Local & Regional

Broken Arrow, OK – Study says city could close fire station

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. (AP) A consultant's study for the city of Broken Arrow recommends closing a fire station and evaluating whether the city should operate its own jail.

The report by ICMA Consulting Services was to find ways the police and fire departments can operate more efficiently.

File Photo of tornado damage

Norman, OK – Norman tornado likely an EF-1

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) Meteorologists at the National Weather Service say a tornado that struck Norman will likely be rated as an EF-1.

The weather service issued a statement yesterday saying that a weak tornado left a 2-mile damage path in southeastern Norman on Friday night.

A tornado with an EF-1 rating would have winds between 86 and 109 mph. The weather service says the tornado likely was on the low end of that scale.

Tulsa, OK – Man standing on sign over Tulsa highway rescued

TULSA, Okla. (AP) Emergency crews have rescued a man who found himself stuck standing on a sign over a Tulsa highway.

Tulsa police say the man was walking along a bridge above the city's Inner Dispersal Loop near downtown just before 6 a.m. yesterday when he fell and landed on the sign's platform.

Tulsa firefighters and Emergency Medical Services Authority workers got the man to safety while police shut down the highway for about 15 minutes.

Sallisaw, OK – Monument could be built on private property

POTEAU, Okla. (AP) A Ten Commandments monument that had been planned on the Le Flore County Courthouse lawn may instead be built on private property.

Former Poteau Mayor Don Barnes says the monument could be built along a major road in Poteau where thousands of people would drive past it.

Oklahoma City, OK – OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has released a dashboard camera video showing an altercation between a trooper and an ambulance paramedic.

Capt. Chris West says the highway patrol decided to release the video because it had "drawn enormous attention" and a department investigation wouldn't be affected.

Oklahoma City, OK – Study: Few students in US illegally

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) A new study shows that only a fraction of 1 percent of Oklahoma's college students are in the country illegally.

The report approved by the Advancement of Hispanic Students in Higher Education Task Force found that only 272 of the nearly 230,000 Oklahoma higher education students are not legal U.S. residents. That's about one in every 845 students, or 0.11 percent.


Norman, OK – NORMAN, Okla. (AP) Authorities say severe thunderstorms damaged trees and blew over a fence in the Norman area.

A tornado warning was issued for Cleveland County just before 10:30 p.m. yesterday after radar indicated a storm capable of producing a tornado. A storm spotter reported seeing a funnel in southeast Norman but there was no immediate confirmation of a tornado.

Damage reported by emergency management officials was clustered between downtown Norman and Lake Thunderbird.


Tulsa, OK – Heavy thunderstorms rolled through Tulsa with high winds and large hail. The storm hit just before 10AM on Friday. The National Weather Service Issues a severe thunderstorms warning for the Tulsa Metro and estimated storm winds at 80-miles-per-hour.

Damage is being reported along Riverside Drive near I-44. A tree has fallen into a home. A resident, who declined a recorded interview, says the tree was struck by lightning

One person has been injured in Pryor from a downed tree.


Tulsa, OK – With the assessment fee approved, the City of Tulsa, moves forward to collect the revenue. The fee is 6 cents for each square foot of property inside the Inter Dispersal Loop downtown.

The federal government, churches and private homes with homestead exemption are exempt.

White House

Oklahoma City, OK – Cartoon of Sotomayor as pinata draws criticism

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Some Hispanics and advocates for women are criticizing an editorial cartoon that depicts Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor as a strung-up pinata that President Barack Obama is inviting Republicans to whack.

The cartoon by Chip Bok of Creators Syndicate ran in The Oklahoman on Tuesday. It shows Obama wearing a sombrero and saying, quote, "Now, who wants to be first?" to a group of elephants in suits holding sticks.

Tulsa County Booking Photo

Tulsa, OK – Hearing set for man accused of killing

TULSA, Okla. (AP) A preliminary hearing will be held August 7 for a man charged in with murder in the shooting death of a Tulsa businessman.

Terrico Bethel is accused of shooting Neal Sweeney in the head at Retail Fuels Marketing on September 4. The 63-year-old Sweeney died the next day at a Tulsa hospital.

Oklahoma City, OK – OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) The Oklahoma State Department of Health says the number of swine flu cases in the state has risen to 114.

Scott Sproat, the Health Department's chief of emergency preparedness and response, says state health officials have yet to see a plateau in the number of swine flu reports, even during what typically is a slow season for flu cases.

Oklahoma City, OK – OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) An Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper involved in a scuffle with a Creek Nation paramedic has been placed on administrative leave.

OHP Capt. Chris West says Trooper Daniel Martin was put on paid administrative leave June 1 while the patrol's internal affairs investigates the May 24 incident.


Tulsa, OK – Edmondson says he's running for governor

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Attorney General Drew Edmondson today announced he's running for governor next year.

Edmondson joins Lt. Gov. Jari Askins in formally announcing for the Democratic nomination to succeed Democratic Gov. Brad Henry.

Henry is completing his second term and isn't eligible to run for re-election.

Edmondson says the state's economy and budget will be the biggest issues facing the next governor.

Tulsa, OK – Tulsa pipe plant to be closed

TULSA, Okla. (AP) A Louisiana-based company is announcing plans to close a Tulsa pipe manufacturing plant.

The Shaw Group of Baton Rouge said yesterday it will shut down Shaw Tulsa Fabricators in early August.

A company spokesman says the company is trying to become more efficient.

The plant opened in 2006 and has 168 employees. It manufactures pipe for the construction industry.

Tulsa County Jail Booking Photo

Sand Springs, OK – Woman accused in fatal accident released

SAND SPRINGS, Okla. (AP) The woman accused of driving her sport utility vehicle into three bicyclists at Sand Springs and killing two is now free on $100,000 bond.

Tausha Dion Borland was arrested on two complaints of first-degree manslaughter in the deaths of Christa Voss of Owasso and Matthew Edmonds of Tulsa.

Hoyt, OK – ornado spotted in Haskell County

HOYT, Okla. (AP) A Haskell County sheriff's deputy reported a brief tornado touchdown in the western part of the county.

No injuries or damage is reported.

The deputy said the twister touched down about 6 p.m. Wednesday near the community of Enterprise, southwest of Hoyt.

The National Weather Service says storms damaged storage sheds and barns in Mayes, Pittsburg and Sequoyah counties. Wind gusts up to 135 miles per hour were reported in Pittsburg County.


Oklahoma City, OK – Edmondson says he's running for governor

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Attorney General Drew Edmondson has announced plans to run for governor, saying his huge environmental lawsuit against Arkansas poultry companies should be resolved by the end of the year.

Edmondson, a Democrat, said Wednesday he hopes to succeed Democratic Gov. Brad Henry, who is completing his second and final term.

Edmondson joins Lt. Gov. Jari Askins in the race for governor.


Tulsa, OK – The City of Tulsa and Tulsa County have joined in a cooperative effort to widen East 101st Street at South Memorial Drive. The City of Tulsa will provide the cost of materials and Tulsa County will provide labor for construction. Tulsa County will post message boards in the project area to notify motorists of traffic conditions.

Tulsa, OK – Britney Spears in association with AEG Live is bringing "The Circus Starring Britney Spears" to the BOK Center in Tulsa on Tuesday, September 15. Tickets go on sale Friday, June 19 at 10:00am and are available online at www.bokcenter.com, Reasor's stores, Arby's Box Office or by calling 1-866-7-BOKCTR.

KWGS-File Photo

Sand Springs, OK – SAND SPRINGS, Okla. (AP) Authorities say a possibly impaired driver crashed into three bicyclists in Sand Springs killing two and injuring the third.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says 30-year-old Angela Voss of Owasso was dead at the scene and 34-year-old Matthew Edmonds of Tulsa died later at a Tulsa hospital. The third cyclist was treated and released at a Tulsa hospital.


Oklahoma City, OK – Voters approve jails in 2 counties

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Voters have approved new jails in two Oklahoma counties.

Washita County residents voted in favor of a three-quarter-cent sales tax that will go toward building a new jail and renovating the current one.

In Washington County, voters passed a measure that will create a quarter-cent sales tax for a new county jail there.

Elsewhere, a proposal to fund a new ambulance in Seiling passed.

Tulsa, OK – Tulsa sales tax revenue falls 7.5 percent in June

TULSA, Okla. (AP) Sales tax revenue for the city of Tulsa continues to decline with a drop of 7.5 percent in June.

The city received nearly $1.3 million less than in June last year.

The City Council is currently considering a budget for next year that must be approved by June 23.

Last week Mayor Kathy Taylor presented $7.6 million in budget cuts for next fiscal year that include eight unpaid furlough days for all 4,000 city employees.


Okemah, OK – OKEMAH, Okla. (AP) Law enforcement officials pleaded today for the public's help in finding the killer or killers of two Weleetka girls on the anniversary of the shootings.

Thirteen-year-old Taylor Paschal-Placker and 11-year-old Skyla Whitaker were found shot to death a year ago today on a rural road near Weleetka.

Oklahoma City, OK – Over the course of the next three days more than 80 paintings belonging to the State Senate Art Collection will be removed from the state Capitol. The artwork is being transported to the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, where it will be displayed from July through October.

Dr. Duane King, Executive Director of the Gilcrease Museum, said the collection is an extraordinary reflection of the state's culture.

Tulsa, OK – TULSA, Okla. (AP) Attorney General Drew Edmondson says a now-defunct poultry company got a better deal in settling an environmental lawsuit with the state because it was first to negotiate an agreement.

Springfield, Mo.-based Willow Brook Foods Inc. was originally one of the 13 companies named in Oklahoma's 2005 environmental lawsuit alleging bird waste pollution in the Illinois River watershed.

Oklahoma City, OK – State graduation rate exceeds national average

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Oklahoma's high school graduation rate fell slightly from 2005 to 2006 but remains ahead of the national average.

The 2009 "Diplomas Count" report released today shows nearly 71 percent of public high school students graduated in Oklahoma in 2006 the most recent year in which data is available.

That compares to about 69 percent nationally.


Tulsa, OK – Stimulus money helps Tulsa bus conversion

TULSA, Okla. (AP) Tulsa's public transportation system plans to use federal stimulus funds to convert a large portion of its fleet from diesel-powered buses to ones that run on compressed natural gas.

The $13 million project will switch out 13 of the Tulsa Transit's 62 long buses and all 35 of the Lift Program's paratransit mini buses.

Oklahoma City, OK – First Okla swine flu death reported

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) A 43-year-old man from Kay County has become the first person to die in Oklahoma of swine flu.

State health officials say the patient had sought medical care for his flu symptoms but had not been hospitalized. He did have underlying chronic medical conditions, including asthma.

A total of 109 cases of swine flu have been confirmed in the state.

Denver, CO – DENVER (AP) A federal appeals court in Denver ruled today that a Ten Commandments monument outside the Haskell County, Oklahoma, courthouse endorses religion.

A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the monument has the primary effect of endorsing religion when taken in context with the Stigler, where it sits.