Local & Regional


Picher, Oklahoma – It is the story of Picher, Oklahoma. Once, it was a community of 20,000 with its own newspaper and radio station. Then the mines closed and left over tailings turned the water red. In the 1980's Picher became a Federal Superfund site. After remediation failed, the federal government started a buy-out of the residents. One year-ago, yesterday, in the middle of the buy-out, an E-F four tornado sliced through the town leaving six people dead.


Tulsa, OK – Motion seeks to exclude testimony from professor

TULSA, Okla. (AP) Poultry companies being sued by Oklahoma for allegedly polluting the Illinois River watershed want a judge to exclude the testimony of one of the state's expert witnesses in the case.

In a 431-page motion filed Friday in federal court, the poultry companies say that testimony offered by Valerie Harwood is unreliable and would be "confusing and unfairly prejudicial if presented to a lay jury."


Tulsa, OK – University of Tulsa to hire 20 new faculty

TULSA, Okla. (AP) Tough economic times won't keep the University of Tulsa from hiring about 20 full-time faculty members next fall.

Provost Roger Blais calls the hiring normal turnover for the university's staff of approximately 320 faculty members.

Blais says the university benefited from a deep pool of highly qualified applicants because many other schools are either cutting jobs or have a hiring freeze in place.

Oklahoma City, OK – Budget work shouldn't require special session

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Gov. Brad Henry and legislative leaders have agreed to keep their negotiations for next year's budget secret, but all parties agree that a special session shouldn't be necessary.

The governor and lawmakers have already exchanged proposals for the budget, which is expected to require some cuts from this year's $7.1 billion budget.

Tulsa, OK – Report: Reclaiming mines would cost Oklahoma $143M

TULSA, Okla. (AP) Facing a daunting $143 million price tag for the work, Oklahoma may never reclaim some abandoned coal mines that pose a danger to people or the environment.

The state received a miniscule portion of that total in federal funding for such projects this year, and director Mike Kastl of the state Conservation Commission's abandoned mine lands program says some old mines may never be restored.

Sallisaw, OK – Liquor vote planned in Sequoyah County

SALLISAW, Okla. (AP) Voters in Sequoyah County will decide next week whether to allow sales of liquor by the drink.

Fifty of Oklahoma's 77 counties have begun serving liquor by the drink since it was legalized in Oklahoma in 1985, and neighboring LeFlore County recently approved a measure allowing the practice.

Bartlesville, OK – Woman considers options after missing spouse found

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. (AP) The attorney for a Bartlesville woman whose husband resurfaced after going missing for almost seven years says she is considering what to do next.

Attorney Alan Carlson has been advising Peggy Rockey since her husband, 58-year-old David Rockey, disappeared in August 2002.

Carlson says that Peggy Rockey, who now works at a Bartlesville day care center, still considers herself to be married.

Stillwater, OK – STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) An Oklahoma State University spokesman says a female OSU student has recovered after suffering from the swine flu.

That's one of three new cases reported today, bringing the state's total number of confirmed cases to 17.

OSU spokesman Gary Shutt says university graduates were told of the student's illness today during commencement exercises.

Oklahoma City, OK – OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Gov. Brad Henry today vetoed legislation that would allow public schools to operate as charter schools free of many state school mandates.

Henry said that would turn back the clock on decades of education reforms.

The bill was supported by some school administrators and school boards who claimed it would have given them more local control. It was opposed by the Oklahoma Education Association, which said it could eliminate school librarians and counselors.


Tulsa, Oklahoma – Last week, we heard from Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor as she presented her proposed city budget to the Tulsa Council.

After a week to review, today, we hear from two members of the council. Both have concerns about the Mayor's $578 spending plan.


Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Gas prices top $2 per gallon in Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) The price of gasoline has gone back above $2 per gallon in Oklahoma.

AAA Oklahoma reported Friday the average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in the state is just more than $2.02.

AAA spokesman Chuck Mai says it's difficult to find a reason for the increase other than a general feeling that the economy is starting to recover.


Tulsa, Oklahoma – Springtime in Oklahoma!

May has been one soggy month with over eight inches of rain in some parts of Northeast Oklahoma and more on the way. Steve Peltz is the Meteorologist in Charge at the National Weather Service in Tulsa. He says predicting a heavy rain event is difficult.


Kellyville, Oklahoma – 25-miles southwest of Tulsa is the Creek County town of Kellyville. That is where Phyllis and Tom Holcomb raise hogs on their farm.

She doesn't like the term swine flu. She prefers to call the flu strain by its clinical name H1N1. The Holcombs raise mostly show-hogs. Is she worried about the market falling apart because of scare?

Tulsa, Oklahoma – "Stop the speeding on my street - now!"

Tulsa, Oklahoma – Thursday is the last day for the Kendall/Whittier Post Office at First and Lewis. The U.S. Postal Service says the facility is being closed for several reasons:

The number of customer transactions has decreased significantly over the past two years.
The size of the facility exceeds current Postal Service requirements.
Other Postal facilities are located near-by, and
The current lease is set to expire on May 24th, 2009.


Tulsa, Oklahoma – Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor went before the Tulsa City Council to present her new city budget last night. The city gets most of its money from three-cents on the dollar sales tax. One penny---called the "third penny" --- is for use on voter approved capital projects. So, that means the city must balance the city's other expenses on just two cents sales tax. Mayor Taylor says putting together a balanced budget, as required by law, was a difficult task.


Tulsa, Oklahoma – The Tulsa County numbers are staggering! 25,230 crisis line calls .2,800 people seeking protective orders .443 victims of rape and sexual assault . 2,012 perpetrators of domestic violence .. 1,576 survivors of domestic violence. Those are the totals for last year from Domestic Violence Intervention Services.

Tulsa, Oklahoma –
The US Attorney for the northern district of Oklahoma is hospitalized in Texas. 57-year-old David O'Meilia became ill while traveling and sought medical attention in Dallas. Sources tells KWGS News that he is not suffering from the swine flu and his travels have not taken him to Mexico.

O'Meilia was appointed as the U.S. Attorney for the northern district of Oklahoma by former president George W. Bush in 2001.

Salvation Army

Tulsa, Oklahoma – The kitchen at the Salvation Army's Center of Hope on North Denver in downtown Tulsa! That smell is cat-fish being cooked in a large deeper fryer. For lunch Mary, the food manager, is expecting 350-people. She says with every meal the line gets longer. The line snakes out the cafeteria door. It runs down the hallway to the back door.