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Latest from Bert Williams

    A pro-law enforcement rally is taking place until 5 PM today (Tuesday) at the Tulsa County Courthouse. The rally is organized by LESMA, the Law Enforcement Supporters for Media Accountability, a group that wants to raise awareness to the challenges faced on a daily basic by police officers everywhere. The rally attracted a small crowd of supporters who displayed signs saying Back the Blue and All Lives Matter. The rally took place at the same time Al Sharpton was scheduled to appear at the Greenwood Cultural Center. A third rally is scheduled for 6 PM at the Jazz Hall of Fame.
  • Three rallies are scheduled in Tulsa Tuesday in response to the officer-involved killing of Terence Crutcher. At 1 PM Law Enforcement in Support of Media Accountability will hold a rally at the courthouse in support of law enforcement and Officer Betty Shelby, who has been charged with felony manslaughter in connection with Crutcher’s death. Another rally is taking place near City Hall where Al Sharpton will be in attendance. A third event will be held at the Jazz Hall at 6 PM this evening. KRMG will attend all three events. Tune in to the KRMG Evening News with Dick Loftin at 5 PM.
  • Two women and a man were killed early Saturday morning in a car-motorcycle accident on hiway 75 north at 96th St north, Owasso. Police say the car was driving southbound in the northbound lane of highway 75. The car hit the motorcycle head-on. A man and a woman on the motorcycle both died at the scene. One woman in the car also died Two more people were taken to the hospital, one of them in critical condition. Both lanes of highway 75 northbound were closed for over five hours this morning as police investigated the accident.
  • Area restaurants love Valentine's Day. Many say it's the single biggest day of the year, accounting for up to eight percent of all of their business for the month of February. Jason Scarpa, owner of Main Street Tavern and The Rooftop Restaurant in downtown Broken Arrow, says business doubles on the Day of Love. Jennifer Sohl, Polo Grill manager says they are already full for Saturday night and have a waiting list for cancelations. The Grill has also opened up Friday night for reservations in case you want to get started early. Broken Arrow Charleston's manager Allison Cotner expects that since the holiday falls on Saturday this year, even Thursday will be a big day for them. Valentine's Day menu items at Charleston's will include filet and shrimp with dessert included. Main Street will ofer a special once-a year menu with your choice of a filet, pork chop, or sea bass for $75 per couple. The Rooftop will offer salad, dessert, and your choice of three pasta plates for $40 per couple. The Polo Grill will serve a 5 oz. filet and a 5 oz. lobster tail for $75 per plate. Call soon or you could be eating in... the dog house.
  • Tulsa's Annual Christmas Parade will get underway tomorrow night at 6 PM downtown. Organizers say it will be big. There will be four marching bands, one rock bad, and several floats including a Kermit the Frog float that is five stories high. A special appearance by the big man in the red suit is also scheduled. He'll be arriving by special transportation this year. The parade will start at 6th and Boston at 6 PM and 30,000 visitors are expected downtown. You can find out more about the 2014 Christmas parade at www.tulsachristmasparade.org.
  • Authorities are reporting a medical helicopter has crashed just a few blocks away from the hospital where it was transporting a patient this morning. The accident happened just before 2 AM in downtown Wichita Falls. The patient was killed in the crash. The pilot is in serious but stable condition in the Wichita Falls hospital. The two crew members were transferred to Parkland Hospital burn unit in Dallas and are in critical condition.
  • Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin today announced the creation of a Coordinating Council on Seismic Activity to link researchers with policy makers and energy industry experts. “Oklahoma has always had seismic activity,” said Fallin. “But the reality is, we are seeing more earthquakes today than we did several decades ago. It’s important we study this issue and have sound science that can inform decisions made in both the public and private sector. We can’t examine a complex issue like this in a vacuum; everyone needs to be at the same table andtalking.” The coordinating council will include input from public sector groups like the Oklahoma Geologic Survey, the Corporation Commission, and the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board; research institutions including the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University; industry groups like the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association and the Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association; and state legislators.
  • (TULSA, Okla.) — Tulsa’s Young Professionals is partnering with the Oklahoma Championship Steak Cook-Off next weekend to bring the Steak Cookoff Association’s U.S. Steak Championship to downtown Tulsa in a two-day steak, music and beer festival benefiting the Tulsa Zoo. The Aug. 22-23 festival, which also includes the sixth-annual Oklahoma Championship Steak Cook-Off, will bring top steak cooks to compete in teams for the state and national championships. The event will feature Oklahoma’s largest steak dinner, live music, beer, a car show and numerous children’s activities in an area centered on Sixth Street and Cincinnati Avenue. In all, nearly 4,000 steaks — about two tons — will be cooked. For the general public, $20 admission includes steak and side dishes. More information about activities and advanced ticket sales can be found at www.oksteakcookoff.com.
  • A fireworks shell exploded on a trailer Friday night at Boomfest in Jenks. According to Jenks fire officials, fireworks were being launched near 96th St near the Jenks Riverwalk. One of the firwworks shells actually exploded on the ground which caused heavy smoke. No one was injured.
  • Senators Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe praised the Supreme Court ruling today upholding Hobby Lobby’s objections to providing contraceptives in their insurance plans. Senator Inhofe said, “The Green family has built a successful business based on principles that are rooted in their deeply held faith. Today the Supreme Court ruled to protect those principles and the religious liberties of private employers.” Senator Tom Coburn said, “The Supreme Court’s decision today is a victory for all Americans.  The Court wisely affirmed that it is wrong for the government to violate the freedom of conscience and religious liberties of American citizens.  Religious freedom is the foundation of all of our rights and that foundation was strengthened by today’s ruling.” Oklahoma based Hobby Lobby and Mardel’s objected to the provision of the Affordable Care Act that forces companies to provide abortion inducing contraceptives as part of the company’s health care plans. The Court split 5-4 on the decision.
  • Bert Williams

    bert.williams@coxinc.com

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  • A bill that would require insurance carriers to consider the use of FORTIFIED construction techniques when determining premiums is moving forward in the Oklahoma legislature. The standards are set by the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety. House Bill 1720 does not mandate lower premiums - but Insurance Commissioner John Doak is confident the increased use of the stronger building techniques will drive down the cost of insurance for homeowners. Basically, FORTIFIED construction involves strongly connecting the roof to the walls and the walls to the foundation, greatly increasing the structure’s resistance to high winds. The bottom line, proponents say, is that Oklahomans will suffer storm damage every year, no matter what. But, “there’s going to be less damage for those consumers that embrace this program,” Doak told KRMG Tuesday. He hopes someday to possibly mandate lower premiums, but starting with a voluntary program is the best way to encourage wider use of FORTIFIED construction, he said. It’s not only for new homes, he added. “You can retrofit an older home,” Doak said, and the process doesn’t take very long. Habitat for Humanity has committed to building dozens of homes in Oklahoma using the new techniques. While such a home won’t withstand an EF-5 tornado, the great majority of damage in Oklahoma comes from straight-line winds and smaller tornadoes in the EF-1 to EF-2 range. HB 1720 passed unanimously in the Oklahoma House, by a vote of 93-0, and now goes to the Senate. Here is a video demonstrating the advantages of FORTIFIED construction:
  • At the request of four Democrats in the Congress, the Government Accountability Office has agreed to formally review how much money the feds spend, and what security precautions are taken, when President Donald Trump takes a weekend away at his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Florida. The request for a GAO review came from three Democratic Senators and one House member – the GAO says it will “review security and site-related travel expenses related to the President’s stays outside the White House at Mar-a-Lago. The lawmakers who made the request were Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD). On 2/16, @RepCummings @SenWarren @SenWhitehouse & I wrote @USGAO & asked they review Mar-a-Lago security procedures & taxpayer funded travel — Tom Udall (@SenatorTomUdall) March 28, 2017 This is not new territory for the GAO, which from time to time is asked by one party or the other to review the costs of travel. When the White House was under the control of Democrats, Republicans a few years ago were the ones asking about costs – as they had the GAO look at a February 15-18, 2013 trip made by President Barack Obama. In that review, the GAO estimated that an official speech in Illinois, followed by a golf weekend in Florida, cost about $3.6 million. This GAO report will look at more than just the cost of the weekend trips to Trump’s resort in Mar-a-Lago, as it will also review security matters there. (CBSMiami/AP) — A government watchdog will investigate the taxpayer-funded travel costs of President Donald Trump’s trips to Mar-a-lago. — Liz Quirantes (@lizquirantes) March 28, 2017 Democrats raised those concerns during a trip that Mr. Trump took with the Japanese Prime Minister, when the two men were seen with aides in a public dining area, speaking about a developing national security issue with regards to North Korea. One question from the four Democrats centers on whether those who are at the Trump club have gone through normal security and clearance procedures, including any foreign nationals who might be there. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has downplayed the costs of the Mar-a-Lago visits, saying that’s ‘part of being President.’ “That is a vast reach,” Spicer told one reporter, who cast the question of the cost of the Mar-a-Lago visits, versus proposed cuts in the federal budget. Before he became President, Mr. Trump often criticized his predecessor for taking weekend golf trips to Florida and other parts of the country. While our wonderful president was out playing golf all day, the TSA is falling apart, just like our government! Airports a total disaster! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 21, 2016 The GAO will now be in charge of determining how much Mr. Trump’s own weekend getaways are costing taxpayers.
  • J is not OK, as a name according to a Swiss court. The Zurich administrative court said in a ruling released Tuesday it had upheld a local registry's office decision to reject the letter as a given name in the best interests of the child, Switzerland's 20 Minuten news website reported. The court rejected the parents' argument they wanted to honor their daughter's great-grandparents Johanna and Josef with the initial as one of her middle names, saying they could have chosen the already-accepted Jo instead.  Though the parents wanted to pronounce the name 'Jay,' the court noted the letter is pronounced 'Yott' in German, creating confusion. The court also said people would be inclined to put a period after the J, though it wasn't an abbreviation.
  • A new study by the Mayo Clinic found that certain workouts can reverse the aging process. The study found that a high-intensity interval training workout, combined with resistance training, can turn back time. >> Read more trending news 'You're essentially slowing down that aging process, (which) I think is amazing, because we didn't have those things before,' said Dr. Vandana Bhide, of the Mayo Clinic. The study was conducted by researchers in Rochester, Minnesota, and targeted two age groups -- 18 to 30-year-olds and 65 to 85-year-olds. As we age, we lose muscle mass. Researchers found that a combined workout increases muscle mass, and on the cellular level, reverses some of the adverse effects of aging. 'For older people, it allows them to be more functional, to be able to do as much as they can at whatever age,” Bhide said. Researchers tracked data over 12 weeks. 'It's not overnight, but we think of it taking years,' Bhide said. Florida-based fitness franchise Orange Theory Fitness focuses on these types of workouts. 'It kind of just reaffirms what we already believe here,' head coach Justin Hoffman said. 'We've seen tremendous strength gain, even (at) 70 years plus, with just 3 to 4 days of interval training.” Bhide said older people who are interested in these workouts should check with their doctor before starting. And as with any exercise program, everybody is different and may not get the same results.
  • The American Geosciences Institute will host a free webinar, “State Responses to Induced Earthquakes,” on Friday 14 April at 1:00 PM CT. The surge in recent years of earthquakes associated with some oil and gas operations, especially the deep underground injection of wastewater, has spurred a range of actions and responses from geoscientists, regulators, and operators. This webinar will explore state-level activities in Oklahoma, Texas, and Ohio to monitor and reduce induced earthquakes. SEG is a co-sponsor of the webinar. The webinar will feature Jeremy Boak (Director of the Oklahoma Geological Survey), Michael Young (Associate Director for Environment at the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology), and Steven Dade (Geologist 2 at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources), focusing on several key topics: Improved monitoring networks for detecting small earthquakes Regulations and their effects Collaborations between government, industry, and other groups to reduce induced earthquakes Outreach and education to improve public awareness Attendees will have the chance to ask questions of the speakers in a live question and answer session during the webinar. For more information and to register for the webinar, visit http://bit.ly/induced-eq-webinar. This webinar is co-sponsored by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the American Energy Society, the American Geophysical Union, the American Institute of Professional Geologists, the Association of American State Geologists, the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists, the Environmental and Engineering Geophysical Society, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, and the U.S. Geological Survey.