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Rural northeast Norman resident Leslie Rard at the end of her 500-foot gravel driveway. It's one of many hard surfaces on her five-acre property the city classifies as "impervious."
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Voters in Norman will decide on a stormwater plan Tuesday that would increase residents’ monthly utility bills. The city says the additional revenue will help deal with runoff created by heavy rainfall and property damage from flooding.

Karen Holp, KGOU General Manager, standing next to a part of the broadcast antenna for KROU was that installed in 2011.
KGOU Staff

August 21, 2016

This is from the Manager’s Desk.

A couple of weeks ago, I said I was going to retire later this fall after 28 years at KGOU.

But there is something I want to get started before I go.

I want to start a small, informal fundraising effort to help pay for the replacement of the KROU transmitter and related equipment.

KROU at 105.7 FM serves Oklahoma County and went on the air in June of 1993. That makes the transmitter 23 years old, and it is going to need replacing soon.

Erielle Reshef reports from an Iron Dome missile defense site in Ashkelon during a 2012 rocket barrage.
Erielle Reshef / Facebook

Editor's Note: This conversation originally aired Sept. 13, 2013.

Between 2010 and 2012, Oklahoma City native Erielle Reshef reported twice from Gaza during instances of cross-border violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

An Edmond Postal employee is consoled following a shooting spree that left 15 people, including the shooter, dead at the Edmond Post Office, Wednesday, August 20, 1986 in Edmond. An additional six people were injured in the shooting.
David Longstreath / AP

Saturday marks 30 years since a disgruntled former employee shot 20 of his colleagues at the U.S. Post Office in Edmond, killing 14.

Three decades later, gun deaths in Oklahoma are still higher than the national average, and University of Oklahoma College of Public Health Dean Gary Raskob told The Journal Record's Sarah Terry-Cobo scientific research should play a role in crafting laws to address gun violence:

The Wheeler Ferris Wheel is shown behind signage at Oklahoma City’s Wheeler District.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

On Tuesday the Oklahoma City Council took another step toward creating a tax increment financing, or TIF, district for the Wheeler neighborhood near downtown, just south of the Oklahoma River.

The area on either side of Western Ave. north of SW 20th Street will eventually have housing, offices, retail, and the centerpiece has already gone up - a 100-foot tall Ferris wheel.

Study: Tulsa Head Start Program Produces Lasting Positive Effects

Aug 18, 2016
classroom floor
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

An analysis of participants in a Tulsa Head Start program found many indicators that the federal early-education program works — and the positive effects last into middle school.

Overall, participants in the Community Action Project Head Start program had higher math scores, lower rates of grade retention and were less likely to be chronically absent.

The findings are significant because they contrast with other research showing the program’s positive effects fade quickly.

SandRidge Energy Inc. facilities superintendent Andy Ferguson, left, opens the valve at one of the company’s shuttered disposal wells on Aug. 10.
Sarah Terry-Cobo / The Journal Record

Two pairs of Logan County residents have dropped legal action against a quartet of Oklahoma energy companies.

Lisa Griggs and April Marler alleged their homes were damaged from earthquakes that were caused by New Dominion and subsidiaries of Chesapeake Energy, Devon Energy, and SandRidge Energy. Brenda Lene and Jon Darryn Lene also say their home was damaged by earthquakes caused by water injection. 

Members of the Choctaw Nation gather at the Hugo Community Center to hear details on the new water deal from attorney Michael Burrage.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

After five years of confidential negotiations, the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations have reached an agreement with the State of Oklahoma over water in southeast Oklahoma. The deal has been praised by state leaders as a historic accord that ends the tribes’ lawsuit that blocked Oklahoma City’s plan to pump water out of the region.

Gov. Mary Fallin, second from right, and her husband, Wade Christensen, second from left, greet Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, right, following a rally in Oklahoma City, Friday, Feb. 26, 2016.
Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump named four Oklahomans to his newly created Agriculture Advisory Committee Tuesday. Gov. Mary Fallin is the highest profile Oklahoman on the panel.

“The Trump administration will work closely with farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers to ensure their issues and concerns are being addressed,” Fallin said in a statement.

The 64-member committee also includes state Agriculture Secretary Jim Resse, state Sen. Eddie Fields and state Rep. Casey Murdock.

Voters participate in early voting at the Oklahoma County Elections Board in Oklahoma City, Thursday, June 19, 2014.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

A more than four-year legal challenge to overturn Oklahoma’s voter identification law was rejected earlier this week by a state district court judge who upheld the constitutionality of the measure.

Oklahoma County District Court Judge Aletia Haynes Timmons dismissed the case Monday after hearing arguments from lawyers representing the Oklahoma State Election Board and Tulsa resident Delilah Christine Gentges. Gentges’ attorney said he plans to appeal the decision.

Oklahoma City University economist Russell Evans, at lectern, addresses the Oklahoma City Council Tuesday.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Oklahoma City University economist Russell Evans told city council members during Tuesday's meeting there's still a lot of economic uncertainty. 

Evans typically speaks to the city council in February when it’s time to plan the annual budget. But he was asked to give a special presentation after some council members pointed out that the city was suffering more than usual for its ties to the oil and gas industry, The Journal Record’s Brian Brus reports:

The Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission and audience members listen to a presentation on right-to-farm at the April 19 meeting in Tahlequah, Okla.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

City leaders in Edmond adopted a resolution urging citizens to reject State Question 777. Their counterparts in Choctaw appear likely to do the same, and the Norman City Council has booked a presentation from an organization fighting against the question, which would amend the state constitution to include the “right-to-farm” and prevent lawmakers from passing legislation impeding farming, ranching and agriculture.

Workers continue construction of a Hibdon Tires Plus at University Town Center in Norman.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

It’s not in decline, but national construction spending is slowing, according to industry group Associated Builders and Contractors. But some Oklahoma companies are in hiring home.

The state saw a 6.9 percent increase in construction jobs from June 2015 to June 2016, The Journal Record’s Molly Fleming reports:

Using a growing body of research, along with trial and error, scientists and state regulators are getting closer to pinpointing the cause of the startling increase in earthquakes in the central and eastern parts of the country, and preventing them.

Chemistry Professor & Head of Open Chemistry Collaborative in Diversity Equity (OXIDE) Rigoberto Hernandez
Paige Willett Lough / KGOU

In an article for Scientific American, author Katherine W. Phillips suggests that diversity in the workplace can enhance creativity, encourage discovery and lead to innovation. According to Rigoberto Hernandez, those assets may be most important in the scientific community.

 

United States' Alexander Naddour performs on the pommel horse during the artistic gymnastics men's apparatus final at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016.
Julio Cortez / AP

Former University of Oklahoma gymnast Alex Naddour earned the bronze medal in the men’s individual pommel horse final Sunday afternoon during the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

It's the first medal in the event for the United States since Tim Daggett also took bronze in 1984.

The statue known as "Jesus Wept" near the Oklahoma City National Memorial.
David J. Phillip / AP

Religious leaders held a unity walk and a prayer service Monday’s evening in Oklahoma City as an alternative to a black mass scheduled at the Civic Center Music Hall.

Updated August 16, 9:48 a.m.

Color-coded ballots for each Oklahoma County district are pictured at the Oklahoma County Board of Elections in Oklahoma City, Thursday, June 23, 2016. The ballots are color-coded according to party.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

Oklahomans may not be able to vote for two presidential candidates this fall, including one high-profile third-party hopeful.

Green Party nominee Jill Stein and independent candidate Rocky de la Fuente are taking legal action to try to get on the ballot in November by arguing Oklahoma’s ballot access laws are too strict, The Journal Record’s Dale Denwalt reports:

The lawsuit is joined by several voters who support the candidates.

health insurance cards and dollar bills
Lindsey Whelchel / Oklahoma Watch

A state panel recommended across-the-board rate increases Thursday for state employees' health insurance next year. The increases range from 6 percent to almost 16 percent, depending on the plan that someone chooses.

That’s the biggest bump since at least 2010, but officials told The Journal Record’s Dale Denwalt it’s necessary to cover rising healthcare costs:

Teachers In Oklahoma Expected To Spend Hundreds On Classroom Supplies

Aug 14, 2016
Tulsa high school history teacher Vince Facione expected to spend at least $300 before the first day of school. He gives each of his 190 students a three-ring binder.
Clifton Adcock / Oklahoma Watch

Elementary music teacher Tony Flores’ entire classroom budget for the year will be expended on music for three performances. Last year, he bought new instruments, to the tune of $1,000 out of his own bank account.

In Danielle Childers’ pre-kindergarten classroom, students will have snacks for snack time, mats for naptime and stickers for a job well done, but the cost of those items falls on her.

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