Local & Regional

It’s nearly spring, and you know what that means: potential severe weather for Green Country.

The National Weather Service in Tulsa says there's an elevated severe weather risk for the area Tuesday night into Wednesday, mainly southwest of State Highway 351 and, farther east, south of I-40.

Potential hazards include winds up to 60 mph, hail as large as golf balls and a low risk of a tornado. The highest chances for a tornado are in southeast Oklahoma.

Local flooding is also possible if heavy rainfall lingers over an area.

World Health Organization

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Tuesday 232 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 433,025.

Tulsa County had 34 of Tuesday's cases. Its total now stands at 72,039, second to Oklahoma County. At the time this story was published, the state health department had not updated Oklahoma County's total.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, fell from 519 to 513. The record of 4,256 was set Jan. 13. It has remained under 1,000 since Feb. 19.

Ben Crump Law, PLLC

Two prominent civil rights attorneys appeared on a virtual press conference Monday alongside the Norman High School girls basketball team to discuss the possibility of litigation against a broadcaster who swore at and used the n-word about them.

"Possible causes of actions would be the torts known as the negligent infliction of emotional distress and/or the intentional infliction of emotional distress," said Little Rock- and Chicago-based attorney Mike Laux, discussing potential legal action against announcer Matt Rowan and his Tahlequah-based company. 

Tuesday's top stories:

• The Board of Tulsa County Commissioners is formally opposed to legislation that would give the state more power over the Tulsa Health Department.

• Gov. Kevin Stitt appeared on Fox News on Monday to tout the state's repeal of all remaining COVID-19 mitigation measures.

Mayor David Holt

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The mayor of Oklahoma’s largest city publicly received his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine on Monday and urged others in the state to do the same.

“With most Oklahomans now eligible, I want our residents to hear the message that there is no need to delay your pursuit of the vaccine any longer,” Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt said in a statement after receiving his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the Oklahoma City-County Health Department.

NDN Collective

Appearing on a livestream event Monday shortly after her historic confirmation to lead the Department of the Interior, Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) shared her first reaction to learning the vote was official.

"My sisters are here and they're cooking, and we're going to have dinner in tonight," Haaland told viewers of the event, hosted by advocacy and activist organization NDN Collective.

City of Tulsa

The City of Tulsa launched a new program Monday to reward landlords who are trying to help with an affordable housing crunch. 

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The Oklahoma Senate passed a resolution on Monday objecting to federal legislation on elections, voting and ethics.

H.R. 1, the For the People Act of 2021, could greatly expand voting access in some states, including Oklahoma. The bill includes requirements for states to set up automatic voter registration, offer same-day registration and hold two weeks of early voting.

The Board of Tulsa County Commissioners is formally opposed to legislation that would give the state more power over the Tulsa Health Department.

The board unanimously passed a resolution Monday saying they are against House Bill 2504, which would make changes like banning THD from adopting regulations more stringent than the state health department and involving the state health commissioner in hiring local directors.

Another round of emergency rental assistance is available for Tulsa County residents.

The City of Tulsa and Tulsa County have chosen Restore Hope Ministries to administer a combined $19.6 million in federal aid from the relief package signed into law by President Donald Trump in late December to people in danger of eviction because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Executive Director Jeff Jaynes said the need remains deep.

NIAID-RML

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Monday 310 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 432,793.

Tulsa County had 48 of Monday's cases. Its total now stands at 72,005, second to Oklahoma County's 82,710.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, rose from 498 to 519. The record of 4,256 was set Jan. 13. It has remained under 1,000 since Feb. 19.

Tulsa County's seven-day average rose from 59 to 61. The record is 647, set Jan. 9. It has remained below 100 since March 4.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections says COVID-19 vaccines are beginning to arrive at the state's prisons, but some advocates for the incarcerated say the state's rollout for that population is lacking.

The Oklahoma Senate has not yet started its budget work in earnest, but it has received a $500 million income tax reduction package from the House to consider.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The Tulsa City Council has been asked to approve transferring $4 million from a pandemic relief fund to cover some areas where the city is coming up short.

A convention and tourism facilities fund, which covers the Cox Business Convention Center and Performing Arts Center, would get $2.3 million.

Monday's top stories:

• The Oklahoma House passed a bill that would give the governor more power over the Tulsa and Oklahoma City-County Health Departments.

• Days after being targeted with racial slurs by a broadcast announcer, the Norman High School girls basketball team won the state championship on Saturday.

Osage Nation / Wah-Zha-Zhe Health Center

The Osage Nation is among the latest Oklahoma tribes to begin offering the COVID-19 vaccine to all adults who want it, Native and non-Native alike.

"We want to ensure our Native people are vaccinated, but we have a lot of neighbors that we live side-by-side -- community members, friends, family members, coworkers that are non-Native," Osage Nation Health Services chief operations and compliance officer Laura Sawney said. "So in order to ensure that we're saturating all of our Native communities, that includes non-Natives."

Norman High School

Just two days after an announcer's profane and racist tirade landed them in the national spotlight, the Norman High School girls basketball team powered through to bring home a state championship on Saturday.

The Norman Tigers beat Bixby 48-37. They finished their season undefeated.

Chantae Embry, a senior forward on the team, told KOCO 5 News' Porsha Riley they did not allow themselves to be distracted.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — As the coronavirus swept across Oklahoma and the nation last spring, Gov. Kevin Stitt’s office was inundated with correspondence from frightened residents seeking stricter lockdowns to control the spread of the virus.

Oklahoma District Attorneys Council

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma County’s top prosecutor is suing Gov. Kevin Stitt and the state’s Pardon and Parole Board, alleging the board is not following state law on notifying prosecutors about commutations it is considering.

The lawsuit filed Thursday by District Attorney David Prater also alleges two board members appointed by Stitt, Kelly Doyle and Adam Luck, have a conflict of interest because of their work with released inmates.

Tulsa Health Department

The Oklahoma House narrowly and on a largely urban-rural split passed a bill this week to give the governor power over the Tulsa and Oklahoma city-county health departments.

The Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association dismissed an announcing crew from the girls state basketball tournament after one of them used a racial slur toward a team during an online broadcast.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Friday 422 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 431,366.

Tulsa County had 58 of Friday's cases. Its total now stands at 71,839, second to Oklahoma County's 82,412.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, fell from 615 to 544. The record of 4,256 was set Jan. 13. It has remained under 1,000 since Feb. 19.

Tulsa County's seven-day average fell from 79 to 73. The record is 647, set Jan. 9. It has remained below 100 since March 4.

Mayor G.T. Bynum

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum celebrated receiving his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Tulsa County Fairgrounds Friday morning by quoting a notable historical figure in a statement.  

"'If you wanna keep an eye on me don’t look behind you, don’t look to the sides, look straight up, because I’m right on top of ya - Oh yeeeeeaaah!' -Randy 'Macho Man' Savage, OR my immune system to COVID-19 after getting vaccinated this morning!" Bynum wrote on Facebook.  

Google Maps

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — No charges will be filed in connection with a bar fight last month that left a University of Oklahoma football player seriously injured, Norman’s top prosecutor said Thursday.

Facebook / The Pioneer Woman - Ree Drummond

PAWHUSKA, Okla. (AP) — The husband and nephew of cookbook author Ree Drummond, also known as  "The Pioneer Woman,” were involved in a head-on collision that left the nephew in critical condition, authorities said.

Each of the men was driving a fire truck when the vehicles collided Wednesday, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said. Troopers said high winds on the gravel road caused reduced visibility at the time.

Friday's top stories:

• Against federal recommendations, Gov. Kevin Stitt on Thursday announced the lifting of what few COVID-19 restrictions remained in place at the state level in Oklahoma.

• The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals issued separate rulings Thursday with big ramifications for Tribal sovereignty.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma man’s murder convictions and death sentence have been overturned following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that much of eastern Oklahoma remains an American Indian reservation.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on Thursday reversed the decisions against Shaun Bosse, 38, because the crimes occurred on land within the Chickasaw Nation’s historic reservation and the victims were Native American.

Oklahoma House of Representatives

The Oklahoma House passed bills on Thursday that would reduce what Oklahoma residents and corporations pay in income taxes starting in 2022.

House Bill 2041 uses a combination of credits to offer the equivalent of a 0.25% rate cut for all individuals. That would mean nearly $178 million going back to taxpayers, an amount House Appropriations Chair Kevin Wallace (R-Wellston) is banking on to give the state economy a boost through additional spending.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Thursday 694 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 430,944.

Tulsa County had 55 of Thursday's cases. Its total now stands at 71,781, second to Oklahoma County's 82,321.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, fell from 643 to 615. The record of 4,256 was set Jan. 13. It has remained under 1,000 since Feb. 19.

Tulsa County's seven-day average fell from 89 to 79. The record is 647, set Jan. 9. It has remained below 100 since March 4.

Oklahoma Alliance for Healthy Families

A coalition of state health care groups and organizations on Wednesday launched a new public service messaging campaign to encourage Oklahomans to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it's made available to them.

"Doctors have done their part -- it's time to do ours," a narrator says in the 60-second ad from the Oklahoma Alliance for Healthy Families, which will be appearing on broadcast and digital platforms. The campaign is titled "United for Good – Vax For Good."

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