The Oklahoma Tornado Project http://tornado.kgou.org en Auditing The Storm: Assistance Is Hit And Miss For Individuals After 2013 Tornadoes http://tornado.kgou.org/post/auditing-storm-assistance-hit-and-miss-individuals-after-2013-tornadoes <p>After last year’s deadly tornadoes, private insurers paid out over $1 billion in claims.<a href="http://www.fema.gov/">&nbsp;FEMA&nbsp;</a>also chipped in $15 million as part of its<a href="http://www.fema.gov/public-assistance-local-state-tribal-and-non-profit/recovery-directorate/assistance-individuals-and">&nbsp;individual and household assistance</a>&nbsp;program. But nearly three-quarters of that program’s applicants were denied.&nbsp;</p><p>As part of our&nbsp;<a href="http://kgou.org/topic/auditing-storm-disaster-4117">series&nbsp;</a>tracking the federal aid money, we look at the decision-making process that left much of Central Oklahoma out of luck.</p><p>On the evening of May&nbsp;20th, 2013, James and Sheryl Pennington stepped outside their home in Moore to find debris everywhere. The tornado had left a devastating trail, and they weren’t exempt from its destruction.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">“The front door was blown out. We had the roof and windows and some inside damage. The roof leaked the next day. I think it started raining, and we had water pouring into the kitchen.”&nbsp;</span></p><p> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 12:30:00 +0000 Kate Carlton Greer 9692 at http://tornado.kgou.org Auditing The Storm: Assistance Is Hit And Miss For Individuals After 2013 Tornadoes Auditing The Storm: Disaster 4117 - Public Assistance Helps Moore Schools Rebuild http://tornado.kgou.org/post/auditing-storm-disaster-4117-public-assistance-helps-moore-schools-rebuild <p>When tornadoes damage buildings, there are a number of things to account for when it comes to insurance and federal aid: how many square feet were there? Is the building a total loss? How much will it cost to repair?</p><p>But you often don’t think about the contents of a building. For example, what about the number of beakers in a school science classroom?&nbsp;</p><p>Robert&nbsp;Romines&nbsp;had been the superintendent of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mooreschools.com/">Moore Public Schools</a>&nbsp;for just one week when the May&nbsp;20<sup>th</sup>&nbsp;tornado devastated the town, leveling two schools, damaging multiple buildings and taking the lives of seven children.&nbsp;Romines&nbsp;promised the town that the district would rebuild, and it would do so quickly.</p><p>“We made a lot of promises early on, and I'll be honest with you, there were a lot of nights I went home shortly after May&nbsp;20th, 2013 and thought to myself, ‘Holy cow, we have made promises not only to our community, but worldwide media was here,’” he said.</p><p> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 12:00:00 +0000 Kate Carlton Greer 9645 at http://tornado.kgou.org Auditing The Storm: Disaster 4117 - Public Assistance Helps Moore Schools Rebuild Following Oklahoma's 2013 Tornadoes, Where Does Federal Aid Really Go? http://tornado.kgou.org/post/following-oklahomas-2013-tornadoes-where-does-federal-aid-really-go <p>After a string of deadly tornados hit Oklahoma in the spring of last year, President Obama signed a federal disaster declaration that paved the way for up to $257 million in aid.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">One year later, about one half of that funding has been spent.&nbsp; The Oklahoma Tornado Project teamed up with <a href="http://oklahomawatch.org">Oklahoma Watch</a> to track where all the money went.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Following huge disasters, there’s always a potential for things to go wrong. In New Orleans, former mayor Ray&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Nagin</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison for</span><a href="http://www.npr.org/2014/07/10/330325030/ex-new-orleans-mayor-ray-nagin-sentenced-in-corruption-case" style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;taking bribes</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;from contractors rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. And in New Jersey, there’s been&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/01/questions_raised_about_christies_use_of_sandy_funds_to_build_complex_in_town_where_mayor_endorsed_hi.html" style="line-height: 1.5;">criticism</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;that some Sandy aid money has gone to less needy areas.</span></p><p>So we wanted to look into Oklahoma’s post-storm recovery. State&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ok.gov/oem/">Department of Emergency Management&nbsp;</a>Director Albert&nbsp;Ashwood&nbsp;– who has worked closely with FEMA – says outright fraud is less common than it used to be.&nbsp;</p><p> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 12:30:16 +0000 Kate Carlton Greer 9602 at http://tornado.kgou.org Following Oklahoma's 2013 Tornadoes, Where Does Federal Aid Really Go? Take Shelter Oklahoma Launches New Initiative Petition http://tornado.kgou.org/post/take-shelter-oklahoma-launches-new-initiative-petition <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A group that wants to install a tornado shelter in every public school in Oklahoma spent the holiday weekend gathering signatures to get its initiative petition on an upcoming ballot.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">This isn’t&nbsp;</span><a href="http://takeshelterok.com" style="line-height: 1.5;">Take Shelter Oklahoma</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">’s first attempt to collect 155,000 signatures, but the group is giving it another shot.&nbsp;</span></p> Mon, 07 Jul 2014 12:30:00 +0000 Kate Carlton Greer 9359 at http://tornado.kgou.org Take Shelter Oklahoma Launches New Initiative Petition Group Hires Ex-Convicts To Rebuild Oklahoma After 2013 Tornadoes http://tornado.kgou.org/post/group-hires-ex-convicts-rebuild-oklahoma-after-2013-tornadoes <p>Oklahoma has one of the <a href="http://stateimpact.npr.org/oklahoma/maps/visualized-oklahoma-is-a-leader-in-locking-people-up/">highest incarceration rates </a>in the country. Each year, the state releases roughly 8,000 people from prison, and many of them are looking for work. One organization now hires ex-offenders to help rebuild and restore tornado-struck towns.&nbsp;</p> Mon, 30 Jun 2014 12:30:00 +0000 Kate Carlton Greer 9145 at http://tornado.kgou.org Group Hires Ex-Convicts To Rebuild Oklahoma After 2013 Tornadoes Joplin Works Toward Tornado Preparedness After 2011 Tornado http://tornado.kgou.org/post/joplin-works-toward-tornado-preparedness-after-2011-tornado <p>As we pass the one-year anniversary of the devastating tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma, we’re looking at lessons learned from another devastating storm, three years ago in Joplin, Missouri.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Joplin’s&nbsp;</span>EF-5<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;tornado damaged or destroyed more than 500 businesses, but since that time, the city has made remarkable progress getting back on its feet. Recovery has included planning for the unexpected.&nbsp;</span></p> Mon, 23 Jun 2014 12:30:00 +0000 Gail Banzet-Ellis 8900 at http://tornado.kgou.org Joplin Works Toward Tornado Preparedness After 2011 Tornado Joplin Businesses Bounce Back After 2011 Tornado http://tornado.kgou.org/post/joplin-businesses-bounce-back-after-2011-tornado <p>When a tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma in May of last year, residential neighborhoods bore the brunt of the damage. But it was a different story in Joplin, Missouri, after an EF-5 tornado damaged or destroyed more than 500 businesses back in 2011.</p><p>Three years later,&nbsp;more than 90% of those businesses have returned to write a new chapter in Joplin’s story.&nbsp;</p><p></p> Mon, 16 Jun 2014 12:30:00 +0000 GAIL BANZET-ELLIS 8659 at http://tornado.kgou.org Joplin Businesses Bounce Back After 2011 Tornado Moore Hospital Shares More Than Tornado Destruction With Joplin http://tornado.kgou.org/post/moore-hospital-shares-more-tornado-destruction-joplin <p>As residents of Moore, Okla. remembered the one-year anniversary of the deadly tornado that ripped through their community by breaking ground on a new hospital, they could also look toward the state's northeast corner for a symbol of hope.</p><p>This May marked the three-year anniversary of the EF-5 tornado that hit Joplin, Mo., just across the Oklahoma border. Both communities lost a hospital in their storms, and Joplin’s new health care facilities are signs of overall recovery and revival.</p> Mon, 09 Jun 2014 19:00:15 +0000 Gail Banzet-Ellis 8434 at http://tornado.kgou.org Moore Hospital Shares More Than Tornado Destruction With Joplin Red Cross Program Teaches Emergency Preparedness To Children Affected By 2013 Tornadoes http://tornado.kgou.org/post/red-cross-program-teaches-emergency-preparedness-children-affected-2013-tornadoes <p><font color="#262626" face="Cambria">During tornado season, preparedness is key. Phrases like “Don’t be scared, be prepared” populate Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites when there’s a severe weather threat. One organization is now taking steps to ensure kids also know what to do when weather rolls in. </font></p> Mon, 26 May 2014 12:30:00 +0000 Kate Carlton Greer 7972 at http://tornado.kgou.org Red Cross Program Teaches Emergency Preparedness To Children Affected By 2013 Tornadoes Neighbors Find Comfort In Community After 2013 Moore Tornado http://tornado.kgou.org/post/neighbors-find-comfort-community-after-2013-moore-tornado <p>One year ago this week, a deadly EF-5 tornado swept through Moore, Oklahoma, taking the lives of 24 people and destroying over 1,100 homes. For many people, this week marks a painful reminder of the damage. For others, the year anniversary is an opportunity to put the devastation behind them with the support of their peers.&nbsp;</p> Mon, 19 May 2014 12:30:00 +0000 Kate Carlton Greer 7740 at http://tornado.kgou.org Neighbors Find Comfort In Community After 2013 Moore Tornado