police sirens
Highway Patrol Images / Flickr

Oklahoma Takes A Hard Look At What Police Seize — And How It's Spent

In Oklahoma, some people in charge of enforcing the law seem to be skirting it. State audits have found people in district attorney offices have used seized money and property to live rent-free and pay off student loans. When state Sen. Kyle Loveless first heard about the audits, he'd already been thinking about amending the civil asset forfeiture laws — mainly because the state doesn't always follow the law. "We've seen in Oklahoma — through county commissioner scandals, Supreme Court...
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Heath Gerlock, a founder of Farmobile, shows the orange box device that can feed farm data directly to a tablet, smartphone or computer. Gerlock pictured in the Iowa Public Radio studio in Ames.
Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Technology has transformed farming, one of the Midwest’s biggest industries, and while fewer people are now needed to actually work the farm field, new types of jobs keep many office workers tied to agriculture.

Beyond operating a tractor and a combine, today’s farmers need to manage all kinds of information. From information technology to web development, the skills that have changed our economy have transformed the agriculture industry as well.

The National Guard

Oklahoma National Guard soldiers and airmen could soon be carrying weapons at recruiting stations and armories across the state.

Guard spokesman Col. Max Moss said Tuesday that the Oklahoma National Guard is finalizing guidelines and identifying soldiers who would be eligible to carry firearms at its facilities.

Tammy Mix's sons play on the sidewalk as a drilling rig peeks above the tree line behind her Stillwater home.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

After months of debate, drafting and deferring, the Stillwater City Council on Monday approved a stricter oil and gas ordinance.

The council unanimously approved the new rules, which were crafted with the input of residents, the energy industry and Senate Bill 809 — legislation that goes into effect in August preventing municipalities from enacting ordinances that ban fracking and other oil and gas activities, The Oklahoman‘s Adam Wilmoth reports:

Annie E. Casey Foundation

Oklahoma ranks in the bottom quarter of states in childhood wellbeing according to an annual survey out Tuesday morning from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The state's placement remained steady from last year.

The Kids Count Data Book shows 24 percent of Oklahoma children live in poverty, and the new survey ranks the state 39th in the nation when it comes to the overall wellbeing of children.

health insurance cards and dollar bills
Lindsey Whelchel / Oklahoma Watch

Oklahomans who buy health insurance for next year from the largest insurer on the Affordable Care Act marketplace could face double-digit rate increases running as high as 44 percent, filings with the federal government show. 

usgs.gov / U.S. Geological Survey

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake centered in northern Oklahoma has shaken the state, with reports of it being felt hundreds of miles away. 

The U.S. Geological Survey reported Monday's quake happened at about 3:20 p.m., with the epicenter located about 9 miles east of Cherokee near the Kansas border. People reported feeling the quake in several states, including Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.

The Alfalfa County Sheriff's Office said there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Contractors discovered chalk drawings and lessons on blackboards in Emerson High School, dating to 1917.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Updated July 21, 7:40 a.m.: The Oklahoma City Public School Board voted without discussion during its board meeting to temporarily cover up the century-old chalkboards at Emerson Alternative School so renovations at the site can continue.

The drawings from 1917 were discovered last month, and school officials want to find a way to preserve them. The cover-up approved Tuesday night is expected to cost about $26,000.

Original Post

In a speech last week, President Obama made a case for overhauling the criminal justice system.

"Mass incarceration makes our country worse off, and we need to do something about it," he said.

Then he took his message to the people his proposals could affect most. On Thursday, he met with six inmates at the Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Okla. — all convicted of nonviolent drug offenses — and became the first sitting president to ever visit a federal prison.

Former Tulsa County Sheriff's reserve deputy Robert Bates enters the Tulsa County Jail.
Matt Trotter / KWGS Public Radio Tulsa

A grand jury will begin investigating allegations of wrongdoing against the Tulsa County sheriff's office, which came under scrutiny after a reserve deputy shot and killed an unarmed and restrained suspect in April.

Among the accusations that the grand jury is expected to consider after convening Monday is whether Sheriff Stanley Glanz gave special treatment to the reserve deputy, Robert Bates, who was Glanz's close friend and had served as his campaign manager in 2012.

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