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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The Two-Way
11:02 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Ford Hopes New Mustang Will Get The World's Motor Running

The new 2015 Ford Mustang was unveiled Thursday. The car's new design includes features that are geared toward global markets.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 11:19 am

Ford unveiled its new Mustang on Thursday, in a splashy event that was undermined a bit by leaked photos that showed the new model's design. And the Mustang will be sold around the globe for the first time since the car was introduced nearly 50 years ago.

From Michigan Radio, Tracy Samilton filed this report for our Newscast unit:

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State Capitol
10:57 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Oklahoma's State Technology Leader Leaving For Oregon

Alex Pettit
Credit State of Oklahoma

Oklahoma's first chief information officer who helped lead a consolidation of the state's computer and information technology systems is leaving to take a similar post in Oregon.

Gov. Mary Fallin announced Thursday that Oklahoma's CIO Alex Pettit will leave his post on Jan. 4. Pettit was appointed by former Democratic Gov. Brad Henry in 2010 after the Legislature passed a law authorizing the position to oversee Oklahoma'sinformation and technology operations.

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Winter Storm
10:13 am
Thu December 5, 2013

It's Almost Here: Winter Storm Pushing Into Oklahoma

A winter storm will affect the area with two waves of precipitation Thursday and early Friday. The freezing rain in southeast Oklahoma will cause an ice storm with 1/4 to 3/4 inch accumulation.
Credit Norma Forecast Office / National Weather Service

CLOSINGS FROM 5NEWS

A strong winter storm pushing its way across the region is already leading to the  closing of schools,  holiday and many other activities.

The Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association has pushed high school football playoff games to next week.

OKC METRO SNOW ROUTES

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Prescription Drugs
9:45 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Prescription Discounts Available For Some Needy Oklahomans

Credit James Martin / Flickr

Cards that provide a discount on prescription medications for the needy in Oklahoma will be offered through a partnership with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.

The food bank announced the partnership with Watertree Health in which every person served by the food bank will be given a free Regional Food Bank Prescription card.

Food bank officials say the card is good for discounts on both brand name and generic prescriptions and is accepted at a variety of outlets and pharmacies that fill prescriptions.

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Parallels
8:27 am
Thu December 5, 2013

China's Military Buildup Reignites Worries In Asia, Beyond

Chinese naval soldiers stand guard on China's first aircraft carrier Liaoning as it travels toward a military base in Sanya, Hainan province, in this undated picture made available on Nov. 30.
China Stringer Network Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 11:18 am

China has been building up its military strength for some time now, and pushing ever farther from its coastline and into international waters. The real concern now is for miscalculation — particularly with Japan — that ends up in gunfire.

Just six months ago, the Pentagon released its annual report on China's military. Its defense budget was growing. The country was building more stealthy aircraft and submarines. It even bought an aircraft carrier from the Ukraine.

Pentagon official David Helvey highlighted particular areas of concern.

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Common Core
8:14 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Despite Opposition, State Education Officials Say Repeal Of Common Core Standards ‘Unlikely’

Oklahoma Watch is a nonprofit organization that produces in-depth and investigative journalism on important public-policy issues facing the state. More Oklahoma Watch content can be found at www.oklahomawatch.org

Despite continued opposition to new public-school standards, Oklahoma education officials say they are more confident than they were earlier this year that the standards will be fully implemented.

In a national survey conducted by the Center on Education Policy at George Washington University, Oklahoma State Department of Education officials indicated in May that it was “somewhat likely” that the state’s decision to adopt Common Core State Standards would be reversed, limited or changed, according to a copy of the survey obtained by Oklahoma Watch through an Open Records Act request.

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Same-Sex Couples Benefit Requests Processed
8:19 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Fallin Directive To National Guard Causes Little Disruption

Credit regionalfoodbank / Flickr.com

Nearly a month after a directive by Gov. Mary Fallin changed the way the Oklahoma National Guard handles marriage benefits, Guard officials say the change has caused little disruption.

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"The Reddest State"
6:14 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

GOP Superstars In Oklahoma

Credit ChairWomanMay / Flickr.com

Whether it's Oklahoma's conservative reputation or the national profile of its own Republican leaders, the Sooner State is proving to be a popular spot lately for GOP superstars.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is scheduled to attend a birthday party fundraiser for Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin on Thursday. And last week U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor visited Tulsa to raise money for U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
2:58 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Gov. Rick Perry Misses Legislative Deadline In Oklahoma-Texas Border Dispute

Credit Paul L. McCord, Jr. / Flickr Creative Commons

Exactly where the border between Oklahoma and Texas lies along the Red River has never been completely clear, especially where Lake Texoma covers the original river shore.

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Business and Economy
1:29 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Oklahoma Economy Grew In November, Even Without Black Friday

State Treasurer Ken Miller
Credit State of Oklahoma

Oklahoma's economy continued to grow last month.

State Treasurer Ken Miller says gross receipts were up by 7.3 percent, or $58 million, compared to November 2012.

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