Oklahoma City officials said Monday they are no longer going to renew park permits for Occupy OKC protesters. Without the permits, protesters won’t be able to use Kerr Park from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
The group is angry about the denial of a permit, and some say they won’t leave after the park’s curfew tonight. Watch the NewsOK video above and see more video here.
Occupy Organizer Beth Isabell said some protesters will accept citations and others will be arrested before they leave. It’s something that the group hopes to avoid, she said.
Occupier Jaymie Johnson said he was laid off as a firefighter and has been protesting at the park for equal employment opportunities for all Americans.
“I’m definitely ready to be arrested,” he said. “We’re occupying this park, and I’m not going to leave until there’s a change.”
I’ll be working tomorrow, but I was curious what others might be doing for the holiday. I did a quick search of tweets using key words “Oklahoma” and “Thanksgiving.” Here’s what I found.
@peytonwillow: My grandmother wanted to come all the way from Oklahoma for Thanksgiving this year, so she could go gamble in Tunica. #myfamily
@MackensieFerris: oooh tomorrow is Thanksgiving! I will be feasting! love these times with the fam in Oklahoma <3
@perfect_hajny: Glad to see the Oklahoma Highway Patrol out wishing people a happy Thanksgiving.
@jmartinlibrary: Visiting my tiny Oklahoma hometown for Thanksgiving. So. Many. Pickup Trucks. Also, there is a general lack of subject-verb agreement here.
@SoonerVike: On the road to Oklahoma for Thanksgiving. Just passed a dead alligator on the side of the Interstate. Yep, we live in Louisiana!
@lpt_35: Oklahoma bound for Thanksgiving. Ready for food, family and hunting. #Oklahomabreakdowntime
@HCaliendo: Going back to Oklahoma for Thanksgiving! Fingers crossed the airport is not a nightmare or at least I don’t have screaming kids next to me.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Photo by Jim Beckel: Alex Vasquez eats a piece of ham. Pre-kindergarten students partnered with fourth grade “buddies” to learn about the history of Thanksgiving by dressing as Pilgrims and Indians and enjoying a traditional Thanksgiving meal in the cafeteria of Cleveland Bailey Elementary School in Midwest City on Monday, Nov. 21, 2011.
To keep up with breaking news around the clock, reporters work various shifts at odd hours of the night and morning to make sure NewsOK is up to speed on everything that’s breaking.
Reporter Robert Medley was working the morning shift Tuesday when a fire broke out in a Del City home, causing $200,000 in damage to the structure. The house belonged to sports historian Ray Soldan.
The coverage all began when the fire department notified news outlet of the blaze via email. They were also tweeting about the call at the same time.
The Del City Fire Department (@delcityfire) first tweeted about a structure fire on Howard Drive and provided a photo of the house. They followed up with more photos and information about additional units responding and streets being blocked off.
It’s important to note that these photos were not attached to the emails, so the only way to see what was going on was to follow them on Twitter.
It just goes to show that the way reporter find and receive information is changing. Agencies are using Twitter to put out information now instead of email. Or they’re posting news releases on Facebook before alerting the media.
When the Del City Fire Department sent out later emails, two of those were tweets that could have been found on the fire department’s page.
I think this is an exciting time for journalism because we can use social media tools like this to our advantage. It also makes it easier for officials to be more transparent with what is happening in their cities.
This is only one example of many other stories that will break on social media. We just have to be equipped and ready to find them.
Photo by Robert Medley
The Oklahoman recently ran a story about how Occupy OKC protesters and city officials have been able to work together to keep protests peaceful in Kerr Park.
It is against city ordinances to stay overnight in the park and use tents, but the city and local Occupy leadership reached an agreement to let the protesters stay there around the clock as long as they pay permit fees, keep the park clean and follow other rules, Assistant Oklahoma City Manager M.T. Berry said Wednesday.
Police in Tulsa, Portland, Ore.; New York City, Oakland, Calif.; Columbia, S.C.; San Diego, and elsewhere have gone into Occupy encampments and forcibly removed protesters. Officials in various cities have participated in conference calls to discuss concerns over unsanitary and even dangerous conditions involved with the protests.
Lately there have been changes in Occupy OKC as far as leadership and permit difficulties. A captain from the Oklahoma City police department recently came down to speak with protesters about obtaining permits, noise complaints and rumors of construction closing the park.
Members of the group had a permit denied at least one day last week due to the removal of portable toilets at the park, the captain said. Watch the video above for more.
After the city council passed a measure to add sexual orientation to its employment policy Tuesday morning, many people tweeted about the council’s discussion and decision. NewsOK reporter Michael Kimball was also tweeting. See what more people are saying about it below.
I was doing some research through The Oklahoman’s archives on an old court case and came across the top news story 20 years ago today. The headline reads “Okmulgee Sheriff Quits; Grand Jury Cites Allegations.”
I always enjoy looking through the archives because it’s a nice way to see how reporting and newspapers have changed over time. If anyone has any interest, I might start posting bits and pieces of more stories from “back in the day.”
I’ve posted a few paragraphs from the story below, but you’ll need to purchase one of our packages to view the rest of the article. Or if you’re already a print subscriber you can activate your account here.
OKMULGEE–Sheriff Jim Hart resigned Wednesday after the state’s multicounty grand jury accused him of corruption and official misconduct, including forcing a female jailer to have sex with him.
In an 11-count ouster petition, jurors also alleged Hart allowed prisoners outside their jail cells, falsified investigative reports and jail inmate medication logs, solicited witnesses to lie in court testimony and filed a false $350 gasoline expense claim.
The former jailer, in October, filed a $1 million sexual harassment claim with Okmulgee County commissioners alleging Hary forced her to resign after she complained to the Oklahoma State Buureau of Investigation.
Story written by Staff Writer Robby Trammell.
NBA players rejected the league’s offer on Monday–a move that is likely to jeopardize the season.
The Associated Press reports:
“We’re prepared to file this antitrust action against the NBA,” union executive director Billy Hunter said. “That’s the best situation where players can get their due process.”
He said players were not prepared to accept the NBA Commissioner David Stern‘s ultimatum, saying they thought it was “extremely unfair.”
Stern had urged players to take the deal on the table, saying it’s the best the NBA can offer and warned that decertification is not a winning strategy.
For more news on the Thunder and NBA lockout, check out NewsOK sports.
Some Oklahoma City Thunder fans took to Twitter to vent about their frustration of the lockout. Here’s what they had to say:
One of the first things I learned when I moved to Oklahoma to become a reporter was how to search the Oklahoma State Courts Network.
OSCN is an online database that allows you to search court dockets and cases and provides links to conduct your own legal research. I use this system every day to do research, so I wanted to give a quick tutorial on how others might be able to use it, too. Watch the video for more.
Talking with people who are devastated over the loss of a loved one is difficult enough, but it’s worse sometimes when they don’t know what happened to them.
I’ve spent the last two weeks gathering information on a cold case from Pottawatomie County about a 22-year-old Tecumseh man reported missing in 2001. Skeletal remains found in Earlsboro in April 2008 were linked to the missing man, Dustin Bench.
For seven years, his family tried to find him in crowds but never succeeded. Now that his skeletal remains have been found, they want answers about what happened to him.
I recently sat down and spoke with his sister, Jamie Bench, 20, about the case. She said her big brother was her best friend, and she often wonders what he would be doing now if he had survived.
She said her family spent many years looking for Dustin after he disappeared. Sometimes they would drive through town and try to find his face in the crowd.
As time progressed, the possibilities of what happened to her brother became hard to deal with. She said members of her family would pass time by thinking that he would show up on their doorstep someday with a wife and a baby.
But those stories came to a halt in April 2008 when skeletal remains were found by a mushroom hunter in a field in Earlsboro, about 50 miles southeast of Oklahoma City. The family had a feeling the remains belonged to their Dustin.
The state medical examiner’s office reported that 49 human bones were recovered, and a DNA sample from James Bench linked the bones to his son.
Capt. J.T. Palmer with the Pottawatomie County sheriff’s office said the case is being investigated as a homicide because of suspicious circumstances surrounding Dustin Bench’s death. He said he thinks investigators are close to solving the case and asks that anyone with information about the case call 405-275-2526.
NewsOK reporter Robert Medley went to the scene of a home invasion Friday morning in the 1400 block of NW 165 Court. Homeowner Momtaz Faysal, 35, told police two men forced him to lie on the floor while they stole jewelry, cash and other items.
Faysal said he was in the house with his wife, Shahruba; a cousin; his son, Mayan, 19 months; and an infant daughter.
“It was really scary, especially for the kids,” Faysal said. “They were crying.”
Faysal spoke with media this morning, detailing what happened during the invasion. See video above for more.