Man claims tampering in case over bombing videos
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A Utah lawyer suing the FBI over his public records request for surveillance videos from the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing says one of his witnesses backed out after being visited by government officials last week.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1qj4BbS ) Utah attorney Jesse Trentadue made the accusation Tuesday to U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups during the second day of the trial.
Waddoups agreed with Trentadue that it was a serious matter and ordered lawyers representing the FBI to find out if anyone told John Matthews not to testify. The attorneys said they were unaware of what happened.
Trentadue says Matthews was set to testify about a government operation that had ties to the Oklahoma City bombing investigation.
Okla. corrections audit recommends more oversight
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A recent audit of Oklahoma's prison system recommends more financial oversight from the governing board and a closer look at the increasing cost of health care.
The performance audit released Tuesday by State Auditor Gary Jones was requested by Gov. Mary Fallin following the resignation of former Department of Corrections Director Justin Jones.
The audit includes 10 recommendations to help the department reduce costs and better manage its inmate population. Among the recommendations is the creation of an audit committee to help the board ensure financial accountability.
It also encourages the department to conduct additional analysis of health care costs, which currently account for more than 10 percent of all agency expenditures.
The audit covered a five-year span from 2008 to 2013.
Chickasaw Nation to debut new documentary
The Chickasaw Nation is set to debut the first of a series of documentaries about the tribe.
"First Encounter" is a historical documentary about the tribe's confrontation with the Spanish conquistador Hernando De Soto.
It's being screened Saturday at the Chickasaw Cultural Center. The film is the first of several documentaries the tribe plans to create for its Chickasaw Heritage Series.
Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby says the film is designed to add to the tribe's perspective to important events in American history.
EPA awards nearly $132k for groundwater protection
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the Oklahoma Corporation Commission nearly $132,000 to ensure continued protection of groundwater in Oklahoma.
The $131,843 in total funds will be used to issue permits for injection wells that meet program requirements and for shutting down wells when pollution has occurred.
The money will also be used to inventory injection wells, perform technical reviews of all permit applications, perform on-site field investigations and conduct interviews and visual observations for compliance assurance.
The federal agency says in a release that the grant helps ensure American citizens have safe sources of drinking water through a cooperative effort between the EPA, state and tribal governments.
Cole discusses details of House immigration plan
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - U.S. Rep. Tom Cole says a House plan for addressing the influx of immigrant children at the southern border would put restrictions on the federal government's use of military facilities like Fort Sill for temporary shelters.
A member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, Cole released a statement Tuesday outlining some of the details of a House proposal. In response to President Barack Obama's request for $3.7 billion, Cole said the House plan calls for $659 million.
The Republican lawmaker says it also would require the Department of Defense to provide advance notice about housing unaccompanied minors at military facilities and prohibit their use for more than 120 days.
Cole's district includes Fort Sill, where hundreds of mostly teenagers from Central America are being housed in vacant troop barracks.
Christie set to visit Oklahoma for GOP fundraiser
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is planning a return trip to Oklahoma after a December ice storm forced him to cancel a scheduled appearance with Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin.
The potential 2016 presidential candidate is expected to join Fallin and several executives with independent oil giant Devon Energy for private fundraiser in Oklahoma City Aug. 20 for the Republican Governors Association. The suggested contribution is $25,000.
Christie currently is the chairman of the RGA.
Christie was expected to visit Oklahoma in December for a birthday party and fundraiser for Fallin, but canceled after a winter storm hit the state. His visit to Oklahoma is part of jam-packed month of travel through the South to boost Republican gubernatorial candidates.
Oklahoma Film & Music Office names new director
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma Film & Music Office has a new director.
The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department announced Tuesday that Oklahoma native Tava Maloy Sofsky has been named to the position. She replaces outgoing director Jill Simpson.
Sofsky has worked with a variety of filmmakers and executives, including comedian Bill Cosby and directors Steven Spielberg and Oliver Stone.
Her film credits include "The Mask of Zorro" and "The Fast and the Furious."
Sofsky says it's a privilege to take the baton from Simpson.
Attorney: Oklahoma drilling tax unconstitutional
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - An attorney claims a state law that sets Oklahoma's tax on oil and gas production is unconstitutional.
Attorney Jerry Fent told a state Supreme Court referee Tuesday the measure does not comply with constitutional guidelines for the passage of revenue bills. Fent says the law was approved in the final days of this year's legislative session and was not approved by at least three-fourths of the House and Senate.
Solicitor General Patrick Wyrick says the measure does not meet the definition of a revenue bill because it cuts tax rates. It taxes oil and gas wells at 2 percent for the first three years of production. The rate then jumps to 7 percent.
Referee Daniel Karim will submit a report on the case to the high court.
OTTAWA COUNTY BRIDGE-FISH
Work stops on northeast Oklahoma bridge project
MIAMI, Okla. (AP) - Work on a $5.8 million bridge project has stopped after federal officials told an Oklahoma county that its construction method could harm a threatened fish species.
The Miami News-Record reports (http://bit.ly/1zqpTtu ) the Ottawa County Commission says work has been halted on the Stepps Ford bridge near Commerce.
An engineering official says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was concerned about how a planned barrier would affect the habitat of a threatened catfish population. The wall was intended to create a dry area for work on the bridge.
He says a new consultation with federal officials will have to occur before work can begin again. The consultation could take at least 90 days.
Gas prices continue downward slide in Oklahoma
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - AAA Oklahoma says gas prices continue to drop in the state as demand nationwide drops below 9 million barrels per day.
On Tuesday, the average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline was $3.30 in Oklahoma. That's down 22 cents over the past month. The agency says only four states have a lower statewide average than Oklahoma, led by South Carolina's average of $3.26 per gallon.
AAA Oklahoma says Tuesday's gas prices are the lowest average the state has seen since February.
Bartlesville had the lowest average price among the state's cities, coming in at $3.20 per gallon. In Oklahoma City, the average price is $3.27 per gallon, while Tulsa reported an average of $3.22 per gallon.
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