Matt Trotter

News Director

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

Matt Trotter / KWGS

  Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett announced several new plans during his inaugural remarks Monday.

"Several reporting relationships will change," Bartlett said. 

One of those changes has already taken place. Employees connected to the city's green waste program now report directly to the mayor.

Changes that have not happened yet concern Tulsa's 911 system and economic development department.

The 911 system will soon be under the Tulsa Police Department. It is currently called 911 Public Safety Communications and is a standalone city department.

File photo / KWGS

  Tulsa City Council's Trash Operations Task Force will develop recommendations to improve the city's green waste program.

The two main issues the task force will address are whether Tulsa should mulch or compost its green waste, and what the best collection method is.

The city runs the current green waste program. The Tulsa Authority for the Recovery of Energy didn't know how much green waste would be collected.

The TARE Board chose to have an in-house system it could study rather than contracting the work, like it did for trash and recycling.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

After two days, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Marine Enforcement Division pulled the first of 18 or 19 vehicles from waters of the McClellan-Kerr Navigation System.

And that may have been one of the easier ones to recover.

The red 2000 Chevy Z71 pickup truck was reported stolen to Broken Arrow Police in September 2006. Troopers began working on the truck yesterday, but they weren't able to use airbags to lift the truck so a tow truck to hook onto it until today.

American Airlines

A settlement filed Tuesday in federal court indicates the Justice Department has dropped its opposition to the American Airlines-US Airways merger.

The agreement calls for the airlines to give up 52 slot pairs at Washington Reagan National Airport and 17 slot pairs at New York LaGuardia Airport. A slot pair gives an airline rights to schedule a departing flight and an arriving flight for specific time period.

State of Oklahoma-File photo

State Sen. Brian Crain (R-Tulsa) is drafting legislation that would make political stalking a crime.

Crain plans to file a bill in time for consideration during the 2014 legislative session, which begins in February.

The move comes after an intern with Kathy Taylor's campaign was contacted Nov. 2 by police responding to a suspicious vehicle complaint. The intern admitted he was tracking Mayor Dewey Bartlett's unscheduled movements.

The intern was not cited.

KWGS News

Seven weeks after saying he would not support Dewey Bartlett but stopping short of offering an endorsement, former mayoral challenger Bill Christiansen has thrown his support behind Kathy Taylor.

"We need someone who will bring this city together in a nonpartisan way," Christiansen said in a press conference at VFW Post 557. "That is why I am here today to announce my support of Kathy Taylor for mayor of Tulsa."

Christiansen got 23 percent of the vote in June's mayoral primary, which narrowed the field down to Taylor and Bartlett.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

A new program aimed at improving Oklahoma's poor ranking for teen births got its start today.

The Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy launched at a luncheon in the downtown Tulsa Hyatt. 

A poll from the organization found just one in four Oklahomans know the state has the fourth-highest teen birth rate in the United States, and the second-highest birth rate among 17- and 18-year-olds.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa Public Schools released its A-F school report card grades today, and more schools are receiving an F than all other grades combined.

The Oklahoma Board of Education should certify the grades in a special meeting Wednesday, but for now, 36 TPS schools are getting F's, 17 schools are getting D's, four schools are getting C's, 10 schools are getting B's and seven schools are getting A's.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

It's Wednesday morning, and Garrick Ritzky has a plastic graduated cylinder in front of him.

"Everything is measured," he said. "Your temperatures have to be spot-on, your volumes have to be spot-on. There's a lot of science behind it all."

Except he's not in a laboratory.

"Today we're brewing Big Jamoke, which is our next seasonal to be released," Ritzky said. "It's a robust porter, so a lot of chocolate, a little roasted undertones, still quite a bit of hops to balance it out, though. A decent amount of alcohol as well, so a good cooler-weather beer."

KWGS File Photo

Amendments going into effect Friday to Oklahoma's laws on jurors will change the oath, how it may be sworn and how much time people get off from jury duty.

Tulsa County District Court Administrator Vicki Cox said changes to the oath have been in the works for some time. 

"The oath had some odd language in it about mental status, and the judges had long hoped that, that would get changed," she said.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Allegiant's first nonstop flight from Tulsa to Orlando took off just before 3 p.m. today.

Planes will fly between Tulsa and Orlando twice a week. The company is offering one-way fares on the route for $59 until Nov. 1, for travel by April 29. 

During the ribbon-cutting event at the gate before passengers boarded, city and airport officials said they're excited to have nonstop service to Tulsans' No. 1 vacation destination.

Matt Trotter/KWGS News / KWGS

The Transportation Security Administration's Precheck line at Tulsa International Airport opened today.

Passengers eligible for the line don't have to remove their shoes, belts or light jackets, or take laptops or toiletries out of their bags.

TSA spokeswoman Carrie Harmon says the agency has moved away from a one-size-fits-all approach in the last few years.

"What we've moved toward is an intelligence risk–based system," she said.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Gov. Mary Fallin's support for Common Core State Standards may cost her the votes of more-conservative Republicans when she runs for re-election next year.

A small group of protesters gathered Tuesday morning outside the Tulsa bagel shop where Fallin kicked off her 2014 campaign. While their signs addressed multiple issues, the most common was Fallin's support for the K-12 standards for academic proficiency, coordinated by the National Governors Association, which Fallin chairs.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

"Water in the river" has been a mantra among Tulsans for years, and local leaders believe the Muscogee (Creek) Nation's new resort development at River Spirit Casino may make it happen.

Between the second phase of the River Spirit Casino, which will cost $335 million, and A Gathering Place for Tulsa, which has a $200 million price tag for its first phase, investors are pumping more than half a billion dollars into riverside developments.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

"We have to have a highly skilled, educated workforce to take care of our energy jobs," Gov. Mary Fallin said in her speech opening her third-annual energy conference.

Oklahomans hear these words often. They're not often accompanied by a plan, however, because the problem is complex. But a group of the state's top figures in education sat down at the conference for a panel discussion on the topic.

First, some surprising problems.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The custody dispute that's lasted for the entirety of Veronica Brown's four-year-old life is officially over.

"As of today, Dusten Brown and Cherokee Nation have jointly moved to dismiss all pending litigation in Oklahoma and in Cherokee courts," said Cherokee Nation Assistant Attorney General Chrissi Nimmo. 

Cherokee Nation will not pursue any further appeals in the case.

Reading from a statement, Nimmo called for adoptive parents Matt and Melanie Capobianco to honor an agreement allowing Brown contact with Veronica.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

NeWSolutions, the company contracted by the City of Tulsa for trash and recyclable collection, dedicated Tulsa's newest compressed natural gas fueling station Monday.

The fueling station at 41st Street and Galveston Avenue is a joint effort between NeWSolutions and Blue Energy Fuels. The waste management company's contract with the city requires its trucks to run on CNG.

Unlike the city facility at 23rd Street and Jackson Avenue, this facility — said to be the largest in Oklahoma — is not open to the public.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

If elected mayor of Tulsa in November, Kathy Taylor has a three-point plan for fighting crime at the ready.

Taylor unveiled her plan Wednesday at a press conference also used to announce her endorsement by the Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police, the union representing city police officers. With its endorsement, Taylor has the backing of both unions representing the city's public safety workers.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Peoples Bank Tulsa must pay a $20,000 fine to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for discriminatory lending practices.

Regulators say the bank charged Hispanic borrowers higher rates on car loans than similar non-Hispanic borrowers. The filing, made public earlier this week, didn't specify how much higher those rates were.

The FDIC would not comment on the case specifically, saying in an email that enforcement orders "speak for themselves."

Matt Trotter / KWGS

A team of 25 sanitarians from the Tulsa Health Department is responsible for inspecting more than 250 individual vendors over the course of the fair.

They perform initial inspections before the vendors can serve their first customer, and routine inspections will follow throughout the fair.

The sanitarians look at several aspects of each vendor's operations, all of which are state regulations.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology opened a new facility Wednesday to train students in the latest equipment and techniques in natural gas compression.

The Okmulgee school has a history of corporate partnerships.

"If you look across this entire campus, every discipline is basically supported by a corporate partner, and this is just the latest example," said OSU President Burns Hargis at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Chesapeake Energy, Devon Energy, ONEOK and Energy Transfer all gave money toward the facility's construction.

OU Tulsa School of Community Medicine

Medical informatics is a relatively new field, but it's why OU Tulsa will have a big role in the University of Oklahoma's project to help the state's medically underserved, which recently won a four-year, $20.3 million federal grant.

OU Tulsa's School of Community Medicine began developing a medical informatics system in 2008, getting some funding help from a state grant. 

In the last five years, the system has developed to the point that it can be shared outside of Tulsa.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

IN2WORK, a food service skills program offered by the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office in partnership with Aramark, has produced its first four graduates.

Four men out of a group of 10 inmates completed the program. They learned kitchen and retail basics and the National Restaurant Association serving protocols known as ServSafe.

Graduates had to pass all their exams with a score of 75 percent or better.

TCSO will expand the program because of its popularity among the inmates. Genders can't be mixed, so groups of men and women will alternate in the program.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

City of Tulsa employees are prohibited from texting while driving on the job. Now Mayor Dewey Bartlett is encouraging all Tulsa drivers not to text behind the wheel.

Bartlett proclaimed Sept. 19 "Drive 4 Pledges Day," showing Tulsa's support for the nationwide It Can Wait movement, which started in 2009.

Mobile carriers AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon head the campaign. AT&T Oklahoma President Bryan Gonterman was on hand for the announcement and praised the city's action.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Cherokee Nation unveiled this afternoon a new study showing the tribe's economic impact in the state: $1.3 billion in economic output and support for nearly 14,200 jobs.

Leaders said the tribe's total economic impact was up 20 percent from fiscal year 2010.

Principal Chief Bill John Baker called Cherokee Nation the "engine that drives economic growth" in northeastern Oklahoma. Cherokee Nation government and business operations take place in 14 counties.

INCOG

Oklahoma ranks sixth in the nation in the proportion of its population age 50 or older with a disability, and the state's disabled older citizens are more likely to rent than to own a home.

Gather 100 Oklahomans age 50 or older in a single room, and statistics say 42 of them will be disabled. Do that in the worst state, Arkansas, and 45 will be disabled. 

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Swarms of field crickets are out day and night in Green Country, and the bugs might be around for two to four weeks. 

But this phenomenon has actually drawn scientists' attention for at least 60 years.

The chirping has been nearly constant on the University of Tulsa campus this week. Thousands of inch-long, black or dark brown crickets are gathered here and at several other spots in Tulsa, Broken Arrow and Owasso. 

They cluster together in plain sight, hundreds of them giving walls and floors a living, chirping texture. It's all a bit unsettling.

File photo / KWGS

The farthest upstream lock on the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System is reopen to traffic.

The Army Corps of Engineers closed Newt-Graham Lock and Dam 18 for more than a week. Crews found worse-than-expected damage when they drained the lock to fix leaks they had monitored for several months.

A rubber seal the Corps expected would be damaged was misshapen and loose in spots.

But some of the worst damage was caused by tree trunks swept into the water. Portions of the 185-ton steel gates bent where they closed on the trunks and other debris.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Mayor Dewey Bartlett and the Tulsa City Council made exploring underground utility placement a goal for 2013. It's one that became more important after thousands lost power for days following July storms.

But in a presentation to city councilors, representatives of Public Service Company of Oklahoma showed there's much more to consider than the price tag of moving power lines underground.

Wikipedia

The legal battle over custody of Veronica Brown has brought up a rarely asked question: Who is a Cherokee?

The United States Supreme Court points out that Veronica is just 1.2 percent Cherokee. Yet she is entitled to full membership in the tribe and the legal protections that come with it.

Article Four of the Cherokee Nation constitution addresses citizenship. The requirements are simple, laid out in a few seconds by Cherokee Nation Attorney General Todd Hembree.

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