Claremore Daily Progress

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January 2, 2014

Devastating tornadoes named Oklahoma’s top story



—M. Scott Carter, The Journal Record
After two years of political wrangling over a cut in the state’s income tax, Gov. Mary Fallin seemed to have finally accomplished a major political victory in 2013 — a broad agreement with Republican legislative leaders to cut the income tax and provide $120 million for repairs to the crumbling state Capitol.
The bill would reduce the top personal income tax rate that most Oklahomans pay from 5.25 percent to 5 percent, beginning in 2015, with a second cut to 4.85 percent set for 2016 if state revenues continue to rise. It also diverted $120 million — $60 million over two consecutive fiscal years — to pay for improvements to the nearly 100-year-old Capitol building.
But in December Fallin’s signature achievement was thrown out by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which ruled unanimously that the bill violated a constitutional ban on including multiple subjects in a single bill.
—Sean Murphy, AP
A practice run for new sonar technology at the Foss Lake marina garnered worldwide attention after authorities found six bodies in two submerged cars on Sept. 17.
Custer County Sheriff Bruce Peoples said the descriptions of the vehicles and their occupants “strongly leaned” in the direction of two local cold cases - one from 1969 and one from 1970. While positive identification rests on DNA testing from the medical examiner’s office, the remains found in one of the vehicles, a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro, are believed to belong to Jimmy Allen Williams, 16, Thomas Michael Rios, 18 and Leah Gail Johnson, 18. The three Sayre teens disappeared on Nov. 20, 1970 and were last seen in Williams’ Camaro.
The other vehicle, a 1952 Chevy sedan, matches the description of a missing persons case from 1969. John Alva Porter, Nora Marie Duncan and Cleburn Hammock were last seen heading to Foss Lake on April 8, 1969 and not heard from again.
—Larissa Graham, Elk City Daily News

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