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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Will Lead Federal Reserve
4:58 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Coburn Votes In Favor Of Janet Yellen's Nomination

Credit Medill DC / Flickr.com

Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn has cast one of the three Republican votes that helped advance Janet Yellen's nomination to lead the Federal Reserve.

Coburn, a conservative lawmaker from Muskogee, says in a statement that he cast a vote in favor of Yellen's nomination Thursday because she is "unquestionably qualified" to serve as the next chair of the agency.

Republican Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Mark Kirk of Illinois cast the other two votes in support of Yellen's nomination.

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The Salt
4:39 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Nuts For Longevity: Daily Handful Is Linked To Longer Life

Regular nut consumers had about a 20 percent reduction in all-cause mortality, including lower death rates from heart disease and cancer, a study found.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 2:02 pm

Americans have not always been in love with nuts.

Think about it: They're loaded with calories and fat. Plus, they can be expensive.

But Americans' views — and eating habits — when it comes to nuts are changing. Fast.

There's a growing body of scientific evidence that's putting a health halo over supermarkets' expanding nut aisles.

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Native American
3:04 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

U.S. Judge Sides With Comanches In Tobacco Dispute

Credit Kenji Aryan / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal judge in Oklahoma City is siding with the Comanche Nation in a dispute with the governor's office over the state's tobacco compact with the southwest Oklahoma tribe.

U.S. District Judge Robin Cauthron issued a temporary restraining order on Thursday that allows the Comanche Nation to enjoy the same tobacco compact the state has with the Chickasaw Nation. Under that deal, the $1.03 state tax rate per pack of cigarettes is distributed with 70 percent of the revenue to the tribe and 30 percent to the state.

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Weather
1:41 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Thunderstorms, Ice, Low Temps And High Winds Expected In Oklahoma

The National Weather Service says wintry conditions are expected through the weekend. Friday will be a cold and windy day.
Credit National Weather Service Norman Forecast Office

COLD WEATHER SAFETY INFORMATION

Cold air continues to push into Oklahoma as a strong arctic front quickly moves to the south.

Temperatures will continue to drop dramatically. By 7 p.m., temperatures across northwestern Oklahoma will be down in the upper 20s and lower 30s.

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OneSix8
1:27 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Entertaining The Hours Of Your Week: Unseasonably ‘Hot’ Performances And Events

Flute
Credit Creative Commons/Ken2754@yokohama

With outside temperatures falling… and fast, I’m happy to report that there are a number of sizzling showcases and events to list in this week’s OneSix8.   

As fictional television anchorman Ron “I hope you got your griddles” Burgundy reminded us, the flute can both burn up the stage and melt hearts.

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Politics and Government
1:24 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

OCAST Director Receives Salary Increase

Gov. Mary Fallin (center) with Secretary of Science & Technology Steve McKeever (left) and OCAST Executive Director Michael Carolina (right)
Credit Provided / Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology

Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology Executive Director Michael Carolina received a $34,000 salary increase, approved unanimously by the board of directors.

Public Information Office Steve Paris said Carolina’s salary increased from $96,027 to $130,000, a 35 percent increase. Paris said the board discussed the decision during executive session Tuesday.

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The Two-Way
12:46 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Senate Democrats Detonate 'Nuclear Option' To Curb Filibusters

Senate Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid, D-Nev.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 1:09 pm

(We added to the top of this post at 2:08 p.m. ET.)

There was high drama Thursday on the floor of the Senate as Democrats significantly changed the way business in the chamber is done.

In what Republicans cast as a "power grab" but Democrats defended as a way to break gridlock, the Senate's rules were changed to make it much more difficult for a minority of the members to hold up action on key presidential nominees.

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Travel
9:38 am
Thu November 21, 2013

AAA Expects Thanksgiving Travel Drop For Oklahomans

More than 574,000 Oklahomans are expected to travel for Thanksgiving. Most will drive to their destination.
Credit timo_w2s / Flickr Creative Commons

Fewer Oklahomans are expected to travel this Thanksgiving, and most will be getting to their destination by driving.

That's according to AAA Oklahoma. The agency says more than 574,000 Oklahomans are expected to travel for Thanksgiving, and of those, 90 percent will be getting there by car. More than 47,000 are expected to fly. That's down about 3 percent compared to last year.

AAA projects 43.4 million Americans will travel over the Thanksgiving holiday week. That's a decrease of 1.5 percent compared to last year.

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Devon
8:58 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Devon Acquisition Shows Shift To Oil

Credit Devon Energy

Devon Energy Corp. is buying oil-producing assets and other property in the Eagle Ford in Texas from GeoSouthern Energy for $6 billion.

Devon said Wednesday that the assets include current production of 53,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and 82,000 net acres with at least 1,200 undrilled locations.

The acquisition includes acreage in DeWitt and Lavaca counties in Texas. The assets are expected to reach a peak production rate of about 140,000 BOE per day.

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The Two-Way
8:27 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Jobless Claims And Wholesale Prices Drop

Part of the scene at a job fair for veterans and family members earlier this month in Marietta, Ga.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 10:47 am

While it's always important to keep in mind that neither one week nor one month make for a trend, there is good economic news to pass along:

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