Local & Regional

In the local news:

  • A new Riverside Drive review.
  • Bixby football players will be tried in Juvenile Court.
  • Two death in Tulsa crash.
  •  

Oklahoma Watch

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Construction crews are preparing to replace the Oklahoma Capitol's copper roof, which officials consider to be the biggest unexpected expense so far in the building's ongoing restoration project.

Replacing the 45,000 square feet of copper roofing will cost the state $9.3 million. Project manager Trait Thompson doesn't plan to ask lawmakers for more money because the restoration plan has built-in funds for unforeseen expenses, the Oklahoman reported.

Exotic campaign

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The operator of a Florida-based animal sanctuary says she was the target of an Oklahoma zookeeper who was indicted last week on federal murder-for-hire charges.

Carole Baskin of Big Cat Rescue said she's clashed in the past with Joseph Maldonado-Passage, who goes by the nickname "Joe Exotic."

"He's been threatening me for many, many years," Baskin told The Oklahoman after Maldonado-Passage's arrest last week.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The Tulsa Development Authority is looking to our neighbors to the northeast for some inspiration.

Commissioners and staff recently journeyed to Kansas City, Missouri, to take a look at their transit systems and recent downtown economic development efforts.

Missouri’s second-largest metro area is years ahead in transit, with two bus rapid transit lines in operation and leaders now eyeing an extension of the downtown light rail service dubbed KC Streetcar.

Inhofe Press Office

Oklahoma U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe is suddenly holding a lot of cards in Washington.

Inhofe, recently named as chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, said he’s been approved for a waiver and will continue chairing the Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

"Those are the two things we’re supposed to be doing up there, defending America and infrastructure. So, that’s what I’ll continue to do," Inhofe said.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa has even more cause for celebration following this weekend’s opening of the Gathering Place: Riverside Drive has reopened.

A two-mile stretch from 21st Street to 41st Street was closed more than three years while the Gathering Place was under construction. The drive will definitely be smoother. The stretch of road previously rated just 46 out of 100 on the City of Tulsa's pavement condition index.

File photo

 

The U.S. Geological Survey has recorded three small earthquakes in northwestern Oklahoma during the weekend.

The U.S.G.S. reports all three occurred Saturday about 10 miles southeast of Waynoka and about 100 miles northwest of Oklahoma City.

The largest was a magnitude 3.7 quake, with the others measured at magnitudes 3.3 and 2.4.

No injuries or damage are reported. Geologists say damage is not likely in quakes below magnitude 4.0.

Riverside is Open!

Sep 10, 2018
Google Street View

An old friend is back this morning… albeit with a face lift. Riverside Drive reopened this morning to traffic. The roadway had been closed during the first phase construction of the Gathering Place. 

City engineer Paul Zachary says the new roadway will be much safer. The roadway will feature new, wider medians. It has also been elevated to reduce flooding issues. 

New Land bridges are in place to connect the Gathering Place with the River Parks.

In the local news:

  • Riverside Drive reopens in Tulsa.
  • Tulsa's  Gathering Place celebrates its first weekend.
  • Tulsa Gasoline prices are up 21-cents on the year.

file photo

 

An Oklahoma organization is proposing the state add a bilingual certification on diplomas given to high school graduates who speak more than one language.

Thirty-two states include a Seal of Biliteracy on a student's diploma or transcript, confirming the graduate is proficient in English and at least one other language.

Gas Prices Up Over the Week in Tulsa

Sep 10, 2018
Mark Ahsmann-Wikimedia

Gasoline prices in Tulsa have risen 6.7 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.61/g yesterday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 321 stations in Tulsa. This compares with the national average that has increased 1.6 cents per gallon versus last week to $2.84/g, according to GasBuddy.

Average gasoline prices on September 10 in Tulsa have ranged widely over the last five years:
$2.40/g in 2017,

$1.94/g in 2016,

$2.09/g in 2015,

$3.20/g in 2014 and 

$3.41/g in 2013. 

Nicholas Tonelli

Dry and mild weather will prevail early this week with a gradual warming trend from mid to late week. Low thunderstorm chances return for southeast Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas beginning mid week and continuing into the weekend.

Gathering Place

A Saturday parade and concerts marked the opening of the $465 million Gathering Place. The 100-acre stretch along the Arkansas River will include bike and walking trails and sports courts. Admission is free, but equipment rental will cost.

The public park has been built with private money, led by billionaire philanthropist George Kaiser. Funders and city leaders say the park will be a space for recreation and culture but also an ambitious model for inclusivity.

Tulsa Hurricane.com

Their lead and momentum nearly gone, Texas turned to the arm and legs of sophomore quarterback Sam Ehlinger to avoid a potentially crushing home loss.

Ehlinger, who had already run for a touchdown and thrown for another in the first half, engineered a 13-play drive to a fourth quarter score that proved to be the game winner in a grinding 28-21 win over Tulsa Saturday night

KWGS News

Oklahoma voters wanting to change their party affiliation or their address can now do so online for the first time starting Monday.

The Oklahoman reports that the Oklahoma State Election Board is releasing a new online form for registered voters to update their information. Voters can use the form to change their affiliation to one of the state's three recognized political parties or to be independent. They can also update their residential or mailing address as long as it's within the same county.

Gathering Place

Thousands of people gathered for the opening of a $465 million park — one of the largest in the country — along the Arkansas River in Tulsa.

The public park, known as the Gathering Place, is about 66 acres in size but will grow to cover 100 acres. It features bike and walking trails, athletic courts and lawns for concerts.

Gathering Place was built with private money from the foundation of billionaire philanthropist George Kaiser, who joined Mayor Bynum and throngs of people Saturday to mark the park's opening.

KWGS News Photo

Isolated thunderstorms are possible today across eastern Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas, with any thunderstorm chances confined to western Arkansas and far southeast Oklahoma tonight. Locally heavy downpours will be likely with any thunderstorm, however severe weather is not expected. Dry and mild weather will prevail through mid next week, with low thunderstorm chances returning by late week.

Authorities say a Fort Smith-area man has admitted to the slaying of an Oklahoma sheriff's father.

Police arrested 44-year-old Ricky Rainwater on Monday after investigators reported they believed he robbed and killed Larry Lane Sr. over the weekend in Cherokee County, Oklahoma. Lane is the father of Sheriff Larry Lane Jr. of Sequoyah County, Oklahoma.

SH

Authorities say four women were hurt after a passenger tram hit a tree at an entertainment venue in the southwest Missouri tourist town of Branson.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol says the crash happened Thursday at the Shepard of the Hills outdoor theater. The patrol says the tram was going downhill on a private path when the brakes locked up. The tram started skidding and ran off the roadway before striking a wooden fence and a tree.

Three of the women suffered minor injuries and a third had moderate injuries. The women are from Oklahoma and Kansas.

Oklahoma County Sheriff

A jury has found a Tulsa man guilty of killing a 19-month-old child and soliciting murder against the baby's mother.

Jurors in Oklahoma County District Court convicted 37-year-old Bert Franklin on Thursday of first-degree murder in the death of Lincoln Lewis. Franklin was in a relationship with Lincoln's mother, Roxanne Randall, at the time.

Prosecutors say Franklin caused fatal skull fractures to the toddler July 16, 2016, inside Randall's house in Oklahoma City.

Exotic campaign

Federal prosecutors say an Oklahoma zookeeper at an exotic animal park and candidate for governor earlier this year has been charged in a murder-for-hire scheme alleging he tried to hire someone to kill a Florida woman.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Oklahoma City announced Friday that 55-year-old Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as "Joe Exotic," was indicted on two counts of hiring a person to commit murder.

File photo

ACLU’s Smart Justice campaign has recommended steps Oklahoma can take to reduce its prison population by 50 percent by 2025.

They include instituting policies that send fewer people to prison, reduce the time people spend there on average and correcting racial disparities, especially when it comes to drug crimes.

A pedestrian-friendly alleyway renovation going with a downtown revitalization project will get public funding.

Tulsa Development Authority signed off on $205,000 in special taxing district funds for the repaving and lighting of the alley running from Second to First street, which will happen in conjunction with developer Jeff Scott’s $2.5 million overhaul of the OTASCO building at Second Street and Cincinnati Avenue into a restaurant and retail development with a patio.

KWGS News

Last minute preparations are complete. The Gathering Place opens. It is a $465-million project that has been  in the works for years.

Park Director Tony Moore says it’s unique in that much of the expense is borne by the private sector, about $400-million. The rest comes from the city of Tulsa in infrastructure and related items.

The new riverside park opens at 10am. A parade  at 8:30  preceded the official opening ceremonies.

Shuttles are running every 15 minutes from OSU-Tulsa, Expo Square and the River Spirit Casino.

Jaqian AirplaneFan-Wikimedia

 

A Texas gymnastics coach jailed after being accused of sexually assaulting three girls in Fort Worth is facing similar charges in Oklahoma.

The Dallas Morning News reports Skipper Glenn Crawley was charged Thursday by authorities in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with 10 counts of lewd molestation of a child.

Crawley, a former assistant coach at the University of Oklahoma, remains jailed in the Tarrant County Jail in Fort Worth on two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14.

File photo

 

An influx of applications to the agency that regulates Oklahoma's alcohol sales could slow the start of expanded sales in the state.

The Oklahoman reports business applications are pouring in with Oct. 1 approaching. That's the start date for a new law that will allow grocery and convenience stores to sell wine and beer stronger than 3.2 percent by volume.

State law currently allows the sale of wine and strong beer at liquor stores.

google Street View

37-year-old Deliena Rosson is in the Creek County jail. The Kiefer woman is accused of child neglect after her toddler is found wandering the streets of Kiefer in a diaper.

She reportedly told police she had spent the day smoking pot. 

Project Goes Before Tulsa TDA

Sep 7, 2018
Google Street View

The Tulsa Development Authority hears plans to convert a long vacant downtown Otasco store into a multi tenant facility featuring restaurants.

The $2.5 million project will include major alley-way upgrades. The facility is across the street from Tulsa's  city hall .

The TDA approved making the project part of a TIF district.

Claremore Public Schools

 

 A woman has pleaded guilty in federal court to phoning in a bomb threat that forced the evacuation of seven schools in Claremore.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Tulsa announced Thursday Stephanie Louise Montgomery pleaded guilty to providing false information about bombs in schools. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 11.

As part of her plea agreement, Montgomery will pay $12,000 in restitution to law enforcement agencies for costs incurred responding to the false threat.

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

An Oklahoma City teacher will testify against the Supreme Court confirmation of Brett Kavenaugh today in Washington.

Melissa Smith is a teacher at Oklahoma City Grant. She’ll talk about Kavenaugh’s past rulings on collective bargaining.  

Senators finished their questions to the nominee yesterday. Today, they will hear from witnesses, both pro-and-con, on the nomination to the high court. 

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