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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StoryCorps
2:35 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Making New Connections On A Trapped Subway Train

New York City subway conductor Paquita Williams (left) and passenger Laura Lane became friends after a two-hour train breakdown.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 11:37 am

Laura Lane met Paquita Williams, a New York City subway conductor, when their train was stopped underground for two hours. Generally, Paquita says, most passengers are nice, but "there's times if the train breaks down, people think that's my fault."

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Doak Says Numbers Minimal
6:25 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Not Many Health Care Policies Canceled In Oklahoma

John Doak
Credit Oklahoma Insurance Commission

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak says the number of health insurance policies canceled in the state due to Affordable Care Act guidelines has been minimal.

Doak made the comments Thursday after President Obama announced changes to temporarily allow insurers to keep offering plans that otherwise would have been canceled under the federal health care law.

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John Hope Franklin Center For Reconciliation
4:16 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Clifton Taulbert To Speak At Dinner Of Reconciliation

Dr John Hope Franklin
Credit Butler University Photos / Flickr.com

The Tulsa-based John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation will host its fourth community dinner to honor the life and legacy of local historian Dr. John Hope Franklin.

The Dinner of Reconciliation is Nov. 21 at the Greenwood Cultural Center.

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Workers' Compensation
2:56 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Attorneys Argue Over Oklahoma Workers' Comp Lawsuit

Credit Oklahoma Supreme Court

An attorney for two state lawmakers and a firefighter's organization says Oklahoma's new workers' compensation law is unconstitutional and should be struck down.

Attorney John McMurry told a state Supreme Court referee Thursday that the law unconstitutionally delegates legislative powers and amounts to unconstitutional logrolling, or combining multiple subjects into one bill.

Oklahoma Solicitor General Patrick Wyrick and attorneys for business groups defended the law and say it should be given a chance to work.

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Environment
1:21 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Oklahoma AG To Appeal Regional Haze Lawsuit Ruling

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt
Credit Oklahoma Attorney General's Office

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt told a congressional committee in Washington that he will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the state's regional haze lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Pruitt spoke Thursday before a U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Power that is overseeing EPA's proposed new greenhouse gas rules that affect electricity generation.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
12:01 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Oklahomans Live With Shaking As Researchers Study Earthquake Swarm

Amanda and Keith Erwin, of Edmond, say they're learning to live with near-daily earthquakes. The Erwins have written letters to both of their state lawmakers asking them to investigate.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Keith Erwin says they remind him of the artillery he used to hear growing up near the Fort Sill Army base in Lawton. His wife Amanda says the earthquakes sound like thunder.

“The chandelier was swinging, and the walls were rumbling, the bed was rumbling,” Amanda Erwin says.

That’s when the game starts.

“We just turn and look at each other … what do you think it was? A 2.5? Nah … that had to have been a 3.0,” Keith Erwin says.

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The Two-Way
10:18 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Obama Moves To Delay Cancellations Of Insurance Plans

President Barack Obama speaking at the White House on Thursday.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 12:18 pm

  • LISTEN: The president's news conference and NPR coverage of it

President Obama announced Thursday that Americans who have had their health insurance plans canceled because of his Affordable Care Act can keep those plans for another year if they wish.

Those cancellations — most effective on Jan. 1 — have sparked intense criticism of the ACA, in part because the president pledged many times that if Americans liked the health plans they had, they wouldn't have to give them up under the terms of his program.

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OKC Thunder
10:10 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Clippers Beat Thunder 111-103 After Scuffle

Credit Elizabeth Gwartney

Blake Griffin had 22 points and 12 rebounds after being involved in a first-half scuffle that resulted in two ejections, sparking the Los Angeles Clippers to a 111-103 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.

Serge Ibaka of the Thunder and Matt Barnes of the Clippers were ejected, and Griffin received a technical foul for his part in the altercation with 6 seconds left in the second quarter.

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Congress
9:39 am
Thu November 14, 2013

4th District's Cole Lands Powerful Subcommittee Role

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.)
Credit Republicanconference / Flickr

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole has been appointed chairman of the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch.

The subcommittee — along with its counterpart in the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee — oversees funding for the House of Representatives, Architect of the Capitol, Library of Congress, Capitol Police, Congressional Budget Office, Government Printing Office, Government Accountability Office and House committees.

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Environment
9:04 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Pruitt Takes Oklahoma EPA Fight To Capitol Hill

Okla. Attorney General Scott Pruitt
Credit U.S. House of Representatives / UStream

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is expected to testify before a congressional committee in Washington.

Pruitt will discuss energy and environmental issues on Thursday with members of a U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Power. The panel is overseeing the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed new greenhouse gas rules that affect electricity generation.

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