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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State Capitol
11:09 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Doak Seeks Re-Election

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak
Credit Provided / Oklahoma Insurance Department

State Insurance Commissioner John Doak has announced that he is seeking re-election for a second term in 2014.

The Republican made the announcement Thursday in Muskogee, following his annual tour of Oklahoma's 77 counties.

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OneSix8
10:02 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Entertaining The Hours Of Your Week: Kicking Off The Holiday Season

Credit Bart Fields

It’s beginning to feel a lot like the holiday season that is upon us and this week’s OneSix8 offers some additional 'indicators’ of what’s ahead with decorating tips, a winter wonderland, and even some early gift ideas.

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Native American
8:57 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Cherokee Nation Claims Sovereign Immunity In Baby Veronica Legal Fee Dispute

Dusten Brown with his daughter, Veronica, before her return to her adoptive parents in South Carolina.
Credit Cherokee Nation

Officials say the Cherokee Nation will argue that tribal sovereignty makes it immune from a request for $1 million in legal fees in a custody battle over a 4-year-old girl.

Attorneys representing Matt and Melanie Capobianco filed the request for legal fees in the custody dispute over 4-year-old Veronica. The Capobiancos have custody after Veronica's biological father, Dusten Brown, dropped all legal proceedings.

Brown is a member of the Cherokee Nation.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
8:24 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Duncan Weighs Its Water Options As Area Lakes Continue to Dwindle

Credit J. STEPHEN CONN / Flickr Creative Commons

City officials in Duncan, Okla., are looking for ways to keep from running out of water.

If drought conditions continue as they have over the last couple of years, the city of more than 23,000 will see its water supplies totally depleted by the end of 2016, according to a story in the Duncan Banner. 

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The Two-Way
6:50 am
Thu November 7, 2013

CIA Pays AT&T For Data On International Calls, 'Times' Says

The seal of the CIA at the agency's headquarters in Virginia.
Greg E. Mathieson Sr. MAI/Landov

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 1:11 pm

News keeps breaking about the alleged electronic surveillance done by U.S. spy agencies. Thursday's exclusive comes from The New York Times:

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The Two-Way
5:56 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Twitter Pops To $44.90 A Share In Debut On Wall Street

Will it fly? The Twitter bird logo was decorating a post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday.
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 5:43 pm

6 p.m. ET: Twitter Shares Close At $44.90

At the end of its first day of public trading, shares of Twitter were valued at $44.90, reflecting a market value of more than $31 billion. The company sold 70 million shares of stock, raising $1.82 billion in the process.

Earlier Thursday, the company's shares soared from their initial public offering price of $26.

2:35 p.m. ET:

As you can see if you click on the player below, Twitter's stock has been trading around $47 a share in recent minutes.

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Raises Ethical Concerns
6:21 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Death Row Organ Donors A Possibility

Credit Lilviscious / Flickr.com

A state lawmaker says he wants to give Oklahoma's death row inmates a chance at redemption by donating their organs before their execution.

Democratic state Rep. Rep. Joe Dorman of Rush Springs said Wednesday that he's developing legislation that would give a person who's been convicted of taking a life an opportunity to give someone else a chance to live a longer life.

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Ballot Title Rewritten To Fail
4:53 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Attorney General Scott Pruitt Asked To Recuse Himself

Credit The National Guard / Flickr.com

Supporters of a $500 million bond issue to help Oklahoma school districts pay for safe-room shelters in schools say state Attorney General Scott Pruitt is biased against the proposal and are asking the Supreme Court to remove him from the case.

Attorneys for Take Shelter Oklahoma and Kristi Conatzer, the mother of one of seven children killed by a tornado in May, asked for Pruitt's recusal in a court filing on Wednesday.

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The Two-Way
3:27 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Another Election?! Relax, This One's To Name A Baby Panda

You can help select a name for the National Zoo's new panda cub.
Abby Wood Smithsonian's National Zoo

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 3:45 pm

Fresh off Tuesday's election, another is just around the corner: The National Zoo wants you to help name its new panda cub by casting a vote at Smithsonian.com.

You can vote online (no photo identification required and the balloting continues until Nov. 22).

At NPR, we always strive to ensure that our audience is informed of the candidates — even when they're names for pandas.

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A-F Report Cards
2:38 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Oklahoma Department Of Education Releases A-F School Grades

Credit comedy_nose / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma State Board of Education has voted unanimously to release newly-revised letter-grade report cards for public schools and districts in the state.

The board voted 5-0 Wednesday during a special meeting following a report by State Department of Education officials.

The grades show 354 schools received an A grade, 499 got a B, 472 received a C, 263 got a D, and 163 received an F.

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