Executive Orders Seek to Force More Efficient State Spending

Governor Mary Fallin issued an executive order Tuesday directing the State Board of Education to consolidate some school district administrations. First, Fallin wants the State Board of Education to compile a list of school districts that spend less than 60 percent of their budget on classroom instruction. Then, she wants the board to use that list to find districts that could consolidate their administrative services, meaning they could share superintendents, maintenance crews, or payroll...

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Part 2 of a four-part series, Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities

Karen Howe couldn't believe her luck. As a single mom working a minimum-wage job and living with two kids in a crowded one-bedroom apartment in Ponca City, Okla., she was desperate for a three-bedroom house and a lawn.

Howe, a member of the Ponca tribe, was offered tribal housing in a small, tree-lined subdivision of 11 homes on the southern, rural edge of the city.

From Los Angeles to New York City and Miami to Dallas, professional basketball fans face November without the NBA. The league keeps canceling games because of the ongoing lockout as players and owners squabble over future contracts.

Most NBA cities have other professional sports to turn to with hoops on hiatus. But some markets, like downtown Oklahoma City, only have one game in town.

It's been so hot and dry this summer that climatologists say the southern part of the United States is going through an "exceptional drought."

Parts of Oklahoma have seen little rain since October — not to mention a string of 100-degree days. The steamy conditions are pressuring the state's water needs.

About 1.2 million people live in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, and they are putting a drain on the city's water supplies.

America's South, Midwest and Southwest are suffering through drought and high heat. Those regions have braved a string of days that saw temperatures in the high 90s, with heat indexes commonly reaching above 110 degrees.

But forecasters say much of the eastern U.S. will experience a gradual cool-down in the next few days. "New York and the D.C. area will drop down intothe lower 80s by Friday," the AP said, "while Atlanta drops to the upper 80s Friday and Saturday."

Before he was in the national spotlight, Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence analyst who now faces charges of giving classified material to WikiLeaks, was an isolated young man with a troubled family life, according to Frontline correspondent Martin Smith.

In a profile of the jailed soldier for Frontline, Smith conducted extensive interviews with Manning's family and friends. Smith says his goal was to explore Manning's life before his arrest last summer.

President Obama's Friday news conference, which reporters were informed of the day earlier, was initially intended to give him a chance to respond to increasing Republican attacks on his energy policy.

With rising gas prices in recent weeks as the backdrop, Republicans have charged that his administration's restrictions on domestic oil production were keeping gas prices higher than they'd be otherwise.

A federal judge on Monday temporarily stopped Oklahoma's new anti-Shariah law from taking effect.

Oklahoma's law -- a ballot initiative approved by 70 percent of Oklahomans in the Nov. 2 elections -- would change the state constitution to prohibit courts from considering international or Muslim law when deciding cases.

Muneer Awad, head of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, wasn't surprised at the Nov. 2 vote -- but he was sad and worried.

Forty U.S. billionaires pledged Wednesday to give at least half of their wealth to charity -- either during their lifetimes or after death.

That could be a big boost to nonprofits, which have suffered from the recent economic downturn.

The list of those taking the pledge includes some of the nation's wealthiest individuals: Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett, T. Boone Pickens, Michael Bloomberg and George Lucas of Star Wars fame.

jdaverhea.com

The Story focused on "Music And The Internet" today and brought on The Journal Record's Dave Rhea to talk about his rock and roll past.

Once upon a time, the music industry was the place where stars were made, and a lot of other people made a lot of money. Not any longer. Today on the program, two stories, two guys who once banked their future on the music biz ... and have now been forced to move on. 

NBA's Thunder Strikes Gold In Oklahoma City

Apr 22, 2010

Oklahoma City will experience something new tonight: NBA playoff basketball.

Not only are the Oklahoma City Thunder in the postseason -- the team is favored tonight over the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, even though the Lakers lead the series 2-0.

The Thunder are a great turnaround story. Last year, they were one of the worst teams in the NBA. And two years ago they were in Seattle, playing as the SuperSonics.

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KOSU's Michael Cross talks about political news in Oklahoma with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican political consultant Neva Hill.

Education News

Governor Mary Fallin issued an executive order Tuesday directing the State Board of Education to consolidate some school district administrations.

First, Fallin wants the State Board of Education to compile a list of school districts that spend less than 60 percent of their budget on classroom instruction.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

The wind blows strong and steady in Calumet, a small town about 40 miles west of Oklahoma City.

It’s the wind that’s prompted companies to build turbines here. A natural gas company also built a plant nearby.

In northeastern Oklahoma, Google built a large data center in Pryor. And the city of Cushing is flanked by fields of large steel tanks that hold millions of barrels of oil.

These industries bring in abundant property tax revenue for nearby schools — enough that 37 districts don’t receive any funding from the state.

Which of these statements seems more trustworthy to you?

1) Americans are drowning in a tsunami of ignorance! There is a conspiracy at the highest levels to replace all knowledge with propaganda and disinformation.

2) A recent Stanford University report found that more than 80 percent of middle schoolers didn't understand that the phrase "sponsored content" meant "advertising."

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A weekly two-hour show of Oklahoma music, from across the state. The show opens a window of Oklahoma music to the rest of the world.