Matt Trotter

News Director, Morning Edition Anchor, & Reporter

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN. 

He has a master's degree from Arizona State University, where he spent a semester on the first reporting staff of Cronkite News Service's Washington, D.C., bureau. As a grad student, he won awards for multimedia journalism and in-depth TV reporting.

Matt is from Southern California, so he's slowly following Route 66 across the United States. He would have made it Chicago by now, but he's not a fan of long drives.

Ways to Connect

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OSU-Tulsa and Tulsa Community College announced a new partnership Tuesday to help students earn their two- and four-year degrees in downtown Tulsa.

OSU-Tulsa President Dr. Pamela Fry said College Park builds on the two schools’ LinkeDegree program, which shows students how to get from TCC enrollment to an OSU bachelor’s degree.

"This is the difference between having a map to show how to reach a destination and having a navigator in the front seat with you making sure you don’t take the wrong turn," Fry said.

The Oklahoma Senate sent several new abortion restrictions to the governor on Tuesday.

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The Oklahoma House passed a bill Monday putting restrictions on school districts that choose to require masks.

Senate Bill 658 requires districts consult with their local health department, something many have done as they navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, but the bill also says districts must list reasons for a mask mandate and specific masks that satisfy it. Otherwise, the requirement is invalidated.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Oklahoma House Republicans approved Monday a bill to ban transgender women and girls from school sports.

Senate Bill 2 requires intercollegiate and school teams in the state be based on biological sex and prohibits males from joining female teams. The measure has been dubbed the "Save Women's Sports Act."

An amendment added Monday requires parents to sign an affidavit each year stating their child's biological sex at birth before they can play.

Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus

Members of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus are calling on U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to help with the Oklahoma County Jail.

Tulsa County Booking Photo

Jury selection started Monday in the federal murder trial of a former Tulsa police officer in the 2014 shooting death of his daughter’s boyfriend.

Shannon Kepler was convicted of manslaughter in state court and sentenced to 15 years in prison over the death of Jeremy Lake, but he is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Lake was shot in the 200 block of north Maybelle Avenue, within the boundaries of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation reservation.

Oklahoma City National Memorial

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Although 26 years have passed since a truck bomb ripped through a federal building in downtown Oklahoma City, killing 168 people, the same domestic extremism that led to the attack still exists today, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said Monday.

Garland, who led the investigation into the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 as a Department of Justice staffer, delivered remarks during a remembrance ceremony at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, his voice occasionally cracking with emotion.

Josh Larios

Tulsa city councilors are still mulling over updates to regulations on backyard chickens.

In their latest round of proposed changes discussed last week, the minimum distance for a chicken coop to be from a residence is cut from 40 feet to 35. A significant portion of the city is zoned residential with lots a minimum of 60 feet wide.

District 4 Councilor Kara Joy McKee said fresh eggs can make a big difference in some Tulsans’ diets.

Oklahoma Watch

A week after the leader of the Oklahoma Senate said his chamber and the Republican caucus would not be involved in a plan to eliminate the state’s corporate income tax, Gov. Kevin Stitt told a virtual round table he still wants it done this session.

Speaking to the Oklahoma Small Business Association on Friday, Stitt referred to a report by pro-business think tank the Tax Foundation that ranks Oklahoma 30th in business tax climate.

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority will start taking applications for coverage under Medicaid expansion a month before it takes effect.

The application process will open June 1 at mysoonercare.org, giving newly eligible Oklahomans time to be approved for SoonerCare before coverage begins July 1.

Adults 19 to 64 years old with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level will be eligible. That's $17,796 a year for one person or $36,588 for a family of four.

An attorney suing the City of Tulsa for reparations has told the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission to stop using the name of 106-year-old survivor Lessie Benningfield "Mother" Randle.

Daniel Jeffries

 

A worker at an 11-story building under construction in downtown Tulsa fell to his death early Friday morning.

Abel Garcia, 52, fell through a wooden catwalk on the 11th floor to a concrete pad on the fifth floor of the building, located at 222 N Detroit Ave. Police said they weren't sure whether the catwalk broke or Garcia fell through an existing hole.

Tulsa Police arrived just after 7 a.m. Garcia was pronounced dead at the scene. Other workers at the site told police Garcia was not wearing a safety harness.

Oklahoma lawmakers are acting quickly on a plan to help utilities pay off billions of dollars in debt incurred during February’s historic winter storms.

Senate Bills 1049 and 1050 would establish bond-financed, pooled loan programs for unregulated and regulated utilities, respectively. The bills passed the Senate with overwhelming support on Thursday. Lawmakers announced the plan Monday afternoon.

File photo

A Tulsa Police officer indicted on federal gun charges in December has pleaded guilty to making a false statement.

Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma Clint Johnson’s office announced the pleading Thursday. They say 26-year-old Latoya Dythe acted as a straw buyer for 28-year-old Devon Jones, using his money to buy him a handgun from Bass Pro Shop and marking on a federal form it was for her.

A TPD gun crime unit investigation linked the gun to Dythe.

pixabay.com

A more than two-year legal battle over the City of Tulsa’s proposed Tourism Improvement District appears to be coming to a close, with the city winning the fight over the special assessment.

Tulsa County District Judge William Musseman granted the city’s request for summary judgement Wednesday, agreeing with their arguments the 3% assessment on hotels with 110 rooms or more was established properly.

Tulsa Police

Tulsa police are looking for a missing 10-year-old boy. He could be considered endangered because of his age.

Aaron Bryant was last seen Wednesday around 7 p.m. near Savanna Landing apartments at 61st Street and Peoria Avenue.

Bryant is Black and was wearing a blue Aeropostale hoodie, black sweatpants, and white and green Nike Jordans. He was with another Black boy around 14 to 16 years old.

Anyone with information is asked to call TPD at 918-596-9222.

City of Tulsa

Several city councilors said Wednesday they are concerned about Tulsa’s mask ordinance expiring April 30, but an extension is not currently on the table.

In Tulsa County, COVID-19 hospitalizations are manageable and new cases rates are back to levels seen before the ordinance was enacted last summer. Despite those trends, District 4 Councilor Kara Joy McKee is not ready to drop the mandate. Wastewater testing has detected at least one coronavirus variant in the city, and McKee said not enough people are fully vaccinated yet to get rid of a proven mitigation strategy.

Black Wall Street Times

The Oklahoma Senate on Wednesday sent the governor two bills to clamp down on protests.

House Bill 1674 grants drivers who hit protesters in the road immunity if they feared they’d be hurt or killed, even if a protester dies. Sen. Rob Standridge (R-Norman) repeatedly cited an incident in Tulsa last summer where a man drove through a crowd on the Inner Dispersal Loop  protesting police violence against Black Americans. One man fell off the overpass and was paralyzed.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 444,288 total cases of COVID-19 in the state on Wednesday, an increase of 2,382 over the past week.

The state has seen roughly the same number of new infections each of the past three weeks.

Tulsa County data is now being updated on a weekly basis, with numbers reflecting the previous Sunday through Saturday. At last count, Tulsa County had 73,345 cases, up 333 over the past week. Tulsa County's total is second to Oklahoma County's 85,218.

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Tulsa’s pro soccer team will wear patches celebrating Greenwood’s history and future this season.

FC Tulsa announced Tuesday all its 2021 jerseys will feature the brand for Greenwood Ave., a project local artist Trey Thaxton created to highlight hundreds of Black Wall Street businesses. He redesigns early 20th Century businesses' signs and logos for apparel and art.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa Public Schools enrollment is up 1,300 students since the district’s February return to in-person classes, more than 40% of students the district lost at the start of the year.

Enrollment fell by about 3,000 at the start of the year, and TPS officials largely blamed the COVID-19 pandemic. According to district figures, Black and Latinx students account for the largest part of the enrollment increase the past two months after making up most of the decrease at the start of the year.

Oklahoma Watch

Several Tulsa-area school boards voted Monday to let their districts' attorneys challenge the State Board of Education's decision to give charter schools an equal share of state funding.

Johnson & Johnson

The Oklahoma State Department of Health on Tuesday asked all vaccine sites across the state to immediately stop giving doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

Earlier Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended pausing use of the single-dose vaccine while an investigation is conducted into reports of apparently rare, potentially dangerous blood clots.

The Oklahoma Democratic Party and state chapter of a Muslim civil rights and advocacy group strongly disapprove of the Oklahoma Republican Party’s new leader.

Oklahoma Department of Transportation

State lawmakers say they are filing legislation to guard against massive utility bills in the wake of winter storms that put Oklahoma in the deep freeze in February.

Sen. James Leewright (R-Bristow) said the measures will set up a process for utility companies to package and sell off their debt from spiking natural gas costs, limiting how much of the impact can be passed along to consumers.

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board is turning to online collaboration tool SharePoint to improve its processing of stage one commutation applications.

District attorneys must get access to applications within 10 days of pardon and parole completing their review. Files for each applicant will be accessible on an agency SharePoint site, which should provide faster access than hard copies.

District attorneys should get automatic notifications when a case from their area is uploaded.

NCAA

Updated April 13, 1:10 p.m.

The NCAA Board of Governors issued a statement Monday in support of transgender student-athletes with more than two dozen states considering legislation to restrict their participation.

Oklahoma Senate

The leader of the Oklahoma Senate said the chamber, his caucus and he personally have no appetite to take up a plan House Republicans passed last month to eliminate the state’s corporate income tax.

House Bill 2083 would phase out the corporate income tax over five years through increasing deductions. Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat (R-Oklahoma City) said there needs to be more than politics behind a move like that.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Updates to Tulsa’s animal ordinances were on track to prohibit roosters over eight weeks old in residential areas, but city councilors may have figured out a way to avoid the ban.

In a five-hour special meeting on Friday, the Oklahoma State Board of Education voted to keep an indigenous-led charter school on probation and to place an Oklahoma City district on probation.

The board could have terminated Sovereign Community School’s contract, but they praised operations director Stacie Thrasher and founding board member Kyla Molina for working to improve its governance and solve financial problems.

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