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Immigration Impact

Oklahoma's top election official says voter registration is surging prior to the Nov. 6 general election.

Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said Friday almost 2.1 million people were registered to vote in the state at the end of September. Ziriax says more than 76,000 people have registered to vote since Jan. 15. The deadline to register to vote in the general election is Oct. 12.

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A former North Texas pain management doctor accused of prescribing painkillers that contributed to the deaths of at least seven people in two states has pleaded guilty to federal drug distribution charges.

Federal prosecutors say 57-year-old Howard Gregg Diamond pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and other charges. Diamond will serve 20 years in federal prison.

KWGS News

Oklahoma lawmakers are exploring whether schools should start the school year later to cut utility costs.

CNHI Oklahoma report s lawmakers launched a legislative study Wednesday where Oklahomans for School Calendar Reform said school districts spend money on cooling schools that could be appropriated to classrooms.

The group says electricity bills peak in July and August when many districts start classes. Supporter Barbara Bowersox estimated Oklahoma school districts pay a combined $80 million a year on electricity.

KWGS News File Photo

Tulsa City Councilor Blake Ewing is asking his colleagues for a formal commitment to the idea no number of traffic deaths or serious injuries is acceptable.

Ewing wants them to pass a resolution of support for the concepts of Vision Zero, the global safety movement behind that. Doing so would not commit the city to any particular projects.

"It is not a policy action. It is simply stating our representative will of the public and communicating it clearly to the people that make other policies inside this building," Ewing said.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education has received $12.5 million in federal grants to address students’ mental health needs.

The funding is going to the area of greatest need: western Oklahoma.

"Of the 106 mental health providers that serve students, there are only five that exist west of Oklahoma City metro area," said State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister. "Only five."

Oklahoma Watch

After months with a task force, Tulsa City Councilor Karen Gilbert’s truancy ordinance is back before the city council.

Those meetings focused the ordinance on getting families into a new Therapeutic Attendance Court, which will connect them to social services they may need. Gilbert said schools will have someone present for court proceedings.

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Prevention is the best medicine. That’s the advice for local educators from a group focused on reducing chronic absenteeism rates.

Attendance Works Executive Director Hedy Chang says one of the most effective things teachers can do is not just give a number of missed days in parent-teacher conferences, but put them into context and start a conversation.

"So, we’re building off what we know. It’s asking for huge, huge changes, but it’s a really critical shift to prevention," Chang said.

OSCN

 

An Oklahoma judge has apologized for using the private information of jurors who served in his courtroom to send them a campaign mailer asking for their support in his re-election bid.

The Tulsa World reports that Tulsa County District Judge James Caputo acknowledged in a letter that the decision to send the mailers "did not inspire confidence in the judiciary."

The state Code of Judicial Conduct says judges and judicial candidates cannot require court staff to assist in a campaign or use court resources to further political activities.

Man Shot to Death in West Tulsa

Oct 5, 2018
Tulsa Police

Tulsa Police Detectives are investigating the city’s latest homicide. A man was found shot to death in his driveway in northwest Tulsa.

Two boys riding bicycles near 33rd West Avenue and Admiral just before daybreak made the discovery.

The man was shot in the leg. That is not usually a fatal injury, however, police say the man lost a lot of blood.

This is Tulsa’s 41sthomicide of the year. 

File photo

 

Oklahoma health officials have appointed an internal candidate to head up the state's new Medical Marijuana Authority.

Oklahoma State Department of Health Interim Commissioner Tom Bates announced Thursday that Adrienne Rollins will lead the division overseeing medical pot. Rollins has been with the agency since 2012 and has been working since April on implementing the program in Oklahoma.

Rollins previously worked for the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

American Conference

  D'Eriq King threw for three touchdowns and ran for two scores, helping Houston beat Tulsa 41-26 on Thursday night.

Houston, trailing 26-17 early in the fourth quarter, scored 17 points in 91 seconds — during a 24-0 spurt. Dalton Witherspoon kicked a go-ahead, 27-26, field goal with 7:51 to go and the Cougars led by 15 points seven plays later.

Houst Emeke Egbule recovered a fumble, leading to Romello Brooker's 9-yard touchdown catch for a 34-26 lead. Tulsa's next offensive play ended in Deontay Anderson's interception and Marquez Stevenson scored on a 6-yard grab.

Oklahoma Senators Read Kavanaugh Report

Oct 5, 2018
KWGS News File Photo

Oklahoma’s two Republican U.S. Senators have read the FBI report on Judge Brett Kavanaugh's past.

Senators Jim Inhofe and James Lankford say the report did not contain evidence of sexual assault by the Judge.

The senate voted to end debate this morning on the Kavanaugh appointment. Both Oklahoma Senators voted to end the discussion and move the matter to a confirmation vote.

Plane Crashes East of Wagoner

Oct 5, 2018
Wagoner County Sheriff

A pilot is taken to the hospital with minor injuries after his small plane crashes near Fort Gibson Lake east of Wagoner.

The plane went down about seven last night along Highway 51, not far from the Taylor Ferry beach. 

There is no word on what caused the crash. The pilot was the only person on board.

  In the local news:

  • A family wants the DA to investigate a tazing and death.
  • A small plane crashes near Wagoner.
  • LaFortune's Par-3 golf course reopens after a make over.

Fore!

LaFortune Park’s par 3 golf course reopens Friday after being closed for a six-month renovation. The $3 million update includes a slight reconfiguration to keep balls from going into Yale Avenue traffic.

Tulsa County Parks Director Richard Bales said you’ll also notice cart paths there for the first time ever.

"Which has been a deterrent initially. But now the cart path is here. So, you’ll be able to ride the cart go on all the time on the par 3, which will be a big, big plus for sure for those golfers," Bales said.

Oklahoma Tourism

The City of Tulsa has started the process of establishing a tourism improvement district.

It would charge hotels with 110 rooms or more a 3 percent tax on their gross receipts, with the estimated $2.3 million in revenue going toward marketing to bring more tourists into the city.

The city will begin notifying affected hotels and motels now and aims to have the district in place by January. Councilor Karen Gilbert said every hotelier needs to benefit from the proposed citywide taxing district.

OKC Fire-Twitter

 

A 7,000-gallon tank containing an unknown substance is on fire and billowing thick, black smoke at an Oklahoma City power plant. Fire officials have evacuated the immediate area, citing the dangerous and volatile situation.

Battalion Chief Benny Fulkerson says fire crews have retreated half a mile  from the tank and are monitoring the fire that began Thursday morning at an Oklahoma Gas & Electric plant west of downtown.

Authorities aren't certain what the tank contains. Fulkerson says spraying water on the tank made the fire worse.

 

Williams today reported that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved the Company’s request to place its Atlantic Sunrise project into full service. The Company plans to place the project into full service on Oct. 6, 2018.

Tulsa Flag

Tulsa has a new city flag.

With Vanessa Hall-Harper and Connie Dodson absent, the city council voted 7–0 to officially adopt the blue-and-beige design with a gold line and shield, red circle, and six-pointed star.

The flag was revealed last May after a private campaign for a new one kicked off in November 2016. Councilor Ben Kimbro led the charge to make the flag official after that process stalled last year over concerns the social media and text–driven campaign left out some Tulsans.

State Revenue Up Yet Again

Oct 4, 2018
Ken Miller

 

Oklahoma Gross Receipts to the Treasury, which reflect general state economic activity, surged by 14 percent in September – the tenth month of double-digit growth in the past year, State Treasurer Ken Miller announced today.

Gross receipts of $1.2 billion during the past month are the highest September total on record. Cumulative gross receipts from the past 12 months, at $12.5 billion, are also at an all-time high.

Security Breach at Tulsa International

Oct 4, 2018
TIA

Life has returned to normal at the Tulsa International Airport after an early morning security breach. It happened around 5:30 then a woman appeared to have deliberately bypassed the Transportation Safety Administration’s screeners. 

The woman then boarded a flight to Chicago. The airport shut down both concourses for about a half hour and did a sweep of the facility.

Federal agents in Chicago detained the woman when her flight landed.   

Tulsa Federal Grand Jury Indictments Issued

Oct 4, 2018
File photo

 

 

 

United States Attorney Trent Shores announced today the results of the October 2018 Federal Grand Jury. 

 

Two Interim City Councilors Take Oath

Oct 4, 2018
Tulsa City Council

 

 

Two interim Tulsa City Councilors were sworn-in today to fill vacancies in Districts 3 and 7. 

 

District 3 Councilor Karen O’Brien serves on the Sales Tax Overview Committee and District 7 Councilor Arianna Moore is a former City Councilor serving from 2012 to 2014. 

 

OEA

 

Teachers have been making their mark in the U.S. midterm elections, running in what may be unprecedented numbers and empowered by the successful #RedForEd protests for higher teacher pay and increased school spending.

After years of dense education debates over teacher evaluations and the Common Core standards, analysts say the teachers' complaints about outdated textbooks and teacher shortages are resonating.

Teacher candidates from both major parties are on ballots from school board to governor, though most are Democrats.

In the local news:

  • Juveniles with "life with no parole" sentences could be getting parole.
  • Moore and O'Brien are named to the Tulsa City Council.
  • Protests are planned over the Gathering Place's gun regulations.

Laurie Avocado

The Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission signed off Wednesday on the city's proposed zoning regulations for medical marijuana businesses.

The regulations limit dispensaries to mixed-use and certain commercial and industrial districts, and they cannot be within 1,000 feet of another dispensary. 

City Director of Economic Development and Policy Nick Doctor said that distance is consistent across similar cities and is meant to address law enforcement agencies' concerns.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

City of Tulsa officials are no longer asking for a 1,000-foot buffer between houses and medical marijuana growers or processors.

The change comes after talks involving the mayor’s office, industry representatives and code enforcement. Chief of Economic Development and Policy Nick Doctor said that changes the stance of the mayor's office on a proposed freeze of up to 90 days on issuing permits for growers or processors.

In its 11th meeting, Oklahoma's Medical Marijuana Working Group got more information about testing and started talking about potential rules on products dispensaries will offer.

Lawmakers have concerns about whether there will be enough labs to test marijuana products. Equipment is expensive and certification takes time. Fenton Rood with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality said they already work with a network of private labs on environmental testing.

file photo

 

Dozens of prisoners serving no-parole sentences for killings they committed as juveniles are expected to one day get a chance for release, including the Oklahoma teenager sentenced in the shooting of a college baseball player from Australia.

District Attorney Jason Hicks told a state House committee on Tuesday he likely can't meet the new legal threshold for the life-without-parole sentence given to Chancey Luna, who was 16 when prosecutors say he shot and killed Chris Lane while the Australian was jogging down a street in Duncan, Oklahoma.

Neosho Police-Facebook

 

Authorities have captured an escaped Oklahoma prisoner who wrecked a stolen truck in Missouri before fleeing on foot.

The Newton County, Missouri, Sheriff's Office says 24-year-old Walter Blount was arrested Wednesday morning. He was among three suspects who were caught with stolen items a week ago, more than 200 miles away in Moore, Oklahoma, at the scene of a car break-in. Police there say he managed to dive through the window of a patrol car and steal a bike and then a truck.

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