Each week, we scour the Web for the most interesting Okie-related news being reported both in the state and outside of it. We’re always looking for new links, so if you’ve read something you think we should see, let us know in the comments.
- The Associated Press offered a nice tour of Tulsa, which was picked up by The New York Times and others and highlighted the city’s history, art, Art Deco architecture, shopping, food, and more. Even This Land got a mention!
- Tulsa is one of the 10 worst-paying cities for women, according to 24/7 Wall St. Women in the city make, on average, 72.9 percent of what men make, and the median income for women is $33,048, compared to $45,312 for men. The site reported: “As a state, Oklahoma’s gender pay gap was wide. And in the state’s second-largest metropolitan area, Tulsa, the gender pay gap was even worse. Barely 5 percent of Tulsa’s 10,000 transportation workers were women. For those women, the median pay was just 56 percent of the men’s pay. Nearly 10 percent of the region’s full-time workers were in sales positions, with women accounting for 40 percent of those jobs. In 2011, men in sales positions earned a median of $22,155 more than their female counterparts, more than $5,000 greater than the national gap for such jobs.”
- Sequestration has gone into effect, and before it did, the White House released a state-by-state breakdown of its effects. Oklahoma will see cuts in its STOP Violence Against Women, nutrition assistance for seniors, public school, Head Start, law enforcement and public safety, and military readiness programs. The state prepared in advance for the cuts, according to The Oklahoman, with Gov. Mary Fallin telling agency heads to make “ ‘strategic targeted cuts’ to absorb the projected $137 million in loss of federal money coming to the state.” Fallin told the paper the sequestration’s “immediate effects are unlikely to be severe because they will be phased in gradually over seven months” but said she was concerned about effects to the military installations in Oklahoma.
- Oklahoma has been commended recently for its universal preschool program, with some suggesting it could or should be the model for the U.S. But others are pointing to Oklahoma’s program as an indicator of the problems that can arise with universal preschool. The Wall Street Journal, for example, highlighted issues school districts face with funding programs, finding space for them, and hiring qualified, credentialed teachers. The paper also reported: “Critics, including some congressional Republicans, point to other data and research—some focused on Oklahoma—that show academic gains realized in preschool often fade by third grade.”
- The Huffington Post picked up a story about a homeless Oklahoma City man who makes money by letting people scream at him. “Calvin McCraw, a homeless Oklahoma man, invites passersby to vent about their problems for the small fee of 50 cents per minute,” the site reported. “He holds a sign that reads: ‘ANGRY?! FRUSTRATED? SCREAM-AT-A-BUM 50 cents/MIN.’ ”
- The SEC has escalated its investigation of OKC-based Chesapeake Energy Corp., Thomson Reuters reported. “The SEC routinely launches very preliminary investigations, known as matters under inquiry, in response to unusual market events, media reports, or other issues,” the site reported. “A formal order of investigation, however, involves issuing subpoenas to compel testimony or producing documents. SEC investigators cannot issue subpoenas without approval first from senior officials within the agency’s enforcement division.”
- Bank of Oklahoma is one of the seven safest banks in the country, according to 24/7 Wall St. “BOK Financial Corp. is small compared to the major banks, but it also had one of the few credit rating upgrades (from Fitch, to A from A-) in 2012,” the site reported. “Its net income of $351 million in 2012 may sound small compared to the rest of these banking giants, but it is classified as an overcapitalized bank.”
- Public Radio International followed up on a Washington Post story about an Oklahoma City ad agency, Ackerman McQueen, that’s ben responsible for crafting the NRA’s public image since the 1980s. “The relationship between Ackerman McQueen and the NRA is different than a typical advertising agency-client relationship because the agency has become part of the NRA,” WaPo’s Peter Finn told PRI. “Wayne LaPierre’s wife at one point worked for the Ackerman McQueen subsidiary, the Mercury Group. Other people from Ackerman MacQueen have moved into the executive offices at the NRA.”
- The Washington Post highlighted the existence of “an ATM shaped like an airport“ in Oklahoma—Lake Murray State Park Airport, which has no lights, no air traffic control tower, no staff, and no planes. The only time it sees activity is when pilots occasionally land to use the restroom. Yet it stays open because it collects a check from the federal government—to the tune of $150,000 a year. And it’s not the only one; there are 88 others like it, several more of which are in Oklahoma.