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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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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Religion
6:59 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Kentucky Southern Baptists Draw Crowds With Gun Giveaways

Twenty-five guns were up for grabs at the event. Raffle winners must pass a background check to claim their prize.
Blake Farmer WPLN

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 8:59 am

It's an hour before suppertime, and the line outside Lone Oak First Baptist Church in Paducah, Ky., is wrapped around the building. The people are waiting for more than a Bible sermon; there's a raffle tonight. Twenty-five guns are up for grabs.

There's nothing new about gun raffles in Kentucky, even at a church. Last year, there were 50 events like this one in the state. The Kentucky Baptist Convention says it's a surefire way to get new people through church doors.

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The Two-Way
6:19 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Fate Of Missing Malaysia Airlines Plane Still A Mystery

At Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Sunday, prayers were said for the 239 people who have been missing since flight MH370 disappeared.
Lai Seng Sin AP

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 2:26 pm

We'll be updating this post throughout the day on Monday.

Nearly three days after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, there's still no definitive trace of the Boeing 777 or the 239 people who were on board.

As of Monday evening in Malaysia, none of the clues so far had led searchers to the plane.

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