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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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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Business and Economy
12:46 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Forecast: Jobs Up In 2014, But Only In OKC And Tulsa

Credit StevenSmith1 / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma could see more jobs, if predictions from a new economic forecast come true.

Economist Dan Rickman expects 20,000 jobs will be added to the state’s economy in the next year. He says most of those will come in the administrative and support services, with more than 5,000 new workers.

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Education
11:52 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Fallin Sets Common Core Standards Protections In Executive Order

Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin has issued an executive order on the adoption of the federal Common Core Education Standards.

The governor says the order is intended to "prevent federal overreach" and protect student privacy.

READ FALLIN'S EXECUTIVE ORDER HERE

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The Two-Way
9:13 am
Wed December 4, 2013

U.S. Job Growth Surged In November, Report Signals

Air Force Staff Sgt. Bri Smith (right) of Atlanta talks with a Mary Kay consultant during a November job fair for veterans.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 11:54 am

A report from payroll company ADP finds that "the U.S. private sector added 215,000 jobs during November making it the strongest month for job growth in 2013," says the company's president and chief executive, Carlos Rodriguez.

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World Views
7:34 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Reporting Mexico’s Drug War From Oaxaca To Oklahoma

Reporter and author Alfredo Corchado covers a political rally in the border city of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, in 1986.
Credit Billy Calzada

Alfredo Corchado has spent nearly 20 years covering his native country as the Mexico bureau chief for The Dallas Morning News.

From first reporting on government protests in Ciudad Juárez in the mid-80s, through five presidential administrations and a violent drug war with no end in sight, he says he’s always left with the fact that it’s not enough.

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The Two-Way
7:15 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Stolen Radioactive Material Found In Mexico

A photo released by Mexico's nuclear safety agency shows medical equipment containing radioactive source material. The photo was taken as the equipment was being prepared for loading into a truck, which was later stolen.
CNSNS

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 12:10 pm

Updated at 11:30 p.m. ET: Cobalt-60 Found

Mexican officials say they've recovered the "extremely dangerous" radioactive cobalt-60 that was stolen last week, hours after finding its empty containter.

The Associated Press reports:

"A missing shipment of radioactive cobalt-60 was found Wednesday near where the stolen truck transporting the material was abandoned in central Mexico, the country's nuclear safety director said.

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Book Reviews
6:13 am
Wed December 4, 2013

NPR's Book Concierge: Our Guide To 2013's Great Reads

Browse More Than 200 Of This Year's Standout Titles" href="/post/nprs-book-concierge-our-guide-2013s-great-reads" class="noexit lightbox">

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 12:53 pm

Over the past five years, we've published more than 80 year-end book lists. So this year, we decided to try something new. Introducing NPR's Book Concierge, your personal guide to the best books published in 2013.

NPR staff and critics selected more than 200 standout titles. Now it's up to you: Choose your own adventure! Use the categories to search through our favorite books and find the perfect read for yourself or someone else. Happy reading!

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Oklahoma Ethics Commission
6:20 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Watchdog Group Concerned Over Increase Of Lobbyist Gifts

Credit G. O'Graffer / Flickr.com

A plan to increase by 500 percent the amount in meals and other gifts that a lobbyist can give to a legislator each year is raising concerns from a public watchdog group and some state legislators.

The proposed change is part of a major overhaul of the rules of the Oklahoma Ethics Commission that govern the activities of candidates, campaigns and lobbyists.

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St. Gregory's University And OBU
5:06 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Collegiate Swimming And Diving Offered In Shawnee

Credit Lane 4 imaging / Flickr.com

Some could say there is something in the water in Shawnee.

The town of 30,000 about 45 minutes outside of Oklahoma City will soon be home to the only two colleges in the entire state offering varsity collegiate swimming and diving.

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Here & Now
3:18 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

'Giving Tuesday' Follows Record-Breaking Cyber Monday

(givingtuesday.org)

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 3:19 pm

Cyber Monday, the Super Bowl of online sales, broke all records this year, with sales up 19 percent over last year.

Mobile traffic accounted for 13 percent of total site visits, and sales are projected to reach $2 billion for desktop online sales, according to comScore.

But the bonanza isn’t over. Today is “Giving Tuesday.” The movement to create a national day of giving started last year, raising $10 million dollars for more than 2,500 charities nationwide.

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