Top Stories

  • Teacher shortage continues in Tulsa

    BY ANDREA EGER, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Feb 27, 2014

    The Tulsa school board on Thursday continued its study of the school district’s teacher shortage and strategies to address it. Nearly 400 teachers retired or resigned from Tulsa Public Schools in 2012-13, and the district began the current academic year short-handed and never caught up. “We started the year with 49 vacancies. The lowest we dropped to was 30, and we currently have 37,” Chief Human Capital Officer Talia Shaull told the board at a special meeting. Read the rest of this story at .

  • Reported shooting at Oklahoma radio station was a hoax

    Published: Wed, Feb 26, 2014

    KVOO personnel are saying a report of a shooting at their studio was a prank call, and Tulsa police are no longer at the scene. Read the rest of this story at .

  • Agency identified 17 hate groups, 15 patriot groups in Oklahoma

    Published: Tue, Feb 25, 2014

    The Southern Poverty Law Center’s latest statistics counted 17 hate groups and 15 “patriot groups” in Oklahoma last year, which officials said during a news conference Tuesday is part of the agency’s recording of downward trends of the existence of such groups around the country. The center’s “Year in Hate and Extremism” report, released Tuesday, states there were 939 classified hate groups in the United States in 2013, down 7 percent from a year ago. Also, patriot groups, defined by the SPLC as those promoting anti-government movements, saw a 20 percent decrease from 2012’s all-time high of 1,360, said SPLC senior fellow Mark Potok, who edited this year’s report. Read the rest of this story at .

  • Former officer enters no-contest plea to soliciting prostitution

    BY SAMANTHA VICENT, Tulsa World | Published: Tue, Feb 25, 2014

    A former Tulsa police officer charged with soliciting prostitution near a local church last year pleaded no contest in Tulsa County District Court on Monday afternoon. Then-Cpl. David Turner, 52, of Broken Arrow will appear back in court April 7, during which time a judge will determine his sentence, Tulsa County community outreach director Susan Witt said. “The recommendation is two years pursuant to a pre-sentence investigation,” she said. “But it depends on what the investigation recommends.” Read the rest of this story at .

  • Oklahoma's private prisons operate in secrecy, advocacy group says

    BY CARY ASPINWALL, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Feb 24, 2014

    Taxpayers fund the operations of private prisons in Oklahoma, just as they do state and federal ones — but they largely don’t have access to the same information and records about those private facilities. According to a report from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, private prisons avoid greater public scrutiny because they are not subject to the same federal Freedom of Information Act and state open records law requirements as government-run prisons. "We find ourselves unable to develop any information about these facilities," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW. "They can hide under the rug civil rights violations, how prisoners might be harmed or have died, or employment issues or understaffing. There's sort of nothing they can't hide." Read the rest of this story and a copy of the report by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington at .

  • OKCFox: Oklahoma substitute arrested, accused of showing up to elementary school drunk

    Published: Fri, Feb 21, 2014

    A substitute teacher in the Ada school district was arrested after police say she showed up to teach at an elementary school drunk, according to Ada officers captured the interaction with Michelle Childress on Feb. 14th with a small camera they wear...

  • Oklahoma teacher gets big surprise from Ellen DeGeneres

    BY NOUR HABIB, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Feb 20, 2014

    BROKEN ARROW — A Union Public Schools teacher got a big surprise this week. Ashley Kirby Thomas, the library media specialist at McAuliffe Elementary School in Broken Arrow got a $25,000 check, a new van for her Summer Mobile Media Book program and a $25 Target gift card for each of her students. The gifts came through Ellen DeGeneres, and a clip of the surprise was aired on The Ellen Show Thursday afternoon. Read the rest of this story at .

  • News6: Warden Dismisses Oklahoma Inmate's 'Facebook Charge'

    Published: Thu, Feb 20, 2014

    An Oklahoma prison warden has dismissed a charge levied at an inmate for allegedly operating a Facebook page from behind bars, according to News6. Charles Jordan has been in prison for 13 years for non-violent crime convictions...

  • Bill to allow handguns at state Capitol advances from committee

    BY RANDY KREHBIEL, Tulsa World | Published: Wed, Feb 19, 2014

    Handguns would be allowed in the state Capitol under a bill passed Tuesday by the House Judiciary Committee. Author David Derby, R-Owasso, said House Bill 2672 would allow "law-abiding citizens" to "express their Second Amendment rights" by carrying properly licensed guns with them in the Capitol. Asked if that meant guns could be carried onto the House floor, Derby said, "If the House rules allow it." Read the rest of this story at .

  • American Airlines not laying off 400 in Tulsa this year but asking for retirements, changed shifts

    BY KYLE ARNOLD, Tulsa World | Published: Wed, Feb 19, 2014

    American Airlines has taken its projected 400 layoffs at the Tulsa maintenance base off the table for this year, but will ask for voluntary retirements and shift work to weekends, the company reported Wednesday. American Airlines announced that it will bring in MD-80s for rib checks and take brand new Boeing 737 aircraft for acceptance work to help avoid involuntary layoffs at the plant this year. “As we’re revitalizing our fleet and completing several aircraft modification incentives in anticipation of American’s changing operational needs, we continue to collaborate with the Transport Workers Union (TWU) to find ways to mitigate any potential labor surplus in Tulsa and at the Alliance Airport maintenance base (Dallas),” said a statement from American Airlines. “These efforts to rebalance operations through work schedules and workload will ensure that the impact to our Tulsa and TAESL operations remains minimal.” Read the rest of this story at .

  • Tulsa Shock's Skylar Diggins Featured In Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

    Published: Wed, Feb 19, 2014

    Basking on a sun-drenched beach for Sports Illustrated photographers, South Bend’s Skylar Diggins added another unique chapter to her growing legacy, according to An All-American point guard for Notre Dame and one of the rising entrepreneurs in the Jay-Z and Roc Nation family, Diggins has now joined the elite ranks of a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. She is featured in the magazine’s 50th edition of the cultural icon, which hit news stands on Tuesday. "Such an amazing honor to join so many wonderful, beautiful women in#SISwim50!” Diggins tweeted to her more than 441,000 Twitter followers.

  • City of Tulsa to cut health insurance subsidies to police, fire retirees

    BY KEVIN CANFIELD, Tulsa World | Published: Tue, Feb 18, 2014

    In another effort to cut costs, the city of Tulsa has informed retired police and firefighters that it will no longer subsidize their health insurance effective July 1. The city has subsidized the (health care programs) for some time," said City Manager Jim Twombly. "As we look at out budgets going forward, this is something we feel we can cease. "It does change the economics for employees, but the main thing is the insurance is still available." Read the rest of this story at .

  • 2 Oklahoma towns rank among 10 cheapest cities in America

    Published: Tue, Feb 18, 2014

    The Council for Community and Economic Research looked at the cost of living in 308 urban areas in the U.S. -- crunching the numbers on everything from the average price of a supermarket can of coffee, to average rent on a two bedroom apartment, to the cost of a T-bone steak -- and put out a list of the 10 least expensive places to live, according to And Norman and Pryor Creek, Oklahoma both made the list.

  • Oklahoma pharmacy won't sell drug for inmate's execution

    Published: Tue, Feb 18, 2014

    An Oklahoma pharmacy has agreed not to provide Missouri with a made-to-order drug for an inmate's execution scheduled for later this month, according to court documents filed Monday. The Associated Press reports the Apothecary Shoppe, of Tulsa, will not prepare or provide pentobarbital or any other drug for use in Michael Taylor's execution. The documents ask a judge to dismiss the case that Taylor's lawyers had filed against the pharmacy seeking to stop it from providing the execution drug. Taylor's attorney, Matt Hellman, said that as part of the deal, the pharmacy acknowledged it has not already provided any such drug to the Missouri Department of Corrections for the execution, which is scheduled for Feb. 26, the AP reports.

  • Boren decries Fallin's proposed funding cuts for higher education

    BY KIM ARCHER, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Feb 17, 2014

    University of Oklahoma President David Boren is decrying the governor's proposal to again cut higher education funding and is urging Oklahoma residents to raise their voices to stop further reductions. He became more troubled when Gov. Mary Fallin also proposed cutting the state income tax by a quarter of a percent to 5 percent during her State of the State speech two weeks ago, a move that would further reduce education funding. "We should start asking what kind of state do we want to be? Who are we as a people? I don't think we want ignorance and lack of opportunity to be our legacy," he said. Read the rest of this story at .

  • Oklahoma Hit by 10 Quakes—in 3 Days

    Published: Mon, Feb 17, 2014

    The strongest in a series of ten minor earthquakes hit central Oklahoma on Sunday night, according to seismologists. The quake was initially measured at magnitude 4.2 but was later downgraded to a 3.8, the U.S. Geological Survey said. It was followed by three aftershocks between magnitude 3.0 and 2.7, taking the total number of earthquakes in the area to 10 since Friday, according to NBC News. The strongest of these quakes hit at 11 p.m. Sunday (midnight ET) about 7 miles southwest of Guthrie, a city of 10,000 people about 30 miles north of Oklahoma City.

  • K-12 enrollment up more than 8,000 across the state

    BY KIM ARCHER, Tulsa World | Published: Fri, Feb 14, 2014

    Oklahoma public schools has 8,388 more students enrolled this school year, the state Education Department said Friday. Total enrollment of students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 for the 2013-14 school year is 681,578, up from 673,190 last year and 27,036 more than five years ago, according to a news release. "Because of this sharp growth in enrollment over the past five years, I have asked for additional funding for schools from the state Legislature," State Superintendent Janet Barresi said. "I'm pleased that even in a tight revenue year, Gov. (Mary) Fallin has proposed a significant increase for K-12 education." Read the rest of this story at

  • Teen Who Survived Oklahoma Parachute Malfunction Remembers Being 'Scared'

    Published: Fri, Feb 14, 2014

    The teenage girl who miraculously survived a parachute accident bragged today that she was "strong enough to fall 3,500 feet and live," according to Good Morning America. The site reports Makenzie Wethington, 16, emerged from Baylor Rehabilitation Center to say that she doesn't remember much from the Jan. 25 accident when her chute malfunctioned and she plummeted to the ground. "I know I was scared, that there was something very wrong. I think I was focused on how I could fix it and what I could do. I don't really know…I think I went into shock," she said. The teenager said she lost consciousness before her crash landing.

  • Document: Alleged Skiatook killer was angry at great-grandmother about doing dishes

    BY AMANDA BLAND, Tulsa World | Published: Wed, Feb 12, 2014

    Michael Devin Stanley, 19, is accused of killing his great-grandmother and his half sister. During questioning, Stanley stated that his great-grandmother "had been on him about ‘things’ and had been asking for him to do the dishes,” a detective wrote. Michael Devin Stanley, 19, has been charged with single counts of first-degree murder in Tulsa and Osage counties. Skiatook police found Esther Driskell, 74, dead in the hallway of her Tulsa County home around 6 p.m. Jan. 27. A medical examiner determined she suffered seven stab wounds to the chest and left side of her body, according to the affidavit of a Skiatook detective. Read the rest of this story at .

  • KFOR: Rep. Kern wants stronger punishments for obscenity

    Published: Tue, Feb 11, 2014

    KFOR in Oklahoma City reports that state Rep. Sally Kern (R-Oklahoma City) has authored legislation that would strengthen punishment for anyone convicted of obscenity. The state legislature's online database lists House Bill 2349 as being authored by Kern on Feb. 3, 2014. When asked by KFOR what is considered obscene, Kern said “It is patently offensive to the average person. It has a theme of interest in lewd sex and then to the average person has no literary, artistic or scientific value or purpose.”