Oklahoma Headlines – 2012: Year in Review, MARCH

obama at tinkerMarch was a long, full and busy month in the state of Oklahoma.  Don’t believe me?  Check out just a few of the highlights we experienced in our state!

(Photo at left by Brian Terry, Daily Oklahoman.  President Obama visits Tinker Air Force Base, March 22, 2012)

  •  Oklahoma County commissioners move forward with a plan to build a new jail at the cost of $330 million.
  • State fire marshal agent recommends the Pauline E. Mayer children’s shelter be closed if continued overcrowding problems cannot be corrected.
  • Oklahoma City concludes it’s 9th warmest winter on record.
  • Reverend Joe Carter, a former Oklahoma City resident, led Whitney Houston’s funeral.
  • “Right size” and “smaller size” state government become buzzwords in legislative culture as public officials looks for ways to streamline state workforce.
  • Oklahoma City Civic Center prepares to celebrate its 75th anniversary this year.
  • Senator Mike Morgan is convicted of one bribery count.
  • “MAPS for kids” projects move toward completion; illustration of this was a ribbon cutting ceremony at Sequoyah Elementary school for a renovation.
  • U.S. Airforce decides to shut down a unit that employed 600 persons at Tinker Air Force base.
  • Rick Santorum wins the Oklahoma GOP primary.
  • An announcement was made that Garth Brooks would be among the next inductees into the County Music Fall of Fame.
  • Audit reveals that $2.3 million was spent by the Department of Education through slush funds, mostly under the watch of former Superintendent Sandy Garrett. Current Education officials also used foundation funds for questionable expenses.
  • OU students petition Boren for gender-neutral housing.
  • New report cites addiction costs Oklahoma $7.2 billion per year. Follow up report show that overdoses of prescription pain and anxiety medications take more Oklahoma lives each year than car crashes. Further, a second report showed that drug abuse costs U.S. employers a whopping $276 billion per year.
  • Barry Switzer states he’s worked with a movie producer on a potential biography film.
  • Religious artifacts collection owned by the Green family (Hobby Lobby owners) is on display at the Vatican.
  • The  increasing number of accidents have led to an increase in number of truck accident attorneys in the state. State of Oklahoma report shows catastrophic storms have cost insurance companies over $1 billion in repair/recovery costs in recent years.
  • Oklahoman Mason Cook will join Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp in new “Long Ranger” movie.
  • A jury returned a $4.55 million verdict against Creoks mental Health Services for failing to report sexual abuse.
  • The Oklahoma City Museum of Art celebrates its 10th anniversary with special activities and events including a 70th anniversary screening of “Casablanca.” [quoted from the Daily Oklahoman]
  • Devon prepares for a move to the new tower.
  • A State Integrity Investigation reveals problematic “openness” policy with state policies and awards Oklahoma a “D,” and a ranking of 38th out of 50for information access. Frequent delays to requests were cited.
  • President Obama makes first visit to Oklahoma to announce new pipeline plans a priority. While here, he pledged support foro the pipeline project at location in Cushing.
  • OKC Thunder welcomes new point guard Derek Fisher.
  • Two men were arrested after they pulled up to Gaffney Crane Inc. and stole a one ton crane.
  • The Oklahoma State Capitol is in desperate need of repairs, and some parts are sectioned off due to safety concerns. A $150 million dollar bond project could be option for repairs.
  • Concerns continue for the stalled American Indian Museum and Cultural center. The City of Oklahoma City pledges to pay $9 million of the more than $80 million remaining on the project.
  • A judge strikes down a “mandatory ultrasound prior to abortion” measure.
  • In the middle of a large and burdensome U.S. recession, Oklahoma’s employment rate falls to 6% – far below the national average.