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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Indian Times
12:00 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

St. Gregory’s Revives Honor Dance For Newly Named American Indian Saint

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha
Credit Catholic Online

After the death of Father Vincent Traynor, an honorary member of several tribes in Oklahoma, the honorary dance to honor the then Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, became of thing of the past.  With her being named the first Native American saint last October, Abbot Lawrence at St Gregory’s University in Shawnee, Oklahoma, thought it was high time to revive it.

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Tulsa
11:13 am
Fri July 5, 2013

Assessment Company Expanding In Tulsa

Credit Dennis from Atlanta / Flickr Creative Commons

A company that specializes in personnel assessment says it will build a new $8.7 million headquarters in downtown Tulsa.

Hogan Assessments has offered to buy a parcel from the Tulsa Development Authority for the project.

The company has 65 employees and brings in as many as 500 people from the U.S. and other countries for training and meetings.

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GRDA
10:11 am
Fri July 5, 2013

Grand Lake Level To Drop In August

Grand Lake O' the Cherokees
Credit GRDA

Federal regulators have turned down a request to keep the water level up at Grand Lake through the Labor Day holiday.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission told the Grand River Dam Authority that a three-foot drawdown scheduled for August will go on as planned.

The Tulsa World reports that landowners and businesses wanted the lake level to stay up through Labor Day weekend so more people can use the lake.

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The Two-Way
9:50 am
Fri July 5, 2013

Better Than Expected Job Growth In June

At a job fair in Los Angeles last month, job seekers filled out applications.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 5, 2013 9:48 am

More jobs were created last month than economists had expected, but the unemployment rate held steady.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that employers added 195,000 jobs to public and private payrolls. That's better than the gain of 165,000 that forecasters had predicted.

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The Two-Way
9:48 am
Fri July 5, 2013

That's 'My Son Screaming' On 911 Call, Trayvon's Mother Says

Trayvon Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, testifies Friday in Sanford, Fla.
Gary W. Green/pool Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 5, 2013 5:40 pm

Update at 5:50 p.m. ET. The prosecution concluded its case Friday in the trial of George Zimmerman. Afterward, the judge denied a request by the defense to acquit Zimmerman of second-degree murder. The defense had argued that the prosecution had failed to prove its case against him.

Our original post:

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DHS
8:56 am
Fri July 5, 2013

Family Sues Over DHS Child Death

Credit Bruce Tuten / Flickr Creative Commons

Family members of a 5-year-old girl who was killed by her father have amended a lawsuit against the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and two child-welfare workers who were fired by the state.

The girl's mother and grandparents claim in the lawsuit that Serenity Deal's death in June 2011 came about due to negligence by the state, which placed the girl with her father. The father is serving a sentence of life in prison for the girl's death.

The defendants haven't yet filed papers responding to the wrongful-death lawsuit.

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All Tech Considered
8:41 am
Fri July 5, 2013

At Tech-Free Camps, People Pay Hundreds To Unplug

Camp Grounded is located in Northern California.
Courtesy of Scott Sporleder

Originally published on Fri July 5, 2013 11:17 am

The overwhelming and endless stream of electronic alerts and messages on our computers, phones and tablets is driving demand for a new kind of summer camp for adults. "Technology-free" camps that force their campers to surrender their gadgets, wallets and that nagging "fear of missing out" — FOMO — are booking up fast.

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World Views
7:46 am
Fri July 5, 2013

Why Egypt Likely Won't See Democratic Stability After Ousting Morsi

Anti-Morsi protest in downtown Cairo - August 31, 2012
Credit Gigi Ibrahim / Flickr Creative Commons

Earlier this week a top judge replaced Islamist leader Mohammed Morsi as Egypt’s president as the army cracks down on the Muslim Brotherhood.

In his final days in power, Egypt's embattled president was defiant even though his allies abandoned him.

Record numbers of protesters gathered in Alexandria and Cairo on June 30 calling for Morsi’s removal, resignation, or early presidential elections. Incoming University of Oklahoma Middle East scholar and Muslim Brotherhood expert Samer Shehata says the millions of protesters exceeded his expectations of the June 30 movement.

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World Views
2:00 pm
Thu July 4, 2013

OU Graduate Sees Continued Instability In Afghanistan's Future

U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Jon Lyman hands a piece of candy to an Afghan child during a security patrol on November 30, 2011.
Credit Reece Lodder / United States Marine Corps

Listen to Dana Mohammed-Zadeh's conversation with Suzette Grillot and Joshua Landis.

Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry announced on Monday that insurgents had killed nearly 300 local and national police last month, as well as 180 civilians. A day later, militants detonated a suicide car bomb at the gate of a NATO compound in Kabul killing five guards and two civilians.

Dana Mohammad-Zadeh says knowing attacks like these will happen is part of life in Afghanistan’s capital city. She earned a degree in Economics and International Studies from the University of Oklahoma in 2012, and now works in the development sector in Kabul.

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World Views
7:21 am
Thu July 4, 2013

WEB EXCLUSIVE: NSA Surveillance Strains U.S. Relations With The European Union

Edward Snowden
Credit Voice of America / Wikimedia Commons

Internet users worried about their personal information being intercepted by U.S. intelligence agencies should stop using websites that send data to the United States, Germany's top security official said Wednesday.

German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich also said German officials are in touch with their U.S. counterparts "on all levels" and a delegation is scheduled to fly to Washington next week to discuss the claims that ordinary citizens — and even European diplomats — were being spied upon by the NSA.

Suzette Grillot, the Dean of the University of Oklahoma's College of International Studies, says what Snowden has revealed goes beyond normal intelligence gathering and turned into a major international incident.

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