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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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  • It’s just what the GOP said we’d hear from a CEO after being handed a big tax break. But when Charles Scharf announced plans last month to spend his company’s tax savings on higher wages and technology, investors began selling. The Bank of New York Mellon CEO said he had a responsibility to “share the benefit” with workers and build the “company of the future.” But investors want to share in the tax bounty as well — through higher dividends and buybacks. By the end of the day, the bank’s stock was down 4.4 percent. The biggest tax rewrite in three decades was sold by its Republican backers as a way to help American workers, and there have been plenty of announcements about bonuses and plans to buy equipment and make other capital investments to improve productivity and raise wages. But much more money has been earmarked for dividends and buybacks. Retailer Lowe’s has authorized $7.1 billion in buybacks, triple the level planned before the tax overhaul. Radio giant Sirius XM has increased its program by a fifth to $12 billion. And Wednesday Cisco announced the biggest number of all — a $25 billion increase to its repurchase program. Buybacks, in which companies purchase their own shares and retire them, are popular with investors because fewer shares outstanding lifts earnings per share, the most watched barometer of corporate success.
  • Hearing from parents and students who lost friends and family members in last week’s school shooting in Florida, President Donald Trump said it was time for the nation to work together to better safeguard schools, as he advocated stronger security including the possibility of allowing teachers and administrators to carry concealed weapons during the school day. “It’s very difficult, it’s very complex, but we’ll find a solution,” the President said as he wrapped the over hour long listening session, which featured tears from parents and students. “I’m never going to see my kid again, I want you all to know that,” said Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was among those killed last week in Florida. “My beautiful daughter, I’m never going to see again,” Pollack added, flanked by his two sons. Andrew Pollack, father of Meadow Pollack: 'My daughter has no voice. She was murdered last week. She was taken from us. Shot nine times on the third floor.' Watch full video here: https://t.co/PTvTbB8sUn #ParklandStudentsSpeak pic.twitter.com/Qkp9WYVZcm — CSPAN (@cspan) February 21, 2018 The over hour long session was respectful on all sides, as parents and students pleaded with the President to do something to end school shootings. “I was actually in the second classroom that was shot at,” said Jonathan Blank, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. “In my mind, as a kid, nothing that horrible should ever have to happen to you,” Blank added. Echoing some of the calls for action by other Douglas students, Sam Zeif used his time before the President to make a tearful plea for change on powerful weapons like the AR-15. 'I lost a best friend. … I don't understand why I can can still go in a store and buy a weapon of war.' Sam Zeif was on the second floor of the Parkland, Florida, school where 17 people died after a mass shooting. https://t.co/ozoMFp0dU5 https://t.co/xsKZjl5Zna — CNN International (@cnni) February 21, 2018 “I don’t understand why I could still go into a store and buy a weapon of war,” Zeif said, fighting back tears. “I don’t know how I’m ever going to step foot in that place again,” Zeif said of his school. As for the President, he listened quietly as students and parents told their stories and made their requests – Mr. Trump said he’s still developing his plan to deal with school shootings, but seemed to outline a series of ideas that he backs: + Stronger school security, by hardening entrance points to schools. + Allowing teachers and administrators to carry a firearm in a school. + Stronger background checks on guns sales, though Mr. Trump has yet to define exactly what that would entail. + Raising the age to purchase a powerful weapon like an AR-15. + Doing more to provide mental health treatment to people – like the Florida shooter – who have been identified to authorities. “If you have a teacher – who was adept at firearms – you could very well end the attack very quickly,” the President said of the idea of concealed carry in schools, as he compared it to airline pilots being allowed to carry a gun in the aftermath of the Nine Eleven attacks. President Trump responds to the emotional stories of students and parents: “We don’t want others to go through the kind of pain that you've gone through” https://t.co/GtcRURoZo4 pic.twitter.com/JliJbQkJgr — CNN International (@cnni) February 21, 2018 “If these cowards knew that the school was well guarded,” the President said, “I don’t think they would go into the school in the first place.” “Thank you for pouring out your hearts, because the world is watching,” the President said as he wrapped up the White House event. “We’re going to come up with a solution.”
  • Evangelist Billy Grahamat his North Carolina home. Graham, who preached Christianity to millions around the world, was also a confidant of U.S. presidents from Dwight Eisenhower to George W. Bush.Here are some quotes from the man who became known as “America’s Pastor.”   Source: Brainy Quotes
  • The world's best-known evangelist, the Rev. Billy Graham, has died. He was 99. From the gangly 16-year-old baseball-loving teen who found Christ at a tent revival, Graham went on to become an international media darling, a preacher to a dozen presidents and the voice of solace in times of national heartbreak. He was America's pastor.           Graham retired to his mountain home at Montreat, N.C., in 2005 after nearly six decades on the road calling people to Christ at 417 all-out preaching and musical events from Miami to Moscow. His final New York City crusade in 2005 was sponsored by 1,400 regional churches from 82 denominations.          Presidents called on Graham in their dark hours, and uncounted millions say he showed them the light. He took his Bible to the ends of the Earth in preaching tours he called 'crusades.' Even now, anywhere a satellite, radio, TV, video or podcast can reach, his sonorous voice is probably still calling someone to Christ.          Though Graham's shoes could likely never be filled, his son, Franklin, has taken over in some aspects—leading The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and becoming a confidant of President Donald Trump, including speaking at his inauguration.          But Franklin's message has swayed from his father's, leaving a mixed legacy for the Graham name. Franklin has mocked both Islam and LGBT rights. He uses his following on social media to raise funds for 'persecuted Christians,' boycotts businesses that use gay couples in advertisements and blasts the separation of church and state as as the godless successor to Cold War communism.          But his father's words for years offered peace and perspective. On the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance following the 9/11 attacks, Billy Graham spoke of the 'mystery of iniquity and evil,' of 'the lesson of our need for each other' and, ultimately, of hope.          'He was so real, he made Christianity come true.' observed Susan Harding, an anthropologist at the University of California-Santa Cruz. 'He was homespun, historical and newsworthy all at once. He could span the times from Christ to today, from the globe to you, all in one sentence.'          Grant Wacker, a Duke University professor of Christian history, says Graham represented, 'what most decent churchgoing people thought and ought to think.'          His reputation was untouched by sex or financial scandals. When anti-Semitic comments came to light as transcripts of conversations with Richard Nixon surfaced, Graham was promptly and deeply apologetic.          He never built a megachurch, set up a relief agency, launched a political lobby or ran for office. Yet he redefined American Protestant life by popularizing Christianity's core message — Christ died for your sins — downplaying denominational details and proclaiming the joys found in faith.          Graham was, however, drawn to power. Eventually, he met, prayed with, comforted and joked with 12 U.S. presidents, and Graham learned to walk a tightrope.          He found a fine balance that allowed him to become America's pastor, Democrat or Republican. North or South. When President Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky came to light, Graham called for forgiveness. Clinton told Peter Boyer of The New Yorker, 'He took sin seriously. But he took redemption seriously. And it was incredibly powerful the way he did it.'          Former president George W. Bush has said it was a conversation with Graham that turned him from his drinking ways when he was young.          'I've never called him on a specific issue but his influence is bigger than a specific issue, as far as I'm concerned. He warms your soul,' Bush told an ABC 20/20 special on the preacher and politics.          Graham emphasized the joy to be found in belief, in contrast to evangelists such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson who routinely issued glowering condemnations of politicians or blamed natural disasters on modern culture. However, Graham did take an uncharacteristically political stand before the 2012 presidential election. He authorized full page ads in major newspapers in October urging people to vote for politicians who opposed same-sex marriage on 'biblical principles.'          He brought to the microphone a 'corny but effective humor,' Wacker says, which made him a convivial talk-show guest. Graham logged more than 50 radio or television interviews with Larry King alone. YouTube has a tape of Woody Allen interviewing the evangelist, who draws almost as many laughs as the caustic, agnostic comedian.          The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association he founded, now led by his son, Franklin, used every communications innovation possible to carry the Gospel to any willing heart on Earth. More than 214 million people in 195 cities and territories heard God's call in Graham's voice and witnessed him deliver the Gospel in person or by satellite links. His projects included founding             Christianity Today magazine in 1956 and writing more than 30 books.          High among his numerous honors: The Congressional Gold Medal awarded to Billy and Ruth in 1996, the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded to him in 1983, and the Templeton Foundation Prize for Progress in Religion in 1982. He even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.          'Fundamentalists saw him as excessively liberal, and liberals saw him as too literalist in talking about sin and salvation. His wonderful balance between them is critical to his legacy,' says John Wilson, editor of             Books & Culture, a sister publication of             Christianity Today magazine            .  Graham's last decades were slowed by illness and injury. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1989, felled by broken bones, bouts of hydrocephalous and rounds of pneumonia.          Age, illness and bone-breaking falls had left him struggling to deliver 20-minute sermons.   Graham's last crusade, in June 2005 in New York City, drew 242,000 people to Flushing Meadows; 8,786 made a new commitment to Christ and thousands more renewed or rejoiced in their faith.          Then he retired to his Montreat, N.C., mountaintop log cabin home (where his five children grew up mostly without their traveling father) to spend his days with his beloved wife, Ruth. They shared Bible study, devotions and an endless recycling of the movie musicals she loved to watch. Those were bittersweet days, with Ruth bedridden and Billy relying on a walker. Their frequent prayer was, 'Help me, Lord.'          At her funeral in June 2007, Graham called Ruth the finest Christian he ever knew. Graham lived through the explosion of religious diversity in America, the rise of the human potential movement and the trend to personalized spirituality. He also lived to see many tire of lonely seeking or a high-minded hopscotch from church to church, religion to religion.          Yet he remained steadfast in his response. In 1996, when he and Ruth were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, he once more shared his faith in God with some of the most powerful men on Earth:          'As Ruth and I receive this award, we know that some day we will lay it at the feet of the one we seek to serve.
  • The Rev. Billy Graham, who transformed American religious life through his preaching and activism, becoming a counselor to presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, has died. Spokesman Mark DeMoss says Graham, who long suffered from cancer, pneumonia and other ailments, died at his home in North Carolina on Wednesday morning. He was 99. Graham reached more than 200 million through his appearances and millions more through his pioneering use of television and radio. Unlike many traditional evangelists, he abandoned narrow fundamentalism to engage broader society.