Special Report: Auditing The Disaster Aid For 2013 Tornadoes And Storms

Federal public-assistance funds are paying for the rebuilding of Plaza Towers Elementary School, in which seven children died in the May 20, 2013, tornado. The school is expected to open next month.
Clifton Adcock Oklahoma Watch

The tornadoes and storms that devastated Oklahoma and killed 34 last year triggered the release of tens of millions of dollars in federal and state aid that will keep flowing for years.

To date, the federal government has approved up to $257 million in disaster assistance of various kinds to help re build damage and help victims of the winds and flooding that struck between May 18 and June 2, 2013, and to mitigate future risks.

The state has contributed an additional $10.5 million, and private insurers are paying about $1.1 billion. Charities also have pumped in aid.

The relief aid stemming from Disaster No. 4117, as it is called by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is arriving through several channels, heading ultimately to state and local agencies, contractors, businesses and individuals.

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636 Still Could Advance After Summer Assessment
7:26 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

OKC Promote 514 Third-Graders Who Failed Test

Credit Oklahoma State Department of Education / Facebook

More than 500 Oklahoma City third-graders who failed a state reading test will be promoted to fourth grade after receiving exemptions.

Oklahoma City Public Schools officials announced Tuesday that the exemptions were granted for various reasons, including learning disabilities, English as a second language or satisfactory performance on an alternate test.

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Fallin And Inhofe Toured Last Friday
7:03 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Number Of Immigrant Minors At Fort Sill Tops 1,100

Governor Fallin and U.S Senator Jim Inhofe tour the facility last Friday.
Credit U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe / Facebook

Federal officials say the number of immigrant children being housed at a temporary facility in Fort Sill has topped 1,100.

Kenneth Wolfe, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said in an email Wednesday the latest count is 1,123. He says another 288 minors have been discharged from the facility since they started arriving there last month.

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state forestry officials worried
6:00 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Rural Fire Departments To No Longer Receive Surplus Military Vehicles

Credit woodleywonderworks / Flickr.com

State forestry officials say rural fire departments across Oklahoma could be devastated as a result of an agreement between two federal agencies to stop providing surplus military vehicles.

State Forester George Geissler said Wednesday the agreement between the U.S. Department of Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency calls for a halt to providing no-cost surplus military vehicles and equipment to fire departments across the country.

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features cherokee language and culture
3:55 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

10 Year Anniversary Of "Cherokee Voices, Cherokee Sounds" Radio Show

Credit Cherokee Nation

The only radio program in Oklahoma to air in the Cherokee language is marking its 10-year anniversary.

"Cherokee Voices, Cherokee Sounds" is an hour-long program in both the Cherokee and English languages and includes Cherokee music, interviews with elder speakers and information about tribal community news.

It debuted in 2004 and continues to expose the Cherokee language and culture to people around the world.

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Here & Now
12:56 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Debating The Death Penalty

The "death chamber" at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Huntsville Unit in Huntsville, Texas, is pictured in February 2000. (Paul Buck/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 12:39 pm

On July 2, 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court reinstituted the death penalty. A year later, convicted murderer Gary Gilmore was executed by a firing squad in Utah. That same year, 1977, Oklahoma became the first state to approve lethal injection as a means of implementing the death penalty. It was in that state in April that an execution by lethal injection was botched.

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Immigration
11:16 am
Wed July 2, 2014

VIDEO: Bridenstine Denied Access To Fort Sill Detention Facility

U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine attempts to gain access to the immigrant facility at Fort Sill.
Credit U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine / Facebook

A Republican congressman from Oklahoma says he was denied access to a federal facility at Fort Sill that is housing hundreds of mostly teenage immigrant children from Central America.

Freshman U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine of Tulsa says he was visiting the Army post on Tuesday when he approached the facility and was told by security that he was not allowed to enter.

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10:02 am
Wed July 2, 2014

This American Gamble: Ira Glass’s ‘This American Life’ Leaves PRI

Lead in text: 
A lot of this is public radio "Inside Baseball," but here's a fascinating piece from Wednesday morning's 'New York Times' about the decision by 'This American Life' to change distributors.
Ira Glass had lost his voice. That gentle, reliably nasal, public radio staple of a voice had been worked hoarse. On any given day, this would be an issue for Mr. Glass, 55, whose award-winning show, "This American Life, is broadcast on nearly 600 stations and is consistently the top podcast on iTunes.
The Race Card Project: Six-Word Essays
8:42 am
Wed July 2, 2014

A Woman Wrestles With A Disturbing Family Memento

Carol Zachary's grandfather, Herbert Fleming, a county auditor, was required to attend Montana's first legal triple-hanging in a barn in Meagher County, Mont., in 1917. Fleming was one of approximately 60 witnesses that day.
Courtesy of Carol Zachary

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 1:15 pm

NPR continues a series of conversations about The Race Card Project, where thousands of people have submitted their thoughts on race and cultural identity in six words. Every so often NPR Host/Special Correspondent Michele Norris dips into those stories to explore issues surrounding race and cultural identity for Morning Edition.

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Weather and Climate
7:45 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Climate Data Shows Last Month Second-Wettest June On Record

30-day rainfall accumulation in Oklahoma as of 7:35 a.m. on July 2, 2014.
Oklahoma Mesonet

Preliminary data from the Oklahoma Mesonet show the state averaged about 5.8 inches of rain in June - about an inch-and-a-half above normal for this time of year.

Associate State Climatologist Gary McManus says six Mesonet stations in northern Oklahoma recorded at least 9 inches of rain this month...Buffalo had the highest rainfall total at 10.4 inches.

An inch of rain fell somewhere in Oklahoma on 19 of the months 30 days, and that helped relieve some of the drought in the state as well.

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Health
6:16 am
Wed July 2, 2014

CDC Ranks Oklahoma 5th In The Nation In Painkiller Prescription Rate

Oklahoma ranked lower than only Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Kentucky in the number of opioid painkillers prescribed to residents.
Centers for Disease Control And Prevention

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows Oklahoma tied for fifth in the nation in the rate  of painkillers prescribed to its residents.

The CDC says Oklahoma doctors wrote about 128 opioid pain reliever prescriptions, drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone, per 100 state residents.

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