Dr. Ervin Yen holds a prescription for Midazolam
Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

Supreme Court Upholds Use Of Midazolam, But How Does The Drug Work Outside Executions?

The Supreme Court upheld Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol Monday. The case centered on a single drug, midazolam, that’s now used as part of a three-drug cocktail. Critics claim it is unreliable during executions and cannot produce a “deep, coma-like state” on a regular basis. But in hospitals across Oklahoma, the drug is being used by anesthesiologists very frequently. Families crowd a surgical floor waiting room at St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City. Just down the hall, there’s an...
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Math teacher Sherry Read's classroom is a total mess. The students are gone for the summer, and light fixtures dangle from the ceiling. The floor has a layer of dust. Down the hallway, workers make a racket while they renovate the school, which dates back to the 1890s. They're working in what has become an archaeological site.

When you flip on a light switch, odds are, you're burning coal. But as the fracking boom continues to unleash huge quantities of natural gas, the nation's electric grid is changing. Power plants are increasingly turning to this low-cost, cleaner-burning fossil fuel.

Bill Pentak stands in the middle of a construction site, looking up at his company's latest project towering overhead — a new natural gas power plant.

Oklahoma City attorney and legislative watchdog Jerry Fent, who has successfully challenged laws in the past, comes out of a hearing room at the State Supreme Court, where a referee heard his lawsuit over House Bill 2562.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

An Oklahoma City attorney claims the state is essentially operating a Ponzi scheme by routinely raiding its Unclaimed Property Fund and using money that belongs to its citizens to fund state government operations. 

Attorney Jerry Fent alleges in a lawsuit filed Monday in Oklahoma County District Court that transfers from the Unclaimed Property Fund maintained by the state treasurer's office are illegal.

Left-to-right: David Fritze, Nicole Washington, Roxanne Hinther, Janet Cizek
Oklahoma Watch

Women in Oklahoma face often unique mental-health challenges in different life situations – whether incarcerated, suffering from depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, or dealing with severe anxiety as a professional or parent.

At an Oklahoma Watch-Out forum in Tulsa May 21, three experts talked about issues ranging from incarcerated women and trauma to postpartum depression and both the cultural and biological factors of mental health.

About 250 people attended Sunday night's vigil at Avery Chapel AME Church in Oklahoma City for the victims of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina
Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

Sunday church services nationwide spoke to the tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina.

Pastors from across the state led prayers as hundreds gathered Sunday evening at Avery Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Oklahoma City for a prayer service honoring the nine victims of last week’s shooting.

“We will not lay down and be divided by evil,” Avery Chapel senior pastor the Rev. D. Lavel Crawford told the roughly 250 attendees.

As a young U.S. Army soldier during World War II, Rollins Edwards knew better than to refuse an assignment.

When officers led him and a dozen others into a wooden gas chamber and locked the door, he didn't complain. None of them did. Then, a mixture of mustard gas and a similar agent called lewisite was piped inside.

The Newt Graham Lock and Dam near Inola, Okla.
Tyler / Flickr

Slow moving storms that dumped record amounts of rain on Oklahoma in April and May killed the five-year drought, but damaged wheat crops in western Oklahoma. This after one of the worst wheat harvests on record in 2014.

Kate Hiscock / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma Employment and Security Commission reported Friday that Oklahoma's unemployment rate in March increased to 4.3 percent, up two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month.

This marks the second consecutive month Oklahoma's unemployment rate has risen, but it still remains well below the national rate of 5.5 percent.

The commission reports about 80,000 Oklahomans were classified as unemployed last month.

Statistics show the oil and gas industry continues to shed jobs, with about 1,200 jobs lost from April to May in the mining and logging sector.

Tim (Timothy) Pearce / Flickr.com

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections currently has 99 offenders categorized as fugitives, but most of those are from work-release programs, halfway houses or GPS monitoring.

Several Oklahoma fugitives, however, have escaped from medium- or maximum-security facilities, and some have been living on the run for decades.

Those include:

Kenneth Cook, now 85, convicted of first-degree manslaughter, who escaped from the Oklahoma State Reformatory in Granite on Nov. 24, 1986;

Thursday's rock slide along Interstate 35 northbound in Murray County near Davis
Oklahoma Department of Transportation

Oklahoma Department of Transportation officials are cautioning drivers to avoid Interstate 35 in the southern portion of the state after severe flooding caused a rockslide that blocked the highway this week.

The agency urged drivers instead to take US-81 or US-69 as alternate routes while construction continues.

Officials say southbound I-35 is narrowed to one lane at the rock slide location at the Arbuckle Mountains.

While construction continues, the agency says drivers should expect heavy congestion and delays for the upcoming weeks.

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