Following Oklahoma's 2013 Tornadoes, Where Does Federal Aid Really Go?

Debris filled the streets in Moore, Okla. on May 20, 2013.
State Farm Flickr Creative Commons

After a string of deadly tornados hit Oklahoma in the spring of last year, President Obama signed a federal disaster declaration that paved the way for up to $257 million in aid.

One year later, about one half of that funding has been spent.  The Oklahoma Tornado Project teamed up with Oklahoma Watch to track where all the money went. 

Following huge disasters, there’s always a potential for things to go wrong. In New Orleans, former mayor Ray Nagin was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison for taking bribes from contractors rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. And in New Jersey, there’s been criticism that some Sandy aid money has gone to less needy areas.

So we wanted to look into Oklahoma’s post-storm recovery. State Department of Emergency Management Director Albert Ashwood – who has worked closely with FEMA – says outright fraud is less common than it used to be. 

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Parallels
3:35 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

What If Ukraine Still Had Nuclear Weapons?

President Bill Clinton (from left), Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk, clasp hands after signing documents whereby the U.S. and Russia agreed to stop aiming long range nuclear missiles at each other, and the Ukraine agreed to dismantle all of its 1,800 nuclear warheads. The event took place on Jan. 14, 1994, at the Kremlin in Moscow.
Diana Walker Time

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 1:38 pm

Ukraine appears rather helpless in the face of the Russian intervention in Crimea. But what if Ukraine still had nuclear weapons? The confrontation might look rather different, and perhaps much scarier.

When Ukraine gained independence in the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union, it inherited a nuclear arsenal that included some 1,800 warheads, making it the third largest in the world, trailing only Russia and the U.S.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
3:09 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

New Study: Oklahoma’s Largest Earthquake ‘Potentially Triggered’ By Smaller Disposal Well Quake

A disposal well in Northern Oklahoma.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oil and gas industry-related waste water injection may have triggered a cascading sequence of earthquakes that culminated in Oklahoma’s largest earthquake ever recorded, the 5.7-magnitude temblor that struck near Prague in November 2011, a new peer-reviewed paper published in the Journal of Geophysical Researchsuggests.

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Public Safety
12:19 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Oklahoma Troopers Could Have Equipment Allowance Doubled

Graduates of the 60th Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper academy.
Credit Oklahoma Highway Patrol

Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers would have their equipment allowance doubled for things like uniforms and practice ammunition under a bill approved by the Oklahoma House.

The House voted 84-3 for the bill on Monday that would boost the amount from $150 to $300 a month. It would also increase the equipment allowance for cadets from $100 to $200 per month.

The House author of the bill, Rep. Steve Vaughn, says the measure is among several to help increase pay for troopers.

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Capital Punishment
11:46 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Oklahoma Judge Denies Execution Delays Over Lethal Injection Drugs

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

An Oklahoma County district judge says she's not the right judge to delay two executions while inmates challenge Oklahoma's execution procedures.

Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner have sued the OklahomaDepartment of Corrections to learn more about the drugs that would be used to execute them.

After state lawyers claimed District Court Judge Patricia Parrish didn't have jurisdiction, Parrish said Monday requests for delays should go to the state Court of Criminal Appeals, which sets execution dates. She says she can handle the actual challenge to the law.

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It's All Politics
11:45 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Governors' Races Offer Promise For Democrats

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett applauds a choir at The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center during a Jan. 29 news conference in Philadelphia.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 1:49 pm

Elections for governor could provide some good news for Democrats this fall, giving them the chance to regain ground in a few states where the party has had good fortune recently.

At this early stage, Republicans are expected to hold control of the House and pick up seats in the Senate — maybe even win a majority in the Senate.

But the GOP has fewer opportunities when it comes to statehouses. Republicans dominated state elections back in 2010, leaving them few openings this year. (Governors serve four-year terms everywhere but Vermont and New Hampshire.)

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Affordable Care Act
9:23 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Oklahoma Groups Face Federal Health Care Sign Up Deadline

March 31 is the final day for open enrollment until the next enrollment period begins Nov. 15.
Credit James Martin / Flickr

Health and insurance groups in Oklahoma are trying to reach out to uninsured residents as the deadline approaches for open enrollment in health care plans under the federal health care law.

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Code Switch
9:11 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Stokely Carmichael, A Philosopher Behind The Black Power Movement

Martin Luther King Jr., shown here with Stokely Carmichael during a voter registration march in Mississippi in 1966, regarded the younger Carmichael as one of the civil rights movement's most promising leaders.
Lynn Pelham Time

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 11:26 am

Before he became famous — and infamous — for calling on black power for black people, Stokely Carmichael was better known as a rising young community organizer in the civil rights movement. The tall, handsome philosophy major from Howard University spent summers in the South, working with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, known as SNCC, to get African-Americans in Alabama and Mississippi registered to vote in the face of tremendous, often violent resistance from segregationists.

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Transportation
7:53 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Closed Purcell-Lexington Bridge Update Set For Monday

Gov. Mary Fallin tours the closed James C. Nance Bridge over the Canadian River - Feb. 7, 2013
Credit Governor Mary Fallin / Facebook

The Oklahoma Transportation Commission plans to review the progress of emergency repair work on a closed bridge that connects Purcell and Lexington.

Commission members will meet Monday for an update on the project from Department of Transportation officials. The emergency work involves the US-77-State Highway 39 bridge over the Canadian River.

The bridge was closed on Jan. 31 after cracks were discovered in structural bridge beams. The commission awarded an emergency contract for bridge repairs, and work began on Feb. 14.

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The Two-Way
7:36 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Will Blood Be Shed In Crimea Before Diplomacy Can Work?

Russian and Crimean flags were being waved during a pro-Russia rally Sunday in Simferopol's Lenin Square. Simferopol is the capital of Crimea, an autonomous region of Ukraine.
Filippo Monteforte AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 1:04 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Emily Harris reports from Kiev

Russia continues to try to wrest control of Crimea from Ukraine and now has an estimated 20,000 troops there, Bloomberg News reports.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:30 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Oklahoma House To Hear School Shelter Proposal

Credit gtquast / Flickr

Last month, a proposal to fund school shelter construction using property taxes passed a State House committee. It was the only shelter bill the House of Representatives heard, and it’s supported by Governor Mary Fallin. 

This week, lawmakers may vote to put it on the November ballot. 

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