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.

Read more
Arts and Entertainment
7:41 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Why Shoot More Films in Oklahoma?

Supporters of a program offering rebates to attract  filmmakers to Oklahoma say they'll try next year to persuade lawmakers to renew  the program.    The Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program that currently offers a 35 percent  rebate on all production expenses made in the state expires July 1, 2014.  

Read more
Search and Rescue Canines
7:30 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

The Rescued Becomes The Rescuer

The Norman Transcript's Tammy Boyd  reports that its not every day that you can go from being rescued to being the rescuer but several dogs on Oklahoma Task Force One's search and rescue units get that chance every time they receive a call for help.

Read more
Transportation
3:04 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

UPDATE: Oklahoma Improving The Number of Poor State Bridges

The new I-40 Crosstown under construction near Penn Ave. - December 2011
Credit Oklahoma Department of Transportation

A new study shows Oklahoma has cut its number of structurally deficient state bridges in half in less than a decade.

Department of Transportation Director Mike Patterson presented the figures Monday to the agency's governing commission. Patterson says Federal Highway Commission data shows the number of structurally deficient state bridges dropped from 1,168 in 2005 to 556 currently.

Read more
StateImpact Oklahoma
1:49 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

A Flood Of Rain And Money Needed To Save Lake Waurika From Its Silt

Credit Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department

Lake Waurika was built in by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1977 to serve, primarily, as a source of drinking water for Lawton and surrounding communities. It has also become an important tourist attraction for the area.

Read more
Moore
12:18 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

International Group Honors Moore Mayor

Mayor Glenn Lewis
Credit City of Moore

A London-based urban affairs think tank has selected Moore Mayor Glenn Lewis as its "Mayor of the Month" for his leadership in the aftermath of the May 20 tornado. 

The City Mayors Foundation announced Monday that Lewis is the mayor of the smallest city ever to win the honor.

Previous winners include New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, San Antonio's Julian Castro and Rio de Janeiro's Eduardo Paes.

Read more
StateImpact Oklahoma
11:47 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Sierra Club Says OG&E Coal Plants Spew Too Much Sulfur Dioxide

Credit Sierra Club of Oklahoma

The Sierra Club on Thursday said two Oklahoma Gas & Electric coal-fired power plants are releasing too much sulfur dioxide, a compound that can cause respiratory disease, which they said endangers residents near Muskogee and Red Rock.

The environmental group commissioned a study that modeled the amount of sulfur dioxide released by the Sooner and Muskogee plants, and says both will violate federal clean air standards — when those standards are implemented.

Read more
Politics and Government
11:09 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Tax Cut And Capitol Repair Bills Take Effect

Credit ensign_beedrill / Flickr Creative Commons

More than 70 bills take effect Monday, including legislation that will ultimately provide for a 2015 Oklahoma income tax reduction and fund repairs to the State Capitol.

ECapitol’s Shawn Ashley reports the bill apportions $60 million to the fund in fiscal year 2014 and FY2015.

Read more
May 2013 Tornadoes
7:14 am
Mon July 1, 2013

FEMA Approves More Aid, Already Tops $25 Million

Gov. Mary Fallin meets with members of the Newcastle Fire Department on Friday June 28, 2013
Credit GovMaryFallin / Twitter

Gov. Mary Fallin says the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved public assistance for 16 counties hit by May storms that brought tornadoes and flooding to Oklahoma.

Fallin said FEMA approved the request on Friday that she submitted Wednesday.

The storms caused an estimated $40 million in uninsured infrastructure losses, and debris removal and response costs.

FEMA says disaster assistance for the state now tops $25 million dollars.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:53 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Arizona Wildfire Kills 19 Firefighters, Deadliest In Decades

The Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew is shown in this undated handout photo provided by the city of Prescott, Ariz. The elite team of 19 firemen were killed on Sunday in one of the deadliest U.S. firefighting disasters in decades.
City of Prescott Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 2:17 pm

In what is being called the deadliest U.S. wildfire in at least 30 years, an out-of-control blaze trapped and killed 19 firefighters Sunday in central Arizona. They had been forced to use temporary shelters in an attempt to survive.

All of those killed were part of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite group based in Prescott, Ariz., that uses rigorous training to prepare for fighting wildfires. They are frequently deployed to the front lines of firefighting efforts against such blazes.

Update at 6:04 p.m. ET: Firefighters Identified

Read more
Parallels
10:34 pm
Sun June 30, 2013

Tales Of Three Protests — In Pictures

demonstration against President Mohammed Morsi in Cairo on Sunday. Hundreds of thousands of Morsi opponents poured out onto the streets across much of Egypt, launching an all-out push to force him from office on the first anniversary of his inauguration." href="/post/tales-three-protests-pictures" class="noexit lightbox">
Egyptians gather in Tahrir Square during a demonstration against President Mohammed Morsi in Cairo on Sunday. Hundreds of thousands of Morsi opponents poured out onto the streets across much of Egypt, launching an all-out push to force him from office on the first anniversary of his inauguration.
Amr Nabil AP

Originally published on Sun June 30, 2013 5:02 pm

Sometimes pictures do a better job of conveying what's going on in the world.

Read more

Pages