Good Monday morning from OPUBCO HQ, where we’re keeping a close eye on the weather today.
We had some good stories this past weekend. Here’s what you might have missed while you were spending time with the Moms in your family:
–Road decisions are always fused with politics in some way. Watchdog reporter Randy Ellis had an interesting story on Sunday about a new interstate exit planned for the Shawnee area. Apparently, the governor co-owns some land near the planned intersection, but he said it’s in a floodplain and virtually worthless. Other groups in Shawnee are lining up to oppose or support the interchange, including an Indian tribe and the local school district.
–Unfunded pension liabilities are a ticking demographic time bomb that governments everywhere will have to deal with before long. Watchdog reporter John Estus takes a look at the retirement benefit obligations for the police and fire unions in Oklahoma City.
–Budget negotiations continue at the Capitol for fiscal year 2011. Our political reporters had the latest, including an update by Michael McNutt and a look at some plans for controversial tax credits by Julie Bisbee.
–Carrie Coppernoll had an interesting look at the 50th anniversary of “the pill” and how Oklahomans feel about it.
–If you’re a visitor to either the University of Oklahoma or Oklahoma State University, you might be able to just ignore any parking ticket you get. That seems to be the logic of university officials, who refused to release parking ticket information. Reporter Bryan Dean has a story where the universities are hiding behind a federal law to protect student privacy.
–In other education news, Norman reporter James Tyree broke down the numbers of alcohol incidents at the University of Oklahoma.
–The author of a law allowing parents to drop off their newborn children at safe places without penalty said the law worked last weekend in Shawnee, when a mother dropped off her twins at a local fire station. Watchdog reporter Randy Ellis explains the history of the law.
–Arizona is ground zero in the latest fight over illegal immigration. The Arizona Republic looks at the numbers and finds that not all illegal aliens are sneaking over the border. Many are getting visas and then overstaying their allotted time.
–The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico continues to cause problems for wildlife and energy company BP. The New York Times investigates the company’s safety record and finds it lags other energy companies. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal broke down the relationship between the federal government’s Minerals Management Service and the energy industry.