The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Community News Network

May 22, 2013

Okla. officials vow not to quit looking until everyone is found

MOORE, Okla. — The tornado that killed 24 people and injured at least 100 others in the Moore and Oklahoma City area cut a 17-mile-long path that started in Newcastle and ended at Lake Stanley Draper. Nine of the dead are children.

At a press conference Tuesday, a tearful Gov. Mary Fallin said the tornado was one of the worst storms Oklahoma has ever faced. The destruction of two Moore elementary schools made it especially difficult to bear.

Fallin described walking through thick mud at the Plaza Towers Elementary school site. She said the scene was "surreal."

The two schools destroyed by the Monday afternoon tornado were Briarwood Elementary School at 14901 S. Hudson in Oklahoma City, Moore school district, and Plaza Towers, 852 SW 11th St., Moore.

Moore Schools Superintendent Susan Pierce, supported by her assistant superintendent, broke down while reading a prepared statement.

"I would like to extend my sincere sympathies," she said. "Our hearts go out to each of you, and we are suffering with you."

Pierce said safety is the district’s “prime priority” but she did not stay to answer questions regarding the school’s shelter policy.

Moore residents just approved a $126.4 million school bond that includes the construction of two elementary schools and one junior high school. It is the largest bond in the school’s history, but officials did not say whether tornado safe rooms will be included in the new schools as part of those projects. Recently built Norman schools, such as Reagan Elementary, have included several safe rooms in the design.

Pierce said Moore school system has a crisis plan in place, the schools were well prepared, and all schools implemented that plan at each school site. Search and rescue was ongoing, but was expected to conclude Tuesday night.

"We kept over 200 responders out in the field last night," said Moore Fire Chief Gary Bird. "We stayed at the school last night. We are still at Plaza Towers."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014