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.

Read more
Smoking
10:13 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Fallin Puts Off Oklahoma Smoking Ban Petition Drive

Credit AMagill / Flickr Creative Commons

Gov. Mary Fallin will wait until after the 2014 election to lead a petition drive to let voters decide whether to enact stricter smoking bans in their cities.

The Tulsa World reports Fallin, who is up for re-election, will wait until after next year's elections to lead the effort. A spokesman for Fallin says waiting gives the measure a better chance for success.

Read more
The Two-Way
10:07 am
Mon October 7, 2013

MIT Scientists Develop New Breed Of Self-Assembling Robots

M-Block cube robots rest on a work table in the Distributed Robotics Lab in CSAIL at MIT in Cambridge, Mass. The robots are 50mm cubes that can reconfigure themselves into various arrangements using self-propulsion and magnets.
M. Scott Brauer MIT

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 8:49 am

They're called M-Blocks and the tiny, cubical robots that can spin, flip and jump their way into new configurations are the brainchild of scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

According to MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), M-Blocks:

Read more
Ahead of the Storm
8:44 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Parents, Officials Search For Solution To Oklahoma School Shelter Scarcity

Danni Legg transferred her children to Kelley Elementary in Moore, the only elementary school in the district with a safe area for tornadoes.
Credit Kate Carlton

Danni Legg transferred her two kids to Kelley Elementary this past August. She moved them from Plaza Towers Elementary, after the tornado in May destroyed the school, causing the death of her middle child, Christopher, along with six other students.  Legg says returning to Moore after the tragedy was something she did for her children. 

"I wanted my children to understand the town didn't kill their brother," Legg said. "A tornado and the lack of good construction in the building is what killed their brother."

Read more
Law
8:23 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Despite Shutdown, Supreme Court Opens Its Doors For New Term

The Supreme Court opens its new term this week.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 10:09 am

When the rest of the government shuts down for a blizzard, the U.S. Supreme Court soldiers on. And so it is that this week, with the rest of the government shut down in a political deep freeze, the high court, being deemed essential, is open for business.

It is, after all, not just any week for the justices. It is the opening of a new term.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:58 am
Mon October 7, 2013

No End In Sight: Shutdown Showdown Enters Week 2

Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn speaks on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday. Cornyn said the partial federal government shutdown cannot end unless President Obama sits down with congressional Republicans.
Chris Usher AP

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 11:26 am

The second week of the shutdown is, so far, looking a lot like Week 1. Even so, here are a few data points that might be worth your attention:

U.S. civilian defense workers heading back to work on Monday

As The Two-Way's Bill Chappell reported earlier, the Department of Defense is ordering most of its furloughed civilian employees — amounting to about 400,000 workers — back to work.

Read more
It's All Politics
7:04 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Monday Morning Political Mix

People who for years had planned to be boating down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon right about now instead found themselves on Saturday camping in a parking lot because of the government shutdown.
Julie Jacobson AP

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 8:12 am

Good Monday morning, fellow political junkies. The partial shutdown of the government enters its second week and on Day 7 of the crisis neither side appears to have softened its position.

At least furloughed federal workers got the good news over the weekend that Congress had approved giving them backpay for the time they are locked out of their jobs.

Here are some of the more interesting news items with greater or lesser political import that caught my eye this morning.

Read more
Manager's Desk
11:05 am
Sun October 6, 2013

Sound Programming Needs Solid Listener Support

Karen Holp in Membership Central
Credit Laura Knoll

 October 6, 2013

This is from the Manager’s Desk.

In preparation for the membership drive, I’ve been looking at the costs of the various programs on KGOU.

Of course, the morning, noon and evening week day programs are the most expensive – both to acquire from NPR and to add the local news and information. But the three together – Morning Edition, Here and Now and All Things Considered add up to about $20,000 per week.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:12 am
Sat October 5, 2013

Obama: Shutdown Could Be Over By Now (Interview Highlights)

President Obama told The Associated Press Friday that the House has enough votes to end the federal government shutdown.
Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 10:45 am

The federal shutdown that has idled some 800,000 government workers could be over by now — if members of Congress were able to vote on a bill that doesn't include an attack on the new U.S. health care system, President Obama says. "There are enough votes in the House of Representatives to make sure that the government reopens today," he told The Associated Press Friday.

Read more
Politics
7:55 am
Sat October 5, 2013

What Furlough? GOP Lawmakers Choose How Much Burden To Bear

A seagull walks on the edge of the reflecting pool near the Capitol on Friday.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 11:20 am

As the government shutdown enters its fifth day, House Republicans and Senate Democrats continue to spar over who's being more unreasonable in this fight.

GOP members now find themselves on the defensive, as they face questions about forgoing pay and forgoing staff during the widespread furloughs.

Read more
Indian Times
9:46 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Lois Bougetah Smoky, Kiowa Artist Ahead Of Her Time

Heather Ahtone
Credit Lester Harragarra

The Jacobson House in Norman is currently exhibiting work from the only female member of the Kiowa Five, Lois Bougetah Smoky. The Kiowa Five were a group of Kiowa artists that were brought to the University of Oklahoma by Oscar Jacobson, the first Director of the OU Art School.

Read more

Pages