Following Oklahoma's 2013 Tornadoes, Where Does Federal Aid Really Go?

Debris filled the streets in Moore, Okla. on May 20, 2013.
State Farm Flickr Creative Commons

After a string of deadly tornados hit Oklahoma in the spring of last year, President Obama signed a federal disaster declaration that paved the way for up to $257 million in aid.

One year later, about one half of that funding has been spent.  The Oklahoma Tornado Project teamed up with Oklahoma Watch to track where all the money went. 

Following huge disasters, there’s always a potential for things to go wrong. In New Orleans, former mayor Ray Nagin was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison for taking bribes from contractors rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. And in New Jersey, there’s been criticism that some Sandy aid money has gone to less needy areas.

So we wanted to look into Oklahoma’s post-storm recovery. State Department of Emergency Management Director Albert Ashwood – who has worked closely with FEMA – says outright fraud is less common than it used to be. 

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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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StateImpact Oklahoma
12:35 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Lacking State Policy, Local Politics Test The Promise Of Wind Energy In Oklahoma

Tammy and Rick Huffstutlar's home near Calument, Okla., is surrounded by the Canadian Hills Wind Farm. The couple says they're considering moving because of the constant noise and shadow flicker.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Many Oklahomans are excited about the promise of wind energy, and the state is moving up the national ranks in wind power capacity.

But some are turning their backs on wind turbines, and the struggle highlights the challenges of regulating renewable energy.

Listen to the Radio Story

When Tammy and Rick Huffstutlar bought their home and acreage 35 years ago, they were excited about living on a farm. But for the last year, Tammy says she’s been living in the middle of an industrial park.

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Cherokee Adoption Case
11:42 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Father Of Cherokee Tot In Custody Fight Surrenders

Credit Cherokee Nation

The father of a Cherokee girl at the center of a custody dispute has surrendered to Oklahoma authorities amid claims he's interfering with parental rights granted to a South Carolina couple.

A secretary for Sequoyah County Judge Jeff Payton said Dusten Brown surrendered Thursday. Gov. Mary Fallin signed an extradition warrant Wednesday, saying Brown wasn't negotiating in good faith with a Charleston, S.C., couple granted custody of the girl in July.

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OneSix8
8:00 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Entertaining The Hours Of Your Week With Red Carpet-Worthy Names

"Wicked" comes to the Civic Center Music Hall Sept. 4 - 22.
Credit Joan Marcus / Celebrity Attractions

Big names fill this week’s OneSix8. From a renowned Broadway show to some of Oklahoma’s own, entertainment this week is sure to have something for everyone. 

Characters from The Land of Oz have arrived at The Civic Center Music Hall. The popular Broadway musical “Wicked” returns to Oklahoma City this month for the 2013-2014 Celebrity Attraction season.

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The Two-Way
6:09 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Even Their Seats Are To Be Separated When Putin And Obama Meet

Off they go.
Eric Feferberg AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 11:09 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': Scott Horsley reports on the G-20 Summit

Much is being made about the symbolism of the seating at the G-20 summit of world leaders, which begins Thursday in St. Petersburg, Russia, and what it supposedly says about U.S.-Russian relations.

Here's how The Guardian starts its story:

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It's All Politics
5:03 am
Thu September 5, 2013

The Syria Vote: A Guide To The Congressional Factions

President Obama gestures during his joint news conference with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on Wednesday in Stockholm. The president said the credibility of the international community, Congress and America is on the line with the response to Syria.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 5:59 am

This won't be a standard party-line vote. Big factions within both parties remain skeptical about President Obama's plans to launch punitive airstrikes against Syria.

If the vote were held today, it might not pass. Obama and his allies — including top House leaders of both parties — have a big selling job yet to do to persuade a majority of members to authorize military action.

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The Two-Way
5:49 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Syria Debate In Congress: 4 Exchanges You Should Listen To

Secretary of State John Kerry waves to members during a hearing on Syria before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday in Washington, DC.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 5:42 pm

Today, it was the U.S. House of Representative's turn to question the Obama administration about its plan for a military strike on Syria.

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