• Energy briefs

    From Staff Reports | Updated: 5 hr ago

    Other industries' hiring is on rise While some oil companies are laying off workers, other industries are hiring, Express Employment Professionals said Thursday. Hiring for sales people, accountants and skilled labor is on the rise in central Oklahoma, the company said. Recruiters also are reporting increased demand for workers in health-related services, construction and food manufacturing. In northeast Oklahoma, the staffing company is seeing more demand for clerical, accounting and banking positions. In Tulsa, demand for workers in transportation, distribution and warehouse industries is holding steady. “We have seen a surge of applicants from the oil industry,” Express Employment Professionals CEO Bob Funk

  • U.S. stocks fall for 4th straight day

    By ALEX VEIGA AP Business Writer | Updated: 5 hr ago

    NEW YORK — Jitters over the global economy and steep declines in bank stocks knocked U.S. stocks lower for the fourth day in a row Thursday. The slide in the U.S. followed large losses around the world and left all three major U.S. indexes down at least 10 percent since the beginning of the year. The latest slump reflected heightened concerns that global economic growth is slowing, even as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen reiterated her confidence in the U.S. economy in testimony to Congress Thursday. “A lot of people are having trouble assessing the true value of stocks,” said J.J. Kinahan, TD Ameritrade's chief strategist. “What it says to me is we're going to continue with volatility.

  • What a recession does to your money

    By STAN CHOE AP Business Writer | Updated: 5 hr ago

    NEW YORK — If we are indeed in the midst of a recession — and we won't know we're in one until well after it's begun — stocks likely still have a long way to go down. The Standard & Poor's 500 index has dropped 14 percent since peaking last summer, and it joined markets around the world in another slide on Thursday. Worries are high that the sharp slowdown in China's growth, falling U.S. corporate profits and other downward pressures will pull the economy back into a recession. If a garden-variety one is on the way, the stock market's drop isn't even halfway done. Stocks have lost an average of 33 percent from top to bottom around past recessions, going back to 1929, according to a review by strategists at Credit

  • Massive gas leak near Los Angeles plugged

    By BRIAN MELLEY Associated Press | Updated: 5 hr ago

    LOS ANGELES — A blowout at a natural gas well that gushed uncontrollably for 16 weeks and drove thousands of residents from their Los Angeles homes was plugged Thursday, a utility said. While the well still needs to be permanently sealed with cement and inspected by state regulators, the announcement by Southern California Gas Co. marked the first time the leak has been under control since it was reported Oct. 23. "We have temporarily controlled the natural gas flow from the leaking well and begun the process of sealing the well and permanently stopping the leak," Jimmie Cho, a SoCalGas senior vice president, said in a statement.

  • Man remains silent during hearing in two OKC killings

    By Kyle Schwab Staff Writer kschwab@oklahoman.com | Updated: 5 hr ago

    A 20-year-old man police say admitted to shooting and decapitating his grandmother and her husband in their Oklahoma City home remained mostly silent during his first court appearance.  Dressed in an orange Oklahoma County jail uniform, Quinton D. Laster appeared calm about 1 p.m. Thursday on a television monitor in Special Judge Russell Hall's courtroom. Laster spoke only to say his name during the 60-second video arraignment conducted via webcam from inside the jail. Laster stood straight with his hands behind his back while the judge told him he was being held without bail on two murder complaints. Two sheriff's deputies accompanied Laster during the arraignment, standing on either side of him.

  • Defendant in Moore beheading repeats request for death penalty; judge holds off

    By Nolan Clay Staff Writer nclay@oklahoman.com | Updated: 5 hr ago

    NORMAN — A murder defendant told a judge Thursday he still wants to plead guilty and be given a death sentence for beheading a co-worker at a Moore food distribution plant. “As a Muslim, we are not afraid to die,” Alton Alexander Nolen said. Nolen told the judge he wanted to waive any further hearings and go ahead and plead guilty Thursday. He said he already had thought about the consequences of agreeing to the death penalty. He said he would not accept life in prison or life in prison without the possibility of parole as punishments. His intentions have put him at odds with his court-appointed defense attorneys, who contend he is not mentally competent to make that decision.

  • Obama signs federal disaster declaration

    By The Associated Press | Published: Fri, Feb 12, 2016

    President Barack Obama has declared that a major disaster exists in 41 Oklahoma counties following recent severe winter storms and flooding that affected the state. The White House said federal aid will be available to supplement state, tribal and eligible local recovery efforts in the 41 counties affected from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said that additional disaster designations may be made at a later date.

  • House bill would allow testing food stamp recipients for drugs

    By MARY CLAREJALONICK Associated Press | Updated: 4 hr ago

    WASHINGTON  — A key House Republican is renewing a GOP push to permit drug tests for low-income food stamp recipients, a move to help states like Wisconsin, where Gov. Scott Walker has sued the U.S. government to allow screening. Alabama Rep. Robert Aderholt unveiled the measure Thursday as Republicans look to find savings in the program. Aderholt says that states could choose whether they wanted to allow drug testing, so the legislation wouldn't be a mandate. He says it's common sense to create drug programs for those who need help.

  • Anderson discusses Ingrid Williams’ impact

    By Anthony Slater Staff Writer aslater@oklahoman.com | Published: Fri, Feb 12, 2016

    Back in August 2013, Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson's girlfriend committed suicide. Anderson found her body in her New Orleans apartment. He was completely devastated. His coach at the time, current Thunder assistant Monty Williams, got the first call. Monty rushed to the scene, dragged a heartbroken Anderson away and took him back to Williams' house. There, Monty and his wife, Ingrid Williams, prayed and consoled and helped Anderson through the toughest of times. It's an inspiring story of coping with a tragedy beautifully detailed by Sports Illustrated in November 2014. And it's what made Wednesday's news of the car crash that led to Ingrid's death so hard for Anderson to grasp.

  • An oral history of the 3 OT game between OU, KU

    By Berry Tramel, Columnist, btramel@oklahoman.com | Updated: 4 hr ago

    The Oklahoma-Kansas game on Jan. 4 has reached exalted status. KU's 109-106 victory in triple overtime is talked about in mythical terms. The Oklahoman collected the writings and the memories of a variety of people who were in Allen Fieldhouse that night to get their take on a matchup featuring two teams that held the No. 1 spot in different polls that surpassed its billing. TOBY ROWLAND, OU radio voice “I remember at the end of the first overtime, that's where (Wayne Selden Jr.) had an open 3 and missed it, and we're going to a second. I took off my headset, and I kind of looked around, and I remember saying to (broadcast partner) Scott Thompson, ‘This is special. Don't be afraid to lay out and just let

  • Fallin’s legal counsel is latest to leave job after testifying about drug mix-up

    By RICK M. GREENand NOLAN CLAY Staff Writers | Updated: 4 hr ago

    Gov. Mary Fallin's legal counsel Steve Mullins, who testified before a state grand jury investigating an execution drug mix-up, resigned Thursday. He becomes the third person who testified before the grand jury in October to step down from state employment.  Mullins, 63, has served as the governor's general counsel since February 2012. His last day in the governor's office will be Feb. 29. In his resignation letter, Mullins praised Fallin, saying she had a “heart for God and the people of Oklahoma.” He said he greatly enjoyed his job: “Each day was a wonderful adventure.” “However, at a time when the state is facing tough financial decisions, I know that the office needs to eliminate

  • Boeing cancels projects amid tax break uncertainty

    By RICK M. GREEN Capitol Bureau rmgreen@oklahoman.com | Updated: 4 hr ago

    Gov. Mary Fallin confirmed Thursday that Boeing Co. bowed out of two proposed projects in Oklahoma after lawmakers began considering a moratorium on aerospace tax credits. “They had a couple projects that they were looking at, and they got a message from their corporate office: ‘What's going on in Oklahoma?' ” Fallin said. Steve Hendrickson, director of government operations for Boeing, said he couldn't make specific comments on matters related to business decisions. “Boeing has worked closely with state and local government officials to create a business environment that gives Oklahoma a competitive advantage and allows companies like ours to thrive in tough economic times while providing high-paying

  • From the region

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    Influential American Indian novel picked for program FORT SMITH, Ark.  — A Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that helped launch an American Indian literary movement has been picked for a community book read sponsored by the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. The school announced Thursday that N. Scott Momaday's “House Made of Dawn” is this year's Read This! selection for the program designed to promote literature in the region. Several events centered on the 1968 book will celebrate American Indian culture. Events include the showing of the film, “The Cherokee Word for Water,” about the first female chief of the Oklahoma-based Cherokee Nation. The celebration will conclude with a March 15 visit by

  • State briefs

    From Staff Reports | Updated: 4 hr ago

    Oklahoma City Sample ballots are available Sample ballots for the March 1 election are available for review and can be picked up between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Oklahoma County Election Board office, 4201 N Lincoln. The ballots also can be viewed at www.okla homacounty.org/electionboard. Voters can use the online voter tool to find their assigned polling location and sample ballot. The sample ballots will be posted at every precinct polling location on Election Day so voters can review them. FROM STAFF REPORTS Soul Food Fest is planned Grace Living Center Northeast, 1921 NE 21 St., will host its 15th annual Soul Food Fest from noon to 3 p.m. Feb. 19.

  • Judge upholds state law restricting abortion doctors

    By Kyle Schwab Staff Writer kschwab@oklahoman.com | Updated: 4 hr ago

    A judge on Thursday upheld the constitutionality of an Oklahoma law that an abortion rights advocacy group says is "designed to shut down abortion clinics." At issue is a requirement in the 2014 law that physicians performing abortions in Oklahoma must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles in case something goes wrong. Oklahoma County District Judge Don Andrews ruled "that this requirement would advance the state's compelling interest in patient care and safety." "The state has a legitimate, constitutionally recognized interest in protecting women's health," the judge ruled.

  • Concerns over new school boundaries draw large crowds to Edmond hearing

    By Steve Gust For The Oklahoman | Updated: 4 hr ago

    EDMOND — Edmond school administrators knew redrawing school boundaries would be an emotional issue for patrons and that proved to be the case Thursday night at the issue's first public hearing. With more than 200 people filling the administration room, administrators and board members received a earful of criticism on the plan. The need for new boundaries arose with the district adding a new school, Heartland Middle School at 4900 Explorer Drive, off Pennsylvania Avenue between Covell Avenue and Danforth Road. That school, built to ease overcrowding, opens this fall. The evening began with a presentation by Rocky Gardiner, of Templeton Demographics, of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. That company was hired by district to

  • Earnings season could highlight tough quarter

    By Adam Wilmoth Energy Editor awilmoth@oklahoman.com | Updated: 5 hr ago

    The state's larger, publicly traded energy companies over the next two weeks will help clarify how still-low oil and natural gas prices are affecting their businesses and the industry. So far, it's looking bleak. Low oil and natural gas prices already have led Oklahoma companies to slash drilling budgets, scale back operations and lay off employees. A few smaller companies have filed for bankruptcy protection, and more pain is likely over the next several weeks and months at least. “Almost half of U.S. independent producers are in financial trouble,” said Fadel Gheit, an analyst with Oppenheimer in New York. “Everybody is hoping his neighbor is going to go out of business so he will be safe. But they're all in the

  • $1.3B hole

    By RICK M. GREEN Capitol Bureau rmgreen@oklahoman.com | Updated: 4 hr ago

    The oil bust has blown a $1.3 billion chasm in the state spending plan that goes into effect in July, the biggest budget hole by dollar amount in Oklahoma history. There will be 19.1 percent less money to appropriate for the 2017 fiscal year than was available for the current budget, state Office of Management and Enterprise Services officials said Thursday. Low oil prices have shaken the state economy, sapping all categories of tax revenue as the state's dominant energy sector reduces production and sheds employees. “It's been more tough sledding since December, so the hole grew as expected,” said Preston Doerflinger, secretary of finance, administration and information technology.

  • Once-dominant Dover picking up the pieces one month after school fire

    By Jacob Unruh Staff Writer junruh@oklahoman.com | Published: Fri, Feb 12, 2016

    DOVER — The sign entering the town boasts “Home of state champions.” Nine, to be exact. Four in baseball and girls basketball, and one in track. One month after a school fire burned to the ground the high school and middle school, the sign is a reminder of a successful period for the town when an uncertain future awaits. The state's $900 million budget shortfall has led to Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, filing a legislative bill that seeks to consolidate dependent school districts. “The school is Dover,” said Laurie Scheaffer, a 1987 Dover graduate and mother of two players on the current basketball team. “That's what makes Dover.” Dover is located in the heart of Kingfisher County,

  • OSU wants to produce clean, portable gasification system

    By Paul Monies Business Writer pmonies@oklahoman.com | Updated: 5 hr ago

    STILLWATER — Converting waste to energy isn't a new idea, but one fledgling company spinning out of Oklahoma State University research hopes newly patented technology will convert enough investors to get its portable gasification system into production.  RE:POD Systems came out of research by a team led by OSU professor Raymond Huhnke into biofuels and how to make the gasification process cleaner and more efficient. The portable system takes almost any type of carbon- based waste and converts it to synthetic gas to power a generator. Carey Warren, CEO and co-founder of RE:POD, said his company helps solve two global problems: the rising demand for electricity and what to do with trash and waste generated