KGOU

Business Intelligence Report

Wednesdays

A weekly feature produced in partnership with the Journal Record, Oklahoma's weekday newspaper and website specializing in business, legislative and legal news. Editor Ted Streuli and Journal Record reporters discuss business and economic development in the state.

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Workers on a road construction project on E.K. Gaylord Boulevard in downtown Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

Education proponents and other Oklahoma City residents spoke out against a MAPS sales tax and bond proposal at this week’s city council meeting. If approved by council on June 20, the public will vote on the $1.1 billion proposal in September.

The general obligation bond package, permanent quarter-cent sales tax and temporary three-quarters cent sales tax would be used for infrastructure improvements and emergency services. The sales taxes would be a continuation of the expiring MAPS 3 one percent sales tax.

Christmas lights still wrap the entrance to Sayre Memorial Hospital, which has been closed for five months. The nearest emergency room is now in Elk City, 14 miles away.
Dale Denwalt / The Journal Record

A commercial brokerage firm has purchased a shuttered rural Oklahoma hospital and plans to accept new patients by the end of June.

Healthcare Properties Transaction Group of Oklahoma, LLC, purchased the building and licenses of the renamed Sayre Community Hospital from the Sayre Memorial Hospital Authority on May 22. The announcement of the transaction was made on Tuesday.

The purchasing group’s CEO is Bob Hicks, according to the Journal Record’s Sarah Terry-Cobo.

Service technician Tyler Pabst demonstrates the servicing of a geothermal unit in Norman Wednesday.
Emmy Verdin / Journal Record

The end of a federal tax credit for homeowners who install Energy Star geothermal pumps has driven down business for Oklahoma companies that install the equipment.

Comfortworks, Inc. has seen a decline in business between 20 to 30 percent since the credit ended in 2016. Chris Ellis, vice president for Comfortworks, Inc., told the Journal Record’s Kateleigh Mills that his company has begun to focus more on commercial sales since the residential credit ended.

Motorists travel past construction on Lindsey Street in Norman.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

 

The owners of some businesses in Norman have seen a decline in sales due to ongoing road and bridge construction along Lindsey Street.

International Pantry general manager Kristen McCall says sales have declined about 30 percent since the spring of 2016 when the I-35 exit closed. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is currently constructing a new bridge over I-35 at Lindsey.

The Journal Record’s Molly Fleming writes internet sales have also hurt the business.

Oklahoma state capitol
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

The Oklahoma legislature wraps up today, as lawmakers pass a final budget deal that will fill a nearly $900 million shortfall. Legislators passed several bills that will have an impact on business in the state. Journal Record editor Ted Streuli and KGOU’s Jacob McCleland reviewed some of the business-related bills.

Volunteers start on a new home at 7308 Park Meadow in Oklahoma City’s Legacy Estates addition as part of Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity’s annual Women Build.
Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity

Update May 5, 2017 at 1:44 p.m.

On Friday, the Senate Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget passed an amended version of the bill, now called HB 2403. It now excludes charitable giving from the $17,000 cap on itemized tax deductions. 

The Devon Energy Center in downtown Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

 

 

Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy announced it will sell over one billion dollars in assets over the next year.

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.

The Wormy Dog Saloon at 311 E. Sheridan Ave. in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

 

A Bricktown music venue that has showcased many red dirt and up-and-coming country artists is closing its doors.

The Wormy Dog Saloon will close at the end of April. Levelland Productions, which leases the venue, informed the property’s owner, Brewer Entertainment, in December that they will not renew their lease.

John Pansze, of Yukon, applies makeup to get into character as Sponji the Clown.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

 


Viral videos of weapon-wielding, scary clowns are hurting the bottom line for local clowns. Event bookings have plummeted, and even adult parties are cancelling because a guest has a fear of clowns.

Voters wait in line at a polling place inside Life.Church in Edmond Tuesday.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

 

Voters in Edmond rejected a proposed expansion of the Spring Creek Plaza shopping center on Tuesday.

The Journal Record’s Molly Fleming writes the proposal would have added 260,000 square feet of retail space at S. Bryant Avenue and E. 15th Street, as well as 325 luxury apartments. The city council approved the zoning change to the 26-acre  property in November.

The Smart Saver grocery store at NE 23rd Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

 

A bill that passed the Oklahoma Senate would establish a fund to get more fresh, healthy food into underserved areas.

Senate Bill 507, by Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma City,  would create a mechanism to help small retails like convenience stores and grocers to stock fresh, perishable items.

A customer pays a bill at the customer service window at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

 

A bill that passed the Oklahoma House on Tuesday would create a task force to evaluate the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

 

The Corporation Commission is charged with regulating the oil and gas industry, utilities telecommunication, and other industries and endeavors such as the dismantling of cotton gins.

Royden Freeland Jr. tests equipment at International Crystal Manufacturing, 10 N. Lee Ave. in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

 

Royden Freeland, Sr. founded International Crystal Manufacturing in 1951 in Oklahoma City’s FIlm Row district. Later this year, the company will close its doors.

A helicopter is shown on a landing pad at OU Medical Center, 700 NE 13th St. in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

 

Oklahoma City’s two largest hospital systems chose not go ahead with proposed merger earlier this week. The University of Oklahoma Medical Services and SSM Health, the parent company that operates St. Anthony’s Hospital, announced on Monday that their proposed merger had fallen through.

Students listen during a class titled “Land and Lease” at Oklahoma City University’s School of Law in downtown Oklahoma City Monday.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

 

It’s been nearly 70 years since Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher made history when she became the first African American law student at the University of Oklahoma. Today, there are still few African Americans at law firms.

The Journal Record’s Sarah Terry Cobo writes Sipuel Fisher was a pioneer who challenged segregation.

Tamiko Cabatic prepares blood samples for blood typing and screening at the Oklahoma Blood Institute in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

 

 

Oklahoma City’s biotech industry is budding, but politics, investment and education are hampering its growth.

The Journal Record’s Catherine Sweeney reports the industry attracts billions of dollars annually. However, some pieces of legislation have branded the state as “anti-research,” poor education funding limits the number of students who can work in STEM field, and investors are leery of the state.

cigarettes
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

 

Health care providers are lining up behind a proposal to increase Oklahoma’s sales tax on cigarettes by $1.50. The proposal is also attracting the supports of child advocacy groups.

A man paints a house on NW 15th Street in the Heritage Hills neighborhood of Oklahoma City Tuesday.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

 

If an Oklahoma homeowner wants to make some repairs on their own, they may be breaking the law. New bills in the state legislature would change that.

Sparq Natural Gas CEO Norman Herrera fills a pickup truck with compressed natural gas in front of the Oklahoma Environmental Management Authority office in El Reno Friday.
Mark Hancock / Journal Record

 

 

El Reno installed a compressed natural gas station for its refuse fleet. It’s part of a larger trend of municipalities relying on the fuel for its services.

The Journal Record’s Sarah Terry Cobo writes Oklahoma Environmental Management Authority owner David Griesel says the dispensers save time and money.

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