Auditing The Storm: Disaster 4117 is a series of investigative reports tracking federal disaster aid following the Spring 2013 Oklahoma tornado outbreak. This series represents a collaborative effort between The Oklahoma Tornado Project and Oklahoma Watch.
The tornadoes, flooding and hail that struck Oklahoma last year left hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage, causing many home and business owners to seek help in the form of low-interest federal loans.
The U.S. Small Business Administration approved 929 applications for about $50 million in low-interest disaster loans for people, businesses and nonprofits, according to SBA data acquired for Oklahoma Watch by the nonprofit group, Investigative Reporters and Editors.
Most applicants, 599, took out the loans, but often for much less than what was offered, SBA figures show.
The total amount loaned by the SBA was $21 million, or 42 percent of the approved total amount. All but 52 of the 929 applications were from individuals. About half of the total amount approved was for applicants in Oklahoma City and Moore, which took the brunt of the damage from the May 20 and May 31, 2013, storms.
After a presidentially declared disaster like last year’s tornadoes in Central Oklahoma, the U.S. Small Business Administration often steps in, offering low-interest loans to help homeowners and businesses recover. But the SBA has been criticized in the past for being slow to respond. And following the 2013 storms in the Sooner State, many people still have complaints about the process.
An Invasive Plant Threatens Oklahoma’s Agriculture Industry.
Kudzu is a vine known for taking over huge areas of states like Alabama and Mississippi. It can cover abandoned buildings and take down utility wires. It can grow 18 inches a day, and some experts joke that it grows so fast you have to be careful falling asleep near it.
The problem is that it also can kill off native species and can carry diseases that damage crops such as soybeans, which produces up to $130 million a year in Oklahoma.
Kudzu has been found in 50 places around Oklahoma.
After a record-breaking 63 people died as a result of the flu during the 2013-14 flu season, Oklahoma health officials preparing for the coming season say educating the public is key to reducing both the deaths and the number of people who contract the virus.
Oklahoma State Department of Health epidemiologist Becky Coffman says public awareness and persuading residents to get a flu shot are vital.
It sure seems as if the world is moving faster and faster! And now, the opportunity to listen to KGOU in digital spaces has just increased.
KGOU now has our audio stream as a station inside iTunes Radio!
If you are already an iTunes customer, and if you have iTunes installed on your desktop, your iPad or iPhone, then you can listen to KGOU in iTunes Radio. Simply go to the radio area, and search for KGOU. Then you make it your favorite by adding it to your personal “My Stations” list.
The FBI is investigating how con artists were able to obtain confidential information about unaccompanied child immigrants being held in Texas and elsewhere as part of a scam netting the swindlers thousands of dollars.
Special agent Michelle Lee tells the San Antonio Express-News that information was obtained for children being held at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland and at Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma.
Food pantries and shelters across the state are scrambling to meet demand for food and other supplies by the homeless, kids left in the lurch because they don't have access to free and discounted meals offered when schools are in session and other residents who are down on their luck.
Social service workers say supplies like meat and dairy are particularly in demand during the summer months — a period when donations to agencies tend to dip.
The Iron Gate soup kitchen and food pantry in downtown Tulsa, for example, fed a record 600-plus people Wednesday.
Decision Made On Cheyenne And Arapaho Tribal Government
It’s been a long four plus years for the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes - working under two governments, enduring separate court systems and dealing with divisive and competing decisions by local Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) officials. Compounding these difficulties was the freezing of assets which adversely affected tribally owned casinos, payrolls and tribal programs that served the Cheyenne and Arapaho people.