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

Wednesday's top stories:

  • Tulsa police now describe their search for Miracle and Tony Crook as a "recovery effort."
  • The Oklahoma State Department of Health reports there are fewer than 1,000 active cases of COVID-19 in the state.
  • Tulsa County inks a new agreement to detain undocumented immigrants for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Tulsa Police

Newfound security camera video has changed the search for two toddlers missing from an east Tulsa apartment complex since Friday.

Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin said the video, captured on a camera on the west side of the Shoreline Apartments and discovered Tuesday afternoon, shows 3-year-old Miracle and 2-year-old Tony Crook playing in the grass next to Mingo Creek on Friday.

Franklin said the kids then walk down the embankment hand-in-hand and never reappear.

Tulsa Police

Tulsa police continued their search on Tuesday for a 3-year-old girl and 2-year-old boy missing from an east Tulsa apartment complex.

Miracle and Tony Crook were last seen around 8:15 Friday morning in a convenience store with their mother, Donisha Willis. An apartment complex security camera captured the children walking alone around 10:15 a.m.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol brought in a flat-bottomed airboat to help police search Mingo Creek from near the Shoreline Apartments to around 36th Street North.

Tulsa Airport

After seeing steep drops in traffic in March and April, Tulsa International Airport officials are starting to see a rebound.

According to Transportation Security Administration figures, passenger numbers at Tulsa International were down 53% in March and almost 96% in April from the same months the year before.

Tulsa Airports CEO Alexis Higgins said during a Tulsa Regional Chamber business event more people came through the security checkpoint on Friday than they’d seen since mid-March.

City of Tulsa

After two years at No. 60, Tulsa climbed five places in the Trust for Public Land’s annual ParkScore rankings.

The jump to No. 55 came down to an $18 increase in per capita spending on parks, but that’s largely from what the George Kaiser Family Foundation has spent on and around the Gathering Place.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa County renewed on Tuesday its agreement with the federal government for the sheriff’s office to identify undocumented immigrants for deportation after they’ve been arrested.

The Board of County Commissioners voted 2–1 for the new U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement 287(g) agreement. Commissioner Karen Keith voted against it.

Tulsa County’s previous agreement was set to expire in June. The new one is in effect until terminated by the sheriff or ICE.

NIAID-RML

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 47 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the state's total number of confirmed cases to 6,137.

Five more deaths were reported, including three in Tulsa County. Tulsa County has the second-most deaths in the state, 47, behind Oklahoma County's 58.

Since March 18, 318 Oklahomans have died from COVID-19. Over the course of the outbreak, 941 people have been hospitalized.

River Parks Authority

Repairing damage from spring 2019’s floods in River Parks may leave less money for previously planned work.

River Parks got an advance on city sales tax funding intended to pay for trail improvements and other work in order to get flood repairs started because the Federal Emergency Management Agency offered funding through reimbursements.

KWGS News photo

Oklahoma tribes and Gov. Kevin Stitt made their latest cases to the judge presiding over their gaming compact lawsuit.

Documents submitted on Friday by both sides argue why Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy DeGiusti should rule in their favor, finding the compacts automatically renewed when it comes to the tribes or ruling they expired when it comes to Stitt.

Tribes argued in a 51-page filing that renewal was triggered when the state allowed gaming machines at horse racing tracks to continue operating.

Oklahoma’s Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust expects more people will need help buying healthy food amid an economic downturn driven largely by the COVID-19 pandemic.

TSET will award up to $1 million in grants through a new food access program to help with that.

"We know that one in six [people] and one in four children in Oklahoma suffer from food insecurity, and early data shows that number is likely to have increased dramatically with the recent economic downturn," said TSET Executive Director Julie Bisbee.

Department of Defense

Oklahoma posted 241 new cases of COVID-19 and six additional deaths over the long holiday weekend.

The latest counts from the Oklahoma State Department of Health put the state’s total confirmed cases at 6,090. Since March 18, 313 people have died, and 940 have been hospitalized over the course of the outbreak.

The health department says more than 4,700 Oklahomans who have tested positive for the coronavirus have recovered, leaving the state with 1,063 known, active cases.

Tuesday's top stories:

  • Police continue their search for toddlers who went missing from their east Tulsa apartment complex last week.
  • COVID-19 cases rise to 6,090, deaths hit 313 over the holiday weekend.
  • TSET sets aside $1 million to help more people buy healthy foods during the pandemic and accompanying economic downturn.

Tulsa Police

Police will continue their search today for two Tulsa toddlers missing since Thursday.

Miracle Crook, 3,  and her brother, 2-year-old Tony Crook, were last seen around 10:15 a.m. Friday on an apartment complex security camera. About two hours earlier, they were seen in a convenience store with their mother, Donisha Willis, who does not have custody of them.

Tulsa police are looking for a 2-year-old boy and 3-year-old girl who went missing on Thursday.

Tony and Miracle Crook were last seen by a family member Thursday at the Shoreline Apartments in the 2200 block of 96th East Avenue.

A convenience store security camera captured the children on video with their mother around 8:15 a.m. on Friday. A post on the Tulsa Police Department Facebook page said the children's disappearance does not currently meet the criteria set for an Amber Alert.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported Sunday the state had reached 6,037 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The health department reported 111 new cases on Saturday and 77 on Sunday. Four deaths were reported Saturday, including three in Tulsa County. All four deaths happened between May 13 and Thursday.

Three of the four new deaths were adults age 65 or older. The fourth was a man between 50 and 64 years old.

Since Oklahoma's first case of COVID-19 was reported March 6, 932 people have been hospitalized. Of those, 174 are currently in the hospital.

KWGS News File photo

The Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association Board rejected by one vote on Friday a set of guidelines for summer workouts and practices intended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The rejected guidelines laid out a three-phased plan to resume full activities in August, which started with strength and conditioning sessions under safety precautions like temperature checks for most of June. OSSAA Board Member Jason Sternberger said he wanted a plan more in line with Gov. Kevin Stitt’s state reopening.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 169 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, pushing the state's total to 5,849.

It was the state's largest single-day increase in cases in May and the most since 171 new cases on April 4.

Three new deaths were reported on Friday, with one each in Oklahoma, Tulsa and Texas counties. Two deaths were adults 65 or older, and one was a man between 50 and 64 years old.

COVID-19 has now killed 307 Oklahomans since March 18. It has hospitalized 926 people since it was first identified, and 190 people are currently hospitalized.

Oklahoma Employment Security Commission Executive Director Robin Roberson resigned Friday hours after OESC handed over unemployment claim processing and other tasks to the state Office of Management and Enterprise Services.

Roberson's resignation was first reported by The Oklahoman. Roberson was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after Gov. Kevin Stitt picked her to lead OESC and put off a double mastectomy after the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Courtesy

Mother Road Market is opening up its patio Friday to diners with an online reservation, ordering and payment system.

The food hall has been closed since March 17 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

For now, tables will be at least 6 feet apart; workers will be wearing masks and gloves; and guests must answer a health declaration, have their temperature checked before being seated, and wear a mask when they’re not at their table.

Tulsa Health Department

Tulsa County saw on Thursday its largest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases in three weeks.

Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart said 38 new cases were reported. Tulsa County’s largest increases so far were 45 new cases reported April 29 and April 3.

"Case numbers up until today really were trending downward, which was a very positive sign. We had a large increase today, but that includes 14 residents and eight staff from a long-term care facility," Dart said.

Dart said hospitalizations and deaths are still trending down.

University of Tulsa

The University of Tulsa is preparing for what’s being called a "hybrid" return in the fall.

That would include requiring everyone on campus to wear a mask. According to an email to employees from Interim President Janet Levit, TU’s board of trustees has approved several other recommendations, including private rooms for students living on campus, limiting food service to carry-out with mobile ordering options and using COVID-19 testing strategically.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

The Oklahoma State Department of Health on Thursday reported 148 new cases of COVID-19 and five new deaths.

The jump in cases was the second-largest single-day increase this month behind 151 new cases reported May 16. Oklahoma now has 5,680 confirmed cases of the illness.

The five deaths reported Thursday included five adults 65 or older and one one man between 50 and 64 years old. One death was in the past 24 hours; the rest happened between May 14 and Tuesday.

Wikipedia

Oklahoma cities and counties can apply for federal coronavirus relief funds through an online portal starting June 1.

Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Wednesday that will be the method for them to be reimbursed for eligible COVID-19 expenses under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which Oklahoma received $1.2 billion from.

Tulsa is going wild for Tesla.

The city is reportedly competing with Austin, Texas, for the company’s new factory and 10,000 jobs, and its thirst was on full display Wednesday, as stadium video screens lit up with the Tesla logo, Tesla cars paraded through the city and officials unveiled what many had already seen: the 75-foot-tall Golden Driller with a red Tesla "T" emblazoned on his chest, a Tesla belt buckle and a mask of Elon Musk’s face plastered over his typically undefined features.

Salvation Army Tulsa will open its summer camps June 1, prioritizing spots for essential workers and past clients.

Salvation Army Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Tulsa Executive Director Richard White said with several other organizations deciding not to hold camps amid the COVID-19 pandemic, they know there’s a growing need for child care with school out and Oklahoma reopening.

Department of Defense

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Wednesday five new deaths from COVID-19 and 43 new confirmed cases of the illness.

The deaths occurred between April 22 and Monday, with two in Tulsa County, two in Oklahoma County and one in Cleveland County. All were adults 65 or older.

Oklahoma, Tulsa and Cleveland counties lead the state in COVID-19 deaths with 51, 39 and 37. Since March 18, 299 Oklahomans have died.

The health department reported 43 new coronavirus infections, bringing the state's total to 5,532.

The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority earlier this month closed on a $120 million federal loan to help with construction of the Gilcrease Expressway in west Tulsa.

The Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, or TIFIA, loan will be used to pay off private, short-term financing being put up for the project in a few years time.

Oklahomans will likely vote this fall on reducing the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust’s share of annual payments under the state’s master settlement agreement.

A resolution passed by the state legislature would cut TSET's share from 75% to 25%. Lawmakers are looking to use a chunk of the roughly $75 million a year for the state’s share of Medicaid expansion costs.

Oklahoma’s affordable housing tax credit will not be touched going into next fiscal year.

Gov. Kevin Stitt has vetoed House Bill 2760, which would have cut its annual cap from $4 million to $2 million.

Mental Health Association Oklahoma Chief Housing Officer Greg Shinn said Stitt’s veto message correctly noted cutting the incentive would not provide more money for the state budget until fiscal year 2023.

NIAID-RML

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Tuesday 91 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 5,489.

The illness has now killed 294 Oklahomans after six additional deaths were confirmed Tuesday. All were adults age 65 or older who died between May 4 and Sunday.

Since the outbreak started, 897 people have been hospitalized, with 167 currently in the hospital.

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