Parallels
6:25 am
Thu April 10, 2014

In Ukraine's Rust Belt, A Mix Of Nostalgia And Nationalism

In the rundown Ukrainian town of Perewalsk, near the Russian border, 80-year-old Lida Vasilivna has just planted a garden. "Business just went belly up," she says about her town's hard times, after asking, "Are you gonna put this granny on TV?"
Ari Shapiro/NPR

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 8:55 am

To say that the town of Perewalsk in eastern Ukraine has fallen on hard times would be an enormous understatement. The small industrial town near the Russian border is a collection of concrete buildings with no windows, falling-down houses and empty, abandoned factories; there's a chemical smell in the air.

In the middle of this dystopian landscape, there's an even more unexpected sight: an 80-year-old woman in a bright purple coat and headscarf, happily digging with a shovel in the dirt.

She introduces herself as Lida Vasilivna.

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Six contenders
6:27 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

5th District Race The One To Watch

Credit bungasagadua / Flickr.com

All five of Oklahoma's seats in the U.S. House are on the ballot in 2014, but it's the open 5th District seat in Oklahoma City drawing the most attention.

Two-term Republican U.S. Rep. James Lankford is stepping down to run for U.S. Senate, leaving open his seat that includes most of Oklahoma City.

Democrat Tom Guild, a 59-year-old retired college professor, was the first candidate to file for Lankford's seat on Wednesday, the first of a three-day filing period. Sixty-five-year-old state Sen. Al McAffrey of Oklahoma City also filed.

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One gets a veto
6:17 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Fallin Signs Ten Bills Into Law

Gov. Mary Fallin
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin has signed 10 bills into law and vetoed one.

House Bill 2509 was signed Wednesday. It will extend the end date on the aerospace engineer employee and employer tax credit and the employer credit for tuition reimbursement until Jan. 1, 2018.

Fallin said the tax credit plays a key role in maintaining Oklahoma's position as an internationally recognized hub for aerospace business.

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Fallin seeks another four-year term
4:28 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Three Candidate Race For Governor

Rep. Joe Dorman
Credit Oklahoma House of Representatives

Gov. Mary Fallin has filed paperwork to seek another four-year term as the state's chief executive officer, and she's not the only one seeking the state's top post.

Democratic state Rep. Joe Dorman of Rush Springs and Richard Prawdzienski, a Libertarian-leaning independent from Edmond, also filed to run for governor on Wednesday, the first of a three-day filing period for state offices.

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Transportation
2:35 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Fallin Seeks Federal Help For Businesses Affected By Bridge Closure

Workers repair the James C. Nance Bridge over the Canadian River between Lexington and Purcell - March 7, 2014
Credit Provided / Oklahoma Department of Transportation

Gov. Mary Fallin announced Wednesday she’s asking for federal aid for businesses in Purcell and Lexington affected by the closure of a state bridge that connects the two communities.

In a statement, Fallin said she’s requesting an economic injury declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration. That allows McClain and Cleveland county businesses to apply for federally subsidized loans.

Fallin declared a state of emergency two months ago that allowed state reimbursements of up to $100,000 for each of the cities and the two counties. 

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State Capitol
12:53 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

House Committee Votes To Give Judicial Nominating Responsibilities To Legislative Leaders

Credit steakpinball / Flickr Creative Commons

Attorneys would be appointed to Oklahoma's Judicial Nominating Commission by leaders of the House and Senate under legislation adopted by a House committee.

The House Rules Committee voted 6-1 for the bill Wednesday and sent it to the full House for a vote.

The 15-member commission nominates candidates for gubernatorial appointment to fill judicial vacancies.

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11:37 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Easing Oklahoma Family Caregivers Burden Of Long-Term Medical Demands [VIDEO]

Lead in text: 
Americans are being released from hospitals quicker and sicker. That’s put new demands on the family members who care for them. PBS Newshour special correspondent Kathleen McCleery reports from Oklahoma.
Cheryl Mitchem never imagined retirement would look like this. When she and her husband, Alphus, stopped working, they planned travel and other adventures. Then, a year ago, a severe headache and a diagnosis of a malignant brain tumor upended the family’s dreams.
Manager's Desk
10:30 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Requesting Your Photos For Anniversary Exhibit

Victims embrace amid the devastation in Moore after the May 20, 2013 tornado.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Next month, Oklahoma will be marking the anniversary of a series of storms that moved through our communities.  Those storms left a lot of tears behind, but also a lot of resolve to rebuild.

KGOU's Ahead of the Storm: The Oklahoma Tornado Project is partnering with Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center to present a curated photography exhibit dedicated to last May’s storms. 

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Oklahoma Watch
8:17 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Inhofe, Coburn Among Politicians Working To Separate Federal Funds And Common Core

Oklahoma Watch is a nonprofit organization that produces in-depth and investigative journalism on important public-policy issues facing the state. More Oklahoma Watch content can be found at www.oklahomawatch.org.

Both of Oklahoma’s senators are among a cadre of lawmakers asking that the U.S. Department of Education stop tying federal funding to the implementation of Common Core standards and related curriculum.

The U.S. Department of Education has been a supporter of Common Core State Standards, and has included their adoption as criteria for federal Race to the Top grants.

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7:46 am
Wed April 9, 2014

VA Pays Out $200 Million in Wrongful-Death Cases

Lead in text: 
In Oklahoma, data obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting shows that in 23 wrongful-death cases filed in the decade after 9/11 related to the VA hospital in Oklahoma City, the VA paid out more than $3.6 million to families. In six cases filed during that decade related to the VA center in Muskogee, the VA paid out more than $715,000 to families. At both facilities, allegations included failure to treat, diagnose or monitor; using improper techniques or wrong procedures, and failure or delay in admission or referral.
A 23-year-old female veteran who had been raped in the Army is discharged from the psychiatric ward at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Muskogee without anyone notifying her family - despite a safety plan that required that her mother, sister and stepfather be informed of her regimen of care.

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