Local & Regional

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A federal judge has denied two Oklahoma tribes’ requests to join the gaming lawsuit against Gov. Kevin Stitt.

Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy DeGiusti wrote it would be "neither necessary nor appropriate" for the United Keetowah Band of Cherokee Indians and the Kialegee Tribal Town to intervene in the lawsuit.

Their request was opposed by the tribes already parties to the lawsuit because they do not offer gaming.

The dispute over whether the compacts renewed automatically for a new 15-year term or expired at the end of 2019 is currently in court-ordered mediation.

Edward Kimmel

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Cherokee citizens are calling on Elizabeth Warren to publicly disavow a family story of indigenous heritage as a way to dissuade others from making false claims they say often romanticize Native Americans.

The topic has haunted the Massachusetts senator since even before she announced she would seek the Democratic nomination for president, despite Warren repeatedly apologizing for identifying as Native American in the past and for submitting a DNA test to back up what she heard growing up.

Joshua Doubek

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration moved Thursday on a water-recycling push it says could get good use out of more of the wastewater that industries, cities and farms spew out, including the billions of barrels of watery waste generated by oil and gas fields each year.

Oklahoma-DOC

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma is ill-prepared to resume executing inmates and its new lethal injection protocols would violate the constitutional rights of prisoners, attorneys for death row inmates said in a court filing Thursday.

Attorneys for several Oklahoma death row inmates filed a motion to reopen a case in federal court in Oklahoma City that challenges Oklahoma’s lethal injection method. In the motion, attorneys argue the newly released protocols are incomplete and that a grand jury investigation is unfinished.

OU Black Emergency Response Team

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Dozens of University of Oklahoma students staged a sit-in for a second day Thursday outside OU’s administrative offices following two instances of professors using racial slurs in the classroom.

OU’s Black Emergency Response Team, known as BERT, gathered Wednesday morning in Evans Hall and called for the resignation of OU provost Kyle Harper, mandatory equity training for faculty, semester-long diversity training and a new multicultural center on campus.

Simon Premium Outlets

The Tulsa Premium Outlets are in the construction stage just months after developers committed to a site in Jenks.

The 340,000-square foot project is expected to open in spring 2021.

"This outlet mall ’s going to be huge for Jenks. It’s going to bring new jobs, new sales tax revenue for us. We’re also excited it’s going to bring more people into town to enjoy our aquarium, our riverwalk and our downtown area," said Jenks Mayor Robert Lee.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

A proposed short-term rental ordinance in Tulsa would require operators to pay $375 a year for a license, but none would need special approval.

The bulk of those fees would go toward a code enforcement officer dedicated to short-term rental issues and a contract with a compliance monitoring firm. The ordinance includes a "three strikes" provision for revoking operator's licenses.

Oklahoma House

The chair of the Oklahoma House Public Safety Committee managed to get two of his favored gun policies through on deadline day.

House Bill 3422 originally dealt with law enforcement officers’ mental health records, but it was amended late Wednesday to instead lift restrictions on lawmakers carrying guns in the capitol and other state buildings.

Committee Chair Rep. Justin Humphrey said the change is OK because it still deals with public safety, which did not sit well with Rep. Matt Meredith.

KWGS News File Photo

A man suspected of shooting at Fort Gibson police earlier this week is dead after being shot by law enforcement in Tahlequah.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says troopers were helping the U-. .Marshals look for 30-year-old James Thompson yesterday. They found him riding in a car near Allen Road on Highway 51.

OHP says when they stopped the car, Thompson ran across a field, and shots were fired.

It’s not clear whether Thompson fired at officers.

File photo

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A man convicted of kidnapping and holding his stepdaughter captive for nearly 20 years has been sentenced to life in prison.

Henri Michelle Piette was sentenced Tuesday for kidnapping and traveling with intent to engage in sexual acts with a juvenile, Tulsa World reported. Piette also faces a $50,000 fine and $50,067 in restitution to the victim, Rosalynn Michelle McGinnis.

The Associated Press generally doesn’t identify people who say they have been sexually abused, but McGinnis has discussed her case publicly.

Gabriel Vieira

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Trump administration said Wednesday a resumption of coal sales from public lands that had been blocked under former President Barack Obama will result in a negligible increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

Critics accused the administration of producing a flawed analysis of the federal coal program that ignores its broader impacts.

OKC Bombing Memorial

White supremacists and other far-right extremists killed at least 38 people in the U.S. in 2019, the sixth deadliest year for violence by all domestic extremists since 1970, according to a report issued Wednesday by a group that fights anti-semitism.

Thursday's top stories:

  • Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. addresses state lawmakers during the Cherokee Nation's annual visit to the capitol.
  • A man suspected of shooting at Fort Gibson police earlier this week is dead after being shot by law enforcement in Tahlequah.
  • Tulsa will expand its presence at its sixth time at South by Southwest. 

The Center for Individuals with Physical Challenges

The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma has hired a new CEO.

Starting March 30, Lori Long will take the helm from interim CEO Ryan Walker, the food bank's chief operating officer.

"We’re excited to have her on board. She has a lot of experience, just a wealth of knowledge from the nonprofit industry. She’s led successful capital campaigns ad most recently, she’s been with The Center in Tulsa," Walker said.

Tulsa Office of Film, Music Arts and Culture

Tulsa will have a bigger footprint this year at the annual conference and festival South by Southwest.

The Austin, Texas, event is best known for its celebration of the technology, film, and music industries. Tulsa Regional Tourism President Ray Hoyt said getting Tulsa’s name out into the world is the goal.

Oklahoma Senate

Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. addressed both chambers of the Oklahoma legislature Wednesday as Cherokee Nation officials visited the capitol.

Cherokee Nation officials have made an annual visit to the capitol for years, but this one comes in the midst of the dispute over gaming compacts with Gov. Kevin Stitt.

Hoskin did not mention the gaming compacts in his addresses to the Senate and House, but he did thank lawmakers for their friendship and respect.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe will announce next week whether he will seek re-election to a fifth full term.

Inhofe told Congressional reporting outlet Roll Call  he will make an announcement March 6.

Inhofe said while he chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, he knows he’ll be looked at as a candidate if he makes the call to run.

The 85-year-old has served 34 years in Congress, elected to the House in 1986 and the Senate in 1994.

Wednesday's top stories:

  • A state Senate committee passes a bill that would allow harsher sentences for some property crimes voters reduced to misdemeanors in 2016.
  • The University of Oklahoma says a second professor in two weeks used the N-word in class.
  • As a major legislative deadline approaches, 13 out of 14 bills Tulsa County officials want passed remain alive.

Architect of the Capitol

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A House committee approved Tuesday legislation that would require signs bearing the national motto “In God We Trust” to be displayed at all state buildings.

The House Rules Committee voted 6-1 to advance to the full House the bill by House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka.

The bill is fiercely opposed by the religious equality watchdog group American Atheists, which says the message is exclusionary. It says the bill is related to a campaign that seeks to weaken the separation of religion and government.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

A state Senate committee has approved a bill that could change sentences for some minor property crimes.

Senate Bill 1587 changes from 90 days to one year the time period during which the total cost of three or more offenses can be added up to pass the felony threshold of $1,000.

Voters reduced certain nonviolent property crimes under $1,000 from felonies to misdemeanors by passing State Question 780 in 2016.

Groups dedicated to putting an end to hunger problems in Oklahoma gathered in the state capitol on Tuesday to meet with legislators and citizens alike.

Hunger Free Oklahoma Executive Director Chris Bernard said their goal on Anti-Hunger day was to call attention to the problem and gather volunteers from the community.

"We're here to educate legislators and decision makers and advocate for policies that make sure every Oklahoman has enough food to eat every day," Bernard said.

Tulsa Public Schools

McLain High School’s new, 1,200-seat field house has gone without a formal name since it opened in November, but a committee has recommended one after a public survey.

Tulsa Public Schools Board Member Jennettie Marshall served on the committee and said the choice of Tulsa McLain Athletics Center is meant to send a message to the community.

"To let them know that we are still on top and we are still winners and that we’re going to carry on the legacy of Tulsa McLain," Marshall said.

File photo

Crowds are expected Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for early in-person voting in advance of next week’s Super Tuesday Presidential Primary. Oklahoma is one of 14 states participating, and Tulsa County Election Board Secretary Gwen Freeman expects a big turnout this week and next Tuesday. She says registration and interest are up and that usually translates to heavier turnouts.

Early voting is Thursday and Friday from 8am until 6pm, and Saturday 9am until 2pm at the Election Board on North Denver and the Hardesty Library. Election Day is Tuesday, March 3rd.

Karen Nutini / Federal Emergency Management Agency

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Former two-term Democratic Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry endorsed presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg in his race for the Democratic nomination, the Bloomberg campaign announced on Tuesday.

Henry is one of the most prominent Democrats in the state, having served two terms as governor after upsetting NFL star and then-U.S. Rep. Steve Largent in 2002.

Marelbu-Wikimedia

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Another University of Oklahoma professor used a racial slur in class, the school’s interim president said, marking the second time in less than two weeks that a faculty member used offensive language in the classroom.

Interim President Joseph Harroz Jr. said Monday a history professor, whom he didn’t name, read from a historical document that used the N-word repeatedly. Harroz said the professor gave a “trigger warning” letting students know what she was about to say, but he said that didn’t excuse her behavior.

U.S. Air Force

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Children under the age of 17 would be required to wear seat belts in vehicle back seats under a bill narrowly passed Monday by the Oklahoma Senate.

The bill, which passed on a 25–22 vote, changes current law that requires only children younger than age 8 to wear seat belts in the back seat.

“The bottom line is children are being hurt and dying simply because we don’t require them to wear a seat belt,” said Sen. Roland Pederson, a Burlington Republican.

File Photo

NEWKIRK, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma high school basketball game announcer called the names of the opposing team’s players “disgusting,” and was later removed from the game by the school’s superintendent.

The announcer at Newkirk High School, whose name has not been released, said during player introductions before the Friday girl’s district tournament finals that the names of the Crooked Oak players “are pretty disgusting, but I’m going to try and call ’em out.”

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The nearly $1 billion Constitution Pipeline project, which had been designed to take natural gas from Pennsylvania’s shale gas fields to metropolitan New York and New England, has been abandoned after years of legal regulatory challenges made it economically unfeasible, a spokeswoman for project partner Duke Energy said Monday.

Tuesday's top stories:

  • A state Senate committee keeps alive several bills aimed at taking on rising health care costs.
  • The state Senate narrowly approves legislation to require all kids under 17 to wear seat belts while riding in the back seat of a car.
  • Mike Bloomberg's campaign revises its strategy after the Nevada caucuses.

An Oklahoma Senate committee on Monday kept alive several bills to address rising health care costs.

Senate Bill 1620 would let pharmacists relay patients’ requests for a breakdown of their prescription drug costs to insurers, manufacturers and distributors. Sen. Rob Standridge said people want to know why their prescriptions cost as much as they do.

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