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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Politics and Government
12:15 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Oklahoma AG Files Legal Brief In Abortion Law Case

Credit Ben Ramsey / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has filed a legal brief in the U.S. Supreme Court's review of an Oklahoma abortion law.  

The nation's highest court in June granted Pruitt's request to review a decision by the state Supreme Court declaring the law unconstitutional. Pruitt filed his brief Tuesday.

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The Two-Way
10:41 am
Wed August 14, 2013

Bradley Manning: 'I Am Sorry ... I Hurt The United States'

U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 4:46 pm

Update at 5:33 p.m. ET. 'I'm Sorry':

Delivering an unsworn statement before a military judge in Fort Meade, Md., Pfc. Bradley Manning apologized for perpetrating the largest leak of classified information in U.S. history.

"I'm sorry I hurt people," he said according to Reuters. "I'm sorry that I hurt the United States. I'm apologizing for the unexpected results of my actions. The last three years have been a learning experience for me."

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Native American
8:05 am
Wed August 14, 2013

Hearing Set For Tuesday In Veronica Adoption Dispute

Credit Cherokee Nation

 A family court judge is holding another hearing concerning a South Carolina couple's adoption of a Cherokee child.

Attorneys for the girl's biological father requested the Wednesday hearing in the dispute over Matt and Melanie Capobianco's adoption of 3-year-old girl Veronica.

Last month, a judge finalized the couple's adoption. The girl has been living with her biological father in Oklahoma for more than a year. South Carolina authorities charged him with custodial interference after he failed to show up with the child at a scheduled meeting.

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The Race Card Project: Six-Word Essays
7:38 am
Wed August 14, 2013

A Postman's 1963 Walk For Justice, Cut Short On An Alabama Road

Civil rights activist William Moore made several one-man marches for racial equality. In April 1963, he was killed during a march from Chattanooga, Tenn., to Jackson, Miss.
Baltimore Sun

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 6:43 am

In April of 1963, a Baltimore mailman set off to deliver the most important letter in his life — one he wrote himself. William Lewis Moore decided to walk along Highway 11 from Chattanooga, Tenn., to Jackson, Miss., hoping to hand-deliver his letter to Gov. Ross Barnett. Moore wanted Barnett to fundamentally change Mississippi's racial hierarchy — something unthinkable for a Southern politician at the time.

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Crime
6:30 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Victim's Daughter Doesn't Want Mob Boss Bulger Brought To Tulsa

Boston Jail
Credit tehjoyof / Flickr.com

Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris says hasn't decided whether to bring convicted Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger to Oklahoma to stand trial on a Tulsa murder charge.

The daughter of the victim says she hopes Bulger is not brought back.

Bulger was convicted Monday in federal court in Boston of taking part in 11 murders — including the 1981 shooting death of Tulsa businessman Roger Wheeler. First-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder charges were filed against Bulger in the case in 2001.

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Movies
3:57 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

"August: Osage County" To Premiere At Toronto Film Fest

Film Crew At Work On "August: Osage County" In Pawhuska
Credit Vickie Madden Photography / Flickr.com

A feature film about the lives of Oklahoma woman will make its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival next month.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
12:31 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

OKC’s Tab For Tapping Sardis Water Could Be $1 Billion

Sardis Lake
Credit Olliehigh / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma City already depends on water from southeastern Oklahoma, but the 60-inch, 100-mile pipeline from Lake Atoka ain’t enough.

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State Capitol
11:19 am
Tue August 13, 2013

Oops: Fallin's Special Session Order Includes Typo

Gov. Mary Fallin's August 12, 2013 executive order. Democratic Senate Leader Sean Burrage called the special session "a waste of time and taxpayer dollars." In a news release, he said it will cost close to a $250,000 to fix a problem he says was created by the Republican majority.
Credit Provided (Photo Illustration by Brian Hardzinski) / Gov. Mary Fallin

Gov. Mary Fallin has reissued a call for a special legislative session to address changes in Oklahoma's civil justice system after she made reference to a part of the state constitution that doesn't exist.

Fallin issued an amended executive order on Tuesday that advised the Legislature not to violate Article 5, Section 57, which requires that each bill address only one subject.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court referenced that section of the Oklahoma Constitution when they overturned a 2009 civil justice bill two months ago.

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Native American
9:50 am
Tue August 13, 2013

Authorities Working To Bring Cherokee Girl, Father To South Carolina

Credit Cherokee Nation

A South Carolina sheriff says he is working with authorities to figure out how to bring a Cherokee girl from Oklahoma to her adoptive parents.

Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon said Monday he is also working with state and federal authorities to bring biological father Dusten Brown to South Carolina to face charges.

The 3-year-old named Veronica has been living with Brown since 2011, but courts have finalized her adoption by a Charleston-area couple.

Brown was charged with custodial interference after he failed to appear at a scheduled meeting Aug. 4.

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Affordable Care Act
8:48 am
Tue August 13, 2013

Oklahoma's Federal Health Care Lawsuit Allowed To Continue

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

A federal judge has denied part of the federal government's motion to dismiss Oklahoma's lawsuit challenging the new federal health care law.

U.S. District Judge Ronald White handed down the ruling Monday in Muskogee. The ruling grants parts of the government's request to dismiss the case but denies other parts.

White rejected the government's argument that Oklahoma lacked standing to challenge the law. The decision means that parts of the lawsuit, filed by OklahomaAttorney General Scott Pruitt in 2011, will continue to be litigated.

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