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Weather and Climate
8:34 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Study Will Develop Plan For Drought Stricken Southwest Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board on Tuesday unanimously approved the terms of a plan to further study the Upper Red River Basin as part of the Water SMART Basin Studies Program.

The study, which has an estimated cost of approximately $1.4 million, will help Oklahoma’s southwest corner find ways to best conserve and manage the water they draw from the Upper Red River Basin. Southwest Oklahoma, Planning and Management Division Chief Julie Cunningham said, has been the region most affected by recent drought conditions in the state.

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Politics and Government
7:46 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

State Wins Affordable Care Act Grant

Governor Mary Fallin at her 2014 State of the State address.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Obama administration announced Tuesday it had chosen Oklahoma to receive a grant of up to $2 million to develop innovative models for delivering health care.

The award is significant because it represents a rare departure from the state’s general reluctance to participate in programs authorized by the Affordable Care Act, sometimes characterized as Obamacare.

Oklahoma is one of 28 states chosen to receive funding in the second round of the State Innovation Models grant program. The grants total $665 million nationwide.

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Science, Technology and Environment
7:33 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Oklahoma City To Hold Public Hearing On Oil Drilling Near Lake Hefner

Lighthouse at Lake Hefner
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma City Utilities Department will hold a public hearing on a proposed drilling operation on the Lake Hefner Reservation on Thursday, December 18, according to a Facebook event posted by Oklahoma City Councilman, Ed Shadid.

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Weather and Climate
6:31 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

High Plains Aquifer Groundwater Declining

Saturated thickness map of Ogallala Aquifer with Keystone XL route layered.
Credit Kbh3rd / Wikipedia Commons

The U.S. Geological Survey says groundwater levels are declining in an aquifer that serves parts of Oklahoma and seven other states.

The USGS has released a report on changes in groundwater levels in the High Plains Aquifer, also known as the Ogallala Aquifer.

USGS scientist Virginia McGuire says measurements between 2011 and 2013 represent a large decline in groundwater levels and are likely due to increased groundwater pumping.

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Oklahoma News
5:01 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Norman Police Release Information On Sunday Shooting

Credit Norman Police Department

Police in Norman have identified the officer involved in a weekend shooting that left a man in critical condition.

Capt. Tom Easley said Tuesday Master Police Officer Heather Glazier was involved in a shooting on Sunday that injured 34-year-old Martin Sanchez-Juarez. Glazier has served with the department since May 2008. She is on paid administrative assignment pending an investigation.

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Politics and Government
3:58 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

OK Supreme Court Rules Governors Can Use Executive Privilege To Protect Advice

Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The state's highest court says Oklahoma governors have a privilege to protect confidential advice from top officials while deliberating policy and making executive decisions.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court said in a ruling released Tuesday the governor has a unique executive privilege that can't be encroached by the Legislature.

The decision was handed down Tuesday in a case filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma on behalf of the owners of a satirical website that pokes fun at Gov. Mary Fallin and other public officials.

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Washington
9:03 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Lankford Announces Committee Assignments As He Prepares To Join Senate

OversightAndReform Flickr Creative Commons

On Monday Oklahoma U.S. Sen.-elect James Lankford announced four committees he'll join when he moves across the U.S. Capitol from the House to the Senate next month.

Lankford has been appointed to the Senate Committees on Appropriation, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Committee on Indian Affairs.

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9:07 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Botched Execution Described As 'A Bloody Mess,' Court Filing Shows

Although the prison lacked the right needles and had no backup drugs, the doctor attempted another femoral IV. No one was sure why. Blood backed up into the IV line, and the paramedic told the doctor he’d hit the artery, noting the doctor seemed anxious. “We’ve got blood everywhere,” the paramedic recalled to investigators. The warden described the scene inside the chamber as “a bloody mess.” The paramedic didn’t know whether a stay had been issued at this point.
In a federal court filing Friday, Department of Corrections officials and others recount the political pressure and mishaps leading up to the April 29 botched execution of Clayton Lockett.
Politics and Government
7:29 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Ethics Commission Delays Action On "Educational" Gifts Reporting Requirements

Commissioner Tom Walker (Democrat, 4th Congressional District) Appointed in September 2011 by the Chief Justice Steven Taylor.
Credit Oklahoma Ethics Commission

The Ethics Commission decided Friday to look at rewording a proposal concerning reporting of scholarships and payments for trips and conferences and to consider the revised language in January.

Commission Thomas Walker led the charge against the proposed Ethics Rules amendment, saying the language presented Friday would open a “Pandora’s box.”

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Weather and Climate
7:10 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

As Beef Industry Deals With Drought, Researchers Eye Less-Thirsty Cattle

Credit SoonerPA / Flickr Creative Commons

The ongoing drought in Oklahoma affects everyone in the country. Well, everyone who likes to eat beef, that is. Beef and veal prices will have risen by about 11.5 percent in 2014, and, as Reuters reports, “will increase significantly again in 2015″ because of drought in the Southern Plains.

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