Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, had high praise Thursday for the emergency management agency officials working on tornado relief efforts in Oklahoma this week.
Coburn gave his highest praise to Albert Ashwood, director of the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management.
“They’re just on top of the game,” Coburn said of Ashwood, who is also from Muskogee, and his agency.
Coburn, who toured the devastation in Moore on Tuesday, also praised Gov. Mary Fallin and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.
“FEMA has done a great job,” Coburn said, adding that storm victims will be getting payments quickly to help with housing and other basic needs.…
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The Republican-controlled U.S. House voted 241-175 on Wednesday to require the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to Nebraska. The vote was symbolic since the U.S. Senate, controlled by Democrats, is not likely going to consider the House bill. The U.S. State Department is currently analyzing TransCanada’s proposal to build the pipeline, and it’s not known when a decision will be announced.
Four of Oklahoma’s five U.S. House members voted for the bill on Wednesday. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, whose district was devastated by a tornado on Monday, was back in Oklahoma and could not vote but expressed support for the legislation.…
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President Barack Obama is planning to travel to Oklahoma on Sunday to check on tornado relief efforts, thank first responders, comfort victims and families and show the nation’s solidarity with the stricken citizens.
The president is a gifted orator and, in his remarks from the White House on Tuesday about the tragedy, captured the physical and emotional work ahead:
“There are empty spaces where there used to be living rooms and bedrooms and classrooms, and, in time, we’re going to need to refill those spaces with love and laughter and community,” Obama said.…
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From the U.S. Postal Service:
The violent tornadoes that roared through Oklahoma over a three day period sadly resulted in the loss of lives, property and impacted mail service in the delivery areas of Carney, Luther, Shawnee, Newcastle, and Oklahoma City Moore and Santa Fe Stations.
The Moore OK Post Office Branch, servicing ZIP Codes 73153 and 73160 sustained heavy damage and has temporarily relocated operations.
The letter carriers are temporarily housed at the Airport Finance Unit located at 6500 Air Cargo Road, Oklahoma City, OK 73195.…
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By Wednesday night:
_ More than 400 federal personnel were on the ground in the impacted area, including teams that are working directly with families and individuals who were affected by the tornadoes.
_ More 2,200 individuals impacted by the tornadoes had registered with FEMA for direct assistance available through the major disaster declaration provided by President Barack Obama on Monday night.
_ Since Monday night, the national Urban Search and Rescue teams completed searches of more than 1,200 structures in the affected area.…
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This screen shot, provided by C-SPAN, shows Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, speaking in the U.S. House chamber on Wednesday. Right behind Lankford is Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne; behind Lankford’s right shoulder, wearing a white shirt and blue tie, is Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville.
Note: Click on picture to see larger version.…
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From the American Forces Press Service, an Oklahoma general talks about Army National Guard’s role in tornado relief efforts.…
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Altus Air Force Base, which had been one of the finalists for the active duty base to house the new KC-46A tankers, will receive only the training mission, according to reports.
The Air Force announced Wednesday that McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas will be the home base of the refueling tankers.
Still, Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, and Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne, praised Altus for winning the training mission. They said it would bring eight aircraft to the southwest Oklahoma base, new military construction and more jobs for maintenance and technical support.…
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By Wednesday morning, the Federal Emergency Management Agency had mobilized 400 people to Oklahoma to coordinate relief efforts in the areas devastated by tornadoes.
President Barack Obama receive updates from his team overnight, according to a White House official. The president spoke with Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, on Tuesday night “to make clear that FEMA stood ready to continue to support the people of Oklahoma through the immediate response phase as well as the recovery, and to let the Senator know that Oklahomans remained in his thoughts and prayers.”
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is scheduled to travel to the affected area on Wednesday to meet with local officials and see ongoing response efforts first hand, the White House official said.…
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