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PM NewsBrief: Apr. 30, 2024

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for April 30, 2024.

State, Federal Disaster Officials Tour Torando-Ravaged Sulphur, Marietta

State and federal officials toured tornado damage in Marietta and Sulphur Tuesday.

Gov. Kevin Stitt, FEMA Director Deanne Criswell and Senator James Lankford joined local and state officials for a closer look at the devastated communities.

The state Department of Emergency Management announced that it has completed its preliminary assessment of Sulphur.

Agency Director Annie Vest said damages total more than $7 million.

“We calculated just over 100 properties there were destroyed. Several that were major damaged, and then many, many, many that had minor damage or were affected,” Vest said.

The EF-3 tornado also leveled Sulphur's historic downtown Saturday night, scattering debris for miles.

The tornado that hit Marietta was rated a low-end EF 4. So far, the National Weather Service has confirmed at least 25 tornadoes developed Saturday. Teams were assessing damage in the southwest area of the state Tuesday.

The statewide tornado outbreak led to four deaths and injured more than 100 people.

Marietta Hospital Refers Patients Elsewhere After Severe Tornado Damage

A hospital in Marietta has temporarily stopped providing health care services due to its severe tornado damage.

Mercy Health Love County’s hospital administrator hopes to reconnect patients to care soon.

Health care services at a hospital in Marietta are temporarily unavailable after a deadly tornado

Scott Callender, the hospital’s administrator, said its clinic and spaces where it provides physical therapy are the only places that might be salvageable in the building.

Damage includes blown-out windows, crumbling ceilings and a mangled exterior, making it unsuitable for patients.

Those patients are being referred to local area hospitals, with the closest location being 19 miles away in Ardmore.

In the meantime, Callender said the hospital is trying to get a virtual setup for provider visits.

“I want to get their health care back up and going so they don’t have to travel, and that's our goals, and so, it's just a matter of time, and hopefully, quicker the better," Callender said.

Callender said the hospital is working on getting its phone lines up and running again.

· Read more about this story.

Former Moore Mayor Glenn Lewis Dies

One of the state's longest serving mayors died over the weekend.

Former Mayor of Moore, Glenn Lewis, died at the age of 68, about a month after he ended his 30 years of public service.

During his time as mayor, Lewis is credited with the major economic development of the suburb by drawing in major retailers like Walmart and Target as well as the Warren Theater.

Lewis is also remembered for leading the city through the aftermath of two financially devastating and deadly EF5 tornadoes - one in 1999 and another in 2013.

Recently, the City Council of Moore awarded him the symbolic Key to the City.

Lewis’s family announced on social media that he died on Sunday morning but did not include his cause of death or details about funeral services.

Last year, he cited issues with his health as a reason for not running for reelection in an interview with The Oklahoman newspaper.

His successor, Mark Hamm, took office at the beginning of this month.

Governor Withdraws Cabinet Nomination

Gov. Kevin Stitt has withdrawn Shelley Zumwalt's nomination as Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Wildlife, and Heritage, amid controversy over alleged misuse of public funds.

Stitt announced the decision in a letter to Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat.

Treat said he wasn't sure the Senate would advise and consent to Zumwalt's nomination following a state audit that criticized Zumwalt.

State Attorney General Gentner Drummond commended the move, calling for Zumwalt's termination to prevent further misuse of taxpayer money.

Zumwalt remains the head of the Department of Tourism. During a news conference last week she said she would not resign that post.

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