Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

In Business-Friendly Oklahoma, Optometrists Bring Potential 'Corporate Control' Into Focus

Brendhan Fritts’ optometry practice in Duncan is filled with brightly colored displays of models in designer glasses, pamphlets on the importance of routine eye care — and posters against State Question 793. It doesn’t look like a scene for political discussions, but with the November election looming, Fritts is having more and more conversations with his patients. “‘How do you want me to vote?’ Is basically what they ask me. ‘What do you want me to do?’ And I say, ‘I want you to vote no for...

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Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Can Oklahoma Learn From Louisiana's Criminal Justice Reform?

Every day, Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh sits at his desk and tries to make a severely overcrowded, understaffed prison system work. “I’ve been preoccupied with trying to figure out where we’re going to put all these people because we’re way over capacity,” Allbaugh said. This year, Oklahoma became the nation’s top incarcerator — a title that formerly belonged to Louisiana. But officials in the Bayou State said it reduced its prison population by 7.6 percent in less...

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Anita Hill's Challenge To Clarence Thomas: A Tale Of 2 Lives And 3 Elections

Brett Kavanaugh is not the first presidential nominee to have his run to the Supreme Court frozen at the finish line by a woman's accusations. Throughout this week of turmoil in Washington, the historical backstory has been the 1991 confrontation between Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas and a former colleague named Anita Hill. The classic clash of his and her testimony forced the reopening of Thomas' confirmation hearings and mesmerized a national TV audience for days. Hill won many...

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In Central U.S., Fears Storms Will Continue

May 23, 2012

More than a dozen people died after violent storms swept across Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas, unleashing tornadoes and high winds just days after a massive twister razed much of a Missouri city.

In Oklahoma, hardest hit by the storms that struck Tuesday night and early Wednesday, officials said nine people, including a child, were killed when several twisters touched down in Oklahoma City and its suburbs. At least 70 other people were in critical condition.

The Agony Of The Heat

May 23, 2012

The eastern U.S. felt the full, blazing brunt Thursday of a heat wave that began in the Plains and has strained tempers and electricity grids from Tulsa to Boston amid record temperatures and stifling humidity.

I met Anthony Shadid on a ruined airstrip in western Afghanistan in the winter of 2001-'02. He was sporting a beard and longer hair in those days that made him look a little like a crusading Arab warrior. We spoke briefly and exchanged a few bits of useful news about the place. As I recall his face now, I realize Anthony's secret: His sincerity was piercing, disarming and infectious.

Okemah, Okla. — the birthplace of Woody Guthrie — has another musical native son to call its own. John Fullbright's recordings mix folk, country and blues, and his lyrics often tackle big-picture topics.

"I grew up with a lot of questions that couldn't really seem to be answered," Fullbright tells NPR's Rachel Martin. "Why are we here? Did some higher power make all of this? Did he make me? And songwriting is kind of your own voice, your strongest voice, that you can use to ask yourself those questions."

The first days home from war are filled with joy, but it wears off. The lucky ones go back to work. Others find putting two feet on the floor every morning as difficult as nine hours in an office.

Brian Allen served in Mosul, Iraq for a full year, starting in January 2009. He’s in a therapy program for post traumatic stress disorder. On top of that a mic, guitar and some high powered computer programs have helped Brian empty his mind.

North Dakota may be about to go where no state has gone before. On June 12, voters will decide the fate of a ballot measure that would eliminate all property taxes in the state.

"We think it's a horse race," says Bob Harms, spokesman for a coalition of business, local government and farm groups that are opposed to the measure. "It has a real possibility of passing."

Obama Returns To Oklahoma Talking Oil

Mar 22, 2012

Thursday marked the first time President Obama has visited Oklahoma since running for the White House in 2008. He didn't win the state four years ago, and he's not expected to carry the traditionally red state this November, either.

But one Oklahoma town took center stage Thursday as Obama wrapped up a two-day tour of four states promoting his energy policy.

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Tuesday – An essay from Oklahoma City blogger Jennifer James

A bill introduced in the Oklahoma Legislature has some folks scratching their heads, as it prohibits "the manufacture or sale of food or products which use aborted human fetuses."

Since the bill was introduced late last week by State Sen. Ralph Shortey, a Republican from Oklahoma City, corners of the Internet have been buzzing with the news, as people try to figure out two things: 1) is this real; and 2) is there any reason the bill might be needed?

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A federal appeals court has struck down Oklahoma's ban on Sharia law. The ruling said the state amendment, which was passed in 2010, discriminated against Muslims.

NPR's Barbara Bradley Hagerty reports.

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Education News

To millions of parents and students, they're magical words: free college.

But is the idea pure fantasy?

More than a dozen states now offer grants, often called scholarships, promising to help qualifying students pay for some or all of their college education. In fact, that word, "promise," shows up again and again in these programs' official names: Nevada Promise, Oklahoma's Promise, Oregon Promise, Tennessee Promise ... you get the idea.

You're reading NPR's weekly roundup of education news.

Schools and colleges are coping with extreme heat

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Kristin Atchley, the Executive Director of Counseling for the State Department of Education said it’s standard practice for Oklahoma school teachers to yell at kids who are causing trouble, send them to the principal’s office, or tell them to put their head down without much regard for what might be driving their poor behavior.

Now she’s trying to change that.

“We didn’t know what we didn’t know,” she told a group of teachers in a training session at Duncan High School. “Well now we know it, and we can’t do it.”

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