• Tulsa city councilors blast mayor over tense relationship with county

    BY JARREL WADE, Tulsa World | Published: Fri, Jul 10, 2015

    Tulsa city councilors on Thursday blamed Mayor Dewey Bartlett’s ongoing contentious dealings over jail issues for damaging the city’s relationship with county leadership. Tulsa County commissioners said this week that they have been intentionally left out of the process of discussing the renewal of Vision 2025 funds, which would generate more than $600 million in sales tax funds in the next decade. Councilor G.T. Bynum said county leaders have been welcome to attend many of the discussions over the tax packages and that it wasn’t the intention of the council to leave them out.

  • Kidnapping defendant who attacked prosecutors in Tulsa County court found competent to stand trial

    BY ARIANNA PICKARD, Tulsa World | Published: Fri, Jul 10, 2015

    Jurors found the defendant in a kidnapping case competent to stand trial Friday after he threw a water pitcher at his prosecutors in court Wednesday. Michael Slatton, 34, is competent to undergo further criminal proceedings, jurors told Special Judge Martha Rupp Carter in court Friday. Slatton’s competency trial resulted from his contesting two consecutive evaluations, which both concluded that he was competent.

  • ACLU says Oklahoma attorney general is recycling rejected arguments in Ten Commandments case

    BY BARBARA HOBEROCK, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Jul 9, 2015

    Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s request for a rehearing on an Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling to remove the Ten Commandments monument from the state Capitol grounds contains no new information, the ACLU of Oklahoma contends in a brief filed Thursday. The state’s high court ruled June 30 that the privately funded Ten Commandments monument violates the Oklahoma Constitution and must be removed. Pruitt’s office then asked the court for a rehearing on the matter.

  • Alleged Tulsa corpse mutilator found competent at hearing

    Published: Thu, Jul 9, 2015

    A woman accused of vandalizing a corpse at a Tulsa funeral home has been found mentally capable of continuing criminal proceedings. Shaynna Lauren Sims, who also goes by the last name Smith, was found not mentally ill after her mental health was evaluated over a one-month period, Special Judge David Youll ruled at a post-evaluation hearing Wednesday. Sims, 27, is charged in Tulsa County District Court with larceny from a person, concealing stolen property, first-degree burglary, unauthorized dissection , disturbing or interrupting a funeral and unlawful removal of a body part from a deceased person.

  • Cherokee Nation chief election results stand, tribe's Supreme Court says

    BY SAMANTHA VICENT, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Jul 9, 2015

    TAHLEQUAH — Results of the election for Cherokee Nation principal chief, which were certified June 29, will stand despite former chief Chad Smith’s appeal to the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court to invalidate the race and order a new election, the justices decided in a unanimous ruling Wednesday. Speaking for the court, Supreme Court Justice Angela Jones told Smith that nothing in his appeal, which was filed Monday, sufficiently indicated that the Cherokee Nation’s election code was violated during the June 27 election. Incumbent Principal Chief Bill John Baker won the election in a four-way race with 53 percent of the vote. Smith, who was attempting a return to office, finished second with 28 percent.

  • Gov. Mary Fallin visits affordable housing complexes, speaks to Tulsa Regional Chamber

    BY RANDY KREHBIEL, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Jul 9, 2015

    Gov. Mary Fallin got a new lapel pin on Wednesday. It was given to her by someone who not so long ago might well have been homeless. The pin — an American flag, of course — was made for Fallin by Lisa Wilson, a resident of Hudson Villas, one of two affordable housing facilities the governor visited Wednesday afternoon. “I’m amazed at all the great work being done here to help veterans and help the homeless,” Fallin said after spending a little more than an hour at Hudson Villas, 727 S. Hudson Ave., and Yale Apartments, 4650 E. Admiral Place.

  • Energy Transfer CEO, still pursuing Williams Cos., buys another million units in his own company

    BY ROD WALTON, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Jul 9, 2015

    Regardless of what happens with his company's $53 billion unsolicited bid for Tulsa-based Williams Cos., Kelcy Warren certainly has skin in the game at Energy Transfer Equity LP. In what was called the biggest insider purchase reported to federal regulators Wednesday, ETE CEO Warren revealed he bought one million units in the Dallas-based natural gas pipeline firm. The buy, at $62.63 to $63.94 per unit, pushes Warren's stake in ETE up to nearly 37 million units, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing. At Thursday's market value of nearly $65 per unit, Warren's stake in ETE is now worth about $2.46 billion. He is still pushing hard on the Dallas firm's six-month-old bid to buy Williams despite the Tulsa-based pipeliner's rejection of the original offer.

  • New York firm acquires Tulsa aerospace parts maker

    BY JOHN STANCAVAGE, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Jul 9, 2015

    Rift Valley Equity Partners LLC, a private investment firm based in New York, announced it has acquired the assets of Tulsa-based M&M Manufacturing Inc. M&M operates a 50,000-square-foot plant that makes precision-machined components for aerospace, defense and industrial applications. The deal by Rift involved affiliated entity M&M Precision Components LLC. The price was not disclosed.

  • Child kidnapping defendant attacks Tulsa County prosecutor at competency trial

    BY ARIANNA PICKARD, Tulsa World | Updated: Thu, Jul 9, 2015

    A defendant in a child kidnapping case threw a water pitcher at prosecutors Wednesday in Tulsa County District Court, splitting an assistant district attorney's lip and breaking her tooth. Michael Slatton, 34, was heading back to his seat after testifying in the jury trial to determine his competency when he picked up a plastic water pitcher from the judge’s stand and threw it at his prosecutors, said Justin Green, reserve coordinator for the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office. The pitcher hit Assistant District Attorney Katie Koljack in the face, causing injuries that required medical care, said Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler. Tulsa County Sheriff’s deputies subdued Slatton, and the jury was removed from the courtroom.

  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma insurance rates might go up 31 percent in 2016: Report

    Published: Tue, Jul 7, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Health insurance companies around the country are seeking rate increases of 20 percent to 40 percent or more, saying their new customers under the Affordable Care Act turned out to be sicker than expected. Federal officials say they are determined to see that the requests are scaled back. Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans — market leaders in many states — are seeking rate increases that average 23 percent in Illinois, 25 percent in North Carolina, 31 percent in Oklahoma, 36 percent in Tennessee and 54 percent in Minnesota, according to documents posted online by the federal government and state insurance commissioners and interviews with insurance executives.

  • Tulsa sheriff asks state Supreme Court to block grand jury probe

    BY COREY JONES, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Jul 2, 2015

    In a last-minute rush of district court filings before a three-day holiday weekend, the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office has mounted a second legal challenge to a petition calling for a grand jury inquiry. Attorneys for Sheriff Stanley Glanz filed documents Friday showing that a state Supreme Court referee has scheduled an expedited hearing on the sheriff's request that the court block Tulsa County Presiding Judge Rebecca Nightingale's order impaneling a grand jury to investigate the Sheriff's Office. A courier who was sent to file the documents told employees of the Tulsa County Court Clerk's Office that she couldn't give the filings to them until 5 p.m., a clerk told the Tulsa World. There were four filings totaling 27 pages.

  • Group commits more than $300M to form new midstream company

    BY ROD WALTON, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Jul 2, 2015

    Two veterans of Hiland Partners are reunited to form a new Tulsa-based oil and gas pipeline, storage and processing firm.  Joseph Griffin and Derek Gipson are founding Intensity Midstream LLC. The plan is to build or acquire and develop energy transportation, terminal and treatment assets connected to North America basins. The new company is stepping in the midst of an industry-wide downturn, with oil prices falling 50 percent over the past year. Griffin said Intensity was launched with the knowledge that some companies may be willing to sell assets in the near future.

  • State Senate Democrats toss minority leader for John Sparks

    BY BARBARA HOBEROCK, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Jul 2, 2015

    Senate Democrats this week tapped Sen. John Sparks as the minority leader. The change in leadership left former Minority Leader Sen. Randy Bass, D-Lawton, surprised. Bass said five of the eight members of the caucus met and named Sparks as the new leader. Bass said he was upset that the normal practice, a caucus meeting, was not used, saying the vote happened in a “back room.”

  • State auditor investigating possible misuse of funds by Wagoner County Sheriff's Office

    BY SAMANTHA VICENT, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Jul 2, 2015

    The Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector's Office confirmed Thursday it is investigating possible improper use of public funds by the Wagoner County Sheriff's Office after finding areas of concern during the process of completing a three-year countywide audit. State Auditor Gary Jones told the Tulsa World the report focuses at least partially on allegations Sheriff Bob Colbert used county funds for self-promotion purposes and personal use. Those claims are corroborated by documents and receipts obtained by the Tulsa World from the Wagoner Tribune, a partner newspaper, which indicated Wagoner County authorized the purchase of more than $4,500 in hats and engraved medallions with Colbert's name on them that were distributed and sold during events, $185 for a cowboy hat classified as "work wear," 1,000 coloring books and a $330 GPS monitor that is reportedly not in the county's inventory.

  • Oklahoma Girl Scouts camp on White House lawn, meet the Obamas

    BY MIKE AVERILL, Tulsa World | Updated: Wed, Jul 1, 2015

    Talking with people she doesn’t know very well doesn’t come easy for Daphnye Shell. “Even with family, I have to try my hardest,” she said. Still, she wasn’t going to let that get in the way of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

  • Denver company buys $840 million worth of Chesapeake assets

    BY JOHN STANCAVAGE, Tulsa World | Published: Wed, Jul 1, 2015

    Denver-based FourPoint Energy LLC announced Wednesday it is buying $840 million in oil and gas  assets from Chesapeake Exploration LLC, CHK Cleveland Tonkawa LLC and others in three related transactions. Chesapeake Exploration and CHK Cleveland's preferred interest owners are funds managed by GSO Capital Partners LP. The deal also includes transactions with other third party investors and common interest owner CEX. The assets to be acquired include an interest in approximately 1,500 producing wells primarily in the Cleveland, Tonkawa and Marmaton formations with average daily net production of approximately 21,500 Boed over the 12-month period ended in April 2015.

  • Tulsa man shot and paralyzed by security guard dies

    BY KENDRICK MARSHALL, Tulsa World | Published: Wed, Jul 1, 2015

    Monroe Bird III, the Tulsa man who was paralyzed after being shot by a security guard at a Tulsa apartment complex in February, has died family members confirmed. Bird's mother, Zondra Magness, posted her son's picture on her Facebook page early Wednesday morning and was receiving condolences from friends and relatives. According to Bird's stepfather, Johnny Magness, Bird was hospitalized Tuesday morning after a blood clot in his leg caused a pulmonary thromboembolism. Bird, 21, was taken to Saint Francis Hospital for treatment, where he later died.

  • Wagoner County sheriff: Training records not falsified

    BY SAMANTHA VICENT, Tulsa World | Published: Wed, Jul 1, 2015

    WAGONER — Wagoner County Sheriff Bob Colbert on Wednesday said no training records in his department were falsified, despite a CLEET and Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation probe of "official misconduct" within the sheriff's office. "I never use county funds or anything" for personal use, Colbert said during a news conference. Colbert said he is not resigning and said no records had been falsified.

  • Mother recalls night her 18-year-old daughter was killed by hit-and-run driver near Verdigris

    BY RHETT MORGAN, Tulsa World | Published: Tue, Jun 30, 2015

    CLAREMORE — As young teens about four years ago, Noelle New and her best friend, Maranda Talley, sneaked out of the house in the middle of the night to walk to a nearby QuikTrip store, says New’s mother, Brandy Whitmire. “That was the only thing Noelle had ever done to get in trouble,” Whitmire said, recalling that the girls were picked up by Verdigris police and returned home. This year, in the wee hours of June 5, New and Talley attempted the trek again.

  • Meet the brave singers who tried out for 'American Idol' in Tulsa

    BY HANNAH COVINGTON and JERRY WOFFORD, Tulsa World | Published: Tue, Jun 30, 2015

    For those who always wanted to try out for “American Idol” but never did, the chances were running out. Tulsa was one of those last chances. The show is set to end after its upcoming season, so when auditions came to Tulsa on Monday, it brought people from across the region to show their talent and hopefully land a spot on the series finale. Several had auditioned for the show before and hoped that after lots of practice and dedication, this year would be different. Others had always wanted to try out but couldn’t travel or couldn’t break through the nerves.