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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma police officer who fatally shot a man wielding a baseball bat has been charged with first-degree manslaughter.

The Oklahoman reports Chance Avery, a corporal with The Village Police Department, shot Christopher Poor, 49, three times July 25, according to court records.

OU Football

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley confirmed after the No. 5 Sooners’ opening victory over Missouri State that the game Saturday night had been jeopardy of being postponed or canceled because of the Sooners’ COVID-19 cases.

Earlier, the Springfield News-Leader reported that Missouri State President Clif Smart told the school’s board of governors that the game had been in doubt.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Weekend Update for Public Radio Tulsa:

We are shaking things up a bit on KWGS Public Radio 89.5 FM starting this Saturday, September 12, 2020! We're adding three new programs (REALLY good ones), repeating another great show, and moving Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me! to an earlier time on Sunday. Check it out. You will not be disappointed!

SATURDAYS:

T. Boone Pickens

DALLAS (AP) — Works of art depicting the American West and other pieces collected by the late Texas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens are expected to sell at auction for more than $15 million.

Christie’s said Thursday that the auction will be held Oct. 28 in New York. Christie’s said the art collection spans over a century, with works ranging from from Frederic Remington’s “The Signal” from 1900 to Howard Terpning’s “Flags on the Frontier” from 2001.

File photo

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Claims for unemployment benefits in Oklahoma are declining after reaching record levels during the coronavirus pandemic, the state Employment Security Commission reported Thursday.

First-time weekly claims for the week ending Sept. 5 totaled of 5,241, and continuing claims numbered 103,903, down from 6,019 initial claims and 119,571 continuing claims from a week earlier, according to the commission.

The Big 12 has secured access to COVID-19 antigen testing that produces rapid results and will be used the day before competition on players, coaches and staff.

The conference announced a partnership with Virtual Care for Families. The testing program will use Quidel Rapid Antigen tests.

The Big 12 said it expects the Quidel test to provide results in about 15 minutes, the turnaround for its tests under a partnership with the Pac-12.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa Public Schools is in distance learning until at least November, but the district is now publicly reporting its COVID numbers.

TPS will release a weekly count on Fridays covering the past Friday through Thursday. This week, TPS said it got four self-reported cases of COVID-19, 33 reports from students or staff they were potentially exposed, and district contact tracers looked into 27 cases where someone said they were within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Friday 942 cases of COVID-19, pushing the state's total to 67,642.

Tulsa County had 127 of Friday's cases and leads the state with 14,891.

The state health department reported 13 deaths Friday, with one in the past 24 hours. One death reported Thursday was removed from Oklahoma's total after it was discovered the person lived in Kansas, not Garfield County. Since March 18, COVID-19 has officially killed 888 Oklahomans.

Courtesy Cherokee Nation Wildland Fire Program

The Cherokee Nation has deployed members of its Wildland Fire Management team to assist Indian nations in Western states battle this season's wildfires.

"The suppression program goes all over the United States helping with fires," said program coordinator DeWayne Chuckluck during a Friday phone interview. "They could be East Coast, West Coast, it really doesn't matter. When other tribes request help and we've got some people available, we'll actually send people there."

The Tulsa Housing Authority is encouraging renters in Tulsa County who have struggled financially to pay rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic to apply for a share of federal relief allocated as part of the federal CARES Act.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections on Thursday reported the death of a second inmate who tested positive for COVID-19.

The male inmate from Joseph Harp Correctional Center in Lexington was admitted to an Oklahoma City hospital more than a week ago with COVID-19-related symptoms and died on Wednesday, the agency reported. The man’s name was not released.

In a statement, DOC said, "The man had signed a do not resuscitate directive and requested the hospital withdraw all treatment."

Office of Gov. Kevin Stitt

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Thursday named a former classroom teacher and CEO of an education reform group as his new secretary of education. 

Every Kid Counts CEO Ryan Walters will replace Secretary of State Michael Rogers, who stepped down from the education position last month, citing his workload.

Friday's top stories:

  • A judge has ruled that body camera footage of the shooting of two Tulsa police officers in June, resulting in the death of Sgt. Craig Johnson, must be made public this coming Monday.
  • Another Department of Corrections prisoner has died after testing positive for COVID-19.
  • Union Public Schools reports growing COVID-19 infections after choosing to offer in-person classes. The board voted to reject the recommendations of the Tulsa Health Department and its district superintendent that the year begin all virtually.

Tulsa International Airport

While Tulsa International Airport just had its busiest travel weekend of the coronavirus pandemic, executives say they’re not out of the woods.

Around 3,300 passengers came through the security checkpoint last Friday, up from a daily average of about 2,000 in June and July.

The airport’s fiscal year 2020 revenues were down 13% from FY2019, with June 2020 more than 40% below the same month a year ago.

Union Public Schools

Union Public Schools is seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases in its third week of offering in-person classes.

As of Thursday, the district had 10 staff members and 22 students who had tested positive. When school started August 24th, 10 students had reported positive COVID tests.

Union also has 62 employees and 401 students in quarantine, and 12 classrooms have been closed across the district. Five Ellen Ochoa Elementary classrooms were closed Wednesday, and 111 students and seven employees were told to quarantine.

Tulsa Police

Body camera video showing the June 29 shooting of two Tulsa Police officers will be made public Monday morning.

Tulsa County District Judge William Musseman said Thursday after watching the footage, he does not think its release will affect the prosecution of David Ware and Matthew Hall. Musseman did not extend a previous judge's order keeping the video sealed.

Office of Sen. James Lankford

Oklahoma's U.S. Senators, Republicans Jim Inhofe and James Lankford, blamed Democrats as the most recent coronavirus relief proposal failed to reach enough votes to survive a filibuster.

"Disappointed, but not surprised Senate Democrats blocked our targeted COVID-19 relief bill," Lankford said in a statement. "Only in Washington, D.C., would a $300 billion dollar piece of legislation be considered 'skinny', not even mentioning the $3 trillion we've already spent. We shouldn't continue spending money just because we can, we have to focus on what's needed."

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Thursday 771 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 66,700.

Tulsa County had 109 of Thursday's cases and leads the state with 14,764. Oklahoma County has the second-highest total, 14,713. Cleveland County has the third-highest total with 4,757.

The state health department reported 13 deaths, with one identified in the past 24 hours. Two deaths were adults between 50 and 64 years old, and the other 11 were adults 65 or older. Since March 18, COVID-19 has officially killed 876 Oklahomans.

Courtesy

The Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs, the state's juvenile justice agency, has launched a training program for its staff and outside law enforcement agencies to "improve interaction and outcomes with youth who are minorities."

"We know that our own data shows over-representation of children of color in Oklahoma's juvenile justice system," said the agency's interim executive director, Rachel Holt, in a press release.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A former Oklahoma zookeeper sentenced to 22 years in prison for his role in a murder-for-hire plot and violating federal wildlife laws has formally requested a pardon.

Friday's top stories:

  • Oklahoma's coronavirus outlook has worsened according to the White House. The coronavirus task force's latest report upgrades the state from yellow to red for case positivity, a metric by which Oklahoma is 4th worst in the country.
  • The Oklahoma Department of Corrections touts its virus response, even as more than 1,600 people incarcerated in its prisons have become infected with COVID-19, including more than 700 at just one facility in Taft.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The White House task force on the coronavirus is no longer recommending a statewide mask mandate in Oklahoma, according to the report released Wednesday by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

The report, dated Sunday, instead recommends a mask mandate in urban areas and in counties where students and teachers in public schools have tested positive for the virus. 

Courtesy

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections said its staff is working hard and touted its achievements over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, even as more than 1600 inmates have been infected with the novel coronavirus.

"In collaboration with the health department, we have been able to accomplish the unaccomplishable, I believe, from when we first started dealing with the virus," said Millicent Embry-Newton, DOC's Offender Services Director.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A judge has set a trial date for a legal battle involving Oklahoma’s attempt to review financial records from a private company that manages a public charter school.

District Judge Natalie Mai set the trial date for Dec. 16, The Oklahoman reported Wednesday.

State Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd said Epic Youth Services, which manages Epic Charter Schools, has refused to provide her office with records of Epic’s Learning Fund— a bank account that pays $1,000 per student for extracurricular activities, technology costs and supplemental curricula.

Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality

Oklahoma officials hope to benefit from a new Environmental Protection Agency office tasked with coordinating mine cleanup west of the Mississippi River.

The EPA’s Denver-based Office of Mountains, Deserts and Plains will encourage Good Samaritan cleanup projects and other remediation not done by the agency itself.

EPA Region Eight Administrator Greg Sopkin said abandoned mines present environmental hazards that need to be addressed.

File photo

Tulsa Regional Tourism has launched programs to help the local film and music industries during the coronavirus pandemic.

Productions filming in Tulsa County can apply to the $90,000 Tulsa County Film Recovery Program for help with costs related to COVID-19. Tulsa Office of Film, Music, Arts and Culture Executive Director Abby Kurin said they’ve already approved an application from a feature film and are considering one from a cable network for a pilot.

OSU has slashed its current year athletics budget with layoffs, pay cuts and furloughs.

Combined with a hiring freeze on nine positions and previous cuts, the moves announced Wednesday trimmed $13 million from the athletics budget.

Ten employees were laid off Wednesday, while 66 will start furloughs next week. Another 151 are taking pay cuts of 2.5% to 25%.

OSU Athletics Director Mike Holder said 16 of 25 employees under contracts agreed to voluntary pay cuts, including all head coaches and himself.

NIAID-RML

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Wednesday 876 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 65,929.

Tulsa County had 182 of Wednesday's cases and leads the state with 14,655.

The state health department reported nine deaths, with none identified in the past 24 hours. Eight deaths were adults 65 or older. Since March 18, COVID-19 has officially killed 863 Oklahomans.

Dennis Adair, licensed under CC BY SA 2.0.

Billy Donovan won’t return as coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder after five seasons, the team announced Tuesday night, ending a largely successful run that ought to make him an attractive candidate for jobs around the league.

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