Report: Oklahoma's average teacher pay ranked 34th in nation
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Federal estimates show a statewide teacher pay increase last year boosted Oklahoma educator salaries from 49th to the 34th highest in the nation.
The Tulsa World reports that the National Education Association's yearly Rankings and Estimates found the median income for Oklahoma educators jumped 13.2% from $46,300 in the 2017-18 academic year to a current average of $52,412. State-paid benefits, such as retirement and health care premiums, were included in the estimates.
In March 2018, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin approved the largest educator pay increase in the state's history. The governor's authorization came as Oklahoma's largest teacher union conducted a statewide walkout over demands for more education spending. The springtime walkout was part of a nationwide rebellion of teachers, which included Kentucky, West Virginia and Arizona.
Attorney alleges OU regents violated state open meeting law
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An attorney for an Oklahoma civil rights activist says the University of Oklahoma's Board of Regents violated state law by allowing its newest appointee to attend a closed-door session before he's been officially confirmed.
Attorney Rand Eddy outlined his concerns in a letter sent Monday to OU's general counsel. In it, Eddy says the governor's latest appointee to the board, Gary Pierson, has not yet been confirmed.
Pierson attended a closed-door executive session of the regents meeting on Friday where board members were briefed about an ongoing sexual harassment investigation.
University spokeswoman Lauren Brookey says because Pierson is filling an unexpired term, he was authorized to attend the meeting.
Eddy represents civil rights activist Sara Bana. His son, Jess Eddy, has accused OU President David Boren of sexual misconduct.
Blake Shelton to open new venue with benefit performances
TISHOMINGO, Okla. (AP) — Country music star Blake Shelton's restaurant and bar in southern Oklahoma has planned some star-studded benefit performances for the grand opening of a new music hall and events venue next month.
The Doghouse at Ole Red Tishomingo will open over the Memorial Day weekend with performances by Shelton, an Oklahoma native, and fellow country music artist Luke Bryan. Ticket sales will benefit the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Foundation.
The Doghouse will be an expansion of the downtown Tishomingo venue that was inspired by Shelton's irreverent chart hit "Ol' Red." Shelton acquired the property in 2016 following his divorce from his ex-wife, country-music star Miranda Lambert, who had operated retail and bed-and-breakfast establishments in Tishomingo.
Owned and operated by Ryman Hospitality Properties, Ole Red also operates venues in Nashville and Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Naked man wounded in police shooting in Edmond
EDMOND, Okla. (AP) — Police in the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond say they shot a naked man after chasing him into a house.
Edmond Police Department spokeswoman Jennifer Wagnon says the shooting happened Monday in a residential area.
Wagnon says officers responded after reports of a domestic disturbance in the area and started chasing a naked man. Wagnon says the man jumped over several fences before he allegedly forced his way into a house with people inside.
Wagnon says police shot the man at least once after he and officers got in a physical confrontation. She says he was transported to a local hospital and his condition was unknown.
Neither the man who was shot nor the officers involved were immediately identified.
Residents of Oklahoma town demand answers in police shooting
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Residents of an Oklahoma town are demanding answers after police last week opened fire on a pickup truck, wounding three children and a man they say was wanted in a robbery, but with few details made public.
Three days after the shooting, it still wasn't clear Monday why gunfire broke out Friday when two Hugo police detectives tried to pick up William Devaughn Smith, 21, on a robbery warrant. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says Smith, a woman and her four children were in the truck outside of a food pantry. The woman and one child were not hurt. The three children who were wounded — ages 5, 4 and 1 — have been released from the hospital.
OSBI has not released the name of the detectives, who have since been placed on paid leave. The state agency and local police also have not said how they connected Smith to the robbery of a restaurant earlier this month. Authorities have not said if Smith fired a weapon in the confrontation with police on Friday.
Hugo native Rodney Cox was leading a demonstration Monday asking for local and state officials to show any police videos of the shooting and a public release of a report on the incident. Residents also want to know if the officers involved were appropriately trained.
"If those were your kids in the car, how would feel about the situation and what would you want to be done?" said Cox, who now lives in Oklahoma City. "We're not hearing much right now."
The police chief in Paris, Texas, whose officers arrested Smith on Friday after he was treated and released from a hospital there, said he's also not clear on aspects of the Oklahoma investigation. Chief Bob Hundley said he'd seen reports that the children were shot in the head and others that their injuries were not life threatening.
"The only information I've been made aware of is conflicting information," Hundley said.
Olivia Hill told KXII-TV in Sherman, Texas, that she was in the truck during the shooting and that her 4-year-old daughter was shot in the head, her 5-year-old child has a skull fracture and that her 1-year-old has gunshot wounds on her face.
State Rep. Justin Humphrey represents Hugo and said Monday that he met with community leaders over the weekend.
"There's no question the community has a right to be concerned, and I think these requests are reasonable," Humphrey said. "I've been in contact with the OSBI and have asked that they work with me to make the investigation as transparent and as open as we can."
Smith was being held Monday on an aggravated robbery complaint in the jail in Choctaw County, Oklahoma, after being treated and released from a Texas hospital. Records don't indicate whether Smith has an attorney yet.
Smith is suspected in an April 11 armed robbery at a Pizza Hut in Hugo, about 180 miles (290 kilometers) southeast of Oklahoma City and near the Texas state line.