely move to a higher stage of water restrictions by September or October.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
7:44 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Director: State Parks “Not On The List” Of Core Services

Shaun Pelkey and his daughter Ireland Pelkey enjoy the afternoon at one of Walnut Creek State Park's beaches on Keystone Lake.
Logan Layden StateImpact Oklahoma

State tourism officials are considering closing or transferring four more state parks. The agency, like many, has had its budget cut over the past four years, but the decision to defund state parks is about more than money.

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Business and Economy
11:00 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

Oklahoma Homebuilders Seek Limited Registration Process

Oklahoma State Representative Mark McBride R-53
Credit Oklahoma House of Representatives

Oklahoma homebuilders and other industry professionals came together Wednesday morning to ask legislators to establish some type registration process for homebuilders in the state in what they are calling a “good consumer protection” measure.

Rep. Mark McBride, a home builder and Republican from Moore, said he brought up Interim Study H14-11 before the House Economic Development and Financial Services committee in the hopes of addressing the concerns seen in the Moore area and rural areas with home builders providing shoddy workmanship.

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