Two dancers practice in an empty lot next to their International Dance Studio (IDance) in Capitol Hill.
Josh Robinson / Oklahoma Engaged

Oklahoma Engaged: Why Is Oklahoma's Voter Turnout So Low?

43 states had a higher voter turnout than Oklahoma in the last presidential election in 2012. We wanted to know more about why the state’s voter turnout is so low. With support from the Kirkpatrick Foundation, KGOU and KOSU are collaborating on a series called Oklahoma Engaged. In the first of several stories, we focus on the state’s changing electorate. We heard a statistic recently that caused us to take notice: 42 percent of Oklahomans under the age of 24 are minorities, but 75 percent of...
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A 5.8-magnitude earthquake rocked Oklahoma on Saturday, prompting Gov. Mary Fallin to declare a state of emergency. On Wednesday, officials said it was the strongest quake in the state’s history.

The quake followed a string of thousands of smaller tremors that have raised questions about the impact of drilling for oil and gas, and the controversial technique of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.

Mona Denney surveys earthquake damage inside her home near Pawnee, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The U.S. Geological Survey is upgrading the strength of an earthquake that shook the state on Sept. 3 to 5.8 magnitude. That change makes the Labor Day weekend temblor the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Oklahoma. The quake is the latest in a seismic surge researchers say has largely been fueled by the oil industry practice of pumping waste fluid into underground disposal wells.

Midwest City-Del City Superintendent Rick Cobb walks through an unfinished classroom at Parkview Elementary School Wednesday.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Oklahoma public schools issued hundreds of millions of dollars in debt last year through a risky financing scheme that may be unconstitutional.

Over the past dozen years, more Oklahoma schools have issued lease revenue bonds as a way to raise money for school construction and equipment. But finance experts told lawmakers on Wednesday that the state constitution doesn’t allow it.

 Robert Bever, second from left, and Michael Bever, third from left, are escorted into a courtroom for a hearing in Tulsa, February 23, 2016.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

Robert Bever will spend the rest of his life behind bars for the the grisly 2015 killing of five of his family members in their Broken Arrow home.

Bever entered guilty pleas during an arraignment Wednesday in Tulsa County District Court.

Parents April and David Bever, along with 12-year-old Daniel, 7-year-old Christopher and 5-year-old Victoria were found stabbed to death July 22, 2015. A 13-year-old sister survived the attack, and a 2-year-old was unharmed.

Willy Jones, one of the area organizers for Oklahomans for Health, holds a sign in support of medical marijuana during a petition drive outside a vapor shop in Oklahoma City, Thursday, July 3, 2014.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

An attorney representing a group trying to legalize medical marijuana in Oklahoma filed a lawsuit Tuesday in the state Supreme Court.

The legal action challenges Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s rewritten ballot language for State Question 788, which will not go before voters this fall.

Oklahoma state Treasurer Ken Miller speaks during a news conference n Oklahoma City, Wednesday, July 8, 2015.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

State treasurer Ken Miller says gross receipts to Oklahoma’s treasury declined for the 18th consecutive month, and Oklahoma’s unemployment rate is higher than the national number for the first time in 26 years.

“We keep scouring through the data to find signs of an impending turnaround, but it’s just not there,” Miller said in a statement. “Some aspects of the August report aren’t as negative as in prior months – a few revenue streams have ticked up slightly – but we can’t yet point to a positive trend.”

A team of earthquake scientists deploys 12" sensors in a field near Pawnee after Saturday's 5.6 magnitude earthquake.
StateImpactOK / Instagram

More than a dozen wastewater disposal wells in the Osage Nation have been shut down after Saturday’s earthquake – one of the strongest in Oklahoma history.

The site of the Producers Cooperative Oil Mill near Oklahoma City’s Bricktown has been purchased by Bob Funk Jr. with the intent of building a stadium for Funk’s Oklahoma City Energy FC soccer team.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Some Oklahoma City Council members are optimistic about a planned soccer stadium near downtown Oklahoma City.

Energy FC owner Bob Funk Jr. has purchased the Producers Cooperative Oil Mill, which is planning to move operations to Altus, freeing up the 40-acre site just south of Bricktown.

Meg Salyer and John Greiner both showed optimism about the project in interviews with The Journal Record’s Brian Brus:

The fall semester has just begun on most college campuses, but tens of thousands of students in 38 states were told today that, instead, their college is closing its doors.

Justin Zagaruyka and his son talk to the press during Surgeon General Vivek Murthy's visit to Oklahoma City on May 17, 2016.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU


Justin Zagaruyka’s problems with substance abuse began early. He started smoking marijuana when he was 11 or 12. Within a couple years, he was using methamphetamine. He kicked meth four years later, but then he started drinking heavily. Soon, he was taking opiates.

“I’d go use the opiates because it would sober me up a little bit, you know, when I’d get too drunk. So I would go snort a lortab or a roxy and then I would be back up and ready to go and I could drink more,” Zagaruyka said.