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Gov. Mary Fallin delivers her 2016 State of the State address Feb. 1, 2016.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin says early projections show Oklahoma will have a nearly $600 million hole in next year's state budget. That’s nearly 10 percent of the current year's spending.

"It's going to be a challenging year,” Fallin said during a Wednesday news conference. “We've got certainly need within the Department of Corrections, which you've seen recently. We've got needs with Highway Patrol, in Mental Health Services. There's a lot of competing needs out there, for money.”

By 7 a.m. a cold front is expected to be well south of I-40. Temperatures will be falling into the 20s and 30s behind the front, with 50s ahead of the front across southern Oklahoma and western north Texas.
Norman Forecast Office / National Weather Service

A highly-anticipated cold front will likely bring the first bout of wintry weather to Oklahoma starting this weekend.

During an early morning briefing Friday from the National Weather Service's Norman Forecast Office, meteorologist Ryan Barnes said Saturday's high temperature will likely occur during the morning hours for most locations as the cold front pushes south during the day.

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett listens to a slideshow presentation on the city’s MAPS projects during a special session of the Oklahoma City Council Tuesday at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Earlier this week the Oklahoma City Council met for a special session at the Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City to discuss the general obligation bond to pay for city government that will go before voters in 2017.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister listens as researchers present the new A-F school report card system , December 15, 2016.
Emily Wendler / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

The way Oklahoma's A-F report cards are calculated may soon change. 

The State Board of Education approved a new grading system Thursday, and it will now go before the Legislature for final approval.

The new system, set to go in to effect for the 2017-2018 school year, proposes using a single letter grade with no pluses or minuses. However, the overall report card will be presented like a dashboard, with seven different criteria adding up to one score.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt arrives at Trump Tower in New York on December 7, 2016.
Andrew Harnik / AP

Donald Trump wants Scott Pruitt to run the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Oklahoma attorney general is a fierce ally of fossil fuel companies and one of the EPA’s biggest opponents. The nomination draws a sharp line dividing industry and environmentalists that could test the limits of another big fight: state sovereignty.

A Republican president created the EPA. Using words and phrases that, today, might jeopardize his career before it ever left a state GOP primary, Richard Nixon urged Congress to sign off on what he called his “environmental agenda.”

A woman serves herself a fountain drink at the OnCue Express at 1 NE 23rd St. in Oklahoma City Wednesday.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Researchers at Harvard University believe a tax on sugary soft drinks could save tens of millions of dollars in Oklahoma.

The so-called "soda tax" movement started in the northern California city of Berkeley, and has expanded to other parts of the country.

Harvard’s public health school released a study this week showing the tax could prevent thousands of obesity cases in Oklahoma City over the next decade, The Journal Record’s Sarah Terry-Cobo reports:

Oklahoma Supreme Court chambers
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

An Oklahoma state law that requires doctors at abortion clinics to have hospital admitting privileges was struck down Tuesday by the state’s highest court. The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled the law places an undue burden on a woman’s access to abortion, and violates the state constitution’s single subject rule.

Provided

Early results from nationwide study indicates a new artificial heart pump could lead to fewer complications and better health outcomes.

Two local cardiologists at Integris co-authored research published last month in the New England Journal of Medicine, according to The Journal Record’s Sarah Terry-Cobo:

Patrick Wyrick, state solicitor general, gestures as he speaks during an Oklahoma Supreme Court hearing in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, June 21, 2011.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

The Oklahoma Supreme Court will have a vacant seat in January, and a handful of people hope to fill the position, including a top aide to Attorney General Scott Pruitt.

The Grand River Dam Authority's coal-fired plant in Chouteau, Okla., which is impacted by the Regional Haze Rule.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oil prices are on the rebound, which should eventually generate revenue and help Oklahoma’s state budget situation. Still, another budget hole — that could be as large as $600 million — will likely have to be filled during the 2017 legislative session. One emerging idea that could put an extra billion dollars in state coffers: Selling the Grand River Dam Authority.

OU Athletics

 

Former University of Oklahoma All-American football player James “Jimbo” Elrod, 62, died in a single car crash on the Turner Turnpike approximately 4 miles west of Chandler, Oklahoma early Monday morning.

The Highway Patrol responded to the call at 3:43 a.m. The car had rolled end over end several times, causing Elrod to be ejected. He was not wearing a seatbelt. Elrod’s wife, Diana, was wearing her seatbelt and was transported to the OU Medical Center in critical condition.

Berrien Moore, vice president of the University of Oklahoma’s weather and climate programs, talks with Sean Crowell, senior research scientist, at the school’s campus in Norman Friday.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

NASA has awarded a five-year, $166 million grant to the University of Oklahoma to study how carbon interacts with the land, the atmosphere, and the ocean.

OU says the Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory (GeoCARB) will monitor plant health and vegetation stress across North and South America. The satellite 22,000 miles above the equator will also study the sources and processes controlling carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and methane in Earth's atmosphere. 

Dawn McKinley, left, and Kathy Reynolds talk to reporters outside the Cherokee Tribal courthouse in Tahlequah, Aug. 2, 2005, where justices heard arguments in a case involving the couple's effort to have the tribe recognize their union.
AP

The Cherokee Nation now recognizes same-sex marriages under an opinion issued Friday by the tribe's attorney general.

As a sovereign nation, the Cherokees and other tribes weren’t bound by a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision that made same sex marriage legal in all 50 states.

Charles Dharapak` / AP

U.S. Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., says he supports investigating whether or not Russia was involved in the 2016 election process.

During an interview Sunday evening with Fox News, Lankford, who serves on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, confirmed there is evidence of Russian interference through cyber-breaches and propaganda. But he said there's no evidence Russia interfered in the vote-counting process or election results.

Trucks lined up at a disposal well in northwestern Oklahoma.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s oil and gas regulator for the first time will issue guidelines designed to reduce earthquake activity linked to hydraulic fracturing.

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