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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World
2:46 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Peter Gabriel's 'Interspecies Internet'

A female bonobo plays a computerized keyboard in a duet with musician Peter Gabriel. (Screenshot from video)

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 12:54 pm

The internet helps to connects people all over the world, but what if the internet could also connect dolphins, apes, elephants and other species with one another — and also with us?

That’s the goal of computer scientist Neil Gershenfeld. Gershenfeld — who runs the Center for Bits and Atoms at MIT — is partnering with Vince Cerf, one of the founders of the internet, cognitive psychologist Diana Reiss and musician Peter Gabriel to create an interspecies internet.

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The Two-Way
2:09 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

California's Prison Sterilizations Reportedly Echo Eugenics Era

From 2006 to 2010, at least 148 female inmates at two California facilities had tubal ligation surgeries. Some of the surgeries took place at the Valley State Prison for Women, seen here in 2000.
Gary Kazanjian AP

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 4:16 pm

Nearly 150 women were sterilized in California's prisons without the state's approval, a practice that critics say targeted inmates who were seen as being at risk of serving a future jail term. Those numbers represent data from 2006 to 2010, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting, which first reported the news.

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Politics and Government
1:27 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Attorney Maintains Tax Cut Bill Is Unconstitutional

Credit Serge Melki / Flickr Creative Commons

An attorney with a long track record of successfully challenging legislative actions as unconstitutional is taking aim at a bill to cut the state's income tax and fund repairs to the crumbling Capitol. 

Oral arguments were held Tuesday before a referee for the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

Attorney Jerry Fent claims the bill is unconstitutional because it violates a provision of the state Constitution that requires bills to embrace only one subject.

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Indian Child Welfare Act
11:10 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Native American Adoption Case Gets New Complication

Credit Cherokee Nation

The case of a Native American child at the center of a custody dispute that went to the U.S. Supreme Court has another complication. Dusten Brown, the girl’s biological father, has now filed for adoption.

Brown and other relatives of three-year-old Veronica filed court papers in Oklahoma Monday to adopt the child. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month South Carolina courts should decide who gets to adopt Veronica.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
8:47 am
Tue July 9, 2013

The EPA Is Suing Oklahoma Gas & Electric Over Its Power Plant Emission Estimates

The first page of the federal government's complaint against OG&E
Credit StateImpact Oklahoma

The federal government on Monday filed a lawsuit against Oklahoma Gas & Electric, accusing the electric utility of violating the Clean Air Act by improperly estimating the amount of emissions that could come from upgrades at two coal-fired power plants.

A copy of the government’s complaint, which was made through the Environmental Protection Agency, is included on StateImpact Oklahoma's website.

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Weather and Climate
6:52 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Need Help With Paying Your Cooling Bills?

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services will soon begin  taking applications to help low-income households pay their cooling bills this  summer. The agency announced it would begin taking applications Tuesday.

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Sports
6:45 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Making Coaching a Science? OSU Says Yes.

Oklahoma State University is offering a new minor  study in coaching science.    The new 18-hour minor program is open to students in any program who are  interested in coaching.    

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OKC Boulevard
3:44 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

OKC Boulevard Still Work In Progress

This artist rendering shows development along the proposed Oklahoma City Boulevard as part of the I-40 re-alignment.
Credit City of Oklahoma City

The Oklahoma Dept. of Transportation continues to seek public input on the future development of the Oklahoma City Boulevard. The new street is part of the re-alignment of Interstate 40 near downtown.

Many residents expressed concern over early versions of the boulevard during a series of public meetings on the proposal, which included a longer elevated portion of the roadway.

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Water
1:57 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

State and Tribes Still Wrestling Over Water Rights in Oklahoma

Sardis Lake
Credit Olliehigh / Flickr Creative Commons

While the State of Oklahoma won the Supreme Court Water War with Texas, its in-state skirmish is still simmering.

This battle — between the state and the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations — is being waged within Oklahoma’s borders. But unlike the Red River water dispute, reports from the front lines of Oklahoma’s tribal water war are sketchy and scarce. The Associated Press’ Tim Talley explains news drought:

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Budget Cuts
12:46 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Budget Cuts Force Slow Downs

Credit Tinker Air Force Base

A day without pay, the first of 11 through September, comes this week for more than 650,000 people who hold civilian jobs with the Defense Department. 

Officials worry that the Pentagon will be hit even harder by layoffs in 2014 if automatic budget cuts continue.

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