Local & Regional

Yes on 802

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma voters narrowly decided on Tuesday to expand Medicaid health insurance to tens of thousands low-income residents, becoming the first state to amend its Constitution to do so.

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.

Facebook / Governor Kevin Stitt

Speaking at the Capitol shortly after Oklahoma reported its largest ever single-day jump in COVID-19 infections, Gov. Kevin Stitt committed to not implementing -- or even considering -- a mandatory masking policy, even if the coronavirus pandemic continues its upward trend in the state.

"I will not consider or reconsider mandating masks. We believe in freedoms," said Stitt, who briefly donned a face covering at the press conference. 

The Economic Benefits and Perils of Adopting Medicaid Expansion

Jun 30, 2020
KWGS News Photo

The campaigns on both sides of State Question 802 have made numerous claims about the potential benefits and perils of Medicaid expansion. Independent producer Dan Epstein checked out some of those claims for Oklahoma Engaged.

Medicaid expansion is just one complex element of the larger even more complex healthcare machine. There’s not enough time  to look at every potential economic impact Medicaid expansion may have. But perhaps the best starting point is something no one disputes. Oklahoma would get a little more than one billion dollars from the Federal government.

Governor Stitt Facebook page

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Two of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s key cabinet members at the forefront of the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic announced Monday they are stepping down to return to their full-time jobs.

Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police

Citing no evidence, the head of Tulsa's local police union claimed in a statement that a "national anti-police narrative" played a role in the shooting of two Tulsa police officers during a traffic stop early Monday morning.

"As I've spoken with police overnight and into this morning, we can't help but see the work of the national anti-police narrative here," says Jerad Lindsey, chairman of the Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police, in the Monday statement

NEW YORK (AP) — Chesapeake Energy, a shale drilling pioneer that helped to turn the United States into a global energy powerhouse, has filed for bankruptcy protection. 

The Oklahoma City-based company said Sunday that it was a necessary decision given its debt. Its debt load is currently nearing $9 billion. It has entered a plan with lenders to cut $7 billion of its debt and said it will continue to operate as usual during the bankruptcy process. 

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.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Oklahoma's number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 now totals over 13,000 cases statewide, as 228 new  cases of the novel coronavirus were reported Monday, for a total of 13,172. No new deaths were reported Monday for a total of 385 since the virus first started.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma reported 299 more cases of the coronavirus on Saturday and seven additional deaths.

The Oklahoma Department of Health said there have been at least 12,642 confirmed cases and 384 deaths due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. The actual number of people who have been infected is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can carry the virus and not feel sick.

Twitter / @realdonaldtrump

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A journalist who attended President Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa last week said Friday he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Oklahoma Watch reporter Paul Monies said he was notified Friday of his positive diagnosis.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A question on whether to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma and a crowded Republican field vying to challenge the state’s lone congressional Democratare drawing the most attention ahead of Tuesday’s primary election.

Google Street View

WYNNEWOOD, Okla. (AP) — Federal officials are investigating an Oklahoma zoo made famous in Netflix’s “Tiger King” series after an animal rights group accused it of neglect.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent requests to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park after a whistle blower provided them with photos and video of animals suffering from flystrike, according to the nonprofit’s release. 

Instagram / @OKStateFair

Two major annual Oklahoma events announced on Friday they will be canceling this year due to concerns over the worsening COVID-19 pandemic.

 

"Due to the evolving COVID-19 health crisis, its impact on community health and well-being, the 2020 Oklahoma State Fair has been canceled," the fair announced in a statement.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — At least 395 more people have tested positive for COVID-19 and two more people have died in Oklahoma as the cornavirus continues to surge, according to the state’s official count updated Friday. 

Andy Watson, photo courtesy of Bull Stock Media

Following President Trump's reelection rally, an event widely criticized due to public health concerns amid surging COVID-19 numbers in Oklahoma and Tulsa County, the operators of the BOK Center in downtown Tulsa said Thursday they are considering bringing another large event to the arena: a Professional Bull Riders competition in early August.

Office of the Governor

Gov. Kevin Stitt on Thursday said he still does not support State Question 802, the ballot question to be voted on by Oklahomans on Tuesday regarding whether the state's Medicaid program should be expanded.

"It's going to be either raising taxes, which I'm not going to be for, or it's going to be cutting services from other state agencies" like education and public safety, Stitt said on how the state would fund the expansion if passed by voters.

Friday's top stories:

  • Dismissing the idea of reinstituting business closures due to the current surge in COVID-19 infections in Oklahoma, Gov. Kevin Stitt says it's a matter of "freedom."
  • Stitt also repeated on Thursday his opposition to State Question 802, the ballot question coming up this Tuesday asking Oklahomans whether or not they want Medicaid expanded in the state.

File photo

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma court on Thursday upheld the convictions and life prison sentence of a man who was convicted in the fatal stabbings of five family members when he was 16.

Facebook / Governor Kevin Stitt

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The president of the state medical association on Thursday called for Oklahoma to require that face masks be worn at businesses and in public places, as the state health department reported 438 new coronavirus cases and three additional deaths.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health said at least 11,948 residents have been infected and 375 of them have died due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. 

KWGS News

An Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper shot and killed a man near Vinita on Thursday morning, according to a statement from OHP.

Robert Harris, 34, of Tulsa, was a passenger in a vehicle when the trooper pulled it over for a traffic violation on the Will Rogers Turnpike shortly before 9 a.m., according to OHP.

During the traffic stop, the trooper fired one shot, killing Harris. The statement does not identify the trooper or give an explanation for why the trooper shot Harris. OHP claims narcotics and a firearm were recovered at the scene.

Twitter / @UofOklahoma

In an email to the University of Oklahoma community, the university's Chief COVID Officer, Dr. Dale Bratzler of OU Medicine, announced a mandatory mask-wearing policy for all OU facilities across all of the school's campuses.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Before Wednesday, Tulsa County had never reported an increase of more than 200 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in a single day. 

Now, it's passed that mark two days in a row.

Tulsa County reported a confirmed total number of cases of 2,949 on Thursday, a day-over-day increase of 207 patients, making up just under half of the statewide increase of 438.

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.

File photo

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma court is expected to rule Thursday on an appeal by a man who was convicted in the fatal stabbings of five family members when he was 16. 

Michael Bever, 21, is asking the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to change his sentence to allow him to eventually become eligible for parole. 

Bruce Waterfield / OSU Athletics

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma State athletics announced a new diversity council Wednesday amid the fallout from football coach Mike Gundy’s decision to wear a T-shirt promoting a far-right news network.

The school said Jason Kirksey, the university’s chief diversity officer, will chair the new program. The council will include students, athletes and alumni. It will be housed in the university’s Division of Institutional Diversity.

Friday's top stories:

  • Tulsa County and Oklahoma both shattered previous records for single-day COVID-19 case increases. 
  • Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum says he is considering making the wearing of masks mandatory in public.
  • Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin says officers don't always wear masks because face coverings can be an impediment to effective policing.

Courtesy Tulsa Athletic

A semi-professional soccer team in Tulsa says it will no longer play the national anthem before games, explaining that they want to be “more inclusive.”

Tulsa Athletic of the National Premier Soccer League says a line in the third verse of "The Star-Spangled Banner" referencing the death of slaves is hurtful and antiquated.

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.

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