A disposal well in northwestern Oklahoma.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oil Companies Shut Down Wells Near Earthquake Swarm

After a swarm of earthquakes recorded near the town of Crescent, which peaked with a 4.5-magnitude temblor on Monday, state regulators asked a pair of oil companies to limit activity at three nearby disposal wells. Monday’s quake caused light damage. Multiple people reported feeling it in Arkansas, more than 400 miles away Oklahoma City’s Devon Energy Production and Arkansas-based Stephens Energy Group agreed to shut down the two wells nearest the shaking. Stephens also agreed to cut by half...
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Culex pipiens (the common house mosquito) is a species of blood-feeding mosquito of the family Culicidae. It is a vector of some diseases, such as Japanese encephalitis, meningitis, and urticaria. In the US, it can spread West Nile virus.
Wikimedia Commons

Public health officials in Oklahoma County say they have identified the county's second human case of West Nile Virus so far this year.

The Oklahoma City-County Health Department confirmed the West Nile diagnosis on Thursday. Ken Johnson, a spokesman for the agency, declined to release details about the patient, including the person's age and gender. However, Johnson says the virus "hits seniors very hard."

ssalonso / Flickr.com

The Oklahoma attorney general is arguing in a court filing that a lawsuit challenging the state's use of its Unclaimed Property Fund should be dismissed.

In a motion to dismiss filed Thursday in Oklahoma County District Court, Assistant Solicitor General Jared Haines argues that state laws governing the fund are constitutional and that the lawsuit is without merit.

Oklahoma City attorney Jerry Fent filed the lawsuit last month, claiming the state is essentially operating a Ponzi scheme by routinely raiding the fund and using that money to fund state government operations.

President Obama tours the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution on July 16, 2015
Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

President Obama became the first sitting president to visit a federal prison Thursday when he toured the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution outside Oklahoma City. During his trip, Obama urged reconsideration of the current criminal justice system.

President Obama walked down Cell Block B, taking in the two-story medium security prison, with a corrections officer and Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Charles Samuels. He peeked inside a tiny 90 square foot cell that holds up to three inmates, which he said highlights the need for prison reform.

Abbot Lawrence Stasyszen of St. Gregory's Monastery traces cracks in the walls of the monk's workshop, which was damaged in a 5.7-magnitude earthquake that struck the nearby city of Prague in November 2011.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The rate of earthquakes in Oklahoma appears to be accelerating, and the state is responding.

Lawmakers have scheduled capitol hearings and oil and gas regulators will soon issue stricter guidelines on disposal wells linked to the shaking. Future earthquakes are a big concern, but one Oklahoma institution is still dealing with the damage one quake caused nearly four years ago.

Gov. Mary Fallin greets President Obama Wednesday evening alongside her daughter Christina at Tinker Air Force Base
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

President Obama arrived in Oklahoma City Wednesday evening just a few hours after wrapping up the announcement of a nationwide broadband internet initiative in Durant.

Dozens of men and women in uniform and state officials turned out to greet the president as Air Force One touched down shortly before 8:30 p.m. at Tinker Air Force Base. Once the president stepped off the plane, he made his way toward service members and VIPs and spent about 10 minutes shaking hands.

President Obama has made incarceration reform a White House theme this week. On Monday, he commuted the sentences of 46 mostly nonviolent drug offenders; and on Tuesday, he spoke about reducing the prison population in a speech to the NAACP.

"The United States is home to 5 percent of the world's population but 25 percent of the world's prisoners," Obama said. "Think about that. Our incarceration rate is four times higher than China's."

Brooke Lefler / KGOU

The School of Drama at the University of Oklahoma opened a 5-day run of playwright Beth Henley’s “Crimes of the Heart” on Wednesday evening, July 15. Directed by Tom Huston Orr and Gretchen Hahn, the two and a half hour production is beautiful, cathartic, heart-felt and suspenseful.

This post was last updated at 2:54 p.m. ET

President Obama offered a robust defense of the historic deal struck with Iran on its nuclear program, saying it meets the "national security interests of the United States and its allies."

In a more than hourlong news conference, Obama dismissed criticism of the deal, acknowledging that he expects "robust" debate over the agreement in Congress, but urging lawmakers to evaluate "this agreement based on the facts, not on politics, not on posturing."

Tulsa County Sheriff's Office

Lawyers for the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office and the activist group We the People Oklahoma argued in front of a state Supreme Court referee Tuesday. The Sheriff’s office asked the referee to overturn a lower court’s ruling allowing an investigation of possible corruption in the department.

President Obama speaking to supporters in a pipe yard in Cushing, Okla. in 2012, where the Keystone XL Pipeline connects on its way from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

President Obama travels to Oklahoma Wednesday where he will announce a new initiative to expand broadband access to homes in low-income areas.

The president will make the announcement at Durant High School in the capital of the Choctaw Nation in southeastern Oklahoma.

Obama’s ConnectHome initiative will expand broadband coverage to 275,000 low income households in 27 cities and the Choctaw Nation. The White House estimates it’ll bring broadband into the homes of nearly 200,000 low income children.

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