Pratt & Whitney to expand operations at Oklahoma air base

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Jet engine maker Pratt & Whitney has announced plans to expand its operations at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City.

Pratt & Whitney vice president Kevin Kirkpatrick, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt announced what is called a "multimillion-dollar investment" to expand its military aftermarket services at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex based at Tinker.

The project is also expected to add more than 100 jobs.

Pratt & Whitney is a division of Farmington, Connecticut-based United Technologies Corp. and engine services and maintenance for the Air Force at Tinker.

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Judge: Teenager charged in parents' deaths not competent

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma judge says a 19-year-old man accused of fatally shooting his parents and who is described by his attorney as "very mentally ill" isn't competent to be tried for first-degree murder.

Michael Elijah Walker was remanded to the custody of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Wednesday and was committed to a state mental health hospital for treatment.

Walker is charged in the March 4 shooting deaths of 50-year-old Michael Logan Walker and 44-year-old Rachel Walker at their home in the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond.

An affidavit says Walker's sibling told police his older brother "shot their parents because they were sending him messages telepathically and they were Satan worshippers."

Michael Walker's defense attorney, Derek Chance, on Thursday called Walker "acutely paranoid and delusional."

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Arkansas River too high, fast to assess flood damage

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas River remains too high and fast to assess flood damage in the Little Rock area, officials said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the removal of silt and the restoration of the channel for barge traffic are the agency's biggest concerns.

"The river has changed dramatically," Col. Robert Dixon told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette . "We're not exactly sure where the channel is right now. It may have moved."

Dixon added that the river is now flowing at 160,000 cubic feet per second, which is unsafe . He noted when flow is back down to its usual 60,000 cubic feet per second, the Corps can begin removing the silt.

Although the Port of Little Rock was spared the worst of recent flooding , so much silt has built up that barges cannot move in the harbor now.

Bryan Day, who heads the port, said it will take at least a month before normal barge operations resume.

"We still have barges to unload. We have trains to unload," Day said. "We had a very short interruption in business. But compared to my colleagues, we were fortunate."

Dixon also expressed concern over the ability to get dredging equipment to remove the silt and restore the channel.

"Dredging is going to be a problem for us," he said. "I'm not going to sugarcoat that at all. There's a limited amount of dredging assets in the system, and right now we only have one contract open for dredging. That's to cover for both (Arkansas and Oklahoma)."

Dixon said he's reaching out to other Corps districts to find available dredging vessels for when it's time to begin removing the silt.

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New format at Wyoming rodeo riles cowboys

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Some rodeo circuit cowboys say they will boycott this year's Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo because of the new, tournament style format the "Daddy of 'em All" adopted in roping and steer wrestling events.

Under the new format, slack will now become a qualifying round to make it into the rodeo performances in steer roping, tie-down roping, team roping and steer wrestling. Each performance will see event winners and money paid out, and the contestants will start with a clean slate in the finals.

Tie-down roper Hunter Herrin of Apache, Oklahoma, tells KGAB-AM the change means cowboys will compete more for less money.

Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo Chairman Chad Mathews says tells the Wyoming Tribune Eagle that the new format means a better spectator experience and payouts to more contestants.

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