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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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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StateImpact Oklahoma
1:35 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Moore Building Code Changes Likely To Focus On Homes, Not Businesses

An open sign is one of the few items left after a tornado struck this convenient store in Moore, OK.
Credit State Farm / Flickr Creative Commons

When the massive EF5 tornado ripped through Moore on May 20, it took out homes and business alike. Since then, the Moore City Council has been considering updating building codes to make homes safer. But as the Journal Record‘s Molly M. Flemming reports, the city’s construction standards for commercial buildings aren’t being altered much:

Those codes are likely to stay the same, with one slight change.

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State Capitol
12:13 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Feds Plan To Continue Insure Oklahoma

Oklahoma Health Care Authority CEO Nico Gomez speaks in the Blue Room of the State Capitol while Gov. Mary Fallin and Secretary of Health and Human Services Terry Cline look on.
Credit Kurt Gwartney / KGOU

The federal government will let the state continue to operate its Insure Oklahoma program while it considers expanding Medicaid and taking a greater amount of federal money to insure the poor.

Gov. Mary Fallin announced Friday morning that the waiver for Insure Oklahoma would be for one year.

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World Views
11:00 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Japanese Fishing Feels Fallout From Fukushima

A Japanese fisherman prepares Sanma from Hokkaido - August 7, 2011
Credit Jamie Williams / Flickr Creative Commons

South Korea is banning all fish imports from Japan's Fukushima region because of what it calls growing public worry over radiation contamination that has reportedly prompted a sharp decline in fish consumption.

“They're trying to rebuild after all of this, and there [are] still contaminants there,” University of Oklahoma College of International Studies Assistant Dean and comparative politics expert Rebecca Cruise told KGOU’s World Views. “The fishing industry is almost devastated and they still have people that are displaced from these events.”

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It's All Politics
8:39 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Q&A: How To Do Political Coverage Better In The Twitter Age

Reporters watch the final minutes of the presidential debate between President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney last October in Denver.
Doug Pensinger Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 6:18 am

Curious about how social media sped up news cycles, amplified trivial events on the trail and enabled Washington's "worst tendencies" during the 2012 presidential race, one of the nation's top young political reporters decided to take a deeper look.

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The Two-Way
7:58 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Jobless Rate Ticks Down To 7.3 Percent; 169,000 Jobs Added

A recruiter for Cigna greets a job seeker at a career fair in Philadelphia over the summer.
Mark Makela Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 1:30 pm

The nation's jobless rate dipped to 7.3 percent in August from 7.4 percent in July as 169,000 jobs were added to public and private payrolls, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated Friday morning.

The figures were roughly in line with what economists had been expecting to hear.

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WWI Choctaw Code Talkers
4:01 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Choctaw Code Talkers Honored

World War I Choctaw Code Talkers
Credit Choctaw Nation

Oklahoma is honoring a group of World War I Choctaw Code Talkers by renaming a stretch of highway near where many of the men lived.

The Choctaw Nation and the Choctaw Code Talkers Association are hosting a dedication ceremony for the event on Friday.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
1:28 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

As One Battle Ends, Another Sparks Between The EPA And OG&E

Oklahoma Gas & Electric's Muskogee Power Plant was part of more than $80 million in renovations done at OG&E coal plants between 2003-2006.
Credit Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The clash between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Oklahoma Gas & Electric over pollution from coal-fired power plants continues to escalate.

On Tuesday, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and OG&E both asked the 10thU.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its July decision in favor of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. At issue was whether EPA has the authority to usurp the state’s plan for limiting haze on federal land; a plan EPA has deemed inadequate.

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