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Same-Sex Marriage
11:51 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Brief: Oklahoma Gay Marriage Ban Demeans Children

Credit Cavan Images / Flickr Creative Commons

Opponents of Oklahoma's gay marriage ban say it demeans same-sex couples and their children by signaling that their relationships are secondary to traditional families.

The argument came in a 102-page document filed Monday on behalf of Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

Bishop and Baldwin are suing to be allowed to marry in Oklahoma.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
10:32 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Federal Government Shutdown Cut Visitation At Oklahoma Park Sites By Half

Dick Duhn, owner of Arbuckle RV Resort, said business was down more than 50 percent during the government shutdown.
Credit Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The U.S. government shutdown in October 2013 was the culmination of a national political fight over federal budgeting, but its effects were felt far from Washington, D.C., including at two federal park sites in Oklahoma.

Sulphur, Okla. relies heavily on the tourism revenue it gets as a result of being attached to the Chickasaw National Wildlife Refuge, which was shutdown for the first half of October along with the rest of the country’s national parks and wildlife refuges.

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Native American
9:01 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Denver Museum Consulting With Native American Tribes Over Sand Creek Massacre Exhibit

The Sand Creek Massacre NHS continues to consult with a number of partners concerning the natural and cultural resources at the site. Here, park rangers meet with area landowners, tribal members, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, the Colorado State Forest Service, and others
Credit National Park Service

Colorado's state museum has agreed to consult with Native American tribes after the museum closed an exhibit on the Sand Creek Indian massacre over complaints from descendants of the slaughter's survivors that they weren't consulted about the display.

The consultations, which will begin Tuesday, will include Colorado officials, History Colorado museum officials, the Northern Cheyenne Tribe of Montana, the Northern Arapaho Tribe of Wyoming, and the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma.

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Tornado
8:31 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Moore Approves Tornado Resistant Building Codes

New homes in Moore, Okla. should be able to withstand winds up to 135 miles per hour if built to new building codes passed Monday.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The City of Moore is adopting stricter building codes intended to reduce the damage from high winds. The new regulations should strengthen homes against tornado damage.

The codes approved by the Moore City Council Monday would require hurricane straps that connect the roof of a home to the wall studs. The rules also add anchors that tie the frame to the foundation, continuous plywood bracing and garage doors built to withstand high winds.

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May 2013 Tornados
5:12 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Feds Give Additional $109 Million In Aid To Oklahoma

The aftermath of the May 2013 tornado in Moore, Okla.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan has announced an additional $109 million in disaster aid for Moore and the state of Oklahoma for recovery efforts from last year's tornadoes and other disasters.

Moore will receive nearly $26 million and the state will receive $83 million from the federal agency's community development block grant program.

Monday's announcement is in addition to nearly $28 million in HUD funds announced last August.

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Education Standards
4:10 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Opponents Of Common Core Rally At Oklahoma State Capitol

Credit Terrapin Flyer / Flickr Creative Commons

More than 200 opponents of a set of education standards in math and English known as Common Core are rallying at the Capitol and urging the Senate to pass a bill to repeal the standards.

Wearing green shirts that read "Common Core is not OK," the group that included parents, teachers and students roamed the Senate halls and lobbied for the bill, which passed the House last week.

The Senate so far has thwarted attempts to delay or repeal the standards, which were adopted in Oklahoma in 2010 and are supported by Republican Gov. Mary Fallin and Superintendent Janet Barresi.

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Here & Now
2:00 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

New Documentary Revisits Anita Hill’s Testimony

In 1991, Anita Hill testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee at the hearings to confirm Clarence Thomas as an associate Supreme Court justice.

Now, the new film Anita revisits those hearings, the passions it provoked, and the long lasting impact of Anita Hill’s testimony.

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Death Penalty
12:28 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Oklahoma Lacks Drugs To Carry Out Thursday Execution

The main gate at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., home to the state's death row.
Credit duggar11 / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma's attorney general says the state does not have all of the lethal drugs necessary to carry out an execution set for Thursday.

Despite the drug shortage, state lawyers are fighting an attempt by two inmates to delay their executions while they seek more information about Oklahoma's execution procedures.

The state says it is still working to obtain execution drugs and will change protocols if necessary to execute Clayton Lockett this Thursday.

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Oklahoma Watch
11:00 am
Mon March 17, 2014

OKC, Tulsa Superintendents Weigh In On Read-Or-Fail Law, Common Core, The Arts

Keith Ballard, superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools, and Dave Lopez, interm superintendent of Oklahoma City Public Schools, answer questions from the audience on a range of education issues at an Oklahoma Watch-Out forum on March 6.
Credit Carmen Forman / Oklahoma Watch

Third-grade reading, new education standards, teacher pay and the arts were among key issues addressed by superintendents from Oklahoma’s two largest public school systems during an education forum last week.

Dave Lopez, interim superintendent of Oklahoma City Public Schools, and Keith Ballard, superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools, fielded questions from an audience of more than 50 during the forum, held at Kamp’s 1910 Café in Oklahoma City. The forum was sponsored by Oklahoma Watch, a nonprofit journalism organization.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:30 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Sounding The Social Media Alarm During Severe Weather

Harold Brooks, Rick Smith and Michelann Ooten speak about storm safety at The Oklahoma Tornado Project's March 12, 2014 forum.
Credit Kate Carlton / Oklahoma Tornado Project

With tornado season approaching, many Oklahomans will turn to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to stay informed of the latest hazards. 

Use of these outlets explodes during severe weather outbreaks, as people try to disseminate information, share pictures and update each other on the course of the storm. But despite their ability to quickly deliver breaking news, social media can often contribute to spreading outdated information. 

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