News

Law Enforcement Seizures Misspent, Missing

Jul 18, 2015
Oklahoma state senator Kyle Loveless.
Oklahoma Senate

Funds and property seized by Oklahoma law enforcement agencies have gone missing or have been used for personal or other improper purposes, state audit records reveal.

Among the violations were using seized money to pay on a prosecutor’s student loans and allowing a prosecutor to live rent-free in a confiscated house for years, records show.

Copies of Gov. Mary Fallin's 2015-34 & 2015-35 executive orders
Jim Johnson / KGOU

After a deadly shooting at a military installation in Tennessee, Gov. Mary Fallin is authorizing the state's adjutant general to arm full-time Oklahoma National Guardsmen at military facilities in Oklahoma.

Fallin issued an executive order on Friday granting Maj. Gen. Robbie Asher the authority to arm National Guard soldiers and airmen with whatever weaponry he deems necessary to adequately provide for their safety and security.

An American Energy Woodford well near Perkins, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma oil and gas authorities are expanding regulations on disposal wells in earthquake-prone regions of the state. The orders, known as directives, were issued this week and broaden restrictions issued nearly four months ago.

Kenneth Gyang grew up in Nigeria, watching action films starring people like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan. But the narrative style of directors like Quentin Tarantino and Alejandro González Iñárritu convinced him to make a career out of it, and profoundly influenced his storytelling.

A motorist drives by a police barricade placed along Sheridan Avenue in downtown Oklahoma City in advance of a visit from President Barack Obama Wednesday.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

President Obama’s visit to Oklahoma dominated the news cycle this week, and basically shut down small portions of downtown Oklahoma City, Durant, Interstate 40 – pretty much anywhere inside a one-block radius of the president.

The White House provided only a six day heads up Obama was headed to Oklahoma, and that caused some rapid rearrangement of events in the area, according to The Journal Record’s Dale Denwalt:

U.S. Sen. James Lankford speaking on the Senate floor July 16 about ending taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood in light of a recent undercover video.
YouTube

U.S. Sen. James Lankford delivered a speech on the chamber's floor Thursday calling on Congress to end taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood.

The remarks came in response to the release of an undercover video made by anti-abortion activists. It shows the organization's senior director of medical services discussing procedures for providing fetal body parts to researchers.

Culex pipiens (the common house mosquito) is a species of blood-feeding mosquito of the family Culicidae. It is a vector of some diseases, such as Japanese encephalitis, meningitis, and urticaria. In the US, it can spread West Nile virus.
Wikimedia Commons

Public health officials in Oklahoma County say they have identified the county's second human case of West Nile Virus so far this year.

The Oklahoma City-County Health Department confirmed the West Nile diagnosis on Thursday. Ken Johnson, a spokesman for the agency, declined to release details about the patient, including the person's age and gender. However, Johnson says the virus "hits seniors very hard."

ssalonso / Flickr.com

The Oklahoma attorney general is arguing in a court filing that a lawsuit challenging the state's use of its Unclaimed Property Fund should be dismissed.

In a motion to dismiss filed Thursday in Oklahoma County District Court, Assistant Solicitor General Jared Haines argues that state laws governing the fund are constitutional and that the lawsuit is without merit.

Oklahoma City attorney Jerry Fent filed the lawsuit last month, claiming the state is essentially operating a Ponzi scheme by routinely raiding the fund and using that money to fund state government operations.

President Obama tours the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution on July 16, 2015
Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

President Obama became the first sitting president to visit a federal prison Thursday when he toured the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution outside Oklahoma City. During his trip, Obama urged reconsideration of the current criminal justice system.

President Obama walked down Cell Block B, taking in the two-story medium security prison, with a corrections officer and Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Charles Samuels. He peeked inside a tiny 90 square foot cell that holds up to three inmates, which he said highlights the need for prison reform.

Abbot Lawrence Stasyszen of St. Gregory's Monastery traces cracks in the walls of the monk's workshop, which was damaged in a 5.7-magnitude earthquake that struck the nearby city of Prague in November 2011.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The rate of earthquakes in Oklahoma appears to be accelerating, and the state is responding.

Lawmakers have scheduled capitol hearings and oil and gas regulators will soon issue stricter guidelines on disposal wells linked to the shaking. Future earthquakes are a big concern, but one Oklahoma institution is still dealing with the damage one quake caused nearly four years ago.

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