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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Wintry Weather
8:44 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Snow, Freezing Rain, Ice Expected In Oklahoma This Week

Winter weather will be making a return to Oklahoma this week.
Credit Norman Forecast Office / National Weather Service

The National Weather Service says a cold air mass will move into northwest  Oklahoma Tuesday afternoon, bringing colder temperatures early Wednesday.

Forecasters say high temperatures will remain in the 20s and 30s from Thursday through Saturday. The weather service says overnight wind chill values will range from 0 degrees to 10 degrees.

Wintry precipitation is expected early Thursday until Friday afternoon.  Forecasters predict snow in northern Oklahoma and freezing rain that eventually turns to sleet and snow in central Oklahoma.

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The Two-Way
8:29 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Delivery By Drone? Amazon Says A New Era Looms

In an image taken of a test flight, an Amazon Prime Air drone carries a package. The online retailer could begin 30-minute deliveries within four to five years, CEO Jeff Bezos told 60 Minutes Sunday.
Amazon

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 11:21 am

Amazon is looking at drastically reducing its delivery times — to 30 minutes or less — as it plans a new service called Prime Air that it says could debut in a few years. In an interview on CBS' 60 Minutes, CEO Jeff Bezos said the giant online retailer plans to use semi-autonomous drones to carry purchases to customers.

That's got tech experts buzzing about whether the idea will fly.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:30 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Panel Highlights Different Reactions To 1999 And 2013 Moore Tornadoes

NOAA's Harold Brooks and Representative Joe Dorman speak at the Nov. 19 KGOU Panel.
Credit Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Ever since last spring’s tornado that destroyed two elementary schools and killed seven children in Moore, it’s been hard to escape the debate over school shelters. There are petitions circulating around the state, and everyone seems to have an opinion on the issue.

KGOU recently held a panel about funding these shelters and discovered people are approaching this differently than they did following the Moore tornado in 1999.

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Business
7:00 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Could Hawaii Become A Same-Sex Wedding Destination?

Sunset on the Hawaiian island of Maui.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 12:27 pm

Starting Monday, same-sex marriage is legal in Hawaii. The state has long been a destination for weddings and honeymoons. And now state officials, as well as hotels and restaurants, are hoping the latest marriage-equality law will spur a new market for wedding tourism.

Wedding planner Keane Akao is showing off a secluded beach wedding site, one of several on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

"You can use the beach for pictures," he tells a couple, "and this is actually called Secret Beach."

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All Tech Considered
4:41 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

The Key Test For HealthCare.gov Is The Part You Can't See

HealthCare.gov is working more smoothly, but how well the invisible back-end is working is unclear." href="/post/key-test-healthcaregov-part-you-cant-see" class="noexit lightbox">
The consumer-facing part of HealthCare.gov is working more smoothly, but how well the invisible back-end is working is unclear.
NPR

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 6:55 pm

Calling the improvements "night and day" from October, the Obama administration says it has met its goal of getting the troubled HealthCare.gov site working for a "vast majority" of users. But that's only part of a complex technology system that is designed to end with insurance companies providing coverage for millions of consumers.

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The Two-Way
9:39 am
Sun December 1, 2013

Commuter Train Derails In The Bronx Killing 4

First responders gather around the derailment of a Metro North passenger train in the Bronx borough of New York on Sunday.
Craig Ruttle AP

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 2:51 am

(This post was last updated at 5:02 p.m. ET.)

A Metro-North commuter train derailed on Sunday in the Bronx borough of New York City, killing four passengers, and injuring 63.

WABC-TV in New York reports the train derailed at about 7:20 a.m., while navigating a curve just outside the Spuyten Duyvil station.

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Middle East
8:06 am
Sun December 1, 2013

Palestinian Refugees On Losing Side Of UN Budget Crunch

Palestinian refugee Lawahez Burghal stuffs tripe with rice and garbanzo beans for her family in their home in the Amari refugee camp in the West Bank. Many refugees still depend on the United Nations for food, health care and education.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 7:17 am

The United Nations agency that provides basic health care and education to Palestinian refugees doesn't have enough money to pay local salaries this month.

The shortfall could directly affect 30,000 teachers, doctors and social workers, as well as the people using their services in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and the Palestinian territories.

Filling Basic Needs

Sit for an hour in the United Nations Relief and Works Agency office in the al-Amari camp for Palestinian refugees, and you get a sense of what people expect the agency to provide.

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Parallels
7:59 am
Sun December 1, 2013

Five Things You May Not Know About Child Marriage

Arinafe Makwiti, 13, says her parents forced her to drop out of school and get married to an older man last year to help with the family finances. Makwiti has divorced her husband, but now has a 9-month-old daughter.
Jennifer Ludden NPR

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 9:40 am

NPR's Jennifer Ludden recently traveled to the African nation of Malawi, one of many countries in the developing world where child marriage remains prevalent. She found girls like Christina Asima, who was married at 12 and became a mother at 13. She is now divorced and caring for her infant son on her own. You can read Jennifer's full report here. Below are a few more things she learned while reporting on child marriage.

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Sunday Puzzle
7:55 am
Sun December 1, 2013

Be THANKful For This Puzzle

NPR

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 2:49 pm

On-air challenge: Today's puzzle is a game of categories based on the word "thank," in honor of Thanksgiving weekend. For each category, name something beginning with each of the letters T, H, A, N and K. For example, if the category were "U.S. States," you might say Tennessee, Hawaii, Alaska, Nevada and Kentucky.

Last week's challenge: Name a tree whose letters can be rearranged to spell two herbs or spices. Hint: The tree has a two-word name. What tree is it, and what are the herbs or spices?

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Indian Times
8:10 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

Chickasaw Nation Makes Generous Donation To OU Law School

OU Law School Dean Joe Harroz
Credit Susan Shannon

A generous gift from the Chickasaw Nation to University of Oklahoma’s Law School has created the nation’s first American Indian Law Scholar endowed chair.

Dean of the University of Oklahoma’s Law School, Joe Harroz, sees this gift from the Chickasaws as proof that his program is headed in the right direction.

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