Children In State Custody
5:52 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Increasing Number Of Children In Foster Care

Cover of The Oklahoma Pinnacle Plan
Credit Oklahoma Department of Human Services

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services says an increase in the number of children in state custody is hampering efforts to meet goals that are part of the settlement of a federal lawsuit over DHS' treatment of children.

The Oklahoman reports that DHS officials told a joint meeting of DHS citizens' advisory panels Wednesday that the number of children in state custody rose from about 8,000 in 2009 to 10,428.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
4:44 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Damaged Land Could Once Again Cost Oklahoma Mining Regulator Its Federal Funding

A gate into a silica sand mining operation near Mill Creek in south-central Oklahoma.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Coal mining can cause a lot of damage to the landscape, and the federal government has rules about how mining companies are supposed to treat the land after they’re done with it.

Basically, they’re supposed to return it to approximately what it was like before.

The federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement is charged with making sure the Oklahoma Department of Mines is enforcing that rule. If the Oklahoma mining regulator doesn’t, the feds can step in and take over that role.

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World Views
4:30 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Government Crackdown Raises Larger Questions About Egypt's Economic Future

President Obama speaks by phone with his National Security Staff regarding the situation in Egypt, while in Chilmark, Mass., Aug. 15, 2013.
Credit Amanda Lucidon / The White House

On Thursday President Obama canceled joint military exercises with Egypt – saying U.S. cooperation with that country can't "continue as usual" amid the violence that claimed more than 600 lives since Wednesday. 

Samer Shehata, a University of Oklahoma professor of Middle East Studies and an expert on Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood, says while the move was the least President Obama could do, it was still necessary.

“It isn't terribly costly for the United States or for the Egyptian military,” Shehata says. “I think the larger questions, the more important questions, are will U.S. military assistance to Egypt, which is on the tune of $1.3 billion annually, will that be suspended or ended?”

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U.S.
4:11 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

States Target Hybrids As Gas Tax Revenues Ebb

Sara Busch of Havertown, Pa., owns a Chevy Volt, an electric hybrid. Like a lot of Americans, she's buying less gasoline than she used to, which means she's paying less in gas taxes.
Jeff Brady NPR

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 4:50 pm

Americans are buying less gasoline than they did just a few years back. While many people believe this is a good thing, it does present a problem: Most road construction is paid for with fuel taxes. Less gas tax revenue means less money for roads.

One reason gas purchases are down is that more people are driving more efficient cars, such as hybrid and electric vehicles. Now states are looking for solutions, including charging hybrids extra fees or imposing fees based on miles driven.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
2:36 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

How Hugo Lake Lost Its State Park Status

Fishing near Hugo Lake park, which lost its state park status in June 2013.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Tourism Commission on June 26 voted to strip Hugo Lake of its state park status, citing low attendance.

The commission acted “quietly,” but State Sen. Jerry Ellis (D-Valliant) responded loudly, The Journal Record’s M. Scott Carter reports:

On Aug. 2, Ellis sent a letter to Republican Gov. Mary Fallin asking that the Tourism Commission reconsider the status of the park using factual information.

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Native American
1:15 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Osage Nation Seeks Support Against Eagle Kills

Credit Rich Anderson Flickr / Creative Commons

The National Congress of American Indians has joined the Osage Nation in opposing federal actions to permit eagle kills caused by wind industry development on tribal lands without regard for tribal cultural interests and authority. 

A recent NCAI resolution says authorizing the wind energy project to kill eagles in Osage Nation territory without the tribe's consent would set a dangerous precedent. The resolution says it would limit the ability of all tribes in the U.S. to protect their cultural resources.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
11:04 am
Thu August 15, 2013

Longhorn Mountain: Sacred Kiowa Spiritual Site And Future Limestone Mine

Kiowa historian Phil "Joe Fish" DuPoint and Kiowa museum director Amie Tah-Bone stand at the base of Longhorn Mountain, near Coopertown, Okla. DuPoint and Tah-Bone say a new limestone mine will desecrate the mountain, which the tribe considers a sacred site and source of ceremonial cedar.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Limestone mining on Longhorn Mountain, northwest of Lawton, could start anytime. The company that leases the land on the western side has a permit to mine, and just needs to put up some bond money with the state Department of Mines to get started.

This is a surprise to the Kiowa Tribe, which has used Longhorn Mountain for hundreds of years as a temple where tribe members pray, have vision quests and retrieve sacred cedar used in many rituals.

But the mining shouldn’t come as a surprise. Cushing, Okla.-based Material Service Corporation — and President Larry Stewart — has had a permit for a 370-acre mine on the site for almost 10 years. It’s up to the company to decide when and whether to go forward with the project.

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The Two-Way
9:46 am
Thu August 15, 2013

Obama 'Strongly Condemns' Crackdown In Egypt

President Obama, speaking Thursday from the island of Martha's Vineyard, Mass., said the U.S. has canceled joint military exercises with Egypt.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 4:05 pm

  • President Obama's comments about the crisis in Egypt; Aug. 15, 2013

"The United States strongly condemns the steps that have been taken by Egypt's interim government" that have led to civilians "being killed in the streets," President Obama said Thursday from Martha's Vineyard, Mass., where he is vacationing with his family.

He called on Egypt's interim government to lift the state of emergency it has declared and said the U.S. has canceled joint military exercises with Egypt that had been scheduled for September.

"Our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual while civilians are being killed in the streets," Obama said.

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The Two-Way
7:36 am
Thu August 15, 2013

Gingrich: Most GOP Lawmakers Have 'Zero' Ideas On Health Care

Republicans need to pitch their own ideas on healthcare, not just object to the president's, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 8:47 am

Look your Republican member of Congress in the eye and ask, "What is your positive replacement for Obamacare?"

In most cases, says former House speaker and past Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich, "they will have zero answer."

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Lawn Mower Exchange
6:24 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

$100 Voucher For Old Gas Powered Lawn Mowers This Saturday

Example of electric lawn mower
Credit Mike Prosser/colmmcsky / Flickr.com

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality is planning a lawn mower exchange for residents in the Oklahoma City area.

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