Local & Regional

Tulsa Police

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum signed an executive order on Thursday putting a curfew in effect for a downtown area covering several blocks around the BOK Center ahead of Saturday’s Trump campaign rally.

No one may be out in the area until 6 a.m. Saturday unless they’re going to or from work or home. The area stretches roughly from Sixth Street to Archer Street and from Houston Avenue to Boulder Avenue. That includes the BOK Center, so people planning to attend the rally cannot legally camp on the sidewalk outside.

Oklahoma State University

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma State University’s governing board plans to vote Friday to remove the name Murray from a building at the school’s Stillwater campus, ending its affiliation with a governor who advocated for segregation and pushed to advance Jim Crow laws, officials said.

University President Burns Hargis sent a letter to the board of regents on Wednesday recommending that the school rename the building that pays homage to Oklahoma’s ninth governor, William H. “Alfalfa Bill” Murray.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

City councilors adopted Tulsa’s budget for fiscal year 2021, which spends 3% less overall but boosts police spending by about 0.7%.

The budget is down amid projections of lower sales tax revenue because of the recession. The city has implemented several cuts, including half-day furloughs of employees each Friday.

The $828.5 million total budget also raises sewer and stormwater rates.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Oklahoma on Thursday smashed its record for new COVID-19 cases set just the day before.

The State Health Department reported 450 new cases Thursday — a 5% jump — bringing the state’s total to 9,354. There are more than 1,900 active infections.

The numbers were reportedly delayed because a technical problem at the state health department and did not come out until after Gov. Kevin Stitt participated in a small business round table with President Donald Trump at the White House, where he said Oklahoma is one of the first states to safely reopen.

Twitter / @TulsaPolice

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum on Wednesday had choice words for Tulsans who refuse to follow public health guidelines during the current rise in coronavirus infections.

"If Tulsans are not willing to take that kind of responsibility to protect one another, then don't be surprised when you see your numbers increase," he said, after describing how few people he sees wearing masks in the city. "We have a responsibility to protect each other through this, through responsible behavior in our daily lives."

Odell Architecture

Updated June 18, 6:55 p.m. to include a statement from the mayor's office.  

The authority that oversees City of Tulsa–owned venues does not believe it can move Saturday’s Trump campaign rally.

Despite concerns about filling a 19,000-seat arena in the middle of a spike in COVID-19 cases, members of the Tulsa Public Facilities Authority concluded they don’t have power to cancel contracts entered into by ASM Global, the company that manages the BOK Center.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

A new nationwide survey estimates that only seven states in the country are currently adequately staffed with contact tracers to manage the novel coronavirus.

Oklahoma is not one of them.

The NPR analysis found that only Alaska, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia have enough active contact tracers. Six other states have enough if counting reserve staff. 

Oklahoma National Guard

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — As many as 250 Oklahoma Army National Guard soldiers are being activated to help provide security during President Donald Trump’s campaign rally Saturday in Tulsa, authorities said Wednesday.

Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin said the guardsmen will be used as a “force multiplier” to help secure safety zones around the downtown BOK Center where the rally is to be held.

The guardsmen will be unarmed but will carry shields, batons and pepper spray in case they need to protect themselves, said Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Geoff Legler.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Speaking just minutes after the director of the Tulsa Health Department reiterated his belief that the president's reelection rally this week should be postponed due to surging coronavirus numbers in Oklahoma and Tulsa County, Mayor G.T. Bynum said at a press conference Wednesday that while he can't guarantee anyone's safety, he will not act to prevent the rally from taking place.

1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission

Gov. Kevin Stitt said on Wednesday President Donald Trump’s potential visit to the Greenwood District ahead of his campaign rally this weekend is "in flux."

"I don’t know if the president is going to go to the Greenwood District now. It was a request that I made early but because of the Juneteenth celebration, with the Secret Service it could be problematic to have the president go there because some things have to be disrupted and shut down for a presidential visit," Stitt said.

A conservative think tank is making the case for a ballot initiative that would do away with repeat offender sentence enhancements for nonviolent crimes.

The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs found enhancements were applied 80% of the time, despite district attorneys saying they’re used selectively. OCPA Executive Vice President Trent England said people convicted of petty crime or struggling with addiction shouldn’t go to prison for decades.

NIAID-RML

The state of Oklahoma and Tulsa County once again set records for new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday.

The state health department reported 259 new cases statewide, surpassing the previous one-day high of 225 set Saturday. The state has 8,904 cases to date.

Tulsa County accounted for 96 of the state's new cases. The county's previous record, 89 new cases, was set Monday. Tulsa County now has 1,825 cases of COVID-19.

One death was reported Wednesday, an Oklahoma County woman 65 or older. COVID-19 has now killed 364 Oklahomans.

Wednesday's top stories:

  • Despite warnings from hundreds of health care providers and his own health department director, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum says he will take no action to attempt to prevent or postpone President Trump's reelection campaign rally at the BOK Center this weekend.
  • Oklahoma continues to break records for increases in COVID-19 cases, and Tulsa County is pulling away as the county with the state's most cases.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — One day after Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard lashed out at coach Mike Gundy on social media for wearing a T-shirt promoting a far-right news channel, Gundy apologized.

 

A local charitable trust is being transformed to honor the memory of victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre by helping Tulsans of color.

The Zarrow Families Foundation will likely offer at least $6 million over five to seven years through the newly established Commemoration Fund.

Retired Ronald McDonald House President and CEO Glenda Love-Williams is a member of its inaugural advisory board, which exclusively represents the people they’ll help.

A group of Tulsa attorneys filed a lawsuit Tuesday to force the use of coronavirus safety measures at the BOK Center during President Trump’s Saturday campaign rally, but a judge denied their requests for a temporary injunction and expedited hearing hours later.

Attorney Clark Brewster said filling a 19,000-seat arena with screaming fans of the president during a surge in new COVID-19 cases but not requiring them to wear masks has the makings of a super-spreader event.

Department of Defense

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 228 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the most in a single day so far.

The state now has 8,645 total cases of the illness, and its seven-day average of new cases has surged from 69 on June 1 to 183 as of Tuesday.

Tulsa County had 76 new cases on Tuesday, its third-highest increase to date and in just the past week. The county now has 1,729 total cases of COVID-19, most in the state. Oklahoma County has the second-highest number of total cases, 1,673, an increase of 30 from Monday.

Dr. Jabraan Pasha, University of Oklahoma Medical Center

Calling it a matter of public health, not politics, hundreds of health care providers have signed their names on a letter to Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum, calling on him to prevent President Trump's campaign rally planned for the BOK Center on Saturday.

Tuesday's top stories:

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — For most mayors in deep-red states like Oklahoma, the prospect of hosting the first rally for President Donald Trump in months would be a delight. It would showcase the city on an international stage and draw revenue for local businesses that have been shuttered for months amid the coronavirus outbreak.

 

Courtesy

Mayor G.T. Bynum announced Monday he has picked current Chief of Emergency Medical Services Michael Baker to serve as the next chief of the Tulsa Fire Department.

Baker took over the emergency medical services division in 2009, when Bynum says things were very different.

"We were at that point even potentially in danger of losing our ability to provide EMS services through the Tulsa Fire Department. Chief Baker was entrusted with those responsibilities at that time. Today, we have one of the top-ranked EMS systems of any city in America," Bynum said.

File photo

The American Red Cross is now testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies.

The test does not tell donors whether they have actually had COVID-19 or are safe from infection.

"What this is going to tell our generous donors is that they have — their immune system has developed antibodies to the COVID-19 infection. whether they saw symptoms or not," said Red Cross spokeswoman Jan Hale.

Red Cross antibody tests will be done at a national lab, and donors will be notified of their results online or through an app.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The State Board of Equalization on Monday gave one final confirmation of Oklahoma’s fiscal year 2021 budget amount.

Lawmakers officially had $6.65 billion to spend as general revenue estimates declined about $3.6 million and their appropriations authority fell $3.4 million in the board’s latest certification. John Gilbert with the state Office of Management and Enterprise Services said considering the economic circumstances, FY2021 general revenue projections are not far off from FY2020.

A man arrested after his two children died after spending hours in a hot car over the weekend has been released.

Investigators say video from a neighbor's house shows 4-year-old Tegan and 3-year-old Ryan Dennis get into Dustin Dennis' truck by themselves Sunday afternoon and never get out.

Dennis told police he took the kids to a convenience store around noon, then returned home, went inside and fell asleep, finding the kids when he woke up hours later.

Star running back Chuba Hubbard tweeted Monday he will not be doing anything with OSU "until things change" after a photo of head coach Mike Gundy wearing a T-shirt for a far-right TV channel surfaced online.

In a photo dated June 10 tweeted Monday by CBS Sports writer Kyle Boone, Gundy is seen at Lake Texoma wearing a shirt with the One America News logo on the front.

Tulsa Police Department

Following another public relations black eye, as footage of an incident in which Tulsa police officers handcuffed two Black children in north Tulsa for allegedly jaywalking aired on national news networks, the Tulsa Police Department has issued a new statement on the incident.

Sen. James Lankford

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) spoke with KWGS News' Chris Polansky on Monday, June 15th, about police reform following last month's killing of George Floyd, Black Tulsans' outrage over President Trump's initial Juneteenth date for a Tulsa rally (and his role in getting it changed), whether he thinks the rally should continue despite warnings from local and federal public health experts, and whether he intends to wear a mask to the rally.

Full transcript:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Tulsa County recorded 89 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, pushing its total to 1,653 reported infections, most in the state.

Oklahoma County has the second-highest number of cases, 1,643.

Monday marked Tulsa County's fourth new one-day record for COVID-19 cases in a week. The county's six largest single-day jumps have all come in the past seven days.

Of Tulsa County's 1,653 reported cases, 532 are active. The number of active cases is up 16% from Sunday.

Monday's top stories:

  • With a new surge in COVID-19 cases in Tulsa County and Oklahoma, the Tulsa Health Department is expressing concern over President Trump's scheduled rally at the BOK Center.
  • Maj. Travis Yates of the Tulsa Police Department, who drew international attention last week for comments that, according to his reading of research, police shoot Black Americans "less than we probably ought to based on the crimes being committed," appeared on Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight."

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported Sunday that 158 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 bring the state's total number of confirmed infections to 8,231. No new deaths were reported; 359 Oklahomans are confirmed to have died from complications caused by the novel coronavirus.

Tulsa County had 39 of the new reported cases, bringing the county total to 1,564 confirmed infections since the start of the pandemic. 62 Tulsa County residents are known to have died.

6,578 Oklahomans are reported to have recovered. 

Pages