Local & Regional

Tulsa Airport

After seeing steep drops in traffic in March and April, Tulsa International Airport officials are starting to see a rebound.

According to Transportation Security Administration figures, passenger numbers at Tulsa International were down 53% in March and almost 96% in April from the same months the year before.

Tulsa Airports CEO Alexis Higgins said during a Tulsa Regional Chamber business event more people came through the security checkpoint on Friday than they’d seen since mid-March.

City of Tulsa

After two years at No. 60, Tulsa climbed five places in the Trust for Public Land’s annual ParkScore rankings.

The jump to No. 55 came down to an $18 increase in per capita spending on parks, but that’s largely from what the George Kaiser Family Foundation has spent on and around the Gathering Place.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa County renewed on Tuesday its agreement with the federal government for the sheriff’s office to identify undocumented immigrants for deportation after they’ve been arrested.

The Board of County Commissioners voted 2–1 for the new U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement 287(g) agreement. Commissioner Karen Keith voted against it.

Tulsa County’s previous agreement was set to expire in June. The new one is in effect until terminated by the sheriff or ICE.

NIAID-RML

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 47 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the state's total number of confirmed cases to 6,137.

Five more deaths were reported, including three in Tulsa County. Tulsa County has the second-most deaths in the state, 47, behind Oklahoma County's 58.

Since March 18, 318 Oklahomans have died from COVID-19. Over the course of the outbreak, 941 people have been hospitalized.

River Parks Authority

Repairing damage from spring 2019’s floods in River Parks may leave less money for previously planned work.

River Parks got an advance on city sales tax funding intended to pay for trail improvements and other work in order to get flood repairs started because the Federal Emergency Management Agency offered funding through reimbursements.

KWGS News photo

Oklahoma tribes and Gov. Kevin Stitt made their latest cases to the judge presiding over their gaming compact lawsuit.

Documents submitted on Friday by both sides argue why Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy DeGiusti should rule in their favor, finding the compacts automatically renewed when it comes to the tribes or ruling they expired when it comes to Stitt.

Tribes argued in a 51-page filing that renewal was triggered when the state allowed gaming machines at horse racing tracks to continue operating.

Oklahoma’s Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust expects more people will need help buying healthy food amid an economic downturn driven largely by the COVID-19 pandemic.

TSET will award up to $1 million in grants through a new food access program to help with that.

"We know that one in six [people] and one in four children in Oklahoma suffer from food insecurity, and early data shows that number is likely to have increased dramatically with the recent economic downturn," said TSET Executive Director Julie Bisbee.

Department of Defense

Oklahoma posted 241 new cases of COVID-19 and six additional deaths over the long holiday weekend.

The latest counts from the Oklahoma State Department of Health put the state’s total confirmed cases at 6,090. Since March 18, 313 people have died, and 940 have been hospitalized over the course of the outbreak.

The health department says more than 4,700 Oklahomans who have tested positive for the coronavirus have recovered, leaving the state with 1,063 known, active cases.

Tuesday's top stories:

  • Police continue their search for toddlers who went missing from their east Tulsa apartment complex last week.
  • COVID-19 cases rise to 6,090, deaths hit 313 over the holiday weekend.
  • TSET sets aside $1 million to help more people buy healthy foods during the pandemic and accompanying economic downturn.

Tulsa Police

Police will continue their search today for two Tulsa toddlers missing since Thursday.

Miracle Crook, 3,  and her brother, 2-year-old Tony Crook, were last seen around 10:15 a.m. Friday on an apartment complex security camera. About two hours earlier, they were seen in a convenience store with their mother, Donisha Willis, who does not have custody of them.

Tulsa police are looking for a 2-year-old boy and 3-year-old girl who went missing on Thursday.

Tony and Miracle Crook were last seen by a family member Thursday at the Shoreline Apartments in the 2200 block of 96th East Avenue.

A convenience store security camera captured the children on video with their mother around 8:15 a.m. on Friday. A post on the Tulsa Police Department Facebook page said the children's disappearance does not currently meet the criteria set for an Amber Alert.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported Sunday the state had reached 6,037 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The health department reported 111 new cases on Saturday and 77 on Sunday. Four deaths were reported Saturday, including three in Tulsa County. All four deaths happened between May 13 and Thursday.

Three of the four new deaths were adults age 65 or older. The fourth was a man between 50 and 64 years old.

Since Oklahoma's first case of COVID-19 was reported March 6, 932 people have been hospitalized. Of those, 174 are currently in the hospital.

Courtesy

As the pandemic upended commencement rituals across campuses, Kim Gaddie wanted to give the University of Oklahoma’s class of 2020 a taste of tradition -- well, kinda.

Armed with boxes of chalk, Gaddie, her husband and a few colleagues spent hours writing the names of graduating seniors on the concrete sidewalk where class members would have lined up to march into the ceremony. By the time they were done, the pathway was festooned with more than 4,000 colorful names.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Are some workouts, like yoga or spinning classes, less safe than others? Should I wear a mask? Do I need more than six-feet apart in cardio classes where there’s panting and heavy breathing?

There are many legitimate concerns about how gyms and fitness studios can safely reopen without furthering the spread. But infectious disease experts say risk can be greatly mitigated by following some simple rules.

U.S. Air Force

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Mike Weeks and his wife are fitness junkies. During quarantine, they tried home workouts — push-ups, planks, bike riding around town — but it wasn’t the same. The semi-retired oil and gas explorer longed for his old gym routine. “To say I missed it immensely is an understatement.”

So on May 8, the first day that Life Time gym reopened, the Oklahoma City resident was right there, though “slightly apprehensive.”

“I’m 66 years old,” he says, and “purportedly in the high-risk category.”

OSU

Eddie Sutton waited so long to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He couldn’t hang on long enough to make it to the ceremony.

The man who led three teams to the Final Four and was the first coach to take four schools to the NCAA Tournament, died Saturday. He was 84.

Sutton’s family said in a statement he died of natural causes at home in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, area, surrounded by his three sons and their families. His wife, Patsy, died in 2013.

ARLP

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A judge threw out a lawsuit on Friday from a coalition of states, environmental groups and American Indians which sought to revive an Obama-era moratorium against U.S. government coal sales on public lands in the West.

KWGS News File photo

The Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association Board rejected by one vote on Friday a set of guidelines for summer workouts and practices intended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The rejected guidelines laid out a three-phased plan to resume full activities in August, which started with strength and conditioning sessions under safety precautions like temperature checks for most of June. OSSAA Board Member Jason Sternberger said he wanted a plan more in line with Gov. Kevin Stitt’s state reopening.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 169 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, pushing the state's total to 5,849.

It was the state's largest single-day increase in cases in May and the most since 171 new cases on April 4.

Three new deaths were reported on Friday, with one each in Oklahoma, Tulsa and Texas counties. Two deaths were adults 65 or older, and one was a man between 50 and 64 years old.

COVID-19 has now killed 307 Oklahomans since March 18. It has hospitalized 926 people since it was first identified, and 190 people are currently hospitalized.

Oklahoma Employment Security Commission Executive Director Robin Roberson resigned Friday hours after OESC handed over unemployment claim processing and other tasks to the state Office of Management and Enterprise Services.

Roberson's resignation was first reported by The Oklahoman. Roberson was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after Gov. Kevin Stitt picked her to lead OESC and put off a double mastectomy after the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Oklahoma Senate

STROUD, Okla. (AP) — A man was killed and a state senator was injured after a two-car crash early Friday on the Turner Turnpike near Stroud, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.

The man was driving westbound on the turnpike when his vehicle hydroplaned and he crashed into a ditch, said OHP spokeswoman Sarah Stewart. State Sen. Allison Ikley-Freeman, a Democrat from Tulsa, then hydroplaned in the same spot and crashed into the man’s vehicle.

Courtesy Keystone Lake Jellystone Park.

With many Oklahoma families feeling cooped up after months of social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, some local campgrounds are popular destinations for Memorial Day weekend.

Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts' two locations in Oklahoma, in Mannford and Eufaula, say they're ready to safely welcome a sold-out crowd this weekend.

"We have about 85 campsites rented for the weekend," said Beth Ryan, owner and operator of the Mannford site, on Keystone Lake. Ryan said the park is going to great lengths to keep people safe.

Facebook / Catoosa Public Schools

When Catoosa High School announced it would be one of the few Tulsa-area high schools to hold a traditional, in-person graduation ceremony for its seniors, it said it would reference Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and remove anyone not following a list of restrictions meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Friday morning his pick for a new interim director of the State Department of Health.

Col. Lance Frye, a Tulsa resident, is currently serving as the State Air Surgeon of the Oklahoma Air National Guard, a role he said he will continue in during his time as health commissioner. Frye is also an OB/GYN and professor at the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences.

"Col. Frye is the right leader at the right time," Stitt said in his announcement from the Capitol on Friday.

Friday's top stories:

  • Tulsa County reported a spike in COVID-19 cases Thursday, attributed to a long-term care facility.
  • The Oklahoma Department of Corrections has taken custody of at least 140 inmates from the Comanche County Jail due to a major COVID-19 outbreak there.
  • The Oklahoma Legislature will reconvene today, possibly to override Gov. Kevin Stitt's vetoes of their approved bills.

State of Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Legislature is returning to the Capitol on Friday and could override Gov. Kevin Stitt’s recent vetoes with a two-thirds vote in each chamber.

Stitt vetoed a bill Thursday designed to fund his own Medicaid expansion plan, leaving it unclear how his proposal would be paid for.

The bill would have increased a fee that hospitals pay from 2.5% to 4% and was expected to generate about $134 million annually to help fund the state’s portion of Stitt’s proposed Medicaid expansion, dubbed Soonercare 2.0.

JailExchange.com

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Department of Corrections is moving more than 140 healthy inmates from a county jail that reported it was ill-equipped to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Thursday.

Inmates at the Comanche County Detention Center who had two consecutive negative coronavirus tests are being moved to state facilities, the department said.

Courtesy

Mother Road Market is opening up its patio Friday to diners with an online reservation, ordering and payment system.

The food hall has been closed since March 17 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

For now, tables will be at least 6 feet apart; workers will be wearing masks and gloves; and guests must answer a health declaration, have their temperature checked before being seated, and wear a mask when they’re not at their table.

Tulsa Health Department

Tulsa County saw on Thursday its largest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases in three weeks.

Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart said 38 new cases were reported. Tulsa County’s largest increases so far were 45 new cases reported April 29 and April 3.

"Case numbers up until today really were trending downward, which was a very positive sign. We had a large increase today, but that includes 14 residents and eight staff from a long-term care facility," Dart said.

Dart said hospitalizations and deaths are still trending down.

University of Tulsa

The University of Tulsa is preparing for what’s being called a "hybrid" return in the fall.

That would include requiring everyone on campus to wear a mask. According to an email to employees from Interim President Janet Levit, TU’s board of trustees has approved several other recommendations, including private rooms for students living on campus, limiting food service to carry-out with mobile ordering options and using COVID-19 testing strategically.

Pages