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Oklahoma Attorney General's Office

The Oklahoma Attorney General's office has filed charges against the owners of a vanity publishing business for allegedly extorting its customers.  

Attorney General Mike Hunter announced that Richard Tate and his son Ryan Tate, who run Tate Publishing and the Tate Music Group, have been charged with eight felonies and one misdemeanor, including counts of extortion, embezzlement and racketeering.

Researchers Nate Stevens and Hannah Rabinowitz calibrate a seismometer near Pawnee, Oklahoma.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The strongest earthquake ever recorded in Oklahoma may have been triggered by oil and gas activity that started and stopped years before the shaking, newly published research suggests.

Sonic, America's Drive-In

Sonic Drive-In has pulled a commercial featuring General George Custer off the air. 

 

The Oklahoma City-based fast food chain premiered the commercial on April 24 to advertize a frozen dessert called a Custard Concrete. But the ad quickly drew criticism from social media users who called its humor insensitive.

 

Mandel Ngan / AFP/Getty Images

President Trump signed an executive order Thursday relaxing political restrictions on religious groups. Among other provisions, Trump directs the IRS to ease up on faith-based organizations who may have had their tax-exempt status threatened for supporting a particular candidate. NPR reporters annotate the order, adding context and analysis.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Faillin held a press conference on Wednesday, May 3, 2017,, asking state legislators to balance Oklahoma's budget.
Claire Donnelly / KGOU

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin is urging state lawmakers to work together to find ways to fill the state’s nearly $900 million budget hole.

“This is a serious problem,” Fallin said addressing legislators and reporters at the Capitol on Wednesday.

“It requires leadership and courage to find solutions to the problems that we face in our state. And to not play partisan gridlock politics like we see in Washington, D.C.,” Fallin said.

katsrcool / Flickr.com

Uncertainties about the state budget have led Oklahoma transportation officials to change highway construction plans.

The Oklahoma Transportation Commission announced at its monthly meeting on Monday that the Oklahoma Department of Transportation may suspend work on more than 80 bridges and roads across the state.

Mesonet

A weekend of rain, hail and high winds has left its mark on Oklahoma.

 

Lawton Blanchard (left) will run the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. His mother, Arlene, survived the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building.
Storme Jones / KGOU

Arlene Blanchard had nine days left in her contract with the U.S. Army when her office in the recruiting battalion, on the fourth floor of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, was shook. The April 19, 1995 bombing killed seven of her coworkers in the recruiting office and a friend’s child she held in her arms earlier that morning. In total, 168 people were killed that day.

Oklahoma state capitol
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

What happened at the Capitol this week?

No Teacher Pay Raise Bill Passed

Lawmakers did not pass a teacher pay raise bill, despite both the House and Senate saying they want to pass a measure.

Thursday was the deadline for bills to have passed both chambers, except for legislation that comes from the Joint Committees on Appropriations and Budget.

Sen. Jason Smalley, R-Stroud, who was supposed to introduce a bill on the Senate floor that would give teachers a $6000 raise over three years, did not introduce the bill.

Somali refugees wait outside a UNHCR processing center at a refugee camp outside Dadaab, eastern Kenya, on Aug. 5, 2011. Climate change contributed to low rain levels in East Africa in 2011, making global warming one of the causes of Somalia's famine.
Jerome Delay / AP

 

Interactions between humans and the environment is a two-way street. Human actions change the environment, and changes to the environment affect human behavior.

David Lopez-Carr, a geographer a the University of California-Santa Barbara, calls it “human environment dynamics.” He studies how climate change impacts food security, crop production and human health, particularly infant mortality.

 

“Babies and infants are the hardest hit when there is when there are food shortages,” Lopez-Carr told KGOU’s World Views.

Oklahoma City University law students Sonya Chronister, Cameron Farnsworth and Marcos Sierra talk about the Oklahoma Innocence Project’s latest work while sitting in the J. William Conger Courtroom at the OCU School of Law.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

 

The Oklahoma Innocence Project’s caseload is growing after the non-profit scored a legal victory last year that exonerated two former inmates.

In May 2016, Malcolm Scott and De’Marchoe Carpenter left prison for the first time in 16 years after the Oklahoma Innocence Project cleared the two men. Both were wrongfully convicted in the 1994 murder of Karen Summers and sentenced to life plus 170 years.

National Weather Service

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has declared a state of emergency in response to a night of heavy storms that damaged power lines and homes across the state.

The state of emergency will last for 30 days and allows state agencies to make purchases that will contribute to disaster preparedness and relief, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The most practical alternative to earthquake-triggering oilfield disposal wells is for energy companies to reuse the wastewater instead of injecting it underground, leaders of a research group working on behalf of the state said Wednesday.

Avoiding Injection

Paige Willett / KGOU

At Massive Graphics in Norman, workers stamp t-shirt after t-shirt for the festival. Sitting on a nearby table are neat piles of freshly printed shirts for Norman Music Festival X with designs like a tambourine playing monkey and an acoustic guitar. The screen printing company is owned by Kent Johnson. He’s also the vice president of the volunteer board that organizes Norman Music Festival every year, and he’s been there since the beginning.  

Sue Ogrocki / AP Photo

A state senator under investigation for unreported campaign donations has resigned.

Oklahoma State Senator Kyle Loveless of District 45 in central Oklahoma submitted a letter of resignation on Thursday morning.

Oklahoma Attorney General's Office

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter announced the formation of a state task force to combat opioid addiction on Wednesday.  

The Oklahoma Commission on Opioid Abuse will consist of nine members, including lawmakers, law enforcement, a dentist, a pharmacist, a nurse and a doctor. It will consider policy changes to prevent, treat and intervene in opioid addiction.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater speaks to the Board of County Commissioners on Nov. 2.
Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

The Oklahoma County district attorney has found no probable cause to charge a police officer responsible for the February shooting death of a man in Bethany.

Members of the Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission, including former Oklahoma governor Brad Henry, gave a press conference Tuesday.
Claire Donnelly / KGOU

A bipartisan group of Oklahomans is urging the state to keep its temporary ban on the death penalty.

 

U.S. Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., talks to supporters during the Republican watch party in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016.
J. Pat Carter / AP

The U.S. Senate investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election is moving steadily, despite reports to the contrary, said Oklahoma Senator James Lankford in an interview with NPR's Rachel Martin on Tuesday morning.

 

A dad and his daughter on the final stretch of the March for Science at the Oklahoma capitol on April 22, 2017.
Joe Wertz / State Impact Oklahoma

Oklahomans joined thousands of people in more than 600 cities on Saturday in a march for scientific freedom organized to send a message to state and national lawmakers.

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