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. 

Read more
Native American
3:04 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

VIDEO: Tribal Leaders Gather For White House Conference

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell speaking during the 2013 White House Tribal Nations Conference - November 13, 2013
Credit The White House / livestream

Native American leaders are gathered in Washington, D.C., to express their needs to officials in President Obama's administration.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell welcomed the leaders Wednesday to the White House Tribal Nations Conference held at the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The audience includes representatives invited from 566 tribes.

Read more
Native American
12:16 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Oklahoma Tribal Leaders Meet With President Obama

President Obama meets with a group of tribal leaders in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Nov. 12, 2013.
Credit Pete Souza / The White House

Two tribal leaders from Oklahoma were among 12 Native American officials who recently met with President Barack Obama at the White House.

Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby and Wichita and Affiliated Tribes President Terri Parton were among the leaders who met with Obama on Tuesday, the day before the White House Tribal Nations Conference.

Read more
Elections
9:41 am
Wed November 13, 2013

Tulsans Put Bartlett Back In Office, Norman Voters Approve Sewer Rate Hike

Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett
Credit Dewey Bartlett for Mayor Facebook

Tulsa voters have re-elected Dewey Bartlett as their mayor.

Unofficial returns Tuesday showed Bartlett with 55 percent of the vote in his race against Kathy Taylor, who preceded Bartlett in office.

The mayor said at a victory party Tuesday evening that Taylor had called him to concede the race. He told supporters he would work to ensure the city creates jobs, fights crime and lives within its budget.

Taylor said that while she may have lost, Tulsa won because of an honest discussion about its future.

Read more
Corrections
9:35 am
Wed November 13, 2013

Ada Woman Found Dead In Jail Cell

Credit mikecogh / Flickr Creative Commons

Authorities are investigating after a 23-year-old inmate was found dead in her cell at the Pontotoc County jail.

Sheriff John Christian says a jailer discovered Tammy Jordan of Ada unresponsive in her cell Monday. The sheriff tells The Ada News that Jordan was pronounced dead by emergency responders.

Christian says there were no signs of foul play and that Jordan was alone in her cell when she died. The state medical examiner's office will determine Jordan's cause of death.

Read more
The Two-Way
8:39 am
Wed November 13, 2013

In Shattered Philippine City, A Fight For 'Sheer Survival'

In anguish: Tears ran down the cheeks of a man as he waited with other survivors Tuesday for a flight out of Tacloban in the Philippines, which was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.
Paula Bronstein Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 7:44 pm

  • Marine Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy
  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Tacloban, the Philippines
  • From the NPR Newscast: Anthony Kuhn on the scene in Tacloban

(We updated this post at 10:40 a.m. ET to include the latest official death toll of more than 2,300.)

As some trucks loaded with food and other aid arrive in the Philippine city of Tacloban, they're being looted by residents struggling to survive in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, NPR's Anthony Kuhn said Wednesday on Morning Edition.

Read more
Law
8:10 am
Wed November 13, 2013

Victims' Relatives To Face Whitey Bulger At Sentencing Hearing

James "Whitey" Bulger was captured in June 2011 in Santa Monica, Calif., with his longtime girlfriend, Catherine Greig.

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 9:59 am

It's the moment many victims of former Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger have been waiting decades for: In federal court in Boston, relatives of those killed by Bulger will face the former gangster and describe their pain.

Bulger was convicted in August of taking part in 11 murders while running a massive criminal enterprise for decades. There is little suspense around Bulger's sentencing — even the minimum would be enough to send the 84-year-old away for the rest of his life.

To many victims, Wednesday's sentencing hearing is less about Bulger than it is about them.

Read more
Expand Authority To Prosecute Non-Indians
6:31 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Report Released Today On How To Make Tribal Communities Safer

Credit Indian Law And Order Commission

A national panel of judicial and law enforcement experts has released recommendations on how to make tribal communities safer.

The Indian Law and Order Commission traveled around the country for two years to hear about criminal jurisdiction, tribal courts, grant funding and other topics. The result is a 324-page report that addresses gaps in public safety.

Read more
Business and Economy
5:03 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Governor, Tulsa Officials Praise Airline Merger Approval

Credit Simon_sees / Flickr Creative Commons

Gov. Mary Fallin, Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett and Tulsa Regional Chamber President Mike Neal are praising an agreement that allows American Airlines and US Airways to merge.

The U.S. Justice Department said Tuesday that the agreement allows the merger that creates the world's biggest airline. The agreement requires the airlines to scale back the size of the merger at certain airports in large cities.

Read more
Around The State
4:08 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Chavez Sentenced To 30 Months For Planned Bartlesville Attack

Credit jczart / Flickr.com

A 19-year-old has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for planning an attack at Bartlesville High School that was never carried out.

The Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise reports Sammie Eaglebear Chavez was sentenced Tuesday by Washington County District Judge Curtis DeLapp.

He was convicted in September of planning a mass shooting and bombing, though no attack was carried out. The jury recommended the 30-month sentence.

Read more
StateImpact Oklahoma
2:31 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Red Cedars Aren’t As Thirsty As We Thought, But They Still Suck

This 2011 fire in the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge was fueled, in part, by red cedars.
Credit Dennis Frank / Flickr Creative Commons

Eastern Red Cedar trees are bad for Oklahoma. The volatile oils they contain can cause the trees to explode during wildfires, spreading embers over hundreds of yards. They crowd out other plants, force wildlife off their habitats, and steal rainfall — which is bad news during a drought.

As The Journal Record‘s Brian Brus reports, it’s been said each red cedar can guzzle dozens of gallons of water each day:

Read more

Pages