Local & Regional

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The district judge overseeing the state of Oklahoma's lawsuit against several makers of opioid drugs has ruled that video cameras will be allowed inside the courtroom.

Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman issued his order in the matter on Tuesday.

The Oklahoma Publishing Company, which owns The Oklahoman newspaper, had sought to allow cameras inside the courtroom.

Cameras aren't commonly allowed inside courtrooms in Oklahoma, but Balkman noted the issues presented in the case are "of great importance to the citizens of Oklahoma."

Tulsa Hotel Evacuated in Overnight Fire Alarm

Aug 23, 2018
TFD Twitter

A third alarm is turned in at the Warren Place Double-Tree Hotel is south Tulsa. The multi-story hotel was evacuated around 4:30 this morning when smoke filled the hallways on the third and fifth floors. 

There have been no injuries at the 61st and South Yale complex.

Emergency crews are focusing on the ventilation system at the hotel. 

LUTHER, Okla. (AP) — Police say a 14-year-old Oklahoma boy accused of repeatedly stabbing a female classmate during a school assembly wanted a romantic relationship with the girl.

Luther Police Chief David Randall told The Oklahoman on Wednesday that girl told investigators the boy had tried to start a romantic relationship with her. Randall says the girl liked the boy only as a friend.

Investigators had been tight-lipped about a possible motive behind the Aug. 16 stabbing at Luther High School. The attack happened as students gathered on the first day of school.

Serge Melki

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin maintains not calling state lawmakers into a special session on medical marijuana was the right move.

"It’s a complicated issue. It’s not something you could resolve in 30, 60 days like the health department’s had to deal with, and it’s not something that you want to throw legislators into, especially in a very actively charged political season," Fallin said.

Patient and industry groups called for a special session.

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Two doctors talking Wednesday to Oklahoma’s Medical Marijuana Working Group are not in favor of how the state’s program is set to be implemented.

Anesthesiologist Mike Mullins said physicians’ role will be limited with the federal government classifying marijuana as a Schedule I drug.

"Therefore, we cannot discuss anything to do with therapies with patients or risks versus benefits with patients at all," Mullins said. "Our role is, ‘Yes, you would like a medical marijuana license? Hm. Well, I hope it benefits you.’ And we sign the application and away you go."

Classes Resume in the TPS

Aug 22, 2018
KWGS News

40,000 students in Tulsa head back to school today. This is the first day of the 2018 Fall Semester.

School buses started rolling at day break this morning on the streets of Tulsa. New safety protocols are in place to keep children safe on the school campuses.  

Tulsa Police are watching the school zones and looking for anyone not yielding to a school bus. 

The KWGS Local News

Aug 22, 2018

In the local news:

  • The Governor says the state is better off now than when she took office.
  • Classes resume in the TPS
  • Anna America leaves the City Council... but not city hall.

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The FBI has identified a person in California who authorities say made a threatening telephone call to the Oklahoma School for the Deaf.

The Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services says the school in Sulphur, about 75 miles south of Oklahoma City, closed after receiving the threat on Aug. 16. Officials said at the time they believed the call was linked to threats against a transgender student who attends another school that was closed over safety concerns.

Anna America Resigns Today From Tulsa Council

Aug 22, 2018
KWGS News File Photo

Today is Anna America’s last day on the Tulsa City Council. It will not be her last day at city hall, however.

Her resignation becomes effective today as she becomes the new head of the parks department. She was appointed to the post earlier this month by Mayor G.T. Bynum. 

A special election will be held in the fall to fill her vacancy as the District 7 City Council member.

KWGS News

A long hostage ordeal at Grand Lake is over. A man held a DHS worker, three children, and his girl friend hostage at a mobile home near Disney last night.

He was wanted for a disturbance and pointing a gun at officers. 

The hostages were eventually released. The man was taken into custody around 2am this morning.

Kendall-Whittier Main Street

Revitalization in Tulsa’s Kendall Whittier neighborhood is attracting national attention.

Kendall Whitter Main Street is one of 10 semifinalists for a 2019 Great American Main Street award. Main Street America noted in its announcement Tuesday the vacancy rate in the area has gone from 65 to 3 percent exclusively through local businesses.

"The business owners and property owners here, their work is being recognized and their faith and effort is really paying off in a way that’s a model for other communities around the country," said KWMS Executive Director Ed Sharrer.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

In her last address to Tulsa’s business community, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin said the state is better off than it was eight years ago.

"When I came into office, we had a 6.2 percent unemployment rate, only $2.03 in our savings account," Fallin said Tuesday at the Tulsa State of the State. "Now our unemployment’s gone down to 3.8 percent and we have over $460 million in our savings account. So, it’s going to be leaving our state in a much better, stable position with a large teacher pay raise, too."

KWGS News Photo

The kids at the McLain 7th Grade Academy will get backpacks full of school supplies when they arrive for class. It’s courtesy of the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office through its partner, James Mission. Academy Principal Tarsha Guillory says many students would return to class without basic school supplies except for the donations.

The supplies include pencils, notebooks, crayons, paper, rulers, and other essentials.

State of Oklahoma

 

A veteran Oklahoma judge accused of abuse of power after he jailed hundreds of people citing contempt of court has resigned.

District Judge Curtis DeLapp said Monday he has "a heavy heart but clear conscience."

The Oklahoman reports that DeLapp is accused of gross neglect of duty, oppression and campaign violations among other things. He had faced an ouster trial in October before the Oklahoma Court on the Judiciary.

PSO Gets New President

Aug 21, 2018
PSO

 

American Electric Power has named Peggy Simmons president and chief operating officer of Public Service Company of Oklahoma effective Sept. 8. Simmons replaces Stuart Solomon, who is joining AEP’s generation organization as senior vice president – Generation Services.

Simmons will be responsible for all aspects of PSO’s service, including customer service, distribution operations, safety, communications, external affairs and regulatory functions. She will report to Paul Chodak, executive vice president – AEP Utilities.

Tornadoes Confirmed as EF-1 Twisters

Aug 21, 2018
KWGS News Photo

 

The National Weather Service in Tulsa confirms Sunday’s two tornadoes were both E-F-1 twisters.

One tornado touched down east of Inola and caused damage to barns and out-buildings. The other twister hit near the town of Mazie, in Mayes County, south of Chouteau.

The Weather Service says both tornadoes had winds of between 90-and-100 miles per hour. 

Board Votes to Change Lee to Council Oak

Aug 21, 2018
Tulsa Public Schools

After a year-long debate, the Tulsa School Board votes to change the name of the 100-year-old Robert E. Lee Elementary School. 

Some in the community and on the school board felt that the Lee name was divisive and racially offensive because of the Confederate General’s ties to the Civil War and slavery.

The board accepted a committee’s recommendation to rename the school Council Oak. This name honors a nearby tree that stands near 18th and Cheyenne, where the Creek Nation leadership first met upon that tribe's relocation to Oklahoma in the Trail of Tears.

In the local news:

  • It is official. Lee School is now Council Oak.
  • Police announce a crack down on school zones.
  • The recreational marijuana petition comes up short.

OU

 

The University of Oklahoma says its vice president for research is stepping down to prepare for a confirmation hearing after he was nominated to be director of the White House Office of Science and Technology.

The university said Monday that Kelvin Droegemeier will take a leave of absence without pay upon U.S. Senate confirmation for the job.

The university says a national search will be undertaken at a later date for a permanent vice president for research.

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Officials say an effort to place recreational marijuana on Oklahoma's general election ballot in November has fallen more than 20,000 signatures short.

Secretary of State James Williamson announced Monday that a count by his office determined supporters of the initiative gathered nearly 103,000 signatures for State Question 797 . The group needed more than 123,000 signatures to qualify the proposed constitutional amendment for a public vote.

TIA

  Frontier Airlines says it has suspended a pilot over comments authorities deemed threatening to an Oklahoma transgender student and that led to a school closure.  Frontier spokesman Jonathan Freed said in a statement Monday the pilot was suspended Aug.

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Authorities say disgraced former sports doctor Larry Nassar has been transferred to another federal prison facility. The Federal Bureau of Prisons website shows the former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor is at the Oklahoma Federal Transfer Center. He had been imprisoned in Tucson, Arizona. Nassar's attorneys said last month he was assaulted within hours of being placed in the general population at the federal prison in Arizona.

In the local news:

  • All politics are local! Municipal Elections are a week away.
  • Tornadoes cause damage to eastern Oklahoma.
  • Remembering the birth of the civil rights movement in Oklahoma.

KWGS News File Photo

 

Authorities say a 14-year-old boy who used a knife to attack a female classmate during a school assembly in central Oklahoma didn't have a reputation as a troublemaker.

Luther Police Chief David Randall said Friday that investigators are interviewing staff at students following the Thursday attack at Luther High School. Randall says a trend has emerged from the interviews that could point to a motive, but he declined to elaborate.

But he and Superintended Barry Gunn say the boy has no history of trouble at the school.

Bartlesville Police

 

Police in Bartlesville are investigating the early-morning fatal shooting of a man whose body was discovered in the street in front of his home.

Officers say the shooting occurred about 3 a.m. Sunday. They say that the victim, a 54-year-old man, confronted some people who had been getting into unlocked cars in his neighborhood and was fatally shot. The man's name has not been released.

Investigators say they are searching for three suspects in the shooting, a driver and two other people.

Tornadoes Slice Through N.E. Oklahoma

Aug 20, 2018
Nancy Warick-Facebook

Rare August tornadoes appear in eastern Oklahoma. Residents in Oklahoma’s Amish Country are picking up after tornadoes sliced through yesterday afternoon. 

Twisters caused damage between Chouteau and Inola. Barns and outbuilding mostly. Some homes lost some shingles. Another tornado was spotted near Mazie along Highway 69 in Mayes County.

The weather service will survey the damage today. In all, no injuries reported. 

Soggy Sunday for Tulsa

Aug 19, 2018
Wikimedia

Widespread showers and thunderstorms will move across the area

this morning as a strong upper level storm system moves slowly

east across the central plains. Locally heavy rainfall is possible

this morning, especially in northeast Oklahoma and northwest

Arkansas, but severe weather is not likely with this morning

activity.

Scattered thunderstorms are expected to develop later this

afternoon into this evening as a cold front approaches from the

northwest. A few of these storms may become severe, with large

Oklahoma City University is hoping to shorten the learning curve by creating a program for prospective city officials that gives a basic understanding in civics and local government.

The Oklahoman reports that the Leadership & Public Administration-Municipalities Certificate program is for prospective City Council candidates and others interested in city government. The program hopes to provide a nonpartisan foundation in administration and governance.

Tulsa County Booking Photo

A Tulsa County jury has found a 17-year-old competent to stand trial on murder, rape and 21 other felony charges.

The jury on Friday decided that Deonte Green is fit for trial in the October 2017 fatal shooting of Broken Arrow middle school teacher Shane Anderson and of raping an 81-year-old woman in a separate incident.

Green, who is charged as an adult, faces additional charges that include weapons violations, kidnapping, burglary, larceny and attempted animal cruelty.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Sydney Stavinoha-Twitter

At least 14 people have been injured and transported to hospitals after trusses holding up the entrance to a resort where the Backstreet Boys were set to begin a concert in Oklahoma collapsed.

WinStar World Casino and Resort says in a statement posted on Twitter Saturday that the resort began an evacuation at about 5 p.m. when lightning was within four miles of the casino.

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