Education
1:24 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Oklahoma Teacher Of The Year Nominees Announced

Credit USAG-Humphreys / Flickr.com

The Oklahoma State Department of Education has named the 12 finalists for the annual Teacher of the Year award.

State Superintendent Janet Barresi made the announcement Wednesday. The winner will be announced this fall.

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Krulwich Wonders...
12:53 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Neil Whosis? What You Don't Know About The 1969 Moon Landing

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Sun July 20, 2014 12:29 am

Forty-five years ago, this week, 123 million of us watched Neil and Buzz step onto the moon. In 1969, we numbered about 200 million, so more than half of America was in the audience that day. Neil Armstrong instantly became a household name, an icon, a hero. And then — and this, I bet, you didn't know — just as quickly, he faded away.

"Whatever Happened to Neil Whosis?" asked the Chicago Tribune in 1974.

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World Views
10:33 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Despite Rough Start, Uncertain Transition, U.S.-Vatican Relationship Personal, Principled

U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Francis Rooney with First Lady Laura Bush and daughter Barbara during a private meeting with Pope Benedict XVI - Feb. 9 2006
Shealah Craighead The White House

The United States has had a long-but-rocky relationship with the Vatican and didn’t formally establish diplomatic relations and appoint an ambassador until 1984. That 21-year stretch of U.S. representatives serving with a single pope ended when John Paul II died in 2005.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
9:30 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Auditing The Storm: Thousands Of Disaster-Aid Requests End In Rejection

Susan Montesano and her two children, Aspen, 4 and Braden, 2 escaped from her and her fiancé’s rented house in Moore before it was leveled by the May 20 tornado. They received a $15,000 disaster-aid check within days.
Clifton Adcock Oklahoma Watch

Although millions of dollars in federal aid money began pouring into Oklahoma shortly after the spring 2013 storms, not all who asked for help received it.

The Oklahoma National Guard sought $22,074 for taking Gov. Mary Fallin on a helicopter survey of the damage from the May 20 tornado, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied the request.

Mid-Del Public Schools had seven of its requests denied for roof repairs and other projects — the most rejected among applicants as of early June — because inspectors found the damage was unrelated to the storms.

The most dramatic rejection trend was for individuals: Of the 13,714 people who  were referred for help by FEMA under its “Individuals and Households Program,” nearly three-fourths were denied.

State and FEMA officials say the denials don’t necessarily mean FEMA was acting carelessly or callously. The agency encourages disaster victims and other groups to apply for funds even when it’s likely their requests will be rejected or scaled back because damage to their properties or belongings is mostly covered by private insurance.

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Oklahoma News
8:58 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Hearing Set In Lawsuit Over Oklahoma DUI Arrests

versageek Flickr Creative Commons

A judge has set a hearing on whether to grant class-action status to a lawsuit involving drivers whose licenses were revoked because of a faulty affidavit once used by the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety.

The lawsuit seeks refunds for an estimated 40,000 drivers cited for alcohol-related offenses whose licenses were revoked between 2008 and October 2013.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:30 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Auditing The Storm: Assistance Is Hit And Miss For Individuals After 2013 Tornadoes

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

After last year’s deadly tornadoes, private insurers paid out over $1 billion in claims. FEMA also chipped in $15 million as part of its individual and household assistance program. But nearly three-quarters of that program’s applicants were denied.

As part of our series tracking the federal aid money, we look at the decision-making process that left much of Central Oklahoma out of luck. 

On the evening of May 20th, 2013, James and Sheryl Pennington stepped outside their home in Moore to find debris everywhere. The tornado had left a devastating trail, and they weren’t exempt from its destruction. 

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Goes Into Effect Nov. 1
6:11 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

New State Gun Law Could Affect Licensing This Year

Credit Scott Beale / Flickr.com

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says a new state law could affect people who are applying for gun licenses this year.

The agency said Tuesday that the law going into effect Nov. 1 modifies the state's Self-Defense Act, making certificates expire after three years. Previously, the certificates did not expire.

OSBI says residents who have completed a gun safety training course should begin the application process for a license as soon as possible.

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8-1 Decision
3:47 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Supreme Court Rules Legislature Had The Power To Repeal Common Core

Credit Michael Surran / Flickr.com

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that the Legislature had the authority to repeal Common Core education standards for English and math in the state's public schools.

The state's highest court took the action Tuesday a little more than four hours after attorneys presented oral arguments in a lawsuit that challenged the Legislature's action.

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Education
1:40 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

State Supreme Court Hears Arguments In Common Core Lawsuit

Credit LLudo / Flickr Creative Commons

An attorney says the Oklahoma Legislature engaged in "unprecedented expansion" of its authority when it passed legislation repealing Common Core education standards for English and math.

Attorney Robert McCampbell made the comments Tuesday during oral arguments before the state Supreme Court in a lawsuit that alleges the legislation is unconstitutional.

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Parallels
10:14 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Who Is Smuggling Immigrant Children Across The Border?

Child detainees in a holding cell at a Border Patrol facility in Brownsville, Texas. Some human smugglers who bring children across the Rio Grande make sure to treat their clients well.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 8:00 am

"They call me the Wolf," said the 25-year-old human smuggler sitting in front of me, sipping a Coke and stepping away for frequent cellphone calls.

"Everybody says we're the problem, but it's the reverse. The gringos don't want to get their hands dirty. So I bring them the Mexicans and Central Americans to do the dirty work for them," he says, smiling.

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