Residents being ferried away from east side of Lake Thunderbird by canoe.
OU Emergency Prep / Twitter

More Rain On Sunday As Flooding Is Widespread; Flood Warnings Still In Effect

Updated 1 p.m. Rain continues across central and western portions of the state. Radar at 12:56 PM shows persistent band of steady, occasionally heavy rain across central OK pic.twitter.com/mIAytXjRds — NWS Norman (@NWSNorman) May 24, 2015Updated 11:45 a.m. City of Oklahoma City officials offer call line to report homeowner damages. Residents whose homes were flooded by weekend rains are asked to report damage to 211 beginning at noon today. #okwx pic.twitter.com/c4lSn8y7R2 — City of OKC (...
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Tornadoes in western Oklahoma damaged homes, brought down power lines and otherwise caused havoc Saturday evening, but no casualties have been reported.

A decade-old beating haunted Nikki Frazier while she served time in prison.
Oklahoma Department of Corrections

In her dorm at Dr. Eddie Warrior Correctional Center in Taft, anxiety attacks used to waken Nikki Frazier in the middle of the night. For about an hour she would sit on her bed, shaking, sweaty and nauseous.

“It would feel like I was having a heart attack,” Frazier said. “It was just a big ball of weight in my chest, and it was so bad.”

Frazier could point to one source of her anxiety: In 2005, she got into a dispute with her then-husband, and he kicked her repeatedly in the face with steel-toed boots, for which he was later convicted. Six years later, a doctor cited the beating in diagnosing Frazier with post-traumatic stress disorder, severe anxiety and depression.

Serving a prison sentence for forging checks, Frazier suffered attacks for months until she was able to see a psychiatrist and get on a different medication. But she said she could never truly calm her anxiety until she was released in February. She gained control over her life and began receiving one-on-one counseling.

Frazier’s mental-health struggles reflect those of hundreds of women in Oklahoma prisons.

Oklahoma Women Suffer PTSD

Oklahoma Watch obtained detailed data on mental health diagnoses for men and women in prison from the state Department of Corrections and found dramatic differences in their conditions.

According to the data – a snapshot in late March – nearly 60 percent of female inmates show signs of mental illness, about twice the percentage of male inmates. A total of 3,104 women and 25,620 men were in the corrections system at the time.

Women also suffer disproportionately from depression – 64 percent versus 59 percent of men.

But the most striking difference occurs with trauma disorders. PTSD is the second most common mental illness among incarcerated women, with about one in five showing symptoms, or five times the rate for men.

State Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville
okhouse.gov

State lawmakers and Governor Mary Fallin's office continue to negotiate ways to address a $611.3 million budget gap, the chairman of the House Budget Committee said Friday.

State Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville, said negotiators were close to finalizing a budget deal, but "several small issues" remained. "Right now work continues," Sears said. "There are a bunch of little moving targets."

Student Award Winners

May 17, 2015
The Grand Prize for Audio Documentary Program from teh National Broadcasting Society, given to KGOU students Hayley Thornton, Molly Evans and Madeline Stebbins for their April 27, 2014 "Assignment Radio" program.
KGOU

May 17, 2014

This is from the Manager’s Desk.   

This week, I am highlighting our students who have been recognized with awards in the past several months. These awards are for work these students complete for class credit offered at KGOU through the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communications, but these winning stories have also been broadcast by KGOU.

Toni Pratt-Reid, the owner of three medical clinics, said she could be forced to close two of those clinics if the Oklahoma Health Care Authority reduces the rates it pays nurse practitioners.
M. Scott Carter / Oklahoma Watch

A top Oklahoma health official is warning that the budget crunch may force the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to cut payments to mid-level medical providers such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, which providers say could lead to the closing of rural clinics.

Facing a $611 million budget gap, state leaders say most agencies will see spending cuts, or at best, a flat budget. But even with a flat budget, Health Care Authority officials said, many low-income residents could see a reduction in health care access and services.

Budget documents released by the Authority indicate the agency is proposing more than $40 million in budget reductions for the 2016 fiscal year. Those cuts range from $2.9 million in administrative cuts to a $5.2 million, or 15 percent, reduction in reimbursement amounts paid to nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physical therapists and other mid-level providers.

Doctors could see reimbursement rate cuts of about 2 percent, lawmakers said.

The reductions would lower fee-for-service payments to 85 percent of the Authority’s physician fee schedule.

About 3,250 providers would be affected.

Storm damage south of Elmer, Okla.
Jason Beach / Twitter

Updated 9:42 p.m.: Threat of severe weather moving out of central Oklahoma

Several hundred residential utility customers lost power, and high waters were blocking some city streets after a line of storms moved across the state Saturday evening.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Senate has given unanimous approval to a pair of bills that will end two separate tax subsidies for the wind industry inOklahoma.

With no debate, the Senate on Friday approved one bill to eliminate a 5-year property tax exemption for wind manufacturers, starting in 2017. Because the state reimburses counties for the revenue lost from the exemption, the cost of the subsidy has skyrocketed with the expansion of wind farms in Oklahoma. It's expected to cost the state about $44 million in the current fiscal year.

The bill now heads to the House for consideration.

Head Of Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Agency To Resign

May 15, 2015
Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Commission executive director Rick Farmer.
YouTube

The head of the new Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Commission says he's planning to step down following a tumultuous year in which the three-member panel was found to have repeatedly violated the state's Open Meeting Act.

Commission Executive Director Rick Farmer announced in a statement Friday that he is resigning effective July 2 for a position in the private sector.

Farmer has served as the head of the commission since it was created in 2013 as an alternative to the state's Workers' Compensation Court.

a school classroom with empty chairs
comedy_nose / Flickr Creative Commons

About 15 percent of Oklahoma third graders could be held back after earning unsatisfactory marks on a state-mandated reading test.

State education officials announced preliminary results from this year's Oklahoma Core Curriculum Test on Friday.

The results showed that at least 85 percent of the 50,000 third graders who took the exam will advance to the next grade. Students who performed the worst could be held back unless they qualify for one of several exemptions under the Reading Sufficiency Act.

Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives
James Emery / Flickr

This week, Suzette Grillot and Joshua Landis discuss news from the Middle East and what it means for U.S. interests in the region. Landis is the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

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