Oklahoma Watch
12:04 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

The Reading Scramble: Teachers Prep Third Graders For Read-Or-Fail

Credit Nate Robson / Oklahoma Watch

Two years ago, when Oklahoma third-grade students took the state’s annual reading test, nearly 5,500 them, or 11 percent, failed.

Last year, the results were worse, despite a stepped-up focus on reading instruction: 12 percent of third graders scored at the lowest of four levels, unsatisfactory, meaning they were still reading at about a first-grade level.

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The Two-Way
11:17 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Don't Worry, They Say, 100-Foot Asteroid Will Miss Us Today

A NASA artist's illustration depicts an asteroid belt around a star that the space agency says is "the same age and size as our Sun."
NASA/JPL-Caltech

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 10:56 am

Don't say you weren't warned.

But also don't worry, the experts say.

As we wrote last month when an asteroid measuring about 900 feet long passed near enough to Earth to generate headlines about a "close encounter," more rocks are always headed our way.

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Tornado
9:57 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Judge Orders $15 Million Judgment In Woodward Tornado Case

The path of the April 2012 tornado that hit Woodward.
Credit Norman Forecast Office / National Weather Service

An Oklahoma judge says Farmers Insurance and a subsidiary must pay a total of $15 million to three plaintiffs whose homes were damaged in the 2012 Woodward tornado.

District Judge Ray Dean Linder ruled in favor of three plaintiffs who filed breach of contract lawsuits against Farmers Insurance and Foremost Insurance Group. The lawsuit alleged that the insurance companies underpaid claims and used adjusters that they knew would offer low estimates.

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Open Meetings
8:16 am
Wed March 5, 2014

State Board Of Education Gets Redo On Previous Votes

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi

The State Board of Education held a special meeting Tuesday to approve once again previously voted on actions from their Feb. 27 monthly meeting in Enid.

The board neglected to file its change of location from Oklahoma City to Enid with the Secretary of State’s Office 10 days in advance of that meeting as required by the Open Meeting Act, making all votes taken that day invalid.

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Business
6:46 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Obama's Budget: Magic Wand Or Club?

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on his 2015 budget plan Tuesday at Powell Elementary School in Washington.
Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 10:02 am

Think of the budget plan released Tuesday by President Obama as a magic wand. If he could wave it and make every line come true, how would the U.S. economy look?

Like this:

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The Two-Way
6:23 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Time For Tense Negotiations In Ukraine, Kerry Says

Armed men in unmarked military uniforms — who witnesses believe are Russian troops, but who Russian leaders say are "local self-defense" forces — stand outside the territory of a Ukrainian military unit in the Crimean village of Perevalnoye.
Maxim Shipenkov EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 6:15 am

This post was updated at 5:10 p.m. ET.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said all sides agree that the crisis on the Crimean Peninsula must be resolved through dialogue, but he acknowledged there has yet to be one-on-one discussions between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart.

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Plan To File A Brief To Appeals Court
6:20 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Current And Former Republican Lawmakers Support Same-Sex Marriage

Credit Penn State Libraries Pictures Collection / Flickr.com

A group of current and former Republican lawmakers say they support making same-sex marriage legal in Utah and Oklahoma because it's consistent with Western conservative values of freedom and liberty.

A group that includes former Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming and former Sen. Nancy Kassebaum of Kansas plan to file a brief to a federal appeals court in Denver that's reviewing same-sex marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has hearings in mid-April for both cases.

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Bill Passes on second try
4:07 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Oklahoma House Passes Bill To Extend Tax Credit To Film Industry

Credit popturfdotcom / Flickr.com

The Oklahoma House has — on its second try — passed a bill to extend a tax credit for the film industry.

The House voted 65-28 for the measure Tuesday after reconsidering the bill. It had fallen three votes short of passing on Monday.

The state provides rebates to filmmakers amounting to $1 for every $3 dollars they spend on movie productions in Oklahoma, up to a total of $5 million. The program is scheduled to expire July 1. The bill by Republican Rep. Todd Thomsen of Ada extends the credit for 10 years to 2024.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
1:28 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Most Of The State Abnormally Dry As Drought Creeps East Into Oklahoma City

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map of Oklahoma as of February 25, 2014.
Credit U.S. Drought Monitor

Save for a tiny corner of far southeast Oklahoma, the entire state is either abnormally dry, or already in drought.

Areas of severe, extreme, and exceptional drought, the worst categories, are still confined to the western part of the state, with far southwest Oklahoma suffering the most. But the latest data from the U.S. Drought Monitor show moderate drought conditions moving east and into Oklahoma City.

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The Two-Way
1:09 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

After 5-Decade Career, NPR's Carl Kasell Will Retire

Doby Photography NPR

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 1:33 pm

After a five-decade career in broadcasting, Carl Kasell announced his retirement on Tuesday.

Carl will record his final broadcast for Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me! this spring. He will, however, remain "scorekeeper emeritus" for the show. Before becoming the official scorekeeper for the NPR news quiz show in 1998, Carl anchored the newscast for Morning Edition.

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