Cheryl Hooper sells TNT Fireworks from her stand near Route 66 and Westminster Road in Arcadia.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Pyrotechnic Peddlers Encouraged By Climate, Calendar; Brides Benefit From Record Rainfall

Fireworks stands popped up across more rural parts of the metro weeks ago ahead of the Independence Day holiday, and Oklahoma's climate, some calendar luck, and easing of fireworks laws in other states should a $695 million dollar nationwide industry continue to boom (and yes, of course, that bad pun was intended). Sales have steadily grown since 1998, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association. Oklahoma's drought formally ended earlier this year after dozens of inches of rain fell...
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Jaimee Flinchbaugh / Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden

The Oklahoma City Zoo announced the birth of a giraffe Tuesday. The five-foot-tall ungulate born Monday is the fourth offspring of 15-year-olds Ellie and Bogy.

“Both mom and calf are doing well,” hoofstock supervisor Jaimee Flinchbaugh said in a statement. “Ellie is an experienced, doting mom, and her calf is full of energy and personality. We are excited to watch her grow.”

StickWare / Flickr

With the number of registered independents on the rise in Oklahoma, the state Democratic Party is considering whether to open its traditionally closed primaries to independent voters.

New Democratic Party Chairman Mark Hammons says the proposal will be considered when the state party convention reconvenes on July 25 in Oklahoma City.

Hammons says the Democratic Party wants to focus on issues that matter to Oklahomans, regardless of party, and provide more opportunities for citizens to be active and involved in politics.

University of Oklahoma officials were seeking a $25 million donation from billionaire oilman Harold Hamm last year, records show, at a time when scientists at the school were formulating the state's position on oil drilling and earthquakes.

U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) speaking about the upcoming King vs. Burwell Supreme Court decision Monday on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
SenatorLankford / YouTube

U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) says he thinks the Supreme Court likely will rule federal Affordable Care Act subsidies are unconstitutional in the 34 states without state insurance exchanges.

The Supreme Court will decide the King vs. Burwell case sometime between now and Monday, June 29.

President Obama dines with young Muslim leader's during Monday's annual Iftar celebration at the White House.
The White House / Twitter

Samantha Elauf, the Muslim woman from Tulsa who won a Supreme Court case against clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch after they didn't hire her when she showed up to a job interview wearing a headscarf, dined with President Obama Monday night during the White House's annual Iftar dinner.

It’s the seventh Iftar hosted by the president, a breaking of the fast at sunset during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Elauf was one of eight guests seated at the president’s table during the event with a special focus this year on young leaders and women.

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.

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