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Updated: 13 min ago

Judge sentences man to life without parole for daughter's death

Wed, 12/04/2019 - 7:20pm

By Tim Willert
Staff writer twillert@oklahoman.com

NORMAN — A man convicted of fatally shooting his daughter in the face will spend the rest of his life in prison, despite his mother's plea for mercy.

Cleveland County District Court Judge Thad Balkman on Wednesday agreed with jurors who found Ronald Lee McMullen guilty of first-degree murder in October and recommended life in prison without parole as punishment.

The judge said he read letters from friends and family members seeking a life sentence with the possibility of parole, letters he said asked him to "set aside evidence that was proven at trial by the jury.

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School board candidates mostly unopposed in 2020 elections

Wed, 12/04/2019 - 7:20pm

By Nuria Martinez-Keel
Staff writer nmartinez-keel@oklahoman.com

Most school board candidates in the Oklahoma City metro area will run unopposed in spring elections this year.

School board elections are scheduled for a Feb.

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Adopt a pet: Oklahoma City-area pet adoption options

Tue, 12/03/2019 - 11:00pm

Bethany Animal Control Shelter: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Read more on NewsOK.com

The Oklahoman wants to share your news, celebrate achievements

Tue, 12/03/2019 - 11:00pm

Staff reports

To have your metro-area community events and news considered for publication, please send details and contact information to Linda Lynn via email at LLynn@Oklahoman.com.

Please try to provide information at least two weeks in advance of events or registration deadlines.

We also are interested in stories about people who have been recently recognized or honored.

Help us share your news with our readers.



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Strategic framework to answer core questions at OU

Tue, 12/03/2019 - 7:22pm

By Nuria Martinez-Keel
Staff writer nmartinez-keel@oklahoman.com

NORMAN — For the first time in a generation, the University of Oklahoma is developing a framework to define the core vision and values for the institution.

Administrators are developing a strategic framework that will illustrate broad values and specific goals for the next five years and beyond.

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Oklahoma Electric Cooperative and Norman Public Schools approve a deal to bring solar to unused school land

Fri, 11/29/2019 - 7:27pm

By Jack Money
Business writer jmoney@oklahoman.com

NORMAN — Educators, students and the community here are about to get positively schooled on the benefits of large-scale solar.

A deal approved earlier this month by Norman Public Schools’ board of education with Oklahoma Electric Cooperative will bring a 2 megawatt solar project to land the school district owns on the community’s east side.

What folks will learn, backers predict, is that the deal is a win for the electric cooperative and its customers, a win for the school system and its students and a win for the community at large.

The school district’s agreement with the cooperative will allow the latter to contract with a third party to build and operate a solar farm on the school’s land that will generate and send nearly 10 times the amount of energy onto the grid as the cooperative’s already operating Solar Garden, a 250-kilowatt project it built at Interstate 35 and Flood Avenue in 2017.

Over time, costs to install solar systems have fallen significantly, making it an affordable way for utilities to cut their power generation costs and share those savings with their customers.

The power the farm is expected to generate will help keep electricity costs affordable for the cooperative and its customers in Cleveland, McClain, Oklahoma, Canadian, Caddo, Grady and Pottawatomie counties, officials said.

The school district won’t actually consume any of the power the farm generates directly, given nearly all of its facilities are powered by Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co.

However, it will benefit from the land-lease payments, giving it additional financial resources to devote toward providing educational services to its students.

Solar ABCs

Both cooperative and school leaders are hopeful they can turn the farm into an educational laboratory of sorts that can be used by the district to educate its students about benefits of renewable energy.

Interesting facts students could learn from this project, for example, is that it will have the capacity to generate enough energy to power the district's two high schools, about 30% of the district’s energy needs.

Finally, it is another key piece in the process Norman is following as it works toward fulfilling a resolution its city council approved in 2018 that pledges the city will transition to entirely sourcing its electrical power requirements by renewable energy by 2035.

The resolution also pledges the city will convert its city-owned buildings and its transportation system to run entirely on renewable energy by 2050.

So far, Norman is the only city in Oklahoma to have made those commitments.

The city adopted the resolution after working on its plans with a group called Norman Ready for 100.

A subcommittee of that organization, the Norman Ready for 100 Solar Schools Team, is led by Sarah Chan, an orchestra teacher at Irving Middle School.

She and fellow team members Laura Vaughn, a science teacher at Irving, and Bruce Prescott, a retired Baptist minister, said this week they were gratified the district and electric cooperative were able to reach an agreement allowing the project to go forward.

Initially, they gathered information about how other school systems nationwide are transitioning to running their operations using renewable energy.

Then, they asked district officials for power consumption rates and costs at each of the district’s schools.

Prescott said he and his colleagues entered into the process of introducing renewable energy to the district with an intent to perhaps power a small school or two with roof-mounted solar systems.

“We were looking to get a solar system that would cover a single school,” Prescott said.

Then, they began visiting with cooperative officials that work on implementing renewable energy projects into its grid.

Over time, they discovered the district couldn’t accommodate rooftop solar and that the cooperative was looking for a substantial development opportunity.

Chan said she was motivated to lead the project because, as an educator, she understands that energy costs are a significant issue for school systems that are looking for ways to adequately support their educational programs.

“This project will benefit everyone involved, provide clean renewable energy to the surrounding community and model to students what a sustainable and equitable world can look like,” she said.

“This will help our school system and do something positive for the environment at the same time.”

Vaughn agreed, adding she eagerly anticipates the creation of an educational program where the solar farm could provide her students additional opportunities to learn.

“Everyone involved really wants an educational center at the site,” Vaughn said.

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Adopt a pet: Oklahoma City-area pet adoption options

Tue, 11/26/2019 - 11:00pm

Bethany Animal Control Shelter: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Read more on NewsOK.com

30 Oklahoma City public schools got F's in annual report cards

Tue, 11/26/2019 - 7:23pm

By Nuria Martinez-Keel
Staff writer nmartinez-keel@oklahoman.com

Thirty schools in the Oklahoma City school district got an F on state report cards for the 2018-19 school year, a sharp increase from 19 F’s the year before.

The Oklahoma State Board of Education approved the release of report cards for every public school in the state on Monday.

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After lagging behind other states, Oklahoma on track for SBIR success

Tue, 11/26/2019 - 7:23pm

By Dale Denwalt
Staff writer ddenwalt@oklahoman.com

NORMAN — Oklahoma has lagged behind other states in receiving Small Business Innovation Research funding, but a program founded at the University of Oklahoma seems to be turning the tide.

With help from Oklahoma Catalyst Programs, now in its second year, companies based here have a win rate of about 40% when applying for SBIR grants.

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State to appeal judge's final order in opioid case

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 7:23pm

By Randy Ellis
Staff writer rellis@oklahoman.com

Attorney General Mike Hunter announced Thursday that the state plans to appeal a judge's order directing Johnson & Johnson to pay $465 million to fix the state's deadly opioid crisis.

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Adopt a pet: Oklahoma City-area pet adoption options

Tue, 11/19/2019 - 11:00pm

Bethany Animal Control Shelter: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Read more on NewsOK.com

'Beginning Genealogy Workshop' set for Nov. 15 in Norman

Tue, 11/12/2019 - 11:19pm

Staff reports

NORMAN — The Black Beaver chapter Daughters of the American Revolution and the Cleveland County Oklahoma Home and Community Education (OHCE) will host a "Beginning Genealogy Workshop" from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Read more on NewsOK.com

Adopt a pet: Oklahoma City-area pet adoption options

Tue, 11/12/2019 - 11:00pm

Bethany Animal Control Shelter: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Read more on NewsOK.com

Norman's public transit system has $2.2 million budget hole. Voters can decide to fill it with a sales tax Tuesday

Sun, 11/10/2019 - 7:16pm

By Kayla Branch
Staff writer kbranch@oklahoman.com

NORMAN — To get from Oklahoma City to Norman without a car, Queen Runnels has very early mornings.

Runnels takes her first bus to downtown Oklahoma City before sunrise most days, then she settles onto her next ride from downtown to Norman at 7:28 a.m.

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Testimony begins in trial of man accused of killing girlfriend's son

Wed, 11/06/2019 - 7:16pm

By Tim Willert
Staff writer twillert@oklahoman.com

NORMAN — A man accused of killing his girlfriend's 20-month-old boy stayed with the child while his mother drove to a friend's house to buy some marijuana, a prosecutor told a jury Wednesday.

Jake Ryan Holman is charged with first-degree murder in the Feb.

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Norman residents invited to Ward 1 meeting Nov. 10

Tue, 11/05/2019 - 11:23pm

Staff reports

NORMAN — A Ward 1 meeting will be from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Norman Library East, 3051 Alameda St.

Topics of discussion will be Tuesday's Transit Sales Tax Vote and Norman Regional Health System’s INSPIRE Health plan.

All residents are welcome to attend, regardless of ward residency.

Read more on NewsOK.com

City of Norman online utility, permit payments temporarily disabled through Nov. 12

Tue, 11/05/2019 - 11:03pm

Staff reports

NORMAN — All online payments for city of Norman utility services and permitting fees are suspended through Tuesday while the city makes an emergency transfer to a new payment processor.

Payments may be made in person at 201-C W Gray St., by mail at the same address or by calling 405-366-5320 for utility payments or 405-366-5339 for permitting and licensing fees.

The city was made aware of a potential security event involving Click2Gov, a third-party payment software system that processes some payments on behalf of the city.

Read more on NewsOK.com

Adopt a pet: Oklahoma City-area pet adoption options

Tue, 11/05/2019 - 11:00pm

Bethany Animal Control Shelter: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Read more on NewsOK.com

State briefs

Thu, 10/31/2019 - 11:00pm

NORMAN

Grand opening set for Norman Public Library Central

A grand opening celebration and ribbon-cutting will be held at 2 p.m.

Read more on NewsOK.com

Norman area offers variety of health care options

Wed, 10/30/2019 - 12:25pm

Norman Regional Hospital

Norman Regional Hospital is a 324-bed general hospital that serves Norman and the surrounding communities.

Read more on NewsOK.com