Oklahoma Watch
2:20 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Premium Prices For Oklahoma Health Marketplace Revealed

The health insurance exchange premium prices for Oklahoma appear to compare favorably with Affordable Care Act rates in other states.
Credit James Martin / Flickr

Three large insurance companies are planning to offer health policies to individual Oklahomans at rates ranging from less than $100 to more than $1,000 per month through the new insurance marketplace being set up under the Affordable Care Act.

The rates posted by Aetna Life Insurance Co., Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma and Coventry Health & Life Insurance Co. for policies they will offer under the health-care law vary widely based on age, geographic location, tobacco use and plan type.

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May 2013 Tornado Outbreak
12:31 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Moore Tax Receipts Up As City Continues Recovery

Loading supplies for disaster relief - May 23, 2013
Credit Kerry Rodtnick / University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

Leaders in Moore say tornado recovery efforts have caused sales tax collections to skyrocket in the city.

The Norman Transcript reports that Moore received more than $2.6 million in total sales tax from the Oklahoma Tax Commission in September. That includes general fund receipts, which are up more than 12 percent from last year.

City Manager Stephen Eddy calls the numbers "amazing" and says rebuilding efforts from the May 20 tornado are likely responsible.

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World Views
11:32 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Big Winners In Latest Syria Developments? Moscow And Assad

President Obama meets in the White House Situation Room with his national security advisors to discuss strategy in Syria, Saturday, August 31, 2013.
Credit Pete Souza / The White House

Joshua Landis recaps this week's developments in Syria with Suzette Grillot and Rebecca Cruise .

Earlier this week President Obama asked congressional leaders to postpone a vote on legislation that would authorize the use of force against Syria.

“We will work together in consultation with Russia and China to put forward a resolution at the U.N. Security Council requiring Assad to give up his chemical weapons and to ultimately destroy them under international control,” the president said in a televised address to the nation Tuesday night.

Joshua Landis, the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and the author of the influential and widely-read blog Syria Comment, says the new diplomatic development is a victory for Moscow.

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Teacher Evaluation
10:21 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Oklahoma Teacher Prep Commission Releases Survey Results

Credit comedy_nose / Flickr Creative Commons

A new survey from the Commission for Teacher Preparation performed by CTB shows that first year teachers, both those traditionally educated and those alternatively certified, feel overall they are prepared for classroom instruction.

The results were unveiled at the commission’s meeting Thursday. The survey, which was distributed to 2,059 first-year teachers across the state, assessed teachers’ challenges and strengths in the classroom.

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Health Education
9:10 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Tobacco Board Wants Assessment Of Oklahoma School-Based Health

Credit Wesley Fryer / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Board of Directors on Thursday approved the hiring of a consultant to assist with conducting an assessment of school-based health education in Oklahoma.

Following discussions of the need for a more youth-oriented movement, Chairwoman Casey Killblane expressed concern for the lack of health education in classrooms, saying the discussions often get tied up by “a lot of emotional garbage.”

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Guns
6:10 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

4th Grade Football Team Has Surprising Raffle Prize... A Gun

Hand Gun
Credit Coast Ranger / Flickr.com

A youth football program in northeastern Oklahoma is making waves over a fundraiser that raffled off tickets saying the winner would receive a handgun.

But the president of the volunteer program said the raffle was actually for a gift certificate to a gun store — not for a gun.

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Jeff Cohen is a proud New Orleans native who now calls New England home. Or at least his second home.

He started in newspapers in 2001 and joined WNPR in 2010, where he is a reporter and an occasional fill-in host for All Things Considered.

In addition to covering state and Hartford city politics, Jeff covered the December 2012 Newtown shootings and the stories that followed.  Much of that work was featured on NPR.  Also in 2012, Jeff was selected by NPR and Kaiser Health News for their joint Health Care In The States project. That work resulted in several national stories, including ones on the Affordable Care Act and medical education.

Non-Profits
4:00 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Feed The Children Looking To Businessmen For Guidance

Volunteers for Feed The Children
Credit Salvation Army USA West / Flickr.com

Feed the Children has named two Texas businessmen to its growing international board of directors.

The Oklahoma City-based charity announced Thursday the appointments of Michael Dinkins of Frisco and Michael Hogan of Grapevine to the board.

Dinkins is the executive vice president and chief financial officer of Greatbatch, which designs and builds medical devices. Hogan is an executive vice president at GameStop, one of the world's largest video game retailers.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
2:53 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Regulator Will Respond To Risk of Injection Well Earthquakes With Suggestions, Not Rules Or Laws

Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy
Credit Provided / State of Oklahoma

Geophysicists have linked Oklahoma’s largest earthquake to an injection well used by the oil and gas industry, and there is growing concern among many seismologists that underground disposal of oilfield waste fluid can trigger quakes or make it easier for faults to slip.

Wastewater disposal wells have been linked to quakes in a half-dozen other states. Oklahoma’s regulatory response has been more passive than most, StateImpact reported in May.

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Here & Now
1:21 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Oklahoma Public Schools Still Struggling To Recover From Recession

Credit Lexie Flickinger / Flickr

new study out today from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities finds that more than two-thirds of states are spending less per child on schools than they were five years ago.

Listen to Meghna Chakrabarti's conversation with Michael Leachman, director of state fiscal research with the State Fiscal Policy division of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and lead author of the report.

The report analyzed inflation-adjusted figures from Fiscal Year 2008 to 2014, and finds Oklahoma is spending nearly 23 percent less per child on schools than five years ago. 

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