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

Administrators have reviewed Tulsa Public Schools curriculum in light of a new state law to limit certain teachings on race, gender and history, and the State Board of Education’s adoption of rules earlier this month to comply with that law.

TPS Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist told the board during a Monday night meeting they found no conflicts with House Bill 1775 or the emergency rules.

Food On The Move

A local nonprofit dedicated to fighting food insecurity is resuming its monthly block parties featuring entertainment, food trucks and fresh produce on a "pay as you can" model.

Food On The Move is at Chamberlain Park at 4940 N Frankfort Ave. Tuesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. They’ll be back there the third Tuesday of every month the rest of the year. Starting July 27, Food On The Move will be at Greenwood Cultural Center, 322 N Greenwood Ave., the fourth Tuesday of each month. In September, they’ll add a stop at Tulsa Community College Northeast Campus, 3727 E Apache St.

Oklahoma Historical Society

This summer has brought help to a family trying to restore their Luther, Oklahoma, gas station that was likely the first and only Black-owned and -operated one on Route 66.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation recently included Threatt Filling Station in a $3 million total grant award to preserve 40 Black historic sites in the U.S. That came after the trust named it one of its 11 most endangered historic places in the country. According to the trust, less than 5% of sites they designate “most endangered” have been lost.

OU

The OU College of Dentistry will open a state-of-the art clinic in Tulsa.

The roughly 5,000-square foot facility on the OU-Tulsa campus is expected to open in June 2022 and will be the first of several planned across the state.

Dr. Raymond Cohlmia is dean of the OU College of Dentistry. He said the new clinics are meant to address a lack of access to affordable, comprehensive care in Oklahoma, not to just churn out additional dentists and hygienists.

Wikimedia

Tulsans really enjoyed their fireworks over the Fourth of July holiday, even though setting them off is illegal within city limits.

Councilor Lori Decter Wright described what she saw that night to her colleagues during a discussion last week. 

"There were up-in-the-air fireworks, 360-degree view; from [I-244] along [U.S.] 169, a haze of sulfur smoke everywhere. And then, even upon arrival to my house, you know, all kinds of things going off well into the wee hours," Decter Wright said.

Ruben de Rijcke

After one ozone alert day and exceedance in 2020, the Tulsa metro has turned in three of each so far this year, with more than two months left in the season.

On June 14, 15 and 17, monitoring stations picked up ozone readings above the Environmental Protection Agency standard of 0.071 parts per million, the highest being 0.087.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The Tulsa Performing Arts Center trust still intends to sell its parking lot at Third Street and Cincinnati Avenue to a developer for a retail and residential project anchored by a full-service grocery store.

Courtesy

Local leaders are not leaving it to chance when it comes to landing new nonstop flights from Tulsa International Airport.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Meals on Wheels of Metro Tulsa is getting a new home to help deal with a growing local need for their services.

President and CEO Calvin Moore said the nonprofit has been forced to remain artificially small because of the constraints of their current 6,000-square foot facility at 31st Street and Garnett Road, where they’ve been for nearly four decades.

Updated July 18, 7:40 a.m.  

The City of Tulsa is now the proud owner of 30 undeveloped acres near 71st Street and U.S. 169, land that will eventually be combined with 27 adjacent, city-owned acres for a new park.

City Chief of Culture and Recreation and Parks Director Anna America started working toward a new park there when she was the District 7 city councilor from 2014 to 2018. She said there isn't enough access to parks and green space in the densely developed area.

Courtesy

PSO announced Thursday that Tulsa Deputy Mayor Amy Brown will be their new external affairs manager starting July 26.

As deputy mayor, Brown oversees the city’s administrative and public safety support divisions, serves on the pension board, and works on behavioral health and criminal justice issues on behalf of Mayor G.T. Bynum.

Before being named deputy mayor in 2019, Brown was Bynum's chief of staff. She previously worked for Mayor Kathy Taylor and was Bynum's council aid while he represented District 9 before earning a law degree at the University of Tulsa in 2017.

Lori Decter Wright

The City of Tulsa and housing nonprofits are still trying to relocate residents of an apartment complex near 61st and Memorial a city councilor described as being like a "third-world" country.

Courtesy

A yearlong beautification project on Route 66 at 11th and Lewis should begin this month.

Improvements in what’s been dubbed the Market District were unveiled Wednesday. Plans include new water and sewer lines, traffic lights, traffic calming measures, dozens of trees and benches, and Route 66 signage.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Wednesday 1,082 new cases of COVID-19, the highest single-day report since late February as the state was coming off of a winter surge in infections.

It is not currently known when the cases reported Wednesday were acquired, but younger people and the Delta variant appear to be driving the spike. Oklahoma Hospital Association President Patti Davis said Tuesday half of current infections are in people aged 15 to 44, which presents a real problem with the start of a new school year just weeks away.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The City of Tulsa has created a lookup tool for people to see if their information was posted online after a ransomware attack.

Tulsa PAC

The Tulsa Performing Arts Center still doesn’t know the status of its application for COVID-19 relief funds set aside for theaters and other entertainment venues.

More than $16 billion was made available through the Small Business Administration’s Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, which opened in April and has been plagued by delays. So far, the SBA has made a decision on almost 90% of the more than 15,000 applications received to date, but the agency has notified less than half those applicants.

Several Oklahomans are suing over Gov. Kevin Stitt’s decision to end additional federal unemployment benefits late last month, alleging he overstepped his authority and violated federal law

Stitt announced in May the extra $300 a week covered by federal coronavirus relief funding would stop June 26 and be repurposed for a back-to-work incentive.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has scheduled a referee hearing for Aug. 11 in one of the lawsuits. The governor's office said they can't comment on pending litigation.

Photo from Justice for Julius

Death-row inmate Julius Jones’ stage two commutation hearing will take place under new rules to give the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board additional time to consider his case.

The board voted Monday to make Jones’ stage-two hearing an "enhanced" review. Jones’ delegates, the district attorney’s office and victims’ representatives will get 30 minutes each. When they voted in March to advance Jones’ application, enhanced review didn’t exist.

Some midtown Tulsa residents heard the sounds of a gun battle late Sunday night.

Tulsa Police said officers found a large crowd at the 21st Street and Yale Avenue Whataburger around 11:20 p.m., and once they got to the middle of the gathering, they found a 19-year-old man inside a black Dodge Challenger riddled with bullet holes who had been shot 10 times, including in the neck.

Ofc. Danny Bean said witnesses told officers there was an altercation during a private party across the street at Safari Joe's H2O water park that somehow escalated.

Gov. Kevin Stitt

Gov. Kevin Stitt traveled to Dallas over the weekend to participate in a panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC.

The 2021 theme was "America Uncanceled," and Stitt took part in a panel discussion with Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on leadership, justice and jobs in the age of "wokeism."

American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp moderated and presented criminal justice reform as a conservative endeavor, whereas liberals want to defund police.

Preliminary state test results from the 2020–2021 school year are now in.

Those tests were suspended for the 2019–2020 year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Scores for students in grades three through eight are available through a secure online portal, okparentportal.emetric.net.

Parents need their students’ 10-digit state testing number to log in. Parents who need their children's testing numbers should contact the student's school.

The redistricting process began in earnest Friday for the City of Tulsa.

The five-member Election District Commission charged with redrawing city council districts based on the 2020 census met for the first time. The commission is made up of two Republicans, John Eagleton and Rick Westcott; two Democrats, Sharon King Davis and Joe Williams; and one independent, Susan Neal. Eagleton, Neal, Westcott and Williams are former city councilors.

Courtesy

Downtown Tulsa’s east end is getting some new rooftops with a $125 million mixed-use project now under construction almost 20 years after it was first envisioned.

Santa Fe Square will be built on four acres of former railyard bounded by First and Second streets and Greenwood and Elgin avenues. The property has been surface parking for years now.

Plans include a 12-story tower, apartments and 30,000 square feet of retail space built around a European-style plaza.

University of Tulsa

University of Tulsa sports venues will be at full capacity again starting this fall, including 30,000-seat H.A. Chapman Stadium.

Chapman stadium was capped at roughly 4,000 last year for the three home football games the Golden Hurricane actually played. Three other home games were canceled because of COVID-19.

Athletics Director Rick Dickson said in a statement TU will operate venues safely and stay up-to-date on state and local guidance.

Thursday's top stories:

  • The Tulsa Public Schools Board wants to revisit the district's COVID response over concerns about the Delta variant.
  • Israel reports the Pfizer vaccine is less effective against the Delta variant than previously estimated.
  • TU sports venues will be at full capacity again this fall.

Courtesy

The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics could be in line for money to support a unit dedicated to investigating transnational criminal organizations law enforcement officials believe are embedded within the state’s medical marijuana industry.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe has requested $4 million in directed funding for it through the U.S. Department of Justice. OBN Director Donnie Anderson said the investigations are highly complex and need officers’ full attention.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Members of the Tulsa Public Schools Board want to discuss plans to deal with the more-transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus.

The fall semester begins in six weeks, and cases of COVID-19 have been rising in Tulsa County the past three after falling to a 12-month low. The Delta variant is present in northeast Oklahoma.

"I have received numerous calls, and I look forward to our having a discussion surrounding the new Delta variant. We have families that are trying to figure out what they're going to do for school," said board member Jennettie Marshall.

Oklahoma U.S. Rep. Tom Cole was among the guests at a think tank’s panel discussion this week on building partnerships in Congress.

The virtual panel was hosted by the nonpartisan Aspen Institute as part of their McCloskey Speakers Series.

Cole agreed with U.S. Virgin Islands Delegate Stacey Plaskett that lawmakers quickly learn which of their colleagues they can work with because they’re trying to get things done.

Cole said he likes to think of Congress as a small town.

Wednesday's top stories:

  • Statewide, more people continue to test positive for COVID-19.
  • A 14-year-old among the first wave of Oklahoma kids vaccinated against COVID-19 shares his experience.
  • The Republican superintendent of Shawnee Public Schools announces she'll run for state superintendent.

Pxhere

A leading business survey indicates strong growth continuing for the next several months and an economy returning to pre-pandemic levels in 2022.

The Mid-America Business Conditions Index ticked up from 72.3 in May to 73.5 in June. Numbers above 50 on the zero to 100 scale indicate growth. The index hit a record 73.9 in April.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey and said workers are hard to come by, but manufacturers are hiring.

Pages