–Water rights are always a contentious topic in Oklahoma, although it’s not all about selling excess water to other states. Watchdog reporter John Estus takes a look at a surprising controversy over an Oklahoma City water trust’s plans to buy water from Sardis Lake in southeast Oklahoma.
–Oklahoma hasn’t been hit as hard by the fallout from the mortgage market, but people have been affected here in the state. Watchdog reporter Vallery Brown talks to a local minister, who took out an adjustable-rate mortgage but soon ran into problems.
–It’s been a tumultuous year at mega-charity Feed the Children, what with infighting among board members and the founders. But that hasn’t dented the charity’s fund raising efforts. Reporter Nolan Clay has the latest filing Feed the Children made with the Internal Revenue Service that showed contributions of almost $1.2 billion last year.
–Deadly tornadoes struck several other states over the weekend, but not Oklahoma. Still, columnist Bryan Painter takes a look at the numbers of tornadoes in Oklahoma since 1950. What he found might surprise you.
–Education reporter Megan Rolland describes the run-down conditions at an Oklahoma City alternative school:
The Oklahoma City school for pregnant teenagers and other at-risk youths lacks heat in some classrooms, has a computer lab infested with termites and a roof that leaks in the rain.
Emerson Alternative School, which offers day care for the girls’ babies and also serves at-risk young men, was built in 1894 and will be one of the district’s last schools to be renovated under the MAPS for Kids program.
–Those vanity tags do have limits on them, even if you are paying the state for the privilege of personalizing your license plates. Nolan Clay has more on a few that slipped by at the Oklahoma Tax Commission, as well as some examples of vanity tags rejected by the agency.
–Arizona’s new law on illegal immigration made most of the news over the weekend, but a reporter from the Des Moines Register takes a look at Oklahoma’s recent immigration law, House Bill 1804.
–As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue, the New York Times has a story about how some of the service members are treated when they return stateside and are assigned to Warrior Transition Units:
But interviews with more than a dozen soldiers and health care professionals from Fort Carson’s transition unit, along with reports from other posts, suggest that the units are far from being restful sanctuaries. For many soldiers, they have become warehouses of despair, where damaged men and women are kept out of sight, fed a diet of powerful prescription pills and treated harshly by noncommissioned officers. Because of their wounds, soldiers in Warrior Transition Units are particularly vulnerable to depression and addiction, but many soldiers from Fort Carson’s unit say their treatment there has made their suffering worse.
–Finally, rats are a fact of life in urban areas like New York City. But the city’s residents in one of its more ritzy neighborhoods are complaining about a new infestation of the rodents. I don’t know what’s more interesting about this story: that the super-rich aren’t immune to urban problems, or the fact that New York City has a Rat Information Portal.
It’s hard to pinpoint the single cause of any rat infestation. Experts say rats, like humans, want to be near food sources and won’t move out of their homes if they don’t have to.
The effects of large explosions night after night on rats aren’t well documented, says Bobby Corrigan, a rodent expert who consults for the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
“The public has the perception that if there’s construction, there’s going to be rats,” he says. “There’s never any scientific evidence to show those two things are correlated.”