Left-to-right: Economists Robert Dauffenbach, Russell Evans, Mickey Hepner, and Dan Rickman during a panel discussion moderated by Oklahoma City advertising executive Rhonda Hooper
Carrie Snodgrass / Greater Oklahoma City Chamber

Several economists praised Oklahoma's metro areas as engines of growth, but criticized state leaders for failing to plan for the long term.

For many online retailers, Cyber Monday is likely to be the peak shopping day of the year. To handle the onslaught of orders, Amazon has begun rolling out a new robot army.

The Amazon order-fulfillment center in Tracy, Calif., is more than a million square feet — or 28 football fields, if you prefer — filled with orange and yellow bins flying this way and that on conveyor belts. Chances are, if you ordered a bunch of items in the San Francisco Bay Area recently, Amazon put that box together here.

Code Pink

President George W. Bush enacted the Homeland Security Advisory System after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It designated colors to different levels of perceived threat. In response to the push toward military action they saw, a group of women, including Medea Benjamin, created CODEPINK to organize protests.

The Governor's Arts Award Medal
Oklahoma State Arts Council

On Thursday, December 4, the Oklahoma Arts Council will present the 39th Annual Governor's Arts Awards on the Fourth Floor of the Capitol Rotunda beginning at 4 p.m. The public is invited to honor this year’s recipients.

The Governor's Arts Awards is an annual event recognizing individuals and organizations from across Oklahoma whose efforts have had an impact in their communities or throughout the state. First awarded in 1975, the awards are presented by the Governor during a special ceremony at the State Capitol.

Presenting the awards will be Governor Mary Fallin, Oklahoma Arts Council Chair Holbrook Lawson and Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples.  Musical performances will be by Barron Ryan, a jazz pianist from Tulsa, and the students of the Classen School for Advanced Studies Guitar Program in Oklahoma City.

Read more for the list of honorees.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $14,226,000 to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) to fund drinking water systems throughout the state. The amount is awarded through EPA’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, which gives states low-interest, flexible loans for drinking-water projects. ODEQ will use the funds to provide loan assistance to eligible public water systems for infrastructure improvements, technical assistance for small systems, program management, and administrative assistance.


The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) will receive $1.15 million over five years from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to gather critical data on homicide and suicide using the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS).

In Oklahoma, suicide is the leading manner of violent death. In 2012, more than 650 Oklahomans died by suicide. The OSDH will use NVDRS data to support suicide prevention programs of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. 

Barricades surround the south steps of the Oklahoma Capitol.
Meghan Blessing / KGOU

Officials in Oklahoma are getting some tips from their counterparts in Kansas before launching a multi-year, multi-million dollar restoration project on Oklahoma's 100-year-old state Capitol.

More than a dozen Oklahoma lawmakers and managers of the Capitol restoration project traveled to Topeka, Kansas, this week to examine that state's Capitol, where this year a nearly $330 million, 13-year restoration project was completed.

Cathy Stocker, Chair, Oklahoma Ethics Commission
Oklahoma Ethics Commission

The first phase of the Ethics Commission’s new registration and reporting software system will go live this coming week.

Lobbyists will be the first to use the new system, called The Guardian, for their annual registration, Ethics Commission Deputy Director Ashley Kemp said Tuesday. For the first time, lobbyists will be divided into three classifications – legislative lobbyists, executive lobbyists and legislative liaisons – as result of Ethics Rules adopted earlier this year and ratified by the Legislature.

According to the new rules:

One Month Left To Apply For SBA Disaster Loans

Nov 29, 2014
Scott Burkhart of Moore obtained an SBA disaster loan of more than $30,000 to pay for lost belongings and damage not covered by property insurance. The family just moved back into their house.
Nate Robson / Oklahoma Watch

December 30, 2014 is the deadline to apply for an SBA federal disaster loan for economic injury to small, non-farm businesses in in 23 Oklahoma Counties.

These low-interest loans are to offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by the drought in the following primary Oklahoma counties that began April 22, 2014.

Tanya N. Garfield, Director of the U. S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Disaster Field Operations Center - West,  said the primary Oklahoma Counties include Canadian, Garfield, Grant, Kay, Kingfisher, Logan, Noble, Oklahoma, Osage, Pawnee and Payne. Neighboring Oklahoma counties include Alfalfa, Blaine, Caddo, Cleveland, Creek, Grady, Lincoln, Major, McClain, Pottawatomie, Tulsa and Washington.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin.
jadedtom / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma Republican leaders are meeting to hammer out details of their agenda for 2015.

House Republicans maintained a 72-29 advantage over Democrats in the Nov. 4 election and plan to meet Sunday and Monday in Sulphur with Gov. Mary Fallin and new schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.

House Speaker Jeff Hickman says the caucus will discuss education funding and policy, criminal justice, and some of state tax credits and incentives offered each year.