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State and Regional News

    These Oklahoma lotteries were drawn Monday: 12-14-25-29-31 (twelve, fourteen, twenty-five, twenty-nine, thirty-one) Estimated jackpot: $75 million 2-5-2 (two, five, two) Estimated jackpot: $40 million
  • The winning numbers in Monday evening's drawing of the Oklahoma Lottery's 'Pick 3' game were: 2-5-2 (two, five, two)
  • The winning numbers in Monday evening's drawing of the Oklahoma Lottery's 'Cash 5' game were: 12-14-25-29-31 (twelve, fourteen, twenty-five, twenty-nine, thirty-one)
  • A new survey shows Oklahoma schools continue to struggle filling classroom positions after the largest teacher pay raise in state history. The Oklahoma State School Boards Association survey released Monday says another academic year will start with nearly 500 teacher vacancies statewide. Many districts already rely heavily on emergency certified and part-time teachers. More than half of superintendents surveyed said teacher hiring is worse this year than last. School Boards Association Executive Director Shawn Hime said a failed effort to block tax increases that will help fund the pay raise pushed some teachers to leave the state or find other jobs. Thousands of teachers converged on state capitols in Oklahoma, West Virginia, Arizona and Kentucky earlier this year over public education spending. Hundreds of them are now running for office .
  • Oklahoma prison officials say an inmate remains hospitalized after being stabbed at a facility in the southwestern part of the state. Officials say 36-year-old James Bever was stabbed Saturday at Lawton Correctional Facility. Bever was found lying in a pod shower with multiple stab wounds. Department of Corrections spokesman Matt Elliott says Bever was taken to an area hospital for treatment and remained hospitalized Monday. Prison records show he's serving a 10-year sentence for burglary and other charges in Pittsburg County. It's the second stabbing at the prison in a week. Officials say 37-year-old George Haga remains hospitalized after being stabbed Aug. 6. Haga is serving a 15-year sentence for drug possession and other charges in Oklahoma County. Prison officials say both attacks involve disputes between and among gang members.
  • Carmelo Anthony signed a one-year, $2.4 million deal with the Houston Rockets on Monday. Anthony was traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Atlanta Hawks last month before the Hawks released him. Houston general manager Daryl Morey announced the signing and the Rockets posted a picture on social media of Anthony signing his contract. The 34-year-old joins a team led by MVP James Harden and star point guard Chris Paul. The Rockets hope the addition of Anthony will help them contend for their first title since 1995. They lost to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals last season. Anthony will get a fresh start in Houston after spending last season with the Thunder, with whom he averaged a career-low 16.2 points in 78 games. The third overall pick in the 2003 draft has averaged 24.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3 assists in a 15-year career that also included stints with the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks. The 6-foot-8 Anthony is a 10-time All-Star and has won three gold medals in the Olympics. He is USA Basketball's all-time leading scorer and rebounder. Anthony has averaged more than 20 points every year of his career except last season and led the NBA in scoring in 2012-13, when he averaged 28.7 points a game. ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • An Oklahoma coalition is campaigning to reduce sentences of dozens of people incarcerated for crimes that no longer carry such severe punishments following the state's criminal justice reform efforts. Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform has partnered with University of Tulsa law students for what they call the 'commutation campaign,' The Oklahoman reported . The bipartisan group includes law enforcement, lawmakers and business and community leaders. A commutation makes a sentence less severe to correct an unjust or excessive sentence. The decision isn't intended to serve as an early release mechanism. A state law that took effect last year reclassifies certain low-level crimes as misdemeanors instead of felonies. But the law doesn't apply retroactively. The commutation campaign is a way to start a dialogue about whether the law should be retroactive and highlight where the criminal justice system is broken, said Colleen McCarty, a second-year law student. 'I don't know how we explain to those people sitting in prison that if somebody got caught now, they'd only get a year but you should be in prison for 15 years when you did the exact same thing,' she said. Tulsa law students spent the summer reviewing hundreds of cases and helping prepare commutation applications for selected individuals. Those selected for the campaign include individuals serving long sentences for drug possession and low-level possession with intent to distribute. All are serving 10 years or more and have shown a readiness to re-enter society, campaign officials said. Lengthy sentences may be costing the state $2.75 million, according to the group. The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board began initially reviewing about two dozen cases Monday. ___ Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com
  • The spring of teacher uprisings has given way to summer, but these are anything but lazy days for educators continuing the fight through their own election campaigns. Hundreds of teachers are running for office in November elections, campaigning primarily on promises to address public education spending cuts and meager pay hikes that provoked walkouts in states including Arizona, Oklahoma and Kentucky. As they spend summer break courting voters, hanging signs and debating opponents, teachers also are seeking a measure of vengeance against state legislative incumbents perceived as not supporting their cause. In Oklahoma, where more than half the 100 educators who filed for office survived last month's primary elections, teachers describe a contentious relationship with state Republican leaders over stagnant funding for schools and the rejection of a teacher pay hike. 'At their heart, they didn't respect the public schools and public school teachers,' said John Waldron, a Tulsa high school government and history teacher who is running for the Oklahoma House. Nationwide, union counts put the number of educators on ballots for offices from school board to state legislature at more than 300, more than double the 2014 and 2016 numbers. For some, victory can mean a leave of absence from the classroom or even resigning to handle their new responsibilities. Christine Pellegrino, a Long Island reading teacher elected last year to the New York Assembly, said the six-month legislative sessions made continuing to teach impossible. 'It was a really hard transition to make, but I get to do so much more,' said Pellegrino, a Democrat. 'I get to deliver money for schools.' ARIZONA A six-day teacher walkout this spring kept most Arizona students out of school while teachers protested for increased pay and school funding. Lawmakers passed a budget that authorized a 20 percent teacher pay increase over three years but fell short of demands for more overall funding for public schools. Sitting in the front row of the Senate gallery that May night was Jennifer Samuels, a Scottsdale teacher who been leaning toward a run for office — but not until 2020. 'I just realized that we didn't have any time to waste,' said Samuels, an English teacher and athletic director at Desert Shadows Middle School. 'My eighth-grade students, essentially their entire academic career, they've lived in underfunded schools and overcrowded classrooms.' She is now a candidate for the state House — one of more than 40 Democrats running for state legislature who are current or former teachers or education professionals, according to the Arizona Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee. The state Republican Party says at least four current educators are running for the legislature. The mother of three acknowledges she's an underdog, but she feels propelled by the grassroots movement that inspired her to run. 'We know that we can win if we turn out the vote,' she said. 'We know that people in our district support education, and they are looking for an education candidate.' OKLAHOMA Waldron, the Tulsa teacher, was among dozens of Oklahoma teachers who unsuccessfully ran for office in 2016. This year, their numbers have multiplied, partly because the candidate filing period coincided with a two-week April walkout when tens of thousands of educators closed school districts and thronged the Capitol demanding more funding for public schools. Since then, six Republican incumbents were ousted from office in the June primary, including several who voted against a tax increase to pay for teacher pay raises. Carri Hicks, a Democrat who's a fourth-grade math and science teacher from Deer Creek, said she is running for state Senate because teachers need a voice inside government. 'We need protected class sizes. We need a respectable salary. And I think those echoes you've heard of teachers feeling undervalued or disrespected are really tied to that,' Hicks said. KENTUCKY Many teachers in Kentucky were getting more involved in politics to oppose a 2017 law that made charter schools legal when the Republican-controlled state legislature proposed changes to the state's underfunded pension system. That prompted thousands of teachers to march on the Capitol in a protest that forced dozens of school districts to close. The legislature passed the law anyway and within weeks of the vote in March, House Majority Leader Jonathan Shell, one of the lawmakers who wrote the bill, lost his Republican primary to a high school math teacher who has never held public office, R. Travis Brenda. At least 34 current or former teachers are seeking seats in the state legislature this fall. About two-thirds are Democrats. It's the most educators on the ballot ever in Kentucky, according to David Allen, a former president of the Kentucky Education Association. Many teachers considered to have the best prospects against incumbents are running in rural districts, where public school systems are often the largest employer. ___ Associated Press writers Adam Beam in Frankfort, Kentucky; Melissa Daniels in Phoenix, Arizona; Maria Danilova in Washington, D.C., and Sean Murphy in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; contributed to this report.
  • When Vincent Xiong was in college, one of his professors asked him a question he couldn't answer. 'Who are you?' his professor asked. Xiong casually replied, 'I'm Vince.' His professor pressed further: 'Yeah, but who are you? Do you know your culture, where your parents came from? Can you speak the language? What religion do you practice?' Xiong has some memories of the Thai refugee camp in Nongkhai that was his home from ages 5 to 8½ years old: the smell of sewage running down the middle of the street, expired fish for dinner, violence against women and other refugees who tried to cross the fence and fear. But mostly, Xiong has memories of growing up in Oklahoma City and later Appleton, where his family was among the first Hmong families to arrive after fleeing Southeast Asia in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Xiong's family was one of only two living in Oklahoma City when they arrived in December 1979. As the eldest son in his family, Xiong began working at an early age to help his parents and siblings fight through poverty. As the years went on, Xiong adapted to U.S. culture, and his ability to speak Hmong and Thai slipped. He later went to University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie to study mental health counseling. 'After that conversation I had with (my professor), I struggled to identify who I was,' Xiong told The Leader-Telegram after reflecting on his upbringing in the U.S. '... I don't want the kids nowadays to go through that. I want them, as they grow up, to be able to say, 'This is who I am, and this is who my parents are.'' Xiong hopes his new role as executive director of the Eau Claire Area Hmong Mutual Assistance Association will help make sure that happens. As he looks toward the association's future, he sees education — for the young Hmong community and the Eau Claire community at large — as a powerful tool for understanding. In his first couple of weeks, Xiong said, he's working to put a stop to a high employee turnover rate and build a solid foundation. In the long run, he'd like to see the association hire an in-house counselor for Hmong community members who can't speak English, add a human resources department and turn the agency into an educational culture center. With plans for a larger location in the works, Xiong is starting with projects easily transferable. In the current entryway to the Eau Claire Area Hmong Mutual Assistance Association, visitors can see some physical evidence of the agency's background and purpose. But Xiong wants it to be obvious whenever someone walks into the building. 'From the moment you walk in the door, you can really see this is a Hmong agency because it has all these representations of what the Hmong culture is,' he said of his hopes for the organization's building. Some examples include displays of the clothing worn by cultural subdivisions of the Hmong people — such as White Hmong, Green Hmong and Striped Hmong — and traditional instruments such as the ncas, which is used for courtship. Xiong is also excited to see profiles of local Hmong community members hanging in the association's entryway. The profiles would detail how those people survived the Vietnam War and what their transition to the U.S. was like so the younger Hmong generation and others in Eau Claire would have a better understanding of how older generations came to be in the U.S. With help from the Chippewa Valley Museum, that project is in motion. 'Both of our organizations sort of realized that you can't really go anywhere in town to learn more about Hmong history and culture right now,' said Liz Reuter, an archivist at the museum. The museum applied for funding from the Wisconsin Arts Board in January and received $5,400. With that money, the museum is bringing a folklorist from Madison to interview Hmong community members. Reuter said after the interview phase is over, the museum will begin producing a display for the association and an online exhibit, both of which she hopes to launch next spring. 'I think it's important for folks regardless of their personal heritage to know more about their neighbors,' Reuter said of the project's importance. Xiong said he's also working with the museum to have some display cases made for traditional Hmong artifacts. The Eau Claire school district has increased its inclusion of Hmong history and culture in its programming over the last year, including an elementary school language club for Hmong speakers, an upcoming high school history course and a language/?culture hybrid summer program. The summer program wrapped up earlier this month. The group of about 16 students with varying knowledge of Hmong language and culture prepared a speech in Hmong, which Xiong and the students' parents watched with enthusiasm. 'With the language and culture class, I don't expect them to go out and be a translator,' Xiong said from his second-floor office, pointing to the floor below him where students were preparing for their final presentation. 'But at least they have those tools. At least, when they buddy up with their Hmong friends, they can say, 'Hey, I know a little bit of that culture.'' Xiong mentioned that he hopes the association could become a stronger educational resource for Eau Claire schools inside the classroom and out. The association could become a field trip location, he said, to reference artifacts and stories of Hmong community members. Outside the school, Xiong noted, Hmong parents could use some communication services, especially when it comes to accompanying their kids to school events such as parent-teacher conferences. Joe Luginbill, Eau Claire school board president, said he sees the association as a key partner for cultural education. 'I strongly believe that the Hmong Association and its community members play a key role in educating, inspiring and uplifting the next generation of learners and leaders,' Luginbill said. 'I am excited that Vincent shares in that vision.' Xiong hopes the association's future plays a role in helping young people especially. 'In the Hmong community, our youth, we are forgotten,' he said. 'A large percentage of them don't know what their parents went through or what the culture really consists of. So if I make those visible where they can actually come and see it, they can tie it together and have a better understanding of what their parents went through and got them to where they are today.' ___ Information from: Leader-Telegram, http://www.leadertelegram.com/ An AP Member Exchange shared by The Leader-Telegram.
  • Oklahoma City police say an officer fatally shot a man who pointed a gun at him as he responded to a disturbance at a convenience store. Police Capt. Bo Matthews says the shooting happened shortly before 1 a.m. Monday. Matthews says the man was bothering patrons in the parking lot and saying the store was 'going to be shot up.' He was identified as 33-year-old Chris Stone. Matthews says Officer Matthew Patten arrived at the scene and that Stone began running before turning and pointing a gun at Patten. Patten then fired his weapon, mortally wounding Stone. Stone was pronounced dead at the scene. No one else was hurt. Matthews says Patten, who has almost three years of service with the police department, has been placed on paid administrative leave.
  • London police say investigators are treating a Tuesday morning crash outside the Houses of Parliament as a “terrorist incident.” Here are the latest updates: Update 5:46 a.m. EDT Aug. 14: A man in his late 20s has been arrested “on suspicion of terrorist offenses” in connection with the crash that left “a number of people” injured, London police said in a news release. The injuries are not believed to be life-threatening. The man, who was driving a silver Ford Fiesta, struck cyclists and pedestrians before hitting security barriers in the area, police said. The car was not carrying any passengers, police said. “At this stage, we are treating this as a terrorist incident and the Met's Counter Terrorism Command is now leading the investigation,” the news release said. Authorities are requesting anyone with photos, videos or information about the incident to contact police. Read more here. Original report: London’s Counter-Terrorism Command is leading the probe into a Tuesday morning crash outside the U.K. Houses of Parliament, The Associated Press is reporting. Police said a man driving a car slammed into security barriers in the area about 7:37 a.m., hurting pedestrians. None of the injured “are in life-threatening condition,” the AP reported. Police arrested the man. Metropolitan police tweeted that authorities are “keeping an open mind” about the investigation. In March 2017, four people were killed in a terror attack in the same area, the AP reported. – The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • With less than three months until the mid-term elections for the U.S. House and Senate, four more states hold primaries today for the Congress, but the roster of races is unlikely to produce the news associated with last week’s tight race in a special U.S. House election in Ohio, which amplified questions about whether the GOP can maintain control of Capitol Hill after November. Primaries take place on Tuesday in four states: Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin. No sitting incumbents in the Congress are on upset alert at this point – though there could always be some out-of-the-blue defeat that no one saw coming; but really, this is more about setting the roster for the final races in November. At this point in time, the Congressional change for November is 57 seats in the House, and 3 in the Senate. (Please note that various news organizations calculate these numbers differently.) As you can see from the data, the total change is already equal to that for the House in the 2016 election cycle, as a large amount of turnover continues in the Congress. Most people don’t realize that currently in the U.S. House, almost 200 of the 435 seats are held by lawmakers who were elected since 2012 – that number will grow substantially after the 2018 elections. In the Senate, fully half of Senators have less than eight years in office, just over one term. The primaries for 2018 are rapidly coming to an end – next Tuesday brings Alaska and Wyoming; Arizona and Florida vote on August 28. Then, after Labor Day, Massachusetts, Delaware, New Hampshire, Rhode Island finish out the primaries for the 2018 mid-term elections for Congress. November is not that far away.
  • The Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office is focusing on busting sex offenders who fail to register. Wagoner County deputies say they recently discovered that Raymond Bryant was registering at his parent’s home near Coweta, but had not lived there in years.  Investigators learned that Bryant has was self-employed doing lawn care jobs.  They set up a meeting last Wednesday to discuss a job at a convenience store in Coweta.  When Bryant arrived, he was taken into custody for his outstanding warrant without incident.   Bryant was transported to the Wagoner County Detention Center and was booked in on a 10,000 bond. Sheriff Chris Elliott said, “We will continue to aggressively pursue any offender that does not register as a sex offender when they are required to do so.”
  • Embarking on a mission that scientists have been dreaming of since the Sputnik era, a NASA spacecraft hurtled Sunday toward the sun on a quest to unlock some of its mysteries by getting closer than any object sent before. If all goes well, the Parker Solar Probe will fly straight through the wispy edges of the sun’s corona, or outer atmosphere, in November. In the years ahead, it will gradually get within 3.8 million miles of the surface, its instruments protected from the extreme heat and radiation by a revolutionary new carbon heat shield and other high-tech wizardry. Altogether, the Parker probe will make 24 close approaches to our star during the seven-year, $1.5 billion journey. “Wow, here we go. We’re in for some learning over the next several years,” said Eugene Parker, the 91-year-old astrophysicist for whom the spacecraft is named.  It was Parker who accurately theorized 60 years ago the existence of solar wind — the supersonic stream of charged particles blasting off the sun and coursing through space, sometimes wreaking havoc on electrical systems on Earth. This is the first time NASA has named a spacecraft after a living person.
  • The 'Queen of Soul,' legendary singer and songwriter Aretha Franklin, is gravely ill, according to multiple reports. >> Read more trending news Family members confirmed the news Monday to WDIV-TV after a report from entertainment site Showbiz411 claimed Franklin, 76, was being surrounded by friends and family in Detroit. Tom Joyner, a nationally syndicated radio host and friend of Franklin’s, said Monday that Franklin has been in hospice care for a week, according to The Detroit News.  Franklin had announced plans to retire from touring in February 2017 to focus on her family and a few select projects, the News reported. 'I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from, and where it is now,” Franklin told WDIV in 2017. “I'll be pretty much satisfied, but I'm not going to go anywhere and just sit down and do nothing. That wouldn't be good either.” Franklin has canceled several concerts this year due to health issues, Fox13Memphis reported. According to The Associated Press, “she was ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest up.” She performed  in her hometown of Detroit in June 2017, the Detroit Free Press reported. She ended the concert with an appeal for those in the crown to, “Please keep me in your prayers,” according to the newspaper. >> Photos: Aretha Franklin through the years She last performed in November at Elton John’s AIDS Foundation gala in New York City, the News reported. Franklin was born March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee. Her family moved to Detroit when she was young, according to Fox13Memphis. Franklin started singing when she was young, with encouragement from her mother, Barbara, and her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin. She started out singing gospel but launched a career in secular music after she turned 18. She rose to fame after signing in 1967 with Atlantic Records. Franklin’s career, spanning six decades, has spawned hits including “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Chain of Fools.” She’s considered one of the best-selling artists of all time, selling more than 75 million albums worldwide. Franklin was inducted in 1987 to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. She’s earned 18 Grammy Awards and a Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work. In 2005, then-President George W. Bush described Franklin as “a woman of achievement, deep character and a loving heart.” Check back for updates to this developing story.