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

Becton Dickinson

The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office now has a rapid COVID testing system for use at the jail.

The jail's medical provider, Turn Key Health, helped acquire the system, which runs antigen tests with results in 15 minutes.

Sheriff Vic Regalado said it will not be used in all cases when an inmate or jail employee needs a COVID test.

Pixabay

The City of Tulsa has established a major piece of its four-year strategy to address a shortage of affordable housing.

It seeded an affordable housing trust fund with $4 million from a downtown revolving loan fund and has set a goal of raising up to $20 million. City Housing Policy Director Becky Gligo said that won’t cover all 4,000 units needed.

The start date for Broken Arrow Public Schools has been pushed back from Aug. 19 to Sept. 3 as district officials keep an eye on local coronavirus infection rates and other data.

Pre-K's start has been delayed from Aug. 21 to Sept. 8.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Friday 854 new cases of COVID-19, raising the state's total number of confirmed cases to 42,255.

Tulsa County had 166 of Friday's cases, bringing its total to 10,135. Tulsa County became the second in the state to break 10,000 cases, one day after Oklahoma County did so.

Cleveland County, which has the state's third-highest case total, has 2,932 cases.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The City of Tulsa broke ground Thursday on its newest fire station.

Fire Station 33 is at 41st Street and 134th East Avenue. Tulsa Fire Chief Michael Baker said a close study of call data led them to that location.

"Primarily because Fire Station 27, which is at 31st just to the east of Garnett, is our busiest station and has a lot of workload. So, that contributes to firefighter fatigue, risk of injury, potential for delayed response times," Baker said.

Governor's office

Oklahoma leaders are sending mixed messages on the state’s COVID-19 numbers.

Gov. Kevin Stitt has started saying the state is on a plateau for new cases. Interim State Health Commissioner Lance Frye did not describe it that way in a news conference Thursday.

"I think it’s too early to say whether it’s plateaued or not. There’s different things to look at. If you’re looking at hospitalizations, we seem pretty stable right now. If you’re looking at the number of cases, that’s, that’s — I think it’s a little too early for me to say that," Frye said.

Andrea Hanks / White House

Gov. Kevin Stitt on Thursday obfuscated the circumstances surrounding next week’s visit from a key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that Oklahoma is among six states Dr. Deborah Birx will visit to provide "aggressive, tailored and targeted guidance" on handling the coronavirus.

Stitt described her stop differently at a news conference.

"She’s making some stops in Iowa and a few other states. And so, we’ve invited her to Oklahoma," Stitt said.

Office of the Governor

As Congress struggles to come up with a fourth coronavirus relief bill, Gov. Kevin Stitt said Thursday that Oklahoma is good.

"I don’t think we need another stimulus package, no. And so, we’ve told our federal delegation, we’ve told the White House that. We’re more concerned — we want to make sure this $1.2 billion actually gets on target," Stitt said during a news conference.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Thursday 837 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 41,401.

Oklahoma County became the first county in the state to have more than 10,000 cases, as 163 new cases pushed its total to 10,113. Tulsa County had 227 new cases on Thursday, bringing its total to 9,969.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

While coronavirus testing is more widely available in Oklahoma now than in the early stages of the pandemic, potential issues are starting to pop up.

Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist said her main concern is a backlog in processing that’s making people wait as many as two weeks for results.

The Tulsa Police Department has released body cam video of the arrest of protester Sheila Buck at June’s Trump campaign rally.

The hour-plus video starts with Officer Matthew Parker confirming with his supervisor Buck is to be arrested for trespassing. Parker then confers with a private security guard for the event just before Buck, who sat silently inside the event fence and was wearing an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt, is pulled to her feet, handcuffed and led out of the fenced area in front of several reporters.

Oklahoma State Treasurer

More than $360 million in delayed income tax collections gave a boost to July gross receipts to the Oklahoma Treasury, but officials said the numbers don't tell the whole story.

Income tax payments usually received in April arrived in July because of a delayed filing deadline. Deputy Treasurer for Communications Tim Allen said, however, they expected $414.4 million in income tax revenue in April.

"You see that there’s a more than $50 million gap right there. So, something’s off with that number," Allen said.

NIAID-RML

Updated Aug. 6 2:10 p.m. to correct Tulsa County's seven-day average. 

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Wednesday 17 new deaths from COVID-19, the second-highest total to date.

One death happened in the past 24 hours. Two were men 50 to 64 years old. The rest were adults 65 or older. 

Two Tulsa County women were among the reported deaths, and the county's total increased to 103. Six deaths occurred in Oklahoma County, which leads the state with 107. COVID-19 has officially killed 583 Oklahomans since March 18.

Pxfuel

Things are looking up for manufacturers in a nine-state region that includes Oklahoma.

For July, the Mid-America Business Conditions Index reached its highest level since March 2019, 57.4, up more than seven points from June. Numbers above 50 on the 0–100 scale indicate growth. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss said those two months in positive territory came after three months of contraction.

Courtesy

Gov. Kevin Stitt continues to say Oklahoma is handling the coronavirus pandemic well and is months ahead of other states.

During the Tulsa Regional Chamber State of the State on Tuesday, Stitt compared the state’s hospitalization numbers from earlier in the pandemic to now.

“You know, on March 30, we had 560 people in the hospital being treated for COVID across the state of Oklahoma. Yesterday, we had 504 people in the hospital with capacity well above that,” Stitt said.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Tuesday 15 additional deaths from COVID-19, the most in a single day since April 21 and tied for third-most over the course of the pandemic.

One death happened in the past 24 hours. Nine of the 15 deaths reported Tuesday were adults 65 or older, four were adults between 50 and 64 years old, and two were adults between 18 and 35 years old.

None of the deaths was in Tulsa County. Four happened in Oklahoma County, which now leads the state with 102, one more than Tulsa.

Tulsa Public Schools’ 39,000-plus students will not go back to their classrooms until at least November because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The TPS Board on Monday night approved 6–1 Superintendent Deborah Gist's recommendation to start the year Aug. 31 with nine weeks of distance learning.

Gist invited health experts to the largely virtual board meeting to share their knowledge about the coronavirus. Tulsa Health Department Director Bruce Dart told board members he’s a big supporter of education.

Governor's office

Oklahoma will spend $15 million from its share of federal coronavirus relief funding toward establishing Community HOPE Centers across the state to help families in areas where schools are not open full time.

Gov. Kevin Stitt made the announcement Monday at Templo de Alabanza in Oklahoma City, which will be the site of the first Community HOPE Center.

Templo de Alabanza Operations Director Rachel Ramirez said as soon as she heard local schools wouldn’t bring students back until at least November, she knew something needed to be done.

File photo

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter filed a brief on Monday asking the state Court of Criminal Appeals for guidance on cases affected by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in McGirt v Oklahoma.

Tulsa County Sheriff

The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Child Predator Unit arrested a 26-year-old man they believed was a local teacher in a sting operation.

The sheriff’s office said Aaron Hernandez sent lewd pictures of himself to and discussed sex with an undercover deputy posing as a 14-year-old girl on the apps Whisper and Snapchat. Hernandez was arrested Monday morning when he reportedly went to meet the teen to have sex with her.

OSU

Oklahoma has another new state epidemiologist during the coronavirus pandemic.

OSU veterinary professor Jared Taylor has been tapped as an epidemiology consultant for the State Department of Health.

Interim State Epidemiologist Aaron Wendelboe’s contract expired Friday. He was named to the post in late March after former State Epidemiologist Laurence Burnsed was reassigned.

Taylor was made OSU’s epidemiologist at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and worked with Wendelboe on a presentation to Governor Kevin Stitt in April.

Oklahoma Department of Transportation

First it was turnpikes, now rural stretches of interstate in Oklahoma are getting higher speed limits.

A total of 399 miles along I-35 and I-40 will get 75 mph limits posted in the coming months.

"A comprehensive engineering study was completed for these locations in accordance with Department of Transportation rules, regulations and policies. We have a commitment to safety," said State Traffic Engineer Chad Pendley.

Food and Drug Administration

Updated Aug. 4, 11:50 a.m. to correct state's seven-day average for Monday.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Monday 377 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 38,602.

Before Monday, the state was seeing an average of nearly 1,100 new cases a day over the past week. Case totals fell from 1,244 on Saturday to 494 on Sunday. The last time the state saw a dramatic decline in new cases, July 23 to 24, more than a dozen labs suddenly started reporting test results from the past month.

Courtesy

Students marked their entries into medical school on Friday in a white coat ceremony at OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation.

OSU Center for Health Sciences President and OSU School of Osteopathic Medicine Dean Dr. Kayse Shrum told them while their families and friends couldn’t be present because of the coronavirus pandemic, there’s still plenty of cause for celebration.

Inhofe Press Office

The New York Times has obtained a recording of a phone call between President Trump and Oklahoma U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe this week in which they discuss keeping the name of at least one Confederate leader on a military base.

"We’re going to keep the name of Robert E. Lee," Trump said on the call.

"Just trust me, I’ll make it happen," Inhofe replied.

The head of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board resigned this week after being threatened last month by a board member with a grand jury investigation of unspecified criminal activity.

Pardon and parole Executive Director Steven Bickley had asked the board earlier this month to approve an extended leave after board member and retired judge Allen McCall sent him an email accusing him of trying to force an anti-death penalty view on the board. That happened after an exchange about whether the board could consider commutation requests from death-row inmates.

Department of Defense

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Friday 747 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 36,487.

Tulsa County had 74 of Friday's new cases according to data the state health department, the smallest increase since July 5 barring two days of undercounted cases because of computer problems at the state health department. Tulsa County's total now stands at 8,710.

Oklahoma Employment Security Commission

With Republicans and Democrats in a stalemate, the U.S. Senate left until Monday without extending federal unemployment benefits that expire Friday.

Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford said renewing $600 a week on top of what states offer was too much. Lankford told NPR’s David Greene on "Morning Edition" he supported the GOP plan for $200 in weekly payments through September.

Pixabay

Administration may be the big fight over Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma.

Lawmakers leading the discussion are confident they can use a plan vetoed by Gov. Kevin Stitt as a funding fallback. It used an increased assessment on hospital revenue to come up with around $130 million, most if not all of Oklahoma’s share of around $1 billion in expansion costs.

Oklahoma will spend $10 million from its federal coronavirus funds to buy personal protective equipment for distribution to schools.

That includes enough masks for every student and teacher to have two, as well as face shields, gloves and gowns for school personnel. The equipment will be sent to regional warehouses for distribution with a goal of delivering it by Aug. 14.

Rep. Sherrie Conley (R-Newcastle), a 26-year educator, said students belong back in schools, and not just because in-person instruction is superior.

Pages