G.T. Bynum

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Water in the river.

It’s been a Tulsa idea since 1964, and it was still a major theme in community forums held by then-Mayor Bill LaFortune in 2002 to gauge what citizens wanted the city to invest in most.

"Here’s what they concluded, and I quote: 'It's the river, stupid,'" said Tulsa County Commissioner Karen Keith.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Gov. Kevin Stitt visited Tulsa to announce more than $30 million in federal relief funds through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act, will be headed to the city. 

"Mayor Bynum and his team at the city of Tulsa have done a great job coming up with innovative ways to use this money to continue to fight COVID-19, support local businesses and help educate our children," said the governor, who did not wear a mask at the press conference despite the recommendations of his own health commissioner and a mask ordinance passed by the Tulsa City Council.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

A two-year, $55 million renovation of the Cox Business Convention Center is complete.

The 56-year-old convention center got an overhaul inside and out.

"This is 2020, and this is what 2020 looks like," said Cox Communications Vice President Roger Ramseyer.

The facility has a new eastern entrance and lobby, and its 8,900-seat arena has been replaced with a 41,000-square foot banquet hall.

Tulsa Regional Tourism Board member Bob McGrew hopes that lures more events to Tulsa. He said events’ total economic impact in Tulsa is $1.3 billion since 2014.

Facebook / Tulsa City Council

A Tulsa City Councilor says Mayor G.T. Bynum's reelection should be a concern for conservatives. 

District 5 Councilor Cass Fahler appeared on an episode of "The ThriveTime Show" entitled "Is G.T. Bynum a Secret Democrat?" Fahler was asked to give examples of Bynum acting out of step with conservative values.

Four Arrested At Tulsa Trump Rally Plead Not Guilty

Aug 7, 2020

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Four people arrested at a Tulsa campaign rally for President Donald Trump, including a Tulsa teacher and a Norman City Council member, pleaded not guilty Thursday to misdemeanor obstruction charges.

Twitter / @WhiteHouse

President Donald Trump announced that Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House's coronavirus task force, will visit Oklahoma next week on a tour of states "to deliver aggressive, tailored and targeted guidance."

The visit comes as Okla. Gov. Kevin Stitt is under scrutiny for declining to implement the task force's recommendations to combat the coronavirus.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Tulsa County continues to see "widespread virus" in the community, as delays in testing contribute to difficulties in properly responding to the pandemic, according the Tulsa Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart.

At a press conference Tuesday at Tulsa Police Department headquarters, Dart said that testing laboratories are "swamped," leading to numbers from the Oklahoma State Department of Health that may be less useful due to being dated.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

It's he-said-they-said between Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and key stakeholders in the Greenwood District, as the conflict continues over whether or not the unauthorized "BLACK LIVES MATTER" mural on Greenwood Avenue can remain.

Twitter / @realdonaldtrump

Officials in Tulsa said Thursday that a direct causal connection cannot be drawn between the coronavirus infection of former presidential candidate Herman Cain and his attendance at President Trump's rally last month at the BOK Center.

"I don't know how he caught it," Mayor G.T. Bynum said of Cain, who, like the majority of the 6,000-person crowd at the rally, did not wear a mask in the arena. "I haven't seen any conclusive information on where he got it from."

Dr. Bruce Dart, director of the Tulsa Health Department and a personal friend of Cain, agreed.

Facebook / Governor Kevin Stitt

Despite recommendations from the Trump administration that the state of Oklahoma implement far stricter restrictions to combat the coronavirus, a spokesperson for Gov. Kevin Stitt said Friday that they're just that -- recommendations.

"The Governor’s office followed up after the Task Force’s latest report and the White House confirmed that these are not mandates and that the State is not out of compliance with any federal orders," said Baylee Lakey, the governor's communications director, in an emailed statement.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

The Tulsa Police Department will be responding to complaints about Tulsa's new mandatory mask ordinance only if called by a property owner, Mayor G.T. Bynum and TPD Chief Wendell Franklin explained at a Thursday press conference. 

"Officers are not driving around town looking for somebody who doesn't have a mask on," Bynum said. "Instead, it empowers property owners to tell people that that's the ordinance and they need to have a mask on, and if not then they need to leave. If the person won't leave, then TPD can enforce the trespass ordinance that we have in place."

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Tulsa County officials said local coronavirus numbers remain troubling, but they hope the recently adopted mask mandate can slow or reverse the trends.

"Are we plateauing in cases as the governor indicated we might be in Oklahoma? In Tulsa County, we are not -- we are continuing to surge," said Dr. Bruce Dart, director of the Tulsa Health Department, in response to a reporter's question.

"We're continuing to see a higher percent of daily positives than we would like. It's telling us the virus is widespread in our community and the prevalence is extremely high," Dart said.

Musk Goes with Austin for New Tesla Factory

Jul 22, 2020

Electric car maker Tesla Inc. has picked the Austin, Texas, area as the site for its largest auto assembly plant employing at least 5,000 workers.

The new factory will build Tesla’s upcoming Cybertruck pickup and will be a second U.S. manufacturing site for the Model Y small SUV, largely for distribution to the East Coast.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

The researchers conducting a test excavation at Tulsa's Oaklawn Cemetery, in search of a possible mass grave containing victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, have concluded that such a grave does not exist in the exact spot they investigated.

Center for Public Integrity

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and a spokesperson for Tulsa Health Director Dr. Bruce Dart said neither of them had received communications from Gov. Kevin Stitt or the federal government regarding a recently uncovered White House document dated July 14th recommending that the Tulsa metropolitan area take stricter steps to combat the coronavirus.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum on Friday said there is no conflict between City Hall and the Tulsa Police Department, following a statement from TPD saying they would be seeking a legal review of the mask mandate ordinance passed by the city council and signed by the mayor.

Facebook / Mayor G.T. Bynum

Update 9:20 a.m.: This story, photo, and headline have been updated to reflect that the ordinance has been signed by the mayor and is now in effect.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum has signed an ordinance that requires adults to wear face coverings in many public settings, in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19 among a skyrocketing number of cases and hospitalizations.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Mayor G.T.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

The City of Stillwater and the Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City are the latest entities in Oklahoma to require the wearing of masks in an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 

The Stillwater City Council voted unanimously Thursday for an ordinance that requires face coverings to be worn in places like schools, churches, gyms, restaurants and bars, among others. 

Twitter / @realdonaldtrump

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa in late June that drew thousands of participants and large protests “likely contributed” to a dramatic surge in new coronavirus cases, Tulsa City-County Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart said Wednesday.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

With COVID-19 infection rates soaring both in Tulsa County and statewide, Mayor G.T. Bynum struck a familiar note at a Wednesday press conference, exhorting Tulsans to wear masks while also maintaining that he does not believe a policy requiring them is currently necessary.

"The reason we haven't done it yet to date is because we have not been told that there is just no other option and we have to do it," Bynum said.

Bynum has previously said he would implement such a policy if advised to do so by Dr. Bruce Dart, director of the Tulsa Health Department.

1 of 2 TPD Officers Shot During Traffic Stop Dies

Jun 30, 2020
Facebook / Tulsa Police Department

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — One of the two Tulsa Police Department officers who were shot during a traffic stop has died, authorities said Tuesday.

Police Chief Wendell Franklin said Sgt. Craig Johnson died Tuesday. He said Johnson was shot multiple times during the Monday attack, including one shot that was “critical.”

Franklin described Johnson’s death as a “tremendous loss” to the police department.

Tulsa Police Department

Two Tulsa Police Department officers are in critical condition, "fighting for their lives," following a shooting during a traffic stop early Monday morning, officials say.

At a press conference Monday afternoon, TPD Chief Wendell Franklin identified the officers as Sgt. Craig Johnson, a 15-year veteran, and Officer Aurash Zarkeshan, who completed police training only last month and had been on patrol for just six weeks.

Facebook / Tulsa Fire Department

A Tulsa fire station was briefly closed this week for cleaning and many of its firefighters placed under quarantine after a member of the Tulsa Fire Department assigned to that station exhibited symptoms of COVID-19.

TFD Chief Michael Baker told reporters at a Wednesday press conference that Fire Station 24 at 3600 N. Peoria was shut down for cleaning and disinfecting overnight from Tuesday into Wednesday, but had since reopened.

Twitter / @TulsaPolice

With local officials repeatedly stressing the message that mask-wearing is crucial to slowing the spread of COVID-19 -- and even considering making it mandatory and enforceable by law -- the head of the Tulsa Police Department says officers don't always wear masks because covering their faces can interfere with their jobs.

"The reason why you don't always see our officers wearing masks is because they need to have that facial expression," Chief Wendell Franklin told reporters at a Wednesday press conference at police headquarters.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Tulsa County on Wednesday again broke a record for most new confirmed COVID-19 infections reported in a single day, and, as the spread continues to worsen, officials said they are discussing the possibility of making the wearing of masks mandatory and enforceable by law.

Odell Architecture

At a special meeting of the Tulsa Public Facilities Authority (TPFA) held virtually on Tuesday, an executive from the company that manages the BOK Center said they will not book or sign contracts for any further events without clear guidelines.

"Our intention is not to book any additional events, or contract with any additional event organizers, until we have some policies or guidance from the TPFA and perhaps even other local officials, including the public health director," said Doug Thornton, an executive vice president at ASM Global.

Facebook / Tulsa Police Department

Responding to comments from a Trump campaign official that "local law enforcement" was partially responsible for a smaller than expected crowd at the BOK Center Saturday for President Donald Trump's reelection rally, the Tulsa Police Department issued a statement describing only a short interruption.

MSNBC

Calling Sheila Buck's nationally televised arrest outside the BOK Center on Saturday an "outrage," the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma has called for charges to be dropped.

Buck, a Tulsa teacher, was wearing an "I Can't Breathe" t-shirt when, according to a statement from the Tulsa Police Department, the Trump campaign requested she be removed. Buck claimed to hold a ticket to the rally.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

With wildly different attendance numbers being reported by the Tulsa Fire Department -- 6,200 -- and the Trump campaign -- 12,000 -- for Saturday's rally, Mayor G.T. Bynum said Monday that the true number is likely somewhere in the middle.

"I want to put an asterisk on the fire marshal's designation, because that does not include people that were in suites in the BOK Center or staff that were there," Bynum said in an interview with KRMG Radio. "So clearly it's somewhere in between those numbers."

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