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New Law Gives Oklahoma More Responsibility In Finding And Fixing Failing Schools

Sep 22, 2017
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister
Oklahoma State Department of Education

Many people say the former massive federal education law, No Child Left Behind, was a failure. When President George W. Bush signed it in 2002, he set a huge goal for the country: Every child would meet the proficiency standard on state tests by 2014.

But, that never happened.

Sue Ogrocki / AP Photo

A special legislative session to address a $215 million budget hole is set to begin at 1:30 p.m. on Monday.

 

Ecapitol news director Shawn Ashley says a leading proposal to help close the gap in the budget includes a $1.50-per-pack cigarette tax increase.

Portrait of Father Stanley Rother
Archdiocese of Oklahoma City

Born in the small town of Okarche, Oklahoma, Father Stanley Rother was ordained into the Roman Catholic Church in Oklahoma City in 1963. He served as a missionary pastor in Guatemala from 1968 until 1981, when he was murdered.

Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

State and federal scientists say that recent earthquakes in two Oklahoma cities are probably aftershocks, rather than indications of larger quakes to come.

Sarah Terry-Cobo writes in the Journal Record:

Father Stanley Rother baptizes a child in Guatemala.
Archdiocese of Oklahoma City

The Catholic church will beatify a priest from Okarche, Oklahoma this weekend. Three assailants murdered Father Stanley Rother in Guatemala in 1981. Pope Francis declared last year that Rother is a martyr, setting the stage for him to possibly become a saint.

University of Oklahoma President David Boren talks with the media following his announcement that he will resign as head of the state's flagship university at the end of the current school year.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

University of Oklahoma President David Boren has announced his retirement at the end of this academic year.

Boren addressed the university Wednesday afternoon to a packed audience at the Reynolds Performing Arts Center in Holmberg Hall, where he announced he will step down.

Let Down And Locked Up: Why Oklahoma’s Female Incarceration Is So High

Sep 20, 2017
Robyn Allen, 52, is serving 20 years at the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center in central Oklahoma for trafficking of methamphetamine. This was her first felony offense.
Glassbreaker Films

Robyn Allen saw her daughter for the first time in two years from across the yard of Oklahoma’s largest women’s prison, the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center.

Nomin Ujiyediin / KGOU

More than 100 supporters of businesses that could be displaced by a rezoning application gathered at a community meeting in Oklahoma City Monday night.

In Search of New Ways To Tame Opioid Crisis

Sep 18, 2017
Images Money / Flickr

Oklahoma is among the nation’s leaders in combating the opioid epidemic in some ways, but lags in others.

The question of what more Oklahoma can do to reduce the hundreds of fatal overdoses from prescription painkillers each year will hover over the 2018 legislative session. A commission chaired by Attorney General Mike Hunter plans to recommend by Dec. 1 new strategies for attacking the problem. Some or all of its proposals will be folded into legislation.

More Challengers Lining Up For 2018 Legislative Races

Sep 18, 2017
I Voted Sticker
Dwight Burdette / Creative Commons

Faced with low approval ratings, Oklahoma legislators are already seeing signs that they could be up against greater competition in trying to retain their seats in the 2018 election.

Campaign fundraising records indicate that 13 lawmakers have already drawn challengers – a sharp increase over the number that had filed by this stage in the 2016 election cycle. By the end of August 2015, just one lawmaker had drawn an opponent.

Sue Ogrocki, File / AP Photo

House Appropriations and Budget Chair Kevin Wallace (R-Welston) has proposed filling the state’s $215 million budget hole by passing a $1.50-per-pack cigarette tax, expanding tribal gaming and taking money from the state’s rainy day fund.

A truck filled with chat transports mining waste to a nearby repository near Picher, Okla. Some of it is processed and reused for asphalt, while the most contaminated chat is taken to specially designed landfills for long-term storage. More than 180 truck
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Newly minted U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt spent his first months on the job steering the agency away from climate change to focus, in part, on cleaning up contaminated sites around the country.

The former Oklahoma attorney general has directed a task force to create a top-10 list of locations that need aggressive attention — welcome news at Superfund sites like Tar Creek in the northeastern corner of the state.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Ronen Zvulun / Pool Photo via AP

Allegations of corruption are circling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his family and inner circle. While Netanyahu has not been indicted yet, many of his close friends, colleagues and family have been ensnared in the investigations.

Three women chat in front of business storefronts in downtown Perry. State legislators hosted an interim study on Wednesday to evaluate what’s hindering businesses from locating in rural Oklahoma.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

Business recruiters in Oklahoma say they need more tools to help attract companies to the state.

At a House interim study on Wednesday, economic development leaders indicated Oklahoma is losing out to other states because Oklahoma does not have a robust closing fund to help seal deals. A closing fund is state-appropriated money that can be used at the last minute to entice a company to set up shop.

Oklahoma state capitol
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Will the Oklahoma Legislature get behind a cigarette tax in the upcoming special session?

Bansari Mehta
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

When Bansari Mehta first left India to pursue a master’s degree in Oklahoma, she was surprised by how often she was asked to point to her home country on the map.

“Those were the days that I realized that there is something that’s missing,” Bansari told KGOU’s World Views. “As lovely as the people of Oklahoma are, they did not have much of a broader understanding about things outside of the state or outside of the country.”

Trainees in the control tower at Altus Air Force Base watch as a C-17 cargo plane taxis to the runway.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Developers recently announced plans to build the country’s largest wind farm in Oklahoma’s Panhandle. The industry is growing and turbine projects are expanding across the state. But wind energy developers are facing a new headwind: military air bases.

The former campus of Villa Teresa School at 1216 Classen Dr. in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

An old Catholic school campus in downtown Oklahoma City has a new owner.

Marva Ellard and development partner Billy Woodring purchased the six-building Villa Teresa property this week for $5.5 million. They plan to redevelop it as a mixed-use property which could include a boutique hotel in the nuns’ convent and condominiums and townhouses on the rest of the area.

The oldest building on the Villa Teresa campus dates back to 1917, but it wasn’t until 1933 that the Carmelite Sisters opened the K-4 school. The school closed in 2012.

Nyla Ali Khan
Jim Johnson / KGOU

More than a year after the death of a popular young militant, Kashmir’s youth are seeking independence and using social media to urge change.

INSAPPHOWETRUST / FLICKR

The Oklahoma Supreme Court upheld a 1.25 percent sales tax on motor vehicles Thursday.

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