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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The Two-Way
4:46 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Email Service Allegedly Used By Edward Snowden Is Shut Down

The free email service Lavabit allowed users to send encrypted emails.
Lavabit

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 5:17 pm

The email service allegedly used by "NSA leaker" Edward Snowden is no more.

The owner and operator of Lavabit, which encrypts communication between two people, shut down the site and left a cryptic message on its homepage.

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Environment
4:44 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Swinging CO2 Levels Show The Earth Is 'Breathing' More Deeply

Plants accumulate carbon in the spring and summer, and they release it back into the atmosphere in the fall in winter. And a change in the landscape of the Arctic tundra, seen here, means that shrubs hold onto snow better, which keeps the organic-rich soils warmer and more likely to release carbon dioxide that's stored there.
Jean-Erick Pasquier Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 8:34 pm

Plant life on our planet soaks up a fair amount of the carbon dioxide that pours out of our tailpipes and smokestacks. Plants take it up during the summer and return some of it to the air in the winter. And a new study shows that those "breaths" have gotten deeper over the past 50 years.

This isn't just a curiosity. Plant life is helping to reduce the speed at which carbon dioxide is building up in our atmosphere. That's slowing the global warming, at least marginally, so scientists are eager to understand how this process works. The new study provides some clues.

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School Safe Rooms
4:28 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Woodward Will Vote On Safe Rooms For Schools

Horace Mann Elementary School in Woodward
Credit woodward.ok.schoolwebpages.com

Voters in Woodward will be asked this fall to approve a $29 million bond issue to pay for school improvements, including the construction of additional safe rooms for use during severe weather.  

This week, the Woodward School Board approved a resolution calling for the election. The Woodward News reports that voters will be asked in October to approve a $1.8 million bond issue for transportation needs and a $27 million bond issue for construction and improvements.

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State Capitol
1:13 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Oklahoma Group Suing To Open Up "Plan B" Access

About 300 people gathered in St. Paul in April last year to stand for women's rights in areas such as: reproduction, abortion, contraception, health care, LGBT equality, workers rights, rape victim rights. This was one of many nation-wide events called "Unite Against the War On Women."
Credit Fibonacci Blue / Flickr Creative Commons

A coalition of reproductive rights advocates has filed a lawsuit to block enforcement of an Oklahoma law that restricts access to the morning-after emergency contraception pill.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Oklahoma County District Court on behalf of the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice and Jo Ann Mangili of Mounds, the mother of a 15-year-old girl.

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Earthquakes
12:09 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Earthquake Recorded Near Boley

Oklahoma earthquakes by magnitude, as measured on the Richter scale.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The U.S. Geological Survey has recorded a small earthquake near Boley in central Oklahoma.

The USGS reports the 3.3 magnitude quake was recorded at 1:57 a.m. Thursday five miles southwest of Boley in Okfuskee County — about 55 miles east of Oklahoma City.

No injuries or damage have been reported.

Geologists say earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 to 3.0 are generally the smallest that are felt by humans and that damage doesn't usually occur with earthquakes below magnitude 4.0.

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OneSix8
11:59 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Entertaining The Hours Of Your Week: Benefiting Others

GIVE
Credit Chase (Chase Barrington) / Flickr Creative Commons

In addition to details about for-profit concerts, public town-halls, art gallery showings and the like, KGOU’s events calendars regularly include information on so-called “benefits” and fundraising events.

In this week's OneSix8, we highlight four such events where you can donate time, energy and even dollars and cents for a cause.

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11:32 am
Thu August 8, 2013

New Study Finds High Levels of Arsenic in Groundwater Near Fracking Site

Lead in text: 
ProPublica reports while it's far from conclusive, a study indicates a connection between fracking and higher arsenic levels in groundwater.
A recently published study by researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington found elevated levels of arsenic and other heavy metals in groundwater near natural gas fracking sites in Texas' Barnett Shale. While the findings are far from conclusive, the study provides further evidence tying fracking to arsenic contamination.
The Two-Way
11:12 am
Thu August 8, 2013

World-Record Snakehead Fish Caught In U.S.

Caleb Newton, who lives in Spotsylvania County, Va., holds the 17-pound, 6-ounce northern snakehead fish he caught in June. The International Game Fish Association has approved a world record for his catch of the invasive predator.
Griffin Moores The Free Lance-Star

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 10:59 am

A Virginia man has caught the largest northern snakehead on record with a rod and reel, landing a 17-pound, 6-ounce specimen of the fish often called "Frankenfish" for their monster-like appearance and tenacious survival skills.

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Environment
10:51 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Forestry Services Take Forest And Woodlands Inventory

Forest near Meeks, Okla.
Credit jonathanw100 / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma Forestry Services is conducting an inventory of several central Oklahoma counties to determine the type of forest and woodlands they contain.

A Forest Inventory and Analysis crew is collecting data this month in Caddo, Canadian, Cleveland and Oklahoma counties. Foresters began the data collection in 2009. Every year since, foresters have gathered information about the amount of land under forest cover, the type of forests and tree species that are present, tree sizes, invasive species and forest health issues.

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Native American
10:45 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Sadness, Joy Inherent In South Caroline Couple's Adoption Case

The seal of the Cherokee Nation.

Years into their attempt to adopt a Cherokee girl, Matt and Melanie Capobianco say they can empathize with any sadness the girl's biological father might be feeling after being ordered to turn her over to them.

More than a year and a half ago, the Charleston-area couple was in a lawyer's office, tearfully handing over Veronica — whom they'd raised since birth — to the father, Dusten Brown, who lives in northeastern Oklahoma.

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