VPR Header
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Joe Wertz

Joe was a founding reporter for StateImpact Oklahoma (2011-2019) covering the intersection of economic policy, energy and environment, and the residents of the state. He previously served as Managing Editor of Urban Tulsa Weekly, as the Arts & Entertainment Editor at Oklahoma Gazette and worked as a Staff Writer for The Oklahoman. Joe was a weekly arts and entertainment correspondent for KGOU from 2007-2010. He grew up in Bartlesville, Okla. and studied journalism at the University of Central Oklahoma.

  • Four years of crippling drought has withered the agricultural economies of Great Plains states like Oklahoma. The USDA forecasts this year's wheat crop will be half what it would be in a good year.
  • As Oklahoma enters its fourth year of sustained drought, some farmers expect the harvest to be so bad they'll end up calling their insurance agents and declaring this year a total loss. StateImpact Oklahoma's Joe Wertz reports that some are calling this the worst drought since the '50s — or even since the Dust Bowl.
  • For the past three decades, the state averaged about 50 quakes a year. Last year, there were almost 3,000. Some geologists say the state's oil and gas industry might be to blame for the increase.
  • When the swirling, howling winds of the 1930s Dust Bowl gobbled up farmland from Texas to the Dakotas, the federal government planted 100 million trees to act like a giant windbreak. It worked. But now, after years of drought, those old trees are dying.
  • Texas and Oklahoma are fighting over access to the Red River. Fast-growing Texas is eager to fuel its expansion in a time of drought, while the poorer state of Oklahoma is water-rich. The court's decision could impact interstate water-sharing agreements across the country.
  • On Tuesday, Tulsa County, Okla., residents vote on ballot measures that would extend a sales tax hike to fund economic development and public works projects. The Republican mayor and local GOP officials — in one of the reddest states in the country — are asking voters to say yes to the taxes.