Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt prepares to greet Gov. Mary Fallin at the 2013 State of the State address at the state capitol.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Officials Vow To Keep Fighting Obama Plan To Cut Power Plant Pollution

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday finalized its Clean Power Plan, the Obama Administration’s attempt to cut carbon emissions from power plants by more than 30 percent nationwide. Though just finalized, the plan has been in the works for two years, and Oklahoma officials have opposed it every step of the way. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has already filed two lawsuits against the EPA over the Clean Power Plan, in July calling it “an unlawful attempt to expand federal...
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A motorist drives by a police barricade placed along Sheridan Avenue in downtown Oklahoma City in advance of a visit from President Barack Obama Wednesday.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

President Obama’s visit to Oklahoma dominated the news cycle this week, and basically shut down small portions of downtown Oklahoma City, Durant, Interstate 40 – pretty much anywhere inside a one-block radius of the president.

The White House provided only a six day heads up Obama was headed to Oklahoma, and that caused some rapid rearrangement of events in the area, according to The Journal Record’s Dale Denwalt:

U.S. Sen. James Lankford speaking on the Senate floor July 16 about ending taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood in light of a recent undercover video.
YouTube

U.S. Sen. James Lankford delivered a speech on the chamber's floor Thursday calling on Congress to end taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood.

The remarks came in response to the release of an undercover video made by anti-abortion activists. It shows the organization's senior director of medical services discussing procedures for providing fetal body parts to researchers.

Lightning strikes have killed at least 20 people in the U.S. so far this year, according to the National Weather Service. That's higher than the average for recent years, the service says.

Most people who are injured or killed by lightning, it turns out, are not struck directly — instead, the bolt lands nearby.

That's what happened to Steve Marshburn in 1969. He was working inside a bank and says lightning somehow made its way through an ungrounded speaker at the drive-through window to the stool where he was sitting.

Culex pipiens (the common house mosquito) is a species of blood-feeding mosquito of the family Culicidae. It is a vector of some diseases, such as Japanese encephalitis, meningitis, and urticaria. In the US, it can spread West Nile virus.
Wikimedia Commons

Public health officials in Oklahoma County say they have identified the county's second human case of West Nile Virus so far this year.

The Oklahoma City-County Health Department confirmed the West Nile diagnosis on Thursday. Ken Johnson, a spokesman for the agency, declined to release details about the patient, including the person's age and gender. However, Johnson says the virus "hits seniors very hard."

ssalonso / Flickr.com

The Oklahoma attorney general is arguing in a court filing that a lawsuit challenging the state's use of its Unclaimed Property Fund should be dismissed.

In a motion to dismiss filed Thursday in Oklahoma County District Court, Assistant Solicitor General Jared Haines argues that state laws governing the fund are constitutional and that the lawsuit is without merit.

Oklahoma City attorney Jerry Fent filed the lawsuit last month, claiming the state is essentially operating a Ponzi scheme by routinely raiding the fund and using that money to fund state government operations.

President Obama tours the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution on July 16, 2015
Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

President Obama became the first sitting president to visit a federal prison Thursday when he toured the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution outside Oklahoma City. During his trip, Obama urged reconsideration of the current criminal justice system.

President Obama walked down Cell Block B, taking in the two-story medium security prison, with a corrections officer and Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Charles Samuels. He peeked inside a tiny 90 square foot cell that holds up to three inmates, which he said highlights the need for prison reform.

Abbot Lawrence Stasyszen of St. Gregory's Monastery traces cracks in the walls of the monk's workshop, which was damaged in a 5.7-magnitude earthquake that struck the nearby city of Prague in November 2011.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The rate of earthquakes in Oklahoma appears to be accelerating, and the state is responding.

Lawmakers have scheduled capitol hearings and oil and gas regulators will soon issue stricter guidelines on disposal wells linked to the shaking. Future earthquakes are a big concern, but one Oklahoma institution is still dealing with the damage one quake caused nearly four years ago.

Gov. Mary Fallin greets President Obama Wednesday evening alongside her daughter Christina at Tinker Air Force Base
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

President Obama arrived in Oklahoma City Wednesday evening just a few hours after wrapping up the announcement of a nationwide broadband internet initiative in Durant.

Dozens of men and women in uniform and state officials turned out to greet the president as Air Force One touched down shortly before 8:30 p.m. at Tinker Air Force Base. Once the president stepped off the plane, he made his way toward service members and VIPs and spent about 10 minutes shaking hands.

President Obama has made incarceration reform a White House theme this week. On Monday, he commuted the sentences of 46 mostly nonviolent drug offenders; and on Tuesday, he spoke about reducing the prison population in a speech to the NAACP.

"The United States is home to 5 percent of the world's population but 25 percent of the world's prisoners," Obama said. "Think about that. Our incarceration rate is four times higher than China's."

Brooke Lefler / KGOU

The School of Drama at the University of Oklahoma opened a 5-day run of playwright Beth Henley’s “Crimes of the Heart” on Wednesday evening, July 15. Directed by Tom Huston Orr and Gretchen Hahn, the two and a half hour production is beautiful, cathartic, heart-felt and suspenseful.

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