Local & Regional

Ad Council / COVID Collaborative

A new national PSA campaign is targeting communities like Republicans and white evangelicals, who have lower confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines. OU Health chief of infectious diseases Dr. Douglas Drevets spoke with Public Radio Tulsa's Chris Polansky about the "It's Up To You" campaign.

--

PUBLIC RADIO TULSA: I was hoping you could start by just telling me a little bit about the campaign and what makes it important for Oklahoma.

Courtesy

The University of Tulsa Board of Trustees on Monday unanimously selected former U.S. Department of Defense official and Oklahoma congressman Brad Carson as the university's next president.

Carson will begin his term as TU's 21st president on July 1, taking over from interim President Janet Levit. Levit has led the university since former university President Gerard Clancy resigned in January 2020 because of an unexpected medical episode.

Cherokee Nation

Cherokee Nation on Thursday opened a new Tahlequah facility for its ONE FIRE Victims Services program, corresponding with the beginning of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

"Our move to our new facility is going to be great for us," said interim director Shawna Duch. "We've got a more secure location, we've got a bigger location, we've got an office that looks like home. It's going to be comfortable for a survivor to come in and get services here."

University of Oklahoma Athletics

Porter Moser orchestrated one of the great underdog stories in sports in recent years, leading mid-major Loyola Chicago to two deep NCAA Tournament runs with the blessing of Sister Jean.

Moser’s teams won’t surprise anyone now.

Monday's top stories:

• The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission presented a $200,000 donation to Greenwood's Historic Vernon AME Church on Saturday.

• The pandemic will have "long-lasting ramifications" for higher education in Oklahoma, auditors say.

OU

COVID-19 could lead to a long-term drag on Oklahoma colleges’ and universities’ finances, according to a state legislative watchdog's report.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission on Saturday donated $200,000 toward renovations at Vernon African Methodist Episcopal church.

Commission Chair Sen. Kevin Matthews said Vernon AME is the only structure on Greenwood that matches the plaque on the sidewalk out front that says what was there before a white mob destroyed the prosperous, Black community.

"Not only did they survive 100 years, but they survived still doing the same work; still doing the same ministry; still providing food, home, shelter and prayer to people in this area," Matthews said.

Courtesy

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — A selection committee has announced it will recommend Dr. Kayse Shrum as the next president of Oklahoma State University.

The committee late Friday selected Shrum after spending two days interviewing finalists to succeed President Burns Hargis, who announced in October he would retire at the end of the current fiscal year.

Shrum, president of the OSU Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa since 2013 and a former state secretary of science and innovation in Gov. Kevin Stitt’s cabinet, is to take over as OSU president on July 1.

Community Health Connection

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced just under $64 million in funding will be divided and awarded to 21 community health centers in Oklahoma as part of President Biden and congressional Democrats' American Rescue Plan COVID-19 relief package.

Instagram / Greenwood Art Project

A museum opening in June as an initiative of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission will feature Greenwood-inspired art created by and for children.

The Tulsa Children's Museum of Art will open on the OSU - Tulsa campus on June 1 with an exhibition called "Greenwood, Black Wall Street, and the 1921 Race Massacre: Through the Eyes of Children," according to director Dr. Courtney Skipper.

Oklahoma State University

A legislative watchdog presented lawmakers with a positive review of how state colleges and universities spent federal coronavirus relief funds.

Institutions of higher education received direct allocations from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, a component of 2020’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act package. Oklahoma got a total of $180.5 million.

Courtney Bay / OSU Athletics

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Cade Cunningham used to see superstars when he watched NBA players.

Now, he sees opponents. They soon will see him, too.

Cunningham announced Thursday that he will enter the NBA draft after a dynamic freshman season for Oklahoma State that saw him named a first-team AP All-American.

“I see them as more human now than I used to,” he said. “I’ve been looking at those guys since I was a sophomore in high school. Those are the guys I’ve got to try to outwork right now.”

The seemingly never-ending fight over an Oklahoma company’s plan to build a natural gas pipeline through New Jersey into New York is on again.

Tulsa-based Williams Companies is asking federal regulators for a two-year extension to build its proposed Northeast Supply Enhancement Project, which has had a long and contentious regulatory history.

In May 2019, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authorized Williams to build the project by May 3, 2021.

Courtesy

In Miami, Oklahoma, restaurants and their customers are doing their part to ease pandemic heartache, one meal at a time.

Cafes in and around the close-knit town in the state’s northeastern corner have put up “receipt walls,” allowing diners to pre-pay for meals and the needy to grab what they like, have a seat and refuel — judgment-free, no questions asked.

The Oklahoman — pool photo

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma State Health Department has no record of receiving more than $20 million worth of personal protective equipment that it bought to help protect against COVID-19, a state audit revealed.

The state auditor released a report Tuesday that found 28 wire payments from the Health Department totaling $20,431,981 without documentation that the purchased PPE was received. The equipment is worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious injuries and illnesses, including COVID-19.

Courtesy

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An attorney who has sued the city of Tulsa for reparations for victims and descendants of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre has filed a lawsuit for the release of records related to the massacre and the coming centennial of the attack.

The records request was made in January for documents that include references to the 1921 massacre and internment camps where Blacks were held following the massacre, and records referencing the Black Tulsa community between 1908-1921, according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in state court by Tulsa attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons.

Friday's headlines:

  • The Army is investigating a Fort Sill trainee's report she was assaulted by multiple instructors.
  • An audit reveals the state health department has no record of receiving more than $20 million worth of personal protective equipment.
  • Health officials say there are now five known coronavirus variants in Oklahoma.

University of Tulsa

University of Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins collected his latest award on Thursday.

In a private ceremony, Collins was presented with the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the award given to college football’s best defensive player, judged by the Football Writers Association of America.

FWAA’s John Hoover told Collins the vote wasn’t even close, and not just because he made some game-changing interceptions, like a pick-six against Tulane to win the game in double overtime.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Additional coronavirus variants have been identified in Oklahoma since health officials started to ramp up sequencing work at a new public health lab.

The presence of P.1 and B.1.1.7 variants was previously known. There are now also the B.1.427 and B.1.429 strains from California, and B.1.351, currently the dominant strain in South Africa.

Wikimedia

A Republican state lawmaker amended a bill in committee this week to bring back a plan to prohibit mandatory training or counseling on gender or sexual diversity.

US Army Ft. Sill

The commanding general of the U.S. Army's Fort Sill said Thursday an investigation is underway into allegations of sexual assault made by a soldier against multiple members of training cadre.

Maj. Gen. Kenneth Kamper told reporters at a press briefing that a soldier assigned to the Comanche County installation came forward Saturday to report the assault, and the incident was immediately referred to law enforcement and the Army's criminal investigation division, or CID.

The Tulsa Health Department announced Wednesday that individuals seeking to be vaccinated against COVID-19 now have three additional locations to choose from.

The department's James O. Goodwin Health Center, Central Regional Health Center and North Regional Health and Wellness Center are all now taking appointments via the state's vaccinate.oklahoma.gov portal, with vaccinations beginning there on Monday.

Facebook / Cancer Treatment Centers of America (Tulsa)

The Cancer Treatment Center of America hospital in Tulsa announced Wednesday it will permanently close by June 1st. 

"Despite working tirelessly to overcome significant patient access and insurance limitations that inexplicably restrict patient care options and prevent patient choice in this market, CTCA Tulsa will close operations as of June 1, 2021," the hospital said in a news release.

Thursday's top stories:

• Gov. Kevin Stitt on Wednesday signed two bills with major ramifications for public school districts in Oklahoma.

• Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) says "exorbitant" unemployment benefits are harming America's children.

Office of Attorney General

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma’s attorney general on Wednesday asked the state’s highest criminal court to reconsider its ruling overturning a man’s murder convictions and death sentence because of jurisdictional issues stemming from the U.S. Supreme Court’s determination that much of eastern Oklahoma remains an American Indian reservation.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on March 11 overturned the conviction and sentence of Shaun Michael Bosse, 38, and rejected Attorney General Mike Hunter’s claim that the state had concurrent jurisdiction in the case.

Governor's office

Gov. Kevin Stitt wasted no time in signing bills to implement major education policy reforms he asked for in February during his state of the state address.

Lawmakers passed House Bill 2078 and Senate Bill 783 on Wednesday. Stitt signed the bills hours later.

Tulsa County Sheriff

Tulsa Police have arrested a man who drove into the Arkansas River during a Monday early morning pursuit, a crash that left a woman dead.

Jose Alan Lara-Garcia, 23, was arrested Tuesday evening and booked into the Tulsa County Jail on charges including first-degree manslaughter.

Police say they tried to stop him for reckless driving near 61st Street and Peoria Avenue on Monday, but he took off west on 61st, losing control at Riverside and driving into the river.

A Florida jury has found a former Mannford Police officer guilty of second-degree murder in the killing of the city’s police chief.

The verdict was announced Wednesday afternoon after about two hours of deliberations. Michael Nealey pleaded not guilty in December to the murder of police Chief Lucky Miller in a Pensacola Beach, Florida, hotel room in November 2019.

The men were attending a law enforcement conference when they got into a fight. A hotel security guard responding to other guests’ noise complaints found Nealey sitting on Miller’s chest.

NIAID-RML

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 438,364 total cases in the state on Wednesday, an increase of 2,229 over the past week.

Tulsa County data is now being updated on a weekly basis, with numbers reflecting the previous Sunday through Saturday. At last count, Tulsa County had 72,684 cases, up 309 over the past week. Tulsa County's total is second to Oklahoma County's 83,647.

Healthier Oklahoma Coalition

While Oklahoma appears to be trending well in terms of COVID-19 infection and vaccination rates, public health experts and officials are warning that things could change without vigilance.

"Listen, everyone -- the pandemic is not over yet," said Dr. Aaron Wendelboe, an epidemiologist and professor at the OU Health Sciences Center who formerly served as Oklahoma's state epidemiologist, on a Tuesday press briefing held virtually by the Healthier Oklahoma Coalition. "We have not dropped to levels of transmission that are sustainable, that we can control."

Pages