• This App Is Going Away SoonThis App Is Going Away Soon

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    KOCO / 01.01.2018 07:50
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    This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

    Google News / 20 min. ago
  • Police: Former inmate arrested after attempted contraband drop-off at prisonPolice: Former inmate arrested after attempted contraband drop-off at prison

    Authorities have arrested a woman and are looking for two other people they say were trying to throw contraband into a McLoud prison.

    KOCO / 52 min. ago
  • Protesters March For Magdiel SanchezProtesters March For Magdiel Sanchez

    Protestors marched downtown Sunday in support of Magdiel Sanchez. 

    KWTV / 58 min. ago
  • McCain treated for viral infection, returns home to Arizona McCain treated for viral infection, returns home to Arizona

    The 81-year-old senator will undergo physical therapy and rehabilitation at the Mayo Clinic in the state.

    KOCO / 1 h. 3 min. ago
  • Wine glasses have gotten a lot bigger in the past 300 yearsWine glasses have gotten a lot bigger in the past 300 years

    The average glass size is currently 15.1 ounces.

    KOCO / 1 h. 28 min. ago
  • Flash Point team discusses Humphreys’ controversial comments, Alabama election and special sessionFlash Point team discusses Humphreys’ controversial comments, Alabama election and special session

    OKLAHOMA – The Flash Point team tackled some of the biggest topics in politics this week. Freedom Oklahoma’s Troy Stevenson joined Mike Turpen and Kevin Ogle to discuss Kirk Humphreys’ recent, controversial comments. The team also talked about the Alabama election as well as the upcoming second special session with political analyst Andrew Speno, among other subjects.

    KFOR / 1 h. 35 min. ago more
  • Protesters March For Magdiel Sanchez - news9.com KWTVProtesters March For Magdiel Sanchez - news9.com KWTV

    Protesters March For Magdiel Sancheznews9.com KWTVOKLAHOMA CITY -. Protestors marched downtown Sunday in support of Magdiel Sanchez. It was the first large demonstration for Sanchez since the District Attorney announced the officers involved in his shooting would not be charged. “Everybody is still ...and more »

    Google News / 1 h. 42 min. ago
  • Jerry Richardson will sell Carolina Panthers amid sexual misconduct allegationsJerry Richardson will sell Carolina Panthers amid sexual misconduct allegations

    The team said Friday that former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles was overseeing the investigation by a Los Angeles-based law firm.

    KOCO / 1 h. 46 min. ago
  • Former Pottawatomie County Inmate In Custody For Trying To Drop ContrabandFormer Pottawatomie County Inmate In Custody For Trying To Drop Contraband

    The Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Office captured one of three suspects trying to drop contraband over a prison fence Sunday. 

    KWTV / 1 h. 50 min. ago
  • Activists rally for justice in shooting death of deaf man by Oklahoma City police officerActivists rally for justice in shooting death of deaf man by Oklahoma City police officer

    OKLAHOMA CITY - Deaf community leaders across the metro continue to fight for justice in the case of Magdiel Sanchez. Sanchez was shot and killed by an Oklahoma City police officer earlier this year. Police were responding to a hit-and-run crash when they approached him in his front yard. On Sunday, activists gathered at City Hall in downtown for a rally to show support for their friend. Advocates for the deaf have been calling for a meeting with the Oklahoma County district attorney after he declined to file charges against the officer who fired his weapon. The DA has said the officers were acting "lawfully" during the incident.

    KFOR / 1 h. 52 min. ago more
  • Power restored at 1 concourse in Atlanta airportPower restored at 1 concourse in Atlanta airport

    More than 600 flights to and from Atlanta have been canceled, including 350 departures, according to Flightradar24.

    KOCO / 2 h. 22 min. ago
  • Here's why your pillowcases are dirtier than you thinkHere's why your pillowcases are dirtier than you think

    Yuck! Here's why it's so important to wash your pillowcases!

    KOCO / 2 h. 24 min. ago
  • Three Wanted For Throwing Contraband Over Prison FenceThree Wanted For Throwing Contraband Over Prison Fence

    The Pottawatomie County Deputies along with Oklahoma City Police are searching for suspects wanted in attempting to throw contraband over a prison fence Sunday. 

    KWTV / 2 h. 55 min. ago
  • 3 suspects sought in McLoud prison contraband case3 suspects sought in McLoud prison contraband case

    Deputies are involved in a manhunt for three people dressed in black after a concerned citizen notified officials about suspicious activity near a McLoud prison.

    KOCO / 3 h. 11 min. ago
  • Police investigate after 2 teens killed in crash near PiedmontPolice investigate after 2 teens killed in crash near Piedmont

    OKLAHOMA CITY - Police are investigating a double fatal crash near Piedmont. The crash was reported around 11 p.m. on Friday night in the 15200 block of N. Mustang Road, just north of N.W. 150th Street. Police are not releasing details, however two vehicles were involved and both caught on fire. The two people in one of the vehicles were pronounced dead at the scene. An official from Southwest Covenant Schools, a private high school in Yukon, identified the victims as recent graduates Luke Ross and Sean Tucker. The official said the 19-year-olds were home from college for the Christmas break. Two people in the other vehicle had to be transported for their injuries. Police said one person was arrested but not on what charge.

    KFOR / 3 h. 22 min. ago more
  • Americans consume a lot of media each dayAmericans consume a lot of media each day

    How is possible to spend 12 hours a day in front of a screen or listening to music? Media multi-tasking - many people use more than one device at a time.

    KOCO / 3 h. 27 min. ago
  • FORECAST: Foggy start Monday morningFORECAST: Foggy start Monday morning

    FORECAST: Foggy start Monday morning

    KOCO / 3 h. 30 min. ago
  • Two people killed in Saturday wrecksTwo people killed in Saturday wrecks

    FROM STAFF REPORTSTwo people died Saturday after wrecks along Oklahoma roads, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported. Sarah Young, 24, Terrell, Texas About 6:35 p.m.Read more on NewsOK.com

    NewsOK.com / 3 h. 35 min. ago
  • California fire: Resident says neighborhood looks like ‘war zone’California fire: Resident says neighborhood looks like ‘war zone’

    Watch Video Jeannette Frescas was not concerned about the Thomas Fire until the massive blaze reached her neighborhood in Ventura, California. “At midnight, I woke up with a flashlight in my face,” Frescas told KEYT. “I looked out my window, and there were flames that were like a hundred feet all around us.” Like many residents, Frescas was caught off guard by the fire that has roared across southern California for 13 days. She’s one of tens of thousands of residents who piled into cars and fled as ferocious winds drove the third-largest blaze in modern state history through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. “What was once a paradise was like a war zone,” Frescas said of her apartment complex, which was destroyed by the blaze. “It’s the scariest thing I’ve been through in my entire life.” Ventura resident Patricia Rye woke up to her son-in-law pounding on her door. She didn’t get a chance to pack any valuables and fled her home of 17 years in the dead of the night. “I didn’t have time to take anything, my wallet or any of my personal things,” Rye told the KEYT. “I literally left with the clothes on my back. If I had been thinking, I would have got into my car, but I wasn’t thinking so my car was there.” Thousands of Santa Barbara residents threatened by the blaze are under mandatory and voluntary evacuations while others like Frescas were allowed back in their homes or what was left of them. #ThomasFire– Flames churn towards a large fire break near homes along Gibraltar Road north of Santa Barbara. pic.twitter.com/lcfsGUlyZC — SBCFireInfo (@EliasonMike) December 17, 2017 The fire is so massive that more than 8,400 firefighters are working around the clock to save lives and contain it. It’s bigger in acreage than New York City and has turned neighborhoods to piles of soot and concrete as it churns through the area. Latest developments • Cause of death: Firefighter Cory David Iverson, 32, died of “thermal injuries and smoke inhalation,” according to autopsy results from the Ventura County medical examiner’s office. A funeral procession was underway Sunday for Iverson, who lost his life battling the Thomas Fire on Thursday. A total of two people have been killed since the fire started. • Hefty price tag: About $110 million has been spent fighting the massive blaze, fire officials said. It was 40 percent contained Saturday night. • Improving weather conditions: Santa Ana winds did not immediately materialize on Sunday morning, though firefighters had been expecting the worst. Red-flag warnings were in effect for a large swath of Southern California through late Sunday, with wind gusts of up to 55 mph expected overnight, according to CNN meteorologist Gene Norman. #ThomasFire– Dozens of Fire engines staged and await orders at the corner of Sycamore Cyn Rd and Cold Springs Road in Montecito Sunday morning. pic.twitter.com/J65JnyaluR — SBCFireInfo (@EliasonMike) December 16, 2017 • In the record books: The Thomas Fire, which grew by 1,500 acres overnight, has charred 269,000 acres and is 40 percent contained. It is now the third-largest wildfire in modern California history and the seventh-most destructive in structure loss. Evacuations Twelve thousand people were evacuated in Santa Barbara County, with animals at the local zoo threatened as well. Santa Barbara Zoo closed Saturday and many animals were placed into cages in case of possible evacuations, zoo officials said. Only the endangered California condors and griffon vultures were taken to the Los Angeles Zoo, according to officials. The zoo had kept most animals indoors, away from smoke. #ThomasFire conditions can change quickly. Proactive measures include keepers and staff funneling churro sheep into crates for relocation to smoke-free area. Thanks for support & good wishes, but no public help needed. pic.twitter.com/gw6XVEcznk — Santa Barbara Zoo (@SantaBarbaraZoo) December 17, 2017 Oprah Winfrey, who has a home in Montecito, one of the areas under evacuation orders, tweeted about the fire Saturday. “Still praying for our little town,” she said. “Winds picked up this morning creating a perfect storm of bad for firefighters,” she said. Still praying for our little town. Winds picked up this morning creating a perfect storm of bad for firefighters. #peacebestill — Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) December 16, 2017 Meanwhile, residents who had evacuated their homes in Ventura County – where the fire began – were allowed to return Saturday. Jim Holden considers himself lucky firefighters saved his home and items. “They put a water screen between my house and the house next door that was burning in an attempt to save it, but they didn’t think they were going to be successful,” he told KABC. “They broke in, and they saved my family photos, and my computer and things that they thought would be important to me.”

    KFOR / 4 h. 21 min. ago more
  • Man fed up with porch thieves sells booby-trapped box that sends crooks runningMan fed up with porch thieves sells booby-trapped box that sends crooks running

    TACOMA, Wash. – When it comes to catching package thieves, some homeowners use surveillance cameras. But, Jaireme Barrow wants to scare them away so they never come back. So, about a year ago, he invented something he calls 'The Blank Box' – and he said business is booming. The package – an empty booby-trapped box – is left on a porch. But, it's rigged with fishing wire and a 12-gauge shotgun blank that goes off. "Now, it's ready to go," he said as he put one of his boxes down in front of his Tacoma, Washington home. "So, it's fully contained. You can move it around however you want. You don't have to worry about it going off. Leave it on the porch all day and, then, when someone comes up to pick it up - pop! pop! - that's when it goes off." The goal is to make sure thieves get away with nothing more than a scare. "I got tired of all my packages coming up missing," Barrow said. "I'd be at work, and I'd get home, and they wouldn't be on my front porch and I'd watch my surveillance and see someone running away with them." So, he came up the idea of his 'Blank Box' to make the thieves run away and not come back. "It's just like any alarm system," he said. "It's just a loud noise, and it deters theft but it just happens to be a 12-gauge blank in this case." One year after coming up with the idea, and his Blank Box has turned into a big business. "So, it's all hands-on, made in America," he said. "Every one of these is built with love." Maybe more like tough love. "This is my test area," he said, showing his workshop area. "Everything I test out myself, want to make sure everything is 100 percent safe." He's now selling 'The Blank Box' on his website – theblankbox.com, along with T-shirts with the wording "Don't Touch My Package!" and "Don't Touch My Box!" "Yeah, I sold out the other day. I'm actually out there slaving away," he said, chuckling. He said his Tacoma neighbors are big supporters. "It deters people from coming on their porches, too, cause, you know, they never know what they have on their porch is a a blank box or a legit package," he said. "So, my hope is it just makes people think twice about what they are doing." Tacoma police have said this could backfire on you. If you rig a package like this – and it injures a thief – then you could be held liable. Police said your best bet is to file a police report and hand your surveillance video over to investigators. By the way, Barrow also uses this same device on his pickup truck. If a thief gets a door open, it fires a 12-gauge blank.

    KFOR / 5 h. 20 min. ago more
  • Power outage cripples Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airportPower outage cripples Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport

    Watch Video A power outage at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has left thousands of passengers at the world’s busiest airport stranded in the dark and grounded incoming and outgoing planes indefinitely. The Federal Aviation Administration issued a nationwide ground stop for flights to Atlanta at 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday, meaning planes are being held at their departure airports, the airport said on its verified Twitter account. Many inbound flights to Atlanta are being diverted, including international flights, US Customs and Border Protection said. The cause of the incident is under investigation. Departures from the airport are delayed because electronic equipment is not working in the terminals, the FAA said. Hartsfield-Jackson handles 2,500 flights and an average of 275,000 passengers daily, according to its website. Because of its size, the outage could have a ripple effect on air traffic both domestically and overseas. The ground stop led Southwest Airlines to cancel all Atlanta operations through 7 p.m. ET, spokesman Brian Parrish said. Southwest’s international arrivals are exempt from the cancellations, Parrish said, though it’s unclear whether they, too, will be sent to other airports under the diversion plan. Georgia Power has confirmed they have crews in the field working to determine the cause of the problem. The outage affects all airport operations, spokesman Reese McCranie said. The airport is currently working with Georgia Power to figure out the cause of the outage, he said. Atlanta is the largest hub for Delta Air Lines, which told passengers to check the status of their flights. “Delta is aware of a power outage at the Atlanta Airport affecting airport concourses and terminal buildings,” spokesman Michael Thomas told CNN. “Flight disruptions are expected as a result, and Delta customers are encouraged check the status of their flight via the Fly Delta Mobile App or Delta.com. More updates to follow.” Brittny Dettro said she was waiting to board a flight from Atlanta to Milwaukee when the power went out early Sunday afternoon in Terminal B. She shot this image at 1:10 p.m. ET. “When the power goes out in one of the world’s biggest airports… yikes! This is crazy ATL!!” she wrote in a Facebook post. “People were using the flashlights on their phones to see where they were going.”

    KFOR / 5 h. 35 min. ago more
  • Woman mauled to death by her dogs while taking them for a walkWoman mauled to death by her dogs while taking them for a walk

    GOOCHLAND COUNTY, Va. – A 22-year-old woman has been found dead Thursday night in a wooded area of Virginia after she was mauled to death by her dogs, said Goochland County Sheriff James Agnew. Bethany Lynn Stephens' father called 911 at about 8:18 p.m. Thursday when he went looking for his daughter off Manakin Road in Goochland where she often walked her dogs. He discovered her dogs in the woods and he told the sheriff's office the dogs appeared to be "guarding" Stephens' body, according to WTVR. Sheriff's deputies arrived and spent 60 to 90 minutes attempting to catch the dogs - which the sheriff described as pit bull dogs. Stephens' body was taken to the Medical Examiner's Office. "It appeared the attack was a violent attack initiated by the victims' dogs while the victim was out for a walk with the dogs," Agnew said the Medical Examiner's initial report indicated. "The victim had defensive wounds on her hands and arms trying to keep the dogs away from her, which would be consistent with being attacked while she was still alive." Agnew said he didn't have a history on the animals but they were "big, strong, powerful dogs" that "you would suspect were bred for fighting, just in looking at them." Agnew said it appeared the first traumatic injury she suffered was to her throat and face. "It appears she was taken to the ground, lost consciousness and the dogs then mauled her to death," he said. While the investigation was considered ongoing, Agnew said there were no strangulation marks on Stephens' body and this was not a homicide. Agnew described a bloody scene that was littered with scraps of clothing. He added it took investigators eight hours to collect over 60 pieces of evidence. The dogs are with Goochland Animal Control, and the sheriff's office will pursue euthanization. "It was an absolutely grisly mauling ," Agnew said. "In my 40 years of law enforcement, I've never seen anything quite like it. I hope I never see anything like it again."

    KFOR / 7 h. 42 min. ago more
  • Police search for 3, armed suspects near McLoudPolice search for 3, armed suspects near McLoud

    MCLOUD, Okla. - Authorities spent multiple hours searching for three, armed suspects in Pottawatomie County. The suspects were last seen on Sunday afternoon in the area near 29th and Shadow Ridge Drive. According to police, the three allegedly tried to throw contraband over the fence at the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center. Ultimately, the contraband was found and included bags of smoking tobacco. Officials said it is unclear if the suspects were also staging an escape for multiple inmates from the prison. Deputies tell KFOR one of the suspects, 37-year-old Mary A. Albicker, is now in custody. According to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, Albicker had been discharged just on November 2. Perimeters were set up near Pottawatomie Road, and arrest warrants have been issued for the two remaining suspects. The Oklahoma City Police Department assisted the McLoud Police Department with the case. The Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Office later said a concerned citizen notified law enforcement of suspicious activity close by after observing a four-door gold passenger vehicle drop off someone then speed away. When authorities arrived on scene, they observed the three suspects in all black running away from the prison to the northwest. The three were also seen in possession of a black bag, which they were possibly attempting to toss over the fence. The sheriff's office asks the public to avoid the area and call 911 or 405-273-1727 with information about the case.

    KFOR / 8 h. 30 min. ago more
  • CBS: Kremlin Says Putin Thanked Trump For CIA Tip On BombingsCBS: Kremlin Says Putin Thanked Trump For CIA Tip On Bombings

    Russian President Vladimir Putin called U.S. President Donald Trump Sunday to thank him for a CIA tip that helped thwart a series of bombings in St. Petersburg, the Kremlin said. 

    KWTV / 8 h. 41 min. ago
  • Interviews, video and photos: Downtown Oklahoma City's influential...Interviews, video and photos: Downtown Oklahoma City's influential...

    Laura Warriner, founder and creative director of Artspace at Untitled, poses for a photo Dec. 7 at the nonprofit art gallery in Oklahoma City. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman This is an installation in the exhibit "Reclamation Re-Creation," which chronicles the history of the nonprofit art gallery Artspace at Untitled.

    Oklahoma City News / 9 h. 31 min. ago
  • Crews Respond To Rollover Crash Involving Semi On EB I-40Crews Respond To Rollover Crash Involving Semi On EB I-40

    Emergency crews are responding to a rollover crash involving a semi on EB I-40 in Oklahoma City. 

    KWTV / 9 h. 45 min. ago
  • Firefighter Charged With Killing Pregnant Teen In DUI CrashFirefighter Charged With Killing Pregnant Teen In DUI Crash

    A Dallas firefighter is charged with intoxication manslaughter after a crash that killed a pregnant teen and her unborn child, reports CBS DFW. 

    KWTV / 11 h. 32 min. ago
  • Pope Francis Blows Out Birthday Candle On Extra-Long PizzaPope Francis Blows Out Birthday Candle On Extra-Long Pizza

    Pope Francis has blown out his birthday candle on an extra-long pizza at the Vatican to the delight of children.

    KWTV / 12 h. 10 min. ago
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  • Plan Released To Divide Donations Among Las Vegas Shooting VictimsPlan Released To Divide Donations Among Las Vegas Shooting Victims

    A plan that will be used to divide donations for victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting was finalized Friday.

    KWTV / 13 h. 16 min. ago
  • Davis Teacher Applies For Marriage License With Teen StudentDavis Teacher Applies For Marriage License With Teen Student

    Police in Davis say they were investigating reports of a teacher having an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year old student when the two went ahead and did something police never expected. They applied for a marriage license.

    KWTV / 13 h. 44 min. ago
  • OHP Investigates Death On I-35 RampOHP Investigates Death On I-35 Ramp

    Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) troopers worked Friday to reconstruct the scene of a fatality near I-35 southbound and Seward Road.

    KWTV - Crime / 13 h. 45 min. ago
  • Several Wildfires Break Out Saturday In Central OKSeveral Wildfires Break Out Saturday In Central OK

    Crews fought several wildfires on Saturday in central Oklahoma. Fire officials said wind and dry conditions made the flames difficult to control. 

    KWTV / 13 h. 46 min. ago
  • Metro Pursuit Ends With Three Suspects Arrested - news9.com KWTVMetro Pursuit Ends With Three Suspects Arrested - news9.com KWTV

    news9.com KWTVMetro Pursuit Ends With Three Suspects Arrestednews9.com KWTVDEL CITY, Oklahoma -. At least three men are in custody following a police chase early Sunday morning. The chase ended around 4:15 a.m., near Southeast 44th and Bryant. According to police, officers spotted a stolen car and tried to pull the car over ...

    Google News / 13 h. 47 min. ago
  • Metro Pursuit Ends With Three Suspects ArrestedMetro Pursuit Ends With Three Suspects Arrested

    At least three men are in custody following a police chase early Sunday morning. 

    KWTV - Crime / 13 h. 52 min. ago
  • State could lose $115 million in Medicaid funds for teaching hospitalsState could lose $115 million in Medicaid funds for teaching hospitals

    Paul Monies, Oklahoma Watch Updated to reflect the governor’s executive order for a special session Oklahoma’s two largest safety-net hospitals could lose $115 million a year because the state spent Medicaid dollars on training doctors for well over a decade apparently without approval, Oklahoma Watch has learned. The University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University’s medical schools and associated teaching hospitals also could need an emergency injection of about $30 million from the Legislature this fiscal year because of the dispute with the federal government over a Medicaid waiver. The money would get them through June 30. The schools would need $115 million for the next fiscal year, according to a letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that was obtained by Oklahoma Watch. The dispute started in 2015 when the federal agency, which oversees the Medicare program for seniors and states’ Medicaid programs for the poor, found Oklahoma’s waiver to get federal matching funds for medical training at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences hadn’t been renewed since 2001. Despite that, the federal government continued making Medicaid matching payments through the program. It’s unclear why the payments continued for so many years. Michael McNutt, a spokesman for Gov. Mary Fallin, said his office was working to forestall a funding cut. “We are working with our congressional delegation and the Trump administration to resolve the issue. Maintaining our medical schools for training future doctors is a high priority of Gov. Fallin,” he said. Early Friday evening, Gov. Mary Fallin issued an executive order for a special session starting Monday to address a shortfall for Medicaid and to avoid provider rate cuts. In joint statement to Oklahoma Watch, OU and OSU medical school leaders said they were disappointed with the decision by the federal government. “The loss of the federal funds would severely curtail services to Oklahoma’s Medicaid population throughout the entire state,” said the statement from OSU’s Dr. Kayse Shrum and OU’s Dr. Jason Sanders. “At a time when Oklahoma struggles with a physician shortage, the loss of the federal funds would also result in a reduction or elimination of training programs and fewer doctors for Oklahomans, worsening access to quality medical care, particularly in underserved rural Oklahoma. In spite of this news, we will continue working diligently with federal and state officials to find a solution.” The Oklahoma Health Care Authority said it continues to communicate with CMS “to explore alternative paths to support workforce development.” The authority receives about $3 billion annually in federal participation funds for its Medicaid program. “This is an issue between the state and the federal government around a long-standing supplemental payment program for medical schools in recognition of the higher cost of the service delivery associated with their teaching mission,” health care authority CEO Becky Pasternik-Ikard said in a statement. “These funds are used for physician workforce development to strengthen and sustain access to care for our SoonerCare members. Under the waiver, the state appropriates money to the two medical schools, which direct the money to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority in order to get federal Medicaid matching funds. The Health Care Authority then sends the larger pool of money back to OU and OSU medical schools. The two hospitals serve a large percentage of poor and uninsured patients, and they train the bulk of the state’s future physicians through their residency programs. Sen. Ervin Yen, an anesthesiologist, questioned the timing of the federal denial and wondered if it was connected to other issues with federal money at the Oklahoma State Department of Health. He said it complicates an already challenging budget situation at the Capitol. “It will have a terrible impact, especially when we have a shortage of rural physicians in the state,” said Yen, R-Oklahoma City. “We need more physician graduates in this state, not less.”  In August, the state asked if it could amend the broader SoonerCare program to include spending Medicaid matching funds on the medical schools and their associated hospitals,seeking to continue what it had been doing since 2001. But the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services this week rejected the state’s proposal, saying it would not match the medical school payments in the previous quarter. That makes the state responsible for $31 million in funding this fiscal year. “From the time CMS first identified and raised this concern to Oklahoma, we have continually asked the state to provide additional information to justify the state’s authority to make these payments,” the federal agency said in a Dec. 11 letter to the health care authority. “However, we have not received such information.” The letter said Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services supports the state’s goal of expanding the health-care workforce and recognizes “a particularly challenging budget situation.” “However, at this time, CMS does not see a path to approval for the state’s proposal to receive federal Medicaid match for payments made to the above described universities,” the letter said. “Medicaid payments must be linked to the delivery of services to Medicaid beneficiaries and, if authorized under the state plan, must be in compliance with all other applicable limits.” The state has 60 days to appeal the determination. NOTE: Paul Monies has been a reporter for 15 years and was most recently an energy reporter for The Oklahoman newspaper in Oklahoma City. He now covers state government and social policy issues or Oklahoma Watch. Oklahoma Watch is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that produces in-depth and investigative journalism on a range of public-policy issues facing the state. For more Oklahoma Watch content, go to www.oklahomawatch.org. This report is reposted with permission of Oklahoma Watch. www.CapitolBeatOK.com Senator Ervin Yen

    The City Sentinel / 14 h. 14 min. ago more
  • Oklahoma City railroad station renovation celebratedOklahoma City railroad station renovation celebrated

    We collect zip code so that we may deliver news, weather, special offers and other content related to your specific geographic area. We have sent a confirmation email to {* data_emailAddress *}.

    Oklahoma City News / 18 h. 38 min. ago
  • Top 25 roundup: Oklahoma upsets No. 3 Wichita StateTop 25 roundup: Oklahoma upsets No. 3 Wichita State

    Oklahoma freshman star Trae Young, the nation's leading scorer, scored 29 points and handed out 10 assists, leading the Sooners to a 91-83 upset of No. 3 Wichita State on Saturday in Wichita, Kan. Br

    Big News Network.com / 21 h. 10 min. ago
  • NBA roundup: Knicks spoil Anthonys return to MSGNBA roundup: Knicks spoil Anthonys return to MSG

    NEW YORK -- Michael Beasley had 30 points on 11-of-18 shooting from the field to lead six New York players in double figures as the Knicks spoiled Carmelo Anthony's return to Madison Square Garden wit

    Big News Network.com / 22 h. 1 min. ago
  • Oklahomans protest Trump’s Jerusalem decision outside state capitolOklahomans protest Trump’s Jerusalem decision outside state capitol

    OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahomans rallied Saturday morning outside the state capitol, protesting the recent decision by President Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. "Mr. Trump, we reject your declaration, because it threatens the people of the holy land and the possibility of a peaceful solution where everyone’s rights are respected," said Sheryl Siddiqui, one of the rally's organizers. Roughly 80 protesters, some carrying signs, American flags and symbols of the Palestinian state, called for peace and a solution. Since Trump's announcement and word the US will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, violence between Palestinians and Israeli forces has followed. "Jerusalem is Israel's capital. No one can deny it," said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this week during a meeting with European Union leaders, who have strongly rejected the recognition. "It doesn't obviate peace; it makes peace possible." The holy city to Jews, Christians and Muslims is under Israeli control. Proponents of Trump's decision said there is no way to peace that doesn't include the city being recognized as Israel's capital. Thousands of miles away, in Oklahoma City, American Muslims, Palestinian-Americans and Christian clergy spoke out against the decision, questioned the politics and argued the unilateral move sets back the chance of peace between the two states. "It is reckless, irresponsible and endangers the lives of Palestinians and Israelis," said Rev. Robin Meyers, the pastor of Mayflower Congregational United Church of Christ. "As far as for the peace Trump thinks this will bring, so far, it has brought nothing but an escalation of violence." "This city, the city of God, belongs to all of us," said Imam Imad Enchassi, the Imam of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City. "President Donald Trump has exposed US foreign policy as unjust policy," said Rev. Constantine Nasr, a Palestinian-American and retired pastor of St. Elijah Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church. "There are lots of Jewish people, lots of Arab people, American people, more than 161 nations, desire to see a peaceful resolution." A resolution Nasr believes that could be reached, given the president's decision. "I thank President Donald Trump for giving the Palestinians in the Arab world and the international community a reason to rise up for the forgotten, suffering people of Palestine," he said.

    KFOR / 22 h. 3 min. ago more
  • Rally protesting America's Jerusalem decision held at State CapitolRally protesting America's Jerusalem decision held at State Capitol

    An Islamic Council of Oklahoma banner is displayed at the "Jerusalem: Palestine's Forever Capital" rally on Saturday, Dec. 16, at the State Capitol. [Photo by Carla Hinton, The Oklahoman] A rally to protest the United State's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital was held Saturday on the south plaza of the State Capitol.

    Oklahoma City News / 23 h. 2 min. ago
  • Knicks thwart Thunder in Anthonys return to New YorkKnicks thwart Thunder in Anthonys return to New York

    NEW YORK -- Michael Beasley had 30 points on 11-of-18 shooting from the field to lead six New York players in double figures as the Knicks spoiled Carmelo Anthony's return to Madison Square Garden wit

    Big News Network.com / 23 h. 47 min. ago
  • Top 25 roundup: Freshman leads Oklahomas upset of No. 3 Wichita StateTop 25 roundup: Freshman leads Oklahomas upset of No. 3 Wichita State

    Oklahoma freshman star Trae Young, the nation's leading scorer, scored 29 points and handed out 10 assists, leading the Sooners to a 91-83 upset of No. 3 Wichita State on Saturday at Charles Koch Aren

    Big News Network.com / 1 d. 1 h. 1 min. ago
  • OSBI: Attorney Shoots Vinita Coach During ArgumentOSBI: Attorney Shoots Vinita Coach During Argument

    The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says an attorney shot a high school coach at a Vinita home Friday night.

    KWTV - Crime / 1 d. 1 h. 20 min. ago
  • OSBI: Attorney Shoots Vinita Coach During Argument - News9.com ... - news9.com KWTVOSBI: Attorney Shoots Vinita Coach During Argument - News9.com ... - news9.com KWTV

    news9.com KWTVOSBI: Attorney Shoots Vinita Coach During Argument - News9.com ...news9.com KWTVThe Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says an attorney shot a high school coach at a Vinita home Friday night.and more »

    Google News / 1 d. 1 h. 58 min. ago
  • Volunteers Share Holiday Spirit With Fallen Veterans Through WreathsVolunteers Share Holiday Spirit With Fallen Veterans Through Wreaths

    Christmas wreaths were laid across America Saturday at the graves of veterans who are no longer with us. 

    KWTV / 1 d. 2 h. 8 min. ago
  • Vinita softball coach in critical condition after being shot by lawyerVinita softball coach in critical condition after being shot by lawyer

    FROM STAFF REPORTSVINITA — A Vinita Public Schools coach is in critical condition after authorities said he was shot by another man during an argument. The shooting took place Friday night inside a Vinita home where Karl Jones, a local attorney, and Jason Sauer were involved in a verbal altercation that escalated, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation reported. Sauer was shot multiple times.Read more on NewsOK.com

    NewsOK.com / 1 d. 2 h. 29 min. ago more
  • Porzingis ruled out for Anthonys return to New YorkPorzingis ruled out for Anthonys return to New York

    NEW YORK -- Kristaps Porzingis will miss Saturday's game featuring Carmelo Anthony's return to New York for the first time as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Porzingis, who complained of left

    Big News Network.com / 1 d. 2 h. 32 min. ago
  • Firefighters work to extinguish grass fires near ChickashaFirefighters work to extinguish grass fires near Chickasha

    CHICKASHA, Okla. - Firefighters battled four, separate grass fires on Saturday evening near Chickasha. The fires were near the H.E. Bailey Turnpike, just north of Chickasha. It is unknown exactly how much was burned. Traffic in the area was diverted for over two hours.

    KFOR / 1 d. 2 h. 38 min. ago
  • Capitol Report for December 16: Peace is not breaking out at the state Capitol, but monthly treasurer’s report is upbeatCapitol Report for December 16: Peace is not breaking out at the state Capitol, but monthly treasurer’s report is upbeat

    News9 Alex Cameron (left0 and Patrick B. McGuigan, CapitolBeatOK editor, give the Capitol Report. Photo provided. In this week’s segment of Capitol Report, analyst Patrick B. McGuigan again questioned the governor’s call for a special session, with the regular session just weeks away. Rep. Josh Cockroft, in charge of the special investigation committee in the Oklahoma House, has raised concerns the Gov. Fallin’s veto was improperly applied, potentially impacting many agencies. Other reporters have echoed that possibility. McGuigan told reporter Alex Cameron of news9, the CBS affiliate in Oklahoma City, that investigative journalist Stacy Martin, in a recent story for CapitolBeatOK, shared insights – that if the substantial number of non-classroom employees in state schools were trimmed, a meaningful teacher pay increase could be financed. With the governor’s limited call for a special session to start Monday (December 18), the state Board of Equalization seems likely to release positive tax revenue growth projections at mid-week. Meanwhile, there are no signs that House Speaker Charles McCall agrees with the chief executive’s call for higher taxes. McGuigan said there are “no signs that peace is breaking out” under the Capitol Dome. In more upbeat analysis, the CapitolBeatOK editor pointed to another month of strong tax revenues for Oklahoma, according to Treasurer Ken Miller’s latest report. The data for November reflected a 12 percent increase in monthly tax receipts over one year ago, but the report did not include numbers for “Black Friday,” McGuigan pointed out. Oil and gas tax revenues alone have jumped 59 percent, McGuigan said.  Watch the Capitol Report for December 16

    The City Sentinel / 1 d. 3 h. 20 min. ago more
  • Young, Oklahoma take down No. 3 Wichita StateYoung, Oklahoma take down No. 3 Wichita State

    Oklahoma freshman star Trae Young scored 29 points and handed out 10 assists, leading the Sooners to a 91-83 upset of No. 3 Wichita State on Saturday at Charles Koch Arena in Wichita, Kan. Brady Mane

    Big News Network.com / 1 d. 3 h. 32 min. ago
  • Fire crews battling church fire in northwest Oklahoma CityFire crews battling church fire in northwest Oklahoma City

    TAC 4: Church fire. 2001 N. Meridian. Calvin Presby. Church. Heavy fire and much smoke.

    Oklahoma City News / 1 d. 3 h. 38 min. ago
  • Trump administration gives CDC list of banned words, including ‘science-based,’ ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender’Trump administration gives CDC list of banned words, including ‘science-based,’ ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender’

    Watch Video Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the very agency tasked with saving and protecting the lives of the most vulnerable, are now under order by the Trump administration to stop using words including “vulnerable” in 2018 budget documents, according to The Washington Post. In a 90-minute briefing on Thursday, policy analysts at the nation’s leading public health institute were presented with the menu of seven banned words, an analyst told the paper. On the list: “diversity,” “fetus,” “transgender,” “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “science-based” and “evidence-based.” The list: science-based diversity fetus transgender vulnerable evidence-based Alternative word choices reportedly were presented in some cases. For instance, in lieu of “evidence-based” or “science-based,” an analyst might say, “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes,” the source said. But those working on the Zika virus’s effect on developing fetuses may be at a loss for appropriate – or acceptable – words. The reaction in the room was “incredulous,” the longtime CDC analyst told the Post. “It was very much, ‘Are you serious? Are you kidding?'” As news of the word ban spreads at the CDC, the analyst expects growing backlash. “Our subject matter experts will not lay down quietly,” the unnamed source said. “This hasn’t trickled down to them yet.” “The assertion that HHS has ‘banned words’ is a complete mischaracterization of discussions regarding the budget formulation process,” said Health and Human Services spokesman Matt Lloyd in a statement to CNN. “HHS will continue to use the best scientific evidence available to improve the health of all Americans. HHS also strongly encourages the use of outcome and evidence data in program evaluations and budget decisions.” Others, outside the agency, are already responding with their own choice words. “To pretend and insist that transgender people do not exist, and to allow this lie to infect public health research and prevention is irrational and very dangerous,” Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a written statement. “They are actually going to kill Americans if they do not stop. The Trump administration is full of dangerous science deniers who have no business near American public health systems like the CDC,” she continued. “They are actually going to kill Americans if they do not stop.” Calling the order “reckless” and “unimaginably dangerous,” Dana Singiser, vice president of public policy and government affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, also weighed in. “You cannot fight against the Zika virus, or improve women’s and fetal health, if you are unable to use the word ‘fetus.’ You must be able to talk about science and evidence if you are to research cures for infectious diseases such as Ebola,” Singiser said. “You must be able to acknowledge the humanity of transgender people in order to address their health care needs. You cannot erase health inequities faced by people of color simply by forbidding the use of the words ‘vulnerable’ or ‘diversity’.” “Here’s a word that’s still allowed,” added Rush Holt, chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “Ridiculous.” The Office of Management and Budget did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.

    KFOR / 1 d. 4 h. 1 min. ago more
  • Boy with cancer inspires family to start organic farmBoy with cancer inspires family to start organic farm

    Watch Video Eleven years ago, the Tyson family seemed to have it all. Nicole and Scott Tyson had just bought land in Sharpsburg, Georgia, to build their dream home. They envisioned starting a small farm, with a place for their kids to play. Less than a month later, their world changed as they rushed their son Mason to the emergency room on his 4th birthday. “We had felt the lump in his abdomen, which we later found out was a tumor,” Nicole said. It was stage IV neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer that forms in nerve tissue. “I think when any parent hears the word ‘cancer’ associated with their child, it’s gut-wrenching,” Scott said. “You don’t have any control. You feel no control.” Doctors removed Mason’s tumor, but the cancer remained in his lymph nodes. Next came weighing the options: The parents decided against chemotherapy, worried about side effects. They monitored the cancer with monthly scans and took a hard look at their lifestyle. “We realized, first off, we’re living horribly as far as what we’re putting in our body, food-wise,” Scott said. They switched to an organic diet that consisted mostly of food they grew themselves, despite a lack of farming experience. “The biggest part was a side of meat, and the entrée would be the veggie,” Scott said. “Trying to eat a lot of raw stuff, juicing a lot.” For a family used to eating “meat with a side of meat,” it was a drastic change. “I remember very long nights where I was reluctant to drink juices or eat my vegetables,” Mason recalled. In 2009, the Tysons began their nonprofit 180 Degree Farm, to donate their home-grown food to the public. “When you spend time in a cancer center and you see all these babies up there that are sick,” Scott said, “if you’re not moved to do something, then I don’t know what it would take to make it happen.” Every Tuesday, they go to Cancer Treatment Centers of America in nearby Newnan, Georgia. “We do a farmer’s market there so that we can provide food for the cancer patients,” Nicole said. The food they produce is seasonal; in fall and winter, they’re growing ginger, turmeric, lettuce, spinach, collards, kale, kohlrabi, carrots, broccoli, beets and cauliflower. The market is donation-based, and there are always items available for free. “We’re giving about 300 pounds or more of food a week just there, to the patients,” Scott said. “It’s been pretty remarkable.” Today, Mason is cancer-free. His family — Scott, Nicole, Mason and 19-year-old Camron — credits the surgery and clean eating for his remission. Though there is no clinical research to verify the role of diet in his recovery, the 15-year-old aspiring chef is a firm believer. “I want people to understand that a good diet, especially a clean one, is a necessity to life,” Mason said. Meanwhile, the Tyson family continues to produce food for cancer patients’ bodies and inspiration for their souls. Mason is “a beacon of hope, and that’s what we want to give these people,” Scott said. “There is hope.”

    KFOR / 1 d. 4 h. 7 min. ago more
  • Man faces life in prison for killing girlfriend's molester, says he's 'not sorry'Man faces life in prison for killing girlfriend's molester, says he's 'not sorry'

    A Louisiana man who faces a mandatory life term in prison after confessing to killing his girlfriend’s convicted molester said he is “not sorry” for what he did. The Advocate reported that Jace Crehan was found guilty Thursday in the 2015 stabbing and strangling death of Robert Noce Jr, who was 47. Read more on NewsOK.com

    NewsOK.com - Crime / 1 d. 4 h. 23 min. ago
  • Firefighters battle NW OKC church fire SaturdayFirefighters battle NW OKC church fire Saturday

    FROM STAFF REPORTSA fire reported at a northwest Oklahoma City church Saturday afternoon was contained about 30 minutes after it was reported, fire officials said. Just before 4 p.m., firefighters responded to the Calvin Presbyterian Church, 2001 N Meridian Ave., where flames and heavy smoke could be seen coming from a building, Battalion Chief Benny Fulkerson said. Fire crews had the blaze contained by 4:30 p.m.Read more on NewsOK.com

    NewsOK.com / 1 d. 4 h. 42 min. ago more
  • No injuries reported after fire at NW Oklahoma City churchNo injuries reported after fire at NW Oklahoma City church

    OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City Fire Department battled a fire at a church Saturday evening. Heavy flames were reported to be coming from the Calvin Presbyterian Church at 2001 N. Meridian. TAC 4: Church fire. 2001 N. Meridian. Calvin Presby. Church. Heavy fire and much smoke. Crews attacking fire now. Please avoid the area to allow approaching fire rigs to enter and work. 4:08 p.m. — Oklahoma City Fire (@OKCFD) December 16, 2017 Fire crews believe there may be more than one fire in the building. TAC 4: Command reported the possibility of more than one fire in this building. Fire Investigators have been dispatched. Search of the building is now underway. EMSA staged on scene as a precautionary measure. Crews are transitioning from a defensive to an offensive attack now. — Oklahoma City Fire (@OKCFD) December 16, 2017 Fire officials say a primary search of the church was clear. The fire department closed down parts of the road at NW 19th and Meridian. The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

    KFOR / 1 d. 4 h. 50 min. ago more
  • Man with concealed weapon permit fatally shoots would-be robber in Target parking lotMan with concealed weapon permit fatally shoots would-be robber in Target parking lot

    CHICAGO - A man with a concealed weapon permit fatally shot a would-be robber Thursday evening, according to reports. A 21-year-old man with gunshot wounds in his back and chest was found in the parking lot near a South Side Target, according to WMAQ. The man, who has not been identified, was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Read more on NewsOK.com

    NewsOK.com - Crime / 1 d. 5 h. ago more
  • Oklahoma State stuns No. 19 Florida StateOklahoma State stuns No. 19 Florida State

    SUNRISE, Fla. -- No. 19 Florida State, which had been one of five undefeated teams left in the nation, was upset by Oklahoma State 71-70 Saturday in the Orange Bowl Classic at the BBT Center. OSU (8-

    Big News Network.com / 1 d. 5 h. 32 min. ago
  • 'Suspicious Package' Prompts Evacuation At Se Okc Apartment Complex'Suspicious Package' Prompts Evacuation At Se Okc Apartment Complex

    Some residents at a southeast Oklahoma City apartment complex have been evacuated after a suspicious package was discovered, Saturday afternoon. Police responded to a call of the suspicious package, said to be a backpack, at the Remington Apartments, located near Interstate 240 and S. Santa Fe Avenue.

    Oklahoma City News / 1 d. 6 h. 1 min. ago
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  • Crews Battle Wildfire Southeast Of Guthrie - news9.com KWTVCrews Battle Wildfire Southeast Of Guthrie - news9.com KWTV

    news9.com KWTVCrews Battle Wildfire Southeast Of Guthrienews9.com KWTVGUTHRIE, Oklahoma -. Multiple fire crews were working to get a handle on a wildfire that flared up just to the southeast of Guthrie. Firefighters from Guthrie, along with crews from Sooner Fire and Woodcrest Fire, were called in to battle the blaze in ...

    Google News / 1 d. 7 h. 6 min. ago
  • OSBI: High school coach in critical condition after being shot in Vinita OSBI: High school coach in critical condition after being shot in Vinita 

    VINITA, Okla. – Officials are investigating after an attorney shot a high school coach in Vinita. Authorities say the Friday night shooting occurred at a residence where Karl Jones, a local attorney, and Jason Sauer, a high school coach, initiated a verbal altercation outside of the home. The altercation then “gravitated inside the home” where Jones shot Sauer several times. Sauer was transported the hospital where he is in critical condition. Jones, 57, was arrested for shooting with intent to kill and booked into the Craig County jail. The OSBI is assisting the Craig County Sheriff’s Office with the investigation.

    KFOR / 1 d. 7 h. 39 min. ago more
  • What to do in Oklahoma on Dec. 16, 2017: Check out Andy Adams' vinyl release show at the Blue DoorWhat to do in Oklahoma on Dec. 16, 2017: Check out Andy Adams' vinyl release show at the Blue Door

    Andy Adams performs at the Blue Door in Oklahoma City. Adams will have his vinyl album release concert at the listening room tonight.

    Oklahoma City News / 1 d. 10 h. 43 min. ago
  • Where were the Watchdogs in the Health Department Crisis?Where were the Watchdogs in the Health Department Crisis?

    Paul Monies, Oklahoma Watch  Dec. 10, Updated Dec. 12 – The cash crisis at the Oklahoma State Department of Health, which was years in the making, raises questions about which agencies and state officials could have caught the agency’s reported financial mismanagement. At first glance, state government appears to have the powers and expertise to detect financial irregularities occurring at the health department from 2011 to 2017. The State Auditor and Inspector’s Office does operational audits, performance audits and investigative audits on state agencies, cities, boards, councils and commissions. Many are aggressive and detailed. The Office of Management and Enterprise Services, the state’s finance office, employs budget analysts and a state comptroller who monitors “the state financial processes and systems to improve controls, compliance, reporting and efficiencies.” It also authorizes transfers of cash by agencies, which must fill out forms and justify the actions. (Cash transfers involving federal funds are at issue in the investigation.) The State Board of Health’s finance committee oversees the department’s budget decisions. It also has an Office of Accountability Systems that coordinates audits and investigations of complaints about breaches of “laws, rules, regulations, mismanagement, gross waste of funds” and more. As it turns out, none of those entities caught or exposed mismanagement at the health department. None of their leaders have taken any blame, although the health board voted Tuesday to fire the director of the Office of Accountability Systems. But the scandal could lead to changes in the oversight of financial practices at state agencies. Preston Doerflinger, who until recently headed OMES, said last month he believes there is “a need for a different level of visibility into agencies that receive federal funds.” The health department and OMES are under pressure from legislative leaders to disclose what went wrong and what should be fixed. The Legislature approved $30 million in additional funds to cover a budget gap resulting from the scandal. On Monday (December 11), legislators questioned three officials about the issues, including Doerflinger. Here’s how the oversight functions of several agencies relate to the financial mismanagement at the Health Department. State Finance Agency OMES collects budget information and monitors agency financial transactions. State law gives the finance office authority to stop transfers of money within an agency or cash transfers from agency accounts if they don’t meet certain requirements. Doerflinger has said the health department overextended its budgets and used restricted state and federal funds from other programs to make up shortfalls. “The budgets that were presented to us were balanced budgets,” he said in early November. “Monies were being moved from various funds – and in some cases, restricted funds – to be utilized for operations.” Doerflinger hasn’t commented further or provided more details. Oklahoma Watch has made open-records requests for emails and other health-department documents, but none have been provided. Doerflinger said the finance office was limited in tracking health-department funds because most of the agency’s money came from federal programs. Federal funds often have specific, legally required uses and often are passed along to final recipients, although agencies may collect an administrative fee. The health department had a total budget last year of $403 million; about $55 million of came from state appropriation. The issue was compounded by dual financial systems, with an antiquated internal financial system at the health department needing to be reconciled with the state’s central accounting system. In referring to the need for more “visibility,” Doerflinger added, “That is another conversation we’ll be having with the Legislature, with statute changes to allow someone within state government to have that heightened level of visibility into those agencies that receive various pots of money from different sources.” Agencies have to notify OMES if they want to move cash from their accounts to other agencies and if they deviate from their fiscal-year budget plans. The agency has budget analysts assigned by cabinet, so the same budget analyst responsible for the health department also gets financial information from the Department of Human Services, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and others. Among the financial issues raised about the department were “borrows” against other state funds and federal funds, including those for various HIV/AIDS programs. Agencies must seek permission from OMES to transfer money from one major budget category to another, said OMES spokeswoman Shelley Zumwalt. For example, the health department received rebate money from baby-formula manufacturers for their participation in the federal Women, Infants and Children nutrition program. That rebate money would have to be moved from one fund category to another at the department. Because the health department had its own financial system, OMES was limited in what it could examine in the way of internal transfers of non-state–appropriated money, such as federal funds, grants or fees, Zumwalt said. In effect, she said, OMES could track money related to the department’s appropriation but relied on its internal financial statements for all other funding sources and transactions. The department has hundreds of internal accounts. However, if the health department was moving money among federal and state accounts, including risking its ability to make payroll, it’s unclear why that wouldn’t have appeared in the transactions that OMES tracks. State Auditor Under state law, the state auditor has to be invited to perform a special investigative audit or a performance audit, which examines how well an agency is managing programs. Audits can be requested by an agency, the governor, the attorney general or citizen petition. House and Senate leaders also can jointly ask for audits. It’s been at least a decade since an agency-wide audit of the health department was conducted, according to the state auditor’s website. Some federal programs run by the health department are audited, however, and financial-statement audits are done for county health departments run by the state health department. “We audit the federal programs if they meet a particular threshold or if they need to be done as part of federal standards,” State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones told Oklahoma Watch. “…If something is brought to our attention that is a fraud issue or a potential fraud issue or misstatement of finances, then we’ll look at that. That’s basically what happened on the health department. We were there on a federal program and they came to us and said, ‘We’ve got other problems.’ We notified OMES and said, ‘There’s a problem here. These folks may not be able to make payroll.’” Previous leaders at the health department requested a special audit from Jones at the end of September. In November, that special audit was later reclassified as an investigative audit by Attorney General Mike Hunter. Doerflinger also plans to ask Jones’ office to do a risk assessment of the department after the investigative audit is finished. Jones’ office expects to finish the audit by February, when the Legislature convenes its regular session, said Trey Davis, spokesman for the state auditor. Separately, Jones’ office does an annual “single audit” report, which covers all state agencies spending federal funds above a certain threshold. The threshold for major programs is about $21 million a year. Such programs are audited on a three-year, rotating schedule unless chronic problems have been discovered. Federal programs below the threshold are mostly audited by independent auditors. At the health department, the single audit covers the WIC nutrition program – with pass-through money totaling $80 million per year – and some immunization programs at the agency. In recent single audits, the health department was criticized for being months behind in reconciling the internal records of WIC funds. The 2016 audit found it hadn’t properly recorded cash expenses related to immunization programs; the delays led to a missed dealing for filing an annual federal report. The agency said it would fix the problem by June. “Those are issues that really could cause a problem if you’re trying to keep track of how much money you have and where it’s at,” Jones said. State Board of Health The nine-member board is appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate, with each member serving nine-year terms. Eight board members are from different regions of the state, and one board member is at large. The board has committees to monitor public health policy, finances and accountability, and ethics and audits. In 2002, lawmakers set up the Office of Accountability Systems at the health department in the wake of a “ghost employee” scandal and a nursing home inspection bribery case involving a former acting health commissioner. The Office of Accountability Systems reports directly to the Board of Health and investigates whistleblower complaints from agency employees, customers or members of the public. By law, the Office of Accountability Systems keeps confidential “all actions and records relating to OAS complaints.” The health board goes into executive session at its regular meetings to hear matters investigated by the office. The office was headed by the health department’s internal auditor, Jay Holland, who also reported to former Health Commissioner Terry Cline, who resigned in October. That dual line of reporting has raised questions over how whistleblower complaints are handled. The board of health voted Tuesday to fire Holland, more than a month after he was placed on administrative leave. In a statement at Tuesday’s meeting, board chair Martha Burger said Holland’s firing was necessary to restore confidence in the office and ensure that employees could file complaints and share their concerns without fear of retaliation. The board has not responded to interview requests and left the meeting without taking questions from the media. “The best I can tell you as to the delineation of duties between OAS and the internal auditor positions occupied by Mr. Holland is that those issues are something that the current leadership is looking into,” health department spokesman Tony Sellars said in an email Friday. Earlier this year, the board clarified the responsibilities of the Office of Accountability Systems to align separate board and departmental policies dealing with how it handles complaints. It’s unclear when the board was first alerted to the financial problems at the health department. Legislature Although not part of the auditing process, the Legislature approved health-department budgets every year since the cash transfers at issue began in 2011. The House appropriations committee typically holds hearings at which they question agency leaders about overall spending and revenue. But lawmakers rarely dig into specific spending on programs. Scrutiny may increase to a degree. Earlier this year, the Legislature formed the Agency Performance and Accountability Commission, which held its first meeting on Thursday (December 7). The 10-member commission is charged with bringing a private-sector perspective to state agencies and can contract with the state auditor or outside auditors to do performance audits of the 20 largest appropriated agencies at least once every four years. It can issue recommendations to agencies and the Legislature. “In general, the purpose of this commission is for all of us collectively to bring our private-sector experience to the table to assist in the process of getting state agencies more efficient,” said Tulsa businessman Bob Sullivan, the commission’s chairman. “This is key: It’s a performance audit. It’s not a financial audit. It’s not a forensic audit.” Background The Health Department found itself as much as $30 million short by late summer and tried to make up the difference by canceling contracts, getting money back from another agency and billing consolidated city-county health departments in Oklahoma City. > Most of the department’s top leadership resigned or were forced out in the wake of the crisis. Multiple investigations and audits are underway to search for answers. > On Friday, the health department said it would eliminate 198 jobs by March, or almost 10 percent of the agency’s work force. Among those, 37 were eliminated immediately, and the other 161 will come from reductions in classified positions under the state’s merit protection system. >Severance payments from the reductions will be paid out of a $30 million supplemental appropriation the Legislature made in November. That money was also used to meet payroll, close out accounts from prior budget years and pay back internal funds. NOTE: Paul Monies has been a reporter for 15 years and was most recently an energy reporter for The Oklahoman newspaper in Oklahoma City. He now covers state government and social policy issues or Oklahoma Watch. Oklahoma Watch is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that produces in-depth and investigative journalism on a range of public-policy issues facing the state. For more Oklahoma Watch content, go to www.oklahomawatch.org. This report is reposted from CapitolBeatOK.com, and with permission of Oklahoma Watch. www.CapitolBeatOK.com

    The City Sentinel / 1 d. 10 h. 45 min. ago more
  • Burglar caught by 95-year-old veteran and his daughterBurglar caught by 95-year-old veteran and his daughter

    A career criminal in Wisconsin learned you don't mess with a Marine Corps veteran and his daughter.

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  • Man Accused Of Smothering Wife In 2009 Cold Case Faces TrialMan Accused Of Smothering Wife In 2009 Cold Case Faces Trial

    An Oklahoma judge has bound a 39-year-old man over for trial in the 2009 smothering death of his wife.

    KWTV - Crime / 1 d. 11 h. 24 min. ago
  • Report: Ex-wife of slain NBA player arrestedReport: Ex-wife of slain NBA player arrested

    The ex-wife of slain former NBA player Lorenzen Wright has been arrested in California in connection with his death, according to a report by The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Sherra Wright-Robinson's arrest Friday comes after the Dec.Read more on NewsOK.com

    NewsOK.com - Crime / 1 d. 11 h. 53 min. ago
  • Confederate leaders' names popular with voters in Oklahoma City schools surveyConfederate leaders' names popular with voters in Oklahoma City schools survey

    Although hundreds of people voted to keep the names of Confederate leaders on three elementary schools, Oklahoma City School Board members said Friday it won't matter. "It doesn't mean anything.

    Oklahoma City News / 1 d. 12 h. 59 min. ago
  • Oklahoma County records high number of people hospitalized for fluOklahoma County records high number of people hospitalized for flu

    The flu is off to a fast start in Oklahoma County, where 11 people were hospitalized in the past week alone. As of Friday, 44 people had been admitted to Oklahoma County hospitals for flu-related complications since the start of flu season Sept.

    Oklahoma City News / 1 d. 12 h. 59 min. ago
  • Real estate briefs from The Oklahoman for Dec. 16, 2017Real estate briefs from The Oklahoman for Dec. 16, 2017

    The Page Woodson Apartment Community, 600 N High Ave., was named Renovation of the Year at the 2017 Nova Awards. [PHOTO PROVIDED] Price Edwards & Co.

    Oklahoma City News / 1 d. 12 h. 59 min. ago
  • Mother 'poisoned son to avoid trip to Syria with jihadi husband'Mother 'poisoned son to avoid trip to Syria with jihadi husband'

    A mother repeatedly gave her son anti-psychotic drugs and poison in a desperate attempt to avoid being forced to travel to Syria by her jihadi husband, a court has heard. The 27-year-old woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, deliberately gave the medication to the boy to make him unwell over a period of six weeks between August and October 2015. Read more on NewsOK.com

    NewsOK.com - Crime / 1 d. 13 h. ago more
  • Peter Jackson: Weinstein Made Me Blacklist Ashley JuddPeter Jackson: Weinstein Made Me Blacklist Ashley Judd

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  • AAA’s free “Tipsy Tow” service available through Jan. 1AAA’s free “Tipsy Tow” service available through Jan. 1

    By Darla Shelden City Sentinel Reporter OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – For the 28th year in a row, AAA Oklahoma will offer its free Tipsy Tow community service for year-end holiday partiers. The program gives intoxicated drivers a better option than getting behind the wheel and creating a danger for themselves and others. AAA is urging holiday revelers to call the auto club if they have had too much to drink and feel unsafe behind the wheel. “Tipsy Tow,” AAA Oklahoma’s community service program, will give up to two people and their vehicle a ride home at no charge, no questions asked. “There are just too many alternatives to climbing behind the wheel after drinking,” said Leslie Gamble, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma.  “For some, even one drink can cause impaired responses that can jeopardize lives and turn the most wonderful time of the year into a nightmare.” Based on past year’s data, AAA is ready to come to the rescue of more than 1.1 million motorists nationwide, including 7,900 in Oklahoma. In last year’s four-day Christmas holiday weekend alone, 27 people were killed or seriously injured in alcohol-related crashes in the state, according to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. These travel numbers mark the highest forecast growth rate for year-end holidays since 2009 and the highest travel volume on record for the holiday period, AAA reports. Tipsy Tow is open to everyone, AAA members and non-members alike, in metropolitan Oklahoma City, metropolitan Tulsa, Muskogee, Enid, Lawton, Shawnee, Bartlesville, Tahlequah and Ardmore. To use AAA Oklahoma’s free Tipsy Tow service, which is available now through Monday, January 1 at 4 a.m., call 800-222-4357 (AAA-HELP) and asking for Tipsy Tow. The free service is available 24/7 during the 16+-day period. AAA will take you and your vehicle home – up to 15 miles from point of pick-up. “The first ability affected by alcohol is judgment and decision-making,” said Gamble. “For some people, it only takes one drink for reflexes and judgment needed for driving to be impaired. It’s not a weakness. It’s a reality.” According to AAA, each year in Oklahoma, 35 percent of all traffic crashes involve drugs or alcohol. Over the holidays, that number often jumps to more than 40 percent. According to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention, every day almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 51 minutes. Along with Tipsy Tow, AAA also promotes the use of designated drivers and a caring attitude and heightened awareness among drivers across Oklahoma.

A not-for-profit organization, AAA Oklahoma serves its 390,000 members across Oklahoma with emergency help on the road, auto travel assistance and a wide range of personal insurance, travel, financial and automotive services through branch offices, a regional operations center and the Internet at AAA.com.

    The City Sentinel / 1 d. 13 h. 39 min. ago more
  • OK Sierra Club Green Country Group announces 2017 Environmental Award winners and losersOK Sierra Club Green Country Group announces 2017 Environmental Award winners and losers

    The Green Country Group of the Sierra Club (GCSC) has named President Donald Trump and EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt as their Environmental “EcoLosers” for 2017. Wikipedia photos By Darla Shelden City Sentinel Reporter TULSA, OK – The Green Country Group of the Sierra Club (GCSC) has announced the winners of its 2017 Environmental Excellence Awards. The honorees were recognized during their Annual Holiday Potluck Dinner, Auction & Awards of Excellence event held last month at College Hill Presbyterian Church in Tulsa. The group also designated two “EcoLosers of the Year” at the event. “We are very proud to reveal that our most deserving winners of the 2017 Environmental Excellence Awards were presented to two organizations and three volunteers,” said Barbara VanHanken, Oklahoma Sierra Club Green Country Group chair. The Helmerich Park Resistance Group was honored at the event for working “diligently and consistently to prevent the sale and development of the heart of Helmerich Park at 71st Street and Riverside Drive.” 

According to a press release, the Resistance group is as committed to the preservation of this urban parkland as the Green Country Sierra Club is to the preservation of all public parklands. Former Tulsa Mayor Terry Young accepted the GCSC award on behalf of the group. Also honored was the Tulsa Earth Coalition, a new network of environmentally conscious groups and organizations that believe in “the necessity of the prevention of manmade climate changes that lead to more dangerous, unlivable pollution and storm events.” The original coalition was comprised of Green Country Sierra Club, Climate Parents of Green Country, All Souls Green Team and the Carrie Dickerson Foundation. The Tulsa Earth Coalition includes the Citizens Climate Lobby and the TYPros (Tulsa Young Professionals) Sustainability Crew. The coalition was among those who manned the Climate Café environmental table that was located next to the Cherry Street Farmer’s Market (1500 S Quaker St,) throughout the summer. Marilyn McCulloch accepted the GCSC award on behalf of the Tulsa Earth Coalition. Three individual Sierra Club members were honored with the GCSC Volunteer Environmental Excellence Award. Long-time environmentalist and Green Country vice chair, Paul Gray was recognized for being the grounding force for hosting the Climate Café in Tulsa on most Saturdays. New Sierra Club member Nancy Moran was recognized for her dual role of the leading the new Tulsa Climate Parents group and the new Tulsa Ready for 100 Campaign, which aims for 100 percent renewable energy for Tulsa by 2050 or before. A former Los Angeles Sierra Club member, Adriana Rivers was honored for her “zest for Sierra Club and her computer abilities.” Through these skills she was able to restore the groups “long dead website and other communication tools” which has assisted in the rapid growth of Green Country Sierra Club this past year, according to VanHanken. “The excitement was building all evening to see who the 2017 Environmental “EcoLosers” would be,” said VanHanken. “Two EcoLosers were selected from eight nominees by cash donations from the guests attending,” VanHanken stated. “The Oklahoma Award was earned, by none other than previous EcoLoser, Scott Pruitt, now head of the Environmental Protection Agency.” This is a repeat honor for Mr. Pruitt, VanHanken noted. Generating the largest cash donations, the organization has also named President Donald Trump the national winner of the Green Country Group’s 2017 EcoLoser award. “We think it is fitting that all the proceeds from the EcoLoser awards will be directed to the Tulsa Ready For 100 Campaign for renewable energy this year,” said VanHanken. Located in Tulsa, Green Country Group is part of the Sierra Club’s Oklahoma Chapter. The group is comprised of 1,500 Sierra Club members located in the 28 counties of eastern Oklahoma. Their mission is to “Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet” through outings, activism, education, social events and volunteer activities. The Green Country general meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the last Thursday of each month at the Linnaeus Teaching Gardens, Helmerich Classroom in the red barn behind the Tulsa Garden Center at 2435 S. Peoria Avenue. Check the website as dates are subject to change during the holidays. For more information about the Green Country Group, visit sierraclub.org/oklahoma. Last month the Green Country Group awarded its 2017 Volunteer Environmental Excellence Award to Sierra Club member Nancy Moran. Facebook photo.   Long-time environmentalist Paul Gray is a recipient of the Green Country Group of the Sierra Club 2017 Volunteer Environmental Excellence Award. Sierra Club Meetup Photo  

    The City Sentinel / 1 d. 13 h. 54 min. ago more
  • Oklahoma ScissorTales: Young candidate seeks OKC mayor postOklahoma ScissorTales: Young candidate seeks OKC mayor post

    AT 21 years old, Taylor Neighbors has big dreams for Oklahoma City - and hopes to help them come true as mayor. 's Bill Crum that Oklahoma City needs to "be right behind New York City and San Francisco when it comes to innovation and be the dominant power in middle America."

    Oklahoma City News / 1 d. 17 h. 39 min. ago
  • OKC council member: What makes a capital?OKC council member: What makes a capital?

    At midnight on June 12, 1910, Oklahoma Gov. Charles N. Haskell signed a document declaring the capital of Oklahoma was now located in Oklahoma City. Legend has it, this action came slightly more than 24 hours after Haskell had ordered the state militia to arrest Logan County Sheriff J.W. Mahoney because Mahoney had posted guards in an attempt to prevent the removal of state's seal away from Guthrie.

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  • Federal grand jury indicts former director of OSU research center with fraudFederal grand jury indicts former director of OSU research center with fraud

    A federal grand jury has indicted the former director of an Oklahoma State University nonprofit research center in a multimillion-dollar bank fraud conspiracy. The 23-count indictment comes after Daniel Webster "Web" Keogh failed to enter a plea to a previously filed one-count charge.

    Oklahoma City News / 1 d. 17 h. 39 min. ago
  • OKC Mail Carrier Takes A HeaderOKC Mail Carrier Takes A Header

    An Oklahoma City postal carrier is counting his blessings after his mishap was caught on camera that went viral Thursday morning. Surveillance video from cameras mounted on Shaffer Smith's home showed the mail van struck a mail box.

    Oklahoma City News / 1 d. 20 h. ago
  • Fallin issues special session call for Oklahoma lawmakersFallin issues special session call for Oklahoma lawmakers

    Gov. Mary Fallin issued an order late Friday to convene a special legislative session, asking lawmakers to return to the Oklahoma Capitol on Monday to address a $110 million hole in the state budget. The Republican's executive order said the session would be limited to patching a budget overrun at the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.

    Oklahoma City News / 1 d. 22 h. 25 min. ago
  • Westbrooks triple-double helps Thunder beat 76ers in 3 OTWestbrooks triple-double helps Thunder beat 76ers in 3 OT

    PHILADELPHIA -- Russell Westbrook registered 27 points, 17 rebounds and 15 assists and the Oklahoma City Thunder outlasted the Philadelphia 76ers in three overtimes 119-117 Friday night at the Wells F

    Big News Network.com / 1 d. 23 h. 32 min. ago
  • OKC Mail Carrier Takes A Header - news9.com KWTVOKC Mail Carrier Takes A Header - news9.com KWTV

    news9.com KWTVOKC Mail Carrier Takes A Headernews9.com KWTVOKLAHOMA CITY -. An Oklahoma City postal carrier is counting his blessings after his mishap was caught on camera that went viral Thursday morning. It happened while the mail carrier was delivering packages in northwest Oklahoma City's Canyon Lakes ...

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  • OHP Investigates Death On I-35 Ramp - news9.com KWTVOHP Investigates Death On I-35 Ramp - news9.com KWTV

    news9.com KWTVOHP Investigates Death On I-35 Rampnews9.com KWTVLOGAN COUNTY, Oklahoma -. Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) troopers worked Friday to reconstruct the scene of a fatality near I-35 southbound and Seward Road. They took photos and measurements on the off-ramp, where investigators said a woman died the ...

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  • One year in, Twisted Spike has navigated the obstaclesOne year in, Twisted Spike has navigated the obstacles

    Twisted Spike brewery owner Bruce Sanchez finally was able to exit the roller coaster that was his first year in business.

    The Journal Record / 2 d. 0 h. 33 min. ago
  • Manhunt Suspect Recovering in Shawnee HospitalManhunt Suspect Recovering in Shawnee Hospital

    A Pottawatomie County manhunt ended Friday with a suspect being pulled from the North Canadian River. Christopher Goodman is still in the hospital tonight, recovering from a serious case of pneumonia.

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  • Confederate leaders' names popular with voters in Oklahoma City schools surveyConfederate leaders' names popular with voters in Oklahoma City schools survey

    By Tim Willert Staff Writer twillert@oklahoman.comAlthough hundreds of people voted to keep the names of Confederate leaders on three elementary schools, Oklahoma City School Board members said Friday it won't matter. "It doesn't mean anything.Read more on NewsOK.com

    NewsOK.com / 2 d. 1 h. 53 min. ago
  • Appeal started in Moore beheading caseAppeal started in Moore beheading case

    By Nolan Clay Staff Writer nclay@oklahoman.comNORMAN — Attorneys for murderer Alton Alexander Nolen began his appeal Friday after a judge ordered his execution for beheading a co-worker at a Moore food plant in 2014. "May God have mercy on your soul," Cleveland County District Judge Lori Walkley said to conclude the 10-minute sentencing. Nolen, 33, of Moore, sat silently throughout the hearing, looking down and putting his fingers over his ears.Read more on NewsOK.com

    NewsOK.com - Crime / 2 d. 2 h. 26 min. ago more
  • Fallin Sets Formal Agenda Special Session - news9.com KWTVFallin Sets Formal Agenda Special Session - news9.com KWTV

    news9.com KWTVFallin Sets Formal Agenda Special Sessionnews9.com KWTVOKLAHOMA CITY -. Gov. Mary Fallin released an executive order Friday evening to formally announce the special session beginning on Monday. Gov. Mary Fallin, through executive order, sets the formal agenda for the special session. Legislators came ...and more »

    Google News / 2 d. 2 h. 39 min. ago
  • Memories and plans highlighted in weekly OKC Central chatMemories and plans highlighted in weekly OKC Central chat

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  • OKC renews river cruise contractOKC renews river cruise contract

    The Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority on Friday approved the renewal of a $784,000 contract

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    Convicted murderer Alton Nolen was formally sentenced Friday. And the judge went with the jury's recommendation. 

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  • No. 3 Wichita State faces nations top scorerNo. 3 Wichita State faces nations top scorer

    No. 3 Wichita State can add another quality win to its resume on Saturday when high-scoring Oklahoma and star freshman guard Trae Young visit INTRUST Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan., for a non-conference

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  • FSU puts perfect mark on line vs. Oklahoma St.FSU puts perfect mark on line vs. Oklahoma St.

    And then there were six. The No. 19 Florida State men's basketball team is one of just six unbeaten NCAA Division I programs remaining in the country, and that 9-0 record will be put to the test Satu

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  • Calendar quirk, Amazon, put pressure on retailers to deliverCalendar quirk, Amazon, put pressure on retailers to deliver

    A calendar quirk this year and Amazon's seven-days-a-week delivery capability are building pressure on retailers to deliver.

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  • Gorilla born at OKC Zoo Gorilla born at OKC Zoo

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  • Christmas Light Display Stolen From Metro BusinessChristmas Light Display Stolen From Metro Business

    A local small business showing its holiday spirit was hit by thieves. 

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  • The 'how' in homicides from the distant pastThe 'how' in homicides from the distant past

    By Matt Dinger Staff Writer mdinger@oklahoman.comOn the night of July 14, 2001, Ronald Deshell Steele was shot three times. Two weeks ago, one of those bullets finally killed him. One bullet went through his left forearm.Read more on NewsOK.com

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  • Suspect In SW OKC Police Pursuit Taken Into CustodySuspect In SW OKC Police Pursuit Taken Into Custody

    Police are engaged in a pursuit, where the suspect is believe to have caused an accident in SW Oklahoma City.  Stay with News 9 for updates. 

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  • Regret and unanswered questions swirl as Varnell bombing case progressesRegret and unanswered questions swirl as Varnell bombing case progresses

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  • Rusty’s Custard Factory moves to Main StreetRusty’s Custard Factory moves to Main Street

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  • Journal Record Week in ReviewJournal Record Week in Review

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  • OKC Zoo celebrates holiday birth of endangered Western Lowland GorillaOKC Zoo celebrates holiday birth of endangered Western Lowland Gorilla

    The OKC Zoo and Botanical Garden is celebrating the arrival of a Western lowland gorilla newborn to first-time mother Mikella. Photo provided. By Darla Shelden City Sentinel Reporter OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is celebrating a special holiday arrival, a critically endangered Western lowland gorilla newborn. The baby was born on Wednesday, December 13 at 8:57 p.m. inside the Zoo’s Great EscApe habitat to first-time mother Mikella, 14, and father Togo, 29. 

The new “bundle of joy” arrived slightly ahead of schedule and just one day ahead of Mikella’s birthday. “We are thrilled to welcome a new gorilla to our animal family, especially during this festive time of the year,” said Barry Downer, OKC Zoo’s deputy director. “While both mother and baby appear to be healthy, because it’s critical to allow bonding time, the Zoo’s animal care team has not been able to determine the offspring’s gender.” For the next 72 hours, the Zoo veterinary staff and gorilla caretakers will closely monitor the pair to ensure Mikella continues to exhibit maternal behaviors, such as nursing. 

The event marks the 26th gorilla born at the Oklahoma City Zoo since 1974. OKC Zoo’s gorilla troop is comprised of three generations of this family. Mikella was born at the Zoo in 2003 to 32-year-old mom, Emily and is the older sister of 2-year-old, Rubi. With Western lowland gorillas, troop dynamics and family structures are crucially important factors for learning how to rear their offspring. Growing up in a troop consisting of aunts, cousins and a younger sibling, Mikella has learned the vital skills a new mom should incorporate in order to be attentive toward young gorillas. Father Togo, a 29-year-old silverback Western lowland gorilla, arrived at the Zoo in 2012 from the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory as part of a breeding recommendation made by the Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP). 

SSP programs oversee the population management of select species within Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) member institutions. 

Togo’s troop includes females Mikella, Emily, Ndjole, Kelele and four-year-old male Leom. He previously fathered Kamina, who now resides at the Columbus Zoo, with Ndjole in 2014. Although gorilla babies are small and tend to blend in with their mother, making new babies difficult to spot, Mikella and her newborn are currently available for viewing at Great EscApe. Watch for updates on the new gorilla’s gender and name on the OKC Zoo’s website and social media. The birth of Mikella’s baby is extremely significant for the OKC Zoo and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums SSP for Western lowland gorillas considering this is her first offspring. Native to the Central Africa, Western lowland gorillas are threatened by disease and poaching. By 2008, the population of Western lowland gorillas was reduced by 80 percent, classifying their species as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. The OKC Zoo works with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (DFGFI) to provide monies to help protect mountain gorillas in their native habitat. This money has been used to support operation of the Karisoke Research Center, which is the base for DFGFI’s field activities. 

The gorilla populations protected by DFGFI are the only wild populations of gorillas that are increasing. The Zoo also hosts the annual Give for Gorillas Cell Phone Challenge.  This program encourages the community to donate old cellphones and other electronic devices in support of gorilla conservation. The mining of coltan, a substance frequently used in small electronics, continues to cause deforestation of gorilla habitat. Net proceeds raised from the Cell Phone Challenge go to DFGFI. Electronic devices can be donated year-round at the Zoo’s Guest Services office. In addition to the holiday arrival of a baby gorilla, the Zoo also welcomed Francesca, a 26-year-old pygmy hippopotamus, earlier this month. Another Western lowland gorilla, Ndjole, is expected to give birth in summer 2018 and Asian elephant Asha will deliver her baby around November 2018. This holiday season visit to the Oklahoma City Zoo, a proud member of Oklahoma City’s Adventure District located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $11 for adults, and $8 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit okczoo.org. For more great stories about the OKC ZOO, visit okczoo.org/blog. Western lowland gorilla Mikella and her newborn are currently available for viewing at the OKC Zoot Great EscApe. Photo provided. The new OKC Zoo baby lowland gorilla was born. on Wednesday, Dec. 13, inside the Zoo’s Great EscApe habitat to father Togo, 29 (left) and first-time mother Mikella, 14. Photos provided.

    The City Sentinel / 2 d. 9 h. 38 min. ago more
  • Mario Batali fired from 'The Chew' amid sexual harassment scandalMario Batali fired from 'The Chew' amid sexual harassment scandal

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  • Police Probe Whether Remains Of Three Children Found In Box Are Long-Missing BrothersPolice Probe Whether Remains Of Three Children Found In Box Are Long-Missing Brothers

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  • Oklahoma man kept stepdaughter captive for 19 years and fathered her nine children, feds sayOklahoma man kept stepdaughter captive for 19 years and fathered her nine children, feds say

    By TIM TALLEY , Associated PressOKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A federal grand jury in Oklahoma has indicted a 63-year-old man accused of kidnapping his stepdaughter and holding her captive for 19 years in Mexico and elsewhere while fathering her nine children. Henri Michelle Piette is accused of kidnapping Rosalynn Michelle McGinnis in 1995 or 1996 and traveling with the intent to have sex with her, according to an indictment a grand jury in Muskogee, Oklahoma, handed up Wednesday. The Associated Press generally doesn't identify people who say they have been sexually abused, but McGinnis has discussed her case publicly. "Knowing that the man who physically took 22 years from me, leaving me with a lifetime of painful challenges, has been captured makes today one of the most pivotal times of my life," she told People magazine in an online article published on Oct.Read more on NewsOK.com

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  • Mother arrested after son, 6, found weighing 13 poundsMother arrested after son, 6, found weighing 13 pounds

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  • Police Investigate Davis Teacher's Relationship With StudentPolice Investigate Davis Teacher's Relationship With Student

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  • Oklahoma City Ballet costume director Dayna Brown walks Oklahoma Gazette through her typical work scheduleOklahoma City Ballet costume director Dayna Brown walks Oklahoma Gazette through her typical work schedule

    Dayna Brown has been working as Oklahoma City Ballet’s costume director for the last three years. (Mark Hancock)Preparing costumes for a theater performance or ballet production takes time and planning, but the art of costume design and directing is not one that ends when the curtains rise. In a lot of cases, in fact, the work is just beginning.Dayna Brown has been the costume director for Oklahoma City Ballet for the last three years, contracted to work for the company 33 weeks out of the year. Outside OKC Ballet, she also does costume work for groups like Oklahoma Children’s Theatre and Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma. Brown runs Costumed, a business based out of her home that rents out costumes to people and throws photo-centric theme parties for children.During any given OKC Ballet production, one is sure to find Brown somewhere behind the stage and out of view, waiting as a lifeline for those in need.“Anytime there’s a ballet performance,” she said, “I have to be backstage the entire time in case something breaks, which does happen.”Brown recalls a production of Romeo and Juliet, when a dancer playing the character Paris had a zipper down his back begin to split. It was just moments before the character was scheduled to die with his back to the audience.“He has like two seconds,” Brown recalled. “He runs out and he’s like, ‘Something’s breaking!’ I’m just standing in the wings, and I have to sew them up real quick.”She remembers other emergency instances, like when a dancer’s skirt was stepped on and torn during a matinee performance. Brown had to work quickly to repair the skirt before the next scheduled show later that night.Some are surprised when they learn how demanding the job can be. They are often more surprised when they hear that Brown does not lead a large team of staff members dedicated to costume maintenance. Everything she does is largely — if not entirely — a solo effort.“I have no one,” she said. “I have myself.”Work flowOKC Ballet rents costumes for most of its productions. It is far more cost- and time-efficient than designing a new set of pieces for each ballet the company produces.Still, there are some shows that involve designing original pieces. Whether a production is rented or original has a huge effect on the way Brown approaches her job.For rented shows, Brown begins her work about three weeks before the premiere. The first thing she does is unpack all the delivered costumes and compare their inventory list with what has arrived. She takes time to get familiar with every detail of the outfits.A big difference between ballet and general theater productions is that in theater, one typically has a good deal of artistic license. Often in ballet, everything must be replicated to a T, down to the correct shade of lipstick or whether a shoe can have straps of not. It’s Brown’s job to make sure everything is accurate.After she finishes her initial prep work, it is time to begin fittings. Brown has to work around rehearsals and dancers’ personal schedules.When fittings are finished, she then makes whatever alterations are necessary. Sometimes there is a lot to be done, and sometimes there is not as much.On the other hand, if a show is a complete original production, Brown’s first step is meeting with the choreographer and working with him or her to understand their vision for the show. She might listen to the score or ask the choreographer if there are any colors they want to see.“One choreographer just gave me a picture of the ocean,” she said. “He was like, ‘I want this, and here’s the songs.’ That was a challenge, but it was cool because it was really open and he was really open. After the show, I got a lot of compliments.”Often, Brown is designing costumes before a production’s choreography is even finished. In addition to looks, she also has to account for dancer movement in her designs.Designing original costumes can be fun and challenging, but it can also be nerve-racking. And Brown said a lot of the costumes OKC Ballet rents for its shows are very beautiful and a thrill to work with. The costumes rented for a recent production of Swan Lake were the same ones used in Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” music video, for instance.“They were so gorgeous and so well put together,” Brown said. “Every detail of every costume was so amazing.”Some of the costumes OKC Ballet uses can be washed by an outside cleaning service, but what a lot of people do not know is that Brown has to handwash many of the more delicate pieces.“I don’t wash the skirt part,” she explained while holding a Snowflake tutu used in The Nutcracker. “I just sit it in the sink and I wash the bodice.”Brown said her workload is only manageable through a lot of advance work and preparation.“It’s a lot of organization,” she said. “It’s almost like event planning because you have so many details and everything.”Dayna Brown goes through the Snowflake tutus used in Oklahoma City Ballet’s The Nutcracker. (Mark Hancock)Fitting rewardOutsiders will often tell Brown how fun they think her job must be. They are not wrong with their enthusiasm, but even the most colorful and elaborate jobs are still jobs.“It’s really fun, but the deadlines are killer,” she said. “People have to have their clothes. It doesn’t make any difference if it’s a Saturday or something. It has to get done.”Still, with each fitting session she runs, Brown is reminded why she loves her job.“Everybody loves to get their costume,” she said. “It makes everybody happy to put on their costume.”From the tiniest child dancers to the company’s most seasoned vets, everyone wants to see their costume. Often, dancers come into fittings after a long day of rehearsals and stern instruction from directors. For them, fittings are a welcome break.“I’m never the bad guy,” Brown said. “It’s great.”Brown said the main reason she works in costuming is to be an integral part of what goes on stage. To her, it feels like magic.“A performance space is sacred,” she said. “Audience members can be forever changed within a few hours experiencing a live performance. Nothing else compares.”Visit facebook.com/costumedokc and okcballet.org. Print headline: Looking sharp; Oklahoma City Ballet costume director Dayna Brown walks Oklahoma Gazette through her typical work schedule.

    Oklahoma Gazette / 2 d. 13 h. 11 min. ago more
  • Okie Comics Magazine launches as a free illustrated periodical with a strong local bentOkie Comics Magazine launches as a free illustrated periodical with a strong local bent

    The first issue of Okie Comics Magazine launched early this month. (Matthew Brendle / provided)One page gives readers a look into what Interstate 35 might have looked like during the Permian Era 250 million years ago. Another black-and-white strip shares insight into the life of fictitious 1930s Oklahoma gangster Puddin’ McGee.Each of the comics in the inaugural issue of Okie Comics Magazine, which officially launched earlier this month, presents readers with a new and unique illustration style. But what they all have in common is that they are all comics made by Oklahoma artists about Oklahoma topics.“Everyone can make some comics,” magazine editor and publisher Jeff Provine said, “but, like, all the Marvel stuff takes place in New York City. That’s kind of cool, but why don’t we do that right here?”The first issue of Okie Comics features ten artists and nine stories ranging in style from Archie Comics teen mystery to educational nonfiction. The glossy publication, scheduled to publish every two months, is available for free pickup at several area comic and bookstores like Half Price Books, downtown’s Commonplace Books and Literati Press in The Paseo Arts District.As Okie Comics grows, Provine hopes to expand into many more locations, including local restaurants. The magazine will maintain its status as a free publication through advertising dollars.Local focusOutside Okie Comics, Provine is mostly known for organizing the Oklahoma City Ghost Tour and authoring the books Haunted Oklahoma City and Haunted Norman, Oklahoma. The longtime comic book fan said he got more serious about comics after he started teaching a class about comic history and development at the University of Oklahoma.In 2015, he adapted his curriculum for a summer program with Pioneer Library System called Unmaked! The Making of Superheroes. Through the program, teens and adults made their own amateur comics. Provine was impressed by how much talent many of them showed.“It wasn’t just one isolated instance,” he said. “At least one person at every library was churning out what could be professional stuff — even the teenagers.”Ever since that program, Provine has felt that there was a lot of talent in the area, but local artists and storytellers needed some kind of conduit to get their work seen around the city.Provine said he has worked for a few periodicals around OKC and Norman. One day, it dawned on him that there was no reason a local magazine could not exist in complete comic form.“The newspaper has a comics section,” he said, “so why don’t we just have our own newspaper?”For the last 18 months, Provine has been working on collecting the money and art necessary to get his first issue off the ground. While there are plenty of local fan zines that exist in other places, Provine said he has not been able to find an example of a similar freely distributed all-comic magazine in any other city.Making connectionsProvine grew up on a farm in northwest Oklahoma. Without big-city attractions to worry about, he and his siblings found other ways to occupy their time.“Reading was definitely a big thing,” he said. “It was always a race to the mailbox whenever the newspaper came — ‘Who’s going to be first to get the comic section?’”Plenty of Calvin and Hobbes and Garfield comic collections could be found around the house. Provine read them over and over again.He gradually got more serious about comics, and in college Provine started a daily web comic called The Academy. The series began in 2003 and ran every day for 10 years, ending in 2013.“Looking back, I’m amazed that I did it,” he said. “It’s just a few minutes every day, but it all adds up. It taught me a lot about dialogue and pacing. I’m not so much of an artist, but I can sling some words together.”Provine said he gathered the talent for Okie Comics’ first issue mostly through connections he has made attending various fan conventions and frequenting local comic shops through the years. The inaugural issue’s artists include Matthew Brendle, Shelby Soto, Robert Henry, Katrina Younts, Nate Schroeder, Scott McClung, Mike Kennedy, Scott Sackett, Brad Gregg and Jerry Bennett.The local comic community might be small compared to other cities, but Provine said those who are here make up for it in enthusiasm.“We support SoonerCon and New World Comic Con locally, and we had Wizard World come through in just the last couple of months,” he said. “They had thousands of people come; it was astronomical numbers. So there’s tons and tons of comic interest; it’s just that people aren’t quite knowing each other yet.”Provine hopes Okie Comics will help raise outside awareness of the comic community and help lure new artists into the fold.A frame from “It Happened at Devon Ice Rink” in the first issue of Okie Comics Magazine (Scott Sackett / provided)Next panelWeb comics are gaining popularity, but Provine does not believe that print publications will ever be totally phased out.“For whatever reason, you just retain more when you read a physical book,” he said.Provine hopes his print publication will show the city what kind of talent is in the area. Many people never stop to think about comics being made in their own state.“It’s kind of cool,” Provine said. “You look at this painted cover and you’re like, ‘Oh, that’s just Matthew Brendle down in Moore. If you want something, he’ll paint it for you.’”While Okie Comics is an anthology publication, Provine is interested in possibly publishing multi-issue comic series about local landmarks and businesses in the future. Okie Comics has already received email inquiries from artists the editor has never met. Provine is thrilled to already have that kind of feedback.The publication has two simultaneous goals: to give the metro area comics unlike anything they have seen before and to provide a platform for local talent.“It’s people who, otherwise, would have never had a voice in comics,” he said.Visit okiecomics.com.Okie Comics Magazine signing3 p.m. Dec. 16All-Star Comics6900 N. May Ave.facebook.com/okiecomics405-842-7800FreePrint headline: ’Toon news; Okie Comics Magazine launches as a free illustrated periodical with a strong local bent.

    Oklahoma Gazette / 2 d. 13 h. 12 min. ago more
  • Red Earth Treefest returns with trees decorated by 19 tribesRed Earth Treefest returns with trees decorated by 19 tribes

    Trees are decorated with ornaments from 19 tribes in Oklahoma. A separate tree includes ornaments for sale. (Doug Hoke / Red Earth / provided)Making symbolic decorations from evergreen trees is an international tradition that dates back to centuries before the birth of Christianity, but for the past few years, one local nonprofit has been setting up Christmas trees to honor the history of Native Americans displaced from their homes by persecutors many years ago.While three tribes are indigenous to the Oklahoma area, 36 others originally dispersed from the Florida Everglades to the Pacific Northwest and the New York City region and were forced to relocate by the United States government in the 1800s. Treefest at Oklahoma City’s Red Earth Art Center presents trees decorated with handmade ornaments crafted by 19 of the state’s tribes in an effort to educate the public about their different heritages and traditions.“Everybody loves Christmas trees, but not everybody loves learning history,” said Eric Oesch, director of communications at Red Earth. “Sometimes it can be a dry subject. But what we do is incorporate the art, which is the ornaments on the trees, to tell the story of the tribes so people are learning from the ornaments on the trees about what makes the tribe special, how it’s different than the one that’s next to it.”Seeing the trees on display next to each other can be a helpful visual teaching tool for illustrating the histories of different tribes and the variations in their traditional ways of life, Oesch said.“There might be a tree, the Cheyenne & Arapaho tree, they’re from the plains, and they were nomadic with teepees and hunted buffalo and that type of thing,” Oesch said. “Their tree could be next to the Cherokee tree, and nothing could be more different. They never hunted buffalo, they never lived in teepees. They’re from back east, the Smoky Mountains area. Some of the tribes, before they were relocated to Oklahoma, they were farmers and doctors and pharmacists, had newspapers, owned slaves, drove horses and buggies, had plantations. So it helps us to tell the story of the diversity of the tribes in Oklahoma because they’re all so different. I think people get that Hollywood image and they think that all Indians raced on horseback and lived out on the prairie, which isn’t the case.”Representatives of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation decorated their tree with a birch bark tag featuring “MKO,” which translates to “Bear.” (Doug Hoke / Red Earth / provided)Meaningful adornmentTreefest began three years ago with five trees decorated by five tribes, Oesch said, and this year, the free event has expanded to 23 trees, including 19 decorated by tribes including Absentee Shawnee, Caddo, Cherokee, Cheyenne & Arapaho, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Citizen Potawatomi, Comanche, Delaware, Kaw, Muscogee (Creek), Osage, Sac and Fox, Seminole, Kiowa, Otoe-Missouria and Pawnee. In addition to trees decorated by the participating tribes, Red Earth is also displaying a docent tree decorated with ornamental dreamcatchers, beaded corn, teepees, drums and other significant symbols. Another tree displays ornaments crafted by local Native artists that are available for sale. Red Earth also encouraged participating tribes to create additional copies of the ornaments displayed on their trees to sell, with the majority of the proceeds from sales going to the tribes.“And that started because people would come in and say, ‘Oh these trees are so pretty. Are these ornaments available for sale?’” Oesch said. “And, of course, they aren’t because if that were the case, we’d end up with naked trees by the end of the exhibit.”In addition to ornament sales, Red Earth is also accepting donations. The art center was originally established in 1978 to promote and continue the artistic tradition of Native American tribes. With that in mind, Oesch said, the center is displaying the tribal trees alongside works of contemporary art created by a member of the respective tribe. He said they try to “focus on Native American art and artists that are living today” in an effort to show the continuing history of Native culture in the state, something many tourists do not immediately understand.“People that come in here from other places every day, we hear, ‘Where can we meet a real Indian?’” Oesch said. “Well, chances are, sir, this is Oklahoma; probably 30, 40 percent of the people you already met have some type of tribal heritage in their family tree. … What makes Oklahoma unique is our culture, and we’re very proud to showcase that.”Though each of the trees itself is similar, their decorations are as diverse as the tribes they represent.For example, the Potawatomi tree highlights the birch bark canoes the tribe used while in their native Great Lakes region as well as purple tones to signify the berries they would eat there. The Comanche tree features painted pony ornaments. The Seminole tree also features a canoe, recreating the official tribal seal depicting a man paddling the traditional watercraft, but the man in the boat is a G.I. Joe action figure. Oesch said the people and methods of decorating them were equally varied.“All the trees are beautiful,” Oesch said. “We had a week when the different tribal groups came in to decorate their trees, and so some of them had heir elders council, some of them would come in and be, you know, 10-12 senior ladies that came in and they’d been working since August making their handmade ornaments and coming in, and then we had another group that had kids coming in making all their ornaments … all these different people coming in, decorating their trees. It was really fun to see.”Red Earth Treefest10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays Through Jan. 5Red Earth Art Center6 Santa Fe Plazaredearth.org(405) 427-5228Free (donations accepted)Print headline: Historic flora; Red Earth Treefest returns with trees decorated by 19 tribes.

    Oklahoma Gazette / 2 d. 13 h. 13 min. ago more
  • Stone Sisters Pizza Bar aims to show that healthy pizza can also taste goodStone Sisters Pizza Bar aims to show that healthy pizza can also taste good

    Sisters Traci Stone, Tami Lake and Sheli Reynolds opened Stone Sisters Pizza Bar in May. (Jacob Threadgill)The idea to open a restaurant with your sisters might be a difficult scenario for some families to imagine, but at Stone Sisters Pizza Bar, sisters Sheli Reynolds, Tami Lake and Traci Stone have a bit of friendly competition.“What pizza did you order?” Lake asks a customer after he takes a seat in the restaurant located at 2124 N. Broadway Ave. in the former Borden Dairy building.“She only wants to know because her pizza sells the best,” Reynolds chimes in.Lake’s pizza, Misunderstood Middle Sister, features smoked Lovera Caciocovera cheese, sausage, pepperoni, olives, onions and red peppers. All of the ingredients are organic, but what sets Stone Sisters Pizza Bar apart is what they refer to as a “miracle crust” made from the ancient grain spelt.“We’re the only place in the world that we know of that serves the sprouted spelt crust,” Reynolds said. “When you sprout something like a grain, it turns it from a bread carbohydrate to a vegetable carbohydrate.”Journey to clean eatingThe darkest time of Reynolds’ life led to the light of a career focused on healthy living.Her husband Joe died in 2011 following a six-year battle with brain cancer. The desperate attempt to find a cure led Reynolds, a former pharmaceutical salesperson, to explore the opposite end of the spectrum: holistic medicine and clean eating.Following his death, Reynolds needed an outlet and went full-bore into benefits of food, becoming a certified nutritionist.“When you have something happen like that, I just needed a new focus,” Reynolds said.Reynolds enlisted Lake to start the business Healthy Journey, which helped clients convert their kitchen pantries and provided healthy cooking demonstrations. During once such demo, the sisters showcased three traditionally unhealthy meals with healthy recipes, one of which was pizza.The Thanks Gramps pizza features coleslaw added post-bake. (Jacob Threadgill)Restaurant encouragementThe pizza featured the spelt crust designed by Reynolds and an organic sauce developed by Lake. Their clients encouraged the sisters to pursue a restaurant for pizza.They resisted until they were put in contact with Jim O’Steen, the owner of the old Borden building, who had purchased pizza ovens and wanted to convert the building’s original ice cream shop.It seemed as if the universe was telling them to take a leap, so they brought in their older sister Stone to help run the business and hired chef Cally Johnson to take their ideas into a fully formed menu. Johnson co-founded Big Truck Tacos, where she is still part owner, but she’s in the sparkling-white pizza kitchen most days.“She made our ideas blossom, and she knows how to build a pizza so that each flavor comes through,” Stone said.The menu features pizza piled high with organic meats like grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken and pork and three vegan pizzas. Customers can also choose their own ingredients and watch it be built right in front of the entrance, thus making it a pizza “bar.” They can choose either the sprouted spelt or an organic unbleached white crust.Reynolds said she developed the spelt crust to help combat her own gluten insensitivity, which she said affects more than 86,000 people in Oklahoma City. The crust is classified as gluten-friendly instead of completely gluten-free.“Ninety-nine percent of people with gluten insensitivity are only allergic to the processed version,” she said.The specialty pizzas are a nod to friends and family, just like most of the restaurant. There are pictures of the sisters’ mother from a 1960s movie filmed in Oklahoma. There is what they refer to as the “angel table” that features pictures of all of those who helped them along the way, including Reynolds’ late husband Joe.The Front Yard Rumble (With a Side of Hair Pulling), a vegetarian pizza, refers to a real-life fight between sisters. There is also the Thanks Gramps, a barbecue chicken pizza with organic barbecue sauce, chicken, smoked cheese, red onions and banana peppers. It’s topped post-bake with a coleslaw of purple cabbage, green apple and cilantro.The Bossy Big Sister pizza makes cooked pasta a topping. ( Jacob Threadgill)“It’s named that because our grandfather walked around with a bottle of barbecue sauce at all times,” Lake said.The menu also includes soups, salads and desserts, a few of which are vegan-friendly. Refrigerated cases house enchiladas and lasagna made from the sprouted spelt flour. Taps pour wine, beer and hard cider, and PepsiCo installed a Stubborn brand soda machine that features sodas without artificial ingredients in flavors such as orange hibiscus and black cherry with tarragon.Since Stone Sisters opened in May, they negotiated lower prices with suppliers for cheese and sprouted spelt, which has enabled them to lower menu prices.“A lot of people can’t afford organic, and we want to have a product that everybody can afford, not just rich people,” Stone said.A medium 10-inch specialty pizza sells for $9.99, and a large 14-inch pizza sells for $16.85.Reynolds said they are trying to increase takeout and catering to make up for what is a low-foot-traffic area. A new area of marketing the sisters are entering is frozen pizza.They recently struck a distribution deal with local Crest Foods and Tulsa’s Reasor’s Foods to sell pre-packaged frozen pizzas and crusts. Nebu in Devon Energy Center uses their sprouted spelt crust in its build-your-own-pizza bar.“My end goal was to never have a restaurant; it was to distribute, and this is just a way to get our name and brand out,” Reynolds said. “The restaurant isn’t big enough for us.”Print headline: Family affair; Stone Sisters Pizza Bar aims to show that healthy pizza can also taste good.

    Oklahoma Gazette / 2 d. 13 h. 14 min. ago more
  • Gazedibles: Cookie cravingGazedibles: Cookie craving

    Christmas is less than two weeks away. If you’re looking for cookies to leave by the fireplace for Santa or if you just want to enjoy the holiday spirit with some baked bliss, there are many places in the Oklahoma City area to pick up a fresh cookie.By Jacob Threadgill; Photos Jacob Threadgill and Gazette / file 1 Smart Cookie (Jacob Threadgill)1 Smart Cookie12100 N. Rockwell Ave., Suite 71smartcookie.com405-721-5959For over a decade, 1 Smart Cookie has been a go-to for locally owned and artistically decorated cookies. That hasn’t changed under new owner Lisa Nabors. 1 Smart cookie sells customizable cookies in traditional iced versions in addition to ones with edible images. You can also literally reach into a glass cookie jar for classics, seasonal treats like chocolate peppermint and in-house specialties like the Smart Cookie made with oatmeal, banana and chocolate chip. Panaderira de Herradura (Gazette/file)Panaderia La Herradura2235 SW 14th St.405-232-3502It’s hard to miss “Panaderia” emblazoned on the red building in giant letters as you drive down 14th Street, and that’s a good thing because it means you should stop in for a delicious treat. The bakery offers a variety of Mexican pastries, including many conchas, sweet yeast rolls with a cookie crust. You can also get puequitos, molasses-flavored cookies shaped like a pig. Crimson & Whipped Cream (Gazette/file)Crimson & Whipped Cream331 White Street, Normancrimsonbakery.com405-307-8990Located near the University of Oklahoma in Campus Corner, Crimson & Whipped Cream has a variety of cupcakes, cookies, whoopie pies and even a few vegan sweet breads and cakes. The best way to keep track of its ever-changing daily specials is to follow @CrimsonBakery on Twitter or Instagram. You could find a pumpkin snickerdoodle or maybe even something as scrumptious as the pictured peanut butter cream cookie. Eileen’s Colossal Cookies (Jacob Threadgill)Eileen’s Colossal Cookies9044 S. Sooner Roadeileenscookies.com405-455-5005With three locations in the Oklahoma metro area, Eileen’s Colossal Cookies puts the emphasis on colossal. Cookies are available in 3-inch or 4-inch varieties that range from the classic chocolate chip to an oatmeal scotchie (butterscotch chips). For the holiday spirit, get a special molasses cookie or pick up one of Eileen’s frosted holiday sugar cookies with intricate designs. Elemental Coffee Roasters (Gazette / file)Elemental Coffee Roasters815 N. Hudson Ave.elementalcoffee.com405-604-9766There is no reason everyone can’t enjoy tasty baked goods. Elemental Coffee Roasters, in addition to roasting its own coffee beans, serves as a showcase for vegan and gluten-free cookies, cream pies and muffins. Try unique flavors like a miso chocolate chip cookie or salted caramel chocolate chip to pair with great coffee. Higher Grounds Coffee Company (Jacob Threadgill)Higher Grounds Coffee Company5814 NW 63rd Street, Warr Acreshighergroundsokc.com405-603-6999Providing locally roasted coffee, lunch and in-house baked goods only comprises a portion of Higher Grounds’ mission. The nonprofit partners with a variety of international and local churches and aid organizations to spread its message of hope. Cookies are available in the jar by the counter or patrons can indulge in something from the menu like a Peach Doodle, a snickerdoodle crust with peach filling and candied walnuts. Ingrid’s Kitchen (Gazette/file)Ingrid’s Kitchen3701 N. Youngs Blvd.ingridsok.com405-946-8444This Oklahoma institution with two locations brings people like the Food Network’s Guy Fieri to the city and routinely wins in Oklahoma Gazette’s Best of OKC reader poll. The bakery sells an astounding 18 varieties of cookies, including everything from Angel Pecan to Swedish Dream and the ever-elusive Ranger cookie. Be sure to pick up a dozen for $10.20 when you’re there for Ingrid’s first-class weekend brunch buffet.Print headline: Gazedibles: Cookie craving

    Oklahoma Gazette / 2 d. 13 h. 16 min. ago more
  • Shopping small is trending in Oklahoma City as the holidays nearShopping small is trending in Oklahoma City as the holidays near

    Holiday Pop-Up Shops has operated in Midtown for five years. Retail participants include local businesses. (James Harber / provided)The day after Thanksgiving — Friday, Nov. 24, Black Friday — Rachael Gruntmeir asked her Black Scintilla customers if they had shopped earlier in the day to score big discounts online or at big-box stores.The most common answer was no, said the Midtown shopkeeper. Instead, customers expressed a desire to shop at her business and other locally owned shops in the Oklahoma City area this holiday season.“Every year, I hear more and more customers say they are only shopping local,” Gruntmeir said from inside The Black Scintilla, a boutique selling women’s, children’s and men’s clothing items along with home accents and accessories. “It is great that people are aware of where they are spending their money and where their tax dollars are going. Their money is going directly back into the community.”Not far from Midtown in Oklahoma City’s 16th Street Plaza District, Cassie McDonald of Out On A Limb Boutique also heard similar comments from customers at her handmade goods store.“I’ve heard people say they are shopping down in the Plaza as much as they can,” said McDonald. “If they are looking for something specific that I don’t have, I point them to other locally owned stores. A lot of my customers shop local on purpose, but I have also heard my customers say they will have to buy on Amazon because someone on their lists doesn’t want anything local or handmade.”The buy-local movement, often called Shop Small or Shop Local, is strong in OKC, home to many small, local businesses in the various thriving commercial districts. While the state’s economy was slowed by the recent downturn in the oil and natural gas industry and as online shopping increased, locally owned businesses adjusted to keep attracting and serving customers. Not every small retailer is recession-proof, but many local shopkeepers provide a retail experience unlike shopping web pages or visiting large shopping centers.“Some people say retail is dead,” said Jill McCartney, president and CEO of Northwest Oklahoma City Chamber, an organization representing many small retail stores. “It’s just that smart retailers have to provide something different or exceptional in service, selection and personal attention. That’s something our small businesses do.”Recently, popular crowdsourced review website Yelp published a list of top 20 cities for local holiday shopping on its blog. OKC ranked 13th on the list for shoppers favoring local shops.Gruntmeir wasn’t surprised Oklahoma City made the list, which named San Francisco as the top city to shop local in 2017, followed by Seattle and Chicago. Oklahoma Citians connect shopping and buying local to supporting neighbors and the community, she said. Purchases made in locally owned shops dramatically impact the community as tax revenue funds local government, parks, law enforcement and other community services.“We have visitors come in from other states that don’t know what Shop Local means or have never heard of Small Business Saturday,” Gruntmeir said. “It blows my mind, but I am also so thankful that Oklahomans get it so well.”Rachael Gruntmeir said the holiday shopping season always drives up sales numbers for Midtown’s The Black Scintilla. (Gazette / file)Two locationsThe buy local movement experiences up and downs in sales. Nationally, retail sales were sluggish in October. This came after Americans spent fewer of their dollars on consumer goods in the summer months.“You win some, you lose some,” McDonald said of experiencing the pre-Christmas slump in her sales.Sales picked up at Out On A Limb Boutique in November as shoppers began holiday purchases. So far, McDonald sees signs she will have stronger sales numbers than previous holiday shopping seasons. While December is typically the strongest month for sales, she attributes her numbers to both her brick-and-mortar spot and her goods sold from a geodesic dome as a participant of the annual Holiday Pop-Up Shops in Midtown.“My Christmas would be suffering if I didn’t do Pop-Up shops,” McDonald said. “It helps boost my sales.”It also builds a new following for the boutique known for its handmade jewelry, clothing and beauty products.“‘I saw you at the Pop-Ups,’” McDonald said, repeating a phrase she hears in the winter and spring months. “The Pop-Ups help bring in a lot of new faces.” Shopper remindersConsumers say they will likely spend an average of $967.13 on holiday gifts, according to an annual survey conducted by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights and Analytics. Other national retail reports hint that e-commerce, big chain stores and brick-and-mortar stores will all play an important role in shoppers’ holiday purchases this year.While e-commerce, or shopping online, offers the convenience of a few mouse clicks and big chain stores extend their hours and push customers to buy online and pick up in stores, locally owned shops have their selling points too. Local shops can be more nimble in catering their selections to local tastes. Unlike other retail options, mom-and-pop businesses can connect their products with shoppers by offering samples of food products, providing testers for bath and beauty products or lighting a candle that is for sale.“You can touch it, you can smell it, you can experience it and talk to the helpful owners,” McCartney said.The buy local movement is closely tied to Small Business Saturday, an American Express-sponsored shopping holiday that began in 2010 to spur support for local businesses the day after Black Friday. The chamber, which represents businesses north of Interstate 40 and west of Broadway Extension, is a champion of Small Business Saturday, McCartney said.This year, its campaign grew from one day to more than a dozen events taking place over several holiday shopping days.“One Saturday is not enough,” McCartney said. “We want people to be more aware of small businesses all the time. We expanded [the campaign] into a #ShopSmallNWOKC campaign that runs throughout the season. It helps people focus on shop small, but also the different small businesses work together to not only promote their own businesses but the concept of shopping small.” Print headline: Neighborhood business; In the age of e-commerce and low prices at big-box stores, is OKC supporting local retailers?

    Oklahoma Gazette / 2 d. 13 h. 17 min. ago more
  • Cover: Oklahoma Gazette explores the different ways Oklahomans celebrate the seasonCover: Oklahoma Gazette explores the different ways Oklahomans celebrate the season

    Contrary to the consumerist notion of the season, nothing about the holidays is monolithic. As more people from different countries and religions make Oklahoma City their home, they bring with them ideas and rituals that make life richer.Even then, individual cultures and belief systems contain multitudes. Variations exist in the way people celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah that scarcely resemble conventional ideas about any of the holidays, and these annual celebrations are taking place among our friends, neighbors and co-workers this season.Michael Washington has been celebrating Kwanzaa since 1977. (Provided)Self-preserving celebrationIt is not Michael Washington’s goal to replace Christmas but to focus the local black community on promoting its own heritage, culture and economic development.The concept of Kwanzaa is taught to many children during the holiday season, though often without much substantive depth. Washington, a social and political activist in Oklahoma City, said most people have only a vague understanding of the seven-day African-American holiday that runs Dec. 26-Jan. 1 each year.Kwanzaa (taken from a Swahili phrase meaning “first fruits of the harvest”) was first observed in the 1966-67 holiday season. Maulana Karenga, an African-American author and academic, founded the celebration as an opportunity for black Americans to celebrate their African culture and ancestry.Many, but not all, of the contemporary black families who observe Kwanzaa also celebrate Christmas.Washington has personally been observing Kwanzaa since 1977. He said while the Christmas and holiday season is a great financial benefit to large corporations and consumerism, Kwanzaa is a time to for black people to invest in their own communities.“It’s an African-American holiday that is designed not necessarily to offset the Christmas season,” he said, “but to show, ‘OK, this money is being spent on Christmas and things, but what are you doing for yourself?’ Self-economics, self-preservation, self-awareness.”Washington is founder of the nonprofit Empower People, Inc., a group that caters to a wide variety of community needs. The organization has hosted a Kwanzaa celebration for the past seven years.This year’s celebration begins 5:30 p.m. Dec. 26 at Oklahoma Black Museum and Performing Arts Center, 4701 N. Lincoln Blvd. The night of education, entertainment, poems, African art, refreshments and more is free and open to all.“We’re a multicultural group, and we want multicultural people to come in so they can learn and tell their children or whoever what’s going on,” Washington said. “It’s not just black folks; it’s anybody that feels like they need to know about us.”The most important part of Kwanzaa is the acknowledgement of its seven core principles, known collectively as Nguzo Saba. Each day in the weeklong observance stands for one of the principles, which include unity, self-determination, responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.Gifts are often given, and revelers join in a communal feast called karamu. As each day passes, observers light a new candle on the traditional kinara, similar to the menorah used in Jewish Hanukkah celebrations.Washington said black attendees to the community Kwanzaa celebration are encouraged to dress in traditional garb. Those who would like to share a statement of Kwanzaa — or anything about black culture — are welcome to do so.“If you can come in and talk about black history with us, well, that’s what Kwanzaa is,” Washington said. “It’s African-American culture and heritage.”Washington said he commonly hears Kwanzaa called a “black thing” or that it somehow goes against the fundamentals of what the country was founded upon. His goal with hosting a community celebration is to help people realize the true meaning of the observance.“It’s about trying to erase the racism that raises its ugly head every time you turn the TV on,” he said.While Empower People’s community Kwanzaa celebration is limited to just one day due to funding, Washington is hoping to connect with other city organizations that would like to cooperatively join forces to host a full seven days.Those who would like to know more about why Kwanzaa is celebrated are encouraged to do their own research online. Or, better yet, join Washington and the community for a night of togetherness and understanding.“I want you to come together with me,” he said. “Let’s eat. Let’s celebrate the fruits of fresh harvest.”The Chavez family of south Oklahoma City spends Christmas Eve with members of their extended family for a traditional Posada celebration that includes re-enacting Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. (Laura Eastes)Traditional PosadaIn south Oklahoma City, the Chavez home shines bright with thousands of Christmas lights during the holidays. The brilliant yet warm lights welcome the Chavez’ family and friends to their beautifully decorated home for the season — even the couple’s youngest daughter decked her room with garland and a nutcracker toy soldier.In the living room, a Christmas tree stands tall and regal next to the nacimiento, the main attraction. The word “nacimiento” means “nativity scene” in Spanish; in the tradition, Mary and Joseph are joined by shepherds, angels and animals around the miracle that took place in a Bethlehem stable: the birth of Jesus Christ.Once the nacimiento comes out for the holiday season, the questions begin from the couple’s four children, explained Sanjuana Chavez.“All of our kids are ready,” Sanjuana said. “Every December, they say, ‘When are we going to do this? Are we going to go to my grandmother’s house?’”The questions hint at Las Posadas, a well-known tradition rooted in the nativity story and celebrated in counties like Mexico and Guatemala. For the Chavez family, along with Sanjuana’s parents and her eight siblings and their families, Las Posadas is celebrated on Christmas Eve when the family comes together to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ with song and prayer. It’s a tradition that began when Sanjuana and her siblings were growing up in Mexico and continued in Oklahoma when the family arrived decades ago.Las Posadas is a way to share and celebrate the family’s Christian faith and heritage as well as come together as a family on Christmas Eve, explained Sanjuana.In this tradition, Mary and Joseph’s difficult journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem and their search for a place to stay is re-enacted. Posada means “inn” in Spanish. At Sanjuana’s parent’s home, Las Posadas begins with Mary and Joseph, played by two family members, leading a procession of other family members carrying candles. Outside the house, Mary and Joseph sing a song in Spanish, asking to enter, while the family inside responds singing the part of an innkeeper saying that there is no room. The song switches back and forth a few times until finally, an innkeeper welcomes Mary and Joseph.Once inside, the festivities begin as Mary and Joseph take their place with baby Jesus, a small porcelain figure that rests in a manger as an angel looks on. A line forms with family members on their knees to greet and welcome Jesus, the newborn king. The youngest children represent pastorelas (Spanish for “shepherds”). During this time, the devil works the room with a trident, poking family members as they sing praises.The celebration continues as the family enjoys their Posada dinner, which includes Hispanic dishes like tamales and a special punch made with typical Mexican fruits. After dinner, the family begins striking a piñata with seven corners, each representing the Seven Deadly Sins. The beating of the piñata symbolizes the “destruction of evil and the triumph of good,” explained the Chavez’ eldest daughter Samantha.At midnight, family members exchange gifts through Secret Santa.While other Oklahoma City families of Mexican and Guatemalan heritage celebrate Las Posadas at Christmas with a feast and a piñata, the Chavez children explained they have yet to meet another family who celebrates by re-enacting Mary and Joseph’s journey.“We have been told we are a unique family because of the way we all get together and celebrate,” Samantha said. “We get requests from people to join. We’ve never shut anyone out. We are a big family, but we’ve also invited family friends and people who want to be there.”As the children share about past Las Posadas, Sanjuana beamed with pride over how her three daughters and son shared the Christmas and expressed eagerness to continue the tradition for the next generations.Neric, the couple’s son, explained it was an honor to be selected for the part of Joseph last year. Recalling past Las Posadas reminded him and his sisters of what the true meaning of Christmas really is and the blessing that is the love of a family.“We can all celebrate in unity,” Neric said. “With our family, we all don’t live together and we only see each other every so often. The time we spend together on Christmas Eve and Christmas is cherished, and we have fun.”Rabbi Abby Jacobson from Emanuel Synagogue engages in nontraditional food for Hanukkah. (Gazette / file)Worldwide HanukkahAs the Jewish faith celebrates Hanukkah Dec. 12-20, the commemoration of a single day’s worth of oil keeping the menorah in Jerusalem’s Holy Temple lit for eight days following Judah the Maccabee’s defeat of the Syrian-Greeks, it is quite customary to enjoy food fried or baked in oil.For Abby Jacobson, rabbi at Emmanuel Synagogue, quite often, this tradition meant entirely too many latkes (fried potato pancakes). After she met her husband while studying in Israel, she realized that the holiday didn’t have to be all latkes all the time, and it has led to an interesting family tradition.Jacobson’s husband Juan Mejia is also a rabbi. Mejia grew up in Bogotá, Colombia, intending to become a monk until he discovered Jewish heritage, according to a 2013 story in The Oklahoman. Mejia is now coordinator for Be’chol Lashon, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that reaches out to underrepresented areas to help people connect to Judaism.While the couple met and married in Israel, Jacobson, who grew up on a cattle ranch as one of the few Jewish families in her central Florida county, said she was exposed to a “a patchwork quilt of Jewish traditions.”“I was exposed to people who are open enough about their Judaism to say ‘I’m bored with latkes,’” Jacobson said. “Growing up, we’d cling to things like latkes as symbols of a larger Jewish community that we didn’t have access to.”The family’s new tradition means they still eat latkes, but only once during the eight-day celebration. They fry a different food every night, honoring Mejia’s Colombian heritage by having buñuelos, a cheese-filled dough treat similar to a hushpuppy, one night and egg rolls handmade by the couple’s children another night.“It makes Hanukkah richer than it was before,” Jacobson said of the new family tradition.As president of Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma, Jacobson invites friends and family from all backgrounds to celebrate in their home.“The intensive ritual part is only five minutes long, so the rest of the time, it’s about spending time with each other,” she said. “We try to include as many people as we can because it’s fun for us and everyone.”Oklahoma City’s largest Hanukkah ceremony began with a menorah lighting ceremony yesterday downtown. The ceremony has been sponsored by Chabad Community Center for Jewish Life and Learning for the last five years.Rabbi Ovadia Goldman said the ceremony is one he looks forward to every year as a symbol to find commonality between faiths.“The menorah is a symbol of the first historical fight of the nation of our people for freedom from oppression and tyranny,” Goldman said. “As an American citizen, I find it to be an amazing thing that we’re able to get together and celebrate.”Over the holiday, Chabad sponsors a menorah car that drives to communities across Oklahoma with smaller Jewish populations to bring cheer to families.“If there is anyone in the Jewish community that needs materials like menorah candles or instructions or would like one of the rabbinical interns to be there to celebrate anywhere in Oklahoma, we’d be happy to help,” Goldman said. Print headline: Heritage holidays; Oklahoma Gazette explores the different ways Oklahomans celebrate the season.

    Oklahoma Gazette / 2 d. 13 h. 17 min. ago more
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  • DNA Galleries’ upcoming exhibit aims to provide gift-givers and local art lovers with the perfect solution to holiday shoppingDNA Galleries’ upcoming exhibit aims to provide gift-givers and local art lovers with the perfect solution to holiday shopping

    The Art Market features embroidery produced by Cecilia Otero. (DNA Galleries / provided)Holiday gift-giving can sometimes amount to wandering aimlessly around, waiting for inspiration to strike. With its December exhibit, DNA Galleries hopes to make this process easier by providing a place where inspiration has already struck.The Art Market: Locally Made, Gift Inspired Works opened Dec. 7 at DNA Galleries, 1709 NW 16th St., and runs through Jan. 7.The exhibit’s genesis was the holiday season.“Every month, we do a new art show, and this month, we decided since it’s close to the holidays, we’ll do a small works show with things that could be giftable,” said Jackie Teague Wentz, marketing director and assistant art director at DNA Galleries.“The Art Market is an idea that Jackie and I tossed around, creating the idea that one can afford art and be able to give it as a gift. We suggested to the artists that $50 and under is a good price point to start,” said Lindsay Harkness, owner and manager of DNA Galleries.Work from six artists is on display in The Art Market. Anna Heston and Liz Boudreaux will display ceramics, as will Cecilia Otero, who will also feature embroidery. Reagan Cloiber’s mixed-media embroidery incorporates paint. Craig Proper’s work includes minimalist modern ceramics, and Erin Merryweather features encaustics work (painting with hot wax).Many of the artists featured in The Art Market have participated in group shows previously or regularly display their work at DNA. Since the initial exhibit inspiration, The Art Market’s focus has expanded to include a greater variety of works in different media.“It started with an idea of ceramics, because those are good giftable things,” Teague Wentz said, “plates, mugs, vases, cool sculptures.”By focusing on “functional art” like ceramics, The Art Market bridges the divide between art and everyday objects, a fusion that prizes accessibility and affordability. Teague Wentz said purchasing handmade pieces often feels more special than shopping for mass-produced items.“You can see who you’re supporting, and you can get to know them and support their dreams,” Teague Wentz said. “I just think that’s really cool, to buy things from small makers that you can know personally in our community.”In addition to featuring ceramic works on the exhibit shelves, Teague Wentz said that she and Harkness wanted to display art on the gallery’s main wall.“Normally, we have painters or photographers or illustrators, and so this is just a little bit different,” Teague Wentz said of The Art Market’s embroidered and encaustic pieces.The Art Market features ceramics produced by Craig Proper. (DNA Galleries / provided)Uncovering collectorsThe show also differs from DNA’s other monthly exhibits in that patrons will be able to purchase and take home pieces on the same day, Harkness said.“Normally, you have to wait a month and then you come back and get it,” Harkness said.Consequently, Teague Wentz said that the exhibit will change over the course of the month. The transient, shifting nature of the exhibit also serves to connect burgeoning art collectors or gift-givers with their pieces more immediately.Teague Wentz and Harkness both said the gallery focuses on beginning collectors, selling smaller, more contemporary works under certain price thresholds as a way of encouraging those who are new to purchasing art.“Our goal here at the shop is that everyone can afford something, whether it be a $3 sticker that an artist created or an original on the wall,” Harkness said. “Art can be affordable. You don’t need a million dollars to buy local art.”Harkness herself has roots in the Oklahoma City art scene, participating in The Girlie Show and photographing different historical sites in Oklahoma. The owner of DNA Galleries since January, Harkness said exhibits like The Art Market have a communal, collaborative nature.“You literally are supporting a community of people who truly believe in what they’re doing and making Oklahoma so unique,” Harkness said.In addition to supporting local artists, Harkness highlighted the importance of inspiration and creativity.“It’s about engaging people to just be creative, to just make things, whatever that is. … Just make it, and don’t worry if you’re doing it right or wrong,” she said.Collecting or making art (and doing holiday shopping) can occasionally feel intimidating.“Start where you can,” Harkness said.Visit dnagalleries.com. Print headline: Gallery gifting, DNA Galleries’ upcoming exhibit aims to provide gift-givers and local art lovers with the perfect solution to holiday shopping.

    Oklahoma Gazette / 3 d. 13 h. 12 min. ago more
  • Prairie Artisan Ales expands into Oklahoma City as it becomes the first tenant to open in 8th Street MarketPrairie Artisan Ales expands into Oklahoma City as it becomes the first tenant to open in 8th Street Market

    Prairie Artisan Ales’ taproom features beer not available anywhere else. (Jacob Threadgill)The award-winning product of Prairie Artisan Ales is available around the world, but until recently, fans had to go to its Tulsa brewpub or production facility in Krebs to get a taste of its new beer.Prairie Artisan Ales opened its first Oklahoma City taproom Nov. 15 at 3 NE Eighth St., becoming the first business to open in the 8th Street Market building, which operators envision as a market hall retail concept patterned after successful models in Denver and New York.The taproom has 16 total taps and currently features 10 beers, about six of which have never seen wide distribution. For instance, the taproom opened with Cinnamon Pecan Bomb!, a seasonal variety of its Bomb!, which has a sterling score of 99 out of 100 on Beer Advocate.Previously, Cinnamon Pecan Bomb! had only been unveiled for a party at its Krebs facility.“Unless you were one of the few hundred people there that day, you haven’t seen it before,” Greg Powell, the taproom’s manager, said. “Everyone down there loved it, and it’s been a huge hit for us here too.” Market Hall conceptThe November opening was the culmination of a 16-month process to open in the former storage facility warehouse, which was purchased by developers Patrick Murnan, Brandon Lodge and Cale Coulter in early 2016 for $1.2 million, according to The Oklahoman.“We bought the building because we believed in the area and really liked what Oklahoma City was doing in the urban core, but at first, we really didn’t have a plan for the premise,” Murnan said in an interview with Oklahoma Gazette.He said they knew the market wanted a retail space in the burgeoning Automobile Alley neighborhood but the building’s dimensions didn’t exactly lend itself to a traditional retail model. That’s when a friend suggested the group tour Denver’s The Source and New York City’s Chelsea Market, where retail, restaurant and office space co-mingle in an open-air setting.“We were skeptical because Oklahoma City didn’t have anything like this,” Murnan said. “We went to The Source in Denver and loved it. It helped sell us on the idea of a market hall.”The building’s renovation, which finished in July, installed roll-up doors and large windows, which bring natural light into a central pedestrian corridor. It also added a second-floor mezzanine, which Murnan said could be perfect for coffee shops or other food space.The group recently secured a deal with Key Construction, a Kansas company, to house its Oklahoma City offices in the market. Key has been active in the metro area, building Warren Theatre in Moore, among other projects.Murnan said 8th Street Market will focus on either local companies or those that do a lot of business in Oklahoma.“Sears will never come in here,” he said.The taproom is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. (Jacob Threadgill)Brewery influenceWith Prairie Artisan Ales in place, Murnan said he wants the taproom’s funky and fun design, which features pink fluorescent lights and artwork from Prairie’s co-founder Colin Healey, to anchor a wider aesthetic for the hall.“I think being the first business on this end of the street is pretty cool,” Powell said. “We’ve seen it in Oklahoma City for the last 20 years. The first person that goes in on a street, and the next thing that you know, the street is full of development.”Prairie installed six fermenters and seven bright tanks for brewmasters Reed Jaskula and Kevin Kristek, who relocated from Ohio for the project, to work.“The fun aspect of this place is that we have freedom to experiment and try new styles that wouldn’t be available in the standard portfolio,” Jaskula said. “We’re proud and excited to be part of the movement in this area. We’re pulling out all the stops.”The taproom is currently open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. seven days a week. Powell said that will likely expand when the new alcohol law takes effect in 2018 and when the market hall adds other businesses that complement the taproom, which doesn’t serve food.“I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to stay open until 2 a.m., but it would be nice to have the option,” Powell said.Brothers Chase and Colin Healey founded prairie Artisan Ales in Tulsa. Krebs Brewing Co., brewers of Choc beer, purchased Prairie in 2016. Krebs Brewing Co. President Zach Prichard has overseen an expansion of the brand, which has a worldwide reach.International sales account for 5 percent of Prairie’s profits, and Prichard has overseen the opening of a brewpub in Tulsa, the taproom in Oklahoma City and the construction of a new brewery in Krebs, according to Tulsa World.Print headline: Taproom trendsetters; Prairie Artisan Ales expands into Oklahoma City as it becomes the first tenant to open in 8th Street Market.

    Oklahoma Gazette / 3 d. 13 h. 13 min. ago more
  • AAA’s zero proof ‘Mocktail’ recipes can be the life of the partyAAA’s zero proof ‘Mocktail’ recipes can be the life of the party

    Local bartenders competed to produce original, festive recipes for zero-proof beverages during the AAA Great Pretenders Mocktail Mix-Off held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, in Tulsa. Photo courtesy of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. By Darla Shelden City Sentinel Newspaper TULSA, OK – Last month AAA Oklahoma held its annual Great Pretenders Mocktail Mix-Off at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tulsa. Local bartenders competed to produce original, holiday recipes for zero-proof beverages. The winning drinks were selected by a panel of 5 local celebrity judges:  ABEL Commissioner Lieutenant Erik Smoot; Newson6 anchor Lori Fullbright; Mayor Coby Jenkins, from the Rogers County Sheriff’s office; City of Catoosa Chief of Police Kevin McKim; and Vice Mayor of the City of Catoosa, Thomas Sweet. “After the mixologists were finished, our judges made their way to sip each of their concoctions and rated them according to these four factors: the name of the drink, its appearance, its taste and its originality,” said Mark Madeja, Senior Specialist, Public and Government Affairs, AAA Oklahoma. First Place winners were Colby Poulin and Shane Melton, representing Iguana Mexican Grill in Oklahoma City.  Second Place went to Shirley Baker, representing the Tulsa Elks Lodge.  The Third Place winner was Rachelle Bailey, representing Boots & Diamonds Saloon, Tulsa. The winning bartenders took home prize money totaling $2,000.

The event was sponsored by AAA of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission (ABEL), the Stop DUI Task Force and the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Tulsa. “It’s a fun way to focus on a serious problem: drinking and driving,” said. Madeja. “This is the first year we’ve had the event in Tulsa and it was a huge success. Madeja said they approached Tulsa’s Hard Rock Hotel and Casino after it received the American Automobile Association’s prestigious Four Diamond Rating earlier this year. “They were enthusiastic to get involved and made the Mocktail Mix-Off a real event,” Madeja said. Presenting these zero proof ‘mocktails’ AAA aims to reduce the number of alcohol-related crashes (and deaths) during the holidays. “In Oklahoma, some 35 percent of motor vehicle crashes are alcohol-related. That jumps to 40 percent during the holidays,” Madeja stated. Recipes for the 2017 winning Mocktails: 1st Place –  The Panche Rusa
by by Colby Poulin & Shane Melton, representing Iguana Mexican Grill, Oklahoma City 1 1/3 cup fresh chilled grapefruit juice 1 1/3 cup fresh chilled orange juice 3/4 cup fresh chilled lime juice 1 pineapple cut into medium-sized cubes & skewered with jicama 1 jicama cut into medium-sized cubes & skewered with pineapple 1 cucumber cut into 4” long spears, or just enough to stick up over glassware” 1 grapefruit cut into half moons
1 lime cut into wheels Grapefruit soda Tajin Classico Seasoning Chamoy Tamarind candy straw with end cut off Instructions:  Take the skewered fruit & cucumber spears & freeze for 5-6 hours before serving. Use as ice cubes as well as a tasty treat; feel free to experiment with all types of fruits & vegetables; oranges work well too. (If preferred, use regular ice cubes & just use fruit as garnish). When ready to serve combine the freshly juiced citrus into a punch bowl or a large serving bowl. Grab some fun glassware such as a Cantarito mug. Pour some Chamoy onto a plate; on a separate plate pour some Tajin Seasoning.  Easily rim the glass with Chamoy, & then, immediately dunk the rimmed glass into the Tajin Seasoning. Place a skewer or two of frozen fruit & one cucumber spear in glass. Ladle the fresh citrus juice into glass until about half full. Top with your choice of grapefruit soda. Garnish with grapefruit, lime, & tamarind straw. 
2nd Place – The Tree Topper
 by Shirley Baker, representing the Tulsa Elks Lodge 2 cups mint chocolate chip ice cream 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream 1/4 cup ginger ale Instructions:  Pulse in blender till smooth. Pour into martini glass rimmed with mint extract & dipped in crushed chocolate cookie crumbs. Add a small amount of whipping cream in center & sprinkle with crushed candy cane. 3rd Place –  The Ho Ho Hold the Booze Cider  
 by Rachelle Bailey, representing Boots & Diamonds Saloon, Tulsa
 3 cups real cranberries 4 Granny Smith apples 1 lemon ½ ounce cinnamon 4 tablespoons sugar
5 cups water 1 gallon apple cider Caramel 
Instructions:  Bring cranberries, water, apples, sugar & cinnamon to boil. Rim glass with caramel. Squeeze lemon juice in glass, fill 1/3 with cider. Fill the rest with boiled fruit & water. Garnish with apple slice. In addition to the Mocktail recipes, the holiday brochure recommends that participants practice AAA’s “ABCs of Party Giving” which includes Alcohol Alertness, Buffet recommendations and Carpooling information. 
A – Alcohol Alertness 
- Ask each group of guests to pre-plan for a designated driver who will enjoy the delicious non-alcoholic drinks you provide and drive the group home.
- Collect all drivers’ keys in a bowl when guests arrive.
- Mix drinks yourself; avoid open bars.
- Limit mixing drinks with carbonated beverages; they increase alcohol absorption.
- Close your bar 90 minutes before your party is over. Don’t offer, “one for the road.” B – Buffet 
- Serve high-protein foods (meats & cheeses). Cheese fondues and cheese balls are good, too. They stay in the stomach longer and slow down intoxication. The same goes for starchy foods like mashed potatoes and beans.
- Go light on salty foods. They make guests thirsty and speed up intoxication. Offer raw veggies and low-salt crackers. C – Carpool 
– Only TIME can make guests sober – not coffee or cold showers. It takes about 1 hour to burn off an average drink, 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer or 1 ½ ounces of liquor. They all contain about the same amount of alcohol.
- Designate someone who’s not drinking to assess guests when they are ready to leave and make sure they are not intoxicated. The ‘roadwise’ host is in charge of the bowl of keys and hands them out only to those who aren’t showing signs of intoxication.
- Guests who are sleepy, giddy, overly talkative or uncoordinated are under the influence. Arrange rides for them or invite them to sleep over. If guests get irate, ‘hide’ their keys until they find a ride home.
- The first ability affected by alcohol is judgment and decision-making. For some people, it only takes one drink for reflexes and judgment needed for driving to be impaired. It’s not a weakness. It’s a reality.
- If a guest would be unsafe behind the wheel, call a cab, Uber or AAA Tipsy Tow (12/15 – 1/2). Following AAA’s ABCs can help make sure your guests get home safely when the party is over. “A host who feels like he has lost a friend one night will have an even better friend the next morning,” according to AAA. For this year’s holiday celebrations designated drivers are a great idea. AAA Oklahoma’s free Tipsy Tow service will be available beginning Friday, December 15 at 2 p.m. through Monday, January 1 at 4 a.m. Call 800-222-4357 (AAA-HELP) and ask for Tipsy Tow. AAA will take you and your vehicle home – up to 15 miles from point of pick-up. “The first ability affected by alcohol is judgment and decision-making,” said Leslie Gamble, AAA Oklahoma Public and Government Affairs Manager. “For some people, it only takes one drink for reflexes and judgment needed for driving to be impaired. It’s not a weakness. It’s a reality.” AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than 400,000 members in Oklahoma.  The organization advocates for the safety and mobility of its members for more than 100 years. For more information, visit AAA.com. Mark Madeja, Senior Specialist, Public and Government Affairs, AAA Oklahoma (center) with winners of the 2017 AAA Great Pretenders Mocktail Mix-Off (from left) Rachelle Bailey (3rd place); Colby Poulin and Shane Melton (1st place); and Shirley Baker (2nd place). Photo courtesy of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The winning bartenders of the 2017 AAA Great Pretenders Mocktail Mix-Off took home prize money totaling $2,000. Photo courtesy of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Winners and judges of the 2017 AAA Great Pretenders Mocktail Mix-Off included: (L-R) Kevin McKim, Chief of Police of Catoosa (judge); Shirley Baker (2nd place winner), Rachelle Bailey (3rd place winner); Lieutenant Erik Smoot, ABEL Commission (judge), NewsOn6 anchor, Lori Fulbright (judge); Colby Poulin and Shane Melton (1st place winners), Mayor Coy Jenkins, Rogers County Sheriff’s Office (judge), and Vice Mayor Thomas Sweet, City of Catoosa. Photo courtesy of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Other Mocktail 2017 contestant recipes. Photo provided.

    The City Sentinel / 3 d. 13 h. 41 min. ago more
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    From left: Seen with the new xylophone funded by the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools Partners in Action projects are: (from left) Brad Herzer, OKCPS Deputy Chief of Schools; Alta Price, Manager of Outreach and Programs with the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools; Corey Robinson; Zalee Robinson; Princess Berry; DJ Carter, Star Spencer Band Director; Quenton Frederick, Jamari Carter, Victoria Birney, Bill Caldwell: Brian Hinson, Star Spencer Principal; and Verna Martin, the Instructional Leadership Director. Photo provided. By Darla Shelden City Sentinel Reporter OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Star Spencer High School students were the honored recipients of brand new band instruments earlier this week. The gift was funded by a donation given to the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools in the amount of $5,000. The donor, who wished to remain anonymous, is a former ConocoPhillips employee. In turn, the company matched his contribution through their matching gift program for a total of $10,000. The donation was specified to be used to fund several Partners in Action projects across the district.  

The largest project funded through this donation, valued at $4,500, is designated for the band instruments for Star Spencer High School. Star Spencer will use the funds to purchase three percussion instruments, and repair an additional seven instruments. “On behalf of Star Spencer High School, Star Spencer Band, and the Spencer community, thank you for your donation,” said Star Spencer Principal Brian Hinson. “The instruments will make a positive difference for the Star Spencer Band and the community. Our high school has a strong band alumni following and a legacy of success. With this support, we look forward to once again having a competitive band program.” Star Spencer Band Director, Dorian Carter, said he was thankful for the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools and for the private donor’s generous gift to the school and band program. 

“This wonderful gift will impact approximately 85 students from grades 6-12 in the Midwest City/Spencer area,” Carter said. “With this gift, we were able to get many instruments fixed, as well as to purchase a new Xylophone and a new set of concert level bells, which this school has never owned until now. This donation will allow us to continue our efforts to create a respectable and competitive band program for years to come.” The Foundation for OKCPS and OKCPS manages the Partners in Action initiative to provide the infrastructure to develop community partners for every school.   According to a press release, it is “through the gift of time, talent, and treasure community partners can have a lasting impact on every classroom within OKCPS. “We are very thankful for this generous donation,” said OKCPS Superintendent, Aurora Lora. “Music is a vital part of students’ education. By playing an instrument, our kids are developing multiple skills sets and learning the importance of discipline, practice and dedication. Home of the Bobcats, Star Spencer High School is located at 3001 N. Spencer Road, In Spencer, Oklahoma. “Due to the generosity of anonymous donors, we are able to provide Spencer High School with new band instruments,” said Mary Melon, President & CEO of the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools. “Their contribution has also supported numerous other Partners in Action projects in several schools. We appreciate them and all of our donors for recognizing the needs within Oklahoma City Public Schools for making such meaningful contributions to the district. “It is more important than ever for our schools to feel supported by the community,” Melon added. “We hope this spirit of giving and support inspires others within our community to become a Partner in Action and get involved with our schools.” For more information, visit www.okckids.com/partnersinaction. DJ Carter, Star Spencer Band Director (at left0 with students. Photo provided. DJ Carter, Star Spencer Band Director playing the new xylophone. Photo provided.

    The City Sentinel / 4 d. 13 h. 49 min. ago more
  • Mural at former OKC Public School Administration Building asks “For My Future I Want….”Mural at former OKC Public School Administration Building asks “For My Future I Want….”

    Six women created a large photo mural installation to hang outside the former OKC Public School Administration Building that asks, “For My Future I Want….” Facebook photo By Darla Shelden City Sentinel Reporter OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – A group of Oklahoma City women have worked together to plan, develop and execute the installation of a large scale photo mural, named “Our Voice. Our Future. OKC.” The project is comprised of numerous 2×3’ printed photos of students, parents, teachers, administrators, and community members. 

Each person in the mural is holding a sign that has their personal answer to the question: “For my future I want …..” As the idea developed, the group focused its efforts on the Oklahoma City Public Schools system. The recently closed 122,000 square foot, former middle school at 900 N Klein was selected as the perfect symbolic site for the mural. Vacated last June, the empty facility was the former Oklahoma City Public Schools Administration building from 1955-2017. The mural hangs along the 8 ft high fencing that surrounds the property. The group of women responsible for the installation includes Caitlin Redding Taylor, mixed media artist; Courtney Morton, Digital Communications Manager for Oklahoma City Public Schools; Elizabeth Chappell, certified chef and caterer; Maria Mancebo, youth advocate and board member for AIDS Walk Oklahoma City; Sara Maynard Moehle, sculptor and photographer; and Suzie Loveless, executive administrator at the Giving Initiative; all Oklahoma City residents. “The mural is specifically placed around the former Administration building,” said Caitlin. “It’s now just an abandoned school building that our own administrators can’t afford to stay in. It should speak volumes to legislators who are continually cutting budgets to public education. The mural is facing east, directed at the state capital.” Mancebo added, “I believe everyone should have the right to quality education. When we devalue or make it harder to attain quality education, it hurts us all. The threats to education we are seeing today will have negative consequences on economic opportunities and health for individuals, families and the communities at large. I think this project gives voice back to those impacted most and sends the message that we care about OKC and we need to show our students, families and educators that we care about them too.” The Oklahoma City Public School system has faced repeated school closures and loss of staff and faculty due to lack of funding. The group believes this project puts faces with the problem and educates citizens, community leaders and legislators about who this affects. “It is often said that ‘Children are our future,’ but funding to educate ‘our future’ is significantly reduced year after year,” said Taylor, “Our future needs a voice. This is it.” The first project by the Creative Arts Group out of Possibilities Innovation Program Class of 2017,  highlights the hopes of individuals impacted by public education in Oklahoma City. The mural is the group’s way to engage and empower the community through thought provoking and inclusive public art. “I wanted to be involved in the ‘Our Voice. Our Future. OKC’ project because I wanted to help elevate the voices of parents, students, and community members and change the conversation about what’s possible for OKC,” Loveless said. The group of women met in September 2016 as members of Possibilities Innovation Program (PIP). PIP grows leadership skills with tools that transform communities. PIP asks all members, known as Community Innovators, to develop, plan, and execute a major project that will positively impact the community. “Working for OKCPS has exposed me to the true struggle of education institutions in Oklahoma,” said Morton. “I chose to be a part of this project in an attempt to educate the community about the needs of our students, teachers and staff. The kids walking the halls in our schools want good things in their future. Our installation shouts that for them; and more than anything, they deserve it.” The women worked with Independent School District 89, the OKC Arts Commission, and the City of Oklahoma City for approval and permits. “The installation will remain up until it completely weathers away,” Caitlin added. “Being wheatpaste, it will fade and weather; something we hope for. We think the faded faces will make a statement alone.” The mural was made possible with contributions received from Vox Printing Rebuilding Together; and Possibilities, Inc.; and individual donors. 
To learn more about Our Voice. Our Future. OKC, call 405-474-7240 or visit the Our Voice Facebook page. Creators of the mural “Our Voice, Our Future OKC” believe it puts faces to the education issue. Facebook photo The mural hangs along the 8 ft high fencing that surrounds the the former Oklahoma City Public Schools Administration building. Facebook photo. The Oklahoma City women that created the “Our Voice. Our Future. OKC” mural include (from left) Suzie Loveless, Elizabeth Chappell, Caitlin Redding Taylor, Courtney Morton and Maria Mancebo. Not pictured is Sara Maynard Moehle. Photos provided. The Mural at former OKC Public School Administration Building asks “For My Future I Want….” Facebook photo  

    The City Sentinel / 4 d. 14 h. 16 min. ago more
  • Cutting Non-Teaching Personnel Could Mean Teacher RaisesCutting Non-Teaching Personnel Could Mean Teacher Raises

    Public education revenues have risen from $7.40 billion in 2006 to $8.79 billion in 2016 fueled largely by increases in local revenue sources . File photo Education resources questioned; experts recommend path to reform Stacy Martin, Investigative Reporter OKLAHOMA CITY – Use of state education resources are being questioned amid findings that public school spending is nearing an all-time high. Public education revenues have risen from $7.40 billion in 2006 to $8.79 billion in 2016 fueled largely by increases in local revenue sources rather than state appropriations, according to public records. Experts see confusion caused by people talking about revenues interchangeably with appropriations. “But even appropriations are pretty stable,” said Curtis Shelton, policy research fellow for the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. So where is all the money going? Analysts say that school administrators are wasting money on special programs and “non-teachers.” A report by Dr. Benjamin Scafidi, professor of economics at Kennesaw State University, recently showed Oklahoma now employs more non-teaching personnel than teachers, as Shelton pointed out. Jonathan Small, president of OCPA, observed, “We could have already given every public school teacher in Oklahoma a $7,042 raise if we had simply increased our non-teaching staff growth at the same rate as our student enrollment growth.” Using the data that the Oklahoma State Department of Education reports to the U.S. Department of Education, Scafidi found that between fiscal years 1993 and 2014 enrollment in Oklahoma public schools increased by 14 percent. The number of teachers rose by a comparable 13 percent. But non-teaching school staffs soared a dramatic 34 percent. “We’re actually quite a bit above average when it comes to non-teaching personnel,” Shelton said. “That’s a big area where the money is going.“ Public records show the average Oklahoma teacher’s compensation is $45,245 compared with a regional average of $48,103. The beginning teachers pay of $31,600 hasn’t been increased since 2008. That is the number that draws attention. But public records show that nearly half of the state’s 41,047 teachers have taught 20 years or more, placing them at the upper end of the wage scale. Another analyst more sharply criticized the way schools are run. “We seem to be, compared with other states, misallocating resources,”said Byron Schlomach, director of the 1889 Institute, a conservative think tank. “Public education is absolutely rife with waste,” he said. “It’s so corrupt that they don’t even know it. “All these superintendents, and these boards education, just got used to wasting resources. And I consider it a type of corruption. “The kind of waste I’m talking about is kind of hard to put your finger on. It’s sort of ‘death by a thousand cuts’ kind of waste. They get hung up on ideologies rather than what works in the classroom. In my opinion, they have too many counselors for example. They have too many principals.” Additionally, he said too much funding is being thrown at Pre-K and kindergarten programs. Oklahoma is only one of a handful of states that offers universal Pre-K. “There is a lot going on in school funding…such that the system is being horribly gamed,” said Schlomach. “So, I have a hard time taking anybody seriously.” He called the so-called teacher shortage “a red herring” or at most, “trivial.” “I’ll know there is a teacher shortage when school administrators radically reorder how they use resources. When they start complaining, they’re not able to get their core mission accomplished. That’s when I’ll know there is a true teacher shortage.” Gov. Mary Fallin recently issued an executive order directing the State Department of Education to determine a definition of administrative overhead in schools, and directing the department to identify high-administrative cost school districts with an eye towards consolidation.There are currently 513 school districts across the state, a number many consider excessive. Fallin’s order is “way long overdue,” said Schlomach. NOTE: Stacy Martin is an experienced, award-winning investigative journalist. www.CapitolBeatOK.com Investigative reporter, Stacy Martin. File Photo

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