Catherine Roberts

Public Radio 89.5-1 Reporter

Catherine graduated from the University of Tulsa in May, 2012, and graduated from a part-time employee to a full-time reporter with Public Radio Tulsa just a few months later. Her undergraduate degrees are in economics and English. While she has been interested in journalism since high school, starting out at the Tulsa World teen section, Satellite, and later going on to run TU’s student newspaper, The Collegian, a student internship with KWGS News ignited her passion for radio. She has also served as an intern for the nationally syndicated American Public Media program Marketplace. Catherine is thrilled to be able to work at KWGS as she begins her reporting career. Her radio hero is Diane Rehm. She was named Favorite Radio Reporter by the Tulsa Press Club at the 2013 Newsies Awards. 

Ways to Connect

Arts and cultural programs in Oklahoma may have a harder time securing funding from the state in the coming fiscal year 2014.

That’s because sequester cuts have reduced the National Endowment for the Arts budget, which in turn has meant tightening at the Oklahoma Arts Council.

Director of Marketing Joel Gavin says it will likely impact agencies’ ability to collect private support as well.

“Private funders often ask if they have received an Oklahoma Arts Council grant,” he said, “or if they’ve received any sort of public funding, before they’ll commit.”

A Girl Scouts program that serves kids with incarcerated parents celebrates 10 years.

Girl Scouts Beyond Bars seeks to remedy the fact that 55 percent of Oklahoma children with an incarcerated mother have never visited her.

Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma’s Becky Carver says the George Kaiser Family Foundation is helping them celebrate the milestone with a matching grant.

It will be in effect through July 31st, and the Foundation will match all new and increased donations.

Networking, media and government relations are some of the topics of conversations at a conference for Oklahoma’s young professionals.

One attendee, Amber Neville, works for Miratech Corporation.

“Getting networked and engaged with some of these professionals on their level,” she said, “has been really inspiring, and also it’s nice to put a face to a name and make a peronsal connection with somebody.”

She’s particularly interested in perspectives on networking for the purposes of entrepreneurship.

KWGS News Photo

Eighteen million dollars—that’s the figure that’s been donated to the Red Cross so far for the Oklahoma tornado disasters in Moore and Shawnee.

“In this disaster, I think because of the scope of it, certainly the number of families who were affected, the number of children whose lives were lost,” said Donita Quesnel with the Tulsa Red Cross Chapter, “people across the country have been moved by the stories coming out of Oklahoma.”

She says there are still about 30 volunteers from Tulsa on the ground in the disaster locations, bringing meals and other help to victims.

Tulsa Airport Authority

  It’s a fictional scenario—a tornado in South Tulsa yesterday, and one that hits the airport today—but it’s the situation that airport and community disaster responders dealt with today as part of a full-scale drill.

Daniel Meier with the airport says the drill is mandated once every three years. He describes part of the scenario that was acted out.


  The City rededicates the BOK Center for its fifth anniversary.

Mayor Bartlett recognized former mayor Bill LaFortune and former County Commissioner Bob Dick for their work on developing Vision 2025, of which the BOK Center was a part.

“I always said, hey, as a citizen, I’m so very proud of it,” LaFortune said, “but it means a lot today, to actually be on the placard, as one of the people that helped lead the effort for this.”

The venue has brought in more than $10 million in sales tax for Tulsa.

A project long in the making comes into being. The Shoppes on Peoria, north of the Gateway Market at Pine and North Peoria, will have a grand opening Saturday.

Six businesses have opened there this year with more to come. One of them is the Tropical Smoothie Café.

Tim Smallwood is the owner of the café, his second in Tulsa. The first location is in South Tulsa, at the Tulsa Hills shopping center.

The North Tulsa store is only about two months old. He says part of the motivation for selecting the new location was his memory of growing up in the area.


A shopping and entertainment district popped up for a day on the corner of 36th Street North and North Peoria Saturday.

Tulsa’s Young Professionals hosted Street CReD to highlight business and development opportunities in the area.

Tracie Chandler is President of the North Star Neighborhood Association. She says that the event is on target, because it’s business development, not charitable institutions, that will fuel improvement in the area.

“We need money in this area,” she said. “We have money to spend, but, spend it on what?”


Tulsa’s Young Professionals Urbanist Crew will host its annual event—Street CReD—this Saturday.

It’s designed to highlight business and development opportunities in overlooked areas of town. The first event—two years ago—was in the Pearl District, followed last year by the Red Fork Main Street in West Tulsa.

This year the site will be 36th Street North and North Peoria.

Past Success

Letter carriers across the country work to “Stamp Out Hunger.”

You can leave nonperishable food for your letter carrier on Saturday—in Tulsa the food drive will benefit the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.

Dawna Hurst is coordinator of the letter carrier’s food drive for this area.

She says last year carriers collected around 80,000 pounds of food for the Tulsa area.

Stamp Out Hunger is part of the Food Bank’s current Food for Families and Letter Carriers Food Drive.


University of Tulsa engineering students present two new projects to the Little Lighthouse.

One is a slide made out of conveyor rollers that can be converted into a table and a seesaw. It’s called the Surfin’ Tubes.

The other is a remote controlled vehicle that the children can drive. It’s called the Magic Rider.

The devices are the results of the TU students’ senior design projects.

Therapists say projects like these help the special needs students develop cognitive and speech skills—and help them have fun.


First District Congressman Jim Bridenstine is in town this week. In a town hall, he leaves constituents with no doubt about where he stands on an impending debt ceiling battle.

“I am not against raising the debt limit,” he said. “I’m against raising the debt limit when we don’t have a solution to the trillion dollar deficits. We have to have a plan in place that gets us to a balanced budget, and apart from that, I won’t be voting to raise the debt limit.”

He received numerous questions from audience members about immigration reform—he said his priority is border security.


Planners hope success in the Brady Arts District will continue this summer with the new Center of the Universe Festival, happening July 19th and 20th.

The festival will feature around 70 bands at various locations in the district.

Organizer Chris Lieberman says big acts will be on stages at Guthrie Green and outside Cain’s Ballroom, with smaller ones inside local venues.

Headliners will include OneRepublic and Neon Trees. Regional emerging bands can apply to perform on the smaller stages. The deadline to apply to perform is June 10th.

To recognize National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, the Tulsa Health Department will host a free workshop: Dress for the Occasion.

It’s for both teens and parents, and the goal is to facilitate discussions about sexual health and preventing teen pregnancy.

The Health Department’s Coordinator of Teen Pregnancy Prevention, Annette Leon, says that’s important, because Oklahoma is fifth in the nation in teen births.

“These births are costing us millions of dollars, over $192 million in 2008, to take care of teen pregnancy and the spinoffs thereof,” Leon said.

KWGS News File Photo

Each free screening for former patients of Scott Harrington costs about $195, according to the Tulsa Health Department’s Kaitlin Snider.

She says the expense isn’t causing problems for the Health Department right now.

“This is a representative of public health in action,” Snider said, “so we do consider this a core public health service, and we will adjust our budgets as necessary to accommodate whatever we need to as part of this investigation.”

She says over 3500 people have been tested so far.


The site of the former Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences and Barnard Elementary will not be sold to a nursing home and rehab facility.

Tulsa Public Schools’ Chris Payne says that’s after some emphatic opposition from neighbors in last week’s public meeting. He says that opposition prompt the school district to take the proposal off the table.

He says it will take more public input to decide what to do with the property, and the School Board won’t be making a decision in the next few weeks, as it had originally planned.


Woody Guthrie’s daughter Nora visits the soon-to-open Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa’s Brady District. She says she hopes her father’s legacy will speak not just to musicians.

“I’m just hoping that this center will expand,” she said, “and really connect to all walks of life, whether you’re an engineer, or a teacher, a scientist, an auto-mechanic—my dad wrote many songs about auto-mechanics as well.”

A ribbon cutting for the center will be held at 12:30 Saturday at 102 East Brady.

Five policy changes would be simple and feasible ways to reduce emissions and dependence on foreign oil.

That’s according to a proposal by the National Energy Policy Institute at the University of Tulsa. One of the report’s authors is journalist Charles Wohlforth.

“What it really is,” he explains, “is a demonstration that there are policies out there that are ready to be adopted that are low-cost and will have a big impact on these issues.”

“So there’s no excuse to say it’s too expensive, or the technology’s too expensive,” he said.

Tulsa Public Schools and its allies are advocating a vote of yes on an upcoming bond issue.

The initiative is worth $38 million, and would go to technology and safety concerns.

Specifically, TPS would like to ensure each school has at least one computer for every three students. Superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard says that’s an intermediary goal for the district, which he says would like to have a one-to-one computer per student ratio in the coming years.

More and more veterans are returning home from long years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many are able to reacclimate to their civilian lives with little trouble. Many others, however, struggle.

New study at Tulsa’s Laureate Institute for Brain Research, funded by the Department of Defense, investigates a potential treatment for post traumatic stress disorder.

One of the current subjects is a war veteran with combat experience.


The first round of results are in from testing of former patients of oral surgeon Dr. W. Scott Harrington. 

So far 57 have tested positive for hepatitis C and three have tested positive for hepatitis B.

The Tulsa Health Department's Kaitlin Snider says of positive test results for HIV, "All we can confirm is less than three."

Snyder says it's important to understand that without further investigation, it is premature to conclude that these positive test results were the result of contamination at Harrington's office.


Mayor Bartlett announces a hiring freeze for the City of Tulsa.

The Mayor says the freeze is a way to get out ahead of the last few months of lower-than-expected sales tax revenues.

He doesn’t expect the freeze to last very long and says they’ll be reevaluating approximately every month.

He also said the City will focusing on decreasing overtime hours for City employees as a way to save money. 

State Measure Would Target Sharia Law

Apr 15, 2013

The legislature’s Counterterrorism Caucus worries about Islamic law in America’s courts. The caucus brought the founder of the Center for Security, Frank Gaffney, to Oklahoma City to discuss what he feels are the dangers.

“That is a fight against a doctrine that is our generation’s most serious, and I believe most potential, mortal peril. The adherence to it: call it, Sharia,” Gaffney says.

Courtesy City of Tulsa

Tulsa wins a dubious honor: the “Golden Crater” championship of Streetsblog’s contest for Worst Parking Crater in a U.S. downtown.

Photos on the blog show an aerial view of the southern half of downtown, as well as two photos looking north toward the BOK Tower from Boston Avenue, one from 1978 and one from 2005.

Voting ended today in the March-Madness-style contest. Tulsa beat out Houston in the “final four” and Milwaukee in the championship.

With help from a federal grant that reimburses healthcare providers based on factors other than face-to-face visits, OU is implementing a new model of primary care: the patient-centered medical home.

“Patients are beginning to experience that they belong, or are a member, an engaged member of a medical team,” said Dr. Daniel Duffy, Dean of the OU School of Community Medicine, “and are seeing a variety of health providers in a visit.”

The model is based on a team of providers, rather than a single doctor.


A Keystone XL rally brings out crowds—in support of the pipeline. They’re Pipeliners Union workers and family members.

The rally at the Pipeliners local 798 in Tulsa drew workers from across the country, many of whom regularly travel widely for jobs.

Many expressed enthusiasm for the Keystone XL, which would pipe crude from Canada, not just because it would provide jobs in their industry, but also because of concerns about dependence on foreign oil. 


On the heels of a large number of meth-trafficking related arrests in Oklahoma City earlier this week, investigators shut down a major methamphetamine pipeline in Tulsa.

The two cases aren’t related, but U.S. Attorney for Oklahoma’s Northern District Danny Williams says it’s indicative of a larger trend.

“What we’re seeing at the federal level is, we’re not talking about the shake-and-bake,” Williams said. “We’re talking about multi-pounds, hundreds of millions of dollars worth of meth. It is big-time business.”

Courtesy OCCA

The Osage Negotiated Rulemaking Committee finishes up revisions to its oil and gas regulations. Jeff Henry with the Osage County Cattlemen’s Association says the results are disappointing.

“The net effect is nothing really got changed,” he said. “There were a couple changes that were included that we consider to be somewhat minor.”

The Cattlemen’s Association is advocating for updates to the rules that would bring them into alignment with all other counties in Oklahoma.

Two suspects, one from Tulsa and one from Austin, are indicted in federal court for conspiracy and possession of more than 500 grams of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.

The suspects are Gonzalo Ponce-Arturez, 35, from Austin, Texas, and Raven Frederick-Holmes, 31, from Tulsa.

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma Danny Williams' office released a statement, part of which follows:


It's official - the University of Tulsa is moving to the Big East athletic conference.

The move will be effective 2014.

TU President Steadman Upham said the move will resurrect old rivalries between other TU and other teams that recently left Conference-USA.

He also said the move will allow TU to compete on the highest possible level.

TU won 49 conference championships in C-USA.

The move will affect all TU sports, not just football or basketball.

The Big East will change its name in July.