Following Oklahoma's 2013 Tornadoes, Where Does Federal Aid Really Go?

Debris filled the streets in Moore, Okla. on May 20, 2013.
State Farm Flickr Creative Commons

After a string of deadly tornados hit Oklahoma in the spring of last year, President Obama signed a federal disaster declaration that paved the way for up to $257 million in aid.

One year later, about one half of that funding has been spent.  The Oklahoma Tornado Project teamed up with Oklahoma Watch to track where all the money went. 

Following huge disasters, there’s always a potential for things to go wrong. In New Orleans, former mayor Ray Nagin was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison for taking bribes from contractors rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. And in New Jersey, there’s been criticism that some Sandy aid money has gone to less needy areas.

So we wanted to look into Oklahoma’s post-storm recovery. State Department of Emergency Management Director Albert Ashwood – who has worked closely with FEMA – says outright fraud is less common than it used to be. 

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The Two-Way
10:40 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Pope Slams 'Disposable' Culture That Marginalizes Many

Pope Francis on Saturday at the Vatican.
Andrew Medichini AP

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 10:16 am

Around the world today, the powerful "feed upon the powerless" and too many people are treated as "consumer goods to be used and then discarded," Pope Francis writes in his first major paper since becoming leader of the Roman Catholic church last May.

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Film
10:33 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Film Festival Returns To Tulsa Home

Credit TexasExplorer98 / Flickr Creative Commons

A film festival that started in Oklahoma and expanded to include cities like New York and Los Angeles is returning to its roots in Tulsa next month.

The United Film Festival will be held at Tulsa's Circle Cinema on Dec. 6-8. The festival was started by Oklahoma native Jason Connell in 2002. It soon grew to include five additional cities: San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and London.

The Tulsa festival will feature several locally produced films in a variety of genres and formats.

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Native American
8:55 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Jan. 13: Osage Nation Principal Chief Set For Trial

Osage Nation Principal Chief John Red Eagle
Credit Provided / Osage Nation

The Osage Nation Congress has scheduled a Jan 13 trial on proceedings seeking the ouster of Principal Chief John Red Eagle.

The Examiner-Enterprise reports Red Eagle faces removal on charges of malfeasance in office, arrogation of power and for allegedly disregarding his constitutional duties and oath of office. He has also been accused of abuse of the government process and undermining the integrity of the office.

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State Capitol
8:31 am
Tue November 26, 2013

State High Court To Hear Workers' Compensation Lawsuit

Credit ana branca / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments in a lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of Oklahoma's new workers' compensation law.

The high court on Monday scheduled arguments for 9 a.m. Dec. 10 in the lawsuit filed by state Sen. Harry Coates of Seminole, Rep. Emily Virgin of Norman and the Professional Firefighters of Oklahoma.

Legislation to overhaul the workers' compensation system was signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin in May. It was a top priority for Republicans who say the previous system was a detriment to business and industry.

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The Two-Way
8:27 am
Tue November 26, 2013

If You Must Fry A Turkey, Listen To William Shatner First

Don't try this at home: Actor William Shatner in State Farm's Eat, Fry, Love: A Cautionary Remix video about how to safely fry a turkey.
State Farm

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 10:06 am

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Shots - Health News
6:28 am
Tue November 26, 2013

These Californians Greeted Canceled Health Plans With Smiles

Amid insurance cancellations, some people are finding better coverage through Covered California, the state's health exchange.
Reed Saxon AP

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 12:28 pm

Barbara Neff of Santa Monica is one of the roughly 1 million Californians who recently got word that their health insurance coverage would be expiring soon.

The canceled plans sparked a political firestorm as people realized President Obama's promise — "If you like your plan, you can keep it" — didn't apply to everyone.

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Study Published
6:20 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Methane May Be Bigger Global Warming Issue Than Carbon Dioxide

Credit Al Jazeera English / Flickr.com

A new study says the United States is spewing 50 percent more methane than the federal government estimates. Much of it is coming from just three states: Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

Scientists say that means methane may be a bigger global warming issue than they thought. Methane is 21 times more potent at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, the most abundant global warming gas, although it doesn't stay in the air as long.

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Charged With Manslaughter
5:42 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Deliberations Begin In Trial Of Police Captain Accused of Shooting Teen

Credit steakpinball / Flickr Creative Commons

A jury is deliberating the case of an Oklahoma police captain charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of an unarmed teenager.

Jurors began deliberating about 4:30 p.m. Monday in the trial of Del City police Capt. Randy Harrison. Harrison is charged in the March 14, 2012, death of 18-year-old Dane Scott Jr. A 23-year veteran officer in an Oklahoma City suburb, Harrison has pleaded not guilty.

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State Capitol
12:32 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Oklahoma Senate Democratic Leader Not Seeking Re-Election

Senate minority leader Sen. Sean Burrage (D-Claremore)
Credit State Senate

Oklahoma Senate Democratic Leader Sean Burrage says he won't run for re-election next year.

The Democrat from Claremore says he wants to focus his attention on his family and legal career. Burrage has served in the Oklahoma Senate since 2006, and went unchallenged in his re-election bid in 2010.

In November 2011, he was elected Senate Democratic leader. Burrage would have been term-limited in 2018 had he run for re-election next year.

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Native American
12:22 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

U.S. Gives Oklahoma Tribe Greater Control Over Land

Sally Jewell, U.S. Secretary of the Interior
Credit The White House / livestream

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell was in Oklahoma on Monday to sign an agreement with the Citizen Potawatomi Nation to approve leasing regulations for the tribe.

Jewell was joined by Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn and U.S. Rep. Tom Cole to sign the agreement that allows the tribe greater control in leasing their trust lands.

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation is the sixth tribe to take advantage of a new law called the HEARTH Act that gives tribes the ability to create regulations for long-term leasing of Indian lands.

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