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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Education Standards
7:45 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Support For Common Core Waning At State Capitol

Credit knittymarie / Flickr Creative Commons

Strong backers of the education standards originally created by the National Governors Association, including its current chair, Gov. Mary Fallin (R-Okla.), are distancing themselves from the reform.

House Minority Leader Scott Inman blames Fallin for failing to lead on the issue.

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Shots - Health News
5:56 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Obamacare's National Enrollment Looks OK, But States Matter More

Maygan Rollins, a field organizer with Enroll America, talked health insurance options with Jerry Correa during a recent campaign in Miami.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 11:23 pm

With this year's deadline to register for individual health insurance just a weekend away, much attention is being lavished on two numbers — the 6 million Americans who have signed up so far, and the percentage of those folks who are (or aren't) young.

But experts say the national numbers actually don't mean very much.

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On April 5
6:13 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Westboro Baptist Church To Picket Outside Moore Liquor Store

Credit cometstarmoon / Flickr.com

A Kansas church noted for picketing the funerals of soldiers and AIDS patients plans to protest outside a Moore liquor store that held a sale following the death of the church's pastor.

Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church died March 19. The Moore Liquor Store offered 10 percent off champagne and erected a sign noting Phelps' death and said the sale was "not a coincidence."

Store owner Bryan Kerr told the Oklahoman newspaper that while some people didn't like the sign, "99 out of 100" people do support him.

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8 Clubs to share $200,000
4:53 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Cherokee Nation Significant Contributor To Boys And Girls Clubs

Credit Boys & Girls Clubs Of America

The Cherokee Nation is donating about $200,000 to be spread among eight Boys and Girls clubs in Oklahoma.

The tribe announced the donation Thursday. Different monetary awards were donated to the Boys and Girls club programs in Adair County, Bartlesville, Chelsea, Tahlequah, Delaware County, Green Country-Pryor, Nowata and Sequoyah County.

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State Capitol
12:48 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Senate Extends $5 Million Film Rebate Program

Credit June Campbell / Flickr Creative Commons

A $5 million annual rebate program that has been used to lure big budget films to Oklahoma would continue for another 10 years under a bill that is heading to the governor's desk.

The Senate voted 31-11 on Thursday for the Compete with Canada Film Act by Sen. Clark Jolley (R-Edmond).

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This Is KGOU
11:56 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Send In Your Photos: Oklahoma Tornado Project To Host Photo Exhibit On May 2013 Storms

An airman kneels in the Moore neighborhood south of Plaza Towers Elementary School.
Joe Wertz StateImpact Oklahoma

If you documented any part of the tornadoes that devastated parts of Oklahoma in May of 2013 through still photography, KGOU is asking you to share your photos for possible inclusion in an exhibit marking the one-year anniversary.

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World Views
11:27 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Corruption Allegations In Turkey Make Sunday’s Local Elections Even More Important

Riot police cleaning Taksim Square after protests - June 16, 2013
Credit Mstyslav Chernov / Wikimedia Commons

Turkey’s main opposition party recalled parliament this week for an extraordinary session to discuss allegations of corruption against four former ministers that have damaged Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government ahead of Sunday’s local elections.

Fevzi Bilgin is the executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Rethink Institute, and an expert on his home country’s politics. He says the allegations involve billions of dollars in money laundering through international businessmen, and government officials receiving kickbacks from those operations.

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OneSix8
10:07 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Entertaining The Hours Of Your Week With Two Concerts, A Symposium, And A Health Dash

Graham Colton
Credit Shannon H / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma City native Graham Colton performs before a hometown crowd at Bricktown Music Hall March 29 at 8 p.m.

The concert marks the debut of original material from his recently recorded album Lonely Ones, released this past January. Colton’s Lonely Ones was inspired by collaborations with Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd, members of the famed Oklahoma City group The Flaming Lips.

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Taxes
9:54 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Oklahoma Franchise Tax Could Continue Despite Chamber Objections

Credit 201(k) 2013 / Flickr.com

A bill that would have eliminated the franchise tax on Oklahoma businesses has been gutted and replaced with new language dealing with reporting dates for corporate tax returns.

The new version of the bill was approved on Wednesday by the House Appropriations and Budget Committee.

House author Rep. Earl Sears told members he had no plans to resurrect the plan to abolish the state's franchise tax, a $1.25 levy on every $1,000 a corporation invests in Oklahoma.

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Population
9:07 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Canadian County Tops Oklahoma Population Growth

Credit U.S. Census Bureau

The fastest growing county in Oklahoma is Canadian County. The U.S. Census Bureau released its latest estimates of population growth in Oklahoma this week, showing the county in the west part of the Oklahoma City metro saw its population increase by 9.2 percent between April 2010 and July 2013.

The counties next in line for growth were outside of the state's metro areas, with Texas County in the Oklahoma panhandle showing a 7 percent increase.

That's followed by Beckham County, 6.9 percent, on the border of the Texas Panhandle and Custer County, 6.9 percent.

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