Death Toll In Texas, Oklahoma Floods At 28

Officials are warning of more rain this weekend in Texas and Oklahoma, compounding severe flooding in the region that began last weekend and has been blamed for the deaths of at least 28 people.Forecasters warn that the Colorado River at Wharton, Texas, could crest today, causing major flooding in that area. It is the wettest May on record for the state.Meanwhile, volunteers searched the banks of the Blanco River in Central Texas, searching for people missing days after a vacation house was...
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State Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville
okhouse.gov

State lawmakers and Governor Mary Fallin's office continue to negotiate ways to address a $611.3 million budget gap, the chairman of the House Budget Committee said Friday.

State Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville, said negotiators were close to finalizing a budget deal, but "several small issues" remained. "Right now work continues," Sears said. "There are a bunch of little moving targets."

Student Award Winners

May 17, 2015
The Grand Prize for Audio Documentary Program from teh National Broadcasting Society, given to KGOU students Hayley Thornton, Molly Evans and Madeline Stebbins for their April 27, 2014 "Assignment Radio" program.
KGOU

May 17, 2015

This is from the Manager’s Desk.   

This week, I am highlighting our students who have been recognized with awards in the past several months. These awards are for work these students complete for class credit offered at KGOU through the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communications, but these winning stories have also been broadcast by KGOU.

Toni Pratt-Reid, the owner of three medical clinics, said she could be forced to close two of those clinics if the Oklahoma Health Care Authority reduces the rates it pays nurse practitioners.
M. Scott Carter / Oklahoma Watch

A top Oklahoma health official is warning that the budget crunch may force the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to cut payments to mid-level medical providers such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, which providers say could lead to the closing of rural clinics.

Facing a $611 million budget gap, state leaders say most agencies will see spending cuts, or at best, a flat budget. But even with a flat budget, Health Care Authority officials said, many low-income residents could see a reduction in health care access and services.

Budget documents released by the Authority indicate the agency is proposing more than $40 million in budget reductions for the 2016 fiscal year. Those cuts range from $2.9 million in administrative cuts to a $5.2 million, or 15 percent, reduction in reimbursement amounts paid to nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physical therapists and other mid-level providers.

Doctors could see reimbursement rate cuts of about 2 percent, lawmakers said.

The reductions would lower fee-for-service payments to 85 percent of the Authority’s physician fee schedule.

About 3,250 providers would be affected.

Storm damage south of Elmer, Okla.
Jason Beach / Twitter

Updated 9:42 p.m.: Threat of severe weather moving out of central Oklahoma

Several hundred residential utility customers lost power, and high waters were blocking some city streets after a line of storms moved across the state Saturday evening.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Senate has given unanimous approval to a pair of bills that will end two separate tax subsidies for the wind industry inOklahoma.

With no debate, the Senate on Friday approved one bill to eliminate a 5-year property tax exemption for wind manufacturers, starting in 2017. Because the state reimburses counties for the revenue lost from the exemption, the cost of the subsidy has skyrocketed with the expansion of wind farms in Oklahoma. It's expected to cost the state about $44 million in the current fiscal year.

The bill now heads to the House for consideration.

Head Of Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Agency To Resign

May 15, 2015
Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Commission executive director Rick Farmer.
YouTube

The head of the new Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Commission says he's planning to step down following a tumultuous year in which the three-member panel was found to have repeatedly violated the state's Open Meeting Act.

Commission Executive Director Rick Farmer announced in a statement Friday that he is resigning effective July 2 for a position in the private sector.

Farmer has served as the head of the commission since it was created in 2013 as an alternative to the state's Workers' Compensation Court.

a school classroom with empty chairs
comedy_nose / Flickr Creative Commons

About 15 percent of Oklahoma third graders could be held back after earning unsatisfactory marks on a state-mandated reading test.

State education officials announced preliminary results from this year's Oklahoma Core Curriculum Test on Friday.

The results showed that at least 85 percent of the 50,000 third graders who took the exam will advance to the next grade. Students who performed the worst could be held back unless they qualify for one of several exemptions under the Reading Sufficiency Act.

Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives
James Emery / Flickr

This week, Suzette Grillot and Joshua Landis discuss news from the Middle East and what it means for U.S. interests in the region. Landis is the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

Provided / World Neighbors

Kate Schecter’s passion for internationalism started almost before she could talk. Her dad was a journalist for Time Magazine, and she spent the first dozen years of her life overseas in Hong Kong, Japan, and Russia. Her childhood in Moscow coincided with the height of the Cold War.

“My parents made a decision to send all five kids to Soviet public schools,” Schecter told KGOU’s World Views. And we’re the first American children to go to Soviet Schools. And I learned Russian [laughs]. Very quickly.”

Norman Forecast Office / National Weather Service

Showers and thunderstorms continue to move across central Oklahoma Friday morning, some of which brought heavy rainfall and quite a bit of lightning before sunrise. A Flood Advisory is in effect until 8 a.m.

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