Oklahoman Business cover brief for July 4, 2019

OK rig count declines
Oklahoma’s rig count fell by five this week to 97 while the number of working rigs nationally also declined, Baker Hughes reported Wednesday.
The national working rig count fell by four to 963, down 89 from the 1,052 that were drilling the same week a year ago.Read more on

‘Banjos in Space’: OKC entertainer Lucas Ross reaches for the stars with new album

By Brandy McDonnellFeatures writerbmcdonnell@oklahoman.comWhen considering the history of music, movies and television based on outer space, several sonic signifiers come to mind, from the brassy power of John Williams’ “Imperial March” from the “Star Wars” saga to the eerie theremin in Bernard Herrmann’s score for 1951’s “The Day the Earth Stood Still.”
The bright, tinny sound of a banjo isn’t often associated with the far reaches of the galaxy, which is why Lucas Ross wanted to explore such unlikely territory with his latest collection of comedic, kid-friendly tunes.
“Some of it came from all the ‘Star Wars’ things that have been going on, and especially recently, all the space stuff, with Rover and with us going to Mars,” Ross said.Read more on

Boeing to pay $100M to crash families, communities

By David KoenigAP Airlines WriterBoeing said Wednesday it will provide an "initial investment" of $100 million over several years to help families and communities affected by two crashes of its 737 Max plane that killed 346 people.
The Chicago-based company said some of the money will go toward living expenses and to cover hardship suffered by the families of passengers killed in the crashes.
Boeing faces dozens of lawsuits over the accidents.

Stocks close at record highs

By Damian J. TroiseAP Business WriterNEW YORK — Investors extended a rally through a holiday-shortened day and pushed the S&P 500 index to its third straight record high close on Wednesday.Read more on

US still looking for way to ask about citizenship on census

By Mark Sherman and Jill ColvinThe Associated PressWASHINGTON — The Justice Department said Wednesday that it was still looking for a way to include a controversial citizenship question on the 2020 census, even though the government has started the process of printing the questionnaire without it.
The abrupt shift from the Justice Department came hours after President Donald Trump insisted he was not dropping his efforts to ask about citizenship in next year’s nationwide survey.Read more on

Jarring images of border cells surface ahead of July 4

By Elliot SpagatThe Associated Press“Inhumane.” “Shameful.” “Intolerable.” “Brutal.” Mounting revelations about squalid and dangerously overcrowded conditions at Border Patrol holding centers have fueled public outrage heading into the Fourth of July weekend, with protesters taking to the streets and social media to decry the situation as un-American and unacceptable.
The swelling furor over President Donald Trump’s immigration polices comes as the administration said Wednesday that it is looking for more properties to permanently hold unaccompanied children who cross the border.Read more on