• Education reform won't happen in Oklahoma

    Published: Fri, Apr 29, 2016

    Stories about underfunded schools and underpaid teachers are in the news daily. Many schools are opting for four-day weeks to “cut” costs. Is this their way of pressuring working families to vote for the 1-cent sales tax increase? If fewer days at school are such a good idea, why were so many schools moving to year-round models? Why not move to 12-hour days and 125-day school years and be out of school during the storm season and hot summer?  The real cause of the funding crisis is the ineptness of the leaders and the system. Oklahoma City's superintendent makes $240,000, plus $65,000 in benefits plus $10,000 for a car each year.

  • Never enough for education

    Published: Fri, Apr 29, 2016

    I remember House Bill 1017, Oklahoma's largest tax increase ever, which, we were told, would provide all the money the schools would ever need. I remember the same being said of the lottery. I remember seeing schools schedule closures so teachers could go to the Capitol and demonstrate for more money while being paid by the taxpayers. There are numerous ways to cut education costs without any harmful effects on the quality of education. For example, park the school buses. A case can be made that since we all benefited from our own education, we owe the same to future generations, but I don't owe them a ride to school. That's a parent's responsibility. Oklahoma has more than 500 school districts with superintendents and support

  • Wind debate: Industry is proving invaluable to rural Oklahoma schools

    By Melva Little | Published: Fri, Apr 29, 2016

    As superintendent of Fort Supply Public Schools, I am concerned to see education used as a platform for anti-wind energy activists to criticize an industry that has been nothing but positive to us and, I suspect, many other rural districts across Oklahoma. To disparage an industry providing tremendous economic benefit to not only local schools, but county governments and Oklahoma landowners, is unfair. I know the benefits of the wind industry because I live it every day in my school district. Since 2003, the wind industry has invested well over $7 billion in Oklahoma and established itself as a vital contributor to education funding in numerous rural school districts.

  • Why would lawmakers skip vote on an easy issue?

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Apr 29, 2016

    MOST families understand the importance of maintaining a savings account for emergencies. Yet in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, this idea is apparently so controversial that nearly one-third of lawmakers run fleeing from it. Senate Joint Resolution 44, by Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, would have allowed Oklahoma voters to amend the state constitution to raise the cap on the Rainy Day Fund, the state's saving account. The current cap is 15 percent of the “general revenue fund certification,” which is only a small portion of state spending. SJR 44 would have raised the cap to 15 percent of the total state budget. That small linguistic change would allow lawmakers to save far more money in future years.

  • Wind debate: Incentives blowing a hole in Oklahoma's budget

    By Jeffrey McDougall | Published: Fri, Apr 29, 2016

    Overly generous. That's how the head of one of the nation's largest wind energy trade associations recently described the wide array of tax incentives that the state of Oklahoma has given to the wind industry. Among our nation's four largest wind energy-producing states — Texas, California, Iowa and Oklahoma — Oklahoma's package of tax credits for wind energy development is excessive and unrivaled. Oklahoma checks almost every possible box, as we are the only state to offer a zero-emission tax credit, an ad valorem tax exemption, an investment tax credit and a manufacturers sales tax exemption, all with no cap on the subsidies wind energy developers receive from state government.

  • A bad omen for students and professors

    Published: Fri, Apr 29, 2016

    Oklahoma finds itself facing a $1.3 billion budget gap, which has led to millions of dollars in budget cuts. Not only do these cuts affect education, but they hurt the departments in health care, human services and mental health. Fellow students at my college are now required to purchase their own scantrons as a direct result of decreased funding. While students buying their own materials is nothing new, an institution requiring its students to purchase what was once supplied by the college is certainly a bad omen for students and professors alike. I strongly believe it's time to really re-evaluate how our money is being spent.

  • Deaths

    Published: Fri, Apr 29, 2016

    ADA Blood, Daniel Allen, 43, meat cutter, died April 21. Memorial services noon Saturday, Wintersmith Park (Oklahoma City Cremation, Oklahoma City). John, Monroe Adams, 52, machine operator for Leachco, died April 21. Graveside services 2 p.m. Monday, Rosedale Cemetery (Smith-Phillips, Ada). ALTUS Oden, Pauline, 88, sterile supply aide, died April 28. Graveside services 2 p.m. Saturday, Altus City Cemetery (Kincannon, Altus). ARDMORE Gentry, Audie Jeanette, 60, housekeeper, died April 25. Services 6 p.m. Friday (Harvey-Douglas, Ardmore). ATOKA Jack, A.J., 76, mechanic, died April 27. Services 2 p.m. Sunday, Full Gospel Community Church (Brown's, Atoka). BARTLESVILLE Canaday,

  • House panel approves military draft for women

    By RICHARD LARDNER Associated Press | Published: Fri, Apr 29, 2016

    WASHINGTON — Women would be required to register for the military draft under a House committee's bill that comes just months after the Defense Department lifted all gender-based restrictions on front-line combat units. A divided Armed Services Committee backed the provision in a sweeping defense policy bill that the full House will consider next month. The United States has not had a military draft since 1973 in the Vietnam War era, but all men must register with the Selective Service Systems within 30 days of turning 18. Military leaders maintain that the all-volunteer force is working and the nation is not returning to the draft. The 32-30 vote Wednesday night came with a twist: The proposal's author didn't back

  • OSU pitching performing at high level

    By John Helsley and Ryan Aber Staff Writers jhelsley@oklahoman.com raber@oklahoman.com | Published: Fri, Apr 29, 2016

    Thomas Hatch kept dealing on TCU, the league's top hitting team, and it became apparent that Oklahoma State was surely in line to claim the Big 12 Pitcher of the Week award — again. Sure enough, Hatch's 10-strikeout, complete-game shutout of TCU brought him the honor this week. That's six Big 12 Pitcher of the Week awards — spread among four OSU hurlers — for the Cowboys this season. As for pitching coach Rob Walton, he's oblivious. Sure, he knows the Cowboys are mastering the mound in this 2016 season, sitting No. 1 amid the Big 12 pitching ranks with a 3.02 team earned run average heading into a big weekend series at Texas, which used to be the standard-bearer for elite pitching.

  • NCAA reverses course on satellite camp ban

    By Jason Kersey Staff Writer jkersey@oklahoman.com | Updated: 7 hr ago

    In the aftermath of the NCAA Division I Council's ban on satellite camps earlier this month, there was intense backlash from coaches, recruits and their families, who argued that it would unfairly cost under-the-radar — but talented — prospects opportunities. Apparently those voices were heard, as the NCAA Division I Board of Directors voted Thursday to rescind the satellite camp ban 20 days after it was enacted. The camps are the result of a loophole in the NCAA rulebook, whereby Football Bowl Subdivision coaches co-host camps with smaller colleges or high schools in places where NCAA rules forbid them from hosting official camps.

  • Underwood’s recruiting focus extends far ... even to Turkey

    By John Helsley Staff Writer jhelsley@oklahoman.com | Updated: 7 hr ago

    STILLWATER — With the door-ajar buzzer beeping in the background, Brad Underwood transitioned his phone to Bluetooth, shifted the car into drive and chatted recruiting while en route to some long-overdue house hunting in Stillwater. So it goes for Underwood, who's maintained a furious pace since being named Oklahoma State basketball coach on March 21. Underwood hasn't rested amid the glory of his new gig; he's been too busy traveling, mostly on the road recruiting, here in the state, across the country and even to Turkey. That's right, Turkey, trying to lure a premium prospect — 6-foot-11 center Omer Yurtseven — for the upcoming season.

  • N.C. State ’83 title team gets White House trip

    From wire reports | Updated: 7 hr ago

    North Carolina State's 1983 national championship team will forever have a spot in NCAA Tournament history for its dramatic win over Houston. That Wolfpack team even got its own ESPN “30 for 30” documentary but what it didn't get to do was go to the White House and meet the president after its incredible win. Thirty-three years later, that's about to change. After some behind-the-scenes work by Thurl Bailey, and help from U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, the 1983 team is finally going to Washington. The Wolfpack will visit President Barack Obama on May 9 on an overdue visit to the White House. Bailey, one of three seniors on the '83 team with Dereck Whittenburg and Sidney Lowe, came up with the

  • Big 12 baseball stock report

    By John Helsley Staff Writer jhelsley@oklahoman.com | Published: Fri, Apr 29, 2016

    # Joe Baker, SS, Texas The Longhorns sophomore earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors after leading Texas on a 3-1 run last week that was punctuated by a series win at league-leading Texas Tech. Baker hit safely in all four games and produced a career day in Sunday's 17-1 romp of the Red Raiders, going 4-for-4 with two doubles and his first home run of the season, and driving in six runs. Baker also walked twice and scored six runs in the game. $ Big 12 Parity The conference standings reveal a clear dividing line. And the separation is harsh, revealing two classes of teams: Winners. Losers. Four Big 12 teams own winning league records, while the other five are all under .500, with four of those no better than even for

  • Papa’s return to Oklahoma a step to his ultimate goal

    By Jenni Carlson Columnist jcarlson@oklahoman.com | Published: Fri, Apr 29, 2016

    NORMAN — Spencer Papa left Oklahoma never expecting to come back. He was moving to Florida. He was going to a tennis academy. He was planning to launch a pro career. He was only 13. Sometimes, when you're young, things don't always work out like you expect. But that doesn't mean they didn't work out at all for the kid from Edmond. Papa is back in Oklahoma, where he first learned the game and where he now plays for OU. Not only is he one of the best players for one of the best college programs in the country, a team that starts its postseason run Friday at the Big 12 Championships in Stillwater, but he is also one of the best young players in the country.


    From Staff Reports | Published: Fri, Apr 29, 2016

    Enable garners safety awards Enable Midstream Partners recently won two top industry safety awards for its performance in 2015. The GPA Midstream Association and the American Gas Association recognized the company for its industry-leading safety record in 2015. GPA Midstream Association awarded Enable the first-place honor in Division I, which represents all midstream companies with one million or more midstream operational work hours. The GPA Midstream Safety Awards were determined based on the lowest total cases incident rate, lowest fatalities plus lost workdays incident rate and highest number of work hours reported.

  • OERB honors school's use of energy-related curriculum

    BY CASEY SMITH Tulsa World casey.smith@tulsaworld.com | Published: Fri, Apr 29, 2016

    TULSA — Micah Aytch, 12, said his mother has spoken with him before about well-site safety. The fifth-grader said that his uncle had an energy-related accident once (thankfully, he's fine), and Micah has noticed oil-related infrastructure near Daniel Webster High School and on the way to his grandmother's house in McAlester. Wednesday afternoon, Micah, along with the roughly 350 other students at Robertson Elementary School, got another lesson about well-site safety during an assembly hosted by the state agency Oklahoma Energy Resources Board. “Don't go into the oil derrick and don't go into the tank,” Micah summarized after the assembly. “And don't smell gas because it can burn you.

  • Volkswagen CEO lays out new plan focusing on electric cars, services

    By DAVID McHUGH AP Business Writer | Published: Fri, Apr 29, 2016

    FRANKFURT, Germany — Volks- wagen's CEO sketched out a wide-ranging transformation of the company on Thursday that will see it focus more on electric vehicles and services like car-sharing as it seeks to get past its scandal over cheating on diesel emissions tests. Matthias Mueller said Thursday that recalling and fixing the cars that were rigged to cheat on the tests “will remain our most important task until the very last vehicle has been put in order.” He stressed that the company's car business remains “fundamentally sound” but detailed a promised plan to emphasize digital services and zero-emissions vehicles.

  • State adds most wind power capacity in first quarter

    By Paul Monies Business Writer pmonies@oklahoman.com | Published: Fri, Apr 29, 2016

    Oklahoma added the most wind power capacity among all states in the first quarter, the American Wind Energy Association said Thursday. The industry group's first-quarter market report showed Oklahoma adding almost 270 megawatts of wind capacity, bringing the state's total to 5,453 megawatts. Oklahoma remained in fourth place among states for total wind capacity. Overall, 520 megawatts of wind capacity came online in the first quarter, the association said. The United States has total capacity of 74,512 megawatts. Two projects developed by Apex Clean Energy entered service in the first quarter in Oklahoma. The Grant Wind project, owned by Southern Power, has almost 152 megawatts over 66 turbines in Grant County.

  • Board OKs reductions that will limit mental health care access

    By Jaclyn Cosgrove Staff Writer jcosgrove@oklahoman.com | Updated: 7 hr ago

    Thousands of low-income Oklahomans with mental illnesses and substance use disorders will have less access to the care they need, a result of cuts approved Thursday at a special state Medicaid board meeting. The Oklahoma Health Care Authority board approved cuts Thursday that limit how much therapy Medicaid members can receive. The board also approved provider rate cuts to behavioral health professionals.  The cuts are the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services' attempt to balance the agency's budget amid the state budget crisis. As a result of the two state revenue failures, the agency has cut almost $23 million from its budget over the past few months.

  • Wave to the world

    By William Crum Staff Writer wcrum@oklahoman.com | Updated: 7 hr ago

    A young woman in shorts, black earbuds in place and riding her skateboard, breezed past the suits and ties Wednesday at Riversport Rapids. If ever there was a sign the eyes of the world are turning to Oklahoma City, that was it. Dignitaries gathered Wednesday afternoon to dedicate the new MAPS 3 whitewater rafting and kayaking park in the Boathouse District. But the athletes already have made themselves at home, testing a course touted as world-class ahead of its official opening and first event, next week's U.S. Olympic Trials. Completion of the $45.2 million park, financed by the 1-cent MAPS 3 sales tax and opening debt-free, marks “one of the red-letter days in our community,” Mayor Mick Cornett