Special Report: Auditing The Disaster Aid For 2013 Tornadoes And Storms

Federal public-assistance funds are paying for the rebuilding of Plaza Towers Elementary School, in which seven children died in the May 20, 2013, tornado. The school is expected to open next month.
Clifton Adcock Oklahoma Watch

The tornadoes and storms that devastated Oklahoma and killed 34 last year triggered the release of tens of millions of dollars in federal and state aid that will keep flowing for years.

To date, the federal government has approved up to $257 million in disaster assistance of various kinds to help re build damage and help victims of the winds and flooding that struck between May 18 and June 2, 2013, and to mitigate future risks.

The state has contributed an additional $10.5 million, and private insurers are paying about $1.1 billion. Charities also have pumped in aid.

The relief aid stemming from Disaster No. 4117, as it is called by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is arriving through several channels, heading ultimately to state and local agencies, contractors, businesses and individuals.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
1:21 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Oklahoma Quakes Continue As Researchers Study Unnatural Tremors For Disposal Well Links

A waste fluid disposal well in Oklahoma.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Central Oklahoma is still experiencing a “significant rise” in magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes, and federal and state seismologists are collaborating to study possible links to disposal wells used by the oil and gas industry, the U.S. Geological Survey says.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
12:31 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

After Decade Of Consideration, State Caps Withdrawals From Oklahoma’s Most Sensitive Aquifer

A larger than usual crowd packs the OWRB's monthly meeting in Midwest City to hear the board vote Wednesday afternoon.
Credit Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Supporters let out a big cheer Wednesday after the Oklahoma Water Resources Board voted to cap the amount of water that can be taken from the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer, the source of drinking water for communities across a large area of south-central Oklahoma.

The decision was 10 years in the making, and came about — in part — because some landowners were concerned that limestone and sand mining was draining the aquifer too quickly.

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The Two-Way
11:37 am
Thu October 24, 2013

At Health Care Hearing, Republicans And Democrats Clash Again

HealthCare.gov

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 1:50 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Ailsa Chang reports
  • Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., accusing his Republican colleagues of holding a "monkey court."

(Click here to jump to our latest updates — including a Democrat accusing Republicans of holding a "monkey court.")

Republicans in the House have framed the central question they want answered about the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act this way, NPR's Ailsa Chang said Thursday on Morning Edition:

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OneSix8
12:12 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Entertaining the Hours of Your Week: Gift Giving

Credit asenat29

The holidays are just around the corner, and the feeling of the season is already beginning to show. 

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Business and Economy
6:12 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Oklahoma Attorney General Supports Airline Merger

Credit Simon_sees / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has notified the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia of his intent to file a brief in support of the planned merger between American Airlines and US Airways.

The U.S. Department of Justice is challenging the merger on antitrust concerns. American Airlines, which has more than 6,000 workers at its maintenance facility in Tulsa, is seeking to exit bankruptcy protection through the proposed merger.

Pruitt says the merger does not violate Oklahoma antitrust laws and that his filing will be made in November.

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"This...is NPR."
4:30 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Meet The New Voice Of NPR Underwriting

Sabrina Farhi will take over next month as the voice of NPR underwriting. (Jeremy Folmer Photography)

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 7:16 am

Big news for NPR junkies: The new voice of NPR funding credits was announced today. Starting next month, you’ll be hearing New York City native Sabrina Farhi on the air.

Farhi will be taking over for Frank Tavares who’s leaving at the end of the year after more than 30 years with NPR.

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Bribery Probe
4:15 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Former Governor Henry Testifies At Trial

Credit Governor Brad Henry

Former Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry has testified in a former state legislator's felony bribery trial and told jurors he considers the defendant a friend.

Henry testified for about an hour Wednesday during the trial of former Republican state Rep. Randy Terrill. Terrill is charged with offering former state Sen. Debbe Leftwich an $80,000-a-year state job in exchange for Leftwich's promise not to run for re-election in 2010.

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State Capitol
1:10 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Former Oklahoma House Speaker Named Secretary of State

Former Oklahoma House Speaker and Secretary of State-appointee Chris Benge (R-Tulsa)
Credit Oklahoma House of Representatives

Former Oklahoma House Speaker Chris Benge has been appointed secretary of state.

Gov. Mary Fallin announced the appointment Wednesday. Benge will start the position on Nov. 8. The Senate must still confirm the appointment.

As secretary of state, Benge will be a senior adviser to Fallin on policy, economic and legislative issues.

Benge, a Republican from Tulsa, was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 1998 and served until 2010.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
12:33 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

StateImpact On OETA: Oklahoma Wind Farms And Weather Radar

StateImpact Oklahoma's Joe Wertz
Credit Oklahoma Educational Television Authority / YouTube

StateImpact reporter Joe Wertz was a guest on OETA’s Oklahoma News Report last week to discuss his report on how wind farms interfere with weather radar.

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State Capitol
11:24 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Committees Discuss Oklahoma Veterans Center Employment Needs

Ardmore Veterans Center
Credit Oklahoma Dept. of Veterans Affairs

The Senate and House’s Veterans and Military Affairs Committees heard Tuesday what the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs has done and hopes to do to address staffing and related issues, particularly at it seven veterans centers.

“There is no easy answer here,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs retired Maj. Gen. Rita Aragon said at the conclusion of the meeting.

ODVA staff testified that they have embarked on a plan to convert patient care staff from classified to unclassified positions, are working on ways to address salary and training issues.

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