Community
11:05 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Fixing A City's Economy Two Feet At A Time

An artist's conception of a traffic roundabout in Brattleboro, Vermont.
Credit Institute for Quality Communities / University of Oklahoma

Nearly 70 years after the post-World War II suburban explosion, some developers and civic innovators argue that urban centers can increase their livability by going beyond the lower limits of what’s functional.

Dan Burden is the co-founder of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute in Port Townsend, Washington. He’s studied and documented the conditions for pedestrians and cyclists in more than 2,000 town centers.

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Community
10:37 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Pedaling Toward Healthier Communities

Credit 5chw4r7z / Flickr Creative Commons

Cities across the nation are trying to improve the health of their populations, many developers are embracing cycling infrastructure as a way encourage civic engagement, environmental goals, and economic prosperity.

John Cock is an urban planner based in Davidson, North Carolina with Alta Planning and Design.

During a recent placemaking conference sponsored by the University of Oklahoma’s Institute for Quality Communities, Cock described three types cyclists – those who are already out there, the 7-9 percent who would ride on urban streets if they had a bike lane, and another 60 percent who don’t even want a bike lane if they have to share the roadways with traffic or parked cars.

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Health Insurance
10:33 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Oklahoma Watch Study Identifies Jobs With Largest Number of Uninsured

Cassie Clark, a part-time administrative assistant, falls into the health care "coverage crater" because she's not eligible for Medicaid but doesn't make enough money to qualify for new tax credits under the Affordable Care Act.
Credit Warren Vieth / Oklahoma Watch

When the government starts helping low-wage workers pay for health insurance next year, 6,704 Oklahoma cooks will be left empty-handed.

So will 6,154 cashiers, 4,572 waiters, 4,207 housekeepers and 3,870 retail salespeople, an Oklahoma Watch data analysis shows.

Interactive: Uninsured Workers by Job and Industry Group

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Shots - Health News
9:52 am
Mon July 22, 2013

State Laws Limiting Abortion May Face Challenges On 20-Week Limit

Becca Besaw of Austin, Texas, and Christopher Robertson of Fort Worth, Texas, protest the state's new law restricting access to abortion at a rally in Dallas on July 15.
Tony Gutierrez AP

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 3:57 pm

Banning abortions after a specific point in pregnancy has been a popular trend in the states this year. Last week, GOP Gov. Rick Perry made Texas the 12th state to ban most abortions after 20 weeks.

But how states define the starting point for that 20 weeks may cause headaches for women and their doctors — and ultimately affect whether these laws pass constitutional muster.

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Drought
9:26 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Despite Recent Rains, Drought Continues Hold On State

Drought monitor map from July 16.
Credit U.S. Drought Monitor

A smattering of summer showers is providing much-needed rain across much of Oklahoma, but nearly a third of the state remains locked in extreme drought.

The driest portion of the state includes major agricultural producing counties in western Oklahoma that has withered crops, dried up farm ponds and decimated cattle herds.

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Earthquake
8:18 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Oklahoma Begins Work On Reducing Oil Field, Earthquake Risk

Map showing an earthquake from April 16.
Credit U.S. Geological Survey

The Oklahoma Geological Survey has begun work on plans to reduce the risk of oil-field work causing earthquakes.

The Tulsa World reported Saturday that a summary report says the risk of oil-field caused earthquakes is small — and can be reduced further with "appropriate industry practices" involving injection disposal wells.

Oklahoma Geological Survey research seismologist Austin Holland says the wells inject waste fluids into the ground and are not hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — which is a process used to release minerals from beneath the earth's surface.

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Community
8:12 am
Mon July 22, 2013

If You Build It, Better Health Will Come

A slide from Richard Jackson's presentation during the Placemaking Conference at the University of Oklahoma.
Credit OU Institute for Quality Communities

Many scientists, doctors, and public health researchers say there’s a link between a community’s health and the built environment.

Nearly 800 civic leaders attended a recent placemaking conference sponsored by the University of Oklahoma’s Institute for Quality Communities.

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Highways
7:24 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Commuter Alert: I-44, I-235 Interchange Construction Closing Ramps, Lanes

Construction in the I-44, I-235 interchange will lead to lane and ramp closures through August.
Credit Google Maps

The ramps and lanes in the I-44/I-235 interchange will close beginning Monday night, continuing through August. 

Drivers are advised to expect lengthy delays and are encouraged to find an alternate route such as I-35, I-40, SH-74/Lake Hefner Parkway or I-240 to bypass the closure.

Closures will take place nightly from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. beginning Monday and continuing through August: 

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U.S.
5:30 am
Sun July 21, 2013

A Woman Among Men: Female Firefighter Blazed A Trail

Judy Brewer was the country's first full-time female firefighter.
John Duricka AP

Originally published on Sun July 21, 2013 11:41 am

Arlington County, Va., wants more female firefighters. The fire department there has even set up a camp to inspire potential recruits. Donning helmets and matching camp shirts, teenage girls line up to watch a demonstration: A model room with furniture is ablaze.

Camper Tara Crosey says she came to camp in part because she "wanted to show that girls are as strong as boys and girls can do what boys can do."

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Environment
5:30 am
Sun July 21, 2013

Fighting Fire With Fire: Why Some Burns Are Good For Nature

An arborist from the Montana Conservation Corps works to clear pine trees from land in Centennial Valley, Mont.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Sun July 21, 2013 1:50 pm

Wildfires were once essential to the American West. Prairies and forests burned regularly, and those fires not only determined the mix of flora and fauna that made up the ecosystem, but they regenerated the land.

When people replaced wilderness with homes and ranches, they aggressively eliminated fire. But now, scientists are trying to bring fire back to the wilderness, to recreate what nature once did on its own.

One place they're doing this is Centennial Valley, in southwestern Montana.

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