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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Politics
8:16 am
Sat September 28, 2013

With Government Shutdown Looming, All Eyes Turn To House GOP

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, center, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, express frustration on Friday after the Senate passed a bill to fund the government, but stripped it of language crafted by House Republicans to defund Obamacare.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 2:21 pm

As expected, the Senate passed a bill Friday to keep the government funded through mid-November — without stripping any funding away from the president's health care law.

Now the action returns to the House, where Republicans earlier in the week tied the measure to defunding the Affordable Care Act. With the threat of a shutdown looming three days away, the question is now, what will the House do?

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Indian Times
7:30 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

NARF And NCAI Advise Tribes To Stay Away From Supreme Court

John Echohawk
Credit Native American Rights Fund

The relationship between the Supreme Court of the United States and Native Americans has a rocky history and recent rulings have not gone the way Indian Country hoped. The Supreme Court, friend or foe, is charged with interpreting the law of the land.

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Free Lesson Plans Available To Teachers
6:02 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

"Corps Of Discovery" Exhibit To Open At Woolaroc

Credit mhowry / Flickr.com

An exhibit of paintings and sculptures chronicling Lewis and Clark's expedition across the country in the early 19th Century is scheduled to open this weekend near Bartlesville.

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National Steinbeck Center
5:00 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Retracing The Joads Journey

Credit alaina.buzas / Flickr.com

A trio of artists will soon travel from Oklahoma to California, retracing the steps the Joad family from "The Grapes of Wrath" took as part of the upcoming 75th anniversary of John Steinbeck's novel-turned-film.

The artists — along with representatives from the California-based National Steinbeck Center — will travel along Route 66 gathering oral histories of people and asking what helps them get through hard times. The group will start in Oklahoma on Oct. 4 and make stops in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas. The trip will conclude in California 10 days later.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
12:47 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Mapped: Which Oklahoma Schools Have Storm Shelters

Red dots indicate schools without shelters. Green dots are schools with shelters.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The results of a statewide survey released Thursday show 62 percent of Oklahoma’s 1,804 public schools don’t have storm shelters, and only 15 percent have shelters built to withstand the 250 mph winds of an EF5 tornado, like the ones that swept through central Oklahoma in May 2013.

StateImpact has mapped the data from the survey, the first statewide accounting of public school storm shelters, which was conducted by Bar None Consulting for the Oklahoma Legislature’s use in an interim study.

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OneSix8
12:20 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Entertaining the Hours of Your Week: Dance Your Night Away

Credit Esparta

After a long week it's time to let loose. Whether it's Grooving at the GrooveFest or watching Ballerinas perform, this week's OneSix8 has three events that give everyone a chance to bust a move.

Andrews Park in Norman hosts the 51st rendition of GrooveFest this weekend. Music will be playing from Noon until 10 that evening and attendees are welcome to dance along with the music, and enjoy all of the performances of the night.

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World Views
12:05 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

How Mexico Is Becoming An Economic Powerhouse And Immigrant Destination

Mexico City, Mexico.
Credit Sam Beebe / Flickr Creative Commons

Listen to Suzette Grillot's conversation with Alan McPherson, the ConocoPhillips Petroleum Chair of Latin American Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

Over the last decade, the foreign-born population in Mexico has nearly doubled, and the country is turning into an immigrant destination – especially for American citizens.

The New York Times reported Sunday that International Monetary Fund data shows Mexico’s economy outpaced the United States, Canada and Brazil in 2011 and 2012.

University of Oklahoma International and Area Studies Professor Alan McPherson is an expert on U.S.-Latin America relations. He says Mexico’s economy is more diverse than it’s ever been, but there’s a downside to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other aspects of globalization.

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School Shelters
8:58 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Study: In-School Storm Shelters Deficient In Oklahoma

State Rep. Joe Dorman (D-Rush Springs)
Credit Oklahoma House of Representatives

A proponent of a ballot measure to place storm shelters in Oklahoma schools says a survey of all public schools in the state shows more than 60 percent without a refuge or safe area.

Rush Springs Democratic state Representative Joe Dorman announced the results of the survey on Thursday of all 517 school districts in Oklahoma's 77 counties. The survey was paid for by Coreslab Structures, a company that manufactures precast concrete products with two plants in Oklahoma.

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Here & Now
7:42 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Obamacare 101: Your Questions Answered

Starting Oct. 1, Americans will be able to buy private health insurance through public exchanges created under Obamacare. (401(K) 2013/Flickr)

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 10:18 am

On October 1st, next Tuesday, health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act will be open for enrollment.

Last week we asked listeners for their questions and you’ve sent them. We heard questions about how to enroll, what it means for people on Medicare and what the coverage will cost.

Jay Hancock of Kaiser Health News joined us to provide some answers. Since everyone’s situation is a little different, he also shared two pieces of general advice:

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Author Interviews
6:15 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Diane Ravitch Rebukes Education Activists' 'Reign Of Error'

Yunus Arakon iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 7:11 am

Diane Ravitch, a former assistant secretary of education, spent years advocating for an overhaul of the American education system. She supported the No Child Left Behind Act, the charter school movement and standardized testing.

But Ravitch recently — and very publicly — changed her mind. She looked at the data and decided that the kinds of changes she'd supported weren't working. Now she's a prominent critic of things like charter schools and school choice — and she's particularly opposed to privatizing schools.

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