StateImpact Oklahoma
2:48 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Leak in Aging Water Pipeline Forces Broken Arrow To Close Restaurants

Earthmovers carve out a new reservoir for Broken Arrow at the site of the city's out-of-date water treatment plant in November 2012.
Credit Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Restaurants in Broken Arrow were ordered to close Wednesday because of a leak in a pipeline that brings water to the city from Pryor, about 30 miles away.

The news can’t come as a complete surprise to Broken Arrow officials, like Engineering Director Kenny Schwab.

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Religious Rights
8:31 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Religious Statement Or Native American Pride? Court Allows License Tag Challenge

The current Oklahoma license tag.
Credit Oklahoma Tax Commission

A federal appeals court says Oklahoma's Indian "rain god" license plate can be challenged on grounds that amounts to a state endorsement of a religion.

The license plate depicts Allan Houser's "Sacred Rain Arrow" sculpture, in which an Indian shoots an arrow into the sky to bring down rain.

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The Salt
7:48 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Why You'll Be Paying More For Beef All This Year

With U.S. cattle herds at their lowest levels since the 1950s and corn feed prices on the rise, beef prices are on the rise.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 4:53 am

If you've experienced sticker shock shopping for ground beef or steak recently, be prepared for an entire summer of high beef prices.

Multi-year droughts in states that produce most of the country's beef cattle have driven up costs to historic highs. Last year, ranchers culled deep into their herds — some even liquidated all their cattle — which pushed the U.S. cattle herd to its lowest point since the 1950s.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
2:49 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

The Federal Cost Of Clean Drinking Water In Oklahoma: $6.5 Billion

The Vendome Well at the Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur, Okla.
Credit Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Every four years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency releases an analysis of how much federal money states will need to complete water projects to provide clean drinking water over the next 20 years.

The most recent update of the EPA’s Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment was just released, and the national need is staggering:

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StateImpact
6:39 am
Tue June 11, 2013

More Bad Water News for Altus: First Drought, Now Dead Fish

Drought monitor map June 4, 2013
Credit U.S. Drought Monitor

The extreme drought blanketing Southwestern Oklahoma has taxed water resources in Altus and plagued farmers.

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Politics
6:18 am
Tue June 11, 2013

How The Senate Farm Bill Would Change Subsidies

Third-generation Oklahoma farmer Scott Neufeld says crop insurance is important to his family's business.
Tamara Keith NPR

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 2:40 pm

The Senate voted Monday to approve its version of the farm bill, a massive spending measure that covers everything from food stamps to crop insurance and sets the nation's farm policy for the next five years.

The centerpiece of that policy is an expanded crop insurance program, designed to protect farmers from losses, that some say amounts to a highly subsidized gift to agribusiness. That debate is set to continue as the House plans to take up its version of the bill this month.

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State Capitol
11:31 am
Mon June 10, 2013

No More Pension? State Employee Retirement Targeted For Change

Credit Tax Credits / Flickr (Creative Commons)

With an unfunded liability among Oklahoma's seven major pension systems exceeding $11 billion, several Republican leaders have said changing from a traditional pension to a 401(k)-style retirement account for new state workers will be a top priority during the 2014 legislative session.

The unfunded liability is the amount owed to pensioners beyond what the system currently afford to pay. It has become a growing concern for Gov. Mary Fallin and other state leaders, who say it hinders the state's effort to improve its bond rating.

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Oklahoma Voices
11:04 am
Mon June 10, 2013

Voices In My Head: Three Local Authors On Character Development

In 2007, Gov. Brad Henry signed some of the country’s strictest anti-immigration legislation into law.

House Bill 1804 by State Rep. Randy Terrill (R-Moore) made it a felony for the state to provide education and health care services to illegal immigrants, and requires police to investigate the immigration status of anyone “suspected” of being in this country illegally.

Six years later, the controversial law and its effect on people form the basis for Oklahoma native Rilla Askew’s fourth novel Kind of Kin.

“I'm always writing about the coming together and the clash between cultures and races in Oklahoma,” Askew says. “I was disturbed by the notion of a bill like that.”

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Washington
10:04 am
Mon June 10, 2013

"Absolutely False" Asserts Rep. Mullin On Congressional Surveillance Briefings

2nd District Congressman Markwayne Mullin
Credit Provided / U.S. House of Representatives

Republican Rep. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma is denying that he was ever briefed on cell phone and Internet surveillance by the National Security Agency that sweeps up an estimated 3 billion phone calls a day and collects Internet data from U.S. providers in an attempt to stop terror attacks.

Mullin said in a statement Saturday that comments that he and his colleagues in Congress knew of the surveillance "is absolutely false."

President Barack Obama said Friday that "every member of Congress" was briefed on the spy programs.

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Severe Storms
3:23 pm
Sun June 9, 2013

Reunited: 90 Tornado Displaced Pets

Pictures of pets displaced at some point in the recent round of central Oklahoma storms.
Animal Resource Center

The Animal Resource Center has reunited at least 90 lost pets with their owners since a May 20 tornado hit Moore.

The center says it received its first lost dog about an hour after the storm and has processed more than 150 animals in the past three weeks. In addition to reuniting pets with their owners, the center is also offering to board pets if their owners are now living in places that don't allow animals.

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