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.

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KWGS News File Photo

Workers clearing ice and snow from Tulsa streets racked up $362,456 in overtime. 

The streets and storm water department went over its overtime budget for winter storm response by more than $200,000. Street Maintenance Manager Tim McCorkell said a more severe winter caught the city a little off guard.

"You really can't tell, because the last two years we didn't utilize our overtime budget for snow and ice," McCorkell said. "I just think you need to have maybe some type of a rainy-day fund that you can dip into in case you go through it. Then you know that's there."

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa-based Domestic Violence Intervention Services announces it is building new facilities.

Lee Eslicker, co-chair of DVIS' ReBUILDING Lives capital campaign, says the current shelter is 28 years old and no longer adequate.

"The time has come to build a new shelter and transitional housing that will allow DVIS to serve more clients and house them in a place that is safe and secure and allow them to rebuild their lives," Eslicker said.

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Hearings on Oklahoma’s gay marriage ban lawsuit are set for mid-April in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, but several groups are weighing in now.

More than a dozen friend of the court briefs were filed Tuesday before a midnight  deadline, most of them supporting same-sex marriage. Filers included Republicans who were former opponents and a coalition of businesses including Google and Starbucks. 

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INCOG holds the first public meeting on its regional master plan for bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly development today at 5:30 p.m. at the TCC Center for Creativity, 910 S Boston Ave.

About 80 percent of Tulsans live within 2.5 miles of a paved trail, and James Wagner, INCOG's transportation projects coordinator, said they’re looking at the region’s 114 total miles much like a highway for the GO Plan. 

Matt Trotter / KWGS

In many places, the invitation given near the start of Booker T. Washington High School's Black History Month assembly would still trigger a strong response, a "Why are they different from us?" mentality.

"Could you please stand for the black national anthem?"

Members of Tulsa’s Young Professionals head to the state capitol Tuesday for a crash course in state politics.

The trip is a mix of learning the political process and lobbying on issues important to the organization. TYPros Executive Director Shagah Zakerion says education funding and passenger rail are on the agenda, and support for the arts is a major issue.

KWGS News File Photo

City crews started plowing and salting streets late Sunday night, but driving conditions are still hazardous.

Kurt Spitzner is an instructor at Bridgestone Winter Driving School. He says if you absolutely can’t avoid driving somewhere, slow down and don’t panic if you lose traction. 

"It's very common when you're on a low-traction surface, that if one control didn't work — say, steering — that you automatically just add in another control, like braking, which makes the likelihood of either of those two controls working well diminish significantly," Spitzner said.

A representative of A Gathering Place for Tulsa says the plan for the Arkansas River is out of date. 

The master plan for Arkansas River development was finished in 2005. Jeff Stava, the project director for A Gathering Place, says the plan is due for another look. 

"You know, when you have a 9- or 10-year-old plan, it needs to be refreshed and updated, and as time has gone on, our challenges have changed," Stava said. 

KWGS News Photo

The Port of Catoosa came very close to a record-setting year in 2013.

Last year, 1,494 barges moved 2,700,990 tons in and out of the port, 1,474 fewer tons than in 2012. But at today's State of the Port address, City of Tulsa-Rogers County Port Authority Chair David Page said one barge usually carries 1,500 tons.

"Just one more, and we would have had a record year," Page said. "I think if we'd known that on Dec. 28, we'd have made sure that one more barge got through here."

Page said shipments of crude oil helped set the 2012 record.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

A $250,000 donation will allow a program that trains workers for in-demand technical jobs to help more people in Tulsa this year.

Transportation Connection WorkAdvance trains workers in four cities nationwide for transportation, manufacturing and aerospace jobs. Karen Pennington is with Madison Strategies, the company that implemented Tulsa’s TCW program. She said they can give more unemployed and underemployed Tulsans opportunities this year.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

An annual event meant to draw attention to Tulsa's underdeveloped areas comes downtown this year. 

Tulsa Young Professionals' Street CReD event this May will focus on developing south downtown. 

TYPros Chair Isaac Rocha said the southern part of downtown Tulsa has too much space devoted to just parking lots. 

The committee tasked with recommending awards for Tulsa's federal Housing and Urban Development grants reached a decision today on one category of funding. 

Nine of 11 applicants for physical and economic development grants will get funding. Of those, just three will get the full amount requested. 

The committee received 11 applications totaling $5.8 million for just $2.8 million in funding. Chair Gail Rose said she's trying to teach programs not getting money or less money than they requested there are other sources of funding available. 

Tulsa Sports Commission

VisitTulsa is working to change the state’s quality events tax incentive after the city’s application from the 2013 Bassmaster Classic was rejected this week.

VisitTulsa and Tulsa Sports Commission Senior Vice President Ray Hoyt said visitors bureaus statewide need the incentive fixed so they can continue to support big events.

KWGS News

Around 1,400 city employees will be changed from semimonthly to biweekly pay checks soon.

The change means employees will get paid for all of February next Friday and the first week of March two weeks later. The city offered to let employees sell back time off to make up for a small check.

Councilor Jeannie Cue said she'd like to see a way for employees without that time to sell get a normal check.

KWGS News File Photo

Tulsa’s amnesty period for parking tickets is over, but speeding tickets could get the same treatment eventually.

City Manager Jim Twombly told the city council budget committee current enforcement efforts are bringing in more than they cost. Councilors asked if bad weather kept people from coming to pay their tickets. Twombly said a three-week amnesty period was enough time and residents got plenty of advanced notice.

OU

Geologists are increasingly looking at waste water disposal wells as the cause of earthquakes linked to oil drilling.

A report from the National Academy of Sciences says injection wells are the likely cause of earthquakes linked to oil production, including in Oklahoma. The state is on track for as many as 400 quakes this year, 20 times what was normal before a big jump in oil production five years ago.

Tim Larsen / New Jersey Governor's Office

An Israeli ambassador to the United States challenged a widely held view of the country's conflict with Palestine at a lecture in Tulsa.

Ido Aharoni calls the difference between the nations' conflict and the world's view of it "wildly unreasonable," adding the conflict affects maybe 2 percent of his daily routine while in Israel. 

He said the idea that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the source of unrest in the Middle East is wrong.

The state department of transportation has narrowed down bids for the Sooner Sub rail line to two companies, and at least one will consider allowing passenger rail service.

ODOT has selected BNSF Railway and Stillwater Central Railroad/Watco Companies for further negotiations on the 97.5-mile line. Jeff Van Schaick with Watco attended Tulsa's rail advisory committee meeting on Tuesday.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

A residential project in downtown Tulsa's East Village delayed by permit and financing problems is now officially underway.

Local officials and developers broke ground this morning on Urban 8, a condo project offering a chance at individual ownership in downtown Tulsa.

Developer Yvonne Hovell said the units will be energy efficient and highly customizable.

"Each townhome can truly become someone's custom idea and home, offering customized cabinets, floors, countertops, bathroom fixtures and plumbing," Hovell said.

Tulsa Police-Facebook

Tulsa Police want to expand the law regulating pawn shops, metal recyclers and jewelry buyers to cover second hand stores.

Sgt. Shellie Sibert said second hand stores are probably the city's most significant market for stolen property.

"Because it's so diverse, when you talk about second hand stores," Sibert said. "I mean, you have electronics, you have sporting goods, you have musical instruments. You have a variety of markets."

KWGS Photo

Arkansas River corridor projects saw a small setback with the recent denial of a federal funding request. 

Officials in communities along the river learned today in a meeting of Tulsa's river development task force that the Army Corps of Engineers won't get $330,000 to help plan a low-water dam in Sand Springs. Tulsa County Commissioner Karen Keith said local support for development, however,  is still strong. 

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa-based Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology announced a partnership today with regional carrier American Eagle Airlines.  

College president and CEO Peter Harris said the new pilot pipeline program gives students a better shot at a job and gives the airline the pilots it needs.

"The pilot pipeline program means that Spartan can do what we do best, which is to recruit, and train, and retain pilots as a workforce pipeline for the American Eagle network and for one of Tulsa's largest employers," Harris said.

File Photo

Rogers County marked one year today for its veterans court program, the third-largest in Oklahoma.

Modeled after Tulsa County Veterans Court, which launched in 2008, the program is helping 15 veterans beat addictions and stay out of jail.

Kassi Jones is among the veterans currently in the program. She suffered an injury serving in the Army from 2003 to 2007 and needed her right hip replaced.

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Three more area school districts plan to rally for more funding at the capitol next month.

Bixby, Sapulpa and Broken Arrow's school boards voted unanimously to cancel classes March 31 so teachers and students can go to the rally.

They join Tulsa Public Schools in canceling classes that day.

Ryan Owens, executive director of the United Suburban Schools Association said funding is down $200 million from five years ago and that needs to be corrected.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

A cold, dry winter has meant more water line breaks than usual in Tulsa, but outdated pipes are partly to blame.

Tulsa has about 2,300 miles of pipes in its water distribution system, and about 1,000 miles of those pipes are made of cast iron. Water and Sewer Director Clayton Edwards said that's part of the problem.

"The pipes that we're replacing, most of them are cast iron pipes. We haven't put cast iron pipes in the ground for probably over 30 years," Edwards said. "Ever since I've been here, we've put in duct iron pipe and a lot of PVC pipe."

Tulsa Police-Facebook

Tulsa Police Department becomes the 25th local law enforcement agency in Oklahoma to enter into an agreement with Cherokee Nation for mutual assistance.

TPD Deputy Chief Dennis Larsen said the arrangement is beneficial to both agencies.

"It just gives us firm legal standing that, if they ask for our help, we can assist them and vice versa," Larsen said. "If we're on a street that's touching their property, we could say, 'Hey, could you come out and help us?' like with a drunk driver. They can come out, and they're on firm legal grounds being there assisting us."

KWGS News File Photo

Tulsa Police have made an arrest in the rape of a Union High School student who was attacked while she walked to school early last Wednesday morning. 

Deputy Chief Dennis Larsen said it took a lot of effort, but detectives were motivated to catch the suspect. 

"By the nature of that assault, we knew this person was prone to commit violent acts in the future just by the details of that assault," Larsen said. "So we had focused in on making — identifying and apprehending that person, and it took about five or six days of really, really good detective work."

Oklahoma Historical Society

Gov. Mary Fallin's proposed budget includes a big change for a handful of agencies, including the Oklahoma Historical Society.

The historical society, Oklahoma Arts Council, J.M. Davis Memorial Commission, Will Rogers Memorial Commission and the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission would be consolidated into the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department. 

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Gov. Mary Fallin has a new, Democratic challenger in the gubernatorial race.

State Rep. Joe Dorman decried Fallin's "divisive manner" and "failed policies" as he announced Tuesday he will run for governor. 

During a speech at the Tulsa Press Club, Dorman blasted Fallin on everything from infrastructure to crime, and the lawmaker says he's not going to hold back on criticizing her.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

A total of 61 defendants graduated from Tulsa County's Drug/DUI and veterans' treatment court programs this morning.

The alternative program to keep people out of prison and in treatment lasts a minimum of 18 months. Participants move through five phases of increasing responsibility, ultimately leaving at least six months sober and with their GEDs or better. 

Erik Eldorado told his fellow graduates during the ceremony at OSU-Tulsa that he's learned discipline and made amends with his family.

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