Corn, Okla., Mayor Barbara Nurnberg outside city hall in January 2016.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Budget Crisis Could Leave Small Towns With Big Infrastructure Problems ‘Dead In The Water’

It costs a lot of money to clean, transport and dispose of water. Big cities can spread the cost of multi-million dollar sewer or treatment projects across thousands of customers. But many small Oklahoma towns don’t have that option, and often rely on a state-funded grant program that’s being squeezed by budget cuts. Crumbling Infrastructure Tiny Corn, Oklahoma, has a big problem. A proper town needs a reliable sewer system, but the lagoon that’s supposed to hold the town’s wastewater has...
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Donald Trump thought he could upend Iowa caucus traditions. The gamble didn't pay off.

Hillary Clinton hoped she could wipe away her campaign nightmares of eight years ago by posting a solid win over an insurgent Bernie Sanders.

Instead, her margin of victory over Sanders was vanishingly small.

Those were just some of the surprise twists from Monday night's results. Here's what the numbers and results tell us about how and why they happened, according to our analysis of the entrance/exit polling and the county-by-county results.

The World Health Organization has declared the cluster of microcephaly associated with the spread of the Zika virus to be a public health emergency of international concern — a designation reserved for an"extraordinary event" that is "serious, unusual or unexpected."

Dr. Margaret Chan, the WHO's director-general, said during a press briefing Monday that an international coordinated response was needed to improve mosquito control as well as to expedite the development of tests that detect the Zika virus.

Gov. Mary Fallin delivers her 2016 State of the State address before Monday's joint session of the Oklahoma House and Senate.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin proposed bold changes to Oklahoma's budget, the criminal justice system, and said she wants lawmakers to get behind a $3,000 pay raise for teachers during her 2016 State of the State address.

The $900 million-and-counting budget shortfall lawmakers will have to deal with hangs over everything this session, but Fallin remained optimistic even as she cited a two-year, 70 percent drop in oil prices that's affected state revenue.

"We can do it," the governor repeated.

word cloud of Governor Mary Fallin's 2016 state of the state address
KGOU / Worldle

Below is Gov. Mary Fallin's 2016 State of the State address, as prepared for delivery.

Lieutenant Governor Lamb, statewide elected officials, Speaker Hickman, President Pro Tem Bingman, members of the court, honorable senators and representatives, Cabinet members, tribal leaders, distinguished guests, and citizens of Oklahoma:

It is my duty as well as my great honor to be here today to discuss the state of our state.

Author of Fire In Beulah, Rilla Askew
Provided

One of the country’s worst acts of violence against a minority community happened in Oklahoma. The 1921 Tulsa Race Riot led to the destruction of Greenwood, a wealthy all-black area due north of downtown known as “Black Wall Street.”

For years, history books glossed over accounts of the event. In 1996, state lawmakers commissioned an official historical account of what happened. Seven years earlier, award-winning novelist Rilla Askew began researching the Tulsa Race Riot for a book after realizing she had never heard of the historic event.

Karen Burston, of Oklahoma City, is tearful as she talks about what she believes is the discrimination she and her son have faced at Sequoyah Elementary School. Burston’s son is in a special education program.
Victor Henderson / Oklahoma Watch

A federal civil rights agency has opened its fourth investigation into Oklahoma City Public Schools, this time focused on claims that school officials discriminated against special education students.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights said the newest investigation, filed on Dec. 3, examines whether the district applied different treatment, exclusion or denial of benefits to students with disabilities.

Oklahoma Capitol
Drew Tarvin / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Oklahoma lawmakers will face at least a $900 million budget shortfall, spending cuts, and a teacher shortage when it convenes Monday.

State Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, state Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman, and University of Oklahoma political scientist Keith Gaddie joined KGOU’s Jacob McCleland to talk about issues the legislature will address in its 2016 session.

 


If there’s one bit of conventional wisdom when to comes to oil prices it’s this: What goes down, must go up. The boom-bust cycle of the oil markets means that the cheap gas you’re enjoying now will cost you more sometime in the future. But what if low oil prices are actually the new normal? Some people are saying just that.

Newly-elected Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief James Floyd takes the oath of office in January 2016.
Amanda Rutland / Muscogee Nation News

Less than a month after taking the oath of office, Principal Chief of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation James Floyd gave his first State of the Nation address on Saturday as the tribe’s new leader. Floyd was elected last November and defeated incumbent George Tiger in a two-to-one margin.

Less than a month before the Iowa Caucuses, Hillary Clinton makes a campaign stop in Ames, Iowa.
Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

For almost a year, presidential candidates have been crisscrossing Iowa, wooing voters in a state that relies on agriculture for about one-third of its economy. But even here, most voters live in cities or suburbs and don’t have a first-hand connection to the farm.

That makes it difficult to get candidates talking about food system issues from school lunches, to crop supports, to water quality. Yet these all fall under the federal agriculture department. If candidates aren’t talking about them in Iowa, it’s possible they’ll be left out of the campaigns entirely.

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