Mark Twain Elementary second grade teacher Elizabeth Clarke staples together work from two of her second-grade students in this 2013 photo.
Chase Cook / Oklahoma Watch

In South Dakota, one of two states with lower average teacher pay than Oklahoma, the Legislature in March approved a half-cent sales tax intended to boost salaries by thousands of dollars.

The other state, Mississippi, also is phasing in a teacher pay increase.

By contrast, when Oklahoma legislators adjourned Friday, they left ambitions of higher salaries for teachers unfulfilled. That means the state could find itself dead last in teacher pay soon unless more funding is generated.

Read Amanda's "The Players" blog.

Amanda Vinicky has covered Illinois politics and government for WUIS and the Illinois Public Radio network since 2006.  Highlights include reporting on the historic impeachment and removal from office of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, winning a national award for her coverage of Illinois' electric rate fight as a result of deregulation, and following Illinois' delegations to the Democratic and Republican national political conventions in '08 and '12.  

Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma attorney general, gestures as he speaks at a news conference in Oklahoma City, Monday, April 8, 2013.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

The Oklahoma attorney general has issued an opinion that out-of-state handgun licenses obtained by Oklahomans online are as valid as Oklahoma-issued handgun licenses, even if the other state has more lenient requirements.

The opinion, released Friday, states that Oklahoma residents with a “non-resident” handgun license from another state, such as Virginia, and Utah, are as valid as Oklahoma's concealed handgun license.

Bernd Heinrich, a birdwatching expert and professor emeritus of biology at the University of Vermont, has been known to go to extremes in his bird-watching pursuits. There is, for example, the time he drilled a hole in the wall of his home in order to get a better view of a bird building its nest. 

Want to try mushroom hunting? Here are a few tips from a pro.

May 29, 2016

It’s spring and morel mushroom season is in full swing. If you’ve never dared to eat wild mushrooms before, you’re missing out on all these delicious flavors.

Mycologist and author Gary Lincoff has a few tips for finding some easy-to-identify edible mushrooms this spring and summer, wherever you may live.

1. Join a mushroom club

The NASA Kepler mission scientists have confirmed a record haul of exoplanets: 1,284. The objects were all spotted in the patch of sky between the constellations of Cygnus and Lyra, and the announcement more than doubles the number of exoplanets, or a planet that orbits a star other than the sun, known to science.

May 29, 2016

This is from the Manager's Desk.   

Last week I talked about some of the awards KGOU has received, and more awards are coming. The staff who create programming, and the staff that support them, are amazing.

But there’s another aspect about the awards KGOU receives that is perhaps even more important. When KGOU receives an award, it also means that you, as a listener of the station or reader of the digital content – are well served for your investment. The awards mean that the content you receive is of high quality.

Researchers designed a new drone that can start fires, potentially useful to keep people out of harms way during prescribed burns of rangeland.
Ariana Brocious / Harvest Public Media

Every spring farmers and ranchers intentionally burn their fields to jumpstart the natural process of renewal. But those fires can be dangerous. That’s why researchers in Nebraska are designing a new drone to start fires, which may help protect people and the environment.

On a warm spring morning, a big burn crew dressed in yellow and green flame-resistant clothing gets ready to set 26 acres of tallgrass prairie on fire at Homestead National Monument of America near Beatrice, Neb.

This octopus may evoke the spirit of life, but it never swam the ocean depths. It’s made of glass.

The specimen is one of thousands of meticulously detailed marine invertebrate models fashioned between 1863 and 1890 by a father-son glassworking duo, for the primary purpose of research and education. Collectively, their work depicts more than 700 different species — including various anemones, squids and sea stars — found in waters around the globe.

Oklahoma Sending Cash To Companies That Pay No Income Tax

May 28, 2016
money, cash
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Some state lawmakers are justifying their decision to curtail a tax credit for the working poor by declaring that the state shouldn’t be subsidizing people who owe no income taxes in the first place.

But the state has several tax breaks on the books that do essentially the same thing for businesses. Through a combination of direct refunds, rebates and tax credit “transfers,” companies with no income tax liability are receiving cash subsidies.

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