Following Oklahoma's 2013 Tornadoes, Where Does Federal Aid Really Go?

Debris filled the streets in Moore, Okla. on May 20, 2013.
State Farm Flickr Creative Commons

After a string of deadly tornados hit Oklahoma in the spring of last year, President Obama signed a federal disaster declaration that paved the way for up to $257 million in aid.

One year later, about one half of that funding has been spent.  The Oklahoma Tornado Project teamed up with Oklahoma Watch to track where all the money went. 

Following huge disasters, there’s always a potential for things to go wrong. In New Orleans, former mayor Ray Nagin was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison for taking bribes from contractors rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. And in New Jersey, there’s been criticism that some Sandy aid money has gone to less needy areas.

So we wanted to look into Oklahoma’s post-storm recovery. State Department of Emergency Management Director Albert Ashwood – who has worked closely with FEMA – says outright fraud is less common than it used to be. 

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Indian Times
3:00 pm
Fri July 4, 2014

Culture As Medicine

Dolores Subia Bigfoot
Credit OU Health Sciences Center

Dr. Dolores Bigfoot is one of the authors of the article Cultural Enhancement of Mental Health Services for American Indian Children found in the spring 2014 edition of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC). Bigfoot explains how age-old ceremonies and values from tribal life can help abused native children today.

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Two Systems Will Operate Side By Side
8:18 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Court Changes Cause Delays In Worker Comp Cases

Credit J Stephen Conn / Flickr.com

Hearings for thousands of injured workers will be delayed this month while the state's workers compensation system is split into two agencies— each with its own staff, offices and equipment.

Hearings scheduled in the state's workers compensation courts in Tulsa and Oklahoma City between July 21 and Aug. 1 have been postponed and will be rescheduled, according to letters from the court to attorneys.

Court Administrator Michael Harkey told the Tulsa World that he did not know how many cases were affected.

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The Two-Way
7:44 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Weakened Arthur Heads Up U.S. East Coast

Hurricane Arthur brought strong winds and heavy surf to Highway 64 in Nags Head, N.C., on Thursday.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 5, 2014 12:00 pm

Updated at 9:34 a.m.

Hurricane Arthur weakened to a Category 1 storm on Independence Day after hitting the coast of North Carolina.

The National Hurricane Center said Arthur packed maximum sustained winds of nearly 90 mph as it moved offshore. The center predicted the storm would weaken in the next 48 hours.

"Arthur is expected to become a post-tropical cyclone tonight or Saturday," the center said.

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Pauls Valley
7:13 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Spitting Watermelon Seeds A July 4th Tradition In Pauls Valley

Credit K.R. Harsha / Flickr Creative Commons

For some Americans, the Independence Day holiday is all about celebrating the country's history through good food, good friends and good fireworks.

In Pauls Valley, July 4 is also about watermelon seeds — spitting them, actually.

The south-central Oklahoma city of 6,000 is once again hosting the annual World Championship Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest to see who can use their saliva to propel the fruit's seeds the farthest.

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The Protojournalist
7:12 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Bored On The Fourth Of July? Try These Movies

A promotional image for Jaws.
Universal The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Fri July 4, 2014 6:03 am

Cinema sites abound with lists such as Top 10 Movies ForThe Fourth Of July from Forbes and 12 Patriotic Movies by the Los Angeles Times. After all, Hollywood knows that Americans love to celebrate American celebrations.

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An In-Depth Report Coming Monday
9:00 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Oklahoma AG Says School Shelter Petition Meets Law

Take Shelter Oklahoma working on their first petition drive.
Credit Kurt Gwartney / KGOU

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt's office says the ballot title of an initiative petition to build storm shelters in public schools complies with state law.

Pruitt's office had five days from the date the petition was filed to make any changes needed to the ballot title. The office submitted a letter to the Secretary of State's Office Thursday that says the ballot title for State Question 774 complies with applicable laws.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
6:36 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

High-Rate Disposal Wells Could Have Triggered Oklahoma Earthquakes, New Study Suggests

The "Chambers" disposal well in southeast Oklahoma City.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

This year, Oklahoma has had more earthquakes than California. There is a growing body of scientific research that suggests oil and gas production is fueling this increase in seismic activity.

new paper published today in the journal Science, suggests a small number of wastewater wells used in drilling operations could be responsible for many of the quakes.

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Republican Party continues to grow
5:43 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Democrats Still Have More Registered Voters Than Republicans In Oklahoma

Credit DonkeyHotey / Flickr.com

Registered Democrats still outnumber Republicans in Oklahoma, but the latest statistics show the GOP continues to close the gap.

Figures through June 30 and released Thursday by the Oklahoma Election Board show that 44.3 percent of the state's nearly 2 million registered voters were Democrats, compared to 43.4 percent Republicans. Independents make up about 12.3 percent of the electorate.

The total number of registered voters in Oklahoma increased by more than 15,000 since January, and now stands at 1,994,365.

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OneSix8
10:33 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Entertaining The Hours Of Your Week With Independence Day Festivities

Credit OKCPhilharmonic.org

Friday marks 238 years since the United States declared its independence from Great Britain. Grab the lawn chairs, watermelon, Kool-Aid and blankets because central Oklahoma celebrates the Fourth of July with festivals and fireworks in several locations.

The Oklahoma City Philharmonic hosts its annual Red, White and Boom in the Entertainment Plaza at State Fair Park Thursday, July 3.

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Planet Money
9:55 am
Thu July 3, 2014

How Every U.S. State Has Fared Since The Recession, In 1 Graph

Quoctrung Bui/NPR

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 9:35 am

This spring, the U.S. finally gained back all the jobs that were lost during the recession. In other words, the number of jobs in the country is now higher than it was back in January 2008, at the beginning of the recession.

But the jobs are different — and they're in different places. In a handful of states, there are lots more jobs than there used to be. But in many others, there are still far fewer jobs than there were before the recession.

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