The December 30, 2014 update of the U.S. Drought Monitor for Oklahoma.
U.S. Drought Monitor

The drought in southwest Oklahoma has lingered for more than four years now, and it will take more than a wet end to 2014 to stop it — a lot more.

Despite receiving above average December precipitation, the City of Duncan will ban all outdoor watering beginning next week. That’s because water levels in Waurika Lake, Duncan’s only current drinking water source, continue to drop.

OETA Managing Editor and Deputy Director Dick Pryor discuss the importance and preservation of American Indian culture in Oklahoma, with:

OETA Deputy Director and Managing Editor Dick Pryor discusses the top stories and the best and the worst of 2014 and look ahead to 2015.

Winter has arrived in the United States: Over the next day or so, the jet stream will dip and bring some bone-chilling temperatures to a huge swath of the country.

Meteorologists at the Weather Channel say the winter storm will "bring a swath of snow more than 2,000 miles long from the Cascades and Northern Rockies across the Midwest and into the Northeast through Tuesday."

Guthrie National Bank. Rushed to completion in the summer of 1889, the Guthrie National Bank Building was the first brick structure built in what became Oklahoma Territory.
Carleta Latham / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma banks were robbed less frequently last year than the year before.

The FBI says there were 43 bank robberies in the state in 2014, a decline from 2013 when there were more than 60 bank robberies in the state.

The Oklahoman reports that the number of bank robberies has fluctuated from year to year. The FBI says that in 2012, there were 22 bank robberies statewide, while in 2011 there were 66. In 2009 and 2010, there were 78 and 44 bank robberies, respectively.

madpoet_one / Flickr Creative Commons

Drug overdoses caused by prescription drug abuse are a growing problem in rural Oklahoma.

The Oklahoman reports that while most overdoses occur in Oklahoma and Tulsa counties, rural counties in the state represent a growing segment of the prescription drug epidemic.

Craig County in northeastern Oklahoma has been the worst in the state in recent years in terms of drug overdoses, both fatal and nonfatal. For the past two years in which information is available, Craig County has posted the highest overdose rates per 10,000 residents in Oklahoma.

2014 Weather In Review

Jan 5, 2015
Norman Forecast Office / National Weather Service

Winter was noticeably absent through much of December, a deceptively warm month that ended more than 2 degrees above normal to rank as the 38th warmest since records began in 1895.

The season finally lived up to its name during the month's final week, however, with a swath of 3-5 inches of snow along the I-44 corridor in southwestern Oklahoma, along with another icy plunge to ring in the New Year. New Year's Eve was celebrated with patches of freezing drizzle, snow, sleet and below-zero wind chills.

Many plants we eat today are a result of genetic modifications that would never occur in nature. Scientists have long been altering the genes of food crops, to boost food production and to make crops more pest-, drought- and cold-resistant.

Wikimedia Commons

A recently filed bill would amend one of three exiting Oklahoma statutes dealing with masks, robes or other disguises.

SB0013, filed by Sen. Don Barrington, makes using masks, robes or other disguises in public places unlawful, amending statute 21-1301, and would expand the exemptions covered by the statute.

The current law prohibits the use of "a mask, hood or covering, which conceals the identity of the wearer during a commission of a crime or for the purpose of coercion, intimidation or harassment.”

Barrington’s proposed adds “to intentionally conceal his or her identity in a public place by means of a robe, mask, or other disguise.”

“I think it’s important for public safety standpoint and for the approachability of public places like the state capitol,” said Barrington, R-Lawton. “A lot of activities that are going on and it’s necessary to give our citizens some assurance that we’re aware of some things and trying to prevent vicious activity.”  

Barrington said he did receive some input from law enforcement to ensure that a law could be enforced. These actions with vicious intent, he said, should have consequences. The existing statute requires violation of this law to result in a fine of between $50 and $500 or incarceration for up to one year.

gambling man
Adrian Simpson / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma posted one of the highest numbers of gambling-related embezzlement cases last year and remains at “high risk” of embezzlement because of gambling, according to a recent study.

The Marquet Report on Embezzlement, released in December, listed gambling as the second most likely motivating factor in embezzlement in 2013. The No. 1 factor, the desire for a “lavish lifestyle,” often has a gambling element, adds the report. The study was done by Marquet International, a Boston investigative and consulting firm specializing in corporate fraud.