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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Shots - Health News
7:44 am
Wed March 12, 2014

You Might Pay A Lot More Than $95 For Skipping Health Insurance

The tax penalty is designed to encourage people to sign up for health insurance.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 3:08 pm

2014 is the first year most Americans will have to either have health insurance or face a tax penalty.

But most people who are aware of the penalty think it's pretty small, at least for this first year. And that could turn into an expensive mistake.

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Bill Sent on to senate
5:13 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

House Approves Legislation Creating Tax Credits For Housing In Rural Areas

Credit thefixer / Flickr.com

The Oklahoma House has approved legislation to create a tax credit for low- and moderate-income housing in rural areas.

The bill by Republican Rep. Mike Jackson of Enid was approved 75-13 Tuesday and sent to the state Senate for consideration.

The bill creates a new tax credit program similar to the federal low-income housing tax credit. The amount of state tax credits would equal the amount of federal low-income tax credits for a qualified project.

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The Two-Way
4:52 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Health Care Enrollments Up, But Still Well Short Of Goal

The HealthCare.gov website has been a source of delays and confusion for those trying to sign up for health insurance under the ACA.
Jon Elswick AP

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 4:46 pm

Another 940,000 people signed up for health insurance in February under the Affordable Care Act, bringing the total to 4.2 million since the troubled HealthCare.gov website was launched, the Department of Health and Human Services reports. The number is still well short of the administration's goal for March 31, when open enrollment ends.

To reach 6 million sign ups under the ACA, as the White House had hoped for, another 1.8 million people would need to enroll by the end of the month.

As The Associated Press reports:

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Arts & Entertainment
4:21 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

‘I’m Really Clara’: Musical Explores The ‘Flipside’ Of Oklahoma’s Patti Page

Credit Provided / Flipside: The Patti Page Story

Interview with UCO Director of Musical Theater Greg White

From the end of World War II to the mid-1950s – before the “Golden Age” of rock ‘n’ roll – classic pop ballads and carefully crafted novelty songs dominated the radio airwaves. 

Among the best-known of these clear-throated singers with a penchant for the dramatic was Oklahoma-born Clara Ann Fowler, who was billed as “The Singin’ Rage, Miss Patti Page.”

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Workers' Compensation
12:57 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Oklahoma Court Upholds CompSource Mutualization

Credit Oklahoma Supreme Court

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has upheld a plan to convert the state workers' compensation insurance agency into a mutual company.

The state's highest court handed down a decision Tuesday that affirms legislation adopted last year to convert CompSource Oklahoma into the CompSource Mutual Insurance Co. The new company would be organized under state law, but independent of the state. The change goes into effect on Jan. 1.

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State Capitol
11:42 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Senate Approves Lower Age Limit For Oklahoma State Troopers

Oklahoma Highway Patrol cadets lining up during academy training.
Credit Oklahoma Highway Patrol

A state senator from Coalgate hopes to make it easier to become an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper.

At the request of the agency, Republican state Sen. Josh Brecheen wrote a bill that would lower the age limit from 23 to 21 and reduce the educational requirements needed to become a trooper.

The bill passed the Senate on Tuesday on a 43-2 vote and now heads to the House for consideration.

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Assignment: Radio
10:17 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Painting to Your Own Beat

An abstract artist from Bethany, Oklahoma paints to her own beat — lately Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto in B flat minor. Radio reporter, Molly Evans, spoke with MtnWoman Silver about the music and emotions that inspire her unique artistic process and her current exhibition titled, “Sounds of Self.”  

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Assignment: Radio
10:03 am
Tue March 11, 2014

A Passion for Prevention

Candace McCaffrey began her career as many people do – using any opportunities she could find to gain experience. This led her somewhere she didn’t expect – Bethesda, Inc., a Norman non-profit that provides counseling for child victims of sexual abuse.

McCaffrey: I was working at the community mental health center, and one of the original organizers, I guess, asked me if I wanted to co-lead one of the sex offender groups. I was young, needed experience, said yes.

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Assignment: Radio
9:55 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Protecting Yourself One Class at a Time

The Rape Abuse and Incest National Network says every two minutes someone in the United States is sexually assaulted. Sixty percent of those attacks won’t be reported and 80 percent of the victims will be under the age of 30. Norman resident James Clark tells his self-defense class that danger is a constant possibility even where you feel safest.

James: He came through the front door he didn’t have to break anything, didn’t have to unlock anything he just came through the front door, she was in the shower at that point getting ready to go to work…  

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Death Penalty
8:47 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Death Row Inmates Plan State Supreme Court Appeal On Execution Drugs

The main gate at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla.
Credit duggar11 / Flickr Creative Commons

Lawyers for two death row inmates who were denied a stay of execution say they plan to appeal to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

Oklahoma County District Judge Patricia Parrish on Monday denied a request to halt the executions of Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner. Parrish ruled that only the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals can issue a stay of execution.

Defense attorneys plan to file an appeal Tuesday.

Lockett and Warner are suing the Department of Corrections over a law that prohibits disclosure of the state's execution procedures.

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