May 2013 Tornado Coverage
1:31 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

School Year Begins In Moore, Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin tours the damage of Plaza Tours Elementary School in Moore in the days after the May 20, 2013 tornado.
Credit The National Guard / Flickr Creative Commons

Listen to Meghna Chakrabarti's conversation with Moore Public Schools Superintendent Robert Romines.

Students are back in school in Moore, Oklahoma, nearly three months after a deadly tornado tore through town.

The storm killed a total of 25 people, including seven third-graders who had hunkered down at the Plaza Towers Elementary School with their teachers.

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Politics and Government
12:17 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Gov. Fallin Names Teague As Energy Secretary

Col. Michael Teague will begin his new role as Secretary of Energy and Environment Sept. 3.
Credit Oklahoma Governor's Office

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has appointed Col. Michael Teague to the position of Secretary of Energy and Environment. 

Fallin announced Teague's appointment on Friday and he will begin his new role on Sept. 3.

The position of secretary of energy and environment is new, combining the positions of secretary of energy, previously held by Michael Ming, and secretary of environment, previously held by Gary Sherrer. Fallin says the two policy areas are linked, making it practical to combine them under one cabinet post.

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Native American
11:22 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Cherokee Father Enters Courthouse Without Child

Credit Cherokee Nation

The father of a Cherokee girl at the center of an adoption dispute has arrived at an Oklahoma courthouse, apparently without the girl. 

Matt and Melanie Capobianco of South Carolina obtained a court order asking Dusten Brown to bring 3-year-old Veronica to the Cherokee County Courthouse Friday morning. A South Carolina court approved their adoption of the child, but a Cherokee Nation court has granted custody to Brown and his family.

Brown entered the courthouse without the child. Police and lawyers flanked them, while Brown supporters held up signs outside the building.

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Environment
9:25 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Governors Want Bird Kept Off Endangered List

The lesser prairie chicken.
Credit USDAgov / Flickr Creative Commons

The governors of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico,Oklahoma and Texas say public-private partnerships involving landowners and developers are the best way to protect the habitat of the lesser prairie chicken.

The Journal Record in Oklahoma City reported Friday that the governors this month signed a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service asking the agency to not add the bird to the threatened species list. They say that adding the bird could slow development of oil, gas and wind projects in the Plains.

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May 2013 Tornado Coverage
8:23 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Oklahoma School Districts Consider Adding Storm Shelters

Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 5:46 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

On a Friday, this is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

Today is the first day of school for students in Moore, Oklahoma. It is a bittersweet return. Nearly three months ago, a tornado tore through that small community. The storm destroyed hundreds of buildings, including two elementary schools. Seven students and 18 other people died. The storm has fueled a debate about why there aren't more storm shelters in the heart of Tornado Alley. Across Oklahoma, there's no statewide plan to put shelters in schools.

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All Tech Considered
6:34 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Tornado Tech: How Drones Can Help With Twister Science

Drones can provide information about temperature, humidity and pressure that current radar systems can't provide. Above, the Talos drone, which has a 15.5-foot wingspan.
Jamey Jacob Oklahoma State University

Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 10:30 am

Oklahoma was hit particularly hard by two massive outbreaks this year in what's been another deadly season of tornadoes in the U.S. Despite technology and forecasting improvements, scientists still have plenty to learn about how and why tornadoes form.

Currently, one of the best ways for researchers to understand how tornadoes form is to chase them. So off they go with mobile science laboratories, rushing toward storms armed with research equipment and weather-sensing probes.

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Oklahoma Muslim Challenges State Question 755
6:33 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Federal Judge Prohibits Oklahoma Officials From Certifying Election Results

Gavel and Stryker
Credit Keith Burtis / Flickr.com

A federal judge has prohibited Oklahoma officials from certifying the results of a statewide election in 2010 that would have prohibited state courts from considering international or Islamic law when deciding cases.

In an order handed down Thursday, U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange permanently enjoined the State Election Board from certifying results of the vote in which State Question 755 was approved. The measure was passed with 70 percent of the vote on Nov. 2, 2010.

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Children In State Custody
5:52 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Increasing Number Of Children In Foster Care

Cover of The Oklahoma Pinnacle Plan
Credit Oklahoma Department of Human Services

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services says an increase in the number of children in state custody is hampering efforts to meet goals that are part of the settlement of a federal lawsuit over DHS' treatment of children.

The Oklahoman reports that DHS officials told a joint meeting of DHS citizens' advisory panels Wednesday that the number of children in state custody rose from about 8,000 in 2009 to 10,428.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
4:44 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Damaged Land Could Once Again Cost Oklahoma Mining Regulator Its Federal Funding

A gate into a silica sand mining operation near Mill Creek in south-central Oklahoma.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Coal mining can cause a lot of damage to the landscape, and the federal government has rules about how mining companies are supposed to treat the land after they’re done with it.

Basically, they’re supposed to return it to approximately what it was like before.

The federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement is charged with making sure the Oklahoma Department of Mines is enforcing that rule. If the Oklahoma mining regulator doesn’t, the feds can step in and take over that role.

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World Views
4:30 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Government Crackdown Raises Larger Questions About Egypt's Economic Future

President Obama speaks by phone with his National Security Staff regarding the situation in Egypt, while in Chilmark, Mass., Aug. 15, 2013.
Credit Amanda Lucidon / The White House

On Thursday President Obama canceled joint military exercises with Egypt – saying U.S. cooperation with that country can't "continue as usual" amid the violence that claimed more than 600 lives since Wednesday. 

Samer Shehata, a University of Oklahoma professor of Middle East Studies and an expert on Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood, says while the move was the least President Obama could do, it was still necessary.

“It isn't terribly costly for the United States or for the Egyptian military,” Shehata says. “I think the larger questions, the more important questions, are will U.S. military assistance to Egypt, which is on the tune of $1.3 billion annually, will that be suspended or ended?”

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