Around the Nation
6:48 am
Wed December 17, 2014

For Crop-Duster Pilots, Wind Towers Present Danger

A pilot for Earl's Flying Service sprays chemicals on a field in southeastern Missouri.
Courtesy of Mike Lee

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 10:29 am

Crop-dusting pilots are the adrenaline junkies of the agriculture world. They whiz through the air, flying under power lines to sow seeds or spread pesticides on farmers' fields.

It's a dangerous job, and now these pilots are facing a new challenge — short towers that can sprout up in fields overnight. These towers are used to gather data for wind energy companies.

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Weather and Climate
8:34 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Study Will Develop Plan For Drought Stricken Southwest Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board on Tuesday unanimously approved the terms of a plan to further study the Upper Red River Basin as part of the Water SMART Basin Studies Program.

The study, which has an estimated cost of approximately $1.4 million, will help Oklahoma’s southwest corner find ways to best conserve and manage the water they draw from the Upper Red River Basin. Southwest Oklahoma, Planning and Management Division Chief Julie Cunningham said, has been the region most affected by recent drought conditions in the state.

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Politics and Government
7:46 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

State Wins Affordable Care Act Grant

Governor Mary Fallin at her 2014 State of the State address.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Obama administration announced Tuesday it had chosen Oklahoma to receive a grant of up to $2 million to develop innovative models for delivering health care.

The award is significant because it represents a rare departure from the state’s general reluctance to participate in programs authorized by the Affordable Care Act, sometimes characterized as Obamacare.

Oklahoma is one of 28 states chosen to receive funding in the second round of the State Innovation Models grant program. The grants total $665 million nationwide.

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Science, Technology and Environment
7:33 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Oklahoma City To Hold Public Hearing On Oil Drilling Near Lake Hefner

Lighthouse at Lake Hefner
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma City Utilities Department will hold a public hearing on a proposed drilling operation on the Lake Hefner Reservation on Thursday, December 18, according to a Facebook event posted by Oklahoma City Councilman, Ed Shadid.

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Weather and Climate
6:31 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

High Plains Aquifer Groundwater Declining

Saturated thickness map of Ogallala Aquifer with Keystone XL route layered.
Credit Kbh3rd / Wikipedia Commons

The U.S. Geological Survey says groundwater levels are declining in an aquifer that serves parts of Oklahoma and seven other states.

The USGS has released a report on changes in groundwater levels in the High Plains Aquifer, also known as the Ogallala Aquifer.

USGS scientist Virginia McGuire says measurements between 2011 and 2013 represent a large decline in groundwater levels and are likely due to increased groundwater pumping.

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Oklahoma News
5:01 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Norman Police Release Information On Sunday Shooting

Credit Norman Police Department

Police in Norman have identified the officer involved in a weekend shooting that left a man in critical condition.

Capt. Tom Easley said Tuesday Master Police Officer Heather Glazier was involved in a shooting on Sunday that injured 34-year-old Martin Sanchez-Juarez. Glazier has served with the department since May 2008. She is on paid administrative assignment pending an investigation.

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Around the Nation
4:35 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

On Nebraska's Farmland, Keystone XL Pipeline Debate Is Personal

Susan and Bill Dunavan own 80 acres of land in York County.
Melissa Block NPR

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 1:46 pm

Drive down gravel Road 22 in Nebraska's York County, past weathered farmhouses and corn cut to stubble in rich, black loam soil, and you'll find a small barn by the side of the road.

Built of native ponderosa pine, the barn is topped with solar panels. A windmill spins furiously out front.

Known as the Energy Barn, it's a symbol of renewable energy, standing smack on the proposed route of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline — a project of the energy giant TransCanada.

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Politics and Government
3:58 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

OK Supreme Court Rules Governors Can Use Executive Privilege To Protect Advice

Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The state's highest court says Oklahoma governors have a privilege to protect confidential advice from top officials while deliberating policy and making executive decisions.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court said in a ruling released Tuesday the governor has a unique executive privilege that can't be encroached by the Legislature.

The decision was handed down Tuesday in a case filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma on behalf of the owners of a satirical website that pokes fun at Gov. Mary Fallin and other public officials.

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The Two-Way
11:13 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Jeb Bush Announces He Will 'Actively Explore' Presidential Run

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush talks to supporters after speaking at the U.S. Cuba Democracy PAC's annual luncheon in Coral Gables, Fla., on Dec. 2.
J Pat Carter AP

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 11:06 am

Jeb Bush, the former Republican governor of Florida and the brother and son of two former U.S. presidents, has essentially kicked off the 2016 presidential campaign with a pre-announcement announcement on Facebook.

Saying he had conversations with his family about the future of the country, Bush said he had decided to "actively explore" a presidential run.

He went on:

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Washington
9:03 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Lankford Announces Committee Assignments As He Prepares To Join Senate

OversightAndReform Flickr Creative Commons

On Monday Oklahoma U.S. Sen.-elect James Lankford announced four committees he'll join when he moves across the U.S. Capitol from the House to the Senate next month.

Lankford has been appointed to the Senate Committees on Appropriation, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Committee on Indian Affairs.

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