Politics And Government
4:17 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Oklahoma's Chief Justice Warns Judges To Talk To Their Constituents

Credit bloomsberries / Flickr.com

Dozens of bills introduced in the state Legislature this year would have had a "lethal and devastating" effect on Oklahoma's judiciary if enacted into law, the state's chief justice warned judges Wednesday.

Chief Justice Tom Colbert told judges to talk to their constituents — especially local lawmakers — about the impact that some of the proposed changes could have on their ability to carry out the rule of law, such as how judges are selected and retained.

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Education
1:24 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Oklahoma Teacher Of The Year Nominees Announced

Credit USAG-Humphreys / Flickr.com

The Oklahoma State Department of Education has named the 12 finalists for the annual Teacher of the Year award.

State Superintendent Janet Barresi made the announcement Wednesday. The winner will be announced this fall.

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World Views
10:33 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Despite Rough Start, Uncertain Transition, U.S.-Vatican Relationship Personal, Principled

U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Francis Rooney with First Lady Laura Bush and daughter Barbara during a private meeting with Pope Benedict XVI - Feb. 9 2006
Shealah Craighead The White House

The United States has had a long-but-rocky relationship with the Vatican and didn’t formally establish diplomatic relations and appoint an ambassador until 1984. That 21-year stretch of U.S. representatives serving with a single pope ended when John Paul II died in 2005.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
9:30 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Auditing The Storm: Thousands Of Disaster-Aid Requests End In Rejection

Susan Montesano and her two children, Aspen, 4 and Braden, 2 escaped from her and her fiancé’s rented house in Moore before it was leveled by the May 20 tornado. They received a $15,000 disaster-aid check within days.
Clifton Adcock Oklahoma Watch

Although millions of dollars in federal aid money began pouring into Oklahoma shortly after the spring 2013 storms, not all who asked for help received it.

The Oklahoma National Guard sought $22,074 for taking Gov. Mary Fallin on a helicopter survey of the damage from the May 20 tornado, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied the request.

Mid-Del Public Schools had seven of its requests denied for roof repairs and other projects — the most rejected among applicants as of early June — because inspectors found the damage was unrelated to the storms.

The most dramatic rejection trend was for individuals: Of the 13,714 people who  were referred for help by FEMA under its “Individuals and Households Program,” nearly three-fourths were denied.

State and FEMA officials say the denials don’t necessarily mean FEMA was acting carelessly or callously. The agency encourages disaster victims and other groups to apply for funds even when it’s likely their requests will be rejected or scaled back because damage to their properties or belongings is mostly covered by private insurance.

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Oklahoma News
8:58 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Hearing Set In Lawsuit Over Oklahoma DUI Arrests

versageek Flickr Creative Commons

A judge has set a hearing on whether to grant class-action status to a lawsuit involving drivers whose licenses were revoked because of a faulty affidavit once used by the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety.

The lawsuit seeks refunds for an estimated 40,000 drivers cited for alcohol-related offenses whose licenses were revoked between 2008 and October 2013.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:30 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Auditing The Storm: Assistance Is Hit And Miss For Individuals After 2013 Tornadoes

Victims embrace amid the devastation in Moore after the May 20, 2013 tornado.
Joe Wertz StateImpact Oklahoma

After last year’s deadly tornadoes, private insurers paid out over $1 billion in claims. FEMA also chipped in $15 million as part of its individual and household assistance program. But nearly three-quarters of that program’s applicants were denied.

As part of our series tracking the federal aid money, we look at the decision-making process that left much of Central Oklahoma out of luck. 

On the evening of May 20th, 2013, James and Sheryl Pennington stepped outside their home in Moore to find debris everywhere. The tornado had left a devastating trail, and they weren’t exempt from its destruction. 

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City
Referrals
Eligible
Percent Eligible
Housing
Other Needs
Total Amount
Amt.

Credit Oklahoma Watch

As of June 2, Moore and Oklahoma City had been awarded the largest amounts of FEMA public assistance, which reimburses for emergency response, cleanup and rebuilding costs.

Oklahoma Watch
Goes Into Effect Nov. 1
6:11 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

New State Gun Law Could Affect Licensing This Year

Credit Scott Beale / Flickr.com

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says a new state law could affect people who are applying for gun licenses this year.

The agency said Tuesday that the law going into effect Nov. 1 modifies the state's Self-Defense Act, making certificates expire after three years. Previously, the certificates did not expire.

OSBI says residents who have completed a gun safety training course should begin the application process for a license as soon as possible.

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8-1 Decision
3:47 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Supreme Court Rules Legislature Had The Power To Repeal Common Core

Credit Michael Surran / Flickr.com

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that the Legislature had the authority to repeal Common Core education standards for English and math in the state's public schools.

The state's highest court took the action Tuesday a little more than four hours after attorneys presented oral arguments in a lawsuit that challenged the Legislature's action.

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