POSTED ON NOVEMBER 28, 2012:
Hobby Lobby Fight Continues.
The owners of retailer Hobby Lobby continue their legal battle to avoid penalties for not including controversial types of emergency contraception as part of health care coverage for employees.
A federal judge denied their request for an injunction on Nov. 19 that would have kept the government from taking enforcement action against the Oklahoma-based company. The company has said they face up to $1.3 million in fines based on the new Affordable Care Act.
A day later, an appeal was filed, as the retailer's owners, the Green family, seek to avoid providing health care coverage that pays for day-after and week-after pills. The pills may work in several ways, but one way is to keep a fertilized egg from implanting in a uterus -- "thus aborting the fertilized egg," according to statements from the Greens, who say their religious beliefs require them to oppose offering health care coverage they say is tantamount to funding abortions. Morning-after pills do not require a prescription.
As far as the appeal, "we're hopeful that we can get an answer before Jan. 1," said Emily Hardman, communications director for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing the retailer in the case.
She noted that several other non-profit organizations have cited their religious beliefs in legal challenges to the law.
"Hobby Lobby is the only for-profit case we have right now, but there's a total of 40 cases that are out there from various organizations," Hardman said.
Big Response to City's Call for Tech Help.
Five consulting companies submitted bids to perform a comprehensive review the city of Tulsa's information technology department, city spokeswoman Michelle Allen said.
The city began seeking bids for a department review after its information technology department mistakenly reported to the public that the city's website had been hacked. For around three weeks, the city's website was offline.
But the feared security breach was actually a test done by a security consultant, and the city then announced plans for a department-wide review.
"We hope to have a selection made in December," Allen said, adding that a contract would then likely be finalized early next year. The review might begin in February, she said.
In addition to the false alarm hacking incident, the Tulsa Municipal Court e-payment system has not been working since mid-September.
Jonathan Brooks, a major with the Tulsa Police Department, has been serving as interim director for information technology since the former department head, Tom Golliver, was placed on administrative leave shortly after the incident. Allen confirmed that Golliver remains on administrative leave.
Tulsa Hate Crime Documentary Coming Soon?
An experienced filmmaker has turned her lens on Tulsa, focusing on the city's notorious hate crimes.
Rachel Lyon, director and co-producer of Race to Execution, a death penalty documentary which aired on PBS in 2007, successfully raised more than $10,000 through an online fundraising campaign on the Kickstarter website, topping her goal before the campaign was set to expire Nov. 30.
The money will be used to fund expenses related to Tulsa: Hate Crime Capital, her new documentary project.
The scope of the project includes the 1921 race riot and the Good Friday shootings from earlier this year. Excerpts from interviews already done can be viewed on Kickstarter.
Farewell to a Tulsa Institution.
Phil Stone -- known to Tulsans for a generation as half of the famous (sometimes infamous) Phil and Brent duo on 97.5FM -- passed away on Nov. 21. He was 57.
A celebration of his life will be held at Cain's Ballroom, Thursday, Nov. 29, starting at 5pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made either to The Child Abuse Network -- 2829 S. Sheridan Road -- or to Trinity United Methodist Church -- 1021 W. Sycamore St., Fayetteville, Ark.
Roy D. Mercer, a character created by Phil and Brent, used to ask, "How big a boy are ya?" In UTW's estimation, Phil was a pretty big boy -- a big deal, that is. He will be missed.
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