Keystone Dam water released after levels reach 21-year high
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is set to release the largest amount of water to run through Keystone Dam in 21 years after torrential downpours soaked the Arkansas River drainage basin in northeastern Oklahoma.
The Tulsa World reports that on Monday, the corps will release 85,000 cubic feet (2407.2 cubic meters) of water per second from the dam, which is located about 24 miles (38 kilometers) northwest of Tulsa. The rate's equivalent to an Olympic-sized swimming pool flowing into the Arkansas River every second.
Volunteers filled over 4,000 sand bags on Saturday to help prevent flooding.
Storms dumped up to 9 inches (22.86 centimeters) of rain in parts of Kansas and Oklahoma last week, with some runoff in the Arkansas River basin ending up in Keystone Lake, popular for boating and fishing and camping.
US Supreme Court rejects Oklahoma death row inmate's appeal
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of an Oklahoma death row inmate from Arkansas who was found guilty of killing a 23-year-old woman during a 2005 home invasion.
Without comment Monday, the nation's highest court rejected the appeal of 50-year-old Wendell Grissom, who argued he was intoxicated when he killed Amber Matthews of Kingfisher at a home near Watonga in Blaine County.
The Oklahoman reports Grissom has exhausted his appeals and an execution date can now be set.
Executions have been on hold in Oklahoma since 2015 following several mishaps , including a botched lethal injection in 2014 that left an inmate writhing on the gurney and mix-ups in 2015 when the wrong drugs were used.
State officials are exploring the use of nitrogen gas as an execution method.
1 found dead after Oklahoma house fire, explosion
VERDEN, Okla. (AP) — The Oklahoma Fire Marshal's Office is investigating the cause of a fire and explosion at a house in Grady County where one person was found dead.
Steve Blunk, the fire marshal's operations chief, said Monday investigators are at the scene of Sunday night's fire and explosion in Verden, about 42 miles (68 kilometers) southwest of Oklahoma City.
Officials say the fire started about 8:30 p.m. before an oxygen tank exploded. Authorities say the structure was destroyed.
Several residents safely evacuated but firefighters found the body of one person inside. A cause of death has not been released, but Blunk says investigators found no evidence of thermal burns or smoke inhalation and the victim didn't appear to have died due to the fire.
The name of the victim hasn't been released.
University of Oklahoma president announces resignation
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — University of Oklahoma President Jim Gallogly, whose short tenure at the state's flagship university included a sexual misconduct probe of its longtime former president and bitter student reaction to a racist incident on campus, announced his resignation on Sunday.
A former energy industry CEO and major OU donor who began his tenure on July 1, Gallogly said he informed the university's regents that he would step down once they have a transition plan in place. Brought in to help tighten the university's finances, Gallogly soon found OU embroiled in an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against former President David Boren, a former Oklahoma governor and U.S. senator who led the institution for 24 years.
In a statement released by the university on Sunday, Gallogly pushed back against any suggestion that his decisions on the university's finances, which included the firing of many longtime executives under Boren, was intended to diminish his predecessor's legacy.
"That false narrative is now also being used to question the motives and propriety of the ongoing investigation of alleged misconduct," Gallogly said in a statement released by the university. "The university was required by law to commence an investigation upon the receipt of complaint(s). That process has been ongoing according to its procedural mandate. The Jones Day law firm was hired to conduct an independent and unbiased, expert investigation and issue a report which the firm has now done."
A former OU student, Jess Eddy, now 29, alleged he was touched and kissed inappropriately by Boren on several occasions almost a decade ago when the man worked as a teaching aide for Boren. Boren, now 78, has denied any inappropriate conduct in statements released by his attorneys. Eddy's complaint led to an internal probe by the university, and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation also has opened an investigation into the allegations.
Although the university's Title IX process for investigating sexual misconduct allegations includes a role for the university's president in the appeals process, Gallogly said because he is stepping down, a third party will be appointed to replace him in that role.
Oklahoma's governor and the university's regents praised Gallogly for improving the university's financial position during his short tenure, while keeping tuition flat and approving a faculty pay raise.
Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt described Gallogly as an "upstanding individual who stepped in to lead the University of Oklahoma through a historical financial crisis."
"He hit the ground running, working to deliver efficiencies in order to keep tuition flat for students and casting vision to grow OU's graduate research programs," Stitt said in a statement Sunday. "Gallogly's love for his alma mater is evident, and I appreciate the time he gave to strengthen the foundation of this important university."
But Gallogly's financial decisions also upset some students and faculty, and he faced fierce criticism from students for his handling of an incident in January when a racist video was shared on social media of a white student in blackface using a slur.
In his statement, Gallogly thanked the university's faculty and staff for helping to put the university on an improved financial path.
"This has been a difficult process for the university community but a necessary one," he said.