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Latest from April Hill

    A top Republican Oklahoma House leader is back to the drawing board trying to shore up the state's budget and generate funding for a teacher pay raise. Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols said Friday work already is underway on potential changes to a broad tax-increase plan. Echols says he's remaining in touch with the governor's office and that he's working on potential 'tweaks' to the plan that could garner the necessary 76 votes in the House.  A sweeping package of tax hikes on tobacco, fuel, alcohol and oil and gas production fell five votes short in the House after an eight-week special session. Governor Mary Fallin vetoed a backup budget plan approved by lawmakers that would have further slashed agency budgets and implored them to return for a second special session.  No date has been set.
  • The five Northeastern State University students were killed in September near Tahlequah. On Wednesday, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol just released the cause of a crash. Investigators say the wreck was caused by unsafe speed on a curve and a wet roadway.  The truck went off the road, slammed through a guardrail and plummeted about 35 feet into a creek, landing on its top. The report says that the driver, 18-year-old Donovan Caldwell of Muskogee, was not impaired at the time of the crash. Caldwell was killed in the wreck along with 18-year-old Jessica Swartwout of McAlester; 19-year-old Drake Wells of Thackerville; 18-year-old Rhianna Seely of Salina; and 18-year-old Lily Murphy of Gentry of Arkansas.
  • After an eight-week special session, the House fell just five votes short of a tax-raising plan to stabilize state revenues. Once the special session was over, Governor Mary Fallin caught legislative leaders off guard when she vetoed a bill that would have closed a $215 million hole in the budget. The plan called for a combination of cuts to agency budgets and raids on state savings accounts. Gov. Fallin will soon ask the Oklahoma Legislature to return to the state Capitol.  Fallin spokesman Michael McNutt said Monday the governor is working to pin down potential dates and define the parameters of her special session call that will determine what kind of bills lawmakers can consider.
  • After four long trials, former Tulsa police officer Shannon Kepler learned his sentence Monday. Kepler was convicted of fatally shooting his daughter's boyfriend, 19-year-old Jeremey Lake, in 2014. Carl Morse, Lake’s father, spoke during Shannon Kepler's sentencing hearing. Morse said he woke up Monday wanting to 'to rip the head off' of Kepler, but later said it would do him no good to carry that hate and that it wouldn't bring back his son. A judge later sentenced Kepler to 15 years in prison.
  • The Oklahoma Senate approved a bill Friday that will cut funding to most state agencies and will spend cash reserves to help plugging the $215 million budget hole. Lawmakers were forced to fix a budget shortfall after they failed to pass a broad package of tax increases. The plan would impose cuts of about 2.5 percent on most agencies to make up for expected revenue lost from an unconstitutional cigarette tax the Legislature approved in May. The rest of would be filled by using one-time money, including savings accounts. Lawmakers returned to the Capitol on Sept. 25 for a special session to fix the budget and find longer-term solutions to chronic shortfalls that have forced deep cuts to agencies and services for three consecutive years.
  • A memorial is scheduled to be unveiled Thursday in Stillwater. Two Oklahoma State women's basketball coaches and two OSU supporters were killed in a plane crash in Arkansas in 2011 while on a recruiting trip.  Friday is the sixth anniversary for the crash that killed OSU head coach Kurt Budke, assistant coach Miranda Serna and Olin Branstetter and Paula Branstetter. The plane went down near Perryville, about 35 miles northeast of Little Rock.  The lighted images of the four victims will be on the northeast side of the OSU athletics center. The public is welcome to attend the dedication ceremony of the ‘Remember the 4' memorial on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 3 p.m.
  • A former priest is using his time in an Oklahoma jail to appeal his sentence in a Michigan courtroom. Rapp was sentenced to at least 20 years in prison in for molesting students at Lumen Christi High School in Jackson in the 1980s.  He was in prison in Oklahoma for similar crimes when he was charged in Michigan in 2015. Rapp lost the appeal this week. James The appeals court says any statute of limitations was suspended when Rapp was locked up in Oklahoma.
  • Charges have been filed against a 25-year-old man who live streamed part of a 2 1/2-hour police chase last week. The chase started in Oklahoma City and ended in Cleveland County.  On Facebook live, the suspect said he was trying to get to Cleveland County so he could go to that jail instead of back into the Oklahoma County jail. District Court records show eight charges were filed Monday against Brenton James Hager of Oklahoma City.  That includes three felony counts including assault on a police officer with a dangerous weapon, endangering others while eluding and unauthorized use of a vehicle.  Bond was set at $100,000. Court documents list no defense attorney for Hager.
  • Police have now arrested two people after a stolen SUV plowed through three stores Friday during a burglary at the Action Arms gun shop near 51st and Mingo. A probable cause affidavit says the pair was in the store for about a minute and loaded at least 11 rifles and five boxes of ammunition into the SUV. Surveillance video captured the crime. A tip led police to the two suspects. Anthony Martinez and Shannon Fryman were booked in jail Monday on complaints of second-degree burglary, possession of a stolen vehicle and larceny of an automobile. Martinez was also booked on five complaints of possession of a firearm after a former felony conviction and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.
  • Animal lovers are mourning the loss of a male African lion that has been on exhibit at the zoo since 2004. Workers at the Tulsa Zoo announced Monday that died during the weekend. Employees say Kofi passed away in his exhibit holding area surrounded by his caregivers. The zoo's animal care and veterinary staff had been monitoring the 18-year-old lion since he was diagnosed with chronic end-stage renal disease.  “We know many people have been able to connect with Kofi over the years in one way or another,” said Joe Barkowski, vice president of animal conservation and science at the zoo. “We are thankful we could offer the opportunity to enjoy him during his final days.' Zoo staff says kidney failure is a common cause of death in older members of the cat family, including domestic house cats.
  • April Hill

    News Director

    April Hill's first "job" in radio was in college at WMSV. Early every morning she would rise and shine after waiting tables late into the night. Hill didn't actually get paid. She was just thrilled to have an opportunity to get real live on-air experience. The importance of her first morning radio anchor gig wouldn't be realized until more than a decade later.

    Hill's first paid job in broadcasting was at the CBS TV affiliate in Jackson, MS, in 1998. Her shift as the associate producer on the morning show at WJTV started at 10:00 p.m. Hill said, "I remember telling my boss how excited I was after getting my first paycheck and he laughed. The check was very small, but I was still a kid really. I'd never had a check that big." She worked a retail job to afford rent in a high crime area of town. "I didn't care. For the first time, I had my own place all to myself. I also got a good laugh when people asked where I lived. Their facial expressions, filled with horror, were so entertaining."

    Hill decided to get in on the action in front of the camera. The market size in Jackson was too big for them to giver her a shot (although she tried). After sending out at least 100 resumés with no response. Hill quit her job to concentrate on chasing her dream full-time. Hill's  brother lived in Tulsa and was willing to let her live there rent free for a few months. "I drove to every small television station from Florida to Iowa, 25 cities altogether. I got only one offer and that's all I needed."

    In 2001, Hill started as a reporter at KLKN-TV in Lincoln, NE. She said, "I really loved Lincoln. It's filled with honest, hard working people." Hill was what they call in the business a one-man-band. She was the reporter, photographer and the editor. Living in a capitol city, and the home of the Husker's, taught her how to cover every story under the sun. "I worked weekends at first, so I was on the 50-yard line every home game covering the fans. I then moved up to the legislature beat Monday through Friday. In between, there were tornados, snow storms and drought... a lot like here in Oklahoma."

    In 2007, Hill decided she wanted to move home. Since she grew up in the small town of Independence, KS, Tulsa was the perfect distance and size. "I had been away from home for so long and it was strange when I would talk to people who knew about my home town. Some had even been there." She took a producer job at KJRH, which had a weather camera on main street in Independence. Hill said, "The meteorologists would use it as much as possible during my newscast because they knew I'd love it."

    Hill was back home and content, until KRMG's Steve Berg approached her about a weekend anchor job that was open at the radio station. "I thought, oh radio? I haven't done that in a while. Sounds like fun." Dan Potter was the news director and hired her a couple of months later. Hill worked seven days a week for three years. She said, "I looked forward to my weekends at KRMG, but I wanted full-time. I wanted it so badly that I would fill-in working both jobs on holidays and only took one weekend off for a family wedding." Her hard work paid off.

    The morning show host at the time, KRMG's Joe Kelley, hired Hill full-time as soon as a position was available. She said, "I loved it from day one. Joe and I just clicked. He worked hard and recognized my work ethic and passion for the radio station. So, Joe became my mentor and all of the sudden promotions started happening faster than I could even ask." A few months after going full-time, Hill was asked to take the morning anchor position. It was only another few months and she was tapped to be the news director, taking over Kelley's position when he moved to sister station WDBO in Orlando. "My emotions were all over the board. I was losing my best boss and gaining the highest position of my career."

    Kelley left Hill in good hands. Dan Potter took over as morning host (remember, he was the one who hired her). "Dan and I are going to continue the momentum than KRMG has been building for years. We're here to stay and even get better. I believe that 100 percent."

    Read More
  • We have another beautiful day ahead of us in the Tulsa area on Saturday. However, National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike Lacy says it won't be quite as nice as yesterday. “We’ll be cooler than we were yesterday,” Lacy said.  “High reached the upper 70s yesterday in Tulsa.  We’ll drop back to the mid-60s on Saturday.” We will still see sunny skies and there is no rain in the forecast.  Temperatures will drop to 34 degrees Saturday night.   There will be more of the same on Sunday.  NWS is reporting sunny skies and a high around 67 degrees.  
  • A naked couple, having sex in their car while their baby was in the back seat, crashed while driving, the said. >> Read more trending newsThe man was driving on Highway 7 near La Grande in Pierce County, naked and having sex with a woman who also was naked, when he missed a curve, went off the road and struck a tree, State Patrol spokeswoman Brooke Bova said. The crash occurred Wednesday at 6 p.m. troopers said. Witnesses told troopers both the man and woman were naked when they got out of the car, The Everett Herald reported. Troopers said they were also both impaired. The woman wasn't wearing a seat belt. She was taken to the hospital with several broken bones. The 3-month-old child in the back seat was not injured. The man was arrested and booked into Pierce County Jail on suspicion of driving under the influence, vehicular assault and child endangerment, the Herald reported. Troopers said the man has three prior DUI convictions.
  • A high school English teacher has been arrested after she was secretly filmed by her students while appearing to cut up and snort what police suspect to be cocaine in an empty classroom, . >> Read more trending news Samantha Cox, 24, was taken away from Lake Central High School in St. John, Indiana, in handcuffs after students showed the video to their principal, who informed the authorities. Junior Will Rogers captured the footage, which appeared to show Cox cutting up a white, powdery substance on a binder, then turning her back to the door and leaning over. Rogers had recorded the video through a locked classroom door at around 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 22. “She’s in the corner, hiding with a chair and a book and what appears to be cocaine, putting it into lines,” he said. “I actually watched the footage again and again, and I just realized that my English teacher just did cocaine,” Rogers told WGN. The video, posted to YouTube, quickly spread around the campus. When Cox’s fellow staff members discovered it, they notified St. John police. Cox, 24, was arrested on charges possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia, according to a St. John Police Department statement. The drugs involved appear to be a mix of cocaine and heroin, Police Chief James Kveton told The Northwest Indiana Times. “School officials and police want to recognize and praise the student witness that brought this information to the principal very quickly,” the police statement read. “Their actions showed a tremendous amount of fortitude and integrity.” Parents were informed of the arrest via a robocall from Lake Central Superintendent Larry Veracco. “Earlier today, Lake Central administration was made aware of a situation regarding a teacher at Lake Central High School. Swift and forceful action was taken,” Veracco said in the robocall. “I’m grateful that they found out when they did, and they were quick-acting,” parent Shannon McGrath told WGN. “You’re told as a child to listen to them, respect them and stuff like that … But it’s kinda hard to respect somebody who does cocaine in a classroom,” junior Anthony Rios told the station.
  • A top Republican Oklahoma House leader is back to the drawing board trying to shore up the state's budget and generate funding for a teacher pay raise. Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols said Friday work already is underway on potential changes to a broad tax-increase plan. Echols says he's remaining in touch with the governor's office and that he's working on potential 'tweaks' to the plan that could garner the necessary 76 votes in the House.  A sweeping package of tax hikes on tobacco, fuel, alcohol and oil and gas production fell five votes short in the House after an eight-week special session. Governor Mary Fallin vetoed a backup budget plan approved by lawmakers that would have further slashed agency budgets and implored them to return for a second special session.  No date has been set.
  • Lindsay Weiss once lost her cellphone and got it back, so she and a friend knew what they had to do when they discovered a camera under a pew during a festival in the Nevada desert - even though it meant giving up their coveted, shady seat for a musical performance. The friends snapped a quick selfie and took the device to the lost-and-found, so the owner could claim it and the pair could “forever be a part of their journey,” Weiss said. “Losing something out there on the playa makes its mark on your trip,” she said of the sprawling counterculture gathering known as Burning Man. “Kinda makes you feel like a loser.” Cameras and IDs are among the more common belongings that end up in the lost-and-found after the event billed as North America’s largest outdoor arts festival. Other items left behind in the dusty, 5-square-mile encampment include shoes, keys, stuffed animals - even dentures. Still missing are a marching band hat with gold mirror tiles, a furry cheetah vest, a headdress with horns and a chainmail loincloth skirt. “As of mid-November, we’ve recovered 2,479 items and returned 1,279,” said Terry Schoop, who helps oversee the recovery operation at Burning Man’s San Francisco headquarters.