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Certified Healthy Oklahoma Award
4:28 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Cherokee Nation's Health Services Receives Good Review

Three Rivers Health Center
Credit Cherokee Nation

The Cherokee Nation's health services department is receiving accolades for meeting certain health criteria.

Cherokee Nation Health Services and the tribe's Head Start program recently received the Certified Healthy Oklahoma award from the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Three of the tribe's health centers also received the award. They are the Vinita Health Center, Three Rivers Health Center in Muskogee and Redbird Smith Health Center in Sallisaw.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
1:24 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Bill to Allow New Tax On Limestone And Sand Mines Dead Until Next Year

State Rep. Charles McCall (R-Atoka)
Credit Provided / Oklahoma House of Representatives

Representative Charles McCall’s bill to allow counties to impose a tax on sand and limestone mining operations that sell their product elsewhere didn’t make it through the full House by the March 14 deadline.

But McCall, R-Atoka, says he will try again next year.

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Economic Development
12:54 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Study: $6 Billion Spent On Oklahoma Wind Energy

A wind turbine near Calumet, Okla.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A study commissioned by The Wind Coalition says developers have invested more than $6 billion in Oklahoma's wind energy industry.

The study released Wednesday says there are 26 active wind farms in the state. Oklahoma ranks sixth in the nation in the amount of wind energy generated for consumers. That's enough to power almost 770,000 homes each year.

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Oklahoma Watch
12:02 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Many Of State’s Lowest-Achieving Students Show No Improvement In Reading, Math

Shelly Deas, principal of Lee Elementary School in Oklahoma City, shows the school’s system for tracking achievement and improvement levels of each student. Students in blue are at the highest performing level; students in red are at the lowest.
Credit Clifton Adcock / Oklahoma Watch

Four in 10 of Oklahoma’s lowest-performing students showed little or no improvement in language arts and math last year, raising questions about whether the state and schools are focusing enough attention on students who struggle the most.

In public schools where at least three-fourths of students were from low-income families, about half of test takers made no significant improvement over the previous year, according to an Oklahoma Watch analysis of state test results in spring 2013.

Interactive: How Bottom 25 Percent Scored at Each School

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Death Penalty
10:42 am
Wed March 26, 2014

UPDATE: Judge Finds Execution Drug Secrecy Unconstitutional

Oklahoma's death row is housed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla.
Credit duggar11

An Oklahoma judge has ruled that the state's execution law is unconstitutional because it doesn't allow inmates access to the court system.

Under Oklahoma law, no one may disclose the source of drugs used in executions — even if an inmate sues and wants the information as part of the discovery process. 

Oklahoma County District Judge Patricia Parrish said Wednesday that provision violates due process rights guaranteed in the Constitution.

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Received $6000 bill for back taxes
6:01 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Widow Of Oklahoma Soldier May Get Tax Relief

Credit donkeyhotey / Flickr.com

The widow of an Oklahoma soldier killed in the Fort Hood shooting could get relief from a $6,000 tax bill under a measure that would grant some families benefits similar to those given after acts of terrorism.

Jennifer Hunt, 30, had been married just short of three months when her husband, Jason, was killed in the rampage at Fort Hood on Nov. 5, 2009.

Hunt said she was misinformed at the time of her husband's death and believed that she qualified for a property tax exemption, but this year received a $6,000 bill for back taxes.

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For Companies that hire engineers
4:14 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Tax Credits To Aerospace Companies Likely To Continue

Credit liberalmind1012 / Flickr.com

A tax credit that Oklahoma provides to aerospace companies that hire engineers would continue until 2018 under a bill that has cleared a Senate committee.

The Senate Finance Committee voted 8-1 Tuesday for the bill by Tulsa Republican Sen. Mike Mazzei.

Oklahoma offers a tax credit to companies on the salary paid to an engineer during the first five years of employment. The most recent figures from the Oklahoma Tax Commission show the credit was claimed on 363 returns for a total cost to the state of $950,000.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
2:40 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Federal Flood Insurance Fix Still Means Higher Premiums For Some Oklahomans

Credit Robert Pos / Flickr Creative Commons

Only about 18,000 of Oklahoma’s 3.8 million residents have flood insurance. And less than half of that many have policies that are subsidized by the federal government. But for those 7,000 or so Oklahomans, flood insurance is getting much more expensive.

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Water
1:57 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Oklahoma Delegation Supports Three Rivers Study

Aerial view of the Newt Graham Lock and Dam on the Verdigris River in Wagoner County, Oklahoma, USA. The lock and dam are part of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, which provides for barge navigation on the Arkansas River and some of its tributaries.
Credit U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library / Wikimedia Commons

Oklahoma's entire congressional delegation has announced support for the so-called "Three Rivers Study" of the area at the confluence of the Arkansas, Mississippi, and White Rivers.

The area is the starting point of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, which runs through both states.

The study would investigate ongoing threats to navigation and bottomland hardwoods at the confluence of the rivers in southeastern Arkansas.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
1:14 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

OKC Residents Living Off The Water Grid Owe Millions In Past Due Trash Bills

Credit oatsy40 / Flickr Creative Commons

In October 2013, StateImpact reported on the 14,000 or so mostly rural Oklahoma City residents who have their own water wells and aren’t connected to the city water system.

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