Arts & Culture
7:40 am
Wed May 13, 2015

Bixby High School Bypasses Band Contests In Favor of Further Music Education

Jeremy Parker rehearses the Bixby High School wind ensemble as the musicians prepare for their end of the school year concert.
Kurt Gwartney

Competition can be fierce in Oklahoma’s high school extracurricular activities. From athletic fields to performance halls, students take seriously the trophies they bring back to their schools. One award-winning Tulsa-area music program has decided to step away from a hallmark band contest to make the spring semester all about the music.

The Bixby High School marching band, better known as The Pride of Bixby, won its number one spot during marching season with a crazy kind of circus on the field. Unicyclers, tumblers, disappearing color guard members and rotating horn players spread across the gridiron, helping to make their show number one in the state in its class, 6A-2.

But the band intentionally fell silent for the spring state concert band contest. For the second year in a row, the Bixby High School band chose to pass on this contest.

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Sample Size
5:42 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

New Mix: Kamasi Washington, Hot Chip & Sufjan Stevens

Kamasi Washington

This is Sample Size, our weekly new music feature with KOSU's Ryan LaCroix and LOOKatOKC pop music columnist Matt Carney.

Today, we hear the epic jazz output of Kamasi Washington, the glitchy electronic rock of Hot Chip, and a review of a thrilling live show by Sufjan Stevens.

Follow Matt & Ryan on Twitter at @OKmattcarney and @KOSUryan.

NPR History Dept.
2:16 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Do We Talk Funny? 51 American Colloquialisms

Jennifer Maravillas Ikon Images/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 9:25 pm

Has American English become homogenized? Have our regional ways of saying particular things — sometimes in very particular ways — receded into the past? Or do we talk as funny as ever?

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Headlines
7:48 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Headlines: Gun Bill Veto, Storm Aftermath & Edmond Islamic Center

Headlines for Tuesday, May 12, 2015:

  • Governor Fallin vetoes a bill to strengthen gun laws. (NewsOK)

  • House Speaker files bill to finish off the Native American Cultural Center. (Journal Record)

  • State House members hear a bill to create a tax amnesty to help with the budget shortfall. (Tulsa World)

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Health
3:43 am
Tue May 12, 2015

State Legislatures Quarrel Over Whether To Expand Medicaid

Alaskans attend a rally in Anchorage for Medicaid expansion.
Jonathan Casurella/Alaska Public Media

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 9:22 pm

Five years after the Affordable Care Act passed, the law's provision allowing the expansion of Medicaid coverage to more people is still causing huge fights in state legislatures.

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Teacher Shortage Crisis
11:42 am
Mon May 11, 2015

Why Are There 1,000 Unfilled Teaching Jobs in Oklahoma?

Robyn Venable poses with one of her students in her teaching kitchen at Charles Page High School in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. Venable is retiring this year.
Emily Wendler / KOSU

As the school year winds down, administrators are ramping up their search for next year’s teachers. But that search is tougher and more competitive than normal. The state is currently in need of 1,000 teachers, according to State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister. But there’s a shallow pool of applicants.

Emily Wendler reports on what’s causing the teacher shortage, what schools are doing to fill in the gaps, and how it’s affecting kids.

Robyn Venable has been a teacher in Oklahoma for 31 years. Currently she teaches life skills at Charles Page High School in Sand Springs.

“I always wanted to be a special education teacher. Ever since the third grade.”  

She says she’s loved it, and it’s been a good run, but it’s time to retire. She had cancer, and that influenced her decision to leave, but she also says the teaching profession has changed over the years and the money is no longer worth the headaches.

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Headlines
8:15 am
Mon May 11, 2015

Headlines: Drilling, Capitol Repairs & Climate Change Flooding

Headlines for Monday, May 11, 2015:

  • Corporation Commission taking a close look at drilling permits in northern Oklahoma. (Journal Record)
     
  • A group asking for a moratorium on injection wells is coming to the Capitol today. (Tulsa World)

  • Oklahoma energy companies are still drilling in spite of low oil prices. (NewsOK)
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Author Interviews
5:37 pm
Sun May 10, 2015

In Oklahoma, The Sky Has No 'Mercy'

The Mercy of the Sky

Originally published on Sun May 10, 2015 5:37 pm

Two years ago, one of the worst tornadoes on record hit the town of Moore, Okla. And you might say to yourself, well, doesn't this always happen there? It's called Tornado Alley for a reason.

And that's pretty much how the residents of Moore think about tornadoes. They're just part of life, and you take your chances. But that kind of thinking was part of the problem on May 20, 2013. The storm that came through that day was different. It was horrific.

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The Two-Way
9:10 am
Sun May 10, 2015

Tornadoes Hit Texas As Tropical Storm Ana Makes Landfall In S.C.

A photo from Thursday shows Dillan Taylor salvaging items from her destroyed recreational vehicle in Oklahoma City following a tornado there. More tornadoes hit the Plains states over the weekend.
Sue Ogrocki AP

Originally published on Sun May 10, 2015 2:50 pm

A series of tornadoes in North Texas over the weekend have left at least one person dead and others missing. Meanwhile, in South Carolina, a weakening Tropical Storm Ana made landfall early this morning near Myrtle Beach, S.C.

One of the tornadoes that hit Saturday destroyed homes in a rural area south of Cisco, a town about 100 miles west of Fort Worth, Eastland County, Judge Rex Fields was quoted by The Associated Press as saying.

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Business
5:16 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

Oil Companies Look To Fill Employment Gap With More Women

After completing training in 2013, Claire Kerstetter now works as a fluid technician on fracking jobs.
Jeff Brady NPR

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 10:38 pm

Look at the oil business and you'll notice it's mostly men. That's a problem for an industry that needs legions of new workers to replace retirees in coming years.

The industry hasn't always treated women fairly, but now it needs them.

The oil business just 30 years ago was a lonely place for the few women who chose to work in it. Rayola Dougher, senior economic adviser at the American Petroleum Institute, says attending industry conferences made that clear.

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