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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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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Manager's Desk
10:56 am
Sun March 9, 2014

Strength in Numbers

Strength in Numbers
Credit Procsilas Moscas / flickr.com/photos/procsilas/

Back in 2009, a mathematician by the name of Tim Gowers posted a theorem on his blog and asked his readers to help prove it together. They did, in a month. A lot of very bright people came together and solved it. Strength in numbers.

That is also how I see the community of public radio and public media. You are part of a large number of very smart folks. And a number of you financially support the broadcast and digital work from KGOU and StateImpact Oklahoma.

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The Two-Way
7:36 am
Sun March 9, 2014

'Trying To Make Sense' Of Malaysian Jetliner's Disappearance

A relative of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines flight is escorted from a Beijing hotel room for loved ones of the passengers on Sunday.
Andy Wong AP

Originally published on Sun March 9, 2014 4:13 pm

This post is being updated throughout the day Sunday.

After a second day of frantic searching failed to uncover the fate of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, ships and aircraft are combing over parts of the Gulf of Thailand and South China Sea where the jetliner is suspected of crashing with 239 people aboard more than 48 hours ago.

Vietnamese officials say search planes have spotted an object that could be debris from the jet — but darkness fell in Asia hours ago, complicating any attempts to verify or expand on that claim.

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The Two-Way
2:56 pm
Sat March 8, 2014

Malaysian Jetliner Has Been Missing For More Than 24 Hours; Search Goes On

Family members arrive at a hotel for loved ones of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines jet in Beijing Sunday. Search teams across Southeast Asia scrambled on Saturday to find a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 239 people on board that disappeared from air traffic control screens over waters between Malaysia and Vietnam.
Vincent Thian AP

Originally published on Sun March 9, 2014 7:40 am

This post continues to be updated.

An international search is underway for a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet that's been missing for more than 24 hours. Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 had 227 passengers and 12 crew members aboard when it took off from Kuala Lumpur early Saturday on a flight bound for Beijing.

A regular inspection of the missing Boeing 777-200 found no technical problems 10 days ago, reports China's state-run Xinhua news agency, citing a Malaysia Airlines spokesman.

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Parallels
8:11 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Russia's Goal In Ukraine: Three Scenarios

A Ukrainian protester stands at a memorial for the people killed in clashes at Kiev's Independence Square, on March 1. The focus of Ukraine's crisis is now in Crimea, where Russian forces are effectively in control.
Emilio Morenatti AP

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 4:39 am

Russia has effectively taken control of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula without a shot fired in anger. Now a larger question looms: What is Russian President Vladimir Putin's ultimate goal in Ukraine?

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Indian Times
8:27 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Citizen Potawatomi Nation To Host Intergenerational Breast Cancer Awareness Day

Cara Thomas (left) and Dr. Eleni Tolma
Credit Susan Shannon

Native American women are the most likely to put off getting a mammogram, according to research by Dr. Eleni Tolma, associate professor at the college of public health at the OU Health Sciences Center.

“When I came to Oklahoma back in 2002, I wanted to find out what I could do in terms of breast cancer, I was always interested in women's health issues,” Tolma, who is also the lead researcher for the Native Women Health Project, said.

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New DOC Director reviewing policies
6:13 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

No Cameras Or Recording Equipment Allowed In Oklahoma's Prisons

Credit Danny Choo / Flickr.com

Oklahoma's Department of Corrections has temporarily banned news media from bringing cameras or any recording equipment inside its prisons.

The Tulsa World reports that DOC officials notified the newspaper this week that requests to bring photographers inside prisons for two interviews had been denied. They instead said a reporter would be allowed to conduct the interviews, so long as no recording equipment was brought into the facility.

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Will be demolished for office building
4:16 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

No More Appeals For Stage Center

Credit Preservation Oklahoma

The executive director of a historic preservation nonprofit says he will not appeal a decision to demolish a historic downtown theater complex.

Preservation Oklahoma executive director David Pettyjohn says he's disappointed the Oklahoma City Board of Adjustment voted to sustain the decision by the Downtown Design Review Committee to demolish the Stage Center, but he won't appeal the decision.

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World Views
3:03 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

'Enough Unrest To Go Around': Updates On Ukraine, Thailand, Venezuela

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Paris, France, on Wednesday.
Credit U.S. Department of State / Flickr Creative Commons

Stuck In The Middle With Ukraine

The United States and the European Union differed this week in their response to Russia’s role in the crisis in Ukraine.

While Washington is imposing sanctions and strongly criticizing Moscow, the EU has taken softer measures.

As University of Oklahoma political scientist Paul Goode explained two weeks ago, Western media are eager to portray the crisis as a “Cold War 2.0.”

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