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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School and Colleges
11:38 am
Mon September 9, 2013

Chamber Hears State Of Education In Oklahoma

Glen D. Johnson
Credit Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education

School has started across the state, both in K–12 classrooms, career-techs, and colleges and universities. On this episode, we hear from the leader of Oklahoma’s Higher Education system and the president of the school board for the state’s largest public school district.

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State Capitol
9:30 am
Mon September 9, 2013

Oklahoma Special Session Expected To End Monday

Credit ana branca / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma Legislature is expected to wrap up a five-day special session to overhaul the state's civil justice system to comply with an appellate court's ruling that a sweeping 2009 bill was unconstitutional.

The House and Senate are scheduled to meet Monday to give final passage to two dozen separate bills that address legal procedures in areas like medical malpractice, class-action lawsuits and product liability.

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The Two-Way
8:17 am
Mon September 9, 2013

Strike On Syria: Meaningless Gesture Or Necessary Response?

Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., called military action in Syria legitimate and necessary.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 10:09 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power
  • From 'Morning Edition': Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla.
  • From 'Morning Edition': NPR's Tom Bowman

The arguments for and against taking military action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad for its alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians were laid out Monday on Morning Edition.

Making the case for a "legitimate, necessary and proportional response" was Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

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Theatre
6:52 am
Mon September 9, 2013

It's A Witch's Night Off For Oklahomans In Wicked Cast

Joel Ingram and Jillian Kates

The touring cast of the Broadway show, Wicked, is performing in Oklahoma City through Sept. 22. But Monday night the cast won’t be performing the music from the blockbuster musical, instead the audience will see and hear a revue of some of the performers’ favorite songs and set pieces presented for a good cause.

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Environment
8:46 am
Sun September 8, 2013

Climate Change Leaves Hares Wearing The Wrong Colors

A white snowshoe hare against a brown background makes the animal easy prey.
L.S. Mills Research Photo

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 12:40 pm

The effects of climate change often happen on a large scale, like drought or a rise in sea level. In the hills outside Missoula, Mont., wildlife biologists are looking at a change to something very small: the snowshoe hare.

Life as snowshoe hare is pretty stressful. For one, almost everything in the forest wants to eat you.

Alex Kumar, a graduate student at the University of Montana, lists the animals that are hungry for hares.

"Lynx, foxes, coyotes, raptors, birds of prey. Interestingly enough, young hares, their main predator is actually red squirrels."

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Science
8:41 am
Sun September 8, 2013

'Memory Pinball' And Other Reasons You Need A Nap

On the surface, sleep may seem like an evolutionary disaster, but its benefits have come to outweigh its potential downsides.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 12:40 pm

We spend about one-third of our lives sleeping, but much of that function remains a mystery. Weekend Edition Sunday is asking some pretty fundamental, yet complicated, questions about why we do it and why we can't seem to get more of it.

Dr. Matthew Walker says the question of why we sleep remains "that archetypal mystery."

Walker, the principal investigator at the sleep lab the University of California, Berkeley, works with patients who suffer from sleep abnormalities. He says the complexity of sleep makes the research that much more fascinating.

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Indian Times
8:40 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Tourism In Indian Country Unlikely Key To Preserving Culture

American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association
Credit AIANTA

Tourism in Indian Country…what does that bring to mind?  White tourists looking at baubles, bangles and bright shiny beads?  The American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association, or AIANTA, thinks it’s so much more than that.  The organization was formed in 1993 to help tribes recognize that cultural tourism could help preserve traditions.

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Mumford & Sons
5:30 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Guthrie's Population To Explode This Weekend

Mumford & Sons
Credit HarshLight / Creative Commons

The population of the Oklahoma town of Guthrie is expected to quadruple this weekend as more than 35,000 people come to watch British folk rock band Mumford & Sons.

The former capital of Oklahoma is one of three U.S. stops on Mumford & Sons' Gentlemen of the Road concert series. The others are Troy, Ohio, and St. Augustine, Fla.

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World Views
4:25 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Understanding Issues Of Land And Wealth For Indigenous Guatemalans

A Kakchiquel family in the hamlet of Patzutzun, Guatemala.
Credit John Isaac / UN Photo

Listen to Suzette Grillot's Conversation with Francisco Calí.

In 1996, Guatemala ended a 36-year civil war that devastated the country’s indigenous community. Seventeen years later, indigenous people in the Central American country are still seeking justice after the decades-long conflict.

“They agreed to sign not only a peace agreement, but also an amnesty law which says that all those people who committed human rights violations will not be prosecuted legally,” says Francisco Calí. He’s the only indigenous member of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

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World Views
2:05 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

India Gang Rape Puts Spotlight On Broader Worldwide Sexual Violence

Protesters at India Gate in Delhi demanding the government to take action after the gang rape - Dec. 21, 2012.
Credit Ramesh Lalwani / Flickr Creative Commons

A fast-track court will give a verdict next week in the trial of four men accused in the gang rape and fatal beating of a woman on a New Delhi bus last year.

The assault caused nationwide outrage and forced the government to change rape laws and create fast-track courts for rape cases.

University of Oklahoma College of International Studies Dean Suzette Grillot says even though there’s outrage over the increasingly-common attacks against women, there’s not enough push to have an impact on the sentences these young men receive.

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