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.

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The Two-Way
12:28 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Obama Seeks $3.7B To Handle Immigration Crisis

Detainees sleep in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility in Brownsville, Texas, on June 18. The White House on Tuesday sought $3.7 billion to deal with the immigration crisis at the border.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 3:12 pm

Update at 3:33 p.m. ET

The White House said it's asking Congress for $3.7 billion to address the humanitarian crisis along the border with Mexico.

The statement said the funds would cover domestic enforcement, repatriation and reintegration of migrants, transportation costs, additional immigration judges, prosecutors and litigation attorneys to "ensure cases are processed fairly and as quickly as possible."

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Oklahoma News
10:04 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Cleveland County To Demolish Former Jail Building

The Cleveland County Detention Center in downtown Norman
Brian Hardzinski KGOU

Cleveland County commissioners say the former county detention center will be demolished this fall.

The Norman Transcript reports that the former jail site will likely be used for parking while a facilities study is completed. The county's new $26 million jail opened in January 2012.

The building opened in 1984 but was closed two years ago after a new detention center was built. Since then, the building had been used as a temporary holding facility for inmates who were transported to the courthouse for hearings.

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Immigration
8:25 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Oklahoma Congressman Decries Restrictions On Reporter Tour Of Fort Sill Facility

Credit Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

An Oklahoma congressman is criticizing a proposed media tour of a facility at Fort Sill where hundreds of mostly teenage immigrant children from Central America are housed.

Republican Rep. Jim Bridenstine is calling on reporters to reject Thursday's proposed tour because the invitation says no questions will be allowed and recording devices are prohibited.

Bridenstine — a first-term congressman from Tulsa — said in a statement Monday that the stipulations violate the First Amendment.

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Around the Nation
6:38 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Obama To Ask Congress For $2B To Ease Immigration Crisis

Detainees sleep and watch television in a holding cell where hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children are being processed at a U.S. Customs facility in Nogales, Texas.
Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 8:51 am

The Obama administration will ask Congress for more than $2 billion Tuesday to address the urgent humanitarian crisis along the U.S. border with Mexico.

In the past nine months, more than 50,000 children and teenagers have crossed that border illegally on their own, most from Central America. By law, the administration can't deport those young people until they have an immigration hearing — a process that can take years.

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Oklahoma News
6:57 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Federal Highway Funds To Oklahoma To Be Reduced Beginning August 1st

The James C. Nance Bridge between Lexington and Purcell, now repaired.
Credit J. Stephen Conn / Flickr Creative Commons

Federal reimbursements to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and their counterparts in other states will be reduced beginning August 1 unless the Federal Highway Trust Fund receives an infusion of cash, ODOT Executive Director Mike Patterson told the Transportation Commission during its meeting Monday.

The department was informed July 1 that the U.S. Department of Transportation would begin taking a number of steps to address what U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Fox called the insolvency of the fund.

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Oklahoma News
6:18 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Trooper On Paid Leave Pending Investigation Into DUI

Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Joshua Davies
Credit Provided / Oklahoma Highway Patrol

An Oklahoma state trooper has been arrested in Sequoyah County for driving under the influence of alcohol while on duty after he crashed an Oklahoma Highway Patrol sport utility vehicle that was towing an OHP boat.

Capt. George Brown said Monday that Trooper Joshua Davies was arrested Thursday following the accident on U.S. Highway 59 near Sallisaw after investigating troopers said he showed signs of intoxication — then registered above the legal limit of 0.08 for blood alcohol content on a breath test.

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Club too close to Amish community
4:59 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Proposed Strip Club Prompts Legislator To Request Special Legislative Session

Credit marc falardeau / Flickr.com

A Democratic state representative from Chouteau wants Gov. Mary Fallin and legislative leaders to call a special legislative session to deal with a strip club that he says is rumored to be coming to Mayes County.

Rep. Ben Sherrer said Monday in a news release that he plans to submit a formal request to Fallin and the leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
1:25 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Oklahoma Agrees To Keep Oil Train Shipments Secret

Flames and smoke are seen in an May 2014 oil-train derailment along Virginia's James River.
Waterkeeper Alliance Inc. Flickr Creative Commons

Surging oil production in states like North Dakota has outpaced pipeline capacity, and the energy industry has turned to railroads to transport oil from fields to refineries.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
1:08 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Oklahoma Drought Easing In The West, Intensifying In The East

The July 1 update of the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Credit U.S. Drought Monitor

All the recent wet weather in western Oklahoma has put a big dent in the severity of the ongoing drought there.

But as one part of the state celebrates above-average rainfall, a state climatologist says eastern Oklahoma — which has been spared the brunt of the drought so far — is getting dryer.

From The Oklahoman‘s Silas Allen:

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World Views
12:11 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Even With Wide Support, Is Erdoğan’s Presidential Bid Really What Turks Want?

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Antonis Samaras, Prime Minister of Greece Flickr Creative Commons

Turkey's ruling party nominated Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to run in Turkey's first directly elected presidential race in August before thousands of cheering supporters on Tuesday.

Erdoğan, in power since 2003, is barred by party rules from running as prime minister again. His candidacy for president could put him at Turkey's helm for five more years.

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