A man enters the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City Tuesday.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Oklahoma City Hotel Tax Revenue Lower Than Expected; Budget Cuts Threaten Rural Firefighting Program

On Tuesday, the City of Oklahoma City announced hotel/motel tax collections fell for the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2017, and were down even below the most conservative estimates. The so-called “tourist tax” was down 5.9 percent compared to FY 16, but 2.7 percent below estimates. The Journal Record’s editor Ted Streuli says the effect was felt city-wide, but the downturn really differs based on geography. “The northeast quadrant of the city - hotels there have the greatest percentage change...
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empty classroom
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Oklahoma teachers haven’t received a statewide pay raise in eight years. But this November, voters will have a chance to boost teacher pay if they approve State Question 779.

It would fund the raises through a one percent sales tax. Education advocates say this could prevent teachers from fleeing the state, or the profession for better paying jobs. But opponents argue the proposal would create an entirely different set of problems.

Gov. Mary Fallin, second from right, and her husband, Wade Christensen, second from left, greet Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, right, following a rally in Oklahoma City, Friday, Feb. 26, 2016.
Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press

Gov. Mary Fallin says she's "disappointed and offended" by comments Donald Trump made about women in 2005, but she didn't pull her endorsement of the Republican presidential candidate.

In a statement posted on her campaign's Twitter account during Sunday night's presidential debate, the Republican governor said that both Trump and Hillary Clinton "are very flawed and have made mistakes."

When she was growing up, Dina Gilio-Whitaker was constantly asked, "How much Indian blood do you have?" She could never figure out how to respond, which is not to say she didn't know who she was.

"I knew that I was Native, I knew that I was Colville, I knew my family up there on the reservation," she said recently. "But what I grew up with was a process of not being seen and not being recognized as being Native, because I was completely out of context.

A student learns how to use equipment designed to test pipeline pressure at Francis Tuttle Technology Center in Oklahoma City. Following pipeline safety rules is at the center of a hearing involving Oklahoma Natural Gas scheduled for Wednesday.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Oklahoma Natural Gas could face $8.5 million in fines after a house explosion in January. Steep penalties could come if state regulators find the utility didn’t follow pipeline safety rules.

A home in the Oklahoma City neighborhood of Whispering Hollow blew up in the early morning hours of January 2. The resident who lived there was injured and his house was destroyed. The blast damaged 50 other homes nearby.

October 9, 2016

This is from the former Manager’s Desk.

Yes, I’m still here, volunteering for the fall fundraising drive. We are celebrating the voices of KGOU. Of course there are the voices of the staff, and of the various programs that you hear all the time. But there are new voices to hear as well.

We have new programs – Freakonomics, Ask Me Another and The Ted Radio Hour.

Soon, we’ll have a decision on a new manager, and theirs is a voice you will want to get to know.

Brian Hardzinski

Just 10 years ago, only 30 percent of American adults reported owning a laptop computer -- a number that has now doubled, according to the Pew Research Center’s latest data.

The Smart Saver grocery store at NE 23rd Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

About two years ago the City of Oklahoma City granted tax increment finance, or TIF status to the Northeast 23rd Street, Martin Luther King, and Kelley Avenue corridors as part of a project it's calling the Northeast Renaissance.

Chickasaw tribal elders Jerry Imotichey (left) and Hannah Pitmon (right) stand with Joshua Hinson (middle), director of the Department of Chickasaw Language, in front of "The Arrival" statue at the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur, Okla.
Karyn Miller-Medzon / Here & Now

With only 30 or so remaining native Chickasaw speakers — those who learned Chickasaw as a first language — the language has been considered critically endangered. That didn't sit well with Joshua Hinson when his son was born in 2000.

Realizing that his son would be the sixth generation of Chickasaw children to grow up speaking English, he decided to take matters into his own hands.

ABLE Charter School’s administrative offices are located in an office building on North Classen Boulevard in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma Watch

For the first time in its four-year history, the state board that oversees virtual charter schools has decided to shut down one of the schools, citing a pattern of violations.

The Statewide Virtual Charter Board voted Thursday to end its contract with ABLE Charter School, the newest and smallest of the state’s five virtual schools.

The school, which has an enrollment of 61 students across the state, had come under fire for being out of compliance with several state laws and rules. ABLE’s superintendent said the school will appeal the decision.

Trout Unlimited's Scott Hood prepares to release this small trout he caught during the group's fishing trip to the Lower Illinois River near the Lake Tenkiller dam in eastern Oklahoma.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

State Question 777 — also known as ‘right-to-farm’ — would give agricultural producers in Oklahoma the constitutional right to raise livestock and grow crops without interference from future regulations by the state Legislature, without a compelling state interest.

Opposition to the state question comes from multiple sources, but a diverse coalition urging a ‘no’ vote is united by a shared concern: water.