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StateImpact Oklahoma
7:09 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Local Officials Raise New Questions As Anti-Frack Ban Legislation Makes Progress

Volunteers watching the polls in November 2014 in Denton, Texas, before voters approved a citywide ban on hydraulic fracturing.
Photomancer Flickr

As legislation written to prevent counties and municipalities from banning hydraulic fracturing and other oil and gas activities advances through the Oklahoma House and Senate, some city leaders and their advocates say the measures go too far and could have unintended consequences.

'Mess In Texas'

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Oklahoma News
5:56 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Muscogee (Creek) Nation Begins Process Of Removing Principal Chief

Muscogee (Creek) Principal Chief George Tiger
Credit muscogeenation-nsn.gov

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation has filed paperwork to formally remove the tribe's principal chief.

The Tulsa World reports that the tribe's Election Board filed a petition Tuesday to remove Chief George Tiger from his position in the wake of revelations that Tiger signed a secret contract with a developer of a casino that would have competed with Creek Nation's casino in Tulsa.

Tiger says he did nothing wrong because he signed the contract before he became chief.

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Oklahoma News
4:51 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Counselor Sentenced In Medicaid Fraud Case

Credit creationc / Stock.XCHNG

The operator of an Oklahoma mental health care facility has been sentenced to five years in prison for allegedly billing fraudulent claims to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt's office announced the sentence Wednesday for John Michael Doneti, a licensed professional counselor who ran Central Oklahoma Behavioral Health Services, LLC. Doneti was also sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay $194,000 in restitution.

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Sigma Alpha Epsilon
4:02 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

SAE Announces Steps To Tackle Racism Within Fraternity

The exterior of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house on the University of Oklahoma campus, shortly before the letters were removed from the building March 9, 2015.
Credit Jacob McCleland / KGOU

The executive director of Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s national office announced plans Wednesday morning to combat racism and insensitivity within the fraternity at a press conference in Chicago.

Those steps include the hiring of an executive director of diversity and inclusion, a mandatory online diversity and education program for all SAE members and staff,  a national advisory committee on diversity and inclusion, and establishment of a confidential hotline to report offensive, inappropriate or illegal behavior.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
1:39 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Duncan Left Wanting After State Drought Assistance For Water Project Falls Through

Credit J. STEPHEN CONN / Flickr Creative Commons

Duncan, Oklahoma has taken some of the worst of the drought these past five years. Stage 5 water rationing is in effect, which means — with few exceptions — a ban on all outside watering.

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Politics and Government
12:23 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Health Care Authority Director Says Program Needs $120 Million To Maintain Services

Credit Oklahoma Health Care Authority

Oklahoma's top Medicaid officer says the health care program needs $120 million more state dollars next year to maintain services at current levels for the more than 800,000 young, elderly and disabled Oklahomans it serves each month.

Oklahoma Health Care Authority CEO Nico Gomez spoke Wednesday to members of the Senate Committee on Appropriations while outlining the agency's budget request for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The agency's current budget is about $953 million.

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State Capitol
10:03 am
Wed March 18, 2015

Hofmeister: Four Percent Cut Means $100 Million Loss

Joy Hofmeister, superintendent of public instruction.
Ilea Shutler Oklahoma Watch

Updated 11:06 a.m.

Oklahoma's state schools superintendent says a 4 percent cut in the Department of Education's budget would reduce funding for the state's public schools by $100 million next year.

Superintendent Joy Hofmeister outlined her agency's budget request Wednesday for members of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. Lawmakers must deal with a budget shortfall of $611 million as they work to craft a budget for state government for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

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Technology
8:28 am
Wed March 18, 2015

Oklahoma City's Website Hit With Two Denial-Of-Service Attacks

A screenshot of an attempt to visit the City of Oklahoma City's website Wednesday morning.
Brian Hardzinski KGOU

The City of Oklahoma says its website was the victim of a second denial-of-service, or DOS attack, in as many days early Wednesday morning.

At 7:44 a.m. the city tweeted its website was down, so KGOU reached out via the social media platform.

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Politics
9:35 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Todd Lamb: On the Road

Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb.
Credit ok.gov

Todd Lamb, Oklahoma’s lieutenant governor, isn’t at the Capitol much.

Now in his second term, Lamb, a Republican, has spent a good portion of his tenure as second-in-command traveling across Oklahoma or out of state. He just finished his fifth tour as lieutenant governor in which he visited 77 counties in 77 days.

On Friday, in McAlester – his last stop on the tour – Lamb was asked by a McAlester News-Capital reporter about any plans to run for governor in four years. “I’ve been asked if it’s in the back of my mind,” Lamb said. “It’s in the front of my mind.”

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Oklahoma News
5:10 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Woodward County Wildfire 70 Percent Contained

Stock Photo Of A Grass Fire
Credit Oklahoma Forestry Services

Emergency personnel say a wildfire that has charred 37 square miles in rural western Oklahoma and destroyed at least six structures is about 70 percent contained.

Oklahoma Forestry Services spokeswoman Michelle Finch-Walker said Tuesday that a wind shift caused the fire to burn back into itself, allowing crews to make significant progress to extinguish the blaze.

Woodward County emergency manager Matt Lehenbauer said state emergency officials will assess the damage.

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