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Chief of Choctaw Nation Gary Batton, from left, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and the Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby listen to a speaker during a press conference at the Oklahoma Heritage Center in Oklahoma City on Thursday.
Alonzo Adams / AP

After five years of court proceedings and confidential negotiations, two Native American tribes have reached an agreement with the state over control of water in southeast Oklahoma.

Midwest City’s Heritage Park Mall.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

It’s been about six years since the last few tenants moved out of Heritage Park Mall in Midwest City.

A lone retailer remains – Sears – and a local megachurch also holds it services there, but city leaders hope to revitalize the property and have issued a request for proposals to rehabilitate it.

The Journal Record’s editor Ted Streuli says the idea has been in the works for years, but recently the city council in Midwest City approved a matching $27,000 grant for requests for proposals. The money would come out of Midwest City’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget.

People watch an Olympic Games event on television at the Homeless Alliance day shelter in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

A survey of Oklahoma City's homeless population shows a 16 percent increase in people living on the streets.

The Oklahoma City Planning Department's Housing and Community Development Division released the results of the 2016 Point-in-Time study Wednesday.

The city's annual census of the homeless population took place on January 28, and counted just over 1,500 people. It's estimated the community's homeless population for the entire year is about four to five times higher than the one-night tally.

Black vulture
KELLY COLGAN AZAR / Flickr (CC-BY-ND 2.0)

This is the centennial year of the Migratory Bird Treaty. The compact between the United States and Canada assures many birds can travel undisturbed, but the international agreement protects one species that’s a menace to Oklahoma farmers and ranchers.

Hated, But Protected

Frank Lawrence is sick of the black vultures he’s been dealing with his entire life as a rancher in southeast Oklahoma.

empty classroom
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Leaders of the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration are supporting a legal challenge filed in the state Supreme Court this week by Oklahoma City attorney David Slane.

Jimmy Hendershot, owner of 23rd Street Vapes in Oklahoma City, said he would consider converting his business to serve medical marijuana clients if the petition gets on the ballot and is approved.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

The group Oklahomans for Health still needs several thousand signatures for its medical marijuana initiative petition by Thursday afternoon's deadline.

While the group has been collecting signatures, others have been thinking about how pot could be big business here, The Journal Record’s Dale Denwalt reports:

Attorney David Slane talks with media outside the Oklahoma Supreme Court clerk's office, August 9, 2016.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

Attorney David Slane is suing Gov. Mary Fallin over $140 million in unspent state funds he contends should go to state agencies. Slane filed the lawsuit Tuesday with the Oklahoma Supreme Court on behalf of six clients who receive state services through the Department of Human Services.

Sgt. Rob Gallavan loads his department-issued rifle into his patrol car trunk on Aug. 1, 2016
Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

A string of violent attacks across the country has many cops on high alert. And now, some departments are arming officers with more powerful gear. In Oklahoma City, that means police can soon start carrying personally owned rifles on duty, a decision that’s leading the department to find a balance between gearing up and preserving community relations.

'No longer rare'

It’s police sergeant Rob Gallavan’s day off. There’s a large black bag sitting on his kitchen table. He unzips it and casually removes a solid black, department-issued firearm.

Call specialists answer HeartLine Inc.’s various helplines inside the organization’s call center in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Two Oklahoma non-profits are struggling to determine how to maintain the state’s social services hotline due to budget shortfalls.

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services cut all of the fund for the state's 211 call-in system.

The Norman Public Schools' administrative offices.
Jennifer Palmer / Oklahoma Watch

Parents upset over the axing of a Norman Public Schools language program are driving an effort to create what could be the state’s second charter school allowed outside Oklahoma City and Tulsa under a new law.

A group of parents is asking the district to sponsor the school, which would continue the mission of a French immersion program that was eliminated in the spring at Reagan Elementary School to save the district $400,000. The charter school, Le Monde International School, also would offer Spanish immersion.

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