• More than enough Tulsa Sheriff's Office petition signatures verified; grand jury to be convened

    BY COREY JONES and SAMANTHA VICENT, Tulsa World | Published: Wed, Jun 24, 2015

    More than 6,600 signatures on a grassroots petition seeking a probe of the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office were verified Tuesday — more than enough to convene a grand jury. The Tulsa County Election Board verified 6,647 signatures of registered Tulsa County voters, well in excess of the 5,000-signature requirement. About a quarter of the 8,952 submitted signatures were deemed invalid. Presiding Judge Rebecca Nightingale said Tuesday that there is no reason to think the grand jury process won’t proceed because every step taken “has been solid.”

  • Brother of Tulsa minister shot by OHP troopers charged with threatening violent act

    BY SAMANTHA VICENT, Tulsa World | Published: Wed, Jun 24, 2015

    The brother of a Tulsa minister who died after being shot by two Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers earlier this month was charged in Okmulgee County on Wednesday, a county clerk employee confirmed. Brandon Anthony Fischer, 41, faces one count each of threatening an act of violence and public intoxication, which stem from a May 29 altercation between Fischer, his brother Nehemiah and OHP Troopers Mark Southall and Michael Taylor near the intersection of Hectorville and Bixby roads. He was originally held at the Okmulgee County Jail on a complaint of assault and battery against an officer, but was released around 5:20 p.m. June 1 after appearing in court and posting bail. Nehemiah Fischer was an assistant pastor at Faith Bible Church, where he had been a member for about 15 years, family members have said. Brandon Fischer is set to appear again in court Thursday afternoon.

  • FOX 25: Dept. of Wildlife Conservation issues warnings at Okie Noodling Tournament

    Published: Wed, Jun 24, 2015

    The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation says they have confiscated several fish at a popular Pauls Valley tournament believed to be illegally possessed, Fox 25 reports.

  • Energy Transfer Equity LP is not giving up its $53 billion bid for Williams Cos. despite lack of 'meaningful response'

    BY ROD WALTON, Tulsa World | Published: Tue, Jun 23, 2015

    Energy Transfer Equity LP waited almost six months to hear back from Williams Cos. Inc. about its unsolicited buyout offer, but now the rival natural gas infrastructure firms are talking plenty, if not to each other. Williams revealed Sunday night it would review “strategic alternatives” after received an acquisition bid from an undisclosed entity. Those alternatives, whichever is seen to benefit shareholders the most, could include a sale, merger or continuing the present course. Energy Transfer Equity LP later confirmed it was the suitor offering $64 per share to buy Williams. A letter by ETE CEO Kelcy Warren seems to indicate his Dallas company was taken aback when Williams put the news out.

  • More mosquitoes test positive for West Nile in Tulsa County

    BY SHANNON MUCHMORE, Tulsa World | Published: Tue, Jun 23, 2015

    Five mosquito samples in Tulsa County have tested positive for West Nile virus, according to the Tulsa Health Department. Bernard Dindy, manager of environmental services for THD, said it is early in the season for that many traps to be testing positive. Recent rains have likely led to an increased mosquito population in the area, he said.

  • One of Texas' Most Wanted, convicted sex offender, arrested in Tulsa

    BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | Published: Tue, Jun 23, 2015

    AUSTIN, Texas — Three men on the Texas 10 Most Wanted lists have been captured in the past two weeks. The Texas Department of Public Safety on Tuesday announced a convicted sex offender was caught Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Authorities say 43-year-old Jerry Don Holmes faces assault charges and failure to comply with sex offender registration requirements. DPS says 35-year-old Rodney Dewayne Wynn was arrested June 12 at a residence in Dallas. Wynn's record includes convictions for aggravated assault and robbery. He was on probation in 2012 and 2013 when warrants were issued on aggravated kidnapping and family violence charges.

  • Tulsa woman who won Supreme Court head-scarf case meets President Obama at White House dinner

    BY BILL SHERMAN, Tulsa World | Updated: Tue, Jun 23, 2015

    President Barack Obama had kind words Monday night for Tulsan Samantha Elauf, who sat at his table at a Muslim Ramadan Iftar dinner in the East Room of the White House. Elauf recently won a U.S. Supreme Court case that developed when the Woodland Hills Abercrombie & Fitch store denied her a job because she wears a head scarf mandated by her Muslim faith. "Our Iftar is also a reminder of the freedoms that bind us together as Americans, including the freedom of religion — that inviolable right to practice our faiths freely," Obama said, according to a White House transcript of his comments.

  • Kacey Musgraves announces Tulsa show

    BY JERRY WOFFORD, Tulsa World | Published: Tue, Jun 23, 2015

    Rising country star Kacey Musgraves is set to return to Cain’s Ballroom this year, the venue announced Tuesday. Musgraves will bring the “Kacey Musgraves Country & Western Rhinestone Revue” to Cain’s on Oct. 11. Tickets are $30 plus fees in advance and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday. The fall tour will also include performances at several iconic venues, like Cain’s, the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, the Apollo Theater in New York and Royal Albert Hall in London.

  • Former Tulsa police officer gets 33 months in prison for FOP embezzlement

    BY CURTIS KILLMAN, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Jun 22, 2015

    A retired Tulsa police officer was sentenced Monday to two years and nine months in federal prison after pleading guilty earlier to embezzling more than $400,000 from the state and Tulsa fraternal orders of police. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Gregory Frizzell sentenced Lorna Jean VanLandingham to prison after hearing requests from her attorney to grant her probation. VanLandingham, 71, pleaded guilty March 25 to two counts of wire fraud. She could have faced up to 40 years in prison and a fine of more than $940,000.

  • Wagoner County sheriff's training records under investigation

    BY SAMANTHA VICENT, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Jun 22, 2015

    The Wagoner County sheriff is being investigated for possible falsification of training records, a state agency has confirmed. The Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training is investigating allegations that Sheriff Bob Colbert’s training records have been falsified, officials there confirmed Monday. CLEET Executive Director Steve Emmons declined to specify what parts of Colbert’s records are in dispute, citing a pending investigation, but said CLEET has received multiple reports requesting that investigators look into the accuracy of Colbert’s qualifications.

  • Cherokee student gives up lifelong dream to retrace Trail of Tears

    BY MICHAEL OVERALL, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Jun 22, 2015

    A narrow asphalt strip cutting through the woods of central Tennessee, Bottoms Road passes the red-brick steeple of Shellsford Baptist Church and then makes a sudden 90-degree turn south to avoid running into a wooden gazebo. The gazebo stands near the spot where two missionaries fashioned a crude brush arbor out of logs and branches and held a revival in the year 1810, establishing one of Tennessee’s oldest surviving church congregations. It also marks the entrance to the Shellsford Cemetery, which at first looks much like any other rural cemetery — crisp granite markers lined up in perfectly straight rows across the freshly cut grass. But walk to the back of the cemetery, away from the road and closer to a thick line of shady trees that hide a rippling creek. Here, the grave markers look ragged and worn, some too weathered to read, staggered across the ground in haphazard lanes. Many graves aren’t marked at all.

  • Tex-Mex restaurant Chuy's to open in Tulsa

    BY CASEY SMITH, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Jun 22, 2015

    Tex-Mex restaurant Chuy's announced Monday that it will be hiring 175 employees to staff the chain's new location at The Walk at Tulsa Hills. The new location will be the second Chuy's restaurant in the area and is set to open Aug. 4. The chain has begun hiring for positions that include hosts, servers, bussers, bartenders and kitchen staff.  Applicants can apply at the Chuy's hiring RV located in the parking lot of Ashley Furniture at 7831 S. Olympia West Ave, Monday – Saturday from 9 am – 5 pm., now through July 2. Applications will be accepted at the restaurant, located at 8120 S. Olympia Avenue West, July 3-25.

  • Tulsa woman arrested in fatal wreck involving 1920s Ford

    BY COREY JONES, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Jun 22, 2015

    A Tulsa woman was arrested on a manslaughter complaint after a man was killed in a two-vehicle accident on Sunday night, according to police. Gregory Bush, 68, was driving along East 51st Street near the South Harvard Avenue intersection about 8 p.m. when his 1920 Ford Model A was rear-ended by A 2007 Jeep Liberty driven by 41-year-old Whitney Wheeler, police said. Bush was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. Investigators said alcohol played a role in the fatal crash.

  • Oklahoma on record earthquake pace, up 90 percent from over a year ago

    BY COREY JONES, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Jun 22, 2015

    The ground is trembling underneath the feet of Oklahomans at a record pace this year and by a wide margin, but the jury remains out on whether recent mitigation measures on injection wells will curtail the troubling trend. Through April 2015, the seismically active region centered in Oklahoma has notched 468 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater. That figure is a leap of nearly 90 percent more than the 248 temblors of that strength experienced in the first four months of 2014, which went on to become the state’s most seismically active year by far, with 997 quakes. The 2014 final figure was a leap of nearly 500 percent from 2013’s record total of 172 temblors of magnitude 3.0 or more.

  • State Senator: Diluting strength of certain police arbitration rulings merits consideration

    BY RHETT MORGAN, Tulsa World | Published: Fri, Jun 19, 2015

    The purported actions of an Owasso police officer suspended on excessive force allegations speak to the value of a bill a state senator proposed regarding arbitration, the legislator said. Owasso Police Lt. Mike Denton was placed on paid administrative leave this week pending an internal investigation into whether he abused the department’s use-of-force policy. The city fired Denton for breaching the policy in 2011, but an arbitrator ordered him reinstated with a written reprimand. The municipality successfully challenged that decision in district court, but Denton won an appeal at the state level and returned to his job in September. “Unfortunately, it has reached the point where Owasso’s attempts to terminate Lt. Denton four years ago failed,” said Sen. Brian Crain, R-Tulsa. “And because of that, we’ve endangered not only the people of Oklahoma but also all those officers who are out there serving the public who don’t use excessive force.”

  • Judge rejects Tulsa group's request to keep petition signatures private

    BY SAMANTHA VICENT, Tulsa World | Published: Fri, Jun 19, 2015

    A Tulsa County district judge has rejected a group's request to keep private the names of people who signed a petition in an effort to have a grand jury investigate the sheriff's office. District Judge Rebecca Nightingale denied a motion on Friday by We the People Oklahoma to seal the names of signatures gathered during a petition drive in recent weeks. The organization sought to have the signatures kept private because of fears of harassment of those who signed.

  • Second defendant convicted of murder in 2013 shooting of Papa John's truck driver sentenced to life

    BY ARIANNA PICKARD, Tulsa World | Published: Fri, Jun 19, 2015

    One of two 19-year-olds convicted of first-degree murder in the 2013 fatal shooting of a Papa John’s truck driver was sentenced to life in prison Friday in Tulsa County District Court. Frankie Jackson Jr. is sentenced to life in prison with possibility of parole after serving 85 percent, or 38 years, of his sentence, District Judge William LaFortune ruled Friday. The state dismissed Jackson’s additional charge of attempted robbery with a firearm. A jury convicted Jackson of first-degree murder and attempted robbery with a firearm on June 12.

  • Former Tulsa school security guard gets two consecutive life sentences for child sex abuse

    BY ARIANNA PICKARD, Tulsa World | Published: Fri, Jun 19, 2015

    A former security guard at a Tulsa high school was given two consecutive life sentences and three concurrent 25-year sentences on Friday for five counts of child sexual abuse against a female relative. Yvon Demesmin, 43, was sentenced to two consecutive life terms for two counts involving intercourse, with the second count running concurrently with three 25-year sentences for three counts involving various other sex acts. “That should protect the public,” District Judge William LaFortune told the court after reading the ruling.

  • Ginnie Graham: Woman on the $10 insult to our $20 request

    BY GINNIE GRAHAM, Tulsa World columnist | Published: Fri, Jun 19, 2015

    So, it's the $10 bill is it? That's half of what we asked for. Typical. Why not just create a $75 bill and put a woman on that? Or, does this mean the $10 is now worth about $7.75? Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced Wednesday that a redesign of the $10 will move off Alexander Hamilton in favor of  yet-to-be named woman. Legally, Lew gets the final say.

  • Turmoil continues in Oklahoma Republican Party over Brogdon hire

    BY BARBARA HOBEROCK, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Jun 18, 2015

    Turmoil continues within the Oklahoma Republican Party over a controversial hire by new party Chairman Randy Brogdon. Brogdon’s decision to place T.C. Ryan on the staff as political director caused controversy in some quarters of the GOP because of a domestic violence incident. Ryan pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation in Tulsa County District Court in 2012 for domestic assault and battery in the presence of a minor child and interference with an emergency telephone call, according to court records.