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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The Two-Way
7:36 am
Wed August 21, 2013

School Clerk In Georgia Persuaded Gunman To Lay Down Weapons

Laterrica Luther holds the hand of her 6-year-old nephew, Jaden Culpepper, as students from the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy arrive on buses to waiting loved ones in a Walmart parking lot in Decatur, Ga., on Tuesday. A gunman had entered the students' school earlier in the day. No one was hurt.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 10:45 am

Tuesday's terrifying incident at an elementary school near Atlanta — in which a gunman with an assault rifle and other weapons entered the building — ended with no one being hurt after a school clerk apparently spent about an hour talking to the young man. She says she persuaded him to put down his gun and surrender.

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The Two-Way
7:01 am
Wed August 21, 2013

New Reports Of Chemical Weapons In Syria; Many May Be Dead

Free Syrian Army fighters man an anti-aircraft gun on the back of a truck in Deir al-Zor on Tuesday.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 10:14 am

(We most recently updated this post at 9:10 a.m. ET.)

"Two Syrian pro-opposition groups are claiming that dozens of people were killed Wednesday in a poisonous gas attack near Damascus," NPR's Jean Cochran reported earlier this morning on our Newscast. The groups are blaming the attack on government forces, she said.

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House Speaker Shannon Meeting In Coffee Shops
6:17 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

T.W. Shannon Wants To Have A Cup Of Coffee With Constituents

House Speaker T.W. Shannon (R-Lawton)
Credit Oklahoma House of Representatives

House Speaker T.W. Shannon is hosting public meetings this week with Republican members of the House and their constituents.

The Lawton Republican plans to meet at coffee shops Tuesday in Oklahoma City and Norman to discuss some of the highlights of the last legislative session and the upcoming special session that is set to begin on Sept. 3 for changes to the state's civil justice system.

Shannon will be at the Kamp's 1910 Cafe at 10 a.m. Thursday in Oklahoma City, followed by a 2 p.m. stop at La Baguette in west Norman.

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The Two-Way
12:45 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Australian's Shooting Death Echoes From Oklahoma To Melbourne

A tribute page to Christopher Lane, an Australian college baseball player who was shot and killed in Oklahoma last week, has drawn thousands of responses on Facebook.
Facebook

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 5:20 pm

The killing of an Australian man who was in the U.S. on a baseball scholarship has brought grief to his hometown and to the small Oklahoma town where he was shot to death. Three teens have been arrested for the crime; one suspect says they simply had nothing better to do, the police report.

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Military
11:26 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Manning Sentencing Set For Wednesday Morning

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning
Credit United States Army / Wikimedia Creative Commons

A military judge says she'll announce on Wednesday the sentence for Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who gave reams of classified information to WikiLeaks.

Army Col. Denise Lind said Tuesday she was still deliberating but would announce the sentence at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Manning faces up to 90 years in prison, but prosecutors have asked the judge to sentence him to 60 years.

Manning's defense didn't recommend a specific amount of time, but suggested he should spend no more than 25 years in prison.

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11:24 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Oklahoma School Year And Severe Weather

Lead in text: 
Oklahoma school children attend classes in all kinds of weather. Do you know where the greatest risk for severe weather is located in the state during the school year? Storm Prediction Center meteorologist Patrick T. Marsh crunches the numbers.
With the school year either already begun, or about to begin, for much of Oklahoma, I thought I'd write a post about the Oklahoma School Year and severe weather. For these results, I've identified the school year as every day between the months of January through (and including) May as well as August through (and including) December.
Attorney General
11:01 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Oklahoma Multicounty Grand Jury Meets Again

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt
Credit Oklahoma Attorney General's Office

Oklahoma's multicounty grand jury is reconvening to investigate matters of local as well as statewide interest.

The grand jury will reconvene on Tuesday and meet thru Thursday at the OklahomaAttorney General's Office in Oklahoma City.

The multicounty grand jury was requested by Attorney General Scott Pruitt and approved by the Oklahoma Supreme Court in September. It is led by Assistant Attorney General Megan Tilly, chief of the Multicounty Grand Jury Unit.

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Native American
10:29 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Oklahoma Tribe Taking Census For Safety

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation cultural heritage center.
Credit Citizen Potawatomi Nation

An Oklahoma-based American Indian tribe is conducting a census of its members to help in emergency response efforts.

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation is conducting a census of tribal members. It's trying to gather contact information and demographic details.

The tribe says that after recent tornadoes in Oklahoma, officials had a difficult time reaching members of the Nation. Officials hope the census will provide better contact information.

The data will also collect geographic information for grant applications.

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State Capitol
10:01 am
Tue August 20, 2013

ACLU Files Oklahoma 10 Commandments Monument Lawsuit

Credit @jbtaylor / Flickr Creative Commons

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma has filed a lawsuit seeking to force the removal from state Capitol grounds of a monument that bears the Ten Commandments.

The Tulsa World reports Monday that the civil liberties group filed suit in Oklahoma County District Court and names the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission as the defendant.

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The Two-Way
9:08 am
Tue August 20, 2013

UPDATE: No Decision Yet On Egyptian Aid, White House Says

Egyptian soldiers stand guard in front of the constitutional court in Cairo.
Al Youm Elsabaa newspaper EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 1:02 pm

  • From 'Morning Edition': NPR's Leila Fadel reports from Cairo

(We put a new top on this post at 11:50 a.m. ET and added a new development being reported by the AP at 2 p.m. ET.)

The Obama administration is still reviewing U.S. assistance to Egypt and it's incorrect to say that such aid has been "secretly" put on hold, the White House said Tuesday.

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