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Workers construct new homes at 12th Avenue NW and Tecumseh Road in Norman.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Home Construction Slows Despite Site Boom; Why Rentals Near Military Bases Make Good Investments

National figures out this week from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development showed sales of new single-family homes rose more than 12 percent between June and July. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of 654,000 units is the highest since October 2007 - right around the time the housing bubble burst. But home construction is showing in the U.S., according to the National Association of Home Builders. NAHB economist Robert Dietz said home construction is...
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The Wheeler Ferris Wheel is shown behind signage at Oklahoma City’s Wheeler District.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

On Tuesday the Oklahoma City Council took another step toward creating a tax increment financing, or TIF, district for the Wheeler neighborhood near downtown, just south of the Oklahoma River.

The area on either side of Western Ave. north of SW 20th Street will eventually have housing, offices, retail, and the centerpiece has already gone up - a 100-foot tall Ferris wheel.

Study: Tulsa Head Start Program Produces Lasting Positive Effects

Aug 18, 2016
classroom floor
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

An analysis of participants in a Tulsa Head Start program found many indicators that the federal early-education program works — and the positive effects last into middle school.

Overall, participants in the Community Action Project Head Start program had higher math scores, lower rates of grade retention and were less likely to be chronically absent.

The findings are significant because they contrast with other research showing the program’s positive effects fade quickly.

SandRidge Energy Inc. facilities superintendent Andy Ferguson, left, opens the valve at one of the company’s shuttered disposal wells on Aug. 10.
Sarah Terry-Cobo / The Journal Record

Two pairs of Logan County residents have dropped legal action against a quartet of Oklahoma energy companies.

Lisa Griggs and April Marler alleged their homes were damaged from earthquakes that were caused by New Dominion and subsidiaries of Chesapeake Energy, Devon Energy, and SandRidge Energy. Brenda Lene and Jon Darryn Lene also say their home was damaged by earthquakes caused by water injection. 

Members of the Choctaw Nation gather at the Hugo Community Center to hear details on the new water deal from attorney Michael Burrage.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

After five years of confidential negotiations, the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations have reached an agreement with the State of Oklahoma over water in southeast Oklahoma. The deal has been praised by state leaders as a historic accord that ends the tribes’ lawsuit that blocked Oklahoma City’s plan to pump water out of the region.

Gov. Mary Fallin, second from right, and her husband, Wade Christensen, second from left, greet Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, right, following a rally in Oklahoma City, Friday, Feb. 26, 2016.
Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump named four Oklahomans to his newly created Agriculture Advisory Committee Tuesday. Gov. Mary Fallin is the highest profile Oklahoman on the panel.

“The Trump administration will work closely with farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers to ensure their issues and concerns are being addressed,” Fallin said in a statement.

The 64-member committee also includes state Agriculture Secretary Jim Resse, state Sen. Eddie Fields and state Rep. Casey Murdock.

Voters participate in early voting at the Oklahoma County Elections Board in Oklahoma City, Thursday, June 19, 2014.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

A more than four-year legal challenge to overturn Oklahoma’s voter identification law was rejected earlier this week by a state district court judge who upheld the constitutionality of the measure.

Oklahoma County District Court Judge Aletia Haynes Timmons dismissed the case Monday after hearing arguments from lawyers representing the Oklahoma State Election Board and Tulsa resident Delilah Christine Gentges. Gentges’ attorney said he plans to appeal the decision.

Oklahoma City University economist Russell Evans, at lectern, addresses the Oklahoma City Council Tuesday.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Oklahoma City University economist Russell Evans told city council members during Tuesday's meeting there's still a lot of economic uncertainty. 

Evans typically speaks to the city council in February when it’s time to plan the annual budget. But he was asked to give a special presentation after some council members pointed out that the city was suffering more than usual for its ties to the oil and gas industry, The Journal Record’s Brian Brus reports:

The Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission and audience members listen to a presentation on right-to-farm at the April 19 meeting in Tahlequah, Okla.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

City leaders in Edmond adopted a resolution urging citizens to reject State Question 777. Their counterparts in Choctaw appear likely to do the same, and the Norman City Council has booked a presentation from an organization fighting against the question, which would amend the state constitution to include the “right-to-farm” and prevent lawmakers from passing legislation impeding farming, ranching and agriculture.

Workers continue construction of a Hibdon Tires Plus at University Town Center in Norman.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

It’s not in decline, but national construction spending is slowing, according to industry group Associated Builders and Contractors. But some Oklahoma companies are in hiring home.

The state saw a 6.9 percent increase in construction jobs from June 2015 to June 2016, The Journal Record’s Molly Fleming reports:

Using a growing body of research, along with trial and error, scientists and state regulators are getting closer to pinpointing the cause of the startling increase in earthquakes in the central and eastern parts of the country, and preventing them.

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