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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7:07 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

18th Annual Norman Conquest Bicycle Tour Tomorrow

Lead in text: 
Bicycling Magazine names this bike tour one of the top 50 best rides in America, and its for a good cause, the J.D. McCarty summer Camp, Claphans.
NORMAN - It seems odd to hold a sporting event outdoors in Oklahoma this time of year, but that's the kind of oddities some adventurous outdoor persons want. Look at the Hotter than Hell 100 in Wichita Falls, Texas, or extreme blizzard skiing in Colorado.
Education
6:59 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

US Dept. of Education Replies To Coburn Letter

The US Department of Education is responding to a letter from Republican Sen. Tom Coburn that calls for the department to cancel a three-day conference on federal student aid scheduled for December in Las Vegas.

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Code Switch
4:34 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Years Later, Miss Indian America Pageant Winners Reunite

Vivian Arviso says her year of service as Miss Indian America included a stint answering tourists' questions at Disneyland's Indian Village.
Sheridan County Library

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 5:19 pm

The women who were crowned Miss Indian America are reuniting this weekend in Sheridan, Wyo. The Native American pageant ran from 1953 to 1984 and attracted contestants from across the country. Originally, the pageant started as a way to combat prejudices against Native Americans.

Wahleah Lujan, of Taos Pueblo in northern New Mexico, who won the title in 1966, was very shy at the time. In one of her appearances right after she was crowned, she told an audience: "The most important thing in my life is the preservation of our ancient pueblo and the Rio Pueblo de Taos."

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Politics and Government
12:09 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Amnesty International Wants Manning Charges Dropped

Private First Class Bradley Manning
Credit United States Army / Wikimedia Creative Commons

Amnesty International is urging the U.S. government to drop its most serious charges against an Army private who gave reams of classified documents to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks. 

The London-based human rights organization said Friday that prosecutors at Pfc. Bradley Manning's court-martial haven't proven he aided the enemy. A conviction requires proof that Manning knew the material would be seen by America's enemies on the WikiLeaks website.

Aiding the enemy is the most serious of 21 contested counts. It carries a possible life sentence.

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World Views
11:54 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Oklahoma Anti-War Protest Raises Questions About U.S. Involvement In Syria

State Rep. Paul Wesselhoft (R-Moore) speaking during a press conference Wednesday to voice opposition to U.S. involvement in Syria.
Credit Oklahoma House of Representatives / YouTube

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers and other activists plan to hold a rally at the Oklahoma Capitol Friday evening to protest growing U.S. involvement in Syria’s civil war.

State Rep. Paul Wesselhoft (R-Moore) is one of the organizers of the rally. He says giving arms, ammunition, and political support to a disunited group of rebels is a “grave error.”

“There are [sic] a coalition of over six groups that are involved in trying to overthrow the Assad government,” Wesselhoft said in a press conference Wednesday. “At least two of these groups we know to be known terrorist organizations that have attacked us in the past.”

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Native American
10:30 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Descendants Sue Over Reparations For Sand Creek Massacre

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site in Colorado.
Credit National Park Service

A lawsuit filed by descendants of American Indians killed in the Sand Creek Massacre argues the federal government hasn't fully paid reparations for the slaughter of their Cheyenne and Arapaho ancestors in 1864.

The Department of Interior isn't commenting on the pending litigation.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Denver, Colorado on behalf of four Oklahoma-based members of the Sand Creek Massacre Descendants Trust. It seeks class-action status.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
10:22 am
Fri July 12, 2013

U.S. Earthquake Uptick Linked To Oil And Gas Disposal Wells, Study Shows

A disposal well in Western Oklahoma.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma has experienced an increase in earthquakes in recent years, a phenomenon many geophysicists have linked to disposal wells used by the oil and gas industry.

The 5.7-magnitude quake that injured two people and destroyed 14 homes in November 2011 was Oklahoma’s largest on record and is likely the largest triggered by wastewater injection, a team of geophysicists concluded in a report released in March.

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State Capitol
9:11 am
Fri July 12, 2013

State House Interim Study List Expected Friday

House Speaker T. W. Shannon
Credit Oklahoma House

Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon is planning to release a list of legislative studies that lawmakers will take up before the 2014 Legislature convenes in February.

Shannon is expected to release the list on Friday, the deadline for study requests by lawmakers to be approved or denied. Former House Speaker Kris Steele approved studies on 59 topics out of 89 individual requests last year.

Interim studies give lawmakers an opportunity to receive testimony and examine issues in depth to decide whether to draft legislation on a particular topic.

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The Two-Way
8:22 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Chuck Foley, Co-Creator Of Twister, Dies At 82

Festivalgoers play a giant game of Twister during the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts in southwest England last month.
Andrew Cowie AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 9:40 am

One of the men responsible for getting people tied up in knots while they played Twister has died.

Charles "Chuck" Foley died earlier this month in St. Paul, Minn. He was 82.

Foley and his business partner Neil Rabens invented the game for Milton Bradley in 1966. The pair originally called it Pretzel, and it was Milton Bradley who came up with the name Twister.

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The Two-Way
7:57 am
Fri July 12, 2013

On The Economy: Inflation Accelerates; Fed Rumors Rise

A surge in prices at the pump fueled inflation in June.
Jonathan Fickies Landov

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 11:55 am

The morning's major economic news:

-- Inflation. Wholesale prices rose 0.8 percent in June from May, fueled by a 2.9 percent surge in the price of energy products, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. As drivers can confirm, a 7.2 percent jump in the cost of gasoline was responsible for most of that boost.

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