• USOC to hire infectious disease specialists for Zika

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    The U.S. Olympic Committee will hire two infectious disease specialists to advise potential Olympians who are worried about the Zika outbreak in Brazil. USOC CEO Scott Blackmun sent a letter Wednesday to all possible Olympians, acknowledging the growing worries over the virus. "I know that the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil is of concern to many of you," Blackmun wrote. "I want to emphasize that it is to us, as well, and that your well-being in Rio this summer is our highest priority." The letter goes on to spell out much of the information that's already been relayed by the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The virus is spread by mosquitoes. About 20 percent of those infected display mi

  • Taylor Swift to open Monday night's Grammy Awards

    Brandy McDonnell | Updated: 7 hr ago

    The Recording Academy today adds its final round of performers to the stellar lineup of more than 30 artists, set to perform at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards. Seven-time nominee Taylor Swift will open the show with a song from her Grammy-nominated album "1989," according to a news release. Four-time nominees Alabama Shakes, two-time nominee Joey Alexander and two-time nominee Miguel are also set to take the stage at the Grammys.  The 58th Annual Grammy Awards. will be broadcast live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles from 7 to 10:30 p.m. Monday on the CBS Television Network. Previously announced performers include Checotah native Carrie Underwood; Adele; Travis Barker; James Bay; Justin

  • Crash with injury at Northwest Expressway and Lake Hefner Parkway Thursday

    FROM STAFF REPORTS | Published: Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    Westbound traffic is being shut down at Northwest Expressway and Lake Hefner Parkway. Southbound Lake Hefner Parkway traffic is also affected Thursday.

  • What to do in Oklahoma on Feb. 11, 2016: See Lyric Theatre's 'Mann ... And Wife' in the Plaza District

    Brandy McDonnell | Updated: 8 hr ago

    Today's featured event: Check out Lyric Theatre's world premiere production of "Mann ... And Wife" at 7:30 tonight at Lyric at the Plaza, 1727 NW 16. In this musical comedy about modern dating, written by Douglas J. Cohen and Dan Elish, the loveably romantic Henry Mann (Zachary Prince) searches for the perfect date to his ex-fiancée’s wedding. The musical is part of Lyric's New Works Initiative, and you can read my feature on that project here in the coming days. Performances continue through Feb. 21. For tickets and information, go to lyrictheatreokc.com. For more events, go to newsok.com/events.

  • Russia proposes March 1 ceasefire in Syria; US wants it now

    Updated: 9 hr ago

    MUNICH (AP) — Russia has proposed a March 1 ceasefire in Syria, U.S. officials say, but Washington believes Moscow is giving itself and the Syrian government three weeks to try to crush moderate rebel groups. The United States has countered with demands for the fighting to stop immediately, the officials said Wednesday. Peace talks are supposed to resume by Feb. 25. The talk of new ceasefire plans comes as the U.S., Russia and more than a dozen other countries meet in Munich to try to halt five years of civil war in the Arab country. The conflict has killed more than a quarter-million people, created Europe's biggest refugee crisis since World War II and allowed the Islamic State to carve out its own territory across parts

  • Twitter is losing customers and its stock is falling

    Published: Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    It's hard for the small core of Twitter addicts to accept, but Twitter just isn't popular enough to be successful. In fact, Twitter is losing customers. The social media company reported Wednesday that it lost 2 million users in the last three months of 2015. Shares plummeted as much as 12% in after-hours trading. Twitter had 305 million active users by the end of 2015. By contrast, Facebook (FB, Tech30) has 1.6 billion. Google (GOOGL, Tech30) has eight products with over 1 billion users each. Even Instagram surpassed Twitter in September, growing to 400 million users.

  • Florida LGBT Rights Bill Dead; Still Legal to Fire Someone for Being Gay

    Published: Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    Even though same-sex marriage is now legal in Florida, it's also still completely within the law for an employer to fire someone for being gay or a landlord to deny housing to a transgender tenant in large swaths of the state. For the tenth time, a coalition of bipartisan lawmakers (yes, even some Republicans) and some of Florida's biggest employers tried to change this by supporting the Florida Competitive Workplace Act. It failed again after dying today in the Senate Judiciary Committee. However, this was the first time the bill actually received a hearing in all the years it's been introduced. Plus, if it did somehow make its way through the Republican-controlled Senate, it likely would have died in the much more conservative House. Gov. Rick Scott hadn't specifically addressed the bill this year, but given his history on gay rights, it's unlikely he would have signed it, anyway.

  • Tennessee hunters banned for life in 44 states

    Published: Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    Two La Vergne residents have been banned from hunting in Tennessee and 43 other states after they illegally killed as many as 40 deer, and then took photos and videos mocking the animals, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Densibel Calzada, 23, and Eddy Albert, 21, received the harshest penalty ever issued by the TWRA. “We will never know how many deer these two killed, but we believe they could have poached at least 40,” said TWRA Sgt. Matt Brian, who is assigned to Rutherford County. “We charged them with violations based on the strongest evidence we found showing the seriousness of their poaching crimes. Their actions were among the worst I have seen for their lack of respect to our landowners and to our wildlife.”

  • Colorado marijuana sales total close to $1 billion in 2015

    Published: Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    New state data shows that Colorado marijuana businesses sold nearly $1 billion in recreational and medical cannabis last year. The Denver Post reports that the state Department of Revenue figures released Tuesday show that Colorado also collected more than $135 million in marijuana taxes and fees in 2015, with $35 million going toward school construction projects. According to the data, marijuana shops sold $996 million of pot in 2015, an increase of about $300 million from the previous year. Totals for taxes and license fees also grew by about $59 million in the same time period.

  • Less wind, slightly cooler Thursday in central Oklahoma

    STAFF REPORTS | Published: Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    Cooler temperatures are in central Oklahoma Thursday. Winds will not be as brisk as in recent days.

  • Pakistan army confirms death sentences for 12 militants

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan's powerful army chief, Gen. Raheel Sharif, on Thursday confirmed death sentences awarded by military courts to 12 "hardcore terrorists" over their involvement in a series of attacks against security forces, the military said. In a statement, it said the men included a Pakistani Taliban militant, Muhammad Arbi, who abetted the 2012 attack on a jail in the northwestern district of Bannu. A large number of militants managed to escape when a group of Pakistani Taliban armed with rockets, guns and grenades attacked the jail. The military said two al-Qaida operatives and two militants from an outlawed Sunni militant group were also included among the 12 terrorists who were tried by the military courts.

  • As industry shifts, Las Vegas cabs do some soul-searching

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — The arrival of Uber and Lyft in Nevada last fall and a state audit accusing regulators of allowing cabs to charge $47 million in excessive fees each year have the powerful Las Vegas taxi industry and its overseers in the hot seat, facing down a recommendation that the agency be disbanded and its duties passed to another entity. Nevada lawmakers met this week to discuss the fate of the Nevada Taxicab Authority, which regulates cabs in the Las Vegas area, and get its board members' side of the story. Legislators are postponing any decisions about whether to abolish the agency until a second, taxi company-funded audit is complete, but the meeting laid bare how cabs are struggling to keep pace with new technology and

  • The Latest: Cliven Bundy jailed upon arriving in Portland

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    BURNS, Ore. (AP) — The Latest on the standoff at a national wildlife refuge in Oregon (all times local): 11:30 p.m. Cliven Bundy, the father of wildlife refuge occupation leader Ammon Bundy, has been booked into jail after flying into the Portland airport. Multnomah County Jail records show Cliven Bundy was booked into the lockup just before 11 p.m. Wednesday. No charges were listed and his projected release date was listed as unknown. Bundy was at the center of a standoff in Nevada with federal officials in 2014 over use of public lands. Ammon Bundy had been demanding that the refuge be handed over to locals. ___ 9:45 p.m.

  • Ohio man gets 4 years for helping woman who OD'd get heroin

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    AKRON, Ohio (AP) — A northeast Ohio man has received four years in prison for helping a woman obtain heroin that caused her to fatally overdose. Twenty-year-old Brandon Bartoe of Barberton was sentenced Wednesday. He previously pleaded guilty to corrupting another with drugs, trafficking in heroin and burglary for stealing power tools to finance his drug habit. Two other people were charged in the January 2015 death of 33-year-old Brandy Amaro in Akron. Authorities say Amaro's 14-year-old cousin asked Bartoe to find $40 worth of heroin for Amaro. Bartoe contacted a 20-year-old man who obtained heroin from a dealer who hasn't been identified. The cousin received a one-year sentence in Juvenile Court and the 20-year-old await

  • FBI surrounds last occupiers at Oregon refuge

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    BURNS, Ore. (AP) — The FBI surrounded the last four occupiers of a wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon as they yelled at law enforcement officers in armored vehicles to back off, prayed with supporters over an open phone line, and said later they would turn themselves in Thursday morning The tense standoff between law enforcement officers and the four occupiers played out on the Internet beginning Wednesday night via a phone line being livestreamed by an acquaintance of occupier David Fry. Fry, 27, of Blanchester, Ohio, sounded increasingly unraveled as he continually yelled, at times hysterically, at what he said was an FBI negotiator. "You're going to hell. Kill me. Get it over with," he said.

  • OSSAA notebook

    By Jacob Unruh Staff Writer junruh@oklahoman.com | Published: Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    Attorney to interview Cache player regarding Elgin incident Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association attorney Mark Grossman said at Wednesday's board meeting one hurdle remains in the third investigation from Cache and that's to interview Cache senior Jamie Bonnarens. Bonnarens was one of two Cache players to sign an affidavit in the fall saying Cache coach Kenny White designed and orchestrated a play designed to hurt former Elgin star Jentry Holt in a girls basketball game one year ago. But the Bonnarens family did not agree to be reinterviewed in the investigation, telling The Oklahoman the affidavit remained their statement. That stance recently changed and Grossman said he will conduct the interview

  • Window Shopping

        | Updated: 16 hr ago

    Sonic, Green Mountain team up Sonic Drive-In has partnered with Keurig Green Mountain Inc. to add Green Mountain coffee to its breakfast lineup.  To celebrate the launch of Green Mountain Coffee at its drive-ins, Sonic has announced its Breakfast Express deal, featuring a breakfast burrito and a Green Mountain coffee or fountain drink for $3.  Gretta Sloane has new owner After more than 15 years of experience in the corporate and retail fashion industry in San Francisco, Philadelphia, New York and Oklahoma City, sixth-generation Oklahoma native Katherine Walker Buxton has purchased the clothing and accessories boutique Gretta Sloane in Nichols Hills Plaza.

  • Former Sooner great Harrison loved playing football

    BY BERRY TRAMEL | Published: Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    Bob Harrison loved playing football. In all likelihood, loved it more than anyone in the history of Sooner football. Harrison died last week at age 78. He was buried Monday in his hometown of Stamford, Texas. Harrison was in Bud Wilkinson's remarkable 1950s line of great center/linebacker combos, in that single-platoon era. Wilkinson had four all-Americans from the ‘50s who played the center/middle linebacker — Tom Catlin, Kurt Burris, Jerry Tubbs and Harrison. Harrison was a sophomore on the great 1956 OU team, then was a star in '57 and '58 after Tubbs' departure. “He was a great ballplayer,” said fellow OU grad Leon Cross. “They nicknamed him Hog, because he played linebacker

  • Slower retail sales growth expected for 2016, group says

    By The Associated Press | Updated: 16 hr ago

    NEW YORK — The National Retail Federation is forecasting retail spending growth of 3.1 percent in 2016, a slowdown from the group's annual estimate a year ago. The country's largest retail trade industry group had forecast growth of 4.1 percent for 2015, then revised that figure down to 3.5 percent over the summer after slower-than- expected sales. Despite the more modest forecast for this year, the NRF says the uptick would top the 10-year average of growth of 2.7 percent. Online, mobile and catalog sales are expected to rise 6 to 9 percent, fueling growth. With wage stagnation and unemployment easing, NRF CEO Matthew Shay said “there are a lot of positives in the economy.” The group noted that an

  • It’s an arrangement that blooms over half-century for florist

    By Brianna Bailey Business Writer bbailey@oklahoman.com | Updated: 16 hr ago

    In the back room of Trochta's Flowers and Garden Center, floral designer Ernie Caesar holds court as he arranges a giant basket of sunflowers and red carnations one recent weekday morning as preparations for Valentine's Day heat up.  This will be Caesar's 50th Valentines Day at Trochta's. He started working at the flower shop in February 1966.  “You would think I would be have it down by now, having worked so many Valentine's Days, but it's always hectic,” he said. Caesar's involvement in the flower business began when he was in elementary school.  He began working in the greenhouse and cutting flowers at his family's Oklahoma City flower business on NE 23 near the Oklahoma Capitol while he was still in