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KRMG Morning News 'Stack of Stuff'

1.       KOTV - Parents who let their kids host wild parties could face tougher punishments. The House passed "Cody's Law" on Tuesday. The bill is named after Cody Greehaw, a Tulsa teenager who died from a drug and alcohol overdose. Under the bill, anyone who allows underage drinking on their property could be charged with a misdemeanor and face $500 fines.

2.       KOTV - There are new developments for the family of Jeremiah Mitchell, the little boy from Oologah who had his arms and legs amputated after contracting bacterial meningitis. Jeremiah's family will soon move into a home of their own thanks to the generosity of fellow Oklahomans. Jeremiah's mom looked at more than 100 houses and finally found the one just days away from the one year anniversary of the meningitis outbreak.

3.       FOX23 - If you’re wondering why airfares have risen so quickly, just look halfway around the world in Libya. The ongoing political tensions in the Middle East have sent oil prices soaring across the globe. A plane ticket that cost $200 in January might set you back $260 if you booked right now. Airline industry experts say fares will just keep rising as we head toward the summer travel season. The next six months will likely be the worst fare surge since the summer of 2008, when oil prices went sky-high. There's one big difference: extra fees, such as those for luggage and peak travel surcharges, didn't exist back them. Travelers are asking the airlines cut them a break.

4.       TULSA WORLD - Tulsans today will join Christians around the world in the observance of Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, prayer and self-examination leading up to the celebration Easter and the resurrection of Jesus. During Ash Wednesday services, many Catholic and Protestant worshippers receive a mark of ashes on the forehead, a symbol of repentance. Lent is an important part of the Christian calendar in liturgical churches, and normally is less emphasized in nonliturgical, evangelical churches, although some of them are beginning to introduce Lenten practices. While Western churches - Roman Catholic, Protestant and Anglican - begin Lent on Wednesday, Eastern Orthodox churches began Great Lent on Monday, called "Clean Monday."

5.       TULSA WORLD - Some City Councilors on Tuesday questioned the timing of the Legal Department's analysis of the city's personnel policy that allowed for the hiring of Interim City Attorney David Pauling. At issue is whether the Legal Department changed the policy definition that otherwise may have prohibited Pauling's hiring because his wife, Nancy McNair, is also an assistant city attorney. The current personnel policy states "immediate family members" cannot work in the same city unit or under the direct supervision of each other. Personnel Director Erica Felix-Warwick told councilors that prior to the legal analysis, anytime a promotion or employment application would put a married couple in the same department, "we would have raised issue with that." When the administration considered hiring Pauling, the issue arose again, but it was determined that the policy's definition of immediate family members being "by blood or marriage" no longer meant spouse.

6.       NEWSOK.COM - Apparently Oklahoma isn't that happy. The Sooner State ranked No. 38 among all 50 states when it comes to our general well-being, according to a recent Gallup Poll. Hawaii, of course, won. Show offs. Apparently things aren't going too well in West Virginia. They came in last.

7.       A magnitude 7.2 earthquake has struck northern Japan. The quake hit at 11:45 a.m. (Wednesday) local time. The country’s meteorological agency immediately issued a tsunami alert for its northeastern coast, however no oceanic disturbance has been recorded. Although the quake’s epicenter was located some 200 miles north of the city, the Associated Press reports that the strong earthquake shook buildings in Tokyo. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries, but officials are still assessing the situation.

8.       The Obama administration on Tuesday appealed a judge's ruling in Florida that struck down its landmark healthcare overhaul law as unconstitutional because it required Americans to buy healthcare insurance or face a penalty. President Barack Obama's Justice Department filed its notice of appeal and the case will go to the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, based in Atlanta. The fight over the law is expected to reach the Supreme Court.

9.       WELFARE NATION - Government payouts—including Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance—make up more than a third of total wages and salaries of the U.S. population, a record figure that will only increase if action isn’t taken before the majority of Baby Boomers enter retirement. Even as the economy has recovered, social welfare benefits make up 35 percent of wages and salaries this year, up from 21 percent in 2000 and 10 percent in 1960, according to TrimTabs Investment Research using Bureau of Economic Analysis data.

10.   Space shuttle Discovery floats over southern Morocco during the ISS fly-around before departing to return to Earth. Everything looks good for the final landing of the space shuttle Discovery today (March 9), NASA officials say. Discovery is scheduled to land at Florida's Kennedy Space Center Wednesday at 11:57 a.m. EST (1657 GMT), bringing an end to its 13-day STS-133 mission — and to the workhorse orbiter's days in space. Discovery will end its spaceflying career with tomorrow's landing. If all goes as planned, the shuttle program as a whole will be retired later this year.

11.   CNBC - PORTLAND, Maine - The federal government Tuesday granted Maine a waiver of a key provision in President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, citing the likelihood that enforcement could destabilize the state's market for individual health insurance. The U.S. Health and Human Services department said in a letter it would waive the requirement that insurers spend 80 cents to 85 cents of every premium dollar on medical care and quality improvement. Instead, the letter said, the state could maintain its 65 percent standard for three years, with the caveat that HHS intends to review the figures after two years.

12.   (AP) CHICAGO – Was your kid born to be an elite athlete? Marketers of genetic tests claim the answer is in mail-order kits costing less than $200. Some customers say the test results help them steer their children to appropriate sports. But skeptical doctors and ethicists say the tests are putting profit before science and have a much greater price tag — potentially robbing perfectly capable youngsters of a chance to enjoy activities of their choice. "In the `winning is everything' sports culture, societal pressure to use these tests in children may increasingly present a challenge to unsuspecting physicians," according to a commentary in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association. Scientists have identified several genes that may play a role in determining strength, speed and other aspects of athletic performance. But there are likely hundreds more, plus many other traits and experiences that help determine athletic ability, said Dr. Alison Brooks, a pediatrician and sports medicine specialist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

13.   A spokesman says NPR is "appalled by the comments" made by a former executive in the latest media punking effort.   In a video released yesterday morning, operatives working for conservative filmmaker JAMES O'KEEFE targeted two NPR executives, one of whom expressed opinions that quickly generated outrage among conservatives.   The premise for the meeting: A potential $5 million donation from the fake Muslim advocacy group whose fake website claimed "was originally founded by a few members of the Muslim Brotherhood in America."   It's NPR senior executive RON SCHILLER who does nearly all the talking and who provides the money quote: That tea partiers have hijacked the Republican Party and that they are not "just Islamaphobic, but really xenophobic, I mean basically they are, they believe in sort of white, middle-America gun-toting. I mean, it's scary. They're seriously racist, racist people."   He also told his lunch companions that he was "very proud of" how NPR fired commenter JUAN WILLIAMS and remarks that "it is very clear that in the long run we would be better off without federal funding."   Schiller was in charge of fundraising. He had nothing to do with the newsroom or personnel decisions. He had already resigned from NPR, having taken a job last month for the Aspen Institute. (NPR says his anticipated departure was moved up and is "effective immediately.")   NPR, incidentally, refused the $5 million-dollar offer from the phony group.

14.   In another step in its march towards domination of the Internet, Facebook will now allow users to rent movies and watch them online. Warner Bros. is testing a service that will offer select movies for streaming rental or purchase through the public pages of those movies on Facebook. As of yesterday, Facebookers who go the official page of Batman: The Dark Knight can click a "watch" icon for $3, or 30 Facebook credits, and see the movie as many times as they want for 48 hours. Warner Bros. said it will add other movies in coming months. If other movie studios follow Warner Bros.' lead, a big loser in all this could be Netflix, and in fact the company's stock closed down 5.8 percent yesterday.

15.   A Missouri high school teacher has quit her job after one of her students discovered online that she'd acted in pornographic films in the past. Local TV station KMOV reported that Tera Myers, who taught at Park North High School near St. Louis, was suspended from a school in Kentucky five years ago when the same discovery was made. Myers has called her porn acting more than 15 years ago her worst mistake. District officials told KMOV that they were unaware of Myers' background, and that since her porn acting wasn't illegal, it didn't show up on a background check. They also said that none of her references talked about that aspect of her past.

QUESTIONS: Should someone like Myers, who hasn't done porn in more than 15 years and has turned her life around, be allowed to teach? Even if the school were to back Myers, do you think it would have been difficult to have the necessary respect of the students once they knew she'd worked in porn? In addition to doing background checks, should schools also ask prospective teachers about potentially scandalous, but not illegal behavior, in their pasts, such as working in porn?

16.   The Philadelphia archdiocese yesterday (March 8th) suspended 21 Catholic priests who were named as child molestation suspects in a grand jury report last month. The two-year grand jury investigation resulted in charges against two priests, a former priest and a Catholic school teacher who are accused of raping young boys, and a former high-ranking church official was accused of transferring priests to new parishes without warning anyone of prior sex-abuse complaints against them. The grand jury also named 37 priests who remained in the active ministry despite credible allegations of sexual abuse, despite U.S. bishops reforming their policies several years ago as they promised to keep potential abusers from children. The grand jury report further found that a panel set up by the Philadelphia archdiocese after an earlier 2005 grand jury probe mostly worked to protect the church, not the victims.

17.   Census figures show that America's population center is edging southwest away from the Midwest, driven in large part by Hispanic growth, with the historic shift changing the traditional idea of the nation's heartland, viewed as the symbol of mainstream American beliefs and culture. Figures from the 2010 Census show that the West is now home to the four fastest-growing states, which are Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Idaho, and has surpassed the Midwest in population. It's believed that next month when the country's new mean center of population is announced -- which is the middle point of the nation's population distribution -- it will be in or around Texas County, Missouri, southwest of the present location of Phelps County, Missouri, and on track to leave the region by the middle of the 21st century. The last time the nation's center was outside the Midwest was 1850, when it was further east.

18.   A near-mint condition copy of the 1962 comic book in which Spider-Man debuted has been sold for $1.1 million. The "Amazing Fantasy" Number 15 issue was sold Monday (March 7th) by a private seller to a private buyer. ComicConnect.com chief executive Stephen Fishler told AP that although it's not the highest price ever paid for a comic book -- with that record held by the $1.5 million paid for a copy of the 1938 comic book in which Superman debuted -- it's the most for one from the mid-1950s to about 1970, which is known as the Silver Age. It's usually been comic books from the Golden Age, from the late 1930s to the early 1950s, that draw that kind of money.

19.   CBS and Warner Bros. are reportedly forging ahead with a Charlie Sheen-less Two and a Half Men. The New York Times reported that since just Charlie's firing -- and not the end of the show -- was announced this week, it's likely that the comedy will return. Meanwhile, multiple sources have reported that series creator Chuck Lorre is in talks with Rob Lowe to replace Sheen on the series. Lowe currently stars on NBC's Parks and Recreation. Last week -- before Sheen was fired -- John Stamos's name repeatedly came up as a potential replacement, but at the time he denied the possibility. Charlie Sheen publicly lashed out at his former bosses on Tuesday night's internet broadcast of Sheen's Korner. He called his firing an "infantile wrong" and implied that Chuck Lorre is an alcoholic who will eventually fall off the wagon. Charlie Sheen is angry at his former Two and a Half Men co-star Jon Cryer for not reaching out to him in the wake of the show fall-out. He told E! News on Tuesday, "Jon has not called me. He's a turncoat, a traitor, a troll. Clearly he's a troll." He added, "Like I said: You're with me, or you're with the trolls. Obviously he's with the trolls."

20.   Martin Scorsese is in trouble with the tax man. The New York Post reported that the Oscar-winning director was recently hit with a $2.85 million IRS tax lien. The number includes what the IRS believes Scorsese owes in taxes and related interest and penalties -- and means they are entitled to money from any sales of his real estate. Martin's trouble likely stems in part from his relationship with Kenneth Starr, a financial adviser who mismanaged and stole money from celebrity clients. Scorsese fired him last year, less than 5 months before Starr was arrested for running a $33 million Ponzi scheme.

21.   A Michigan dentist was arrested last Saturday on credit card theft and forgery charges after he allegedly went pizza shopping with a college student's lost credit card. A college student who dropped his card in the parking lot of a shopping plaza called to cancel it when he got home. The credit card company told the student that the card had already been used at a pizzeria in the same shopping plaza. The student then called police who showed up at the pizza place and found the dentist waiting on his pizza. The bill came to $40.64 and the dentist had $250 cash in his pocket. The police asked if he was strapped for cash and he replied, "Absolutely not." The dentist reportedly also said his net worth was between $3 million and $4 million.

22.   Staff at Figtree High School in Australia have banned hugging between students. Parents are outraged and believe hugging has been banned as a way to stop affectionate behavior between students during school time. One parent said, "If they can ban hugging, what are they going to do next -- ban smiling?" The high school's website says it aims, "to provide a safe and caring environment where students, regardless of diversity, disadvantage or disability, reach their highest potential through positive and enriching learning experiences." Students who are caught hugging will be sent to the deputy's office and sent home.

23.   Traffic congestion in 70 of the nation's 100 biggest metro areas was up 11 percent over last year and it's expected to get worse.  That's the upshot of a report by a firm called INRIX, which tracks traffic congestion.  Forty-one of those cities saw congestion exceed 2006 levels, the year before the recession took out a lot of jobs and took people off the road.  The Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M, which produces an annual survey of traffic congestion in the U-S, found that we spent 4.8 billion hours slowed or stuck in traffic due to congestion during 2009, an average of 34 extra hours spent on the road. The price tag for time wasted and fuel spent to be on the road is currently $808 per driver, and that's pre-$100 a barrel oil. Overall, the cost of congestion has risen from $24 billion in 1982 to $115 billion in 2009.  Even with gas prices flirting with $4 a gallon, congestion is going to get worse. Population growth means increasing gridlock at nearly every hour of the day, and as the economy improves and millions go back to work, it'll get even worse.

24.   Forbes' annual list of the world's wealthiest individuals is out today, and Microsoft founder BILL GATES is no longer on top.   The new list features Mexican "tycoon" CARLOS SLIM as the world's richest man with Bill Gates at number two.   According to one wealth research firm, "it wouldn't be a competition" if Gates hadn't "discovered philanthropy." But Gates has given away $28 billion, or almost a third of his wealth, leaving him with a meager $49 billion. (Slim is sitting on $60 billion.)   WARREN BUFFETT is the bronze medalist with $47 billion. He and Gates have both spent the last few years giving away money and urging other filthy rich folks to part with their cash.

25.   Oil prices declined for the first time in three days as OPEC members held informal talks over pumping more oil into the global economy.   What can OPEC actually do about oil prices? Quite a lot. OPEC's got a lot of spare capacity, especially Saudi Arabia. It usually keeps a lot of its available oil off the market in order to keep up the price. So, in a crisis like now, when there's a danger of the price spiraling much higher and damaging the global economy, they can pump more crude.

26.   Two 911 calls went out at the site of Portland burglary Monday night --one from the homeowner and one from the burglar who was afraid the owner might be armed. According to the Portland Oregonian, 24-year-old TIM CHAPEK wasn't just in the house when the owner showed up with his two German shepherds --he was in the bathroom taking a shower.   Fearing the homeowner was armed, Chapek locked himself in the bathroom and called 911.   The owner, discovering the intruder in his home, also called the 911 to report the burglary.   Officers arrived to arrest Chapek on charges of first-degree criminal trespass.

27.   A Florida man has filed a lawsuit against a paramedic for allegedly stealing his severed foot.   WESH-TV reports KARL LAMBERT lost his foot in a car crash in 2008. Paramedic CINDY ECONOMOU later admitted she took Lambert's foot from the scene to help train her cadaver-sniffing dog. Economou resigned soon after the incident. Lambert claims the paramedic removed his foot rather than transporting it to a hospital where it could have been reattached.

28.   The Bakersfield Condors minor league hockey team is having a Charlie Sheen themed night. This Saturday, if you bring a clean drug test, you get in free. Dress like any Sheen movie character (or wear the hat he wears on the show) and your ticket will cost just $2.50. And if you bring $2 million bucks --what Sheen got per episode of "Two and a Half Men"-- you can own the whole team.   First thousand males to show up get a Sheen face on a stick mask.   They're also making Sheen's two "goddesses" honorary captains for the game. They're a no-show for sure.

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  • Tulsa police were called to the Rest Inn and Suites near Admiral and Memorial Tuesday night around 10:30. A man from Nebraska, with warrants for manufacturing automatic weapons, was inside and refusing to come out. The S.W.A.T team was concerned about any possible weapons inside, so they closed a part of Admiral for several hours to keep drivers away. Investigators believe the suspect, 49-year-old Rush Hembree, held a pregnant girlfriend hostage. Police say he did some damage to hotel walls trying to escape. Hembree came out of the room around 3:30pm.
  • After weeks of negotiations, Congress unveiled a $1.3 trillion funding measure for the federal government on Wednesday night, adding billions in new spending for both the Pentagon and domestic spending programs, adding in a pair of bills dealing with school safety and gun violence, but including no deals on some politically difficult issues like the future of illegal immigrant “Dreamers.” The 2,232 pages of bill text were quietly posted by GOP leaders after yet another day of closed door negotiations, which included a trip down to the White House by House Speaker Paul Ryan. “No bill of this size is perfect,” Ryan said in a written statement, as he touted the extra money in the plan for the U.S. military. “But this legislation addresses important priorities and makes us stronger at home and abroad,” Ryan added. BREAKING: Budget bargainers clinch $1.3 trillion deal bearing big defense, domestic boosts, no protections for Dreamer immigrants. — AP Politics (@AP_Politics) March 22, 2018 Among the items included in the Omnibus funding bill: + The bipartisan “Fix NICS” bill, which would press states and federal agencies to funnel more information into the instant background check system for gun buyers. + The “STOP School Violence Act,” which would send grant money to local governments to help schools better recognize possible violent threats in schools and their communities. + A series of corrections to the recent tax cut law. Even before the text of the bill was unveiled, a number of Republicans were not pleased, arguing the GOP has done little to merit the support of voters back home, saying it will mean more spending and a bigger government. “That is not in any way close to what the election was about,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who argued the President should veto the bill. Also causing some irritation was the fact that the bill was negotiated with little input from most lawmakers, and sprung on them just hours before the House and Senate were due to head out of town on a two week Easter break. We should have been on the House floor all year, in front of @cspan cameras, debating and amending spending bills. Instead, nearly all of Congress is waiting to see what omnibus bill emerges from the smoke filled room. Post offices are getting named… at least there’s that. — Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) March 20, 2018 It’s a good thing we have Republican control of Congress or the Democrats might bust the budget caps, fund planned parenthood and Obamacare, and sneak gun control without due process into an Omni…wait, what? — Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 21, 2018 “There is not a single member of Congress who can physically read it, unless they are a speed reader,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC). One of the many provisions in the bill included a $174,000 payment to the estate of the late Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), who died earlier this week. Those type of payments are typical when a lawmaker dies while in office. GOP leaders hope to vote on the Omnibus in the House on Thursday, as lawmakers are ready to go home for a two-week break for Easter.
  • Sure. Take that quiz about which hair-metal band is your spirit animal. Share a few snaps of your toddler at the beach and watch the likes pile up. Comment on that pointed political opinion from the classmate you haven’t seen since the Reagan administration. Just remember that your familiar, comforting online neighborhood — the people you care about most and those you only kinda like — exists entirely on a corporate planet that’s endlessly ravenous to know more about you and yours. On a day when our virtual friends wrung their virtual hands about whether to leave Facebook, a thoroughly 21st-century conundrum was hammered home: When your community is a big business, and when a company’s biggest business is your community, things can get very messy. You saw that all day Tuesday as users watched the saga of Cambridge Analytica unfold and contemplated whether the chance that they had been manipulated again — that their data might have been used to influence an election — was, finally, reason enough to bid Facebook goodbye. Not an easy choice. After all, how would Mom see photos of the kids?
  • The suspected Austin serial bomber who apparently killed himself early Wednesday as authorities closed in on him was Pflugerville resident Mark A. Conditt, local and federal law enforcement sources told the American-Statesman and KVUE. >> Read more trending news As the sun rose, neighbors of the 23-year-old, who was home-schooled growing up and went to Austin Community College, struggled to wrap their minds around the news that he was the suspected bomber. “I know this is a cliché but I just can’t imagine that,” said one neighbor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity and whose children grew up playing with Conditt on Pfluger Street. The neighbor described Conditt as a nice kid from a great family. Police have said that Conditt, who was home-schooled growing up, was 24, although some public records indicate he was 23. Conditt received a degree from Austin Community College’s Northridge Campus and had worked at Crux Semiconductor in Austin as a “purchasing Agent/buyer/shipping and receiving,” according to a profile on a job recruiting website. He previously worked as a computer repair technician. >> Related: Photos: Austin police investigate explosions There are very few public social media posts under his name. His mother, Danene Conditt, posted a picture of him in February 2013 to mark his completing a high school-level education. “I officially graduated Mark from High School on Friday. 1 down, 3 to go. He has 30 hrs of college credit too, but he’s thinking of taking some time to figure out what he wants to do….maybe a mission trip. Thanks to everyone for your support over the years.” >> See complete coverage of the Austin bombings from the Austin American-Statesman He and his father, Pat Conditt, purchased a Pflugerville property last year that is now valued at about $69,000. The neighbor said Mark Conditt had been living in that house, which he built with his father’s help. Police said Wednesday morning that they believe Mark Conditt created all of the explosive devices used in the recent bombings himself. They are not sure how he spent his last 24 hours and cautioned Austinites to remain vigilant in case he placed bombs that have yet to go off.
  • Sing us a song you’re the snow man? A Kentucky principal has pulled out all the stops with his snow day announcements.  >> Read more trending news  With yet another storm bearing down on his district, Chad Caddell drew inspiration from Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” to tell excited kids and their disappointed parents that there would be no school again this morning, WCPO reported. This isn’t the first time the Union Point Academy principal put a musical twist to his announcements, WCPO reported. Earlier this year, he did announcements “honoring” Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks and Mariah Carey, WCPO reported. Related video: