StateImpact Oklahoma
8:57 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Wind Power ‘Superhighway’ Could Help Transform Panhandle Into U.S. Energy Hub

A wind turbine under assembly near Balko in Oklahoma's Panhandle. When completed, the turbine will be part of Apex Energy's 300-megawatt Balko Wind Project.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The wind energy boom has largely evaded Oklahoma’s Panhandle, but new turbine projects and a proposal for a $2 billion transmission line could transform the prairie into a national wind energy hub.

But the projects are being planned amid uncertainty at the state Capitol, where tax credits for the wind industry are in the crosshairs.

FILLING IN THE TRANSMISSION GAP

Despite being one of the state’s richest sources of wind energy, the Oklahoma Panhandle is home to very few wind farms.

Carroll Beaman knows why. The fourth-generation farmer was born during the height of the Dust Bowl and still owns the homestead his family settled shortly after the turn of the century.

“It’s very sparsely settled,” he says. “No industry, except for some of the oil and gas, so it’s never had transmission.”

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Carless in OKC
8:50 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Getting to Know Downtown Oklahoma City

Going without a car provides an opportunity to get to know your community in a better way.

John and Elizabeth Tankard take a look at urban living while being Carless in OKC.

What does it take to live without a car in OKC?  The Tankards are trying to find out. You can read all about their experiences at carlessinokc.blogspot.com.

Headlines
8:14 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Headlines: New Tinker Land, Capitol Shutdown & the Future of OKC

Headlines for Thursday, February 5, 2015:

  • Tinker Air Force Base accepts the title to 158 acres of land. (Journal Record)
     
  • A judge threatens to jail the state’s Mental Health Commissioner over the treatment of a prisoner. (NewsOK)

  • Love’s Travel Stops is diversifying. (Journal Record)

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StateImpact Oklahoma
7:17 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Inhofe, Pruitt Attack EPA Over Water Rules

Credit courtesy msnbc.com

A rare joint Congressional hearing in Washington Wednesday took up the issue of ‘Waters of the United States,’ the EPA’s attempt to more clearly define which bodies of water qualify for federal protection under the Clean Water Act.

As StateImpact’s Logan Layden reports, Republicans at the hearing — including Oklahoma’s senior senator and state attorney general — are convinced the move is a vast overreach of the EPA’s power that will place everything from ditches to farm ponds under government control.

Administrator Gina McCarthy explained the EPA’s action as a benign clarification of existing rules meant to reduce confusion for farmers and ranchers, not further burden them. Senator Jim Inhofe wasn’t buying it.

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Traffic
4:18 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Stuck In Traffic? It's Likely To Be Worse In 30 Years, Report Says

Traffic clogs the 101 Freeway in Los Angeles.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 1:27 pm

Moving from crisis to crisis — for too long that's been America's strategy for dealing with the challenges of an aging transit infrastructure, from roads to bridges to ports. The result is a system that's crumbling and in desperate need of attention, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The massive study both looks at the current state of the country's transportation systems and forecasts the challenges that lie ahead.

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Health
7:30 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Measles + Low Vaccination Rates = Big Headaches For Schools

California is one of 20 states that allow parents to opt out of vaccination requirements for reasons of "personal belief." About 10 percent of students in the Santa Monica-Malibu school district are not immunized.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 8:25 pm

In Southern California many schools are facing tough questions about measles.

California is one of 20 states that allow students to opt out of school vaccination requirements when those rules conflict with their parents' personal beliefs. Many affluent areas along the California coast are home to schools with some of the highest "personal belief exemption" rates in the country. And that is creating some tension for administrators and health officials.

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Health
5:27 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Pediatricians Pressured To Drop Parents Who Won't Vaccinate

Dr. Eric Ball examines a healthy 5-day-old patient in his office in Ladera Ranch, Calif. Ball and colleagues decided this week to take only patients whose parents follow the recommended vaccine schedule.
Courtesy of Eric Ball

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 8:15 am

Dr. Bob Sears, a pediatrician in Capistrano Beach, Calif., says that he strongly believes in the protective power of vaccines to save lives. But he's also well-known in Southern California as a doctor who won't pressure parents who refuse to vaccinate their children, or who refuse some vaccines, or who want to stray from the recommended schedule of vaccinations.

"They all come to me because, I guess, I'm more respectful of their decisions, more willing to listen to them," Sears says, "[and to] discuss pros and cons and acknowledge that there are some side effects to vaccines."

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Law
4:06 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

How The Voting Debates Will Be Different In 2015

Citizens cast their ballots at the South Shore Park building in Milwaukee, Wis., on Election Day 2014.
Darren Hauck Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 8:13 am

State legislatures are back in session, under more Republican control now than at any other time in U.S. history. One issue they'll be debating a lot is voting — who gets to do it and how.

It's a hot topic, but this year's debate could be less contentious than it has been in the past. One reason is that lawmakers will be considering a lot of proposals to make voting easier and more efficient.

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Headlines
8:14 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Headlines: Tulsa's New Superintendent, OKC Debt & Stillwater Fracking

Headlines for Wednesday, February 4, 2015:

  • Tulsa’s School Superintendent-to-be is visiting schools this week. (Tulsa World)

  • The Oklahoma City Council releases a formal six page policy on how and when municipal agencies can take on debt. (Journal Record)

  • The Corporation Commission shuts down an injection well because of earthquakes. (Tulsa World)

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All Tech Considered
7:03 am
Wed February 4, 2015

FCC Chairman Wheeler Backs Regulating Internet As Public Utility

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler unveiled his plan in a Wired op-ed on Wednesday. The FCC is scheduled to vote on the proposal Feb. 26.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 10:48 am

Updated Feb. 4, 11:52 a.m. ET: Wheeler Outlines His Proposal In Wired.

Today is the day net neutrality watchers had been waiting for, according to numerous reports. After months of debate, discussion and the culling of nearly 4 million public comments on the matter, the Federal Communications Commission appears poised to decide how it will regulate the Internet.

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